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Yokohama Mayor speaks on upcoming Y-SHIP Convention 2023 for global innovators and pioneers

by | Aug 7, 2023

Y-SHIP Convention 2023 is scheduled for November of this year, and will see global innovators and pioneers gathering in Yokohama, Japan to highlight their solutions to global issues and create new partnerships. Y-SHIP is a new initiative by the City of Yokohama and was first announced during a launch event in March of 2023, during which the Mayor of Yokohama, Takeharu Yamanaka, delivered opening remarks that cast light upon the Y-SHIP Convention, including its genesis and its purpose.


In front of a hybrid audience of in-person guests and online viewers, Mayor Yamanaka declared that the theme of Y-SHIP is “Yokohama, Home to Japan’s Pioneers” as the acronym of Y-SHIP stands for “Yokohama Showcasing Highly Innovative Pioneers,” and that the purpose of the March launch event was to convey Yokohama’s determination and its potential to people from all over the world. He spoke on Yokohama’s history as a gateway to Japan, welcoming and becoming the entry point in 1859 for many cultures and technologies from overseas when Japan opened for trade to the world. The new Y-SHIP Convention draws inspiration from that history, once again welcoming new technologies and innovations from around the world to Yokohama through a new modality, and a metaphorical “SHIP” entering Yokohama’s historic port.


The Mayor of Yokohama noted that Yokohama has been attracting attention from major global companies and from other cities as an “Innovation City,” citing Bosch and Atlassian, famous international companies that have recently chosen Yokohama as their business base in Japan. He cited three major reasons for this recent attraction: Yokohama’s wealth of human resources and mechanisms necessary to expand one’s business, the concentration of universities and research institutions in the city, and the ratio of skilled technical workers to the entire employed population is higher than other comparable major Japanese cities like Tokyo or Osaka.


Yokohama is also no stranger to hosting international conventions, as it is home to the famous Pacifico Yokohama Convention Center, which, as the Mayor noted, “…has held a large number of international conferences in Japan for the past 18 years.” In fact, according to data from the Japan National Tourism Organization, “Pacifico Yokohama ranks top [in Japan] for the number of international conference attendees”, offering plenty of opportunities to meet various people and experts from the world. And while Y-SHIP is an initiative and convention to showcase and introduce international innovations to the city, Yokohama Mayor Takeharu Yamanaka also introduced that the city would be hosting Green Expo, a large international horticultural exhibition, in 2027, through which Yokohama will provide “a showcase of nature-based solutions for decarbonization.”


After the Mayor’s opening remarks, several other guest speakers and panel members for a panel discussion later during the event, offered their perspectives on Yokohama as the host city for Y-SHIP, and their high expectations of the city.


Mr. Mohammed Elloumi, the Tunisian Ambassador to Japan, expressed that Tunisia has “admiration and respect for [the] beautiful city of Yokohama which has always served as Japan’s gateway to the world” and congratulated the Mayor and people of Yokohama for their efforts which have made Yokohama “a global city par excellence, and one of the most attractive Japanese cities.” He continued by remarking on Yokohama’s hosting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in 2008, 2013, and 2019, saying that he witnessed how successful Yokohama was at hosting such an international gathering and that “Yokohama has become definitely the closest city to Africa.” Ambassador Elloumi also mentioned that Tunisia is seeking to further strengthen its partner relationship with the City of Yokohama, with one of the reasons being because “Yokohama City, as the second largest in the country, is one of the most popular locations for global countries…seeking to expand their business and Japan and overseas.”


Mr. Sergiy Korsunsky, Ambassador of Ukraine to Japan, spoke as well, and mentioned Yokohama and Ukraine’s existing connection through its sister city relationship with Odesa, noting “Yokohama has 58 years of partnership with Odesa, the major port of Ukraine, a gateway of our [expertise] to the world markets.” Yokohama and Odesa’s long sister city relationship has been highlighted recently due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with Yokohama having provided various forms of support to Odesa in its time of need. Ambassador Korsunsky also spoke the potential of collaboration with Yokohama, stating “When it comes to Yokohama, when I studied the potential of Japan-Ukraine cooperation, I found that the Yokohama-Tokyo technology and innovative cluster belongs to the short list of five biggest Innovative clusters in the world…So we see future opportunity [here].” He specifically mentioned Yokohama’s Port as a potential avenue of collaboration, stating, “We believe that Yokohama has a huge potential. We need to develop our port infrastructure…and we need to use your urban planning experience which is in Japan unmatched in the world.”


Mr. Boon Khai Tan, CEO of JTC Corporation, who joined the convention virtually, also spoke at the Y-SHIP launch event opening ceremony as well. He spoke on Singapore’s startup ecosystem, and noted that, “…Many opportunities reside not only just in Singapore as a global node but I think, as the mayor has said, in Yokohama as a node and a gateway to Japan, and also many other nodes, for example in Europe, Africa, and beyond.”


To hear the speakers’ full speeches and their thoughts on collaborating with Yokohama in the future, please enjoy their presentations via the recording available here. With the Mayor of Yokohama organizing and backing the upcoming Y-SHIP Convention 2023 in November via this launch event in March, and international partners and guests like those from Tunisia, Ukraine, and JTC Corporation, Y-SHIP Convention 2023 is poised to become a successful international event, both for Yokohama, Japan and other partner cities and corporations as they connect with international talent and innovations, and for the entrepreneurs and companies that desire to expand into the Japanese market, for whom Y-SHIP 2023 should prove an invaluable opportunity.


Y-SHIP Convention 2023 Official Page

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