INHABITAT: Have you received a lot of interest from people who want to buy a home in Fujisawa Smart Town? Do you think the homes will be able to sell?Mr. Ishio: Yes, Panasonic had many inquiries from consumers who are interested in living in Fujisawa Smart Town as well as from press people. In fact, some people made specific inquiries focusing on an actual purchase. We are fully confident that people will remain strongly interested and that we can sell smart town homes in Fujisawa.
INHABITAT: Would you want to live in Fujisawa SST yourself?Mr. Ishio: Of course, yes, I want to live in Fujisawa SST. I don’t think I could recommend it to our customers unless I had a strong desire to live in it myself. We would like to make it a town that anyone would want to live in.
INHABITAT: Can you tell us a little bit about Fujisawa SST and what Panasonic is hoping to accomplish with this new endeavor?
Mr. Ishio: From the business perspective, our Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town plan is about Panasonic showing in a very visible way the company’s comprehensive solutions capabilities (for private homes, multi-family dwellings and facilities) in a real town setting, while establishing new business models for our energy solutions businesses.
INHABITAT: When and why did Panasonic decide to create the smart town? Was it related to the disasters of last year?
Mr. Ishio: In the beginning of 2007, Panasonic started to consult with Fujisawa City about how Panasonic could utilize the vacant land after we stopped production in our plants there. Fujisawa City focused on being an “Ecology-Oriented Town” in its city development strategy, while Panasonic has set its focus on becoming the “Number 1 Green Innovations Company in the Electronics Industry by 2018″. With similar overall aims in mind, Fujisawa City and Panasonic agreed to use the cleared land to contribute to society in terms of ecology.
Fujisawa SST was planned before the massive earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, so the earthquake damage was not the direct reason for Panasonic to start this project. But the earthquake put the Fujisawa SST project into sharper perspective, making it evident how much safer and more sustainable such a community could be in an emergency.