I am the director of Age-Friendly City Section in Longevity Welfare Division at Akita City Hall in Japan. I have worked in departments such as disability welfare, taxation, and personnel affairs and have gained extensive experience since I joined the city hall.
In 2009, Akita City started to work on the Age-friendly City project and joined WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities in 2011 as a first city in Japan. I have been engaged in the project since starting. And now we are making efforts to create a society where people can be active throughout their lifetime as well as supervising the whole project.
Age-friendly City efforts in Akita City
Japan is faced with problems like population decline and aging. Securing our society’s sustainability is a major issue. In order to counteract such situation, Akita City was the first in Japan to join WHO Age-friendly city global network in 2011. Age-friendly city doesn’t mean older people take advantages of young people and put more burden on them. Promoting age-friendly city leads to improvement of transportation with more consideration for the elderly, better accessibility, progress with regional support, and advancing social inclusiveness. The society where the elderly can become active based on their level of motivation and their allowed health and environmental condition is good for all generations.
First, Akita city implemented “the Coin Bus Project” which people over 65 years old can ride a bus in the city for 100 yen.
Secondly, we started “the Age-friendly Partner Project” in 2015. It is a new initiative where private companies register themselves as the city’s partner, to encourage these companies to take actions with great consideration for the elderly and people with disabilities. 81 businesses are registered by January 2018. The types of registrants are diverse such as bank, supermarket, hospital, etc., and the network is steadily expanding. In the future, Akita City will support more exchanges among the partners and encourage them to lead the development of new businesses intended for the elderly. Furthermore, new initiative has started to create community activities for the elderly seeking places of activities and opportunities to help solve issues in local communities as well as build stronger connections within residents. We introduced a community design method for this initiative.
Life longevity provides us an opportunity to create a new form of co-creation in which industry-academia-government and citizens bring together their expertise and knowledge towards solution for the local issues.
This presentation will describe the initiatives’ outline and the future direction of Akita City.
－system to tackle regional issues through industry-academia-government-private cooperation
－promotion of community activities where residents will actively utilize regional resources
－utilization of the knowledge and wisdom of the elderly
■conclusion/Take Home Messages
Our goal is to make a society full of vitality, with people who are rich at heart and mind, promoting healthy and longer life. Furthermore, we would like to create a society where the elderly can fully utilize their rich experience and knowledge. We aim to build a new society through collaboration between the government, citizens, and the private sector so that everyone can live their own 100-year life, with fun, fulfillment and hope.