Tottori, Japan’s least populous prefecture, has announced the launch of a virtual Metaverse Department. The department’s first employee is Yakamihime, an AI-powered avatar which can engage in voice conversations and is capable of expressing emotions. It is the first such “employee” in any of Japan’s local governments.
Tottori Prefecture is confronted with the problems of a declining and aging population, and it established the Metaverse Department in search for a solution to these issues. The prefecture’s population was approximately 550,000 as of 2020, and you can really get a sense of how small this is when you compare it with Tokyo’s population of around 14 million.
The Metaverse Department releases information within a virtual space. Yakamihime is available in this space 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and can communicate with people who are interested in Tottori Prefecture.
The hope is that this will increase the popularity of Tottori Prefecture within the metaverse and encourage more people to visit in person, as well as give birth to new projects, such as using NFTs to support the prefecture. The metaverse enables connections to be made with people all over the word, and the prefecture believes this will someday play a part in resolving the problems of a declining and aging population.
The Yakamihime avatar is a customized version of an avatar from the AI-based NFT collection XANA: Genesis created by NOBORDER.z. Tourist information on Tottori Prefecture has yet to be added to the AI, but they are expected to have it learn from related information and then update it in the future (ITmedia).
Tottori Prefecture is actively adopting NFT and Web3.0 related technologies, and in 2022 it collaborated with NOBORDER.z to release Astro Boy Japan NFT – Tottori –. This project aimed to increase demand in the tourism market, which is another issue that the prefecture is facing.
Translated by. Marco Farinaccia based on an unpublished Japanese article