Today, the Crystal Palace in BTC City Ljubljana hosted the forum “Society 5.0 in Slovenia – The Next Step”, organised by the Embassy of Japan in Slovenia and the Slovenia-Japan Business Council with the support of the BTC Company. At the forum, prominent speakers from both countries discussed the practical implementation of the Society 5.0 development concept in Slovenia.

Society 5.0 is a Japanese development concept that aims to create co-existence between the virtual and the real world, balance economic development, address society’s challenges and create a better, super-smart and more comfortable society with people in the forefront. And the very implementation of this concept in Slovenia was the thread of the forum “Society 5.0 in Slovenia – The Next Step”, attended by representatives from the business and professional world from both Japan and Slovenia. Among other things, the initiative represents an opportunity to strengthen co-operation between the two countries in Society 5.0 key areas, such as robotics, energy, mobility and artificial intelligence.

At the opening event, introductory speeches were given by Dr Jernej Pikalo, Minister of Education, Science and Sport, His Excellency Mr Masaharu Yoshida, Ambassador of Japan in Slovenia, Mag Aleksander Mervar, General Manager at ELES and President of the Slovenia-Japan Business Council, Jože Mermal, Chairman of the Board of Directors at BTC and Alojz Kovšca, President of the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia.

Koichi Akaishi, Vice Minister for Innovation Policy at the Cabinet Secretariat of the Government of Japan, highlighted the current state of concept Society 5.0 in relation to smart cities: “When it comes to Society 5.0, a lot of people ask where is Society 5.0. We definitely need a concrete image of Society 5.0 and this is one of the reasons we promote smart cities. Smart city is an initiative to solve urban and regional problems and create new value by utilizing advanced technology. With use of the concept of smart cities people could understand how new technologies can be deployed into the real world; therefore, this concept is very good for the realisation of Society 5.0.” He also stressed the importance of a global alliance and the involvement of Japan, Slovenia and the entire European Union, which can contribute to sustainable development in the area.

What followed was the presentation of the proposal for the implementation of Society 5.0 in Slovenia, held by Dr Yoshiaki Ichikawa, Visiting Professor at Tama University and Tokyo City University, Chairman of ISO/TC 268SC 1 “Smart community infrastructures”. He emphasised that Slovenia is ready for the introduction of Society 5.0 and added: “The implementation needs two-sided approach. One side of approach should be the change of regulations; de-regulation or change of their enforcement style from the current physical space oriented to cyber space oriented. Cyber space is much easier to remotely enforce as far as the cyber space is a live copy of the physical space, and is able to lower the cost of industry and promote businesses. The other side of approach is facilitation and coordination of new challenges in business sectors. I expect young startups which have small resources but large innovative ideas to fully utilize the benefit of cyber and physical space integration. They need a kind of organization to coordinate business ecosystem where collaborative relationships with other technology providers, investors and customers are facilitated.

At the panel discussion, Koichi Akaishi, Vice Minister for Innovation Policy at the Cabinet Secretariat of the Government of Japan, Dr Yoshiaki Ichikawa, Visiting Professor at Tama University and Tokyo City University, Chairman of ISO/TC 268SC 1 “Smart community infrastructures”, Dr Igor Papič, Rector at the University of Ljubljana, Jernej Salecl, Head of Division for Industry, Innovation and Technology at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, Mag Damjan Kralj, Chief Executive Officer at BTC and moderator Daniel Avdagič, CEO of AV Living Lab, discussed the challenges the future holds for Society 5.0. They focused on introducing the concept of Society 5.0 in Slovenia in a way that would involve all stakeholders – the state, non-profit organisations and companies, as well as science and education. In addition to the importance of introducing new technologies and artificial intelligence, they also emphasised ethical and demographic issues. The participants concluded that the project Society 5.0 is an excellent opportunity for co-operation between Japanese and Slovenian partners, who would together carry out research and development projects and create digital content that would always bring people to the forefront.

Mag Damjan Kralj, Chief Executive Officer at BTC, said: “At BTC, we are proud to be able to participate in the Society 5.0 initiative in Slovenia, as it is in line with our company’s development strategy. We see synergies mainly in areas, such as the introduction of new technologies, careful management of natural resources and building a smart future where technology enriches people’s lives. BTC also manages an ideal ecosystem in which Japanese partners can test Society 5.0 strategies in the heart of Europe. Through the BTC Innovation Centre, with the BTC City Living Lab in its heart, we offer partners the opportunity to test advanced ideas in the real environment of BTC City Ljubljana. At the same time, the Innovation Centre brings together advanced technology companies that develop people-focused products and services, thus presenting ways to integrate the Society 5.0 concept into a wider local and international environment.”

The event “Society 5.0 in Slovenia – The Next Step” is a continuation of the successful February event Forum 5.0, which presented successful Japanese-Slovenian projects and the concept of Society 5.0 in the Crystal Palace, and the October bilateral economic forum at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, where over a hundred Slovenian and Japanese businessmen met.


Additional information

Maja Oven, Director of Market Communication and Public Relations Sector

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Society 5.0 in Slovenia – The Next Step