On the first full day of the Forum, JLL kicked off with a morning breakfast session titled ‘Delivering New World Cities’, where renowned panelists discussed many aspects of city innovation and urbanization. It was fascinating to hear insights from the panel, which comprised Rosemary Feenan, JLL’s head of global research, Professor Colin Lizieri from the University of Cambridge, and Professor Carlo Ratti of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
The session was particularly pertinent for Tokyo, since the city was named as an example of a global hub enabled by technology. Much of the discussion was focused on how to create sustainable cities and the importance of effective interaction between economics, real estate, technology and capital to achieve this.
Professor Lizieri noted that private investment needs to feed into cities as a whole to help develop the infrastructure they need to be successful. Professor Ratti highlighted the impact of data and technology, reminding us that real estate moves slowly and technology moves fast, so as an industry we need to start future proofing. Food for thought for Tokyo as the city gears up for the 2020 Olympic Games.
On the evening of day two, the ‘Japan Night’ event drew many Japanese corporate executives from a wide range of industries. This event was hosted to promote Japan’s business and culture, and also offered networking opportunities for senior leaders and government officials.
Although Prime Minister Abe was unable to attend Davos this year, the ceremony kicked off with a message from him. I had the pleasure of attending the event with JLL’s global CEO Colin Dyer and met with many Japanese corporate executives, while enjoying some sushi and sake.
It has been three years since the start of ‘Abenomics’ and although people still anticipate a long journey for Japan to grow at the levels it once experienced, throughout the night I sensed a strong unity and bond to work as a team, as ‘One Japan’. As this year’s overarching theme is ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’, I feel more strongly now about Japan’s potential to contribute as we embark on this new frontier.
In PM Abe’s absence Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization Amari, Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda, and Governor of Fukushima Prefecture Uchibori plan to take part in the sessions.
Minister Amari is set to report on the development of ‘Abenomics’ and explain how Japan is preparing for future economic growth. Meanwhile, Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda will participate in a session titled “The Global Economic Outlook” alongside India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Given the slowing growth and recent market volatility in China, many will be listening keenly to what both Mr Kuroda and Mr Jaitley have to say about the economic prospects for their respective countries.