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The Nippon Foundation, DeepStar Sign MoU to Promote Decarbonization in Offshore Oil, Natural Gas Development [2021年12月24日(Fri)]

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At a virtual ceremony to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between The Nippon Foundation and DeepStar on December 6, 2021. From left: the author, Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno, executive director of the foundation, and Mr. Shakir Shamshy and Mr. Pat Toomey, director and manager, respectively, of DeepStar.


The Nippon Foundation and the international offshore technology development consortium DeepStar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a joint research and development program.

The signing took place between Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno, executive director of The Nippon Foundation, and Mr. Shakir Shamshy, director of DeepStar, in the presence of the author and Mr. Pat Toomey, manager of the consortium, at a virtual ceremony on December 6.

With a budget of up to $10 million through 2026, the two parties will jointly work to promote decarbonization in the field of offshore oil and natural gas, with a focus on renewable energy and the environment.

DeepStar is an international offshore technology development consortium comprising such “supermajors” as Chevron (U.S.) and Shell (U.K., the Netherlands) and other “upstream” oil companies around the world that are engaged in the exploration, development and production of offshore oil and natural gas around the world as well as companies, universities, research institutes and other organizations that provide products and services to these upstream companies.

The Nippon Foundation and DeepStar have been developing new technologies related to automation and efficiency in offshore oil and gas development under the joint program launched in 2018.

With the signing of the new MoU, the two parties will aim to strengthen their collaboration by consolidating industry, technology and expertise, with a focus on improving the environment, renewable energy and safety, in response to heightened global awareness of carbon neutrality and other environmental issues.

The foundation will support the activities of Japanese companies and DeepStar will provide Japanese firms with expertise and testing fields for offshore development.

The joint research and development will be carried out as per one of the following seven development themes:

  • Geothermal generation by using high temperature in preserver (renewable energy)
  • Wind power/Ocean current power generation to supply offshore oil & gas production facilities (renewable energy)
  • Cost reduction technology for flammable gas removal and reinjection at production facilities (global warming)
  • Establishment of oil spill drift forecast simulation method by using local ocean current monitoring by aerial drone (marine environment)
  • Hydrogen-related technologies (global warming)
  • Safety-related technologies including NUF (normally unattended facilities) and robotics (the safety of the working environment)
  • Water treatment-related technologies (marine environment)

At the ceremony, Mr. Toomey said this partnership will “address many of the technology needs currently being faced by offshore operators,” adding that Japanese companies will help develop new technologies and capabilities to improve offshore safety, environmental performance, reliability and efficiency.

In my remarks, I said that the global movement toward carbon neutrality and decarbonization, such as the use of renewable energy and hydrogen, has been accelerating day by day, adding: “I suggest we become leaders in the future Japanese and the global offshore development market focusing on the environment by creating new innovations with DeepStar.”

In offshore development, it is vital to develop new technologies, such as reducing environmental impact while generating marine energy power or by backfilling CO2 to the seabed, and make them ready for commercialization by 2026. With the latest MoU, we were taking our first step to achieve this objective.


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Diagram showing structure of the MoU between The Nippon Foundation and DeepStar.


The text of my remarks at the signing ceremony can be seen here.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is my last blog for 2021.
Wishing you peace, love and joy from The Nippon Foundation.
Thank you for your continued support and friendship.
We look forward to working with you in 2022 and beyond.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:23 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
My Dream to Standardize Textbooks, Educational Philosophy for Cultivating Maritime Professionals Worldwide  [2021年11月17日(Wed)]
About 90% of goods traded internationally are transported by ship. Container ships and other freighters have grown bigger and bigger as the economic rationale for them increases. In particular, trade in LNG (liquefied natural gas) and other hazardous materials is rising rapidly, so we need to keep in mind the statistic that human errors account for about 70% of marine accidents.

The education of maritime professionals−including the curriculum and methods used−has largely developed independently in each country. However, the shared work domain of seafarers is the ocean, a common heritage of humankind.

For years, my dream has been to establish an environment where they can study using standardized textbooks based on a uniform philosophy.

That is why The Nippon Foundation founded the International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU) in November 1999. At the time, it consisted of seven universities, representing the five continents of the world, with a shared recognition of the significance of maritime education and training amid the rapid globalization of the international shipping.

Since then, IAMU, headquartered in Japan, has significantly expanded its membership. Including The Nippon Foundation, it now boasts 69 members.

