The Slovenia Times

Japanese initiative Society 5.0 discussed in Ljubljana


Society 5.0 is an idea of social development which would use modern technology to create a world which would be characterised by fairness, equality, quality and healthy environment, further economic growth and absence of famine.

"We need changes which will enable a better and fairer society," said Aleksander Mervar, the director of the national grid operator ELES and the president of the Slovenia-Japan Business Council, which hosted the event.

A society of the future must be kind to the elderly, young people, the environment and everything else that is needed for quality life, he added.

Mervar pointed to the increasing importance of business and technological cooperation between Slovenia and Japan, including NEDO, a smart technology project bringing together ELES and NEDO, Japan's new energy and industrial technology development organisation.

A plant of the Japanese robot maker Yaskawa in the Slovenian town Kočevje is about to be launched and cooperation is also being developed in other fields, including logistics, medicine and energy, he added.

Japanese Ambassador to Slovenia Masaharu Yoshida pointed to the concept of Society 5.0 as a vision of a society of the future, adding that it was about using technology for improving the lives of all.

Yoshida said Slovenia and Japan could be excellent potential partners in the implementation of this vision, adding that Slovenia's advantage was the fact that its citizens appreciated well-being and respect the environment.

Economy Ministry State Secretary Aleš Cantarutti believes that Slovenia could make Society 5.0 a feature of its EU presidency in 2021 and could present its Society 5.0 project implementation at the 2025 Expo in Osaka.

Economic Development and Technology Minister Zdravko Počivalšek pointed out that the trade between Japan and Slovenia had amounted to EUR 227m in 2017, adding that Japanese investments in Slovenia were on the rise.

Foreign Ministry State Secretary Dobran Božič noted that Japan had recognised Slovenia as a favourable business environment for its investments, as an innovative and technologically advanced country with quality staff.

Education, Science and Sport Minister Jernej Pikalo said that one of the main challenges for Slovenia were the fast-ageing society. "If we fail to find a solution, we will have the first major problems in 2025, and they will be immense already in 2035."

Uroš Prikl, a state secretary in the prime minister's office, pointed to Slovenia's long-lived society strategy. He said that activities for its effective implementation were already under way so that "it becomes reality".

Manfred Stern, the boss of Yaskawa Europe, said that Slovenia was very important for the group, praising the support from the government and others for the robot facility to be built in Kočevje. "I believe we've made the right decision."

Stern is happy with the EU-Japan free trade agreement, which entered into force a few days ago, as he believes it would help both sides. At the time when global trade is facing obstacles, Japan and the EU are sending out an important positive signal, he added.


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