Presenting Yokohama’s SDG progress at the 11th World Urban Forum (WUF11)’s satellite event

From June 26-30, 2022, the Chief Representative of the Yokohama Europe Office spoke at the 11th World Urban Forum (WUF11) organized by UN-Habitat in Katowice, Poland, at a session on SDGs promotion, a satellite event (organized by UN DESA and UNOSD) of the Forum.

Topic: Enhancing the capacity of local and regional governments for delivering the SDGs through a Whole-of Government approach, smart cities, enhanced infrastructure asset management and resilience, monitoring & evaluation, and innovative finance and partnerships

The session included an introduction to SDG implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, a video message from the mayor of Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, and a presentation by the Chief Representative of the Yokohama Europe Office.

He introduced the significance of Yokohama's SDG Voluntary Local Government Review (VLR), specific initiatives by the SDGs Design Center, which serves as a base for promoting the SDGs, and the Y-PORT project, which aims to solve urban issues occurring in emerging cities from the perspective of contributing to the SDGs.

■Session Overview

(1)Date – Time – Place - Format
June 30 (wed) 09:00-11:45 (JST 16:00-18:45) / International Congress Centre, Multifunction Hall, Room 7 – in person format


UN DESA(United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs)
UNOSD(The United Nations Office for Sustainable Development


  • Good Governance to Accelerate SDG Implementation at National and Subnational Levels
  • Introduction to the Whole-of-Government Approach
  • Effective National to Local Public Governance for SDG Implementation
  • Local and Regional implementation of SDGs: An introduction to Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs)
  • Smart cities supporting an inclusive, sustainable and resilient society
  • SDG monitoring and evaluation tools to accelerate actions at local level, Local experiences of conducting a VLR and building a smart cities
  • Impact Investment in Cities – Innovative Finance for SDGs Implementation at local Level


Further information about the Yokohama City VRL Initiatives can be found here

Further information on the session and the presentation material can be found here


Mice fair IMEX Frankfurt was held again for the first time in three years

IMEX Frankfurt 2022, Europe's largest MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) trade fair, was held from May 31 to June 2.

Approximately 9,300 buyers, including convention organizers and meeting planners from international academic societies and organizations, participated in this trade fair, in which approximately 2,300 organizations (conference centers, tourism associations, travel agencies, etc.) from more than 150 countries exhibited in the 18,000 m2 exhibition hall.

The Japan booth was led by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and was jointly exhibited by local governments and travel agencies. From Yokohama, the Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau exhibited, conducting business meetings with conference organizers and promoting Yokohama's attractiveness as a convention host city.

Yokohama is home to PACIFICO Yokohama, which ranked first in the number of conferences held in Japan by venue in 2020 (for 18 consecutive years) according to JNTO international conference statistics.

Our office has promoted the event to conference organizers in Germany in advance of the event and will continue to support the attraction of MICE.

More information on the Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau you can find here

More information on Pacifico Yokohama you can find here


While hand sanitizers were available at the venue, there were no rules regarding the presentation of vaccination certificates or the wearing of masks.

When we asked an exhibitor at the JAPAN booth about the number of visitors, he replied that it had not changed much from three years ago, when the event was last held.

Shadow theater group from Yokohama performed at the Japanese Film Festival in Frankfurt – Ukrainian refugees were invited as well

The Nippon Connection (NC), the largest Japanese film festival outside Japan, is held annually in Frankfurt and this year marks its 22nd year. After 3 years finally live again, from Tuesday, May 24, to Sunday, May 29, more than 100 films were screened and a diverse cultural program was offered, including workshops and performances on Japanese culture.

The shadow theater group Kakashiza, who gave an online performance from Yokohama at last year's event, was invited by the NC to come to Germany to give a live performance and workshop.

The Yokohama City Office in Frankfurt supported the visit to Germany by acting as a bridge between the two sides and was able to introduce Kakashiza and Yokohama to the audience in a short speech before the performance.


(May 26, 2022)

20 people participated, learned and practiced the techniques of creating their own hand shadow images of animals such as foxes, crabs, birds, penguins and elephants.

