Welcome to Kobe!
We cordially welcome the joint holding of "Techno-Ocean," the international conference on marine science and technology, and "Oceans" here in Kobe.
"Techno-Ocean," which has convened every other year since its foundation of 1986 in Kobe, holds its 12th conference this year. Having held every year mainly in the US since 1975, "Oceans" is the world's leading international conference on marine development, utilization and preservation. In 2004, it was held in Asia for the first time in its history, jointly with "Techno-Ocean" as "OCEANS'04 MTS/IEEE TECHNO-OCEAN'04(OTO'04)." We are very glad the joint holding of these two conferences with long-established histories will be realized again here in Kobe.
OTO'04 gathered some 750 attendees from 27 countries and regions around the world. One hundred and twenty-one corporations and groups from home and abroad joined the exhibition and the total conference visitors including those who came to concurrent events were estimated to be 13500. We are eagerly awaiting that OTO'08 will also bring together researchers, engineers and corporate representatives from all over the world, creating an interdisciplinary network through information exchange and discussions, so that development of marine-related research will be further encouraged and more business opportunities will be created.
Kobe is an international port city with a population of 1.5 million and has developed along with its port. Our advanced city functions and rich natural surroundings hemmed in by the Rokko Mountains and the Seto Inland Sea have seen the development of ocean-related industries. Recently, we have been working on a project called "Kobe Medical Industrial Development Project" which utilizes our excellent traffic and information infra-structure and accumulated facilities on life science fields, attracting many medical service-related industries to Kobe. And through our constant efforts Kobe was chosen as the site for a next-generation supercomputer last March. With this we are looking forward to further promoting research and development in a wide range of areas from basic research to industrial applications, creating new industries by promoting construction of universities, research facilities, private enterprises, and attracting cutting-edge researchers.
Thirteen years have passed since the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake of January 1995. Since then Kobe has recovered completely from the disaster and is making a strong effort for further development. We believe Kobe, this vibrant international port city, is the ideal place as the venue for the international conference on marine science and technology. We are convinced that OCEANS'08 MTS/IEEE KOBE-TECHNO-OCEAN'08(OTO'08) will be meaningful to all attendees and further contribute to the development of marine-related research and industries.
In Japan, April is the season of new beginnings where cherry blossoms are in full bloom. We hope you will take this opportunity to enjoy Kobe and start this spring season filled with hope.