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Slovenia, Japan Take Next Step in Smart Communities Project

Ljubljana, 15 May (STA) - Slovenia and Japan signed in Ljubljana on Thursday a letter of intent to launch a joint smart communities project, taking the next step in what is a EUR 50m undertaking. The countries will now start looking for hi-tech consortia to help implement the project.

Based on the signed document, Slovenia will issue a public call by the end of June to find a consortium of companies to take part in the project.

So far, a consortium of eleven Slovenian hi-tech companies and research institutions said they would vie to participatet.

Economic Development and Technology Ministry State Secretary Janko Burgar expressed hope that more than one consortium will apply.

The letter of intent was signed by Tomaž Klemenc, the head of Slovenia's SPIRIT agency for the promotion of entrepreneurship, investment and tourism, and the executive director of Japanese New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Hiroshi Kuniyoshi.

The countries will contribute EUR 25m each and Slovenia is to finance the project from EU funds, according to Burgar.

Japanese Ambassador to Slovenia Shigemi Jomori pointed out that the first phase of the project was completed, but both sides still had their work cut out for them.

He called on the participants to do a good job in the next stage of the project, especially considering that Slovenia was about to see a change in the government.

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