Thanks to enthusiastic efforts by Mr. Takeshi Nakazawa, executive director of the secretariat, who used to be a professor at the World Maritime University (WMU) in Sweden, IAMU has now gained a voice in the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of maritime and atmospheric pollution by ships.

On October 26, 2021, I sent a video message to IAMU’s 21st annual assembly in my capacity as its honorary chair. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was held in Alexandria, Egypt, in a hybrid format, combining in-person encounters meeting with online participation. This enabled experts and scholars from around the globe to meet and for the assembly to disseminate the latest advances in the field of maritime education, training, research, and development. (In 2020, an annual conference was canceled for the first time in 20 years because of the pandemic.)

I told the 2021 session that I made a proposal at the general meeting held two years ago in Tokyo for the establishment of programs for students and faculty of member universities to nurturing maritime human resources who embody the basic concept of the Global Maritime Professionals (GMP).

“I am pleased to see that the pilot program for undergraduate students has started in September this year, and that the program for faculty members is well on its way to becoming a reality,” I added.

I strongly hope that IAMU will continue to exercise leadership in enhancing the educational programs of maritime professionals around the world.

My vide message to IAMU’s 21st annual meeting is available at The Nippon Foundation YouTube.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 16:10 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
Congratulations to 31 Sasakawa Fellows on Their Graduation from World Maritime University in Sweden [2021年11月12日(Fri)]
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Addressing remotely from Tokyo the annual Awards Ceremony for World Maritime University Sasakawa Fellows held in Malmö, Sweden, on October 18, 2021.


As you may be aware, The Nippon Foundation provides a wide variety of scholarships to students around the world. In the ocean and maritime fields alone, we have supported more than 1,500 fellows from 150 countries to date who have studied at World Maritime University (WMU) of Sweden and other international maritime and ocean-related institutions across the globe.

On October 18, WMU held its annual Sasakawa Fellows Awards Ceremony for students in the class of 2021 whose fellowships are funded by the foundation. With a record number of 31 graduates this year, the total number of Sasakawa fellows from WMU now stands at 730 from 81 countries since we started the fellowship program in 1987. The class of 2022 includes an additional 31 students.

The 2021 fellows are from the following 25 countries−Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Japan, India, Indonesia, Fiji, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Tunisia, Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, Argentina, Iran, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, and Ukraine.

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, I joined the ceremony remotely from Japan along with members of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) that administers the fellowship program, including Mr. Eisuke Kudo, advisor for SPF and WMU governor. The students, together with faculty and staff, gathered in the WMU Sasakawa Auditorium in Malmö in southern Sweden.

Addressing the gathering, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, thanked The Nippon Foundation for its continued support to the university. She noted the growing, worldwide influence of the Sasakawa fellows network, composed of maritime and ocean leaders that she described as a “global engine of sustainable development.” She also highlighted the strong connections WMU students make with people from a broad range of backgrounds and with a variety of perspectives.

In my message, I congratulated the graduates and welcomed them as members of The Nippon Foundation family under the “One World One Family” philosophy that aims to build a better world through mutual cooperation cutting across politics, ideology, region, race and national borders.

“I would also like you to keep in touch and cooperate with each other and to exchange information with the Sasakawa fellows through the network and the ‘Friends of WMU’ for a common goal of realizing a wonderful and peaceful world,” I said, adding: “For that, we will spare no effort to cooperate with you.”

After graduation, they become members of “Friends of WMU,” whose secretariat is in the Ocean Policy Research Institute of SPF. Friends of WMU is designed to build a global network to help the fellows exchange ideas and information, work together as they support their countries in addressing maritime and ocean policy challenges, and promote international cooperation.

I also promised that their study tour to Japan, which had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, will definitely be rescheduled for when we are all free from the pandemic.

The event also provided the opportunity for the graduating fellows to introduce themselves and express their appreciation to me and The Nippon Foundation.

The meeting concluded with remarks by Ms. Maria Mercedes Arevalo Aranaga from Venezuela on behalf of the graduating fellows, who said: “By funding our studies, you have invested in social innovation in our countries to build a sustainable world. Now we are agents of change to strengthen institutions, innovate and build maritime capacity.”

The text of my message can be seen here.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 13:29 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
Seabed 2030 Project Joined by Five New Partners to Map World’s Entire Ocean Floor (2) [2021年11月09日(Tue)]
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), based in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the United States, is a private, non-profit institution dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.

WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with the Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life−including humanity.

Mr. Jamie McMichael-Phillips, Seabed 2030 Project Director, said: “WHOI’s commitment to researching and understanding the ocean matches Seabed 2030’s sustainability goals, and we are confident that our collaborative work will bring us closer to achieving our aims and ultimately allow for a fairer, more sustainable world.”

Mr. Peter B. de Menocal, WHOI President and Director said: “WHOI is uniquely qualified to provide expertise in exploration of the ocean floor, which is crucial for understanding our global climate puzzle.”

ARGANS, based in Plymouth, England, specializes in satellite-based Earth observation, remote-sensing applications and services, and geographical information systems used to map and monitor the marine, atmospheric and terrestrial environments. It offers satellite mission solutions across a range of services, including development of ground segment algorithms and applications, data quality assessment and validation while keeping a strong scientific expertise in remote sensing science.

“As a company that is dedicated to environmental operations which foster a sustainable future and lead to improvements in the communities with which we work, ARGANS is proud to support the Seabed 2030 Project with its aim of producing a complete map of the seafloor,” commented Mr.  Francois-Regis Martin-Lauzer, the firm’s CEO and Chairman.

Mr. McMichael-Phillips, said: “ARGANS has a wealth of experience working on key subjects, including coastal erosion, marine litter, and coastal mapping, all of which will no doubt greatly support the work we do.”

Understanding the bathymetry of the world’s oceans is imperative for improving maritime navigation, and also for enhancing our ability to predict climate change and monitor marine biodiversity and resources. A comprehensive map of the seafloor will assist global efforts to combat pollution, aid marine conservation, forecast tsunami, and better understand tides, wave action and sediment transport.

When The Nippon Foundation launched the Seabed 2030 project with GEBCO at the United Nations Ocean Conference in 2017, only 6% of the world’s seabed had been mapped to modern standards. GEBCO, which stands for General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans, is the only intergovernmental organization with a mandate to map the entire ocean floor.

All data collected and shared with the Seabed 2030 Project is included in the GEBCO global grid, which is free and publicly available. The effort complements the goals of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

The latest GEBCO grid figure, announced by the Seabed 2030 project in June this year, showed that 20.6% of the world’s entire seabed has now been mapped.

So, we remain humbly aware that almost 80% of the world’s seabed still needs to be mapped.

But working with all the stakeholders of the international ocean community, including the five new partners, we are determined to do everything we can to achieve the goal of mapping the entire seabed by the end of this decade.

(End)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
Seabed 2030 Project Joined by Five New Partners to Map World’s Entire Ocean Floor (1) [2021年11月08日(Mon)]
I was heartened that The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project has recently signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) with five new partners to work together to complete the mapping of the entire ocean floor by the end of this decade.

This has brought to 166 the total number of official partners, contributors and supporters that have officially signed on to Seabed 2030 from across government, industry, philanthropy and academia in more than 50 countries.

The five new partners are the New Zealand government, ARGANS of the United Kingdom, EOMAP of Germany, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) of the United States and Kongsberg Maritime of Norway.

Under the MOU signed in July, New Zealand became the first government to sign up to the project. The agreement calls for Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand, a government department, to work together with National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd. (NIWA) and GNS Science to jointly govern data assembly and coordination in the region surrounding the South Pacific country.

“New Zealand is proud to be leading the way with this work. Mapping the seabed floor is critical to our knowledge about climate and weather patterns, tides, wave action, sediment transport, tsunami wave propagation and underwater geo-hazards,” said Ms. Gaye Searancke, chief executive of Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand.

Mr. Jamie McMichael-Phillips, Seabed 2030 Project Director, said: “The New Zealand signing is significant for Seabed 2030 as it’s the first full MOU between a Government and the Project. As a host of one of our regional centers, New Zealand has provided steadfast support to Seabed 2030 from the outset and we look forward to building on our collaboration in the race towards achieving our mission.”

The country hosts one of the four regional centers at NIWA under the Seabed 2030 project. The centers are responsible for championing mapping activities, assembling and compiling bathymetric information and collaborating with existing mapping initiatives within their regions.

“We call upon other countries to join us in our goal of a complete map of the ocean floor―an apparatus which will help us better understand planet Earth,” said Mr. McMichael-Phillip.

