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Katzir Named One of First Two Recipients of the Japan Prize

Prof. Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir, noted Weizmann Institute of Science scientist and one of its founding members, has been named one of the two first recipients of the Japan Prize in Biotechnology, to be awarded in Tokyo on April 20.

The recently established 50 million Yen (approximately $200,000) prize honors researchers who have made original contributions to science “and have thereby advanced human peace and prosperity.”

Kisaburo Yokota, executive director of the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan, says it is hoped that the Japan Prize will ultimately equal the Nobel Prize in stature.

In addition to his ranking position at the Weizmann Institute, Katchalski-Katzir, who served as Israel’s fourth President from 1973 to 1978, heads the Biotechnology Center at Tel Aviv University.

His brother, Aharon, also one of Israel’s leading scientists, was murdered in an attack by a group of Japanese Red Army terrorists working for the PLO at Ben Gurion Airport in 1972, for which Kozo Okomoto, the only attacker not killed on the spot at the time, is now serving a life sentence.

Katchalski-Katzir’s world-acknowledged work on amino acid polymers and enzymes has involved both pure and applied research which have facilitated understanding the genetic code and helped the production of industrial and medical processes and items.

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