The Japanese government has decided to market the country’s comprehensive technologies and services for “smart cities”, a next-generation city model that optimises the use of cutting-edge telecommunications, to Southeast Asian countries.
By the end of this year, the government will conduct an aptitude survey on what kind of services will be needed for the endeavour in 26 cities in 10 countries that the government regards as the most important markets.
It will use the survey results to encourage domestic companies in various industry sectors to venture into the market. Related expenses will be included in the third supplementary budget for fiscal 2020.
In the smart city model, basic infrastructure, such as homes, companies and cars, and social infrastructure, including electricity, gas and public transport and schools, are interconnected and provide data.
By collecting and analysing this data on consumption and flows of people, smart cities can realise better services and achieve greater energy efficiency.
In Southeast Asian countries, populations tend to cluster in and around big cities. Therefore, the government concluded that the use of information technology could be useful as measures for solving traffic jams, environmental issues and other problems.
The government also has an incentive to promoting the protection of personal information.
It expects that a wide range of items will be exported under the project.
This includes public transport systems using signal controls, measures against cyber attacks, security measures via surveillance cameras, cashless payments and smart grids – next-generation power grids that efficiently manage and supply power.
By the end of the year, the government will ask Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Min City and some other cities to propose what kind of systems they need to solve problems in their urban policies. Based on the proposals, the government will work with each city and together write up a basic plan for urban development.
Last year, the government set up a public and private council to market services related to smart cities overseas, together with about 270 companies and organisations, including Hitachi Ltd and MUFG Bank Ltd.
Based on the master plan, the government is considering looking for companies that can provide necessary services through the council and implementing demonstrations of the services and provide training and technical support in the Southeast Asian countries.
Smart city projects in Japan include Woven City, which Toyota Motor Corp is planning to start building in Susono, Shizuoka prefecture, in February next year.
Toward the realisation of smart cities, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism started in fiscal 2019 supporting 43 projects, such as the operation of self-driving buses near Haneda Airport in Tokyo. The day when smart cities will be in practical use is coming close.
THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN (JAPAN)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK