Dear Prospective Participants of ICTS14 Kyoto

We hope this message finds you in good health and spirit.
In our last communication to you, we had promised to announce on December 20, our decision regarding the format of this coming ICTS14 Conference scheduled on April 29-May 1, 2022, and to open the registration system. On this occasion, we must announce with great regret that the conference will be held entirely online. We ask all of you who intend to present papers either individually or in organized panels, to register by January 31 so that we can begin to plan the program.

   As you know, we have been watching the COVID19 situation since earlier in spring, and in May, we had sought your cooperation in responding to a questionnaire. We found that 70% of the prospective participants preferred to postpone it from the original dates in December to April 29-May 1, so we can hold it on-site. We understood that most respondents were eager to meet each other and be able to discuss things in person, and enjoy Kyoto. Accordingly, we had been preparing an on-site conference in April-May, and up until early November, we were hopeful that perhaps this might be possible.

   However, the global surge of the Omicron variant has turned everything back. Now, since December 1, the Japanese government has declared a complete shutdown regarding visitors from abroad. In fact, government restrictions on receiving foreign visitors had been quite strict even in the pre-Omicron stage in November. Entering Japan was made extremely difficult, demanding every arriving researcher to obtain a visa and for this, we would need to gain ratification from MEXT for each participant by signing as guarantor, stating a detailed itinerary (including reservations for domestic travel—no other use of public transformation permitted), reasons for entry, and name of guarantor for each person. In addition they required vaccination documents, quarantine for number of days depending on the departing country, PCR test after arrival, etc. Moreover, student entry has been impossible throughout this period. This strictness at the still pre-Omicron stage suggested that even if the government decides to allow travelers from abroad early next year, as long as the visa requirements are maintained, the process will be impossible to manage for a conference of this size.  

   It is still quite unpredictable how things will turn out by next April. Considering the amount of time it will take to create the program and prepare for it, it will be impossible to leave any more uncertainties and therefore we have determined that we will have to give up both onsite and hybrid, and must announce herewith, to hold the conference entirely on-line. We apologize for this disappointment that we will not be able to gather, meet each other, and discuss face-to-face, and that you will not be able to visit us here in Kyoto.

   We are considering that if the situation changes so that by March 31, travelers from Thailand can enter Japan without obtaining visas, in other words, if traveling to Japan goes back to the pre-COVID normal, then, we will still hold the conference online, but will prepare locations on campus for public-viewing. The conference itself will be entirely on-line, and each participant may participate through the on-line platform, and in between sessions, can discuss and meet with other participants in person. Even if we do decide on this arrangement, the secretariat cannot be held responsible for travel documents for those participating in the public-viewing beyond the normal conference invitation letter.  

   We are committed to making the utmost effort so that the conference will be a stimulating and satisfying experience for all. Please note the following:

ICTS14 Organizing Committee and Conference Secretariat