The Consortium, originally named the Association for Promoting Rebuilding of High-Density Wooden Structure Neighborhoods, a non-profit organization, has been working for more than 20 years to build disaster-resistant, resident-friendly communities. The Association brought together specialists of all kinds—realtors, builders, architects, lawyers, judicial scriveners, accountants, tax accountants, property appraisers, and others—who, working as a team to support urban development, achieved tangible results, which would not have been possible for one private sector company to accomplish on its own.

While, in the past, we focused on urban development, the Consortium sees Japan’s aging population and low birthrate as posing serious problems that we feel we can help address. The country is already experiencing a severe labor shortage, which threatens the sustainability of Japan’s economic and social infrastructure. Efforts are being made to counter the declining birthrate by improving the child-rearing environment. In the interim, in order to stem the declining labor shortage, the mandatory retirement age has been extended to allow senior employees to continue to be part of the workforce. The government has also created a new visa category for workers with specific skills to attract more people from other countries.

Under these circumstances, we decided that our team, utilizing its strengths, should also focus on human resource development, which is why we changed our name to the Asia Pacific Town-Building Assistance Consortium (APTAC). We aim to attract people from other countries, but not simply as a labor force, we want to nurture workers who want to live and work in Japan and actively participate in Japanese society. Specifically, to achieve a tangible outcome, APTAC has been supporting the establishment of the Philippines Arayat Training School (PATS), in Tabuan, Arayat City, Pampanga Province, Philippines. PATS is a vocational training school whose aim is to facilitate the development of students who will be able to smoothly adjust to living and working in Japan.

Together with our member companies, we will continue working on our two projects of urban development and human resource development.

Makoto Ishii

Chairperson, Asia Pacific Town-Building Assistance Consortium