The CiP Digital Special Zone: In Order to Expand Future Prospects

The CiP (Contents Innovation Program) is a plan to construct a digital and content zone in Takeshiba, Minato Ward, Tokyo. The second question in my interview was, "How can we expand the future prospects of Tokyo and Japan?”

There are three points.

1. Expand Strengths

Our greatest strength is the coexistence of technology and pop culture. Corporate groups with high technological strength and productive creators and users are gathering in Tokyo. This is unparalleled. We should polish that cooperative force and draw in wealth from the world.

This will require relaxation and integration. We must relax the regulations of legislation, the business world, etc., as much as possible. And we should make concentrated investments in skilled and talented persons. People are arguing that we need to rectify the high concentration of resources in Tokyo, but we must not weaken it.

Conversely, if we do not intensify the investment of resources in Tokyo and compete with NYC, London, Paris, Shanghai, and Seoul, Japan will subside. If other regions intensify cooperation between Tokyo and foreign powers, that is what will drag them down. Strengthening Tokyo strengthens other Japanese regions.

The CiP exists for that purpose. It will create a convergence point for technology and culture and connect with other domestic major cities to become a new-age breeder reactor.

Universities hold the key. Can Japanese universities accomplish the platform functionality that Silicon Valley, the east coast, and US universities have accomplished, or not? This is our homework.

2. Preserve Freedom

One of the reasons Japanese pop culture has become popular overseas is our freedom of expression. Models of religion, class, etc., are lax, and we give a pass to erotic and violent depictions that would be disallowed in other countries. Although this can be connected to social problems, it is the cause of our content variety and international competitive force.

The young women of European and Asian countries see Japanese school uniforms and Lolita fashion as symbols of freedom. Clothing that could make one feel self-conscious in a person’s own country is accepted in Japan. We are unaware of our free atmosphere.

Edo (1603-1868 Tokyo) was crowded with bars. if we compare the amount of alcohol drunk by Edo citizens and Tokyo citizens, there is no change. They seem to have been drunk from early in the morning. Records show that at a heavy drinking party 200 years ago, a woman named Kikuya Osumi drank down a 4.5 liter cup of sake. It was a free society!

What do we think of that? Animation representation is regulated, liver sashimi is banned, schools disallow cell phones, a single drone falling by the Prime Minister’s Office resulted in drone regulation, and now with the TPP derivative works may cease to be created.

Is that standard practice? Then our strategy is to maintain competitive strength with the non-standard. Takeshiba will also be a national strategy special zone.

3. The Ocean

Tokyo has an ocean. America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada...no other G7 country has a seaside capital city. The defensive advantage is obvious. Nor do China or Russia have such a capital.
This is common for standing member-nations of the UN Security Council. It is likewise with India, Spain, or Brazil. This is true of all major powers. But Tokyo has an ocean. There are very few shining metropolises on the sea: Singapore and Scandinavia.

Japan was an ocean nation, and Edo was made the capital so as to effectively use sea routes more than land routes. But how does that play out? Is Tokyo now leveraging its seaside location? Hasn’t it been filling it up, killing it? The same is true of rivers. By putting a lid on our waters, we are killing our capital city.

Let’s use it. What can we do that other nations cannot? Revitalize water navigation. Send countless vessels and drones over the water to create streets. Make one great screen of the water surface. Constant shouts of joy rise up along the waterfront.

There must be other resources we are not using. Let’s uncover them and be productive.


The Future of the CiP Digital Special Zone

The CiP (Contents Innovation Program) will construct a digital and content zone in Takeshiba, Minato Ward, Tokyo. I had an interview as the representative. The first question was,  "How does Tokyo and Japan's future look?"

  Adobe Inc.’s survey of major powers assessed Japan as the most creative country in the world. And it said that the world's most creative city is Tokyo. I live in Tokyo, my original hometown is Kyoto, the second is Paris, and the third is Boston. All are highly advanced cities, but Tokyo towers over them all.

We live in an urban era. According to Richard Florida’s “Cities and the Creative Class,” the broader Tokyo area is a leading economic production mega-region (2.5 trillion dollars). This rivals the scope of Germany. When he measured innovation by patents per capita, the greatest standouts were NYC alongside San Francisco, followed by Tokyo. Thereafter followed Boston, Paris, and Osaka and Kyoto. High-tech business is massing in Tokyo.

And young people yearn for Tokyo as a pop culture mecca. It is drawing global attention as a soft power of comics, animation, games, J-pop, fashion, Japanese food, design, architecture, and the blending of various cultures.

The top three stations in the world with the greatest arrival and departure of passengers are Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ikebukuro. The train network is packed. If a train is late, you can expect an apology. The stations also have top-ranking optical fiber networks and wireless connections. The infrastructure is solid.

Tokyo has 266 Michelin star restaurants, which puts it well ahead of Paris, which has 64. There are restaurants from 17 different countries within 100 meters of my office. All are delicious. No other such place exists.

