Robert Toshio "Bob" Nakasone (left) founded the Hawaii Uchinanchu Business Group twenty years ago and was conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays. At the East-West Center, he was Director of the Okinawa Special Project. John Tasato (right) is president of the World Uchinanchu Business Hawaii, and spent most of his professional life in various Defense Department positions.
We felt that there could be something special to the partnership between Okinawa and Hawaii, as we are both remote islands to our nation's capital, have just about exactly the same population with a military presence and tourism economy, but with the ocean around us as the key to our future.
Okinawa Prefectural Deep Sea Water Research Institute on Kume Island and the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority can lead the way, not only for our respective countries, but also the world. The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), which began official teaching in 2012 with a budget of $154 million, could also play an important role.
faculty is impressive. This interdisciplinary (no departments, and separate from their Monbusho to provide independence) and international graduate school is focused on fairly esoteric branches of science to cultivate future Nobel Prize winners. While admirable, we thought that a parallel realistic objective should be for OIST to also focus on real world problems, and an obvious locus of opportunity to take advantage of Okinawa's position in the Pacific Ocean and Japan's need to develop clean energy after Fukushima would be the Blue Revolution.