Meridian 180 is pleased to announce a new partnership with Ritsumeikan University, in Kyoto, Japan. Founded in 1900, Ritsumeikan is one of Japan’s leading private universities and is committed to fostering an international outlook and innovative culture. Ritsumeikan is home to the Asia-Japan Research Institute, established in 2015 to cultivate globally capable scholars and serve as a hub for practical research in new Asian studies.
In June 2018, Ritsumeikan formally joined the Meridian network at a ceremony in Kyoto. Ritsumeikan University President Mikio Yoshida expressed in his address Ritsumeikan’s honor to join as a member of this unique global network and their hopes that the partnership will help Ritsumeikan evolve its education and research capabilities.
Ritsumeikan University is the third institution in Japan to become a Meridian 180 partner, after the Institute of Social Science of the University of Tokyo and the Keio University Global Research Institute. These three universities have agreed to work together collaboratively to support and expand the participation of Japanese members in Meridian local and global activities.
Ritsumeikan brings to Meridian an interest in collaboration around the state of global cities. Because of rapid economic globalization and population fluctuation, cities around the world are experiencing major changes: the overall aging population and declining birthrates have led to “shrinking cities” in some developed countries, including Japan. A similar phenomenon is expected in more Asian countries with declining birthrates. Regions experiencing rapid urbanization also call for the need to develop “smart cities,” capable of advancing both economically and socially under environmental and social resource constraints through the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and environmentally friendly energy technologies.
The interplay of smart and shrinking cities has become a major issue for Japan. An interdisciplinary and global approach is necessary for research on cities that will help shape the fates of countries facing or likely to face these problems in the future. To benefit from Meridian’s global reach, Ritsumeikan University plans to engage Meridian members in a dialogue on the future of cities by launching a new Meridian Forum on “Smart & Shrinking Cities” in spring 2019.