INFRONEER Holdings Inc. INFRONEER Holdings Inc.

New Forms of Society and City Pioneered by Infrastructure

Jun Sawada
Chairman and Representative Member of the Board,
NTT Corporation
Kazunari Kibe
President and Representative Director, INFRONEER Holdings;
Executive Vice President and Representative Director,

“Modern Colosseum” that Proposes New Values
―Publicness Created by Multi-Directional Vectors

Kibe The New Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium (Aichi Arena) is an ambitious project that re-sponds to various issues facing today’s Japan, such as public-private partnerships and ways to connect with infrastructure. In my view, the Aichi Arena stands as a “modern Colosseum.” Looking back on history, the Roman Empire developed water supply systems with water sources tens of kilometers away and built roads such as the Appian Way to encourage the circulation of people and goods, thereby expanding its territory. This tells us that infrastructure is essential to the development of a city. On the other hand, the Colosseum offered “circuses” of “bread and circuses” as entertainment to the public in order to enhance the Empire’s unifying power. Looking at how the city developed, we can say that the Colosseum, too, played a vital role as infrastructure shaping the city. From this point of view, the Aichi Arena, with its infrastructure developed with a digital twin in mind, is a modern-day Colosseum created through collaboration between the government and the private sector with an eye toward the future of the Japanese economy.

Sawada What’s revolutionary about this project is that it leverages digital technology that can be personalized to provide individualized services, instead of uniform and standardized services. In the past, infrastructure development was mostly handled by the government to achieve specific objectives. But, thanks to digital technology, now the recipients of the services can acquire various kinds of information, such as a customized view from or overlooking the ground, in addition to a view from their own seat. In an increasingly complex society, we are expected to provide and operate communication technologies that can respond to such diversifying needs. A standard system that serves the entire world without time lag and personalization―we are exploring a way in which these seemingly contradictory ideas coexist. In the future, digital technology will become indispensable not only for arenas, but also for water supply, sewage, roads, civil engineering projects, and various other types of infrastructure. At the same time, we, as human beings, own a body that cannot exist without the real world, so it is also essential to have space where players and the audience can share their experiences.

Kibe To realize these goals and build a world-class arena, we adopted the BT + concession scheme, the first of its kind in Japan. The scheme combines “build-and-transfer” (BT) and “granting of the right to operate public facilities” (concession). It brings together constituent companies represented by Maeda Corporation and NTT DOCOMO to provide high-quality services and ensure profitability in areas that cannot be covered when rebuilding the arena with the government budget alone. Also, after much discussion, the project’s owner, Aichi Prefecture, granted us discretionary powers to determine business details.

Sawada It is critical that a private business operator can determine how to operate a public facility. In a way, a concession scheme is balance sheet management (BSM) (Note 1). Just like corporate activities, conducting BSM that takes into account medium- to long-term earnings and expenditure should drive forward development and investment for the future that a government bound by a one-year budget cannot achieve. This will motivate the public and private sectors to proactively cooperate and discuss innovative ideas for urban development and infrastructure and respond to a society that is becoming increasingly multidirectional and diverse thanks to digital technology.

Ruins of the Colosseum in Rome.
Ruins of the Colosseum in Rome.
Creating Diversity in Future Cities through Paraconsistency and Personalization
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