76th Voyage Departure! - The New Ocean Dream: A Sustainable World, May 8, 2012
A participant is guided to his cabin on his first day onboard
Peace Boat's newly chartered ship, the Ocean Dream departed from Yokohama, Japan on May 8, 2012, and will sail to nearly 20 different countries in 102 days before returning to Japan. The ship will first head toward Asia, then to North Africa, Europe, Scandinavia, Central America, South America, and will sail through both the Suez and Panama Canals. Participants, ranging in age from two to 92 years old, will have many opportunities to learn about the choices they have in society during this voyage.
Two young Global University participants, excited about the voyage
After the excited participants were guided to their rooms by staff members and volunteers, they made their way to the ship's deck to wave goodbye to the large crowd that gathered on land to see the voyage off. Hundreds of coloured streamers were sent flying into the air from the top deck of the ship during the departure ceremony, and voyage themes were covered, including nuclear issues and renewable energy.
Ambassador Stefan Larus Stefansson encouraged Japan to learn more from Iceland's successful use of geothermal energy
Ambassador Stefan Larus Stefansson of the Embassy of Iceland in Tokyo spoke at the ceremony about the link between peace and nuclear power, and said his visit to Nagasaki and his experience of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown crisis last year made him painfully aware of the connection between the two. The Ambassador also encouraged people in Japan to have the confidence to move away from nuclear power, and to recognize that Japan has enormous potential to develop its own geothermal resources--which are even greater than Iceland's.
Voyage Director Inoue Nao, proposing a toast with the joyful crowd.
Today in Iceland, Ambassador Stefansson pointed out, 90 percent of houses have geothermal space heating, and Iceland built its clean geothermal industry with Japanese technology and Icelandic know-how. One hundred percent of the geothermal turbines used in Iceland are Japanese. Ironically, Japan hasn't built its own geothermal power station since 1999. The Ambassador also noted that Japan's geothermal plants kept functioning without problem after the 3.11 earthquake, while its nuclear power plants had to be shut down either for failure or safety checks. "We have been saying [for more than three years] that geothermal utilization in Japan should be built on the motto: "Sustainability and in Harmony with Nature," he emphasized. Participants on the 76th Voyage will have the opportunity to visit Iceland and learn more firsthand about the country's advances in renewable and sustainable energy--lessons of great relevance for Japan as it continues to struggle with the Fukushima nuclear disaster more than a year after 3.11.
Participants flying hundreds of coloured streamers from the ship's deck
During the departure ceremony, Yamauchi Yoshio of the Yokohama Port Authority also commemorated Peace Boat's maiden voyage on the Ocean Dream, before the captain of the ship spread hope for good weather and calm seas during the voyage. Voyage Director Inoue Nao encouraged participants to pursue the realization of their individual dreams during the voyage. "Going around the world doesn't have much meaning in itself, and whether or not that voyage has meaning is up to the individual themselves," he said. "So whether it's a voyage, or society, or the world in which we live, it's made by each and every one of us!" He proposed a toast to the voyage, and as the ship started to move, everyone onboard cheered out "Se no Ittekimasu!" which means "We're off!" in Japanese.
To learn more about the Japan Iceland Geothermal Forum organized by the Embassy of Iceland in 2010, visit www.japanicelandgeothermal.com