5 Dec 2016

Diving Incident Update of 6 December 2016

This is an update giving the current situation concerning the diving incident that took place on November 14. The search for the missing diver, Shohei Suzuki is continuing with companies specialized in using underwater surveillance equipment.  With his family’s permission, posters asking for information or any clues that could help in the search for Shohei Suzuki have been hand-delivered to police stations, fire departments, municipal offices, fisheries associations, ferry terminals and community centers in the Motobu, Nakigin, Nago area to ask for their cooperation.

The official Japanese government investigation led by the Coastguard is underway and we can anticipate that it will take several months to complete.

The Okinawa Office of Labor Standards will schedule an inspection in the coming weeks.  They will examine OIST procedures, such as safety regulations and training requirements, related to this incident from the legal view-point of worker safety.

OIST is and will continue to give full and open support to these investigations.

Internally, the university is currently establishing the OIST Review Panel to understand, as much as possible, what took place at the time of the incident, then to undertake a rigorous survey of all aspects of OIST’s existing safety standards and procedures in regard to marine field work.  The Panel will produce findings and recommendations.  The Chair of the Panel will be from outside OIST as will the majority of the Panelists, who will be chosen for their expertise in worker safety, diving and marine safety management.  

OIST has also established an internal Task Force, the role of which is not investigation but coordination. The purpose of the Task Force is to coordinate all activities and responses, monitor the welfare of all involved and keep records of all responses to the incident. The Emergency Task Force has also been the main contact point for the Suzuki family, assisting their visit to Okinawa, and continuing to keep them informed of any news.

At this very distressing time, our thoughts and prayers go to the Suzuki family and to all of Shohei Suzuki’s friends and colleagues, both inside and outside the Graduate University.


For press inquiries, please contact media@oist.jp.