Sep. 28, 2017
Collaborating to Transform Ishigaki Island into an Eco-island
Ishigaki City (Okinawa Prefecture; Mayor: Yoshitaka Nakayama) and Sumitomo Corporation (Head Office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer: Kuniharu Nakamura) have signed partnership agreement on promotion of “eco- islandization” at Ishigaki Island. For realizing the project, Gogoro “GoStation®”(swapped battery charging station) and “Smartscooters” will be introduced in Ishigaki Island by the end of this fiscal year.
Featuring a rich subtropical natural setting that appeals to people around the world, Ishigaki Island is home to rare flora and fauna such as the crested serpent eagle and the yellow-margined box turtle, both protected species. It is the third largest island in Okinawa, surrounded by what is said to be the largest blue coral community in the Northern Hemisphere, and Sekisei Lagoon, one of Japan’s largest coral lagoons. It is also the economic, administrative and tourism heart of the Yaeyama Islands. Its leading industry, tourism, continues to grow year by year, with up to 1.24 million tourists visiting annually. The vision for the island’s future is that of an eco-island co-existing harmoniously with the natural environment while maintaining its tourist industry.
At the same time, mounting traffic due to tourist transport and a growing population has given rise to concerns about higher CO2 emissions and other problems. Ensuring convenience for both tourists and locals while maintaining the lifestyle and natural beauty of the island has become an important issue. Given worries about significant wind and flood damage from ever-larger typhoons driven by global warming as the number of tourists continues to climb, securing emergency power sources to establish a safe and secure tourist destination has taken on greater importance.
For this project, Ishigaki City will be utilizing business subsidies offered by the Cabinet Office to promote revitalization of Okinawa’s remote islands for the installation of renewable energy facilities on the island, while Sumitomo Corporation will be introducing and operating Smartscooters and GoStations to provide tourists and locals a mode of transport friendly to the natural environment. Some of the GoStations will be equipped with solar panels, and maximum use will be made of the renewable energy generated. There are also plans to use these facilities during emergencies to supply emergency power to disaster-prevention centers.
These Smartscooters and GoStations will be procured from the Taiwanese company Gogoro, a firm that has earned strong name recognition in Taiwan for its innovativeness and quality and garnered worldwide attention as a Taiwan-based startup company. It has recently begun expanding beyond Taiwan – to Berlin in 2016 and to Paris in 2017 – and Ishigaki Island will be its third overseas location (and its first in Japan).
Ishigaki City and Sumitomo Corporation are seeking through this project to preserve Ishigaki Island’s world-class natural environment, to combine naturally-generated energy with cutting-edge technology, to support the day-to-day lives of local residents, and to discover and cultivate attractive tourism resources.
A variety of subsequent efforts will also be undertaken to attain the aim of Ishigaki City’s Eco-Island Initiative of developing the island in a sustained fashion through the creation of new value.
<GoStation® battery-swap station and electric scooters>
■Sumitomo Corporation’s Material Issues
Sumitomo Corporation Group positions “Six Material Issues to Achieve Sustainable Growth with Society” as an important factor in developing business strategies and in the decision-making process for individual businesses. Going forward, we will pursue sustainable growth by resolving these issues through our business activities. This Project especially contributes to “Achieving Harmony with the Global Environment” “the Development of Local Communities and Industries” and “Establishing a Foundation for Comfortable and Enriching Lifestyles”.
Corporate Communications Department,