In April 2008, the METAWATER Group was established as the first comprehensive engineering enterprise in Japan engaged in the water and environmental fields. Since then, we have worked as a corporate group engaged in the social infrastructure indispensable to industries and people's lives, promoting the fusion of mechanical technology, electrical technology, ICT, and maintenance know-how, contributing to society through water, sewage, and resource environment businesses. At the same time, we are also engaged in CSR activities such as working to conserve the environment and contributing to local communities.
Much of Japan's water and sewage infrastructure was developed during a period of high economic growth, and the aging of these facilities and equipment has become a serious issue. Another major issue we're facing is the recent increased occurrence of natural disasters such as earthquakes, heavy rainstorms, and typhoons. However, local governments that plan and operate water and sewage businesses are having problems of their own, such as decreased income due to a declining population and a shortage of engineers. In order to solve these problems, business operations urgently need further comprehensiveness and wider area management through public-private partnerships (PPP), and legislation is currently underway to promote this. The Group believes that Japan, which has experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake, can create a sustainable water and environmental infrastructure, and has been exploring how best to achieve that over time. Finally, we are ready to move on to specific measures. We will continue to undertake sincere efforts in order to be a corporate group confidently entrusted with the social infrastructure of the future.
In response to the revised Water Supply Act, we will continue to undertake steady efforts to gain the trust of citizens.
In December 2018, the "revised Water Supply Act" was enacted. In this revision, the aim of the act was changed from "planned maintenance" to "strengthening infrastructure" regarding water infrastructure. Additionally, prefectures have become responsible for "wider area management", and local government and other business entities are obliged to carry out "maintenance of ledgers" and "appropriate maintenance and repair". As another option for improving the efficiency of business, concession agreements can now be established as well, which allow operation of the business to be outsourced for long periods of time while ownership of the water supply business and water infrastructure are maintained by the local government.
Since the enforcement of the PFI laws in 1999, approximately 60 PPP applications have been accepted nationwide regarding the water and sewage field. The METAWATER Group has taken part in about half of those projects, handling everything from facility design and construction to operation, maintenance, and management. Up to now we have worked on a number of further comprehensiveness projects, including those supporting management and planning for local governments, fee collection, and support for residents, etc. In order to continue with the steady activities we have been engaged in during this period and to be able to take on wider area management projects, we will be adopting the "three centers concept" centered around the "Training center for facility operators", "Knowledge center", and "Supply center for parts". In addition, we will work to reduce construction costs and improve maintenance efficiency through the incorporation of cutting- edge technologies such as AI and ICT. Furthermore, we are actively promoting the disclosure of information and aiming for highly transparent business operations.
To realize our long-term vision, METAWATER will continue to take bold measures to respond to the rapidly changing environment.
In the future, major environmental changes are expected, including a further increase in the number of projects for further comprehensiveness and a growing demand for wider area management represented by concessions. In anticipating these changes and strengthening our corporate structure to realize our long-term vision aiming for sales of 200 billion yen, in April 2018 the METAWATER Group formulated the "Mid-Term Management Plan 2020", which will end in March 2021.
Under the "Mid-Term Management Plan 2020", we will implement "strategic development investments" in addition to conventional development investments, and are also working on development of products, solutions, and new businesses that are essential for medium- to long-term growth. In terms of business strategy, we are capturing replacement demand and reinforcing the domestic EPC business, while at the same time steadily increasing a stock business, the domestic O&M business. We are also working to expand the domestic PPP business, which is positioned as a field for growth, and reinforce and expand overseas business foundations, through regional and partnership strategies making use of our results thus far. Additionally, we are promoting work-style reforms, creating a work environment in which excellent human resources will constantly join the company and enabling growth and innovative work.
The environment in today's Japan is changing drastically due to a declining population, frequent natural disasters, etc. If you look overseas, the number of people without access to drinking water has been rapidly increasing, and numerous lives have been lost due to unsanitary water environments. Under these circumstances, the technology, know-how, human resources, and information that the METAWATER Group has available are indispensable.
We are making continuous efforts to ensure that the safe and secure water environment Japan currently enjoys will be available for our children, and their children as well. We will also expand our efforts to overseas countries requiring a better water environment.
President and Representative Director
METAWATER, Co., Ltd.