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Press Room

February 21, 2022
Yatsushiro City
Mitsubishi Corporation
HomeServe Japan Corporation

Agreement Signed to Promote Development of “Smart City Yatsushiro” MC, HomeServe Japan and City Authorities to Undertake Digital-Technologies-Based Regional Revitalization Work

Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), HomeServe Japan Corporation and the municipal government of Yatsushiro City in Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture (hereinafter “our parties”) are pleased to announce that we have signed a “regional revitalization” agreement that will cover services for Yatsushiro City. Under the terms of our agreement, our parties shall work together to invigorate the municipality and improve the quality of services for its citizens through the use of digital technologies. Please see below for more information.
 
 1. Background
Situated on the coast of Kumamoto Prefecture, Yatsushiro City is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, from its picturesque seascapes to its rolling plains and majestic peaks. It is the second biggest city in the prefecture, which is known for producing some of the finest plants and fruits in Japan, including soft rush and pomelo. Unfortunately, the city has experienced its fair share of challenges in recent years, including natural disasters and population decline due to its falling birthrate and aging society. To help address these challenges and ensure that Yatsushiro City can sustainably grow in a manner that prioritizes the safety and security of its citizens, the local authorities have developed a basic, smart-city concept aimed at turning the municipality into an advanced digital society. The “Smart City Yatsushiro” concept has two main objectives. The first is to rebuild the city into one that both preserves and enhances the quality of life of its residents, who have relatively high needs for disaster-prevention, health-and-welfare and other services, and the second is to make the city more attractive to citizens and businesses who may be considering relocating from other parts of the country. 
Having unveiled its roadmap to carbon neutrality in October 2021, MC is endeavoring to help Japan realize a net zero-carbon society by jointly promoting advances in both energy (EX) and digital transformations (DX). Through those efforts and by lending its support to the creation of independent “distributed communities” that take advantage of their regions’ unique characteristics, MC is doing its part to help build a better and brighter future for Japan.
HomeServe Japan Corporation (HomeServe) was established in February 2019 as a joint venture between MC and UK-based HomeServe Membership Ltd. Primarily a provider of fixed-price, home-maintenance services, HomeServe currently has about 450,000 household subscribers across Japan. Its mission is to make subscription services that are invested in comfortable living commonplace in Japanese society. Backed by our pledge to honor the concept of “regional co-existence” in Japan, our parties are equally committed to achieving that mission through the development of sustainable systems.      
 
2. Collaborative Work & Pilot Project
Based on our action plan to address regional challenges, our parties have agreed to collaborate in a number of specific areas (see “Five Spheres of Collaboration” below). Under the terms of our agreement, our work in each of these spheres shall be invested in realizing Yatsushiro City’s “regional community” vision, which itself has several objectives. One is to rebuild the community by strengthening its local-production-for-local-consumption energy model, thereby making it more resilient to natural disasters, while another is to leverage digital technologies to promote the mutual sharing of local-government, private-sector and other data in ways that will enhance services for community residents. As the first step in our parties’ collaborations, we have already commenced the following operations: (1) Digital Circular Pilot Project (work to digitize circulars and otherwise improve the accessibility of inter-regional communication tools, at-home and community services, and public services); and (2) Yatsushiro Home Support (two types of plumbing service plans available at fixed monthly rates).      
 
<Five Spheres of Collaboration>
Use of digital technologies to invigorate regional communities and build safe and secure municipalities.
  1. Enhancement of at-home and community services in energy, mobility, infrastructure and other sectors.
  2. Development of shared-data platforms aimed at improving services for community residents.
  3. Improvement of urban and service infrastructure.
  4. Improvement of technical expertise of businesses and professionals engaged in urban and service infrastructure work.
 
< Summaries of Digital Circular Pilot Project and Yatsushiro Home Support Services>
(1) Digital Circular Pilot Project (led by MC)
The objective of this project is to digitize certain paper-based information so that it can be sent or otherwise made accessible to portable electronic devices like mobile and smart phones. This information will include notifications to citizens and circulars produced by neighborhood councils and associations. The project will also consolidate information on community living and run tests of other data services that can be digitalized, including alerts for confirming the safety and whereabouts of citizens. Our parties plan on leveraging this project to invigorate inter-regional communications, reduce paper use, make administrative procedures more efficient and otherwise help build safe, secure and sustainable communities in Yatsushiro City. We are also committed to other kinds of future data connections that will improve services for community residents.
This pilot project is tentatively scheduled to begin sometime around April 2022.
 
(2) Yatsushiro Home Support (HomeServe’s fixed-rate, monthly subscription based services)
These services, which cover fixed-rate repairs for household plumbing issues, are for detached home owners in Yatsushiro City (they will not be available for rented homes). Residents can make inquiries and book appointments for the services listed below by contacting HomeServe’s dedicated call center.
 
 
Interior Plumbing Plan
Exterior Plumbing Plan
Service Details
  • Leaks of bathtubs, toilets, kitchen and laundry room pipes
  • Blockages and leaks of toilets
  • Blockages and leaks of exterior pipes, etc.
Eligible Customers
  • Most owners of detached homes in Yatsushiro City
Subsidies
  • The following subsidies are for all associated labor and materials costs:
Up to 100,000 yen (tax included) per job
Up to 300,000 yen (tax included) per job
Monthly Rates
980 yen
480 yen
 
* More information about these services will be made available shortly on the HomeServe Japan website (https://www.homeserve.co.jp/).
  • Remarks: Upon commencement of our parties’ collaborations, HomeServe will be making a contribution to Yatsushiro City via the corporate version of Japan’s “Hometown Tax” system. We will be engaging in joint PR work through the city’s homepage, public-relations magazine and other media.
 

[Yatsushiro City]
  1. Address of City Hall:1-25 Matsuejomachi, Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture
  2. Location in Kumamoto Prefecture:  Approx. 40 km south of Kumamoto City
  3. Number of Households:                           49,204*
  4. Population:                                            123,067*
  5. Size:                                                     680 km2
  6. Mayor: Hiroshi Nakamura
  7. Features:
Yatsushiro City is the second largest municipality in Kumamoto Prefecture. It is known for producing some of Japan’s finest plants and fruits, including soft rush and pomelo. Referred to as a “masonry town” in one of Japan’s heritage stories, it is also home to many well known agricultural, historical and tourist attractions, including the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage Yatsushiro Myoken Festival. Furthermore, in addition to the connecting with Southern Kyushu via the Kyushu and Minamikyushu expressways, the city boasts Kumamoto Prefecture’s largest international trading port (Yatsushiro Port). It has become a key transportation hub in both overland and marine logistics.  
*According to 2020 census data. 
 
 
[Mitsubishi Corporation]
  1. Headquarters:                              2-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  2. Year of Establishment:                 1954
  3. Capital:                                          204,400,000,000 yen
  4. 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, Mineral Resources, Industrial Infrastructure, Automotive & Mobility, Food Industry, Consumer Industry, Power Solution, and Urban Development.
  5. Representative: President and CEO Takehiko Kakiuchi
 
[HomeServe Japan]
  1. Headquarters:                                1-2-6 Nihonbashi-Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
  2. Year of Establishment:                  2019
  3. Capital:                                           2,100,000,000 yen (including reserve)
  4. Main Operations:                          Repairs and related services for urban and service infrastructure
  5. Representative:                             President & CEO Takahiro Date 

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