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The adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, with its core set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are the UN’s blueprint for achieving a happier and healthier world by 2030. But how do we all manifest these goals in our own lives? The Be the Change Initiative provides an opportunity for all of us to better “walk the talk” when it comes to the SDGs. This initiative guides and encourages us to live more sustainable in work and at home by changing our consumption patterns, using active transport such as cycling, and buying local foods.

News & Analysis

Sustainable Infrastructure Development is Crucial

By Masami Nakakubo*

This advertorial is part of IDN’s media project jointly with Global Cooperation Council and DEVNET Japan.

TOKYO - At the time when the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake struck Japan in 1995, I was in charge as a government official. The earthquake left a situation in which vital infrastructure such as roads, railways, electricity, water, gas and communication were unable to function properly.

As a citizen of Japan, an earthquake-prone country, I realised the importance of having many options for the supply of energy supply without having to rely on the existing energy supply infrastructure. As a result, JC Service Co., Ltd was established and has helped increase the efficiency of heat and water management for the private sector. Read in Japanese

JC Service Co., Ltd. has introduced comprehensive resource conservation services, such as diagnosis of resource and energy production and conservation, design and construction for policy application, equipment maintenance and operational management, procurement of business funds, and provision of comprehensive business services. 

Without compromising the environment, the achievement of resource and energy conservation combined with a reduction in CO2 emissions, as well as disaster prevention, are some of the benefits produced by this business. Our company is an independent enterprise which provide best performance services for our customers.

In addition to our power and heat efficiency service, we also offer water efficiency services. Through detailed analysis of past performance data, we are able to offer the best performing equipment to our customers. By proactively planning the application of new technologies, we can achieve a breakthrough in and expansion of the current market. In addition to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, new resource conservation technologies could be derived from the market, introducing Japanese resource conservation technologies and large-scale export of infrastructure overseas.

We are continuing to further contribute to resource conservation system design, operation, equipment sales and maintenance. Our company features the establishment of new areas in the resource and energy conservation market, reduction of the burden on the natural environment, resource and energy cost-cutting, disaster mitigation (securing lifelines), and the use of human resources as social resources (drawing on the experiences of the elderly generation).

Comprehensive resource conservation (Lower Fixed Expense Economy) is a combination of water treatment with energy conservation, reducing the use of water and electricity, as well as cutting fuel costs, through comprehensive planning and operational management.

In order to distinguish our company from other ESCOs (Energy Service Companies) we are using the designation of “Comprehensive Resource Conservation Business” for our company. We are upgrading micro-grid operators from separate facilities to multiple facilities and, based on target areas, the company's central system is efficiently managing equipment. Compatibility of the comprehensive resource conservation business system with lifeline systems complemented by expansion of the micro-grid, will eventually create the Japanese version of the 'smart grid'. 

The Great East Japan Earthquake which occurred in 2011 marked the turning point for Japan in the development of natural energy applications. With a focus on solar energy generation, electricity buy-back programmes have penetrated the Japanese domestic market, and our company has also been involved in the country's mega-solar project.

We have introduced a disaster mitigation type mega-solar system, equipped with large storage batteries for stabilising the output of solar power generation, and combined this with a disaster mitigation type smart grid. Further use by public and private facilities of fallow land, idle land and industrial land to expand mega-solar systems would contribute significantly to disaster mitigation, while use of the technologies required and experiences gained would help foster smart community business.

In terms of hydroelectric power generation and securing land and water rights, the developing countries of Asia are optimal locations for promoting investment. Compared with other natural energy generation, hydroelectric power generation is a more community type business, and we are particularly interested in next generation business development based on human resource education as an international project.

In the Japanese domestic market, biomass is expected to emerge as the next business focus with a view to connecting international upstream countries to downstream developing countries in a close partnership.

Maritime countries like Japan are also working on the development of technology for using sea water as a source of energy. Technologies already developed over the years in Japan include Ocean Energy Thermal Conversion (OTEC) and while it has not yet reached the phase of commercialisation, our company has been using it through a variety of energy projects and an international network. Further development of optimal OTEC locations, such as those with deep sea trenches as well as areas with significant temperature difference between the sea surface and the sea floor, is being investigated.

Given the importance of research for for the conduct of business, our company has its own think tank company as part of the group, which conducts research on the regional economy and its contribution to the international business world, as well as research on commercialisation. In addition, research is also being carried out to investigate business possibilities in developing countries using funding from Japanese and international institutions, in particular in the sector of exporting infrastructure overseas.

From a financial point of view, with the current negative interest in Japan, we are promoting foreign investment, in particular through project financing, crowd funding and micro-financing, and we firmly believe that the merging of financial systems and technology will further advance FinTech. Our company currently uses crowd funding for quickly and effectively gathering the necessary funds for business investment in developing countries. 

Our company also offers investigation, research, technology development, project development as well as financing as a one-stop service.

In the past, Japan has carried out a large number of foreign aid and donation-based projects but this model cannot be continued. In the future the true nature of Japanese companies in developing countries would be further questioned. Overseas expansion of the private sector, introducing Japanese quality with Japanese pricing using Japanese funding only to focus on the international market would no longer be a viable business model. Above all, it is necessary to understand real local needs and how investments will contribute to regional technical and human resources, employment, disaster management and business sustainability.

We are currently contributing to the international community through DEVNET, where 5 percent of any profit is targeted as a contribution to the development of a sustainable, self-supporting, transparent and diversified international society, in cooperation with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). (19 May 2016)

Masami Nakakubo is a board member of DEVNET Japan, CEO of JC Service Co., Ltd., Director of E&T Research and Board Chairman of Xenesys. He is a former government official for Hyogo Prefecture.


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