21/12/2022 | News
A delegation from six European regions visited five Japanese prefectures at the end of November within the framework of the EU-Japan to Region-to-Region Innovation Cooperation programme. It is a European Union project managed by Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) and the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) of the European Commission and implemented in cooperation with the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). Casa Asia, as part of the EU-Japan R2R team, was part of the delegation and attended the trip.

The main objective of the program is cooperation in innovation between European regions and Japanese prefectures in the areas of green transition (circular economy, clean energy, climate change and sustainable mobility), industrial transformation (digitization and social innovation) and demographic transition and competitiveness (public services and infrastructures in depopulated and aging regions).

On the European side, the regions of Val d’Oise (France), Emilia-Romaña (Italy), the Basque Country (Spain), Ljubjana (Slovenia), Auvergne Rhône Alpes (France) and Catalonia (Spain) participate. Casa Asia, as part of the EU-Japan R2R team, also participated in the visit. The delegation was divided into two groups; the first one (Group A) visited Aichi and Hiroshima, while the second one (Group B) visited Osaka and Oita. Both groups met in Kyoto, where the last meeting was held at the Keihanna Science Park. Casa Asia was represented in both groups.

The visit has helped verify that in the case of Japan there is also a degree of specialization of the prefectures in the areas of work of the project, which would be comparable to the smart specialization of the European regions. In addition, it was also possible to verify that Japanese innovation centres, although highly developed, are still not very globalized, so agreements with European centres can be of great value.

Areas of Collaboration

The European regions have been able to identify a number of possible areas of collaboration with the prefectures for the coming months and years. These include areas such as hydrogen, life sciences or the creation of innovation ecosystems and start-ups. The Osaka World Expo 2025 organization also offers a framework for possible collaboration for European regions

Throughout 2023, the visit of the Japanese prefectures to the European regions is expected, where the largest innovation centres of the respective regions will be visited. Casa Asia will continue to be involved in the program so that they can finalize the agreements and direct cooperation projects between the European regions and the Japanese prefectures.

Information on the visits in the following links: 

Inforegio – Visit of European regions to Japan: Exploring new ways for cooperation in regional innovation (europa.eu)

EU-Japan Region-to-Region Innovation Cooperation: Six EU Regions conducted the First Study Visit to Japan – International Urban and Regional Cooperation (iurc.eu)

Japan: Six EU regions, five Japanese prefectures launch regional innovation cooperation under IURC Programme | EEAS Website (europa.eu)

Irekia Eusko Jaurlaritza – Gobierno Vasco :: Una delegación vasca ha visitado las prefecturas de Aichi, Hiroshima y Kioto para conocer las políticas e instrumentos regionales de apoyo a la investigación e innovación (euskadi.eus)

Catalunya, cinc regions de la UE i cinc prefectures japoneses inicien la cooperació regional per a la innovació en el marc del programa IURC . Departament d’Acció Exterior i Unió Europea (gencat.cat)

Cooperazione e innovazione con regioni UE (Emilia-Romagna) e prefetture giapponesi – AICCRE