Kongsberg Maritime, headquartered in Kongsberg, Norway, provides solutions for safe, efficient and sustainable maritime operations. The solutions are suitable for offshore energies, seaborne transportation, hydrography, science, navy, coastal marine, aquaculture, training services and more.

Mr. McMichael-Phillips commented: “KONGSBERG’s prominent capabilities in providing sustainable maritime operations closely align with our ethos and aim here at Seabed 2030.”

Bjørn Jalving, Kongsberg Maritime Senior Vice President Technology, said: “We envisage our systems for surveying, positioning and navigation to contribute rewardingly to this imperative global effort. We will specifically develop freely available functions for Kongsberg Maritime multibeam echo sounders, single beam echosounders and AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) that ease the process of contributing bathymetric data to the Seabed 2030 data centers.” The development will be made collaboratively with the University of New Hampshire and Stockholm University, also Seabed 2030 partners.

EOMAP, a Munich-based global service provider of satellite-derived aquatic information in maritime and inland waters, develops and generates tools and data to map and monitor shallow waters and aquatic ecosystems with satellite data analytics. Its mission is to develop and apply high quality satellite-derived methods and data to precisely map and monitor the aquatic environment and thus contribute to the effect management and understanding of this crucial environment.

“Mapping the coastal zones of our oceans can be very complex, and so we’re delighted to welcome the expertise and support of EOMAP,” said Mr. McMichael-Phillips.

Dr. Knut Hartmann, COO of EOMAP, said: “We have joined the ambitious Seabed 2030 project to contribute with bathymetric data, which are hard or impossible to access otherwise. Our contribution will be−in cooperation with our clients and stakeholders−to fill data gaps in coastal shallow waters and to encourage others to join in.”

Coastal zones are not only critical for biodiversity, coastal protection, navigation and other aspects, they are also subject to constant change. Nevertheless, many are not sufficiently understood. Using satellite data and smart analytics these aquatic environments can be mapped and monitored in space, in time and on various scales.

(To be continued)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:00 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
Crewless Cargo Ship to Make World’s First Test Run in Congested Waters with The Nippon Foundation’s Support [2021年11月01日(Mon)]
Backed by The Nippon Foundation, a consortium of 30 Japanese companies, led by Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), the nation’s largest shipping firm, plans to have a container ship pilot itself from Tokyo Bay to Ise, a coastal city in Mie Prefecture, central Japan, in February 2022.

The 380-kilometer voyage will be the world’s first test of an autonomous ship in waters with heavy marine traffic.

Under the project, dubbed DFFAS (Designing the Future of Full Autonomous Ship), The Nippon Foundation and the NYK group aim to put unmanned ships into commercial service by 2025.

As an important step in preparation for the test voyage, the consortium completed the construction of a fleet operation center (FOC) in mid-September in Makuhari, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, which will provide onshore support for crewless ships by collecting information and monitoring and analyzing the operational status of vessels, using satellite technology, onboard sensors, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In the case of an emergency, the ships can be steered remotely from this base.

The background to this ambitious project is the current state of Japan’s domestic coastal shipping industry, which is characterized by an aging population of seafarers--more than half of them aged 50 and older-- as well as a declining number of crew members working in the industry.

Under these circumstances, autonomous ships are expected to go a long way in reducing workloads and trimming operating costs, including insurance premiums. Besides, crewless sailing can also address safety issues by reducing human errors, which account for about 80% of marine accidents.

“With the issue of Japan’s shrinking workforce in mind, there’s a growing need for these technologies to uphold safety,” said Satoru Kuwahara, a general manager at NYK subsidiary Japan Marine Science Inc.

“The NYK Group will make full use of the technology and experience so far cultivated in the technological development of maritime autonomous surface ships. The DFFAS project will work toward the standardization of technology and the establishment of systems and infrastructure through open collaboration,” he added.

The NYK group is one of the five consortia of Japanese companies The Nippon Foundation has decided to provide with a total of 3.44 billion yen (about $30.3 million) for their participation in the Joint Technological Development Program for the Demonstration of Unmanned Ships.

The five groups have brought together a total of about 50 Japanese companies, comprising the country’s leading shipping and shipbuilding as well as equipment manufacturing, communications, IT, insurance and other firms, for what they claim to be an “All Japan” team. They are undertaking projects that involve a mix of autonomous container ships (large and small), car ferries, as well as tourist boats, in a bid to maximize their application to commercial shipping.