There was also an opportunity to wish for shadow pictures and so many wishes were made to the group members, such as "giraffe", "shark", "tiger", "cobra", "unicorn" and "brachiosaurus". For this, the shadow theater group members impromptu performed the requested hand shadow pictures with a humorous presentation, which delighted the participants and filled them with laughter and admiration.

Performance "Hand Shadows ANIMARE"

(May 28, 2022)

The audience of about 200 people was drawn into the unique world of fantasy and humor created by the magnificent performance in which the hands played the main role and brought the shadows to life.

After the performance, the audience gave a standing ovation and the participants, fascinated by the performance, asked for autographs and souvenir photos.

In addition, a certain number of displaced Ukrainian citizens in Frankfurt were invited free of charge by NC.

-ANIMARE - is the Latin word for "to bring to life, to animate." The world of hand shadows is full of new surprises, where different forms are created only with hands and body. One by one, the performers' hands breathed life into the shadows, bringing the stories to life. A silhouette show with colorful and beautiful shadow figures and humorous stories.

A short speech about Yokohama


The Chief Representative explained that the Kakashiza Theater Group had come all the way from "Yokohama" this year, which marks the 70th anniversary of its founding, thanks to the close city partnership between Yokohama and Frankfurt, and briefly introduced Yokohama. He called the city with its concentration of German companies and the location of the German school the city closest to Germany.

After the performance, the visitors personally thanked the artists in German for the wonderful gift from Yokohama that the performance was for them.


Find an overview of last year's performance and workshop here.

We organized the online seminar ”YOKOHAMA, THE FUTURE MOBILITY HUB”!

On 24 March 2022, the City of Yokohama organized an online business seminar for German companies entitled 'YOKOHAMA, THE FUTURE MOBILITY HUB'. Led by the City of Yokohama Europe Representative Office and with the cooperation of the JETRO Düsseldorf Office and others, the seminar promoted innovation cooperation in Yokohama and the attractiveness of Yokohama as a destination.

The seminar began with opening remarks by the Mayor of Yokohama, Mr. Takeharu Yamanaka. He highlighted Yokohama's vibrant open innovation climate, with a concentration of global corporate headquarters and R&D centers, and introduced the educational and living environment, including the German School of Tokyo Yokohama. He also mentioned that more than 50 German companies are active in Yokohama and called for more companies to come to the city.

Next, Mr. Klaus Meder, president and representative director of Bosch Corporation, gave the main speech. The company is the Japanese subsidiary of one of automotive equipment suppliers, headquartered in Germany, which started operations in Yokohama over 110 years ago. Mr. Meder mainly gave a presentation on the Bosch group's first public-private partnership project in Tsuzuki Ward, Yokohama, which involves the construction of a new research and development facility and the Tsuzuki Ward Cultural Center (tentative name), and introduced the plan to relocate the company's headquarter’s function from Shibuya, Tokyo. He also said that Yokohama is the ideal place to create new innovations, with its rich technology, infrastructure, human resources and educational environment, and that he would like to work with the City of Yokohama for another 100 years.

This was followed by presentations of Mr. Takehiro Kuribayashi, Director of the Yokohama Europe Representative Office, and Mr. Dai Ueda, Director of the JETRO Düsseldorf Office. They introduced recent developments in Yokohama, such as the situation of industrial clusters mainly in the mobility sector and demonstration tests of automated driving. They also emphasized that JETRO has offices in three locations in Germany and Yokohama and works as a team with the City of Yokohama to support German companies investing in Japan.

Around 60 people attended the seminar. The Europe office in Frankfurt will continue to make contact in the future, to help them realize their expansion into Yokohama.

Asia Berlin Summit 2021 – Co-Creating Smart Cities

The annual week-long "Asia Berlin Summit" (organized by the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy, and Enterprises) brings together urbanization, start-up, and ecosystem experts from key Asian cities for networking and other events. The Chief Representative of our office participated in the official satellite event "Co-creating SmartCity 2025" as part of the celebration of the 160th anniversary of the German-Japanese ties.

