Japan is one of the world’s biggest economies, not to mention one of the richest. It is technologically highly developed and has a broadly diversified, strongly export-driven economic structure. And in March 2017, it will star as the Partner Country at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany, where it will showcase itself to the world as an economic powerhouse and frontrunner in the digital transformation.
Internet of Things. Virtual Reality. Artificial Intelligence. Cyber security. Autonomous systems. Humanoid robots. These are the big technology trends driving the digital transformation, and they will feature prominently in Japan's Partner Country showcase at CeBIT. In March 2017, the showcase mounted by Japan's corporate and institutional ambassadors will be a shining testament to the country's innovative power and progressive outlook. It will also be very big, spanning more than 5,000 square meters (53,000 sq. ft. ) of display space.
And that's just the main Partner Country showcase. There will also be numerous stand-alone Japanese displays at CeBIT's various theme clusters. In all, there will be more than 120 Japanese companies and institutions taking part at CeBIT 2017 – about ten times as many as in 2016 and an all-time record in the history of Japan's participation at CeBIT.
"As Partner Country, Japan will be one of the defining factors at next year's CeBIT show," commented Oliver Frese, the Deutsche Messe Managing Board member in charge of CeBIT, at the "CeBIT Japan Special" conference on Thursday in Düsseldorf. "The Japanese government was looking for a world-leading digitalization showcase at which to demonstrate its prowess as a driver of innovation and pioneer of technological and scientific endeavor, and we are immensely proud that it has chosen CeBIT," he said.
Japan's Partner Country participation was confirmed in early October this year with the signing of a partner country agreement between Deutsche Messe and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). In his address to the Düsseldorf conference, JETRO Berlin Director-General Hitoshi Masuda made the following statement: "This is the first time Japan has been Partner Country at CeBIT. We are proud to announce that JETRO will be running a large Japanese national pavilion there. The agreement making it all possible was signed in Tokyo on German Unity Day. At that time, our Partner Country participation was expressly endorsed by Prime Minister Abe. In order to ensure that our Partner Country showcase is an absolute success, JETRO has now set up a special project group named ‘Kizuna,' which is the Japanese word for ‘emotional bond.' The JETRO pavilion will present a wide range of technologies, including the use of robots in medicine and agriculture. We will use CeBIT to showcase these highly advanced, Japanese-developed technologies to a global audience."
Like the CeBIT Special in Düsseldorf, the actual CeBIT show in Hannover in March 2017 will feature numerous Japanese VIPs. For example, Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, has received a personal invitation from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to join her in formally opening the show. Similarly, Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, one of the world's leading lights in robotics and the director of Osaka University's Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, will be heading to Hannover with his robotic twin. In addition, the keynote speaker lineup at the CeBIT Global Conferences includes Minoru Usui, President of Epson, and Shoei Yamana, President and CEO of Konica Minolta.
The big highlights of the CeBIT Global Conferences also include an appearance by the Japanese-American entrepreneur Kei Shimada. Since 2012, Shimada has been a top-level executive at Dentsu Aegis, where he oversees the development of new solutions around wearables, neural technology, locational big data and crisis management infrastructures.
There will also be sizable contingent of top-level executives taking part at the CeBIT Japan Summit, which will be held on the first day of the show. Among their number will be senior government figures from Japan and Germany and delegates from ground-breaking German and Japanese IT companies.
Among the Japanese companies leveraging CeBIT 2017 to showcase their latest innovations will be Epson. "Epson draws on traditional Japanese values to develop eco-friendly products. All of its developments are based on its own proprietary technologies, which are designed for efficiency, compactness and precision," Henning Ohlsson, Epson's CEO Germany and Director of CSR for the EMEAR region, told the audience in Düsseldorf. "CeBIT is the perfect platform for profiling our activities and technologies to a wide industry audience," he said. "It is also ideal for presenting trend-setting new developments in the business segment. So it gives me great pleasure announce a European first right here and now. I'm talking about Epson PaperLab, our new paper recycling machine for office use. CeBIT 2017 will be the first time it's gone on show outside Japan."
One of the key themes highlighted by the Japanese exhibitors at CeBIT will be cyber security, as Raimund Genes, CTO of the Tokyo-based IT security provider Trend Micro, explained: " With attacks by cyber criminals reaching unprecedented numbers and levels of sophistication, effective IT security and data protection have never been more important. These are important issues, to which Japan and Germany share a common approach. And so CeBIT 2017 is the ideal platform at which to present our expertise and solutions in these areas. In fact, it's doubly apt, in that Trend Micro is a Japanese company that's been in the market for nearly 30 years and has a German subsidiary that's been a regular exhibitor at CeBIT for over 20 years."