Contributing to the world,
looking ten years ahead

The Aspiration of JIBH, A Special Interview with the Chairman

The significance of JIBH
How can Japan contribute to the world in the field of building and housing? That is, I believe, the purpose of the JIBH as a general incorporated association.
We have implemented various activities since the association was founded two years ago. With Myanmar, we conducted mutual visits and held information exchange seminars. In the Myanmar Pilot Project, which has been in effect for a long time, we built model apartment buildings for the lower and medium income class, one of which is used as a showroom after completion. We are also introducing Japanese building techniques and housing materials in the showroom.
With Australia, we signed an MOU aimed at mutual growth and bilateral unity through information sharing and technical collaboration. Our activities include mutual visits and start-ups of three working groups.
In addition, as a member of the International Housing Association, we explore how to deal with challenges of the housing industry with countries in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. JIBH’s network of connections with the world has become wider and wider.
Understanding partner countries
When supporting the improvement of the living environment of another country, we should be aware of whether Japanese building techniques, design methods, and high-quality/high-tech housing equipment are suited for the country. Considering the climate, highly airtight or highly heat insulating houses are not needed for those who live in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Indonesia. It is extremely important to build a house based on an understanding of country-specific lifestyles, religions, and cultures.
It is also important to consider the income level of the country. Especially in Asia, housing for low-income people is in high demand since a gap between the rich and the poor still prevails. In this case, a perspective of “affordability” should take precedence over “high performance.”
In addition, in some countries, building or construction laws have not been well established, or housing mortgage systems are not yet in wide use. Therefore, we also need to have broad perspectives including aspects such as law and finance when working on the improvement of the living environment.
Gathering unified support
Unified support is a contribution unique to the JIBH. This support involves not just the building and housing industries but also the government - specifically, general contractors for construction; home builders for housing; building materials manufacturers for housing equipment; and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism for legislation-. In seminars, we have held in various countries, not only building and housing related companies but also industry associations and government officials have participated. The interaction of people across countries and industries has become active.
Bringing “WOODRISE* 2021” to Japan is one of the fruits of our unified efforts. It is an international congress for the development of mid-rise and high-rise wooden buildings, and we will host it as “WOODRISE 2021 KYOTO.” We are sure that it is going to be an extraordinary event that provides an opportunity to make new relationships or deepen current relationships with other countries.
*WOODRISE is an event which convenes industry stakeholders for the development of mid-rise and high-rise timber construction buildings. The first congress was held in Bordeaux, France, in 2017, and the second in Quebec City, Canada, in 2019.


Serving as a bridge with other countries
The world has rapidly become more globalized in the past decade. More Japanese companies are eager to find a means of survival overseas but what one company can accomplish by themselves is limited. Information and a network of connections are essential to overseas expansion. It is possible to gather information more widely and share them if the construction and housing industries unite as one. Serving as a bridge between Japanese companies and other countries is JIBH’s significant role.
We have signed MOUs with Myanmar and Australia. We will continue to support our member companies and organizations by collecting information from countries and regions they are targeting so that the whole Japanese building and housing industries can achieve maximum effect in various countries.
Our focus is not on pitching our technologies or products but on considering what we can do for them with our collective strengths. In addition to providing improved living environments, we are looking to transfer our building technologies to have them take root in other countries. The development of the building and housing industries will lead to the creation of jobs and raise the standard of living of the local people there. We, as JIBH, will strive to support the development and prosperity of other countries.
Contributing as the building and housing industries
Furthermore, construction technologies are applicable to other various fields. For example, taking part in constructing a factory efficiently producing agricultural products serves to improve nutrition and reduce environmental problems. The JIBH will create new values by expanding construction technologies to the non-residential sector, contributing to a better life. It will take time until this kind of approach changes the world. It may not bring profits to companies right away either. However, we value looking five years or ten years ahead. We at JIBH will keep such “high-minded aspirations” of contributing to community, society, country, and the world through the building and housing business for years to come.
Uniting more closely
The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on the building and housing industries. Human exchanges with other countries are severely restricted, and such challenges to overseas expansion for JIBH member companies are expected to remain for some time. In order to overcome these challenges, it is truly essential for our industry to more closely unite as one. At JIBH, we endeavor to communicate under any circumstances either domestically or internationally by introducing on-line meetings. We will welcome more member companies and promote collaboration between the government and the private sector in order to build a strong base that contributes to society and to boost the entire industry on a larger scale.

This is an interview with the chairman on November 30, 2020.