His Excellency Hiroshi Ishikawa, Ambassador of Japan to Singapore,
Mr Hiromasa Amano, President of Kajima Corporation,
Mr Keisuke Koshijima, Executive Vice President of Kajima Corporation,
Mr Shuichi Oishi, Chief Executive Officer of Kajima Development Pte Ltd,
1. Good morning. I am glad to be back again in Kajima’s Lab for Global Engineering, Architecture, and Real Estate, or ‘The GEAR’. In 2020, I was here for Kajima Global Hub’s Groundbreaking Ceremony. Last year, it was again my pleasure to be here to witness the Topping Out Ceremony. Today, I am delighted to be with you for the much-awaited milestone of Kajima GEAR’s Grand Opening.
2. Kajima is a long-time friend of Singapore. Your presence on this sunny island dates back to the 1960s. Since then, Kajima has grown together with our nation. Many of our local landmarks and iconic buildings were built by Kajima - from Parkway Parade and OUB Centre, to Resorts World Sentosa and the Mediacorp Campus.
Grand Opening Ceremony for Kajima’s Lab for Global Engineering, Architecture, and Real Estate
3. Today, the opening of the GEAR marks a momentous milestone in Kajima’s continued trust and partnership with Singapore. The GEAR is Kajima’s Asia Pacific headquarters, and the company’s first and only overseas Research & Development (R&D) and innovation hub. I am confident that The GEAR is set to become a successful launchpad for Kajima to explore, experiment and co-create cutting-edge technologies to redefine the built environment of this age in Singapore, and globally.
Strengthening Collaboration across the Built Environment Value Chain
4. The opening of The GEAR comes at a timely moment as the built environment sector is poised to grow and transform for the future. The industry is continuing to ramp up to fulfil the backlog of work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector is also transforming itself to capitalise on the opportunities presented by emerging technologies and developments. In addition, the refreshed Built Environment Industry Transformation Map (ITM) encapsulates the Government and sector’s collective vision and strategies to transform the built environment sector.
5. We welcome Kajima’s expansion and goals for growth in Singapore and beyond. With its excellent R&D and innovation capabilities and strong track record, the company is well-placed to play a leadership role in the transformation of the built environment sector in Singapore. I look forward to Kajima’s continued partnership and collaboration with industry stakeholders, including SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and researchers to jointly co-create and testbed construction solutions to tackle industry challenges.
6. For example, Kajima and JTC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2019 to carry out R&D in areas such as robotics and automation. I am glad that the MoU has achieved several outcomes, one of which is the development of the Concrete Finishing Robot with NTU (Nanyang Technological University), Nanyang Polytechnic and local SME, Mega Plus Technology. This robot was used to build The GEAR, and I remember witnessing its capabilities at the Topping Out Ceremony.
7. I am delighted that Kajima and JTC are working towards extending their MoU, for another five years. The potential areas of their collaboration include the development and deployment of advanced construction solutions like robots, Integrated Digital Delivery and autonomous construction equipment, the implementation of carbon reduction technologies throughout the building lifecycle, and the promotion of start-up ecosystems. We can look forward to many of these innovations taking place in the five laboratories here, such as the Construction Robotics Lab and the Human Centric Design Lab.
8. I am certain that we will see some of the best and most innovative solutions for the built environment sector developed at The GEAR. I understand that Kajima and JTC will continue to involve industry stakeholders like builders, facilities management firms and researchers in their collaboration efforts. By working closely together, we can continue to push the boundaries to advance the sector.
Empowering Collaboration at The GEAR
9. I see a wealth of opportunities and potential emerging from The GEAR. With its state-of-the-art facilities, the GEAR will be an ideal testbed and launchpad for exciting ideas and solutions. Besides the five state-of-the-art labs, the Open Innovation Hub on Level 3 will bring together companies and individuals of different backgrounds to collaborate and exchange ideas, as well as share views and perspectives on how to tackle the sector’s business and operational challenges.
Nurturing promising talent
10. Apart from drawing industry players to connect and collaborate, Kajima is committed to working with stakeholders to develop the built environment sector and nurture promising talents. In February this year, Kajima signed an MoU with the Singapore Management University (SMU)’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to enhance the built environment sector, shape future cities and boost Singapore’s start-ups. The MOU will offer valuable opportunities for students to tackle challenges faced by the built environment sector. For instance, start-ups incubated by the SMU Business Generator will be eligible for the Kajima BIG Startup Award which offers a six-month residency at The GEAR with access to data from buildings managed by Kajima.
11. We are excited about the tremendous potential The Gear will unlock for our built environment sector. Congratulations to Kajima and all the partners who have contributed to this successful project. Thank you, Kajima for your vote of confidence in Singapore as you continue to expand your R&D and future with our enterprises and people.
12. I wish you the very best in your endeavour. We look forward to an inspiring and exhilarating Kajima story of growth and innovation in the years to come!