Koji Otsuka, Co-Chair of OTO’18 Executive Committee
OCEANS’18 MTS/IEEE Kobe / Techno-Ocean 2018 (OTO’18) was held at Port Island in Kobe from May 28th through 31st. Techno-Ocean, the only international convention on marine science and technology in Japan, has been held biannually in Kobe since 1986. During this period, two meetings in particular stand out—those of 2004 and 2008, held jointly with OCEANS, and named OTO (OCEANS / Techno-Ocean) ’04 and ‘08. Held just ten years later, OTO’18 is the third such noteworthy joint convention. The local organizer, “The Consortium of the Japanese Organization for OTO’18 (CJO)”, consists of the IEEE/OES Japan Chapter, MTS Japan Section, TON (Techno-Ocean Network), JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology), and KCVA (Kobe Convention & Visitors Association).
Four years ago, Techno-Ocean 2014 was held under the theme “Mother Oceans”, partly inspired by the experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The intent was to remind ourselves of the important blessings that our Mother Ocean yields to us, as well as to affirm the respect we hold for the seas. Wishing to continue to express these sentiments and to draw the attention of even more people to Mother Ocean, a theme “Return to the Oceans” was chosen for Techno-Ocean 2016. Two years later OTO’18 has employed a worthy successor to these two past Techno-Oceans concepts with the theme “Ocean Planet—It’s our home”. This conveys the meanings that our ‘life-spring’ is the sea, and that oceans are the original home to all creatures on planet Earth.
OTO’18 began with a tutorial program, consisting of 4 lectures and 42 participants, on Monday May 28th. Next morning, Thursday May 29th, a tape-cutting ceremony was held in the entrance area of Kobe International Exhibition Hall. Mr. Kizo Hisamoto, the Mayor of Kobe City, gave a welcome address. Following this, the mayor joined a tape-cutting ceremony together with Mr. Ichiro Hao, Director-General of the National Ocean Policy Secretariat, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, Mr. Hiroshi Kanazawa, Vice Chair of Techno Ocean Network, Mr. Christian de Moustier, President of IEEE/OES, Dr. Richard Spinrad, President-Elect of MTS, Dr. Katsuyoshi Kawaguchi, Chairman of IEEE/OES Japan Chapter, Dr. Hideyuki Suzuki, Chairman of MTS Japan Section, and Mr. Masatoshi Omura, Executive Director of Kobe Tourism Bureau.
After the tape-cutting ceremony, keynote lectures were delivered at the Kobe International Conference Center to begin the international conference. Mr. Ichiro Hao, Director-General of the National Ocean Policy Secretariat, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, lectured “A new Basic Plan on Ocean Policy.” Then, Dr. Richard Spinrad, President-Elect of MTS, presented “The “Push” and “Pull” of Future Marine Technology.” Finally, Dr. Jin-Yuan Liu, President of the Taiwan Society of Deep Ocean Water Resource Application, gave a lecture on “The Research and Development of Renewable Water from Deep Ocean.”
108 Technical Sessions, presenting 514 papers, were also held at the Kobe International Conference Center from Tuesday May 29th, through to Thursday May 31st. 754 people from 29 countries including Japan participated in these sessions. Furthermore, 15 posters selected after careful examination from among 148 submissions were presented for the Student Poster Competition held at Kobe International Exhibition Hall. With their travel expenses covered by the Organizers, the select students were the proud recipients of a great opportunity to visit Kobe.
|Keynote Lecturers; Mr. Ichiro Hao, Dr. Richard Spinrad and Dr. Jin-Yuan Liu (from left).||Winners of Techno-Ocean Awards; Dr. Tetsuro Urabe, Dr. Tomoko Takahashi and Dr. Toshitsugu Sako
|Student Poster Competition.||Breaking of the Sake Barrel.|
|Exhibition.||Dolphin Live Performance.|
Another main part of the OTO’18 program was the Exhibition held at Kobe International Exhibition Hall from Tuesday May 29th through to Thursday 31st. The 170 exhibit spaces were occupied by 103 companies and several universities and research organizations. Their enthusiastic activities were complemented by a special stage in the center of the venue set up for exhibitor presentations and special sessions. A total of 1,340 participants visited over the three-day period to enjoy state-of-the-art displays and informative presentations.
The Techno-Ocean Award Luncheon was held at Kobe Portopia Hotel on Wednesday May 30th. The Techno-Ocean Award 2018 winner was Dr. Tetsuro Urabe, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo. Dr. Tomoko Takahashi, Associate Professor of the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo, was awarded the Kenji Okamura Memorial Award for Pioneering the Ocean Frontier 2018. Dr. Toshitsugu Sako, Professor Emeritus of Tokai University, was chosen as recipient of the Techno-Ocean Distinguished Service Award 2018. These winners each delivered a commemorative lecture after their prize-giving ceremony.
|Children’s Educational Program.|
The Gala dinner, “OTO’18 Japan Night” was held at Suma Aqualife Park on Wednesday, May 30th and enjoyed an exciting program, including a Japanese tea ceremony, traditional Japanese music performances, the ritual breaking of a sake barrel lid, and the awards for the Student Poster Competition. The highlight of the evening was a live dolphin show. All participants were clearly moved and impressed by the amazing rapport between dolphins and keepers which resulted in a fantastic display of aquatic skills and communication.
On Sunday May 27th, OTO’18 also presented concurrent educational events. An Underwater Robots Competition was held at Port Island Sports Center. 12 teams competed under 2 group categories, the AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) Class and the Free-style Class. The AUV and Free-Style winners were teams from the University of Tokyo and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, respectively. Many innovative vehicles with some great ideas performed to high levels of excellence during these exciting games. Furthermore, 2 public and 4 children’s programs created around marine science and technology were organized by JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) and 5 technical co-sponsors, including the FRA (Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency), JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), JOGMEC (Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation), MPAT (National Institute of Marine, Port and Aviation Technology), R-CCS (RIKEN Center for Computational Science). In addition, JAMSTEC’s deep sea research vessel “Kairei” was opened up to the public at Kobe Port Central Pier.