During the discussion, the cooperation between "Innovation City Yokohama" and "The Drivery", an innovation center in Berlin specializing in mobility, was presented. The head of the office spoke about the importance of open innovation cooperation with Germany as well as the role of the office as a bridge between Germany and Yokohama within its mission and his ideas for future cooperation.

The Drivery spoke about how they have grown so fast in such a short period of time, and the Drivery start-ups shared their thoughts on doing business in Asia.

(1)Event dates
October 7, 2021, Onsite, Playing Field Digital Hub
Hybrid event in English


  • Moderator
  • Panelists
    ・The Drivery, Sales Director
    ・ELO Mobility Gmbh, CEO
    ・Economic Affairs Bureau, Yokohama City, New Industry Promotion Division, Manager
    ・The City of Yokohama Europe Representative Office, Chief Representative

More information on Innovation City Yokohama
More information on The Drivery

German Start-up support company CROSSBIE UG opens subsidy in Yokohama!


We are pleased to announce, that the Berlin-based entrepreneurial company CROSSBIE UG has expanded to Japan and established a Japanese subsidiary called CROSSBIE JAPAN K.K., in Yokohama.


CROSSBIE supports open innovation and global business for start-ups in both Japan and Europe. In June this year, an event was hosted in collaboration with the German innovation community, The Drivery, for the company's entry into the Japanese market.



Yokohama has been selected as a "Global Hub City" by the Japanese government, and is also cooperating with The Drivery and CROSSBIE's support program for Japanese and European start-ups, with the aim of creating start-ups that are active on the world stage.

Chika Yamamoto, CEO of CROSSBIE UG, commented on the expansion as follows:

"CROSSBIE aims to build an innovation ecosystem that spans Europe and Japan, breaking down the barriers between domestic and foreign demand and supporting the development of global businesses on a problem-solving basis.

With the support of the Yokohama Economic Affairs Bureau and in collaboration with The Drivery, we have launched CROSSBIE JAPAN, a program that connects the European start-up ecosystem with Japan. We are committed to supporting companies that want to grow faster in a fast-changing global market."

If, like this company, you are interested in expanding your business to Yokohama, please do not hesitate to contact us.



Adress:  3-chōme−35, Onoechō, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 231-0015 Japan

Representatives: Chika Yamamoto (Germany), Atsushi Kondo (Japan)

Business content:  Global business and innovation support for Japanese and European start-ups

Opening: September 2021





Founded in 2020 and headquartered in Berlin, Germany. The company takes its name from the Cross Border Innovation Ecosystem. Through its activities as a partner of JETRO's Global Acceleration Hub in Berlin, it actively supports Japanese startups to enter Europe and European startups to enter Japan.

Further information you will find here.

□The Drivery

Established in 2019. It operates an innovation center in Berlin, Germany, specializing in the mobility sector (e.g. automotive industry). It attracts startups, large companies and investors from Germany and abroad and has generated more than 650 billion yen (approx. 5 billion €)  in funding in the two years since opening. CROSSBIE is currently looking for Japanese startups to join its local partner program in Japan, which supports startups in Japan to enter the European market and open innovation between European startups and Japanese companies.

Further information you will find here.

Attendance at the conference „University and the City“, organized by the City of Frankfurt

On 1 July, the Chief Representative of our office attended the conference "Universities and the City" organized by the City of Frankfurt and the Goethe University, where he participated in a discussion and a joint declaration was formulated during the political panel.

"Under the theme of "Democratic Innovation and Citizen Participation", the Chief Representative of our Yokohama City Office gave a speech and held a discussion on Yokohama's regional urban planning. Resulting from the discussion, the "Frankfurt Declaration on the Future of Democracy" was compiled.

Overview of the Political Panel

Representatives from five sister cities attended the political panel discussion in the Emperors’ Hall of Frankfurt’s city hall. Moderated by Brigitte Geißel from Goethe University, the panelists City Councilor Ina Hartwig for Frankfurt, Lyon City Councilor Sonia Zdorovtzoff, City Councilor Chen Arieli from Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the Krakow City President's Representative for Equality, Nina Gabryś and Takehiro Kuribayashi representing the City of Yokohama discussed their cities’ measures regarding democratic innovations and citizen participation.

