Getting ready to speak at The Economist Fifth Japan CFO Roundtable on “The Road Forward for Japanese Companies” – Four Seasons Hotel – Chinzanso, Tokyo.
Update: I spent about 10 minutes speaking about how Japanese corporations should approach innovation, entrepreneurship and going global. The speech went by very quickly, but since I did it in English, I believe I did a better job than my recent TED experience. After the presentation, it switched to a moderated session where we had a pretty good Q&A session.
Unfortunately, due to jet lagg or something, I ended up giving a long winded non-answer to the last moderated question which was along the lines of “Many Japanese say basic innovation and research should be the responsibility of large companies and government. What would be your response to that.” I should have said that “Yes, things like the Internet, only governments can really initiate. However, things like Facebook (Mixi here), Twitter, Amazon (Rakuten) or eBay would not have been possible by either large companies or governments.”
I forgot what answer I actually gave….
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 in elementary school and started his own company while still in high school and was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998 (by Ernst & Young, NASDAQ and USA Today). As one of the world’s leading authorities on cybersecurity.
After selling his business to Microsoft, he moved to Tokyo in 2005 and founded InTecur, a venture capital firm. In 2011, he served as the Chief Technology Officer of the National Diet’s (Parliament) Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission. Later that year, he was named as both a Young Global Leader and Global Agenda Council member for World Economic Forum (WEF) and subsequently been named to its Foundation Board. In 2012, Saito was appointed to a council on national strategy and policy that reported directly to the Prime Minister of Japan.
Saito also advises several national governments around the globe. In Japan, he has served as an advisor to Japanese ministries; the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST); the Information Technology Promotion Agency (IPAS); the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, among others. He is currently the Special Advisor to the Ministry of Economic Trade and Industry (METI) and the Cabinet Office for the Government of Japan.
He went to medical school at UCLA and Harvard Kennedy School; serves on various boards of Global 2000 companies; frequently appears as a commentator on TV and is the author of seven books in addition to writing several weekly newspaper columns. His management book, The Team: Solving the Biggest Problem in Japan, was published by Nikkei BP and became a best-seller in 2012. In 2016, Saito received the Medal of Honor from the Government of Japan for his work in the field of education.