Series ”Visiting the village” in search of the key to regional revitalization 2|電経新聞

Series ”Visiting the village” in search of the key to regional revitalization 2

嶋田社長(President Shimada)

Satoyume is a Japanese consulting company that works to create local businesses and jobs with the aim of regional revitalization. A major feature of the company is that it is based on ”accompanying consulting” in which the consultants in charge are closely involved with the local community and work with local people to shape the dreams of the area.
In addition to the planning and policy recommendations that a normal consulting firm would provide, they also work alongside them to produce concrete results such as business creation and job creation. In some cases, consultants move to a region for several years and work together with local people.
How does the company, which maintains this stance, view regional revitalization?
President Shunpei Shimada says:
“Some people think that holding a large-scale event revitalizes a region, while others think that developing products unique to that region revitalizes the region.On the other hand, we  believe that regional revitalization means establishing ongoing projects in the region that will create jobs, make the region more lively, increase the number of tourists visiting the region, and increase the local population.”
Before founding Satoyume, President Shimada worked as a consultant at a consulting company. He has been involved in planning and holding events to revitalize the region, but he has realized that one-off initiatives only end up tiring the local people.
”As a regional revitalization professional, I will carry out the plan properly.It doesn’t necessarily have to go as planned, but I will see to it that jobs and revitalization are created in the area.I wanted to do that kind of work” (President Shimada).
The company has provided long-term support for more than three years to around 50 municipalities across the country and achieved results. Based on this experience, they will show the characteristics of regions that are more likely to succeed.
In reality, geographical conditions and resources are not very important. The most important thing is human resources.
“A leader who has strong beliefs. This is important. The condition for success is to have a leader who has the desire to make the village a success,  and to make this project a success ” ,President Shimada mentions.
In the case of local communities, such leaders are the heads of city leaders and chambers of commerce, but the presence of reliable players who support these leaders is also essential. It is also essential to have supporters who sympathize with the struggles of the leaders and players and support them. It is said that most things will go well if the three layers of leaders, players, and supporters are established.
 ”Since our company is an escort type company, our consultants are involved in one region for 3 to 5 years. If we fail at the last minute, there will be nothing left and the consultant’s efforts will be in vain.I apologize for that. , we try to get involved with the local community after carefully assessing the actual situation in the area.The key point in determining this is whether or not the three tiers are solid.” (President Shimada).
Digital technology is effective in fostering the three tiers. For example, in Nishikawa Town, Yamagata Prefecture, Mayor Taishi Kanno is actively utilizing digital technology. They have created a LINE group that anyone can join, and they are listening directly to the opinions of townspeople and reflecting them in our policies. By making full use of cutting-edge technology, NFT, and actively developing digital administration, such as selling naming rights for parks in the town, they are encouraging the morale of players and supporters.
President Shimada said, ”DX cannot be overlooked in our efforts.As the population declines, it is becoming difficult to maintain the functions of local governments with human power alone.In particular, digital technology is more effective in small areas. As far as we know, smaller regions are more eager to go digital”.
Small areas are sometimes said to be more closed off and exclusive than urban areas. On the other hand, he feels that the regions the company works in are more enterprising than urban areas, and there are many people who are willing to take on new challenges. For example, Kosuge Village in Yamanashi Prefecture is aiming to create a village that makes full use of cutting-edge technology, and has now become a pilot farm for digital implementation.
President Shimada talks about his future prospects as follows.
”I want to create a society where all Japanese people can have a hometown.” Hometown here does not have a legal meaning, and it does not necessarily have to be the place where you were born.Everyone feels that this is their hometown. I want to create a world where people can have their own hometowns.It’s a relevant population, and digital technology can be very effective in that situation.I want to promote DX and other initiatives so that all Japanese people can feel like they have a hometown” .