The panelists gave an overview on how local democracy works in the sister cities, described successful models for involving citizens in the political decision-making process in the face of serious challenges to representative democracy, such as declining party loyalty and increasing demands for direct participation, and how this topic shall be fostered in the future.


Photos © City of Frankfurt, Maik Reuss

Frankfurt Declaration on the Future of Democracy

Gathered in the heart of Europe in Frankfurt am Main – the cradle of German democracy which began in 1848/1849 with the convening of the Frankfurt National Assembly in the Paulskirche, and a city firmly committed to the values of the European Union –

united in the spirit of “government of the people, by the people, for the people,”
resolute in our desire to develop the democratic idea in innovative ways,
and mindful of the deep scars left by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

we, the representatives of global cities and metropolises as present in Frankfurt am Main on this day 1 July 2021, issue the following declaration on the future of democracy and the importance of citizen participation:

As elected representatives of our cities, we stand for

  1. ongoing dialogue with our citizens about the shared future in our cities and in a democratic world;
  2. a society in which the democratic participation of citizens is accorded paramount importance;
  3. intensification of the international exchange of experience at the political, social, cultural, and academic levels;
  4. the core democratic values of our citizens;
  5. the safeguarding of universal and inalienable human rights in every country of the world;
  6. finding new, active ways to open up politics and the political decision-making processes to all citizens;
  7. innovative and modern forms of citizen participation aimed at realizing the democratic ideals of governance.

Yokohama-Frankfurt friendship-train service starts in Frankfurt, Germany!

The City of Frankfurt, Germany, which partnered with Yokohama in 2011, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the partnership this year. To commemorate this occasion, the city of Frankfurt launched on Thursday 10 June a train wrapped with a picture of the landscape of the cities of Frankfurt and Yokohama.

Prior to the start of the service, an opening ceremony was held in Frankfurt on the same day.

At the ceremony, the Mayor of Frankfurt, Mr. Feldmann stated: "Yokohama is the most cosmopolitan city in Japan and in this respect, it has an affinity with Frankfurt. Our important partnership is moving in a very positive direction."

Outline of the Opening Ceremony

On Thursday, June 10, 2021 from 2pm to 2:30 pm, about 20 officially invited guests gathered at the VGF depot east in Frankfurt to celebrate the launch of the friendship-train. The Mayor of Frankfurt, the CEO of the VGF and the Chief Representative of our office held speeches, had a short photo session and then headed off with all participants onto a test ride to the city hall.

Due to the corona situation, there was not the opportunity of having a larger reception, however every participant was happy to be able to finally meet again and to finally see the friendship-train being launched.

Outline of the friendship-train

Operated by: the city transport company Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt am Main (VGF), a subsidiary company of the City of Frankfurt

Period of operation: From June 10, 2021 (Thursday)  - Scheduled to run for three to five years

Service section: on Frankfurt’s 9 underground lines

Nippon Connection 2021:Shadow Theatre Live Performance from Yokohama

Nippon Connection, the largest Japanese film festival outside Japan, was held for the 21st time. After last year's event, the festival was now held online for the second time. From June 1 (Tuesday) to June 6 (Sunday), the citizens of Frankfurt and the whole world were offered about 80 film titles as well as about 40 cultural programs, including workshops and performances on Japanese culture.

At this year's festival, which falls on the 10th anniversary of the Sister Cities Agreement between the City of Yokohama and the City of Frankfurt, our office was able to bring together the organizers of "Nippon Connection" with the Yokohama-based shadow theatre company "Kakashi-za" to plan and coordinate a live shadow play performance and other events.

Photo ©Nippon Connection


On Tuesday 1 June at 19:00, there was an introduction to the highlights of the festival.  When asked what her personal highlight of the festival will be, festival director Marion Klomfass replied: "Without a doubt Kakashi-za's live performance."

