Japan invests billions of dollars in R&D and is a global leader in digitalization, pioneering innovations in areas as diverse as humanoid robots, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, e-skin displays and technologies for translating sound to vibration for the hearing-impaired.
It's official: the Partner Country at CeBIT 2017 will be Japan, as announced by Deutsche Messe AG as the producers of CeBIT. The agreement pairs the world's leading event for the digitalization of business, government and society with an absolute global frontrunner in R&D and all things high-tech and digital.
During a visit to Germany last May by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited Japan to be honored as the official Partner Country for CeBIT 2017 – an invitation that Prime Minister Abe cordially accepted, adding that Germany is Japan's biggest and most important European trading partner.
The show's partnership with the world's third-largest economy is well timed, coinciding as it does with Prime Minister Abe's call to strengthen his country's domestic industrial base and revitalize the global economy. In Abe's industrial and economic strategy, digitalization plays a very special role.
Oliver Frese, the member of Deutsche Messe's Managing Board responsible for CeBIT, commented by saying: "Japan is one of Germany's most important economic and trading partners in the Asia region. As the organizers of CeBIT, we are proud to have the chance to further deepen and enhance the close bilateral ties we share. Our two nations both place major emphasis on export business, and each is home to major manufacturers and providers across multiple industries. I am therefore confident that the upcoming show will feature a wealth of ground-breaking innovations."
"Japan's Partner Country involvement will spark considerable innovation across every sector of our economies," added Frese, going on to highlight the key role played by the IT industry as a source of fresh ideas and bold advancement in today's age of sweeping digital transformation, for the benefit of users in every conceivable sector.
The leading German IT industry association BITKOM sees Japan as a key trading partner. "Japan is an incubator of digital technologies," commented its president, Thorsten Dirks. "It is home to highly innovative industries that are undisputed world leaders in many fields, including driverless vehicles and robotics. Moreover, it is a society that welcomes innovation and readily embraces new technology – something that we here in Germany could learn a great deal from. Japan is also a key trading partner for German ICT companies. All of which points to CeBIT as the perfect platform for furthering bilateral dialogue, particularly for SMEs and startups."
BITKOM figures indicate that Japanese exports of ICT products to Germany in 2015 totaled 1.3 billion euros, up a good 19 percent from 2014. German ICT exports to Japan also increased – by around 15 percent – taking the 2015 total to approximately 270 million euros.
As a developer of digital technologies, Japan ranks among the world's foremost innovators. And it is putting these technologies to many novel uses, e.g. for the benefit of its aging and declining population, with huge resources being invested in in intelligent assistive and care systems. Other top priorities on Japan's digital agenda are the Internet of Things and associated IT security issues. In pursuit of these goals, Japan is also increasingly engaging in international partnerships.
Making the country one of the world's most progressive societies by the year 2020 – in time for the Tokyo Olympics – is a major objective currently being pursued by the Japanese government.
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