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The Japan Productivity Center (JPC) is collaborating with the APO Secretariat to bring the Communities of Excellence (COE) movement to Japan. As part of the initiative, the JPC organized an in-country Technical Expert Services project on Communities of Excellence for Japan, 19‒23 September, drawing over 200 participants from the public and private sectors. Two US resource persons experienced in COE activities based on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Framework delivered presentations in Tokyo and Kumamoto. Stephanie Norling showcased COE specifics and examples from San Diego and Toledo, while Craig A. Anderson presented examples of private organizations’ management methods applied to communities.
The program encompassed discussions with the JPC’s Japanese Communities of Excellence (J-COE) Team, a symposium on COE productivity, courtesy calls on the APO Secretary-General and Kumamoto City Mayor, and international conferences. As Japan grapples with aging and depopulation, the roles of communities are becoming important in solving them, making the COE approach critical. Its applicability extends beyond Japan, offering a strategic approach for member economies facing similar challenges and a fresh perspective for developing nations on rural and community development efforts.
During the visit to the APO Secretariat, discussions focused on the COE initiative, the JPC’s plan for Japan, and prospects for establishing the COE framework in the Asia-Pacific region. The introduction of COE initiatives from the USA is an attempt to address complex Japanese social issues, emphasizing the need for collaborative networks to navigate intricate problems. The JPC is poised to develop J-COE Guidelines and training courses as the next steps in propagating the COE approach among Japanese communities, organizations, and companies.