Program overview: Shadow Theatre Kakashi-za

Sat 05.06.2021 14:00-15:15: Live performance "Hand Shadows ANIMARE" with Q&A

Sat 05.06.2021 16:00-17:00: Shadow theatre workshop with Q&A

01.06.-06.06.2021* "Documentary Film Festival of Shadows", On-demand with German subtitles

*Extended and still available until 30.06.2021

Hand Shadows ANIMARE

"There are no limits to these hands."

The ultimate performance starring hands that bring shadows to life.

ANIMARE - Latin for "breathe life into, animate" - shows the world of shadow images full of fresh surprises. Using only hands and bodies, a wide variety of shapes are created and the story unfolds full of vibrancy and humor with colorful, beautiful shadow images.

This dynamic and graceful stage show has already been celebrated in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, and South America.

Afterwards, there was the possibility to ask the members of the Kakashi-za group questions. The audience was very interested in what inspires the group to do their shadow theatre, what the history of the group is, whether some shadow figures are not very difficult or even dangerous, and, connected to that, what the most difficult shadow figure was. But one question was of more burning interest to the audience than all the others: Will the group come to Frankfurt in person soon?


Hand shadow play has been popular in Japan since ancient times. In the Edo period (1603-1868), a drummer used to perform this hand shadow play to entertain guests at banquets. There is also a booklet, the Kagee Toranomaki, which details how to make kage-e (hand shadow images), which shows how popular this art was.

In this workshop, the audience was able to experience the charm of shadow theatre and learn how to do some shadow images themselves. First, a small excerpt from the performance was shown so that afterwards the audience could learn how to recreate the individual animals. It was also demonstrated how shadow images were made in the Edo period and at the end the audience could wish for shadow images from the artists. What was interesting for the participants here was the question of how and with which media one can learn to make shadow pictures.

Festival der Schatten

With the slogan "There are no limits to these hands", the performers are constantly refining their skills. In this film, we see the "mysterious moment" when the "hands" come to life and fly across the screen as if they were independent creatures. At the same time, the film also takes the camera backstage, where it has never been shown before, and follows the members of the company on their 60th anniversary tour of three major cities in Japan and up to their departure for Brazil.

This is director Oshima Taku’s first documentary film, who has sharply visualised the "shadow" side of the human heart in his dramatic films such as Our House on Mars and The Frozen Mirror.


Online Showcase at ITB 2021

ITB 2021, Europe's largest business-to-business travel trade show, took place from 9 to 12 March. Normally held on-site at the Berlin Exhibition Centre around this time every year, this year was the first time the event was held online. The first event took place in 1966 and has continued for more than half a century.

To strengthen our relationship with the travel media in Europe, we participated in the Japan Pavilion organized by JNTO with our online Yokohama stand.

This year's ITB, which was held online for the first time, attracted around 3,500 exhibitors from 120 countries and 65,000 visitors to the online platform, according to the organizers. Compared to the ITB 2019, which was held as a face-to-face event with around 10,000 exhibitors and 160,000 visitors, this year's online event saw a drop in attendance of around 60%.

In recent years, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has continued to expand the Japan Pavilion, and associations or municipalities can apply for a stand in the pavilion. Last year, our Yokohama representative office had already applied for a stand, but unfortunately the event was then cancelled at short notice due to the spread of the Corona virus.

This year, we were finally able to use the opportunity of an online showcase to make the information materials provided by the Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau (YCVB) and several video contents available to trade fair visitors for whom Yokohama was not yet so well known. In addition to the meeting requests we received, we also reached out to European-based media and travel agencies that cover tourism in Japan to introduce Yokohama's touristic potential and share ideas on how to promote Yokohama in Europe via social networks and digital magazines.

When discussing the timing of travel, the optimistic view was that it would start this autumn. Perhaps the more realistic assumption was that it would start this winter. In the worst-case scenario, the start of travel could be delayed until April or even summer of the coming year.

Based on these assessments and observing the actual situation, we will promote the destination of Yokohama more strongly to European tourists in the future.