Kochi, Japan, will move into the metaverse space, with city officials sealing a web3 deal with the Philippines-based Start Lands.
Per Kochi News and CoinPost, the city government signed its deal with the firm behind the Start Land metaverse project on February 7.
The parties said a “virtual Kochi” would likely be open for online visitors by the summer of 2024.
Japan Metaverse Moves: Virtual City Will ‘Attract Tourists’
Start Lands is the brainchild of a Japanese developer who goes by the moniker of KOUSEI. The latter launched the company in May 2022.
In Start Land, internet users can reportedly “use free avatars to enjoy shopping” in a “virtual space.”
Kochi officials said they had “signed a comprehensive collaboration agreement” that would see them “promote regional revitalization using digital technology.”
📣Kochi City x START LANDS Inc.
Comprehensive Collaboration Agreement Signing Ceremony,
was a success!
Thank you all for your support. 🙇🏻♂️
— START LAND ［official］ (@STARTJPN1) February 7, 2024
And Kochi spokespeople said they believe the project will help them “expand sales channels for local specialties.”
They added that the move would help the city “attract tourists, and encourage people to relocate to [Kochi].”
The city said it was “also considering” use of the metaverse “in the fields of education and welfare.”
Kochi Eyes Expansion: Can Metaverse Help?
The firm said the February 7 ceremony “was also held simultaneously in the metaverse space,” featuring the avatars of Ryugo Kuwana, Mayor of Kochi, and KOUSEI.
Start Land claims to have “approximately 20,000 users” in Japan and overseas locations. The firm also issues NFTs.
Kochi is the biggest city and the capital of Kochi Prefecture, on Japan’s Shikoku Island. The prefecture is mainly rural, and is well-known for its mountains, rivers, and beaches.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has given his backing to the country’s web3 and metaverse sectors.
Kishida identified the industries as growth engines for the economy in a speech to UK investors in 2022.
In 2021, the South Korean capital, Seoul, unveiled plans to launch comprehensive metaverse platform services.
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