United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Mr. Ohmura, Governor of Aichi

As the representative of the host prefecture, I wish to offer a few words of welcome at the commencement of the “High-level Symposium on Sustainable Cities: Connecting People, Environment and Technology,” Co-convened by the United Nations and Toyota City.

To all of you who have come together for this event from all over Japan and worldwide, it is so good of you to have come to Aichi. I speak for each and every one of our 7.4 million residents in expressing our heartfelt welcome.

It is my understanding that this conference is being held by the United Nations in cities all around the world with the purpose of holding discussions and exchanging views regarding how to make cities sustainable, and that this is the first time that it is being held in Japan.

It is through the efforts of the United Nations, Toyota City, and many, many other people that we are able to convene here today. I would like to express my admiration for those people as well as my gratitude.

Now, Aichi Prefecture, located right in the geographical center of Japan, is also Japan’s top industrial prefecture. At the core is the Aichi automobile industry, which accounts for 41% of all of Japan’s auto industry output. As one of the largest automobile production centers in the world, it is literally the engine that drives Japanese manufacturing.

Last month, the ultimate, environment-friendly eco-car—the fuel cell vehicle, or FCV for short—went on sale for the first time in the world. This FCV was conceived, developed and produced here in Aichi Prefecture, where we are making an all-out effort to popularize it through measures such as promoting the establishment of the hydrogen stations that FCVs require.

Aichi Prefecture strives to be the frontrunner on the environment as well. Through our hosting of EXPO 2005 Aichi Japan, which adopted “Nature’s Wisdom” as its theme, the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, or COP 10, in 2010, and last year’s UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development among others, we have actively presented Aichi worldwide as a contributor to the creation of a sustainable society. The environmental awareness of the people of Aichi is very high indeed.

Likewise, Toyota City is not only an industrial city with a high concentration of a wide range of automobile-related industries with Toyota Motors at its core. Toyota City also leads the nation in rising to the challenge of creating a low-carbon society through cutting-edge undertakings, including its 2009 selection as an “Environment Model City” and 2010 selection as a “Next-generation Energy and Social System Demonstration Area.”

As we move forward with these undertakings, I believe that it is very significant that the environment, disaster prevention and other challenges in promoting the creation of sustainable cities through the use of environmental technology will be debated here by the representatives of governments, international organizations, local governments and other actors gathered from around the world.

I have great hopes that this conference will be a fruitful one through the active discussions that will be held among all of you who are here today.

Finally, I wish to conclude my words of welcome as the representative of the host prefecture by expressing my heartfelt desire for the continued prosperity of the United Nations, Toyota City, and all of you gathered here today, and for the success of the conference. Thank you.

January 15, 2015
Hideaki Ohmura
Governor, Aichi Prefecture