High school students from Yokohama are guests at the Ried School

Four months ago, 15 students from the Frankfurt Ried School visited their partner school, Sakuragaoka High School, now 15 high school students visited the Ried School in return. Most of the students who had met as host families during the first exchange trip met again, but also new students were part of the group. In the families of their host brothers and sisters, the Japanese students got to know family life in Germany, just as the Frankfurt students were able to experience insights into the lives of Japanese families. The connection on both sides was very warm, not only from family side, but also from side of schools and cities, which also contributed a lot to the successful exchange program.

On the 15th of February the Ried School hosted a big reception for the guest students from Yokohama, which was also attended by representatives of the Japanese Consulate General in Frankfurt to address some words of welcome to the young people. Afterwards, the Frankfurt Yokohama Citizens Network organized a German-Japanese lunch with sushi and Frankfurt specialties. Other representatives of the German-Japanese cultural exchange, such as DJG Frankfurt, and our office also took part in the festivities. The orchestra of the Ried School gave some audio samples and the Japanese students presented a traditional dance as well as an overview of Japan and the Japanese school system.

On February 18, the Lord Mayor Feldmann did not miss the opportunity to welcome the exchange students personally in the Römer town hall and to address a few words to them. In particular, the pupils on both sides will probably not only remember the visit to the famous Kaisersaal, but above all that the Lord Mayor took the time to have both group photos and photos taken with individual pupils despite the time pressure.

In the morning of the same day, the pupils had already experienced an extensive city tour, during which they could also visit the Goethe House and the Main Tower. In total, seven days always feel too short, but both schools have organized their programs in such a way that the students could make the most of this short time, experience much of the other culture and get to know a lot of new things, such as a Judo taster lesson. Since many students may have to decide soon which university they want to enter, the Japanese students also had the chance to visit the Goethe University that has a partner agreement between the economic faculties with the Yokohama City University.

Now that the student exchange between the two schools has started so successfully, it will be continued every 2 years.


The International Association of Peace Messenger Cities’ Conference in Volgograd

From October 10-November 1, the Chief Representative went to Volgograd, Russia, in order to join the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities’ Conference (IAPMCC). Together with the mayors and vice mayors of the member cities, a peace declaration was approved, and Yokohama had the chance to present its peace creation process.

On the first day the participants visited the Square of the fallen fighters where they attended a wreath-laying ceremony and afterwards visited the eternal flame in the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex and the statue of the Motherland on the top of the hill, as well as the Volgograd State Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad.

Yokohama is one of the Peace Messenger Cities

On the next day, an international intercity diplomacy forum was held with the title “Volga Dialogue: The mutual understanding of peace”. Here Mr. Tamai took part as a panelist and commented on the role of the Yokohama city government in the peace creation process.

In the evening the IAPMCC was opened with the first plenary session. For Yokohama, it was the first time in 8 years to join this conference again and to have the opportunity of a speech in front of the member cities.

On November 1st, the day was divided into the international intercity diplomacy forum in the afternoon and the closing session of the IAPMC conference in the evening. This time the forum was held under the topic “Living Quality enhancement – the cities’ peace creation process”. Mr. Tamai had the opportunity here to introduce Yokohama’s measures and progress in the fields of city-to-city cooperation, international cooperation and multiculturality. Apart from that presentation, he took part in several subcommittees.  The results of the talks were afterwards presented by each group in the evening conference.

As well as enhancing the international relations in the fields of environment and sustainable technologies, Yokohama is very interested in further engagement in the international peace creation process, especially because an Ordinance on Promotion of International Peace has just been enacted in Yokohama in June 2018.


Yokohama at the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice

From December 2 till 14, 2018 the Chief Representative visited the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland. It was the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24), serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) and thus the 14th meeting of the Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

As such, it also functions as a platform for side events of companies, international organizations and NGOs, each of which present measures against climate change from their own standpoint. The main objective of this conference was to initiate the entry into force of the rule book on the implementation of the Paris World Climate Change Agreement that was signed last year.

As at COP23 in Bonn in 2017, together with the Chief Representative, a delegation from Yokohama attended the conference this time again and represented part of a total of over 18,000 participants from 197 countries.

