Local governments have traditionally tried to expand global business in alliance with Japan International CooperationAgency (JICA) through JICA’s technical cooperation programs for foreign countries. Today, however, several local governments started to take the initiative in expanding global business. For example, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced three business models to be developed in alliance with a third sector company Tokyo Suido Services: (1) Independent business, (2) Joint business with private companies, and (3) Acquisition jointly with private companies. The government officials already started discussions with private companies in various industrial fields. Tokyo will get involved in the management of United Utilities Australia, an Australian water service company acquired by Mitsubishi Corp. and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, under a consulting agreement.
Osaka City Waterworks Bureau is conducting a feasibility study on the construction of a waterworks system in Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam with Kansai Economic Federation as a project support by New Energy andIndustrial Technology Development Organization. Yokohama is scheduled to establish a company intended for the contribution to the development of the water business both at home and abroad utilizing the know-how it has accumulated. Kawasaki and Kitakyushu are also considering expanding the water-related business to foreign countries.
In the days of decreasing population, it is quite natural that local government gets interested in the water business abroad. The same is true of the central government. The Japanese government established a special task force team to assist local governments with their efforts to expand business globally. The close collaboration between private companies and the governments, both the central and local, will be inevitable to the global development of the water business. (To be continued)