Under the program “MEGURI 2040” initiative, The Nippon Foundation now aims to see unmanned ships make up 50% of Japan’s local fleet by 2040. If we achieve this goal, the foundation estimates the economic impact of unmanned shipping will be as much as one trillion yen (about $8.8 billion) a year.

I believe it is technologically possible for Japan to commercialize crewless ships, given the high levels of the nation’s IT and AI technologies combined with its years of experience as a leading shipping and shipbuilding country.

For now, it is my strong wish that the NYK group will conduct the first successful demonstration of an autonomous ship in congested waters in February, paving the way for the four other consortia and the rest of the world to make headway toward the commercialization of crewless shipping.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 17:56 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
Making Bags from Discarded Fishing Nets to Tackle Ocean Plastic Waste [2021年08月10日(Tue)]
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Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi (center right) and the author (center left) at a press conference on July 20, 2021, to announce that a group of companies, supported by The Nippon Foundation, will put on sale bags made from discarded fishing nets in October.


I was delighted to be joined by Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi at a press conference recently at which The Nippon Foundation and a group of companies announced that bags made from discarded fishing nets will go on sale on October 1.

The initiative to collect and recycle used fishing nets is expected to prevent fishermen from dumping their old nets into the ocean and is part of the country’s efforts to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste.  

About 8 million tons of plastic debris are discharged into the world’s oceans each year. In Japan, 20,000 to 60,000 tons of plastic trash flow into the sea of which fishing nets and lines account for 20% to 30% of the total, according to 2016 statistics compiled by the Environment Ministry.

Speaking at the event at The Nippon Foundation on July 20, Environment Minister Koizumi began by disclosing he himself already uses a bag made by this group from discarded fishing nets. 

Noting his ministry attaches great importance to combating the problem of ocean plastic litter, he said he strongly supports this project, which adds value to the fishing nets by “upcycling” them.   

Mr. Koizumi said he would be handing out pens made from marine plastic waste and a leaflet on Japanese business initiatives to reduce microplastics as examples of Japan’s campaign to combat ocean debris when he attended a meeting of Group of 20 Environment Ministers in Naples, Italy, two days later.

I told the news conference that I have long been looking for ways to recycle used fishing nets and was thus particularly pleased by this initiative to turn them into fashionable bags. I expressing my gratitude to the group of Japanese companies comprising the multi-industry “Alliance for the Blue” project The Nippon Foundation launched in July 2020 to cope with the issue of marine waste. The foundation hopes to work with a lot more companies in various industries to help combat ocean litter.

Mr. Shozaburo Yuri, president of the Hyogo Prefecture Bag Industry Association known for its trademark Toyooka Kaban (Toyooka Bags) from the western Japan prefecture, said its member companies developed bags made from discarded fishing nets as a way to contribute to the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDG).

After the press conference, Minister Koizumi and I toured an exhibition on the first floor of The Nippon Foundation featuring about 50 Toyooka bags made from recycled nets, followed by a discussion among representatives of bag and textile manufacturers, recycling and other firms as well as The Nippon Foundation and the Alliance for the Blue secretariat on their achievements so far and challenges ahead.


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Speaking at a press conference at the Nippon Foundation on July 20, 2021, on “upcycling” discarded fishing nets into bags.


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The press conference was covered by many journalists and cameramen.


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Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi taking a look at bags made from discarded fishing nets after the press conference.


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Bags made from discarded fishing nets by a group of Japanese companies comprising The Nippon Foundation’s multi-industry Alliance for the Blue project.


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Bags made from discarded fishing nets to be put on sale both online and in selected stores on October 1, 2021.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 16:32 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
“Setouchi Oceans X” Project to Achieve “Zero Marine Waste” Gets Under Way [2021年08月05日(Thu)]
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Speaking at a symposium on July 4, 2021, to formally kick off “Setouchi Oceans X,” a project by The Nippon Foundation and four prefectures that encircle the Seto Inland Sea in western Japan aimed at achieving “zero marine waste.”


I visited Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, in July to attend a symposium to mark the formal kickoff of “Setouchi Oceans X,” a five-year project by The Nippon Foundation and four prefectures that encircle the Seto Inland Sea in western Japan aimed at achieving “zero marine waste.”

