In Morocco the First Moroccan Japanese Inter-University Academic Program was held in Casablanca from September 23 to 26, in which five Japanese scholars, GOTO Akira, YAMAUCHI Masayuki, MITANI Hiroshi, NAKAGAWA Kei and SATO Tsugitaka, participated. In the symposium on the opening day I read a paper on "Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies in Japan: An Historical Review" to introduce the present situation of Japanese studies on Islamic civilization and Middle Eastern affairs. On the second day the round table discussion entitled "Area Studies in the Developed and Developing Countries" was held at the Muhammad V University where I read a second paper, paraphrasing "An Invitation to Islamic Area Studies" in News Letter No. 1. Many scholars who attended the round table discussion understood the purpose of the project and expressed their willingness to cooperate with us.
On September 25, I left Casablanca to visit Sevilla in Spain. The next day I visited Sevilla University located in the city center and had a chance to meet Prof. Rafael Valencia who is specializing in the history of Islamic Andalusia. His response was prompt and now we have his c.v. in our project office. Then I visited Instituto de Filologia affiliated with the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Madrid. At the institute I met Prof. Manuela Marin who is editor in chief of al-Qantara. She was kind enough to introduce her colleague, Prof. Maribel Fierro, a specialist in Islamic law. We discussed how to cooperate in conducting Islamic Area Studies, which may open a new era of research cooperation between Spain and Japan.
The final destination was Hamburg where I met Prof. Urlich Haarmann. He has studied Mamluk history and now is a member of Steering Committee of a four-year project entitled "Individual and Society in the Mediterranean Muslim World" which started in 1996. He is willing to cooperate with our project and consented to be a co-organizer of the conference to be held at the 19th International Congress of Historical Sciences in Oslo in 2000. We agreed that the tentative subject of the conference is "Muslim Societies over the Centuries: Symbiosis and Conflict in Comparative Aspects."