Why we promote a circular economy in Yokohama

Overview of Yokohama City

Located in the south of Tokyo, Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan with a population of about 3.7 million. The city is divided into 18 administrative districts and consists of very diverse communities.

Since its opening in the late Edo period in 1859, Yokohama has thrived as one of Japan’s leading port cities. There are many popular sightseeing spots at the bay side, such as Minatomirai area, Kannai area and the largest Chinatown in Japan.

On the other hand, once you step into the inland area, there are many greeneries and quiet residential areas where many people live as a bedroom town in the Tokyo metropolitan area. As such, Yokohama is selected as “the most livable cities in Kanto region in 2020” surveyed by SUUMO, a portal website of real estates and housing.

In Kanazawa ward, the southern part of Yokohama, there is the only beach in the city, which is full of many citizens in summer. A contemporary art festival called “Yokohama Triennale” is also held once every three year, attracting many visitors from around the world.

As a port city, Yokohama has a vibe of an open mind, having many exchanges with overseas people and actively adopting new cultures. Each citizen loves the city and has a civic pride. A diverse and creative community that values ​​sightseeing, art and culture has created the uniqueness of Yokohama today.

Why we promote a circular economy in Yokohama

Though Yokohama has many attractions as a major city of Japan, there are many local issues including a declining birthrate and aging population as well as other rural areas in Japan. The circular economy is a concrete strategy to address these issues, revitalize the local economy and create new jobs.

Job creation and an economic revitalization

The population in Yokohama is estimated to begin to decline from 2020 and to decrease from the current 3.7 million to 3.3 million in 2050 as a result of a declining birthrate and aging population. The aging rate, which is the proportion of people aged 65 and over, is expected to increase from about 25% in 2019 to 35% in 2050, while the aging rate has already reached 50% in some areas. Amid the declining population, we need a new economic model to create new employment and achieve sustainable growth.

Inclusive urban infrastructure

Yokohama has been developed based on the premise of a standard family of four (Parents and 2 children) as it has been a bedroom town for Tokyo. However, it has been changing with more diverse proportions. At present, over 40% of the population has been single-person households, the foreign population has exceeded 100,000, and the number of elderly people has also increased. Accordingly, there is a growing need to rebuild the city infrastructure so that such diverse people can live together.

Circular economy as a vision for SDGs

Yokohama city is recognized by the Japanese government for its advanced efforts to achieve the SDGs, and has been selected as a “SDGs Future City” since June 2018. While aiming for decarbonization toward 2030, it raises the following visions of “realizing a strong economic growth, a creative and cultural arts, and tourism and MICE city” and “an environmentally advanced city full of flowers and green,” developing a variety of projects to meet each goal of the SDGs.“ The circular economy is a comprehensive vision that crosses these efforts, achieves social justice while eliminating environmental impact, and enables thriving city.

5 Strengths of Yokohama

Sustainable city with leading initiatives

Yokohama, which has been selected as a SDGs future city, is also a member of ICLEI, the global city network consisting of more than 1,750 cities and regions committed to realizing a sustainable future. In addition, Yokohama city have launched a variety of unique initiatives including “Zero Carbon Yokohama”, an initiative aimed at decarbonization by 2050, and “Yokohama Blue Carbon”, a unique carbon offset program. The city has accumulated the knowledge and network for shaping the circular economy.

Easy environment to close the loop locally

Although Yokohama has a strong image of a port town lined with modern buildings, in fact, about 7% of the city, 2,920 hectares, is farmland, and more than 3,400 farmers grow vegetables, plants, and fruits. Yokohama is an easy place to create a local cycle of production and consumption, taking advantage of having both the largest consumers, and producers in the city.

Location and population size suitable for innovation

The location of Yokohama, 25 km away from Tokyo, has attracted the attention of many large companies as a innovation hub where workers can develop new businesses and do R&D asiding from the control of the Tokyo headquarters. Also, the 3.7 million population is smaller than Tokyo with the population of over 10 million, making it easier to conduct small experiments but still can create a greater impact than other regional cities.

Access to Talents

Taking advantage of easy access within 20 minutes by train from Tokyo, Yokohama has an ideal environment to attract diverse skilled talents who usually work in Tokyo as Kankei population and get them engage in circular economy projects.

*Kankei population refers to people who contribute to a region in many ways. They don’t live in the region permanently but not just visit it as a tourist but live for a certain period and do some local projects to make the area more lively.

World Circular Economy Forum 2018

In October 2018, Yokohama held the World Circular Economy Forum 2018, hosted by Sitra (Finnish Innovation Fund), in Pacifico Yokohama, bringing companies and government officials from around 85 countries together to promote a circular economy. In addition, the International Conference on Sustainable Brands 2020 Yokohama was held in February 2020. The city have established its position as a member of the global sustainability urban community.

Join our circle!

We aim for the circular economy that solves various local issues and realizes sustainable economic growth in a way that benefits everyone without affecting the environment. The circular economy is the intersection of sustainability and innovation. Why not create a circular economy project together in Yokohama?