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Mitsubishi Corporation

Press Room

July 2, 2021
Mitsubishi Corporation
Shobunsha Holdings, Inc.
MAPPLE, Inc.

Mobility & Regional Contents Pilot Project Launched in Smart City Aizuwakamatsu

Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), Shobunsha Holdings, Inc. and Shobunsha subsidiary MAPPLE, Inc. (MAPPLE) are pleased to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between MC and MAPPLE regarding joint studies on new tourism services. The services will combine each company’s unique expertise with advances made by HERE Technologies (HERE)1, a leading provider of location-based information technologies. The partners recently launched a pilot project to create localized mobility demand in the Aizukawamatsu “smart city” in Fukushima Prefecture. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Aizuwakamatsu Tourism Bureau, a general incorporated foundation.
 
 [Aims Under the MoU]
Although the tourism industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected to enjoy robust growth over the medium to long term and be one of the main drivers of regional revitalization in Japan. Through these studies, MC hopes to develop real-world applications for location-information services that take advantage of HERE’s technologies, and to grow its know-how through cross-industry business developments. MAPPLE intends to leverage the studies to help stimulate Japan’s regional revitalization efforts through creative applications of map and other tourism services.2       
In the future, the partners plan to develop a platform for regional mobility services that will enable connectivity between a wide range of services and service providers in both digital and real worlds. The efforts underway in Aizuwakamatsu City are a good first step towards creating mobility services that not only effectively marry digital contents with physical means of transport, but also showcase the unique appeal of each region and what tourists can expect to enjoy there.   
 
 [The Pilot Project in Aizuwakamatsu City]
The trials being carried out MC and MAPPLE have two focuses: (1) Delivery of local-tour-related content and a rental-bicycle booking service; and (2) Visualization and analysis of users’ mobility data.  
 
 
■Outline of Pilot Project
 
(1) Delivery of Local-Tour-Related Content and Rental-Bicycle Booking Service
●The partners have developed digital content for visitors to Tsuruga Castle, one of the most famous tourist spots in the Tohoku (northeast) region of Japan. The content helps to provide visitors with a “smooth mobility experience” by using a routing function and other technologies from HERE to recommend tours of the region’s most popular attractions. Users can then select their preferred courses, and they can use the same platform to book rental bicycles managed by the Aizuwakamatsu Tourism Bureau.  
 
●The rented bicycles can help visitors to navigate the castle town’s complex network of streets, ease traffic congestion and reduce the region’s carbon footprint. In the future, MC and MAPPLE also plan to connect this bicycle service with other means of transportation to further optimize the region’s mobility environment.  
 
 (2) Visualization and Analysis of Users’ Mobility Data
●The partners plan to link data on user attributes, preferences and mobility (obtained via GPS technology mounted on the rental bicycles) and then use HERE’s location platform to visualize and analyze those data. The results will be used to create new localized mobility demand, offer users personalized travel itineraries, and otherwise help tourists to enjoy a stress-free mobility experience. 
 
 
[Some Screenshots of the Castle-Town Tour App]
 [Mobility Initiatives in Aizuwakamatsu Smart City]
Under the initiative of “Smart City Aizuwakamatsu”, Aizuwakamatsu City has been promoting regional revitalization utilizing information and communications technologies (ICT) through industry-academia-government collaboration in ways that resonate with its citizens. In 2019, MC set up the Mitsubishi Corporation Digital Innovation Center in the Smart City AiCT ICT office building, and since then the sogo shosha has been a partner enterprise in Aiziuwakamatsu’s smart city initiative. MC also serves as chair of the AiCT mobility committee, in which capacity it is promoting digital transformations (DX) at AiCT and building a network of mobility services that capture the region’s appeal. This pilot project with MAPPLE is to be part of that network. Through collaborations with AiCT’s member, connections with various urban data and use of location information, MC hopes to create more mobility demand in the region and enhance local networks and communications for the sustainable development.
*MC is currently in discussions with the following AiCT members about possibly linking the pilot project with their own operations: 
 
●ORIX Corporation and ORIX Auto Corporation (acquisition of location information via LPWA and GPS IoT network services)
●Tokai Rika Co., Ltd. (navigation through wearable neck speaker)
 
 
[Comments from Some of Those Involved in the Smart City Aizuwakamatsu Plan]
 
Shohei Muroi
Aizuwakamatsu City Mayor
●Aizuwakamatsu City has been promoting regional revitalization such as opening Smart City AiCT as a part of “Smart City Aizuwakamatsu”. I am delighted that MC and MAPPLE have launched this pilot project, which is expected to produce regional attractive mobility and new demands based in Smart City AiCT. Thanks to collaborations between government, academia and industry, we have accumulated a lot of know-how on ICT and accelerated both our pioneering smart-city initiatives and cutting-edge pilot projects. Those collaboration have included Aizuwakamatsu City, the University of Aizu, Smart City AiCT and other local enterprises, and they have raised my expectations with respect to building a network of mobility services that truly highlight everything our region has to offer.  
 
Shojiro Nakamura
Co-Lead, Accenture Innovation Center Fukushima
Aizuwakamatsu Smart City Architect
●We welcome Mitsubishi Corporation and Mapple, Inc. leading this exciting mobility project in Aizu,” said Shojiro Nakamura, co-lead of Accenture’s Innovation Center in Fukushima. “This system uses a variety of urban and regional data to support and encourage mobility among citizens and tourists and to improve travel experiences, in alignment with Aizu Wakamatsu’s citizen-centered smart city approach and commitment to test new approaches for the rest of Japan.
 
1. About HERE Technologies
HERE, a location data and technology platform, moves people, businesses and cities forward by harnessing the power of location. By leveraging our open platform, we empower our customers to achieve better outcomes - from helping a city manage its infrastructure or a business optimize its assets to guiding drivers to their destination safely. To learn more about HERE, please visit www.here.com and https://360.here.com/. Information in Japanese can be found at https://www.here.com/jp.
 
2. MAPPLE’s Regional Revitalization Initiatives
In addition to its promotional activities and provision of maps and tourist information, since last year, MAPPLE has been leveraging its “Travelers Mind” platform to help increase population migration to regions outside Japan’s major metropolises and invigorate local tourism and consumption. The platform uses data gathered from smartphone apps to analyze tourist behavior. This pilot project will also take advantage of Travelers’ Mind to visualize and analyze tourist movements throughout the Aizuwakamatsu City area, the aim being to encourage visitors to alter their activities in ways that will revitalize the tourism industry.
 
 
Mitsubishi Corporation
Headquarters : 2-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Year of Establishment : 1954
Main Operations : MC engages in a wide range of businesses spanning multiple industries and overseen by its 10 Business Groups: Natural Gas, Industrial Materials, Petroleum & Chemicals Solution, Mineral Resources, Industrial Infrastructure, Automotive & Mobility, Food Industry, Consumer Industry, Power Solution, and Urban Development.
Representative : President and CEO Takehiko Kakiuchi
 
Shobunsha Holdings, Inc.
Headquarters : 3-1, Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Year of Establishment : 1964
Main Operations : Group management strategy planning, group corporate value improvement, real estate business, and logistics business, etc.
Representative : President & Representative Director Shigeo Kuroda
 
MAPPLE, Inc.
Headquarters : 3-1, Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Year of Establishment : 2019
Main Operations : Planning, creation, sales and licensing agreements for digital data bases on maps, guidebooks, etc., as well as provision of services that harness those data.
Representative : President & Representative Director Shigeo Kuroda

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