6. German-Japanese Economic Forum, 2012


"Green" cities of tomorrow - Japan and Germany discuss solutions for mobility and energy supply in urban areas

Cities account for more than two-thirds of energy consumption. How can urban agglomerations in the future be climate-friendly? German and Japanese experts discussed at the Hannover fair about environmentally friendly mobility and energy supply in the cities of tomorrow.

Nearly 140 participants attended this year's sixth German-Japanese Economic Forum on 25 April 2012 at the Hannover Messe.

Under the slogan "Metropolitan Solutions" several pilot projects in the field of "smart community" and "clean mobility" were on the agenda.

A comprehensive approach was introduced by Hiroshi Okajima (Toyota Motor Corp.) using the example of acurrent model project in Toyota City. Besides the integration of renewable energy and EVs, "smart" buildings (keyword: Home Energy Management System) played a major role.

In the "century of sharing" Rainer Becker (car2go GmbH) is convinced that car-sharing programs such as "car2go" of Daimler has a great future. Until now Daimler offers situational and flexible mobility in 12 cities around the world - before testing this service in Japan it needs to be cleared how the Japanese consumers accept the concept.

Seiichi Fukui (Mitsubishi Corp.)presented the project "ZEM2ALL" (Zero Emission Mobility to All) in Malaga / Spain. Here, among other things, a cooperation with the local power company Endesa and the telecommunications company Telefonica is planned.

For Dr. Alexander Rieck (Fraunhofer Society) the city is today a bunch of spaghetti, in which various experts (transport, energy, housing, ICT etc) pursue their own concepts. It is crucial to bring together these different strands, while still retaining the needs of the citizens in mind. This integrated and multidisciplinary approach is realized by the project "City of Tomorrow" of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

The complexity of various aspects of "smart community" is also a key point in the speech of Shoji Takenaka (Toshiba Corp.). Here the valuable experience and knowledge can be drawn from specific projects such as the "Yokohama Smart City Project".

In the final discussion it became clear that technical solutions for many problem areas of the cities of tomorrow - green energy, clean transport, energy-efficient housing - are present. All Speakers agreed that the focus should set on the people and their needs. However, Dr. Rieck noted that the menu is often made for the experts and not for those who will eat it.

"The technology is made for humans," said Shoji Takenaka. The revival of social cohesion is also an aim of "smart communities". Hiroshi Okajima was convinced that even the houses of tomorrow must not be completely different, a Japanese wood framed house can also be energy efficient.

The technology needed for possible German-Japanese projects don’t have to be in the focus, due to Seiichi Fukui. Here both countries are world leaders. Both sides certainly could learn from the concepts, ideas and experience of the other side, for example, when it comes to the issue of urban planning and energy efficiency in buildings.

The 6th German-Japanese business forum was organized by Deutsche Messe AG and ECOS Japan Consult with the support of Toyota, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, and JETRO Düsseldorf. Other partners were the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Federal Association of German Industry, the German-Japanese economic system and the state of Lower Saxony.


Johanna Schilling,
Tel. +49 (0)541 911 909 90