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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien


Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Jochi Kioizaka Bldg. 2F
7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 102-0094, Japan
Tel: 03 – 3222 5198, Fax: 03 – 3222 5420


Expert workshop on

IT Start-ups and new Digital Business Models in Japan

15. September 2015

Increasing automation and interconnectedness are frequently associated with a fourth industrial revolution (Industrie 4.0) or coined in terms such as Smart Factories or Internet of Things. Our workshop seeks to explore respective developments and strategies in Japan with special emphasis on the role of IT start-ups and new digital business models. We also want to discuss what policy initiatives and legal frameworks are best suited to foster innovation in these areas. The workshop organized in cooperation with the German Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation brings together Japan experts, entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers and academics to share their experiences, knowledge and views within an informal setting. Main policy insights from the workshop will feed into the annual EFI Report 2016 to be handed over to the German Government in February next year.


List of participants (alphabetic order) 

Japan experts

Hiroshi Fujiwara is the founder and president of Tokyo-based firms BroadBand Tower (BBTower) and Internet Research Institute (IRI). He also serves as president of the Internet Association Japan. Prior to BBTower and IRI, he worked at IBM Japan, Hitachi Engineering, ASCI II and Bellcore. He then founded IRI, an Internet technology venture firm that in 1999 became the first IPO at Tokyo’s new MOTHERS Exchange. In 2000, he founded BBTower, an Internet data center, cloud and e-commerce platform, that counts Yahoo! Japan as one of its largest clients. H. Fujiwara is one of Japan’s leading Internet visionaries, philanthropists and investors. He is a key figure and mentor in science-based entrepreneurship in Japan, and his funds invest in industries ranging from the Internet to life sciences. He holds degrees in astrophysics from Kyoto University and engineering from the University of Tokyo.

Ikuo C. Hiraishi has been involved in Internet related business since the late 1990s. In 2000, he co-founded and became the CEO of Interscope, Inc., which was sold off to Yahoo! Japan in 2007, and later merged with Macromill in 2010. Also, he co-launched an Internet research society, Internet Research forum of Japan, assuming the position of chairman. In March 2011, he assumed the position of Tokyo Officer of SunBridge’s seed acceleration activities, and in May same year, in cooperation with Yasushi Takeuchi of VentureNow, he launched „Innovation Weekend“, a pitch event and networking platform for early stage start-ups and angel investors. In January 2012, he co-founded SunBridge Global Ventures Inc. and became its president & CEO (current position). In addition, he presently serves as visiting professor at Hosei University Graduate School of Business Administration (MBA), and outside directors of several start-ups.

Ryuji Ichikawa, President of Venture Enterprise Center, Japan (VEC) as well as Senior Managing Director of Japan Venture Capital Association (JVCA), has the juristic educational background in the University of Tokyo and l’Université de Paris II. He entered the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) (now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)) in 1978 and experienced in its various positions in the foreign countries such as Sweden, France and Taiwan. After his retirement in 2007, he entered VEC and JVCA in 2010. VEC publishes “VEC YEARBOOK” (annual report on investment trends of Japanese venture capital) every year.

Masayoshi Sakai is Senior Analyst for Global Strategy (Information Industry) at the Commerce and Information Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). A graduate from Tokyo University’s Law Faculty, he joined the Ministry in 1993. During his career he served, among others, as Deputy Director for the Media and Contents Industries Division, the Office of Platform Industry and the Information Economy Division. During his present function he temporarily joined the NicoNico Division of Dwango Co., Ltd as Manager.

Yoshio Tanaka is Professor at the Tokyo University of Science, Graduate School of Innovation Studies. His fields of expertise are technology and market dynamics as well as software technology management. He is Emeritus Councilor of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and Vice President of the PC Open Architecture Consortium (OADG). He served on several IT related government commissions and was AEG Member of the OECD’s Innovation in the Software Sector program. Before joining Tokyo University of Science he held positions as first Technical Officer at Microsoft Japan and as Director of Strategy and Business Development for Asia Pacific at IBM.


German Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation

Uschi Backes-Gellner is holding the Chair for Empirical Research in Business, Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management at the University of Zurich. She is also Vice-Dean at the Department of Economics and Director of the Swiss Leading House on Economics of Education, Firm Behaviour and Training Policies. She is a member of the confederate Expert commission to work on the continuing education law in Switzerland, a member of the Steering Committee on Continuing Training Law of Swiss Federal Government, a member of the Scientific Boards of the Centre for European Economic Research, ZEW, in Mannheim and of the board of the Institute for Employment Research, IAB Nuremberg. Her work focuses on topics in the field of Economics of Human Resources and of Economics of Education in particular.

Christoph Böhringer is professor for economic policy at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg. He led the department Environmental and Resource Economics, Environmental Management at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim. In addition he is member of the German National Committee on Global Change Research (NKGCF). His research activities focus on the economic impact assessment of regulation, especially in the field of environmental, energy and climate policy.

Dietmar Harhoff is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, and head of the economics-oriented department (Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research). He was Director of the Institute for Innovation Research, Technology Management and Entrepreneurship (INNO-tec) as well as Director of the LMU Entrepreneurship Center Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich. His research focuses on issues in innovation and entrepreneurship, intellectual property and industrial economics.

Ingrid Ott is a professor for Economic Policy and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business Engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Research Fellow at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW). She was head of the research group New Technologies and Regional Innovation Systems at the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) and is a board member of the Centre for European Economic Research Mannheim (ZEW). She is very experienced especially in the fields of innovation and growth theory, cutting edge technology and regional development.

Monika Schnitzer is holding the Chair for Comparative Economics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich. She has been one of the members of the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation and belonged to the Economic Advisory Group on Competition Policy, Competition DG of the European Commission. She is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). Her scientific work mainly focuses on business strategies on internationalization and innovation and their constraints.


16:00 Uhr

Franz Waldenberger, Director DIJ

16:10 Uhr

Dietmar Harhoff, Director of Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

16:20 Uhr
Invited expert statements (about 15 minutes each)

New digital business models in Japan

Hiroshi Fujiwara

IT start-up scene in Japan

Ikuo Hiraishi

Venture capital in Japan

Ryuji Ichikawa

Policy initiatives - the MITOU Foundation

Masayoshi Sakai

Collaborative research projects - Things and Systems Consortium

Yoshio Tanaka

17:50 Uhr
Open discussion

19:00 Uhr

20:00 Uhr

Verwandte Forschungsprojekte

Startups in Asien – die Bedeutung von Agglomerationen und internationaler Vernetzung