Keiji Washio
 The National Fisheries University is the only fisheries-specialized higher education institution in Japan bearing the term °»fisheries°… in its name, and is run under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan. During its history of more than 70 years, it has contributed to the growth of Japan°«s fisheries industry by sending out many talented graduates who are now playing major roles at the forefront of the fisheries industry, as well as other relevant professions, both in Japan and abroad.

 It was transformed into an independent administrative agency in 2001; all the faculty and staff have since been making concerted efforts to provide ever-expanding and advanced levels of education and research, so as to achieve the goal of °»cultivating professionals who will play leading roles in the fisheries industry in the future,°… the institutional purpose defined in the Act on the National Fisheries University, Independent Administrative Agency.

 The Third Mid-term Plan (for fiscal years 2011 to 2015) that commenced in 2011 places an even greater emphasis than before on education by promoting education aimed at 1) equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to understand the current challenges facing the fisheries industry and to ensure familiarization and dissemination of fisheries policies, 2) combining internships and other on-site training with classroom learning, 3) comprehensively covering the entire system of fisheries-related industries, from production to consumption, and 4) building the social foundations students need to perform their jobs with a diverse array of people in society.

 The fisheries industry today is saddled with tough challenges, such as depletion of fishery resources and consumers disfavoring fish. Notwithstanding, the fisheries industry indisputably remains one of Japan°«s most important industries, and the sector is expected to become ever more essential in this mature economy in terms of provision of quality food to the nation and maintaining close connection with local communities.

 Now, as a cabinet decision in December 2013 provides for integration between the National Fisheries University, which is responsible for human resource development, and the Fisheries Research Agency, which is undertaking research and development, we are preparing to create a new corporation. Under this new corporation, the National Fisheries University will continue to serve as the center for fisheries education and development of human resources specialized in fisheries in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, as manifested by the law. Meanwhile, the new corporation, as a research and development body, will have nine research centers across Japan that are tasked with resource investigation, fish farming, and other activities conducive to fisheries, and is expected to substantially expand the learning opportunities for students. We will be further demonstrating our role of fostering entrants from all parts of the country and sending them to actual fisheries scenes all over Japan. We are determined to do everything we can do to contribute to the further growth of fisheries both in Japan and globally.