for the next 10 years on the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Japan OLED Forum

Started in 2005 by 19 researchers and development engineers from universities, research laboratories, and companies all involved in the research and development of OLEDs, the Japan OLED Forum has operated to accomplish the aims set out in the “Japan OLED Forum Prospectus.” Ten years have now passed since the Forum’s founding, and the environment around the OLED industry in Japan has greatly changed. In light of these changes, now is the time for the Forum to reexamine its vision of the role that it should play for the next 10 years and the steps that it should take to realize this vision. These issues were discussed in depth by the Steering Committee several times over the past year, and the consensus reached through these discussions are collected and put forth here as a proposal for the next 10 years.

The Prospectus set at the establishment of the Forum states that “we recognize the need to unite academic research and practical technological development in a way that overcomes the status quo” to improve and maintain the international competitiveness of the Japanese OLED industry. To this end, the Japan OLED Forum was founded as a place to enable technical exchange and passionate discussion among researchers and developers from academic research laboratories and industry. Even after 10 years, the importance of these points has not changed. Therefore, the Japan OLED Forum should continue to maintain this viewpoint set forth in the Prospectus. However, a broad interpretation of the “Japanese OLED industry” should be strongly reaffirmed here that includes everything from panels, materials, components, and devices to their applications.

Nonetheless, to continue serving its purpose, the Japan OLED Forum must change with the times and environment. At one point, Japan was the world leader in the academic research and practical development of OLEDs. Based on a strong desire to return to such a position, the Japan OLED Forum chose to be a closed society for Japan only. However, South Korea is presently leading the OLED display and panel industry, and Taiwan and China are quickly catching up by accelerating investment in the development and industrialization of OLEDs. Consequently, domestic businesses involved in OLED materials, components, and devices have lost touch by listening only to domestic panel manufacturers. That is, to strengthen the OLED industry of Japan, restricting the Japan OLED Forum only to Japan is no longer appropriate.

Subsequently, the decision has been made to transform the Japan OLED Forum into an open venue by welcoming foreign members. Specifically, the requirement for members to be an “official member, or visiting researcher, of a corporate enterprise having a manufacturing and development base in Japan” as designated in the Membership Regulations is abolished, and the door is widely opened to members from outside Japan. To review this and other details of the Membership Regulations, including the requirements for support and other members, the Operating Regulations Review Subcommittee has been established by the Steering Committee.

By making the Japan OLED Forum an open venue, academic researchers will benefit from the increased value of the Forum as a place for academic discussion and from the chance to learn about, and incorporate into his or her own research, the technical problems encountered by foreign companies working on OLEDs. Businesses involved in OLED materials, components, and devices will be able to more clearly understand the needs of foreign customers in addition to domestic ones, making participation in the Japan OLED Forum even more attractive, and manufacturers of OLED panels will gain by working hard and interacting with foreign companies.

A clear vision of how the Japan OLED Forum will move forward and take shape over the next 10 years based on this new direction is as follows.

For the development of the OLED industry, understanding the future direction of OLEDs is very important, and key scientific and technological problems and analysis techniques must be identified. For this purpose, the current understanding of OLEDs in academia and industry is indispensable, so the Forum should serve as a place for international discussion with a worldwide outlook. By not stopping at device processing but also including applications in the discussion and through the participation of its members, the Forum should provide a complete picture of the current state of OLED technology that goes beyond one’s own specialized field. With OLEDs as the starting point for discussion that touches on all aspects from the latest basic research to practical development and applications and by providing experiences that cannot be obtained at MRS, SID, or JSAP, the Japan OLED Forum is bound to become a unique and internationally respected society.

March 21, 2016
Tetsuo Urabe, Japan OLED Forum Representative