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May 30, 2023

EUVP Visit Story - Kazuki Matsubara

Mr Kazuki MatsubaraMy name is Kazuki Matsubara and I work for the Hiroshima Prefectural Government as a supervisor in the Foreign Business Division. In my work, I have been focusing on creating environmental cluster in Hiroshima. Research aiming at developing such clusters led me to already existing industry clusters in Europe. I am very impressed by the European Union’s achievements in this area. My desire to learn more and to follow the EU’s system pushed me to apply to take part in the EUVP. It was a huge honour to be accepted as a participant.

I undertook my virtual EUVP visit in September 2021. The main area that I was looking forward to learning more about was the EU industry cluster growing policies. This included the ways of incorporating companies that share the EU vision to join the cluster programme as well as finding out about various types of indicators used to evaluate the performance of initiatives. Currently in my job, I aim at creating a new industry in the environmental and energy field in Hiroshima prefecture. Our strongest developing industries are: shipbuilding, automobile and steel industry, however, we also want to support new business models in other areas which can fit into our mission of carbon-neutral environment.

I have obtained a lot of interesting information from all of my meetings, however, there were a few that I benefited from the most. My meeting with a representative of the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission helped me understand in detail the EU industrial cluster policy. Thanks to his advice to boost my account on the European Cluster Collaboration Platform and to consider funding Japanese clusters from private sources, I have started to think about the role of Hiroshima Government as a professional key facilitator.

Another idea came to my mind after my discussion with a colleague from the “Smart and Sustainable Growth” unit at the Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. Thanks to her thorough explanation of the EU support initiatives for innovative environmental businesses and local industry development, I have realized the importance of focusing on strong local industries. On the global market, it is easy to lose existing strength when a stronger competitor arrives. Connecting the desire to be a leader with the need of sustainable development gives us a new opportunity - trying to reorient towards environmental business.

Finally, I had a privilege to ask a number of questions to a high-level representative of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission regarding the EU innovation policies and support for innovative environmental businesses. Not only have I received comprehensive answers but after a few days I received a follow-up e-mail with many more sources of information like details of the EU's key funding programme for research and innovation - Horizon Europe, contact points and several instruments aiming at transforming ideas into innovations. I also achieved another goal and learned about the EU evaluation system of research and innovation programmes.

None of this would be possible without the support of EUVP colleagues who were great facilitators and led me through the whole visit. It was a truly unforgettable experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a participant of the European Union Visitors Programme and I am excited to connect with other Alumni of the programme.