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SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024 Peers Into a Vision for Sustainable Cities of the Future

SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024 starts April 27. Expert Taiko Otsuka guides us through its concepts and exciting programs that make sustainability fun and accessible.



Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike at the opening of the SusHi Tech 2024 Showcase Program. (©SusHi Tech Tokyo)

"We want people in Tokyo to have fun while learning about sustainability." These were the words of review committee member Taiko Otsuka on the impending SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024.

From April 27 to May 26, Japan's capital is showcasing companies and startups featuring the best sustainability practices and technology. On April 10, sponsors gave the press a peak into what participants can expect. 

To learn more, JAPAN Forward spoke to Taiko Otsuka, a SusHi Tech Showcase Program Review Committee member. While a partner at Deloitte, she's also an executive committee member of the Tokyo Bay eSG Project, focused on bringing sustainability to the capital as part of the broader "Future Tokyo" strategy. 

Taiko Otsuka at the Deloitte Tokyo office in Chiyoda Ward (© JAPAN Forward)

About SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024

Excitement is high. There are three parts to the event: 

  • City Leaders Program (May 15-17). This is aimed at city leaders from five continents. There will be meetings and discussions of solutions toward realizing a sustainable society. 
  • Global Startup Program (May 16-17). Fostering open innovation, this part of the program focuses on startups and their message to the world.
  • Showcase Program (April 27-May 26). Through the showcase, organizers hope to demonstrate how to create a sustainable city that combines nature and convenience. Visitors can experience the future of Tokyo through exhibits at four venues, (Ariake Arena, Miraikan, Symbol Promenade  Park, and the Uminomori area).

Otsuka pointed out some of the values of the event that are tied to SDGs. 

"We are heeding ideas connected to sustainability, such as equal gender representation and preventing food loss. These are in line with other international events like the Paris 2024 Olympics," Otsuka said. 

Taiko Otsuka in an interview at the Deloitte Tokyo office in Chiyoda Ward (© JAPAN Forward)

Showcase Program: Emerging Tech and Sustainability

Of the event's three parts, the City Leaders and Global Startup programs are aimed at Japanese and foreign stakeholders alike. However, the Showcase Program aims to send a message from Tokyo to the world. 

In addition, the Showcase Program is spread over four different venues around Tokyo Bay and lasts almost a month. The ultimate aim is simple, as it says on the website: "A showcase event introducing, from Tokyo, a model for sustainable cities."

The key theme of the Showcase is having people learn about sustainable practices. "Many have the idea that sustainability is something difficult to understand. But we want people to experience future cities, and find out how sustainability can be fun and useful in everyday life." 

Therefore the idea is to create an immersive experience so people can more readily imagine being part of a sustainable reality. 


Notably, this incorporates a consumer-first philosophy focusing on what people need. From there, the program hopes to help people create their own vision for the future. 

A screenshot from the official website of the SusHi Tech 2024 Showcase Program.

Taking a Leading Role

Otsuka's personal experience makes her well-equipped to oversee this event. She worked for several years as a sustainability consulting leader at IBM and has consulted with Japanese companies in the United States. Businesses in her home country should take a leading role, she argues. 

"I think that Japan, as a country with a long history in manufacturing, should take a more prominent role in the recycling and the circular economy, especially as a resource-poor country," highlights Otsuka.  

In addition, the event is innovative in other ways. "This isn't organized just by companies and governments. We are trying to get local communities involved," she explains. 

 She adds, "We hope that people will have fun and be inspired to apply sustainability and technology in their lives by seeing how it is used." 

A Platform for Startups 

Large companies and startups alike are participating in the Showcase Program. And startups, generally, are a key theme for SusHi Tech. 

Otsuka herself has experience wearing many hats. Aside from her work at IBM and participation in the startup NewsPicks as an executive advisor, she is also a neuroscience researcher. She hopes the Showcase Program can be a place for startups to shine. 

For the future, she believes that with more women CEOs, gender diversity can change the business culture in Japan. She points out, "If not only large corporations but also many startups achieve this figure in women's representation, the gender equality landscape in Japan will change dramatically." In Otsuka's analysis, "Inclusive startups tend to do better in the long run." 

Otsuka also points out that Japan has the potential to excel in the deep technology sector. "Japan is still strong in detailed deep tech connected to hardware. Investment is coming in from the [US] West Coast," she adds.


Looking to the future, Otsuka also hopes that with the success of the Showcase Program, people all over the world will be inspired. 

"We want people to have fun seeing what their futures could look like," she reiterated. 


Author: Arielle Busetto