The three-hour hybrid event on July 4 was attended by a total of about 500 people, some in person and many others virtually, representing municipal governments, companies, research institutes, NPOs, universities, sports and cultural organizations, and other stakeholders in the four prefectures of Kagawa, Ehime, Hiroshima and Okayama.

In a video message, Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi pointed out that inland seas such as the Setouchi Inland Sea typically have a relatively small inflow of marine litter from outside oceans.

“So, if we go all out in trying to reduce marine litter to almost zero in the Seto Inland Sea, we will be able to see what we can achieve,” the minister said.

In my remarks to the symposium, I noted that this is the first inter-prefectural project designed to combat and eliminate marine debris in Japan and one of the very few such projects in the world.

“I hope that Japan as an ocean state will lead the way in fighting the world’s ocean debris by successfully carrying out this project, making the Seto Inland Sea a model for the rest of the world,” I added.

Governor Keizo Hamada of Kagawa Prefecture expressed his resolve to promote the Setouchi Oceans X project as one of the prefecture’s top priorities, working closely with the foundation and the three other prefectures as well as business circles and as many residents of the region as possible.

Then, experts from universities and research institutes gave presentations on the mechanism and effects of plastic litter discharge to the inland sea based on their research using cutting-edge technologies. They were followed by live online reports from the four prefectures showing the amount of plastic and other waste washed up on shore and campaigns by local residents to collect it.

According to the foundation’s estimate, 4,500 tons of waste are dispersed into the semi-enclosed Seto Inland Sea annually, of which only 1,400 tons are collected.

The Setouchi Oceans X project aims to slash the amount of marine debris in the sea to “infinitely close to zero” by reducing trash inflow by some 70% and increasing trash collection by a little over 10% over the next five years. The foundation will cover the cost of the project, totaling 1.5 billion yen (about 13.8 million dollars).

Under an agreement I signed with the governors of the four prefectures in December 2020, the four-pillar project calls for:

(1)   Researching the origins and flows of marine litter, using a supercomputer, satellites and drones−both aerial and underwater−to draw wide-area maps of marine debris and scientifically visualize the seriousness and extent of the marine debris problem as well as working closely with local fishermen in gathering waste using trawl nets and other means.

(2)   Having the foundation assist businesses and organizations in the four prefectures in promoting their programs to combat marine litter.

(3)   Undertaking large-scale beach cleanup campaigns across the four prefectures and holding seminars to get across to citizens the importance of tackling ocean waste and how they can contribute to addressing the problem.

(4)   Formulating guidelines based on five years of activities under the project for redesigning ways to fight marine waste that can be used by the rest of the country and the world.

I sincerely hope that the Setouchi Oceans X project will produce tangible results in cleaning up the Seto Inland Sea in five years to make it become the role model for redesigning ocean waste policies in other countries.


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Governor Keizo Hamada of Kagawa Prefecture expresses his resolve to promote the Setouchi Oceans X project as one of the prefecture’s top priorities.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 14:29 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
“Ocean Newsletter“ Hits Milestone With 500th Issue  [2021年07月09日(Fri)]
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The 500th issue of “Ocean Newsletter” published by the Ocean Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation on June 5, almost 21 years after its debut.

At a time when ocean issues are drawing global attention, the Ocean Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation reached a milestone on June 5 when it published the 500th issue of its “Ocean Newsletter.”

It has been almost 21 years now since the institute, then called the Japan Foundation for Shipbuilding Advancement, started putting out the bimonthly publication from August 2000 in line with my idea to facilitate a wide range of discussion and exchange on oceanic topics, in order to raise awareness of the importance of the world's oceans and their resources. The publication, which accompanied the formation of an Ocean Policy Think Tank (now known as the Ocean Research Institute), is produced under the patronage of The Nippon Foundation from the proceeds of motorboat racing.

Its current chief editors are Dr. Kaoru Kubokawa, visiting professor of the Strategic Innovation Research Center at Teikyo University, and Dr. Shigeki Sakamoto, president of the Japan Society of Ocean Policy. Thanks to the current and past members of the editorial committee, the newsletter is now widely read by people interested in ocean and marine issues.

In the beginning, we didn’t know who to send the newsletter to, not knowing where people interested in ocean issues were to be found. But gradually it became a popular publication following the enactment of the 2007 Basic Act on Ocean Policy and the establishment of the Japan Society of Ocean Policy in 2008 as well as the growing awareness worldwide of the importance of ocean issues. Every issue includes three timely and inspiring articles and a postscript from the editors. I make it a rule to start by reading the postscript, which I always find particularly interesting.

