A message from the Mayor of Kobe city

Kobe 2020 Vision signifies the goals and concrete initiatives which will be carried out to ensure Kobe enters a new phase in the run-up to 2020 and embarks on a path of stable growth.

We have established the themes of “Kobe, a city young people are looking to + Kobe, where everyone plays an active role”. As well as encouraging young people who are responsible for the future to choose our city, we also aim to make Kobe a city where anyone can live in comfort and play an active role, including the elderly, disabled people and foreigners.

We will incorporate measures to enhance Kobe’s collective strength as a city, such as establishing a general policy of 6 pillars made up of measures like creating attractive jobs for young people. We will actively promote stimulating Kobe’s economy and job creation. We will roll out projects to make the city more attractive. We will enhance child care and the education system. Finally, starting with welfare programs, we will endeavor to protect the safety and comfort of the lives of our citizens.

Please take this opportunity to read through our vision. To progress with the Kobe 2020 Vision, we will deploy these measures with a sense of urgency.

Kizo Hisamoto, Mayor of Kobe March, 2016

Kizo Hisamoto, Mayor of Kobe

The themes of the Kobe 2020 Vision— Kobe, a city young people are looking to + Kobe, where everyone plays an active role —

For Kobe to overcome rapid population decline and continue to be a bustling city, it is essential young people from their 20s to their 40s choose to live here to lead the next generation. Despite the continuing population decline, we must address city planning with everyone playing a role, to maintain a diverse and vibrant community and to develop as an attractive city. As young people gather and mingle in Kobe, we will implement initiatives to help them realize their goals, so that the city is invigorated and the effects of these measures spread to all citizens.

As a super aging society becomes a reality, we want to enable the elderly to live healthy lives. For the generation that first started living in Kobe when they were young, we want to build a city they can continue to live in even in their old age.

What is the Kobe 2020 Vision?— Preparing for the advent of a society experiencing serious population decline —

We formulate an action plan every 5 years in Kobe toward an image of the city for 2025. This plan aims to achieve the New Kobe Basic Concept, which indicates the direction of city planning, and also the Guidelines for Developing Kobe. As the successor to the Kobe 2015 Vision which ended in 2015, the Kobe 2020 Vision is a new action plan formulated to prepare the city as it moves toward 2020.

Since 2011, when the Kobe 2015 Vision was formulated, until the present, the social and economic conditions in the city have changed dramatically. Among these changes, the main trends we can point to are the advent of a society with declining population, changes in the population structure, globalization and changes in industrial structure, and the increase in risk of disasters such as massive earthquakes. However, the most urgent issue is responding to the advent of a society with a declining population.

In Kobe, the total population began decreasing in 2012, and the population is also aging rapidly. Kobe is a city with diverse areas, and there are major differences in the movement of people depending on the particular area. Further, the trend of young people leaving the city upon university graduation is striking. The declining population and the associated aging population may have a large negative impact on maintaining and continuing the social and economic system in communities that form the basis of citizens’ lives.

In the current Kobe 2020 Vision, we are presenting efforts to improve the quality of the city and the quality of life, as well as to overcome the issue of population decline.

THE 6 PILLARS— We have established 6 pillars for our general policy. —

On the left-hand page are measures and projects that emphasize encouraging young people to choose Kobe: creating attractive jobs for young people, creating attractions to draw in young people, and creating a social system that enables young people to prioritize marriage, childbirth, raising children and education. On the right-hand page are measures and projects that emphasize city planning in which everyone plays a role, not just young people, but also the elderly, foreigners and the disabled: create a promising environment for the next generation, create a comfortable lifestyle, and develop cooperation between areas.

