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  • Writer's pictureAdam German

2024 Japan Smart City Implementation Support Project regions announced

On June 21st, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) announced the regions selected for the 2024 Smart City Implementation Support Project. 


In a collaborative effort, the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the MLIT conducted a joint call for proposals and evaluations, ultimately deciding to support demonstration projects in 13 regions that are working towards the implementation of advanced urban services. 


AI image generated imagination of a Tokyo smart city.

The above is what an AI image generator created when asked what a smart city based on Tokyo would look like. Time needed from first prompt to above finished product: less than 2 minutes. All rights reserved.


The selected regions are:


  • Chiyoda Ward (Tokyo) 

  • Minato Ward (Tokyo) 

  • Koto Ward (Tokyo) 

  • Ota Ward (Tokyo) 

  • Osaka City 

  • Okazaki City (Aichi) 

  • Yokkaichi City (Mie) 

  • Aizuwakamatsu City (Fukushima) 

  • Keihanna Region (Kyoto) 

  • Kakogawa City (Hyogo) 

  • Susami Township (Wakayama) 

  • Higashi Hiroshima City 

  • Takamatsu City (Kagawa)   

Among these, five regions have been designated Urban Service Implementation Types, focused on early implementation of proposed smart city services.  


These regions are Chiyoda and Minato Wards in Tokyo, Okazaki City in Aichi Prefecture, Yokkaichi City in Mie Prefecture, and Osaka City in Osaka Prefecture.  


In Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, efforts will be made to establish and verify data for a short-cycle PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) process for urban development.  


PDCA refers to a continual improvement scheme for large-scale projects meant to build upon previous iterations based on data generated from early-stage development. 


Also, to promote land use discussions, a demonstration project will be conducted to implement services providing smart data to urban development stakeholders. 


What is Japan’s version of a Smart City? 


According to Japan’s Cabinet Office, “A smart city is defined as a sustainable city or region that continuously solves various urban and regional issues and creates new value using new technologies such as Information and Communications Technology (ICT), while also advancing management practices (planning, development, administration, and operation). It is seen as a leading example in the realization of Society 5.0.” 


What is Society 5.0? 


Society 5.0, or the Super Smart Society, is a future-focused concept introduced by the Japanese government in 2016. It aims to integrate advanced technologies like artificial intelligence into daily life. 


AI image generated future Tokyo smart city from the street.

Street level view of a future Japanese smart city as imagined with an AI image generator. Time needed from first prompt to above photo - 5 minutes. All rights reserved.


Emerging from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this idea was promoted by the Cabinet Office's Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation. It was officially presented in the 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2019. Society 5.0 envisions a human-centric society that balances economic growth with solving societal issues by merging cyberspace and physical space. 


Why does this matter? 


Japan’s policy choices thus far have made clear that increased productivity for the remaining population through technological advancements is preferred when compared to large-scale immigration as seen in other countries.  


Future Imagined Tokyo Rooftop Garden by AI Image Generator

Robot tended rooftop fruit and vegetable garden as imagined by an AI image generator. Time from first prompt to finished product: 4 minutes. All rights reserved.


This, coupled with the nation’s almost complete lack of natural resources, means regardless of what one might think about the viability of ESG initiatives, chances are that whatever progress Japan makes in the realization of efficient smart cities will be implemented in other cities in both developed and developing nations. 


More locally, if you own property in the cities listed above, then you’ll want to keep an eye on smart city developments moving forward as, if implemented well, could attract more demand over the years thereby increasing chances of capital gain and higher yields. 


Source: 

R.E. Port News (Japanese only) 

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