It is truly a pleasure and great honor to host the first International Water Association congress held in Japan and to welcome so many people who have come to our city from all over the world. May I take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to IWA President Diane d'Arras and her staff, and everyone from industry, academia and government for their hard work and dedication to ensure the success of this congress.

Water is a precious resource that is crucial to people's lives and urban activities. However, the water environment in the world faces many challenges including more frequent natural disasters brought on by climate change, water shortages and water quality deterioration due to rapid urbanization.

To overcome such challenges, the key themes of the IWA Tokyo congress are sustainability of water supply and sewer systems into the future, and their resilience against various risks. I hope that the participants will share their latest insights and technologies through active discussions and interactions at the sessions and produce outcomes that will greatly contribute to resolving the world's water challenges.