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Japanese and European Smart Cities launch international cooperation initiative

25 October 2021

An international cooperation initiative between Japanese and European Smart cities, proposed and designed by the research institute ISINNOVA in the context of the EU-funded project RUGGEDISED, was launched at a virtual city to city meeting on October 11. The cooperation aims to foster a facilitated knowledge-sharing exchange between international smart city programmes.

Mario Gualdi, President of ISINNOVA, said:

— "The RUGGEDISED project, together with our Japanese partners, is committed to innovating and exchanging knowledge with kindred smart city programmes. After starting this dialogue in 2019, we have affirmed that cities face many of the same challenges – launching this cooperation partnership is a great opportunity for us to address these challenges and to share successes and opportunities. This will support all parties in making their cities smarter and increasing the quality of life of citizens."

Kenji Matsuno, Deputy Director of the Office for Promoting Regional Revitalization stated:

— "It is great to see the official launch of this cooperation programme. Japan and the EU share common values based on the rule of law, and they both work towards sustainable, inclusive development. Cities are at the forefront of such efforts and this cooperation will provide a great opportunity to enhance Japan-EU cooperation at the local level."

During the official launch meeting, the project action plan and potential milestones were discussed; the cooperation seeks to build a collaborative exchange of best practices, expertise and information between the six RUGGEDISED cities - lighthouses: Rotterdam, Umea and Glasgow, and fellow cities: Gdansk, Parma and Brno - and key smart city players and cities in Japan.

RUGGEDISED, a smart city project dedicated to combining ICT, e-mobility, and energy solutions to design smart, resilient cities, is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Albert Engels, Coordinator of RUGGEDISED and Senior Process Manager for the City of Rotterdam, noted:

— “The cities of the European Smart Cities and Communities Cluster are working hard on ‘getting better connected’ and it’s important for us to also include partners outside of Europe. We share a commitment to smart cities being developed for and with citizens and I hope we will be inspired by the work done in Japan and that they will benefit from the experiences made in Europe.”

From the Japanese Government, the cooperation is supported by the Cabinet Office of Japan, which is responsible for the overall coordination of Japan’s smart city programme.

The Japanese cities participating in the cooperation at this stage are the City of Hamamatsu, the City of Kamakura and the City of Tamana.

While they are at different stages of smart city development, the Japanese partner cities are expecting to share their experiences and work together with European cities for more sustainable, inclusive smart city development.

The expectation is for both Japanese and European cities to establish an environment that cultivates mutual understanding and inspiration between cities committed to unlocking sustainable growth and a higher quality of life for their citizens through the deployment of smart city technology.