SHARING THE KANAGAWA MODEL FOR SDG ACTION WITH THE WORLD
- Kanagawa Prefectural Government (K.P.G.) in Japan is taking various initiatives for SDGs and is seeking a society full of laughter where people can enjoy healthy longevity and “vibrant inochi ”. By sharing these initiatives with various sectors across the world, including local governments, the Kanagawa Prefectural Government aims to help overcome the world’s common challenges arising from a super-aged society and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as promote the localization of SDGs led by local governments.
- Local governments and cities around the world
- Companies, private investors, and academia
What does "vibrant inochi" signify?
- K.P.G. is promoting the policy of "vibrant inochi" for the citizens of Kanagawa.
- Inochi is usually translated to “life”. However, when we use this word, it represents more than life. It carries a broad meaning, incorporating the purpose of life, healthy longevity, a good environment, and a community full of laughter, based on diversity.
- Inochi is circulating, and is related to all human beings, living creatures, and the global environment.
- K.P.G. aims for vibrant inochi as an embodiment of the SDGs with the ME-BYO concept as the pivotal idea.
Concept of "Kanagawa, for vibrant inochi"
- We have witnessed unprecedented population aging across the world. Especially, Japan is the world’s fastest graying society and is facing various challenges arising from aging ahead of others.
- The challenges have mainly two aspects. One is an influence on the social security system, such as medical care, nursing care, and pension, brought about by an increased average life expectancy and a growing elderly population. Another is reduced economic and social vitality caused by a shrinking working population that results from falling birth rates.
- Against this background, K.P.G. has been working on the creation of a vigorous society by promoting measures for the environment, energy, education, community building, and inclusive society, not just medical care, as interrelated issues towards a future goal of “Kanagawa, for vibrant inochi”.
- This initiative is based on the same philosophy as that of the SDGs, and Kanagawa is said to be the most advanced prefecture in Japan in promoting SDGs.
- K.P.G. believes that the philosophy of vibrant inochi shall be accepted not only in Japan but also in the world, and will keep on sharing this idea with the world as a milestone to a sustainable society where no one is left behind, aiming to further expand the circle of efforts to this end.
- “ME-BYO” is a core concept of “Kanagawa, for vibrant inochi”.
- Our health condition cannot be clearly divided into being sick and healthy. It is gradually changing between the two states.
- We refer to this gradually changing condition as “ME-BYO”. To improve ME-BYO, it is important to make efforts to enhance mental and physical conditions as much as possible, wherever your health stands in the gradation.
- Ensuring that your own behavior aligns with the improvement of your own ME-BYO is key to not only managing your health but also preventing the transmission of COVID-19.
"Healthcare New Frontier" Policy
- By combining this ME-BYO concept with state-of-the-art medical treatments and the latest technologies, such as regenerative medicine and cell therapy, robotics, and ICT, K.P.G. is promoting its “Healthcare New Frontier” policy, which aims to extend healthy longevity and create a sustainable new social system.
- It leverages healthcare ICT to encourage actions for ME-BYO improvement through state-of-the-art medical treatments/latest technologies and smartphone apps, and the development of human resources that will lead to new technologies and social system innovation, which are the specific approaches that K.P.G. is implementing together with ME-BYO.
Creation of a Future Society
- K.P.G. is boosting measures for the creation of a future society through community reconstruction and revitalization, as well as new technologies and digital transformation. K.P.G. is moving ahead even in this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic towards the realization of a warm, caring, and secure digital society.
Examples of Initiatives
1. ME-BYO Index
- ME-BYO Index, which was developed in cooperation with WHO and the University of Tokyo, numerically indicates the position of your health condition in the gradation to visualize the state of ME-BYO.
- ME-BYO Index is carried in a smartphone app (My ME-BYO Record). For measurement, you can choose 15 items from four areas of lifestyle habit, cognitive function, vital function, and mental health/stress.
- You can select English while using this app. The service is also available for those who work or go to school in Kanagawa, besides the residents.
- In measuring mental health/stress, MYMOSIS, a smartphone app that analyses mental state promptly and easily through voice is utilized.
- Since mental state is expressed through speech waveform, voice analysis is possible for any language.
- It is important to grasp your own state of ME-BYO and take action for improvement. ME-BYO Index would be an effective tool to encourage people to take ME-BYO improvement as their own matter and change their behavior accordingly.
