Digital Innovation High on Japan’s Agenda for 2020

Business leaders in Japan pledge to increase digital innovation to ensure the Japanese economy continues its steady growth trend

Digital Innovation
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Japanese business leaders are focused on ramping up the country’s efforts to lead the global economy by boosting digital innovation this year.

In his New Year message, Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the Keidanren – which is also known as the Japan Business Federation – expressed his hopes to renew Japan’s determination to implement ‘Society 5.0’ as a cornerstone for the country’s growth strategy.

Japan’s Society 5.0

Society 5.0 is considered the fifth stage in human development, after hunter-gatherer, agrarian, industrial and information. In this new society, all things will be connected through IoT (Internet of Things) technology and all technologies will be integrated.

To get there, Nakanishi’s plan will include promoting cross-sectoral discussions via Keidanren’s digital-transformation meetings where they will draw up new rules and propose directions for institutional reforms.

The further development of digital technology ultimately aims to make people’s lives better and solve social issues. The lobby is committed to rule-making for digital transformation and economic structural reforms that will deal with the issue of Japan’s ageing population and diminishing workforce.

Nakanishi also welcomed the new US-Japan trade deal which came into effect on January 1. The deal agreed by Prime Minister Abe and Donald Trump promises lower tariffs on agricultural and industrial products, as well as reduced barriers on digital trade.

The further development of digital technology ultimately aims to make people’s lives better and solve social issues

Proposed changes to meet digital innovation objectives

Chairman of the Japanese Association of Corporate Executives, Kengo Sakurada, called on Japan to take initiative, ahead of other countries, regarding regulations around the use of digital data and taxation of IT giants.

He especially wants to see deregulation in the fields of online medical services and autonomous driving. Sakurada also asked that Japan use its cutting-edge technology to increase its efforts to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Akio Mimura, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, claimed that it needed to introduce digital technology to small and medium sized companies in order to help them to increase productivity.

Also, to help regional economies, the chamber plans to make the most of indigenous resources and inbound travelers to promote local tourism.

Government seeks international ties to improve digital infrastructure

In order to improve digital infrastructure, Japan and India have stepped up their cooperation with a focus on sharing information on the development of digital technology.

A well-designed digital social infrastructure is expected to play a crucial role in enhancing the efficiency of societal services and solving social problems as we enter an internet-of-things era.

As a starting point, both countries have agreed to the establishment of a start-up hub in Bengaluru to work together on cybersecurity and the dissemination of next generation networks.

What do you think of the new proposals? Could digital innovation measures benefit you and your business? Please let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

"Otsumami" - a bite size snack:

Tapping into Japan’s proven talent for finding innovative solutions to problems is its best weapon against the threat of a slowing economy.

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Written by Catherine McGuinness

Writer and journalist with a love for all things Japan.

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