KOBE, Japan, Nov. 2, 2015 /Kyodo JBN/ --
Kobe Showcases Biomedical Innovation Cluster to Foreign Correspondents
Kobe City showed its high-tech Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster (KBIC) to journalists on Oct. 29 during a press tour mainly for foreign correspondents stationed in Japan. The tour, also highlighting Kobe's foreigner-friendly policies, was part of the city's efforts to attract more companies and tourists from overseas to the western Japan port city, one of Japan's most cosmopolitan cities.
A total of 17 participants from 15 media outlets visited institutes in the KBIC such as RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB), known for its retinal regeneration research, and the Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) featuring the K computer, one of the highest caliber of supercomputers in the world.
At the CDB, Director Hiroshi Hamada and project leader Masayo Takahashi explained about the institute and its world-first retinal transplant using iPS cells. Then, the tour participants saw Takahashi's laboratory.
The KBIC is one of the largest biomedical clusters in Japan where research institutes, greatly specialized hospitals and medical companies and groups are engaged in basic research and clinical application developments. It started as one of the projects to help Kobe recover from the damage caused by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995. Since 1998, the city has been developing a research and development hub for the cutting-edge biomedical technologies and promoting the medical industry by inviting organizations to Port Island through collaborative efforts between industry, academia and the government.
Regarding the position of the KBIC, Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto said "With this many research institutes and 310 companies, it is one of Japan's leading clusters," adding that the multifaceted industry in the Cluster is a frontrunner and is expected to enjoy significant growth from now on.
Tour participants also briefly met with officials of Shiseido Co. and Britain's Malvern Instruments Ltd. after they visited the Canadian Academy international school to learn about international exchange and foreigner friendly initiatives in the city.
After the end of the official tour, interested participants attended a Cluster Exchange Event, a meeting among company personnel, researchers and others involved in the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster usually held once a month to provide business matching opportunities.
-Kobe City homepage: http://www.city.kobe.lg.jp/foreign/english/index.html
-Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster homepage: http://www.kobe-bic.org/english/index.html