In 2015, Kakogawa City had the third-worst crime rate in Hyogo, a prefecture in western Japan neighboring Osaka. Local authorities decided to implement a smart networked camera and sensor system they call mimamori, which means to watch over someone. With this, residents can monitor their children and elderly relatives. The system helps ensure their safety and security while protecting their data and privacy. It’s one of the latest examples of how smart cities and data governance are helping improve society in Japan.
Fighting crime in the smart city
Located on the Seto Inland Sea about 30 km west of Kobe, Kakogawa is a city of about 264,000 people. To meet residents’ strong demands for safe streets, the municipal government worked with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and private businesses, including NEC and Nikken Sekkei Research Institute, to launch the mimamori system.
|Municipalities in Japan and overseas are turning to smart city solutions to address social issues, prompting an explosion in
data generated by cameras and other sensors
In 2017 and 2018, the city installed about 1,500 networked cameras mainly around schools and school routes. About 2,000 sensors were also installed, both in fixed locations and on 265 government vehicles and 176 Japan Post motorcycles. The system is able to detect residents carrying Bluetooth Low Energy tags to confirm their location. The city is using FIWARE, a framework of open-source components to power smart cities and protect their data. The data is uploaded to cloud servers and the information is made available to volunteers and family members via the Kakogawa App.
The networked camera and sensor system has already had an effect. Aside from making residents feel more secure about their loved ones, the crime rate in Kakogawa fell below the Hyogo Prefecture average for the first time in November 2018.
“We built an environment in which children and elderly people can be monitored by the local community,” says Nishimori Yoko, a Kakogawa City official. “The system can be effective in the event of an emergency. We have had several cases of missing people who were located quicker compared to before the system was deployed.”
Some residents were worried about leaks of images from the system containing personal information, but the city has emphasized its policies on privacy and data governance. To assuage public concern about the new system, Kakogawa Mayor Yasuhiro Okada visited 12 sites and briefed members of the public. In a survey of 862 residents, over 98% responded that the system was “necessary” or “probably necessary.”
|Kakogawa City installed about 1,500 networked cameras mainly around schools and school routes. Residents can monitor
loved ones’ locations via a city app
Kakogawa is working with other municipalities around the world to promote smart city policies. Representatives joined the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance Launch Event held in Yokohama in October 2019 under the aegis of the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan and the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan (C4IR Japan). Participants including representatives from cities such as Barcelona and Cincinnati discussed issues including the use of technology in smart cities. Fifteen cities announced the launch of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance, which is focused on producing standards for connected devices in public spaces.
Protecting data in Society 5.0
“There’s a smart city boom emerging in Japan now, and data governance is the lifeblood of smart cities,” says C4IR Japan head Suga Chizuru, who spoke at the Yokohama event. “We’re doing this to benefit citizens by tackling technical unattractive issues.”
|Representatives from smart cities around the world joined the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance Launch Event held in Yokohama
in October 2019
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry chose Suga for C4IR Japan based on her outstanding performance. At the ministry, she organized a study group aimed at modernizing Japan’s financial regulations amid the rise of fintech. As she gave presentations on how Japan should embrace fintech, the group gained members and attention. Eventually, it helped get legislative reforms to accelerate the adoption of fintech on the agenda in Japan. At C4IR Japan, Suga is focused on facilitating global consensus around data governance, with expert groups on healthcare, smart cities and mobility.
As more and more municipalities in Japan and overseas turn to smart city solutions to address social issues, the volume of data being generated by cameras and other kinds of sensors is seeing explosive growth. Managing that data is becoming increasingly important amid the expansion of Society 5.0, defined by the Cabinet Office as “a human-centered society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space.”
Data governance is also at the heart of policies being promoted by the Japanese government and its partners. Research firm Gartner defines data governance as “the specification of decision rights and an accountability framework to ensure the appropriate behavior in the valuation, creation, consumption and control of data and analytics.”
That’s one of the aims of C4IR Japan, which was established in 2018 in an unprecedented partnership between the WEF, the Japanese government and Japanese organizations and corporations. It’s dedicated to maximizing the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Society 5.0, which are periods of rapid change driven by progress in science and technology, by promoting open innovation and interoperability in policymaking.
|“No country has the best data governance solution, and we’re still in an exploration phase as we share knowledge for the best
governance framework,” says Suga Chizuru, head of C4IR Japan
To emphasize that data governance must be a key priority in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the center hosted a data governance conference in November 2018. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo followed up with a speech at the Davos Forum annual conference in January 2019, announcing that his administration would prepare the “Osaka track for Data Governance”. G20 leaders, together with World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, joined Abe during the G20 Osaka summit to discuss the importance of the digital economy. They adopted the “Osaka Track” on the digital economy to craft rules on governance in international data traffic under the motto Data Free Flow With Trust (DFFT). The new rules are designed to benefit
individuals, businesses, organizations and even smart cities like Kakogawa.
“No country has the best data governance solution, and we’re still in an exploration phase as we share knowledge for the best governance framework,” says Suga. “Flexible and appropriate data governance will enable societies to enjoy the fruits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and redistribute its wealth.”
This article first appeared on the World Economic Forum (WEF) website and it is published here by the kind permission of the WEF. For more information on the activities, events and research of the World Economic Forum, please visit them on the web at: https://www.weforum.org