I am Shinjiro Mishima, and I have been elected president of the Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers, which has a history of 120 years. I am honored to take over from Masashi Kashiwagi, the former president, and am determined to do my best as his successor. As the new president, I'd like to talk about the Society and the industry.
The Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers was established as the Society of Naval Architects of Japan in April 1897 and has grown into what it is today. People engaged in shipbuilding have relied on the Society as their academy.
On the other hand, the shipbuilding industry dramatically changed throughout the world. Though the Japanese shipbuilding industry rapidly expanded after World War II, the industry now faces the difficult challenges of an oil shock, reduction in capital investments as a result of the Plaza Accord, entry into offshore businesses and the subsequent downturn, chronic oversupply caused by the rise of China and South Korea and the resulting low ship prices, and the shortage of human resources due to the declining birthrate and the aging of the population. While other industries are growing, the Japanese shipbuilding industry may be left behind if it does nothing.
As a resource-poor island nation, Japan relies on maritime transportation for transporting more than 99% (on a weight basis) of imports and exports, and that method of transport is unquestionably important in developing shipbuilding technologies from the perspective of maritime security. Furthermore, though the application of shipbuilding technologies will significantly contribute to the development of marine and submarine resources since Japan has the sixth largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the world, we cannot say shipbuilding technologies are sufficiently contributing right now.
In consideration of the above, our goal is to work hard to further sophisticate, apply, and develop Japanese shipbuilding technologies in accordance with the purpose of the Society to contribute to the development of the country in terms of ships and marine engineering. Specifically, we will undertake the operations specified in our corporate charter and promote them based on what former presidents considered important.
I believe one of the important challenges faced by the Japanese shipbuilding industry today is that we must communicate the significance and appeal of shipbuilding in an easy-to-understand way. I believe the Society can contribute substantially, and we would like to do our best. First, we must take on new challenges using our technologies and systems. Because ships and offshore structures are huge, they are flexible in terms of capabilities and organization, and many construction technologies also need to be developed. Other industries have promoted development using artificial intelligence (AI) and big data at an astonishing pace. It is also important how we use information communications technology (ICT) and its related research and applications in the shipbuilding industry and promote papers and presentations on the use of ICT.
Shipbuilding is a global business. However, we have not been able to develop global human resources for shipbuilding. Why is that? People engaged in shipbuilding tend to stay in their specialties unless they make an effort to go outside of it because each field of shipbuilding is very specialized. International and inter-industry exchanges are very important in broadening our perspective, and so we would like to work to promote such exchanges.
The Society has been working to develop human resources as one of our long-term objectives. I believe people will grow if they are highly motivated to master or expand shipbuilding technologies. Of course, it is important to have a system to support such a stream. However, we need to determine how to motivate people, engage them in the industry, and attract them to those technologies.
I would like to work with you to help the Society gain momentum. Your cooperation and support is greatly appreciated.
The Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers
(Japan Marine United Corporation)
(June 3, 2019 at the Annual Meeting in Nagasaki)