How can digital innovations regenerate a region?

Many regional communities in Japan are at a crossroads. Serious changes are approaching, as the government has announced its intention to address widespread issues such as depopulation and population aging through an innovative revitalization plan.

The introduction of new digital technologies in cities and villages in need of regeneration is at the heart of a strategy that includes everything from providing 5G to developing infrastructure that can support future services such as automated management and dynamic traffic management, as well as satellite offices.

Euronews brings together a group of influential and experienced politicians and industry insiders to discuss best regeneration practices. They will discuss case studies including Kamiyama, Inu and others outside of Japan, as well as broader topics of successful regeneration through digital technology.

You can watch the debate live in this article on March 1 at 11.00 Central European Time.

The following key issues are on the agenda of the debate: how do you define a successful revitalization scheme? What are the main ingredients? How can we ensure that regeneration does not alienate the existing population by pushing up prices?

Our panel will cover these and other topics in a 90-minute debate hosted by Euronews moderator Demon Embling. The talk will be followed by a 15-minute question and answer session during which viewers will be able to ask their questions to the group.

Announcing the new policy in a recent speech, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said:

“The main actors of the new capitalism are the local regions. We will actively promote the Vision of Realizing the Nation of the Digital Garden City by addressing local issues as well as achieving bottom-up growth from local regions to the national level. ”

He added: “Instead of simply deregulating, we are trying to create new rules that will create new services for local communities to enrich our daily lives.”

So what does it look like on earth? In recent years, some remarkable successes have been achieved, which can undoubtedly inspire communities looking to their future.

The city of Kamiyama in Tokushima Prefecture, Shikoku, a small mountain community struggling with an aging population, has changed its destiny thanks to a number of innovative and creative projects backed by digital development.

The rapid and widespread proliferation of fiber-optic broadband meant the city was able to maintain satellite offices for major companies from Tokyo. Together with art and international exchange programs, these changes have attracted new residents, who in turn have breathed new life into local schools and the economy.

Other places, such as the city of Ina in Nagano Prefecture, have solved the problem of shortage of doctors through technology by creating a mobile clinic that connects locals with a doctor who could examine them remotely.

Inspirational examples like these set a high standard for future projects in other parts of the country, but naturally each community has its own unique set of values, strengths and challenges, making revival an exciting but challenging prospect.

Meet our discussion participants:

Mitoma Shigeki

Adviser, Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers on the implementation of the nation’s vision of a digital garden city.

With a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Tokyo and an MBA from Cornell University in 1999, Mitoma joined the Ministry of Finance in 1995. As Chief Research Fellow of the NRI Center for Strategic Management and Innovation, he headed the Sino-Japanese Association. research and research team on Trinity Shock Revival Strategy for COVID. He is also an expert member of the Japan Sustainability Association, which is working to implement its recommendations.

He created and founded various organizations, including Innovation SDGs HUB (SIH).

Like Eureka

CEO of

Kato graduated from the University of Tokyo and received a master’s degree in precision farming from Cranfield University. She joined NASA’s project to produce food on spacecraft. After working at Canon and heading research and development at an industrial equipment company, she founded M2 Labo in 2009 with the goal of creating a sustainable society. She has experience in local business development, agricultural robots and numerical analysis.

Kato won the Grand Prix at the First Women’s Competition of New Business Plans of the Development Bank of Japan in 2012.

Chris Starkey

CEO of New Anglia LEP

The Starks will share their experiences of regenerating counties in the East of England and the role of digital elements in this. LEP Network upholds the impact and value of partnering local businesses in building local economic growth and prosperity across England. He acts as the lead commentator and negotiator on LEPs at the national level along with government, advisors, businesses, academia, think tanks, among other key players. It also serves as a central source of information and data on LEPs at the national level.

Alex Kerr

Founder and President of NPO Chiiori Trust

Alex Kerr hails from the village of Totsukawa, a researcher of oriental culture, founder and president of the NPO Chiiori Trust. Born in 1952 in Maryland, USA, he read Japanese studies at Yale University in 1974. At Yale University, he studied at Keio University International Center. After graduating from Chinese Studies at Oxford University in 1977, he moved to Japan. He has worked on projects to restore old houses in various parts of Japan, including the village of Totsukawa.


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