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Press Release

U.S.-Japan Dialogue to Promote Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation

- Launch of U.S.-Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council -

Jan. 30, 2012

As part of the U.S.-Japan Dialogue to Promote Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Job Creation, the U.S. Department of State and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) launched a bilateral "U.S.-Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council" comprised of government and private-sector leaders on January 25, 2012, to explore how the United States and Japan may cooperate to facilitate the commercialization of new technology through entrepreneurial ventures. The same day, METI hosted a symposium in Tokyo to facilitate discussion of entrepreneurship among business leaders and experts.

Representatives of the U.S. and Japanese governments subsequently convened a third meeting of the Dialogue on January 26 at METI. Recognizing that future prosperity depends on bringing new technology to market, both governments aim to strengthen efforts to foster innovation through entrepreneurship to generate more jobs and economic growth.

U.S.-Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council

Acknowledging that high-level commitment by political and opinion leaders is indispensable to facilitating the policy supports necessary for innovation and entrepreneurship to flourish, the U.S. Department of State and METI established a bilateral U.S.-Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council (the "Council") comprised of both government and private-sector leaders, which convened its first meeting on January 25, at Mita Conference Hall in Tokyo. The Council will study and report to both governments on best practices, policy, and possible areas of bilateral cooperation. The Council is co-chaired on the Japanese side by METI Deputy Director General Kenji Goto and Mr. Kakutaro Kitashiro, Senior Advisor, IBM Japan, Ltd.; and on the U.S. side by U.S. Department of State Special Representative Lorraine J. Hariton and Dr. William F. Miller, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University and Faculty Co-Director, Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SPRIE). A complete list of Council members is set out below. By drawing upon the advice of leaders in the business and academic communities as well as government officials, the Council aims to focus senior- level expert input into policy discussion of how the United States and Japan may cooperate more closely to promote innovation and entrepreneurship to the benefit of both economies.

Symposium Focuses on Encouraging Growth of New Business

U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos and Senior Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Seishu Makino opened the January 25 symposium, which brought together leading entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and experts before a public audience numbering over 300. GREE founder and CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka and Larta Institute CEO Rohit Shukla delivered keynote speeches on the theme of "Encouraging the Growth of New Business Ventures in Japan and the United States."

The event also featured panel discussions on "Entrepreneurship in a New Decade - Leaders and Trends," and "Venture Capital and the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem." The symposium program is available online here.

Government-to-Government Dialogue

Representatives of the U.S. and Japanese governments convened a third meeting of the government-to-government dialogue on January 26 at METI. Co-chaired by METI Deputy Director-General for International Regional Policy Goto and U.S. Department of State Special Representative Hariton, dialogue participants reviewed outcomes of recent cooperative initiatives, including the previous day's Council meeting and symposium. They also discussed cooperative projects to encourage entrepreneurship and efforts to attract inward foreign direct investment (FDI).

Both governments continue to share the view that promotion of entrepreneurship, encouragement of cross-border networking, and ensuring supportive policies represent key areas where private sector organizations as well as the two governments can collaborate to enhance economic opportunity for both nations. Both governments welcomed recent cooperative initiatives toward these ends among various organizations in both countries.

They include:

  • Cross-Pacific Innovation Network (CPIN) incubation of next-generation businesses using voice search and other technologies with a view to devising new cross-border models for commercialization processes that make use of Japanese technology and U.S. business services. CPIN was announced in July 2010 and brings together the Kauffman Fellows Program, Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, interested universities and other partners.
  • Launch of the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership that supports Japan's recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and invests in the next generation of Japanese and Americans with a focus on education, entrepreneurship as well as sports, music and the arts.
  • Planning for "Asian Entrepreneurship Award 2012" (planned for May 9-11, 2012), a celebration of entrepreneurship to be held in Chiba Prefecture that will feature entrepreneurs from emerging Asian economies as well as those based in Japan.

Dialogue participants also pledged to continue to consider new ways to include private sector input into policy discussion and use government to raise the public visibility and prestige of entrepreneurship and its importance to the future of both economies.

U.S.-Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council Members from the United States:

Lorraine J. Hariton Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State (Co-Chair)
William F. Miller Professor Emeritus, Stanford University; and Faculty
Co-director, Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Co-Chair)
Gerald J. Hane President & CEO, Battelle-Japan
Kathryn Ibata-Arens Associate Professor, DePaul University
Allen Miner Founder and General Partner, SunBridge Partners
Thomas W. Peterson Assistant Director, Directorate for Engineering, National Science Foundation (or his designee)
Mark F. Radcliffe Partner, DLA Piper
Rohit K. Shukla CEO, Larta Institute
John Somorjai Senior Vice President, Corporate Development & Strategy, Salesforce.com
Phil Wickham President & CEO, Kauffman Fellows Program, Center for Venture Education
Robert N. Eberhart Fellow, Stanford University; STAJE Project Leader (Alternate)

U.S.-Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council Members from Japan:

Kenji Goto Deputy Director-General for International Regional Policy, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) (Co-Chair)
Kakutaro Kitashiro Senior Advisor, IBM Japan, Ltd. (Co-Chair)
Toshihisa Adachi President & CEO, ITOCHU Technology Ventures, Inc.; Chairman, Japan Venture Capital Association
Tetsuya Iizuka Founder and CEO, THine Electronics, Inc.
Fujiyo Ishiguro President & CEO, Netyear Group Corp.
Masazumi Ishii Managing Director, AZCA, Inc.
Nario Kadono Director, New Business Policy Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau, METI
Shigeo Kagami Professor and General Manager, Science Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (SEED) of Division of University Corporate Relations, University of Tokyo
Soichi Kariyazono Partner, Globis Capital Partners
Tomoyoshi Yahagi Director, Americas Division, Trade Policy Bureau, METI