For the first time, the Japanese and Israeli governments have agreed to pursue joint scientific research. A total of $1.8 million has been allocated over three years for projects in the life sciences. Fumikai Takahashi, the director-general of the Japan Science and Technology Agency, will sign a memorandum of understanding for scientific cooperation at Beit Belgia on the Hebrew University's Givat Ram Campus on Thursday. He will be accompanied by a delegation headed by Prof. Hiroyuki Abe, vice president of the agency. Gal Dai, director-general of the Science, Arts and Sports Ministry, will sign for the Israeli side. In about three months, the fields and criteria for research that will receive grants will be announced by a joint Israeli-Japanese team. Israel is now only one of nine countries with which Japan had signed such an agreement; the others are China, India, South Korea, the US, the UK, France, Germany and Sweden. Before the signing ceremony, a joint conference will be held at HU where the Japanese delegation will hear from Prof. Hermona Soreq about brain research and other fields in which Israel excels.