Mr. Tetsuro Kurata, who served as the mayor of Minoh until last August, visited Nanophoton’s new office in the Semba district of Minoh City, Osaka Prefecture. Mr. Kurata and Satoshi Kawata, chairman of Nanophoton, met about 12 years ago when Mr. Kurata was elected mayor for the first time and have been in touch ever since. During his tenure as mayor, Mr. Kurata paved the way for the extension of the Shinkansen line between Shin-Osaka Station and Minoh City and the relocation of the Minoh Campus of Osaka University. Without these achievements, Nanophoton would not have been able to move to Minoh. (e-mail Newsletter Editor-in-Chief / Freelance Writer Takeshi Nemoto)
Chairman Kawata invited Mr. Kurata to the Osaka showroom, and we rejoiced at our reunion after several years.
Mr. Kurata was first elected in 2008 and became the youngest mayor in the nation at that time. From the beginning, he considered three terms of 12 years to be the end of his term and finished his term without running for mayor last August. According to media reports at the time, he said at a press conference that he felt he had done all he could do. Currently, he is away from politics and administration, working at an architectural design office and aspiring to become a first-class architect.
The main reasons why Nanophoton chose to relocate to the Minoh-Semba area were the extension of the Kita-Osaka Kyuko Line (scheduled to open in 2023) and the opening of the new Osaka University Minoh campus in April of this year. We chose this campus because of the convenience of transportation, which will allow us to go directly to Shin-Osaka Station on the Shinkansen, and the attraction of having the university’s knowledge, academic information, and human resources nearby. The extension of the railroad line and the relocation of the university were both accomplished during Mr. Kurata’s tenure. Mr. Kawata said, “It was thanks to Mr. Kurata that we decided to move here.
On the other hand, Mr. Kurata responded, “The basic idea of this town is just a trace of what Dr. Kawata said. I wonder what he meant.
Mr. Kawata has long been advocating that the Minoh Semba district could be developed in the style of Silicon Valley in the United States. Silicon Valley is located in San Francisco and is a major industrial center where Apple, Google, Intel and other companies are based.
Mr. Kawata said, “Stanford University, a top-notch university, is located nearby, and venture companies are born and raised here. Surrounded by lush greenery and high-end residential areas, the city attracts intellectuals. There are airports, expressways, and railroads running through the city. The city of Minoh has a similar atmosphere, with Osaka University nearby, an upscale residential area with lush greenery, Itami Airport, the Shin Meishin Expressway, and railroads. This place can become Silicon Valley,” he said. Mr. Kurata said, “I had heard this story from Professor Kawata, so I based my city planning on it.
At the new office, Chairman Kawata explained the background of the company’s founding, how he left Osaka University four years ago to embark on management, and the new office with its carefully designed interior, as well as the product lineup displayed in the showroom.
The actual demonstration measurement seemed to deepen their understanding even more.
After the visit, Mr. Kurata said to me, “Nanophoton is cool, not only in its products, but also in the company itself and the lifestyle of Mr. Kawata as well.