On December 9, a forum on sustainable innovations took place and we had an exchange on sustainable development objectives, i.e. government reforms and the communication of sustainable development goals to the citizens, with an expert from the city of Mannheim.

On the next day, Deputy Mayor Kobayashi held a speech on the subject of Decarbonizing era in Cities and Regions. SDGs localization and Environment, Society, Economy in cities and region - Regional Circular and Ecological Sphere 8Circular and Ecological Economy).

In the afternoon, ICLEI and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development hosted a seminar on scaling-up climate finances in cities and regions, at which the Deputy Mayor presented Yokohama's Zero Carbon project. Afterwards, a successful networking with participants from all over the world took place in the evening at the reception held by the city of Katowice.

During the following two days, the Chief Representative participated in various seminars on Green People's Energy for Africa, the East Asian Research Initiative on Decarbonization, the challenge of zero emissions based on the initiative for reformative climate change technology, as well as cooperative climate and environmental preservation and established many new contacts.

In addition to COP, Yokohama City participates in international city networks such as C40 and CNCA, and is promoting the sharing of best practices. We are actively promoting efforts to realize "Zero Carbon Yokohama" by implementing the IUC project in collaboration with the city of Frankfurt.


Investing in Yokohama – Business seminar in Finland

In the beginning of December, the Chief Representative attended an economic seminar in Helsinki, Finland. The focus of this seminar, conducted by JETRO, was on companies, interested in investing in Japan and Mr. Tamai had the chance to do a presentation on Yokohama’s business opportunities and exhibit an information booth.

Like when exhibiting an information booth in Lyon at the Emperor’s birthday reception, it was clear to see that the IT- and Bio Life Science-networks ITOP and LIP Yokohama gained the main focus, since they complete the whole business package Yokohama: Easy access, cost efficiency, fast introduction to suppliers and distributors, incentives and government support and on top of all that a network between not only companies, but also with research institutes and the government, which in total grants companies that invest in Yokohama a fast and successful development.

In the past few months, Mr. Tamai had several opportunities to attend such seminars for interested companies and will continue to present Yokohama’s attractive business environment at future seminars. We will keep you informed where and when you can meet him, but you are always welcome to directly contact us to talk about your company’s business opportunities in Yokohama.


Visit to the partner city Lyon – Pollutec & Emperor’s birthday

From November 27th till 30th, the Chief Representative visited Yokohama’s partner city Lyon to visit the Pollutec 2018 trade show for environmental and energy stakeholders and attend the annual Emperor’s birthday reception of the Japanese Consulate General in Lyon.

The focus of attending the Pollutec was not to take a look at the fair itself, but mainly to take part in several related seminars, like the International Summit for Cities and Regions driving the Circular Economy. Additionally, he visited some booths of Yokohama-based companies with subsidiaries in Europe, like the booth of a Minato-ku based company called Amcon, which is an expert in developing sewage filtration devices.

In the evening of the 29th, the annual Emperor’s birthday reception was held in the Mercure Lyon Centre Château Perrache hotel. Like last year our office exhibited a booth, promoting Yokohama’s business and travel environment. The networking with local companies and interested people was very successful.

On the last day of the business trip, Mr. Tamai had the opportunity to visit the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Lyon that kind of takes over the role of an economic department. Yokohama’s IT- and Bio Life Science-network LIP and ITOP seemed to be of particular interest and both sides decided to focus more on bringing companies from Yokohama to Lyon, and vice-versa companies from Lyon to Yokohama.

Find out here why Yokohama is an interesting location for your enterprise, too, or call us directly.


Yokohama was active at the Compamed in Düsseldorf

From November 12th till November 15th the Chief Representative visited the Yokohama Pavillion at the medical technology fair Compamed in Düsseldorf. Held together with the world’s biggest health care and medical technology exhibition Medica in total the halls were filled by more than 120,000 visitors. The Yokohama Industrial Development Corporation (IDEC) exhibited a booth in the Yokohama Pavilion, together with five small and medium-sized companies and venture companies from Yokohama. For IDEC, which supports Japanese companies in expanding to the European market and vice-versa companies from Europe to Yokohama’s market, as well as for the five companies from Yokohama, it was already the second year to exhibit a booth and get in touch with European healthcare-related companies.