2. Case of Wakabadai housing complex (ME-BYO improvement by social participation)
- To improve ME-BYO, a balanced diet, exercise, and social participation are important. Particularly, social participation is a key element.
- Wakabadai housing complex, which was developed by a K.P.G.-relevant agency in the prefecture approximately 40 years ago, has nearly 15,000 residents. Over half of the residents are 65 years old or older. The ratio of elderly people among the residents is much higher than the national average. However, the ratio of those who require nursing care is far below the national average of the country.
- This has been made possible through the power of the local community. Various voluntary programs, such as summer festivals, fireworks, events where the elderly teach children's games from their generation to kids, residents’ volunteer activities, and cultural and sports club activities, are promoting exchanges beyond generations and are bringing about laughter to the community.
- Through “Kanagawa Living-to-100 Network", launched by K.P.G. in cooperation with various stakeholders such as the municipalities, universities and NPOs, an event called “Cool Adult Project” was planned and carried out at the Wakabadai housing complex with the participation of residents under the catchphrases of “cool adults” and “children are the main players”.
- To further promote the exchanges among generations that are already taking place, workshops and ME-BYO improvement projects are planned and implemented through the network, in view of generational changes in leadership for future community building.
- These efforts to create a place where young and elderly generations can continue to live through the power of residents give us valuable suggestions in considering a suitable city for a growing elderly population. Therefore, K.P.G. is actively sharing these initiatives as good examples with municipalities in the prefecture.
3. Promoting theater among senior citizens through the use of technology
- K.P.G. promotes Magnet Culture, a program to attract people through art and culture to create a bustling community. As part of the effort to offer opportunities for all individuals, from children to adults, to join and enjoy performing art, regardless of age or disability, K.P.G. organized a theater activity for senior citizens. K.P.G. provides assistance to these activities through a supporting organization.
- For their rehearsal, instructors give guidance in a wide range, including basic theatrical training, voice exercise, dance, and sword fighting scenes.
- 84% of the participants said they felt energized by joining the theater group. Senior citizens who watched the play said that they felt happy to see actors of their generation performing.
- Though opportunities for gatherings were limited under the COVID-19 pandemic, they were facilitated through online performances. Members and participants felt happy by getting connected and were able to communicate through the group's LINE video call and ZOOM while staying at home
- By utilizing technology, they discovered novel activities and further improved their daily lives, full of laughter, even under the pandemic.
4. School of Health Innovation
- The Graduate School of Health Innovation of Kanagawa Prefectural University of Human Services (School of Health Innovation) was established in 2019. Based on public health, the school conducts educational research in interdisciplinary fields, such as health and medical treatment policy, business, and technology, and nurtures innovative human resources that can play an active role in industry, government, or academia.
- Aiming to foster highly skilled personnel to lead the international society in the future, the school has been accepting human resources from overseas and has newly established doctoral courses in 2021.
- Human resources that are trained in the school are expected to take leadership in various fields as researchers to conduct advanced research to solve health and medical issues, as business leaders for the development of technology and services in healthcare-related companies or to promote product application to society and international marketing in pharmaceutical affairs, or as administrative officers to work for international health and medical policies.
5. Network of cutting-edge life innovation bases
- Various companies and research institutes in the field of life sciences have their facilities in Tonomachi district, Kawasaki City, which is located across from Haneda Airport and serves as an international gateway to Japan. These facilities include the Life Innovation Center (LIC), which conducts research for the commercialization of regenerative medicine and cell therapy, which is expected to be a next-generation medicine, in addition to state-run organizations.
- Shonan iPark in Fujisawa City is established mainly by the private sector. Organizations of various fields and scales are gathered here, representing the pharmaceutical industry, next-generation medicine, AI, and venture capital industries.
- Collaborative activities are in progress between these bases. Development is going on for innovative new drugs and new treatments by integrating regenerative medicine/cell therapy and cutting-edge scientific rehabilitation, as well as new products and services that respond to health-care needs. Thus, one of the world’s most advanced life innovation bases is established here in Kanagawa, which is helping to create new industry while expanding its network in Japan and abroad.
- It is expected that Kanagawa will play a central role in establishing a collaborative system among industry, government and academia in the future. In particular, Kanagawa will lead the next-generation industries in overcoming issues arising from the world’s most aged society by nurturing venture companies that will become a driving force of the healthcare field.
Information and Photo Credit: Kanagawa Prefectural Government (K.P.G.)