Product / ServiceCITY PROMOTION
CategoryA06. Not-for-profit / Charity / Government
EntrantOZMA INC Tokyo, JAPAN
Idea Creation OZMA INC Tokyo, JAPAN
Media Placement OZMA INC Tokyo, JAPAN
Production BLUE PUDDLE INC. Tokyo, JAPAN
Post Production QUON CO., LTD. Tokyo, JAPAN


Name Company Position
Taito Tosaka OZMA Inc. Producer / Senior Communication Director
Youki Hayafuji OZMA Inc. Producer / Communication Director
Neji Sato Blue Puddle Inc. Planner
Natsumi Mori OZMA Inc. Account Executive / Event Producer
Misato Takahama OZMA Inc. PR Planner
Yumin Jeon OZMA Inc. PR Planner
Soiko Fujisawa OZMA Inc. Researcher
Neji Sato Blue Puddle Inc. Web Designer
Ryuichi Hayashi QUON Co., Ltd. Web Engineer

Why is this work relevant for PR?

As the Japanese population shrinks, smaller cities in Japan are having to compete for residents. We needed to find a new way to get people involved in making local areas more vibrant without them having to become residents, so we came up with the idea of using Slack to set up a digital administrative platform. We gathered enthusiastic users to the platform and increased the number of “digital residents,” who became stakeholders. Giving them roles encouraged them to become “ambassadors” who disseminate information and ideas on their own. They publicized through SNS how new projects were born from the platform.


The Japanese population’s concentration in Tokyo is a serious problem. The Tokyo metropolitan area contains 30% of Japan's population, with numbers similar to some major countries, such as Poland, Morocco and Canada. Moreover, the total population of Japan has been decreasing 0.2% every year for nine consecutive years. Under these circumstances, it is difficult for local governments to increase migration. The central government has been making efforts to promote migration to smaller cities and towns, but the concentration in Tokyo has not changed. As a result, competition among local governments for residents has become a major social issue. In the city of Saku, the population is expected to decline from 99,368 in 2015 to 85,781 in 2040. It has lost its vitality under these circumstances, and needed to find a way to get people involved in making the city vibrant again without having to become a resident.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Our idea was to create Japan's first online city administration and attract digital residents to participate. We decided to use Slack, a popular business communication tool, to set up a platform we called Online City Office. Participants in this web-based program are the digital residents, and they are categorized according to their relationship with Saku — for example, they can be citizens, prospective migrants, people with a relationship to the area, section chiefs or employees. Online City Office has become a platform on which digital residents can not only interact with each other but also participate in the city’s planning and development.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

An estimated 3.09 million people in the Tokyo metropolitan area, or 12.3% of the region’s population, have expressed a desire to move to a rural area. While they would like to move eventually, only 21.7% of them are thinking of moving within the next five years. Therefore, we created Online City Office, a platform that allows people to participate in city development as a mechanism to get involved in the local area without having to move. To reach out to people who are interested in the local area and increase the number of digital residents, we needed to involve core stakeholders and influencers. Therefore, during the test operation of the platform, we established a system that involved about 70 stakeholders. We also held an online event with 14 influencers and key opinion leaders associated with the local area, reaching a total of 2,668 people.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

To increase the number of digital residents, the mayor of Saku officially launched Online City Office, posted about it on SNS and sent information to the media. As a result of these actions, the project received coverage in major media, including national broadcaster NHK and the Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun and Nikkei newspapers, and the number of digital residents reached 1,000 within four months. Online City Office has been an active platform that generates 200 to 400 posts per month. Through this close communication, the digital residents have become stakeholders in Saku. After three weeks of recruitment, we received 52 applications. These people have enthusiastically taken on the role of Online City Office staff, and now act as ambassadors, sending out information on their own. Over five months, three main ideas materialized — a web service for prospective migrants, an online event, and a radio show.

List the results (30% of vote)

Online City Office has grown into a platform with over 1,400 participants. The number of posts on Slack has reached about 4,500, and the number of reactions is over 12,000, creating a vibrant online community. The number of views of the videos we produced has reached about 234,000. The advertising conversion amount was 150 million yen, and we gained some 6.3 million connections on SNS. Members of the National Diet, local politicians and editors of local-themed media have also endorsed the platform and posted about it on SNS. In response to the buzz, we were asked to collaborate in an event with one of Japan's largest real estate companies and Slack. The project won the Gold Award at the City Promotion Awards, a competition that evaluates and honors effective city promotion by local governments in Japan. It was clearly successful in raising the profile and perception of Saku. Following Online City Office’s implementation, 89.3% of digital residents said they thought Saku was a progressive city, and 69.8% said they were interested in city development. Half of the digital residents answered that the platform made them want to move to the city. In addition, 3,453 people became residents of Saku.


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