Kobe, a city young people are looking to

Create attractive jobs for young people

For young people to choose Kobe and become responsible for the city’s future, we need to increase the number of attractive jobs that are worthwhile for young people.
In the Kobe 2020 Vision, we will address the creation of diverse and attractive jobs encouraging young people to work in Kobe. We will encourage development of new businesses by young people and support new business creation. We will attract businesses in growth industries to create a city of attractive and high-quality employment. Also, we will develop and promote next-generation, key industries. In addition, we will also promote measures to ensure development of human resources by taking advantage of the concentration of universities and other institutions in the city.

Create attractions to draw in young people

To draw young people to Kobe, we also have to improve the city’s culture, arts and sports attractions.
In the Kobe 2020 Vision, through promotion of Kobe as a design city, we will develop multi-faceted, multi-layered measures to produce new attractions and expand Kobe’s existing attractions. In addition, with proactive and high-quality promotions, we will transmit Kobe’s diverse charms nationwide and to the world as a whole, and we will advance initiatives for diverse groups of people from Japan and abroad, regardless of nationality or age, to visit and interact with Kobe. We will promote initiatives for migration and settlement to allow residents to experience an even higher quality of life.

Create a social system enabling the young generation to prioritize marriage, childbirth, raising children and education

Enabling young people to fulfill their hopes of marriage, childbirth and raising children is key to putting the brakes on the trend of declining births. Also, improving the environment for childbirth and education will make the city more attractive.
In the Kobe 2020 Vision, to enable people to achieve their hopes of marriage and childbirth and also raise and educate their children comfortably, we will promote continuous support of marriage, expecting mothers, childbirth, raising children and education. Also, we will enhance the educational system and reform working styles.

Kobe, where everyone plays an active role

Create a promising environment for the next generation

Kobe has a declining population, and the future trends toward further aging and the development of a super-aging population are unavoidable. So to maintain rich diversity and to continue to be a sustainable city, we must build an environment in which all the citizens, not just the current generation but also future generations, see Kobe as a comfortable place where they want to live.
As part of the Kobe 2020 Vision, we will create a promising environment for the next generation by strengthening the city’s infrastructure, such as the public transportation network, and by providing support for people’s lives and health.

Create a comfortable lifestyle

With a declining population, we need to implement general initiatives to deal with the higher risk of natural disasters such as earthquakes and torrential rain, and also to ease the anxiety of the elderly and the disabled concerning safe and comfortable living environments and crime that arises from the weakening of local ties.
As part of the Kobe 2020 Vision, while diversifying values, we will tackle the challenges of building a variety of homes with the prerequisite of securing safe living, building administrative functions and local society resilient towards all disasters, and enacting measures to allow everyone, including the elderly and the disabled, to play energetic and active roles in the city as a whole.

Develop cooperation between areas

With the trend for small and single-person households, we need to further advance the fostering of local ties and cooperation between areas to resolve local issues. Also, with a declining population, closer cooperation and networks with surrounding municipalities and prefectures will be increasingly important.
As part of the Kobe 2020 Vision, we will support sustainable activities in local communities with measures tailored to each area’s characteristics, and systematically developing local human resources and community businesses. To improve services for citizens, we will reform the Ward Offices to further connect with citizens. We will make additional, proactive efforts to coordinate with Hyogo Prefecture and the surrounding cities and towns, and aim to develop the whole region.

Vision Stories— Towards 2020 , Kobe City is stepping into a new stage —


The rejuvenated center of Kobe, where entrepreneurs gather

We are continuing to renew Sannomiya station as the gateway to Kobe. In the area surrounding the station, IT businesses and the headquarters of key industries representing Kobe are concentrated in large numbers. Kobe Airport is another important location for the City of Kobe, and it has expanded its functions and is now used by a variety of people, including business people operating globally. The center of Kobe is becoming a hub where young and budding entrepreneurs can gather and interact, creating new business opportunities with an energetic vibe.

