JETRO Global Connection -Accelerate Innovation with Japan-

Explore the growing landscape of Japanese startup ecosystem — FUSE Vol.2 is held

(Japan, USA)
May 10, 2022

*This article was originally published in Japanese. All information in this article is as of February 3, 2022.

Growth industry conference FUSEExternal site: a new window will open.Vol.2 was held online on January 20.

FUSE is a conference established in 2021 by for Startups Inc. and CIC Japan G.K. to encourage collaboration between startups, academia, industry, and government to promote growth in the Japanese economy.

The event featured speakers from across different industries and countries as they discuss their experiences partnering with one another to develop innovative technologies and solutions.

To find “The Right Person” for global promotion of startups

Mobility of human resources, especially lack of managerial talent was pointed out as an issue concerning the Japanese startup ecosystem, in the session titled “Public and private partnership strategy to establish a global-level startup ecosystem."
Mr. Shinichiro Kameyama from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry noted, “More and more people are moving to startups (from major companies) seeking fulfilling work and growth opportunities. To support such trend, we have implemented an initiative,” and introduced SHIFT (x), a managerial talent support program for startups.
As another point for startups to do business globally, Hideki Shimada of JETRO, Startup Support Department reiterated the importance of having a person who will navigate their way: “It is crucial to get advice from industry experts and people well versed in the local market. It is good to approach people overseas online as well as Japanese people who are familiar with overseas market.”

A list of major issues faced by Japanese startups compiled from consultations received by Global Acceleration Hub, a platform that supports Japanese startups doing business globally (Photo by JETRO)

A list of major issues faced by Japanese startups compiled from consultations received by Global Acceleration Hub, a platform that supports Japanese startups doing business globally (Photo by JETRO)

Foreign startups working with Japanese enterprises

In the session titled “Food Technology Trends & Innovations," Andy Lin, founder and CEO of Yokai-Express外部サイトへ、新しいウィンドウで開きます was invited to speak together with Akifumi Hattori from East Japan Railway Company. Yokai-Express is an American startup working on partnership with East Japan Railway Company in the food sector and which has developed a ramen vending machine Mr. Lin showed a keen interest in expanding his business in Japan as follows: “Since most restaurants are closed at late night in the United States, many people turn to Yokai-Express for ramen. In Japan too, the number of restaurants open for extended hours is decreasing due to the labor shortage and the problems of long working hours. Our products will serve as a solution (for such social issues).”
Mr. Hattori shared his future vision on the partnership with Yokai-Express: “Japanese companies including East Japan Railway have offered services based on their own resources. Meanwhile, we found Yokai-Express’s market-in proposals, which are simple yet accurately capture customer needs, very attractive. The present issue (regarding collaboration) is to tailor the service to the Japanese market and culture.”

Participants of the online session (Photo by JETRO)

Participants of the online session (Photo by JETRO)

The growth industry conference FUSE Vol.2 features an opportunity for participants and guest speakers to interact with each other through Event Hub, an online event tool besides the conference sessions (Networking period: January 10 to February 28). The event is expected to serve as a catalyst for further growth of startups in and outside Japan.

Report by:
UEDA momoka, Innovation Promotion Department, JETRO

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