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Geological understanding of age and horizontal variations of oceanic plates from mid-ocean ridges to deep-sea trenches, including interactive phenomena between continental and oceanic plates, especially in areas transecting trenches, arcs, and back-arc basins was addressed at the 1992 Workshop on the Global Undersea Research Program, held at the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC), Tokyo, Japan, from September 2 to 4, 1992. The meeting was held following a proposal at the 1991 International Symposium to commemorate the 20th anniversary of JAMSTEC to hold a workshop on undersea research to discuss the utilization of undersea devices such as manned submersibles and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

The goals of the September meeting were to improve research cooperation among organizations using manned submersibles or ROVs; to support more effective research programs by avoiding unnecessary research duplication; and to discuss new technologies, scientific needs, and functional requirements for hardware being developed for manned submersibles and ROVs. About twenty-five scientists participated from the National Science Foundation; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI); University of Hawaii; Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation des Mers (IFREMER), France; Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo; Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo; Geological Survey of Japan; Institute of Oceanographic Sciences (IOS), Deacon Laboratory, United Kingdom; and JAMSTEC.