  • Develop new innovative businesses and support new entrepreneurial ventures
  • Redevelop the city center of Sannomiya
  • Develop and promote next-generation, key industries

A lively downtown, thanks to the power of youth

Drawn by downtown Kobe’s unique charms of humanity and taste, the youth have moved in. Blending into the area, they have renovated existing buildings and houses and built a base for both jobs that suit them and business and community activities. The younger generations are participating in the local disaster prevention community, so the elderly are also more at ease living there. The areas around the Shin-Nagata district and the western region of the city are being rebuilt into a vibrant and unique downtown with lively young people playing a vital role in this movement.

  • Energize the Shin-Nagata district
  • Energize the urban western district
  • Strengthen the competitiveness of Kobe’s SMEs and commercial operators.

New suburbs to nurture families

In the residential areas of the suburbs, the younger generations reside in renovated, tasteful houses. Families and local residents look out for them when they get married and give birth, welcoming new children into their families. These areas are also blessed with good educational opportunities. With environments in which it is possible to find work while raising children, communities that support raising children are popping up throughout the city. Kobe is a city where young families can raise children and work in peaceful new suburbs.

  • Provide continuous support for expecting mothers/birth/raising children
  • Enhance the education system
  • Promote reformed working styles
  • Renovate planned development housing complexes (new towns)

Life in Satoyama invigorated by local consumption of local produce

The movement for local consumption of local produce is enjoying citywide popularity in Kobe. New farmers spend their days busily selling lovingly grown vegetables at the farmers’ market held every week in the city center or the newly established roadside station. There are a large number of new farming-related industries in buildings in Satoyama, and Kobe’s beautiful Satoyama landscape is fresh and full of life.

  • Promote the Kobe Satoyama lifestyle
  • Further promote the Food Capital Kobe 2020 Initiative
  • Maintain and use new roadside stations

Safe and secure lives in communities with a human face

The elderly enjoy living in places with an atmosphere where the locals always greet each other. Based on experience of past earthquakes, there are strong administrative functions in preparation for earthquakes, and in emergencies the mechanism for mutual assistance that ties the region together is deeply rooted. A city where all people - the elderly, young people, the disabled and foreigners – can continue to live together safely and comfortably, that is Kobe.

  • Extend healthy life expectancy
  • Build a community where people greet each other, and promote mutually supportive activities
  • Promote the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster

A city that interacts with the world and nurtures diverse human resources

Kobe is full of travelers visiting from across Japan and the world. Attracted to Kobe, more and more people stay a long time or even move here permanently. People from across the world enter and leave, and the next generation of diverse residents has grown up through these exchanges in business, sightseeing, culture, arts and sports. Now they want to spread their wings throughout the country and around the world.

  • Nurture and establish human resources by taking advantage of universities and other institutions
  • Develop urban promotions to encourage migration
  • Stimulate the arts, culture and sports

The Kobe 2020 Vision Overall Goals,
Indicators and Progress ManagementMaintaining 12,000 births a year.
Reducing the excess outow to the Tokyo metropolitan area by 2,500 a year.

In order to thoroughly improve the visualization of the Kobe 2020 Vision,we will measure our progress by setting the overall goals of maintaining 12,000 births a year, increasing the numbers of young people moving into Kobe, and simultaneously reducing the excess outflow to the Tokyo metropolitan area by 2,500 a year. If we achieve these goals, the total population is expected to be 1,532,000 in 2020.

In addition, we will diagnose the impact on the Kobe 2020 Vision measures of changes in the external environment, such as social and economic conditions. At the same time, we will continue to verify and evaluate the degree of achievement of the overall goals and the effectiveness of measures and projects carried out using objective indicators such as the salary levels of young people, the road traffic accident casualty rate, time spent in traffic jams, healthy life expectancy, and crime rates.

To help achieve the overall goals, we will also implement progress management for the Kobe 2020 Vision. We will determine the progress of the overall goals and the effectiveness of the measures and projects. Also, the measures and projects will be reviewed and improved each year by evaluating and verifying them in light of changes in the external environment, such as social and economic conditions, and carrying out analysis of the achievement level of overall goals. In this way, we will continue to advance the Kobe 2020 Vision.