I would like to congratulate the editors and contributors on reaching the 500th issue, hoping they will keep publishing the newsletter and improving its contents even further.

The Ocean Policy Research Institute has also been putting out a White Paper on the Oceans and Ocean Policy every year since 2004. Filled with photographs and chronological tables, they contain much of interest to those concerned with ocean affairs.

Dr. Hide Sakaguchi became president of the Ocean Policy Research Institute in April 2021. Joining hands with President Atsushi Sunami of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, a partner organization of The Nippon Foundation, the institute aims to become the world’s No. 1 think tank on ocean policy. I sincerely hope they will deliver on this pledge.

Presently, the “Ocean Newsletter” “is published only in Japanese, but selected papers from the newsletter are available in English as is a table of contents in English for all issues published to date. My article from the preview edition, in which I explained why an ocean policy think tank was necessary, and the purpose of the newsletter, can be seen here.

The English version of the White Paper on the Oceans and Ocean Policy in Japan 2020 is available here.


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The annual White Paper on the Oceans and Ocean Policy also issued by the Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:48 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
20.6% of World’s Ocean Floor Now Mapped in Seabed 2030 Project [2021年07月06日(Tue)]
The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project, which aims to complete the mapping of the world’s ocean floor by 2030, has released the latest GEBCO Grid figure, showing 20.6% of the world’s entire seabed has now been mapped.

The figure, released on World Hydrography Day on June 21, represented an increase in the area covered of 1.6% from last year’ total of 19%. It may look like a small increase, but it equates to around half the size of the United States and represents commendable progress in light of the limitations the novel coronavirus pandemic imposed on research cruises during the past 12 months.

We remain humbly aware, of course, that the latest achievement leaves almost 80% of the world’s seabed still to be mapped.

Speaking to BBC News, Mr. Jamie McMichael-Phillips, Seabed 2030 Project Director, said: "It doesn't matter whether you operate a high-tech fleet of ships or you're just a simple boat-owner−every piece of data matters in this giant jigsaw we're making," calling on everybody to get involved and contribute to the project.

The release of the latest grid figure coincided with the announcement that the Seabed 2030 project has entered a technical cooperation agreement with the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), a world-leading center for hydrography specializing in marine geospatial data, and Teledyne CARIS, the leading developer of marine mapping software.

UKHO specializes in marine geospatial data, from seabed to surface, to help others make the best use of the marine environment. This includes partnerships with governments and researchers to support the sustainable growth of the Blue Economy and the protection of our oceans. UKHO also makes this data available through their portfolio of ADMIRALTY Maritime Data Solutions, which includes a world-leading range of navigational products that can be found on over 90% of ships trading internationally.

Teledyne CARIS, headquartered in Fredericton, Canada, has been the leader for over 40 years in the development of hydrographic and marine geospatial software, including its flagship Hydrographic Production Database (HPD) which is used extensively by the UKHO to produce its charts. One of Teledyne CARIS’ newest products–-CARIS Onboard360トレードマーク(TM)–is a near real-time and autonomous data acquisition and processing package.

I am greatly encouraged by the new tie-up as it opens the way for a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool to be used by Seabed 2030 to clean bathymetric data of "noise,” making it easier to pull out reliable depth soundings.

Mr. Peter Sparkes, Chief Executive of UKHO said: “Through use of this new capability, we hope to significantly reduce the time it takes to process this foundational data from days to hours–-allowing us to build our understanding of the world’s oceans at a greater pace.”

A complete map of the world’s ocean floor is imperative to facilitate a heightened understanding of fundamental processes including ocean circulation, weather systems, sea-level rise, tsunami wave propagation, tides, sediment transport, benthic habitat distributions and climate change.

UKHO and Teledyne CARIS will join more than 130 official partners, contributors and supporters from industry, governments, philanthropy and academia around the world now having officially signed on to Seabed 2030.

When The Nippon Foundation launched Seabed 2030 with GEBCO at the United Nations Ocean Conference in 2017, only 6% of the world’s seabed had been mapped to modern standards.

Seabed 2030 will continue to seek out new partnerships and technological advancements. The more organizations and individuals that get involved in the project, the more confident I will be of achieving our ambitious goal of mapping the world’s entire seabed by the end of this decade.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 10:58 | OCEAN | URL | comment(0)
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