Vital link at the Yokohama Pavillion

To perform one of our office’s main duties, the Chief Representative attended this booth as well and helped to present the special technologies of Yokohama’s companies to the over 500 visitors and also served as a connector and coordinator for the relations with JETRO, the Japanese Consulate General in Düsseldorf, and other government-related organizations and thus made many business talks possible.

Yokohama is an excellent location for companies in the healthcare and bio-life science sectors. Find out more about IDEC here and what opportunities can arise for your company or contact us.


Best-Practices of the IUC cooperation in Brussel

Yokohama and Frankfurt further deepened their partnership in the field of energy, environment and urban development when in mid-October they met with representatives from this year's 80 cities participating in the IUC project at the European Parliament in Brussels for a general and partner city specific meeting. After a presentation by the Vice-Chairman of the EU Regional Committee and a panel discussion, the partner cities had the opportunity to present their current activities and progress, to exchange opinions along with the other partner cities and to talk about ideas in theme groups afterward. Our representative office participated in the Smart City theme group.

Yokohama and Frankfurt reported on their experiences from their visits to the respective twin cities in April and August this year, presented best practice examples that could be incorporated into future development plans and discussed what the action plan will look like until April next year. The special feature of the IUC project is that the partner cities are very similar, which is why they can work very closely together and also develop a joint action plan in close cooperation and with the support of the IUC Secretariat.

Although the cooperation between the City of Yokohama and the City of Frankfurt in the IUC project will be terminated in May 2019, we expect that the good network that developed and will continue to grow as a result of this cooperation will contribute to the continuation of cooperation between the two cities in one way or another in the jointly developed areas after the end of the project, and will continue to be of great benefit to both cities in the future.


Yokohama follows the hydrogen mission to the Netherlands

As the City of Yokohama is quite eager in progressing the hydrogen development the Chief Representative went on a hydrogen mission to the Netherlands at the beginning of October, that was initiated by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Japan.
The one-week program of this mission started with a hydrogen symposium in Groningen, that was held by the City of Groningen, where about 80 representatives of Japanese companies related to the energy and technology fields, as well as of local companies, research institutes and universities attended.


There Mr. Tamai took the opportunity to introduce the audience to Yokohama’s efforts regarding the development and efficient integration of hydrogen technology into every-day life. When the question arose, what kind of energy education the City of Yokohama offers to the citizens, Mr. Tamai explained, that first of all, the topic of sustainable energy is implemented in the middle-school and high-school curriculum. On top of that, the citizens are also regularly approached directly to raise awareness of sustainable energy and sustainable energy consumption.

To exemplify the development of hydrogen technologies in the Netherlands, the program included not only expert presentations but also on-site visits to some of the spots where hydrogen technology was already successfully introduced into the city’s infrastructure and visits to other related destinations.
In Groningen, the public bus service is supported by hydrogen buses and the attendants could take a bus ride on one of these buses. Furthermore, a multifunctional gas station, called ‘Green Pot’ could be inspected. Here vehicles soon can be filled up not only with one or two types of gasoline but also with bioethanol mixed fuels, hydrogen, LP gas or can be charged with electricity.

In this course, Mr. Tamai also had the chance to visit the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in The Hague to discuss the political approach to fostering and implementing sustainable technology in the country. While the government does provide guidelines to follow, it does not force companies to implement sustainable technology into their businesses, but rather tries to encourage them to do so with subsidies and incentives.

From The Hague, the mission went on to Rotterdam to the Innovation Expo with the topic ‘Global Challenges and Dutch Solutions’. This Expo shows every type of the latest renewable energy-related technology, from natural gas to solar power, including swimming buses, drones, and flying cars. A special benefit for visitors is the possibility to find interesting conversational partners and apply for a meeting to match interested parties to form new cooperations.

In the future, Yokohama wants to learn even more from European best practice examples and foster the international knowledge exchange. Further information on Yokohama’s environment policy you can find here.


