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Message from the President

FUJIKUBO, Masahiko
FUJIKUBO, Masahiko

I am Masahiko Fujikubo, elected president of the Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers. As the new president, I would like to make brief comments.

To begin with, COVID-19 is still spreading like wildfire. I sincerely hope that you continue to take adequate infection control measures and safely go through this COVID-19 situation. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to former president Mishima, the directors and auditors, and all related persons at the head office and branches of JASNAOE, for their great effort in this unprecedented difficult situation.

Throughout its history of more than 120 years since its foundation, JASNAOE has contributed to the development of the academy and technology as a community of engineers and researchers engaged in naval architecture and ocean engineering. This mission will be maintained without change. JASNAOE is supposed to be a forum where people with diverse knowledge, experience and potential gather, come across new findings and visions, and connect with each other. From this viewpoint, the population of JASNAOE is immobilized at present with relatively decreasing human resources and momentum overall, while increasing the distance between academia and the industry, partly due to the difficult situation of the industry. Recently, I heard at a seminar of the Kansai branch that few designers of yachts and compact cruisers, in other words Naval Architects, are joining JASNAOE these days. JASNAOE is not having many youthful members who hold the key to the digitization of shipbuilding settings. JASNAOE must offer content and play roles that will also attract these persons in the industry, which will in turn lead to the future of academia. With this in mind, I will undertake measures in the coming years.

The shipbuilding industry in Japan has continuously remained in a difficult situation due to chronic oversupply and the low ship prices resulting from the rise of China and South Korea. The stagnation of traffic and logistics caused by the COVID-19 situation has spurred this trend. To continue maintaining and developing the maritime industry despite this historical crisis, industry, academia, and the administration should collaborate and promote innovations more powerfully than ever.

The key words required in technological development at present include digital transformation (DX), decarbonization, autonomization, and system integration. All of these can never be achieved through conventional segmented naval architecture, but they require multidisciplinary research and development across mechanics, electronics, controls, information, chemistry, and various other fields. On the other hand, we have the fields and fundamental technology of maritime transport and ocean development. There must be many researchers from other fields who are interested in social implementation in the maritime and ocean fields. JASNAOE is able to provide forums for chemical reactions with such researchers.

It is extremely helpful that "The Special Review Panel for the Post-COVID19 Situation" was established at the previous directors' meeting to publish a new vision for the maritime society following this situation. This panel will discuss a wide range of agenda items, including new logistics and shipbuilding linked to DX among industry and academia and will make proposals by the end of the year at the earliest. JASNAOE has also launched a periodic exchange meeting with the Shipbuilders' Association of Japan. The new board of directors will work diligently to advance these efforts and implement the recommendations.

Based on the above, I would like to focus on the following four points for our future policy.

  1. Strengthening intellectual alliances
    As I mentioned earlier, we are faced with increasingly cross-disciplinary and multi-faceted requirements in research and development. JASNAOE consists of six research fields: Performance/Dynamics, Structure/Strength and Material/Welding, Manufacturing, Design/Outfitting, Ocean Engineering/Ocean Environment, and Information Technology. These six fields have been maintained since the integration of the former three societies, and their respective activities seem to remain segmented. It will be necessary for the fields to be connected more dynamically for enhanced problem solution power and an extended horizon. In this process, it is important that the entire JASNAOE shares a clarified goal of the society. It will be equally important to establish a vision for the shared goal and to publish it inside and outside the society.
  2. Persistent pursuit for the essence
    While digitization and system integration are considered important, they cannot differentiate technology by themselves. Digital means and systems are only useful when we persistently advance the basic sciences such as fluids, structures, and materials, and pursue the essence of their phenomena. I specialize in structural strength. Even in a gigantic structure, damage starts at a micro level. Without adequately clarifying the behavior of the materials, no large-scale calculation leads to the analysis of actual phenomena. I suppose the same holds for any other research fields. We want to be an academic society which will lead the technology of the time and respects the fundamental science and the essence of phenomena.
  3. Enhancing network of youthful members
    As the career courses of students in departments of naval architecture and ocean engineering diversify, an increasing number of people are joining the shipbuilding industry from other fields. They seem to have fresh feelings and values. More and more members, especially young people, of the university have seeds other than shipbuilding and are challenging new fields. Networking among these young members is the basis for new activities and the foundation for the future. It will also contribute to the diversification of membership as I mentioned earlier. We will examine how to enhance networks among youthful members, leveraging online tools.
  4. Connecting the times through JASNAOE
    "Connecting the times" signifies handing over the ship and maritime history and culture to the future. The Ship Heritage of JASNAOE has shed a new light on the history of ships. It is also expected that JASNAOE systematizes technology to date as emphasized by the former president Mishima. A new review section for "History" has been lately established in our paper review committee. We expect that the section will contribute to connecting the times through the review of technology and culture.

We have many other subjects to consider, but it requires time and power to make any achievement. On the other hand, we have only limited resources. With this in mind, I will endeavor to establish a sustainable structure and enhance membership service. I sincerely ask for your support and cooperation.

Thank you and let me close my greetings.

FUJIKUBO, Masahiko (Professor, Osaka University)
The Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers

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