At convenience stores you can make copies, pay your utility bills, send packages, do laundry, or use the bathroom. The public toilets have bidet functions. On any street, the vending machines are not broken, and you can buy from them anything from beer and sake to cup noodles and oden soup to bananas to underwear.

If someone gets drunk and passes out in the street, nobody will steal their possessions. If you forget your cell phone in a taxi, the driver will return it to you.

Is this a great city or what!

                There are three issues.

First, can we produce happiness for the world’s first society of an aging population? Can Tokyo also be a safe, convenient, exciting city for seniors? If it can clear this hurdle, Tokyo will be the world leader in the 21st century.

Second, internationalization and diversification. The Japanese community has come to covet the wonder of Tokyo. Can we share its wealth, be hospitable, and coexist with people of other countries?

Third, summer is too hot. It is August; I have fled the oppressive heat of Tokyo and am writing this in Paris. I got heatstroke in my office, but this is not the fault of my office; rather it is the fault of Tokyo. Should 2020 Olympic marathoners be made to run in such blazing heat?

It’s 70 years after the war. Japan discarded its military state and made to live economically. However, the principle of GNP has also reached its limits. What's next? GNPP (Gross National Pop Power) or GNSP (Gross National Soft Power)? In short, can we aim to be a country with high culture?
The year 2020 will likely make this clear.


DiTT Proposal: Establish Law for the Computerization of Education

The Association of Digital Textbooks and Teaching (DiTT) issued a new proposal which I will post here.
We will move towards the realization of this proposal.

The transition from industrial to information society has been accompanied by a global search for an educational model that cultivates 21st century abilities. We will move from the educational style of simultaneously conveying and receiving knowledge to one where people acquire knowledge of their own volition and also share, create, and solve problems. The establishment of an ICT environment that accomplishes this is an urgent matter.

There is an abundance of quality teaching materials, and we want to make it possible for anyone to access exciting 21st century teaching materials anywhere, at any time. We will make it possible to share diverse ideas, enhance knowledge, deepen understanding, and create. We will record learner site hit counts, perform analyses, and continually improve the learning process.

With this in mind, in 2010, the DiTT published a piece that stated a goal of one device per person, which would become an information terminal, connect to the classroom wireless LAN, and contain digital textbooks for all subjects. This concept is being shared as something the country should be advancing right now: the three pillars of device, network, and content. However, the road is steep. A system was proposed to turn traditional textbooks into digital textbooks in April 2012, but the government required three years for consideration.

The situation is undergoing violent change. In just a few years the “smartification” elements of multi-devices, the cloud, and social media rapidly progressed. The DiTT aimed to anticipate the situation prior to smart devices and did not intend to grapple with smartification.

Computerization is also in the process of breaking into the next stage. There is an evolution of wearable computing, the IoT (Internet of Things) and robots, and intelligent devices, which may be called “de-smartification.” We must consider and analyze how this will change learning and education, but Japan must prepare lest it arrive late again.

First, it is necessary that we deal with education and smartification. As we establish an adaptable learning environment in the smart realm of socioeconomics, we must simultaneously prepare for the next wave of computerization.
Comprehensive measures are required to achieve the standardization of digital textbooks and consider the future of education. To this end, we seek an educational computerization law.

1. Standardizing Digital Textbooks
We will first establish one device per person. That device will be an information terminal, connect to  classroom wireless LAN, and contain digital textbooks. Above all, we must coordinate with the official system to clarify copyright issues and revise the three school education laws relating to this matter. It is also important to establish information access devices and networks and standardize the system.
The DiTT proposed the establishment of this system in April 2012 as the tentative ”Digital Textbooks and Teaching Material” initiative. The system can be built upon this base.

2. The Cloud, Social Networks, and Big Data
Eventually one device will store all teaching materials and become a “digital backpack” you can use freely. If everyone uses this so-called digital backpack they can still learn in the same way. No matter where you are, you can limitlessly use all manner of teaching materials. You can obtain a great variety of teaching materials from around the world. Teachers of all countries can share their own teaching materials.

To that end, it is necessary to make teaching environments part of the cloud. When we implement consummate wire communications and wireless infrastructure and put security measures in place, together with implementing perfect/consummate wire communication and wireless infrastructure, all children should be able to learn through the cloud network.

In the service sector, there is rising fixation of SNS-like social media in content and education. In formal education as well, mutual teaching and learning between teachers and students and between students and their peers is beneficial, and if we consider information ethics training, we will not fail to be mindful of school and home information sharing as well.

It is also important to apply the big data created by learning and education. All of socioeconomics is devising ways to make use of big data and develop and advance services. This should also be the case with educational methods and teaching materials. All countries' classrooms and households should be able to transmit data and allow for effective learning while protecting personal information.

These measures should also be incorporated into law.