New Digital Economic Directions
Tsukuba in Ibaraki prefecture gathers G20 ministers to chart the future of the world economy
TSUKUBA, IBARAKI PREF. MINISTERIAL MEETING ON TRADE AND DIGITAL ECONOMY | JUNE 8-9, 2019
Home to the Hitachi Seaside Park, Mount Tsukuba and the city of the same name, Ibaraki Prefecture will host the G20 ministers debating digitalization of the world economy and the future of trade. Ibaraki is notable for its world-class research and education facilities and initiatives like the Tsukuba Science City. The city is a scientific research center, also housing University of Tsukuba, which has helped the region become synonymous with forward-thinking digital innovation in the minds of domestic and foreign investors alike.
Ibaraki faces the same challenges as Japan’s other prefectures – an aging population, declining birth rates, brain drain amongst young people and adapting to digitalization. However, it also hosts cutting-edge digital technology companies that attract investment and job creation.
One of these, cyborg-robot maker Cyberdyne, has created the HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) exoskeleton that has revolutionized the medical and care sectors. Cyberdyne president and CEO Yoshiyuki Sankai sees HAL as an important contribution to businesses’ adaptation to both local and global challenges. “By 2050, 40 percent of Japanese will be over 65 years old and other developed countries will face similar situations. We should prepare solutions,” Sankai said. “In a global village, we need to consider a suitable future with new technology.”
Kazuhiko Ōigawa, Governor of Ibaraki Prefecture
Located an easy train ride from Tokyo, Ibaraki Prefecture is already well known for cultural attractions like the gardens of Kairaku-en, but it is also a major hub of innovation and industry in Japan. Governor Kazuhiko Oigawa explains how Ibaraki’s proximity to Japan’s capital, incentive programs and its wealth of resources make it appealing to investors
What makes Ibaraki an ideal investment destination?
We can attract factories because are we close to Tokyo and have reasonable investment costs. We have introduced a ¥5 billion ($44.3 million) incentive program to support companies that want to set up headquarters here, including foreign investors. We offer good FDI conditions, human resources, government subsidies, and networking with universities, research institutions and major corporations. Ibaraki has everything investors could need.
What are your priority areas for Ibaraki?
My main goal is to create quality jobs that will encourage youths to stay in Ibaraki. This is an area blessed with rich nature and resources, tools to motivate our young people to stay. Other key priorities are improving innovation, healthcare and education. We will also create special events that will contribute to brand creation. We are trying to create a higher quality brand for Ibaraki while lowering costs for investors.