In an elegantly staged ceremony in Tokyo last November, representatives from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and from Japan's Committee for Energy Policy Promotion (CEPP) made history. Seated at a table overflowing with flowers and festooned with the flags of Japan and the United States, Syun-Ichi Akasofu, director of the university's Geophysical Institute, and Gaishi Hiraiwa, chairman of CEPP and of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., signed English and Japanese versions of an agreement establishing the Wadati Faculty Chair at Alaska.

The chair honors Kyoo Wadati, a pioneering Japanese geophysicist who discovered earthquakes at depths greater than 300 kilometers. It will sponsor the work of a junior and senior professor, both of whom will be known as Wadati Professors. The chair will be funded by a $1.2 million gift from 11 members of CEPP, a consortium of 80 Japanese energy-related corporations, over a five-year period. What makes the arrangement so...

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