Home to one of the first ports in Japan to be open to foreign trade and blessed with access to land, sea and air transport, Kobe is an international city that has developed into Japan’s gateway to the world.
Rebuilding of Kobe City as a global medical cluster city
On January 17, 1995, Kobe was hit by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, which claimed the lives of 4,571 people and caused unprecedented damage to the city, causing a significant economic setback.
In 1998, the city of Kobe initiated the Biomedical Cluster Project to provide better social and healthcare services in order to revitalize the city’s economy after the earthquake. Now, more than twenty years later, this biomedical cluster is the biggest of its kind in Japan, boasting various cutting-edge research and development institutions and more than 360 medical companies (as of July 2022).
Building a resilient and sustainable city towards net-zero with Hydrogen
In December 2020, the city of Kobe announced its goal to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050. This declaration has its roots in the City’s environmental master plan set in 2016 against global warming based on the three pillars: “Promotion of energy conservation”, “Social acceptance of renewable energy,” and “Promotion of innovative technology development,” with the aim of realizing “a life and society with low CO2 emissions.”
As part of the city’s promotion of innovative technology development, in 2016, Kobe has developed “the Hydrogen Smart City Kobe Plan” to support technology developments and develop initiatives to expand the use of hydrogen. Within this initiative, the ’Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain Pilot Project’, which aims to build a liquefied hydrogen supply chain for importing hydrogen from overseas to Japan, is being. The project led by HySTRA, an industry association of hydrogen energy experts, has received the support of the Japanese government and is being tested in both Australia and Kobe Airport Island.
The world’s first liquid hydrogen cargo ship, the Suiso Furontia (Hydrogen Frontier), left Kobe in December 2021, arrived in Australia in January 2022, loaded liquefied hydrogen produced from brown coal, and returned to Kobe in February 2022. The ship was designed to provide a means of safely transporting liquefied hydrogen over long distances by sea. Design techniques acquired through the development of the Suiso Furontia are being utilized in the ongoing development of an even larger “160,000 m3 liquid hydrogen cargo ship”.
Kobe City is a vibrant metropolis with advanced technology
Finally, in addition to these ground-breaking initiatives, the Kobe City Government also strives to increase the number of fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen fueling stations in order to promote the use of hydrogen throughout the city. The city is also implementing IoT and AI technologies to use energy more efficiently and is determined to take on new initiatives and tackle any challenges to become a low-carbon energy city.
Kobe is a vibrant yet compact city, ideal for the varying lifestyles of our citizens, and also one of the most comfortable cities in Japan for expats to settle in. Not far from the city’s downtown, you can find pristine beaches and majestic mountains, and Japan’s beautiful countryside is just a short 30-minute train ride away from the busy city.