IUC delegation from Yokohama visits Frankfurt Energy Department

Meeting back in Frankfurt

After a delegation of members of the Frankfurt Energy Department had visited Yokohama in April this year for first talks within the framework of the International Urban Cooperation (IUC) project and had collected information and solutions for common problems regarding climate and demographic change, the return meeting took place in the Frankfurt Energy Department.

With the IUC project, the EU connects European cities with cities outside Europe, so that they can work together as a team on solutions and ideas for sustainable and environmentally friendly urban development, as well as general problems, such as the effects of the aging population and declining birth rate. In particular, the cities are also looking for approaches that involve citizens.

The Frankfurt delegation was able to visit facilities with the highest energy efficiency in Yokohama and, conversely, offered the delegation from Yokohama the opportunity to visit passive houses and facilities that save energy, produce their own or reuse energy generated from waste heat.

Partner in Climate Protection

Based on the slogan "A goal without a plan is only a wish", Frankfurt explained how by 2050 the energy demand will be met 100% by renewable energy sources and how citizens, as well as organizations, should be supported in their contribution against climate change.

In return, Yokohama once again discussed the Smart City Choice and Virtual Power Plant projects, which had already been presented during the delegation's visit to Yokohama. This allowed both sides to present best practice examples and discuss the possibility of jointly developing such projects.

In detail, this meant that the delegation from Yokohama had the opportunity, among other things, to see Frankfurt Zoo, where environmental education and conservation of nature and species are taught especially for the younger generations, and to visit Frankfurt Airport, where the latest energy-saving technologies are used.

Our representative office supported this lively exchange between the two cities with a translator, an appointment at the Japanese Consulate General in Frankfurt and by joining the inspection tour.

The past meetings show that both cities are well on the way to achieving their climate protection goals together and implementing more sustainable urban development.


A danced love story and three energetic workshops in Frankfurt

Yô Nakamura and Yuya Igarashi enchant audience and participants of the artist exchange

When Yô Nakamura works out a choreography, she does not line up techniques and forms, she delves into the lyrics and makes up a story that she then tells on stage with her dance.

At the Main Matsuri in Frankfurt, she enchanted the audience of the Japan Festival together with her humorous artist colleague Yuya Igarashi, on stage with a 20-minute performance. The modern dance style told of the ups and downs, but above all of the romance of a love story that charmed the audience. A vocal performance by Mr. Igarashi, for which he sang the chorus of the song "Hotel Riverside" even in German instead of Japanese, and interludes of his own humorous dance style, rounded off the performance perfectly.

Continuing the artist exchange

After a Frankfurt artist visited Yokohama last year, Ms. Nakamura now continued the artist exchange between the twin cities and taught a modern choreography to participants in three different workshops on Japanese pop music such as "Sun" by Hoshino Gen. Thanks to the cooperation with the City of Frankfurt, the workshops were offered free of charge on three consecutive days.

The final workshop could take place for interested students of the Ried school, to which even a student from the other end of the city had come to participate. Through this workshop, especially the students who cannot attend the trip to the partner school Sakuragaoka in Yokohama this year were able to participate in the German-Japanese exchange.

In these workshops not only the choreography was taught, but especially different techniques to develop a choreography, to fill a pose with life and to interpret an abstract feeling with a dance pose.

The participants, altogether a very colorful German-Japanese mixture of young and young at heart, and also Mrs. Nakamura had a lot of fun with these energetic movement sequences and the successful cooperation overall.

In addition to the city of Frankfurt, thanks are also due to the Frankfurt Yokohama Citizens Network for supporting this artist exchange. The head of the Asia Department of the International Affairs Bureau received Ms. Nakamura on behalf of the City of Frankfurt and the Chairwoman of the Citizens Network made a cultural tour through Frankfurt possible for the dancer.

If you are interested in dancing and different dance styles, you can visit the Dance Dance Dance Festival in Yokohama until 30.09.2018 and participate yourself or enjoy performances all over the city. Yô Nakamura is also very active at this festival and would be happy to see some participants of the workshops or spectators of the performance again.

We will be happy to tell you what else you can experience in Yokohama.