Busy (media) week!

I don’t know what happened, but what started as a slow, hot and muggy summer week in Tokyo ended up being a media frenzy for me. Since this is a first for me, I thought I’d blog about it.

On Monday (7/11), The Nikkei Weekly published my opinion piece on “Entrepreneurs: Japan’s hidden resource” (pg. 26) where I talk about how governments have an opportunity to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

On Tuesday (7/12), McKinsey held the launch party for their book, “Reimagining Japan: The Quest for a Future That Works”, in which I contributed a chapter entitled, “Venture and Social Capital: A Vision for Japan” (pgs. 318-323).

On Wednesday (7/13), the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (SCCIJ) invited me to speak at their July luncheon where I spoke about “Reigniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit in Japan: Now is the Time.”

On Wednesday (7/14), the magazine Think! by Toyo Keizai published my Reimagining chapter in Japanese titled “日本に提案する未来像” (pgs. 90-93).

On Friday (7/15), The Economist quoted me in their print publication about “Innovation in Japan – Samurai go soft: Japan’s preference for hardware over software is fading.” Later, I was interviewed on The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 where I spoke about the future of Japan and the opportunities that abound here. (rescheduled for later due to breaking news)

Today, Monday (7/18), I got interviewed by TV Tokyo’s World Business Satellite (WBS) to talk about young (20-something) entrepreneurial ventures and the importance of them going after global markets. This was one of my first long interviews in Japanese so it was definitely not my best performance – need a lot more practice!

Phew … what a week. I wonder how long this will keep up! For those who read, saw or listened to any of this, please feel free to send me any comments.

William Saito
Special Advisor at Cabinet Office (Govt. of Japan)
Named by Nikkei as one of the “100 Most Influential People for Japan,” Saito began software programming at an early age and started his own company in high school. By the time he was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998 (by Ernst & Young, NASDAQ and USA Today), he was recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on encryption, biometric authentication and cyber security.

After selling his business to Microsoft, he moved to Tokyo in 2005 and founded InTecur, a venture capital firm and consultancy that identifies innovative technologies, develops global talent and helps entrepreneurs become successful. In 2013, Saito was appointed a Special Advisor to the Cabinet Office for the Government of Japan.

Similarly, in 2012 he served as a council member on national strategy for the Cabinet-level National Policy Unit, and prior to that, was named as the Chief Technology Officer for the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC). He is a Foundation Board Member at the World Economic Forum (WEF), and has been named by the WEF as both a Young Global Leader and Global Agenda Council member.

Saito also advises several national governments around the globe. In Japan, he has also served as an advisor to METI, MIC, MEXT, MLIT, AIST, IPA and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), among others.

He teaches at multiple universities, serves on several corporate boards, appears as a commentator on national TV and is the author of numerous publications in addition to writing a weekly column for a prominent Japanese business newspaper. His best-selling management book, The Team: Solving the Biggest Problem in Japan, was published by Nikkei BP in 2012, his follow-on book, Is Your Thinking up to Global Standards?, was published by Daiwa Shobo in late 2013 and his autobiography, An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur, was published in 2011 by John Wiley & Sons.

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