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This paper presents an outline of the Japanese Society of Alcohol-Related Problems. The precursor of the Society was the Japan Alcoholism Treatment Research Group, inaugurated in 1979, by merging two local research groups in the Tokyo and Osaka areas, both of which were exclusive gatherings of psychiatrists associated with alcoholism clinics. The Research Group developed into the Society in 1992, as the number of participants including those from other medical professions increased yearly, and the subjects of the group widened to include all addictive behaviours. In reflecting the process of establishment, it is unique in many aspects as a scientific society. The Society is not a science-orientated body for presentation of new research findings. The main programme of the annual meeting is therefore a set of symposia in which members participate and discuss clinical and/or social problems arising from dependency on alcohol or drugs. Perhaps because of its content, the annual meeting is attended each year by the largest number of participants among all the societies in Japan concerned with alcohol and drugs. For the next several years, the Society's activities will be directed at (1) establishment of guidelines for early identification of and intervention in alcohol-related problems; (2) expansion of its membership to include those in related fields of medicine and non-medical professions; (3) improvement of the system of journal publication; and (4) creation of a system for timely adequate response to social problems associated with drugs and alcohol.