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Message from the President

FUJIKUBO, Masahiko
Kunifumi Hashimoto

I am Kunifumi Hashimoto, elected president of the Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers (JASNAOE). This is my 50th year since joining the Society in 1974. The Society has developed me over many years. As the new president, I would like to make brief comments.

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for the painstaking efforts and ideas provided to the management of JASNAOE by the former president Fujikubo, directors and auditors, and other persons at the head office and branches during the COVID-19 pandemic.

JASNAOE was originally established as the Society of Naval Architects of Japan 126 years ago in 1897. The first issue of its journal, which is accessible at the Digital Shipbuilding Museum (Valuable Journals) on the JASNAOE website, indicates that the Society was established with the clear goal of responding to the demand of the era by coping with actual technological requirements. According to the subsequent history, it seems that the era changes in about 40-year cycles, and the Society has entered Phase 4. Throughout the phases, the Society has been operated as an expeditious academic association that supports the industry.

Phase 1: Completion of modern shipbuilding industry (from the establishment of the Society to the end of the Pacific War)
Phase 2: Expansion and prosperity (from the post-war reconstruction to the oil crisis and the Plaza Accord)
Phase 3: Trial and error (from the increase of ship types around the Plaza Accord to the reduction of business scale and the industry restructuring)
Phase 4: Present (response to the new era: increasingly serious global environmental issues and the transforming global supply chain)

In the latest Phase 3, the shipbuilding industry fell into a diminishing equilibrium with some ups and downs, affecting the retention of the workforce, college education, and R&D activities. However, the tide has turned in Phase 4 and development requirements are emerging one after another, including decarbonization, digital twin, marine use in a broad sense, and autonomous ship, combined with the forecast of a substantial increase in shipbuilding toward 2030. Administrative support has also been introduced through the Act on the Reinforcement of the Maritime Industry.

The definitive difference in Phase 4 from Phases 1 to 3 is the intensified competition with other industries for the acquisition of human resources, partly due to the prolonged influence of the social evaluation in Phase 3, causing major issues in the retention of human resources and the upgrading of organizational and individual capabilities in the midst of the ongoing rapid and substantial population decrease. Additionally it has been pointed out that Japan is lagging behind competing countries that promote operational process reform for productivity improvements through digitization.

Under these circumstances, JASNAOE has an important role in performing analyses, making suggestions, and providing information concerning technological matters in the maritime fields of Japan, in addition to the mission of promoting research. We at the Society need to clarify its position and the meaning of existence to take the necessary action.

