In December 2020, Idemitsu launched an initiative involving a local innovation ecosystem research center for the recycling of resources in the Tanegashima region of Kagoshima. The research initiative is being conducted jointly by industry, academia, and government and was selected as a development project (co-creation field) under the Program on Open Innovation Platform for Industry-Academia Co-Creation (COI-NEXT) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).
Joint research is being conducted in collaboration with multiple institutions, with Tokyo University being the main representative, and aims to realize a vision based on the SDGs. Using a backcasting method involving industry, academia, and government co-creation, we strive to not only solve the increasingly complex local issues of Tanegashima but also roll out this initiative to other regions and realize this vision.
The JST’s COI-NEXT is aimed at achieving a vision for society in the future (the center’s vision) based on the SDGs.
This initiative promotes co-creation with municipalities, citizens, and other diverse stakeholders based on industry-academia collaboration centered on universities as well as R&D aimed at realizing concrete, achievable targets.
The initiative selected comprises joint research with participating institutions under the center’s vision, “industry-academia- government co-creation that develops systems for recycling local resources in an innovation ecosystem based on conceptual ideals, reasoning, and emotion.” These efforts are centered on Nakatane-cho and Minamitane-cho in Nishinoomote City, one of the specific areas in which the COI-NEXT activities are being carried out.
Through this initiative, Idemitsu aims to work with participating institutions to test and roll out co-created solutions that are effective at solving local issues. We will contribute to local communities in the fields of mobility and distributed energy by leveraging our knowledge related to local issues accumulated through the operation of our service station network comprising around 6,300 locations nationwide as well as our alliances with dealers who develop business rooted in local communities.
In January 2021, we launched the open innovation base Aizu Revitalization Center in the ICT office building, “Smart City AiCT”, located in Aizuwakamatsu of Fukushima Pref.
Aizu Revitalization Center is aiming to create new service models for local community by using ICT with opt-in type citizen participation on the data linkage platform (city OS) with University of Aizu specializing in computer science, companies located in AiCT, and local companies including our subsidiary, Wakamatsu Gas Co., Ltd., and Idemitsu dealers.
Specifically, we will run the projects to seek for the opportunities of next-generation business development with utilizing ICT and data in the area of mobility, distributed energy, circular economy, etc. In near future, we will build data driven business model with city OS, and contribute to development of safe, secure and comfortable community as well as creation of local employment.
In October 2021, along with Nihon Unisys, Ltd. and SmartDrive Inc., we have started a demonstration experiment for the purpose of constructing a system that contributes to reducing energy costs and environmental load and improving resilience in the event of a disaster on the site of the Kunitomi Town Hall in Kunitomi Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, which is working to popularize renewable energy as a "town development that is friendly to people and the environment”.
The three companies are aiming to realize local production for local consumption of energy and low carbonization together with local government by utilizing their respective knowledge.
In this demonstration experiment, a solar power generation system, three EVs for public vehicles, vehicle management system for EV reservation management and vehicle information acquisition, multiple storage batteries, EV charger/ discharger, EV charger have been installed on the premises of the Kunitomi Town Hall.
Then, we introduce an energy management system that controls these resources comprehensively from a remote location to optimize energy use.
By creating and operating an optimal charge / discharge plan for storage batteries and EVs, we will be able to reduce the power costs and CO₂ emissions of the Kunitomi Town Hall.
In addition, we will verify the optimal operation of the power supply from the storage battery and EVs in the event of a power outage due to a disaster, etc., and consider the business model.
From June to July 2021, Idemitsu and SmartScan, Inc. used a pilot test of a mobile brain check neurological screening service—the first in Japan—using a trailer containing an MRI machine in Toin-cho,
Early detection and treatment is vital to addressing sudden-onset cerebral disorders that are caused in part by lifestyle-related diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. As such, the importance of preventive care has been attracting increasing attention in recent years. Periodic brain screenings are an effective tool for cerebral disorder prevention, but these screenings are only available at clinics equipped with advanced MRI machines.
Idemitsu and SmartScan are using a mobile trailer containing an MRI machine to offer brain check services requiring less time and at lower cost (approximately half the cost of ordinary brain check services) in areas that are far from existing brain check facilities.
By providing advanced preventive care, Idemitsu and SmartScan aim to contribute to the health and safety of people living in regional areas. We are examining ways to improve the service and offer it in more areas going forward.
Since forming a capital and business alliance with REHA CONTENTS Co., Ltd. in March 2018, Idemitsu has been promoting the development of directly-operated and franchised senior day service facilities to support autonomous lifestyles. In April 2021, Idemitsu acquired all shares of QLC Produce Corporation, making it a subsidiary.
We are also entering new businesses in areas covered by nursing care insurance and developing services not covered by insurance, aiming to establish a comprehensive care system that allows seniors to maintain their desired lifestyles.