Both Japanese and European cities have in recent years been actively addressing socioeconomic shifts and incorporating strategies for sustainable urban development. In Japan, local governments have worked to account for the needs of aging citizens and the need for sustainable urban policy through development of compact and low-carbon cities.  Similarly, European cities have experience facing demographic shifts and understand the importance of sustainability in urban policy. Many cities in the European Union have been proactive in combatting the “shrinking city” phenomenon and enacting environmentally sensitive urban development standards.

The World Cities programme’s EU-Japan Urban Policy Dialogue has been organized in the interest of productively addressing demographic shifts and promoting sustainable urban development in both regions.  The EU-Japan Dialogue will bring together four Japanese and four European cities to discuss and collaborate on actions connected to the two central themes of compact city development in light of an aging and declining population, and low-carbon development.  This project provides a unique opportunity for cities to share expertise and gain insight from other municipalities that are working in areas of mutual interest. The Dialogue will provide Japanese and European participants with valuable first-hand experience in sustainable urban development issues.

Within the EU-Japan Dialogue, the World Cities programme will prepare, run, and evaluate three working meetings – two in Japan and one in Europe. The programme will also launch a collaborative online platform to facilitate the exchange of information and good practices between European and Japanese cities. Japanese and European project cities will cooperate based on similarities between their thematic areas, experiences, and goals; communication with all cities in the exchange provides additional opportunities for collaboration and potential for new ideas.

The key events of the EU-Japan Dialogue are as follows:

  • Selecting four European and four Japanese cities for implementing twinning schemes during 2015 – 2016.
  • Implementing one two-day working meeting in Tokyo for five delegates from each participating city.  This working meeting will be followed by field visits in which European cities visit their Japanese partners for a more in-depth discussion of their shared topics. Date: early June 2015.
  • After a period of decentralized cooperation among the cities, a second working meeting will be held in a participating city in the European Union. The working meeting will be designed for five delegates from each participating city. This working meeting will be followed by field visits in which Japanese cities visit their European partners. Date: Second half 2015.
  • After 2-3 months, a closing meeting will be held in a participating Japanese city.  Three representatives from each participating city will attend. Date: First Quarter 2016.

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