The Nippon Foundation's International Seminar on Offshore Development
Opening Remarks by Chairman Yohei Sasakawa
Mr.Shakil Shamji, Director of Deepstar, Mr.Nabil Belbathia, Research Director of NORCE, distinguished speakers and participants. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your attendance despite your busy schedules at this International Ocean Development Seminar today. This seminar has been held since 2017, bringing together key figures in the field of ocean development to stay updated on the latest technological advancements. Once again, we look forward to many cutting-edge technology presentations.
As you are well aware, the world population has already reached 8 billion and is estimated to exceed 10 billion in the next 60 years. With the increasing population, humanity has placed a greater burden on the "Mother Ocean" which sustains all life on Earth including ours. The environment surrounding our oceans is now in a critical state, and the "Mother Ocean" is silently crying out. We, The Nippon Foundation, anticipated the situation we are facing today nearly 40 years ago. Over all these years we have been addressing this crisis with a long-term perspective focusing our emphasis on protecting the oceans. Our initiative covers a wide range of areas, such as training over one thousand six hundred marine professionals from one hundred and fifty countries, exploiting the Arctic Sea routes, supporting safe navigation in the Malacca and Singapore Straits, providing assistance to Pacific island nations, and contributing to the enactment of Basic Act on Ocean Policy in Japan. As part of these efforts, The Nippon Foundation has been actively promoting the development of offshore industries, focusing on marine energy development including renewable energy, and the utilization of seabed mineral resources. In addition to nurturing engineers with practical technique and expertise, we are working to create technological innovations that leverage Japan’s strength.
In terms of human resource development, the participants of the program  offered by The Nippon Foundation Ocean Innovation Consortium, established in collaboration with industry, government, and academia in two thousand sixteen numbered to as many as approximately five thousand and four hundred. Majority of the university students who participated in the program are working in the offshore industry today, ensuring a steady supply of young engineers who will contribute to the future of the industry. As we will be hearing later, in the field of technological development, we have actively engaged in negotiations with dignitaries and CEOs from various countries, using our network, and have implemented a collaborative technological development program with each leading country such as Scotland, Houston in the United States, and Norway. When we started this initiative in two thousand eighteen, many Japanese companies had limited access to oil majors like DeepStar, let alone joint development. It was difficult for them to even identify development needs, in other words, what should be developed in the first place. However, through our programs centered around DeepStar and NORCE, we have already supported approximately forty projects over the past six years. While about half of these projects are still in progress, it has been reported that some have already been put into practical use and are expected to play a significant role in solving on-site challenges. I would like to express my gratitude to the efforts of DeepStar and NORCE, who are present here today, for their contributions, and we, at The Nippon Foundation are committed to continuing our efforts in human resource development and technological innovation, so that together we will be able to lead this offshore industry where great expectations are placed today.
Earlier, I mentioned that many young people are entering the field of ocean development. I believe it is extremely important to incorporate many new ideas from young people and to work with them with a sense of speed to bring about innovation. Industries with great initiatives will attract human resources. When people see that innovation is taking place in the offshore industry, they will come even if you tell them not to come. I would like to express my respect and appreciation for the work that is being done on this project that has such a great potential. It is my hope that we will be able to drive innovation incorporating the ideas of young people and share with the entire world from Japan.
Thank you.