Prof. Shunji Murai was born in Tokyo, Japan on the 9th of September 1939 and graduated in Civil Engineering Department, University of Tokyo in 1963. He started his career as a civil engineer at the Nippon Koei Company in 1963. He moved to the University of Tokyo from April 1966 as a Researcher and became Associate Professor in 1971 after completion of his Doctor of Engineering in 1970 in the field of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.
In 1984 Prof. Murai was elected as the Congress Director of the ISPRS and he had organized Kyoto ISPRS Congress successfully in 1988. He became the President of ISPRS for four year from 1992 to 1996 and he was the first Asian President of the ISPRS.
Prof. Murai had served at AIT for five years during 1992-1995 and 1997-1999. After his return to Japan from AIT, he retired from the University of Tokyo in March 2000. Upon his retirement, Prof. Murai initiated research on the prediction of earthquakes in 2002 as a challenge to the most difficult and unsolved problem in the human history. With initial successes, in January 2013, he established an entity called Japan Earthquake Science Exploration Agency (JESEA) together with partners with an objective to save human life by predicting earthquakes. The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan releases daily GNSS data at 1,300 GNSS stations all over Japan free of charge, JESEA takes advantage of this data for prediction of earthquakes. Prof. Murai is now using other precursors, such as specific pattern of clouds formed before an earthquake. JESEA issues a “Weekly MEGA Earthquake Prediction” to more than 50,000 individual members electronically. Success rate so far is 70 ~ 80 %, which is highly commended by the Japanese media such as television channels and weekly magazines.
Prof. Shunji Murai was awarded several awards such as Honorary Fellow, ITC, the Netherlands in 1993, Honorary Professor, Wuhan University, China, Boon Indrambarya Gold Medal, Thailand in 1995, Most Exalted Order, 2nd Class of the White Elephant in 1997, Honorary Doctor, ETH Switzerland in 1998, Honorary Member, ISPRS in 2000 and Honorary Member, AARS in 2009.
Apart from his professional achievements, Prof. Murai was a world-class sportsman and he represented Japan in rowing at the Olympic in Rome in 1960 as well as at the World Championship in Switzerland in 1962.