People cross a junction in front of advertising billboards in the Shibuya shopping district in Tokyo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel is famous worldwide for its innovation and advanced technology.
It is a land with a fascinating past and promising future. You all know that, but what you might have missed is that in Japan we have also noticed. Israel and Japan have so much in common, it is no wonder that their relations are evolving rapidly lately.
In the past years, both prime ministers exchanged visits to each other and government-sponsored business fora took place, which sent strong signals to Japanese companies that it’s the time to start new business with Israel.
Japanese and Israeli companies can be complementary and develop a win-win collaboration. It is now widely acknowledged in Japanese business that Japanese power of manufacturing and marketing, together with Israeli potential of generating new business opportunities and software development, can bring great synergy. In fact, while Japanese mega-companies are reviewing heavy reliance on in-house laboratories for new applied technologies and seeking more and more outsourcing and networking, they learn about the genuine creativity of Israel to connect new technology to new business opportunities.
Japan itself holds many opportunities for Israelis. We expect 2.9 percent GDP nominal growth in FY 2015.
“Lehman Shock” could do only partial damage to Japanese hi-tech. The number of IPOs has shown a strong increase in recent years.
What’s more, Japan has growing domestic markets. These are great opportunities not only for Japanese companies but also for foreign companies.
For example, half of the top 20 companies in the Japanese medicine market are foreign companies. Israel’s Teva also came to Japan five years ago, and now it is one of the essential companies in the Japanese market. Stock prices are increasing and have almost doubled in three years.
Another big event is the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. The events create new demands for cybersecurity, autonomous driving, high-definition broadcasting and other technologies.
Some economists estimate that the Olympic Games will bring trillions of yen in business. I still remember that in 1964, when the previous Tokyo Olympic Games took place, events were broadcast in color, and many tens of thousands of color television sets were sold. The Games can also be a great opportunity for Israeli companies.
The government of Japan has recently compiled the “Five Commitments for Attracting Foreign Businesses to Japan.” Our government is trying to improve the business environment in five areas: language, Internet, business jets, education for kids and more. We also launched a new visa system for engineers. If you are qualified as a highly skilled professional and stay in Japan for longer than three years, you can live in Japan without any time limitation.
The living environment is also important. The British magazine Monocle has rated Tokyo the world’s No.1 city to live in. Some people think prices in Tokyo are very expensive, but it is not true anymore. There are a lot of opportunities for investment in Japan, lots of common interests with Israelis. Let’s lead together the world of technology.Shigeo Matsutomi is Japanese ambassador to Israel. This is part of the speech that he gave this week at the Global Markets International Conference.