INHABITAT: What Panasonic electronics will be available in each home? Will homeowners be able to choose which electronics come with the house or will every house come standard with these devices?Mr. Ishio: Panasonic's solar panels and storage batteries will be standard equipment in each home. Of course, homeowners are able to choose other brands for their other electronics. But Panasonic will do its best to make it attractive for consumers to buy and use Panasonic electronics for to enrich their lifestyles in addition to solar panels and storage batteries.
INHABITAT: What part of Fujisawa SST do you feel still needs the most improvement?Mr. Ishio: At this point, we have no idea of what will need the most improvement.
INHABITAT: What is the part of Fujisawa SST that you are most proud of?Mr. Ishio: Panasonic is proud of the following: We can showcase customers all of our home energy solutions including the home itself. We can show overseas customers the realization of the advanced smart house concept developed in Japan. We can demonstrate concrete proposals on several services to maintain sustainability in the home and town.
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.