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Japan Metaverse: City of Kochi Unveils ‘Tourism Boost’ Plans

Kochi, Japan, is set to venture into the metaverse realm as city officials have finalized a web3 agreement with Start Lands, a Philippines-based company.

According to reports from Kochi News and CoinPost, the city government officially inked the deal with the entity overseeing the Start Land metaverse project on February 7.

Both parties anticipate that a virtual representation of Kochi will be accessible to online visitors by the summer of 2024.

Japan Metaverse Moves: Virtual City Will ‘Attract Tourists’

Start Lands was conceived by a Japanese developer known by the alias KOUSEI, who established the company in May 2022.

Within Start Land, users are purportedly able to “utilize free avatars for immersive shopping experiences” within a virtual environment.

Officials from Kochi disclosed that they’ve “entered into a comprehensive collaboration agreement” with Start Lands, aiming to “leverage digital technology for regional revitalization.”

Furthermore, representatives from Kochi expressed confidence that the initiative would “expand market avenues for local specialties,” ultimately enhancing tourism and fostering relocation to Kochi.

Additionally, the city stated its intentions to explore the utilization of the metaverse “in realms such as education and welfare.”

Kochi Eyes Expansion: Can Metaverse Help?

The ceremony on February 7 was not only held in person but also simultaneously conducted in the metaverse space, featuring avatars representing Ryugo Kuwana, the Mayor of Kochi, and KOUSEI.

Start Land asserts a user base of approximately 20,000 individuals across Japan and various international locations, while also engaging in the issuance of NFTs.

Kochi, the largest city and capital of Kochi Prefecture situated on Japan’s Shikoku Island, is primarily rural and renowned for its picturesque mountains, rivers, and beaches.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has voiced his support for Japan’s web3 and metaverse sectors, recognizing them as pivotal engines for economic growth. This endorsement was made evident during a speech to UK investors in 2022.

In a similar vein, Seoul, the capital of South Korea, unveiled comprehensive plans in 2021 to introduce platform services within the metaverse domain.

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