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Masaaki Andou
President of 18th APAGE Annual Congress 2017

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the 18th APAGE Annual Congress to be held in conjunction with the 57th Japan Society of Gynecologic and Obstetric Endoscopy and Minimally Invasive Therapy in Okayama, Japan. This is the third congress to be held here in Japan, the last being in 2011 in Osaka city.

It is a great honor to be president of a congress that boasts a program of presentations from top class endoscopists from all over the world as well as the opportunities to share in innovative workshops led by experts in the field. We hope that this congress provides each and every participant the chance to share in the knowledge of gained from the experience of the presenters we are so lucky to have with us.

Okayama is a city surrounded by the Chugoku mountains and skirted by the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. The black ‘crow’ castle provides stunning backdrop to a city rich in culture, tradition and modern architecture. Okayama is home to Korakuen, a garden famed to be one of Japan’s most beautiful traditional gardens. Thanks to this perfect location and mild climate, Okayama is well known for its delicious fresh fruit and seafood.

Kurashiki Medical Center, the institute where I have been working for around 30 years is located in the nearby city, Kurashiki. This city is also well known for its beauty and history. The Bikan Historical District, tucked away in the heart of the city, is wonderful place for a stroll.

We hope that this congress will provide the opportunity for meaningful discussion on techniques, innovations, minimally invasive approaches, surgical skills, instrumentation and technology in surgery. We also hope it gives all of you the chance to get to know the real Japan, something you can only experience outside the major cities.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Okayama. Enjoy the congress and the atmosphere of Japan. May this congress result in the building of many bridges of friendship and professional fellowship.