Connect with us

Economy & Tech

Fukushima Innovation Coast Framework Aims to Bring New Life to Regional Economies

Fukushima Innovation Coast Framework has plans to help restore economies in disaster-afflicted regions with cutting-edge industries. Here's a closer look.



CEO Ryohei Kobayashi of ElevationSpace explains Earth-returning satellites during a presentation on February 28 in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo. (© Sankei by Tomotaka Nakamura)

A presentation to highlight the progress of the Fukushima Innovation Coast Framework was held in Tokyo on February 28. This national project is dedicated to establishing a new industrial foundation in 15 cities and towns. One of its designated areas is the Hamadori region of Fukushima Prefecture. 

Hamadori faced significant challenges following the Great East Japan Earthquake and the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The event featured updates from four companies involved in Fukushima Daiichi decommissioning activities. 

Beyond decommissioning, it highlighted burgeoning sectors in the region such as space exploration. Advancements in semiconductor technology were another topic addressed at the event.

PM Yoshihide Suga visits the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Museum while Yasuo Ito, executive director of the Fukushima Innovation Coast Framework, explains the exhibits. Also present is Noboru Takamura, director of the memorial museum. September 26, 2020, in Futaba Town, Fukushima. (Pool photo)

Special Technology for High Radiation Environments

Decommissioning was one of the foremost topics addressed. Ookuma Diamond Devices (ODD), headquartered in Sapporo City, demonstrated their advances in developing diamond semiconductors. Retrieving fuel debris left inside the reactor requires close observation of fuel recriticality. 

This company's semiconductors are specifically engineered to safely handle this task. Especially considering that conventional counterparts may falter when exposed to radiation. Therefore, ODD has engineered its semiconductors to remain functional even in high radiation environments.

Potential applications of diamond semiconductors also extend to other industries. For example, rapid charging for electric vehicles

It is therefore significant that ODD is poised to begin constructing the world's first diamond semiconductor factory this year in Okuma Town, Fukushima. CEO and Founder Naohisa Hoshikawa expressed his determination, stating, "We have consolidated our technological expertise through the disaster. [Now] we aim to create Japan's next-generation semiconductor industry."

Another company in the decommissioning sector is Mach Corporation, headed by CEO Gobun Akatsuka. It is headquartered in Yokohama with an office in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture. Mach Corporation introduced a specialized camera capable of withstanding high radiation levels, capitalizing on its experience with satellite-mounted cameras.

Image of an artificial satellite developed by ElevationSpace. (Provided by the company)

A Future Space Exploration Center

In space technology, ElevationSpace, headquartered in Sendai, presented its Earth-returning satellites. The company's service involves loading customer payloads onto small satellites and conducting experiments in low orbit. Once they have completed an experiment, ElevationSpace safely guides the cargo back to Earth. This allows for direct observation of the effects of space-specific conditions such as microgravity, vacuum, and heat, on payloads. 

CEO Ryohei Kobayashi shared his hopes for expansion in the region. "The Hamadori region has immense potential and could emerge as a key hub for Japan's space industry," he noted. 

AstroX is led by CEO Shobu Oda. Headquartered in Minamisoma, Fukushima, the company also showcased its innovations. It specializes in technology for launching rockets from stratospheric balloons to deploy satellites into space. AstroX's goal is to achieve an annual launch rate of 50 rockets by 2030.


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Tomotaka Nakamura

Our Partners