  1. Advancement of naval architecture and ocean engineering (expansion of technological fields and applications)
    Vigorous research activities have been promoted for fundamental technologies in the respective fields of naval architecture and ocean engineering over many years. It is important to effectively maintain these fields, including new technologies and methodologies. However, to respond to the expectations for the Society, it is necessary to expand the technological fields by incorporating the rapidly developing related fields, thereby advancing naval architecture and ocean engineering as comprehensive engineering and expanding its applications. An important role of an engineering society is to link the respective research fields, centering around colleges and major research institutions, with social requirements. We at JASNAOE will review the system of engineering, strengthen cooperation among the three maritime societies (JASNAOE, the Japan Institute of Marine Engineering, and the Japan Institute of Navigation), promote information sharing with other societies, and publish a new vision.
  2. Centripetal force of maritime engineering
    Maritime engineering contains three elements: conceptualization (concepts, plans, and design), building (manufacturing and building), and use (operation and navigation). The goal of engineering is attained through actual mounting and implementation following the processes of manufacturing and operation. Therefore, it is critical to generate centripetal force in these three elements so that demand will be autonomously created instead of passively waiting. We at JASNAOE will promote activities aimed at contributing to this process.
  3. Proactive measures for strengthening human resources
    A quote by Shimpei Goto, "Leaving behind fortune is inferior, leaving behind jobs is mediocre, and leaving behind human resources is excellent," remains persuasive today. A brief review of Japanese history indicates that many experts have understood and practiced investment in human resources as the most excellent. For Japan, the most valuable rare resource is its human resources. It is of the highest priority to retain, leverage, and increase the value of human resources. It is also necessary to review the maritime industry, the operation of colleges, and the goal of JASNAOE from the perspective of how to retain human resources and leverage their capabilities. We at JASNAOE promote both the acquisition and development of human resources, while utilizing the Professional Development Center.
  4. Strengthening cooperation among the maritime industry, administrative agencies, and educational/research institutions (universities)
    In the last fiscal year, the Industry-Academia Collaborative R&D Strategy Committee was established and presented its proposals. JASNAOE will continue proposing specific development requirements; clarify goals through cooperation among the maritime industry, administrative agencies, and educational/research institutions; and establish an environment where researchers can exercise their capabilities without inefficiency. We also hope that it will be clearly recognized that it is the industry that utilizes and harvest the final achievements of research and that the industry is upgraded to lead transportation innovation and establish a structure that enables such innovation, in addition to response to the short-term demand changes.
  5. Importance of publication
    Considering that academics and regulations associated with naval architecture and ocean engineering function in the global market, it is important to broadly publish research achievements. Some examples are the publication of the Journal of Marine Science and Technology (JMST) and the Pan Asian Association of Maritime Engineering Societies (PAAMES) and the Advanced Maritime Engineering Conference (AMEC) to be held in Kyoto in October this year, among other proactive global actions planned.
    An immediate requirement that is as important as the above is publication targeted at the audience in Japan. It is human capabilities, both qualitatively and quantitatively, which develop technology and business in Japan as a maritime country and accumulate its final achievements. In particular, to acquire talented young members, it is indispensable that maritime associations (such as the maritime industry, societies, administrative organs, and colleges) publish a specific future vision and set a clear direction for academia and the industry. We consider that both publication to the world and publication for strengthening the domestic infrastructure are important roles of JASNAOE.
  6. To become the JASNAOE that benefits its members
    Naval architecture and ocean engineering have the potentials that may substantially expand its scope from vessels as large moving bodies to floating offshore wind turbine facilities and other technological fields for the utilization of marine space. It is expected that the applications will be expanded from technologies accumulated through shipbuilding. To attain these goals, we hope that many members with diverse needs will join JASNAOE and its activities.
    The majority of JASNAOE members are practical engineers. It is an essential condition for the survival of the Society that the members find membership beneficial for them. A hybrid system has taken root in lecture sessions of the academic conference. We will continue reviewing the content of presentations and other factors to encourage practical engineers to participate and give presentations. Furthermore, considering that engineers with a variety of backgrounds gather in the maritime industry, we would also like to support the efficient acquisition of knowledge in naval architecture and ocean engineering so that all members can fully exercise their capabilities in the maritime field. We will continue communicating the latest research achievements, technical information, and material information for practical professionals, aimed at the maintenance and upgrading of practical technological capabilities, utilizing all media that the Society has access to, such as the annual meetings, symposiums, seminars, forums, research meetings, Society website, the KANRIN journal, e-newsletters, and textbooks edited by the Society.
  7. Roles of the head office and the branches
    This is the 19th year after the Society changed its name to JASNAOE, integrating the three shipbuilding associations (Society of Naval Architects of Japan, Kansai Society of Naval Architects, and West-Japan Society of Naval Architects). The respective roles of the headquarters and the three branches have been streamlined, thereby enabling efficient operation. Each branch promotes detailed activities led by the steering committee members in accordance with the regional conditions and historic background. In the meantime, because online systems spread during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are increasing activities where nationwide implementation is more effective than branch based, such as symposiums, research meetings, and briefing sessions of the maritime industry. We will flexibly allocate the respective roles for upgraded functionality. Both in the head office and in the branches, the activities of the directors, auditors, steering committee members, and other committees are performed as volunteering. I would like to extend my gratitude for their activities.

We will continue performing activities to become a Society that benefits persons with all technological backgrounds and to have as many persons as possible understand the importance and roles of naval architecture and ocean engineering as the technological foundation of the maritime industry in Japan. I would like to ask for your continued advice and input.

Kunifumi Hashimoto
The Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers

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