Spoke at a law conference

In early January, I was invited to speak at a law conference in Malaysia. At first, I turned them down politely, since I didn’t know who they were, and it was somewhat short notice. I had a potential conflict with another event later that month, and what did I have to do with the legal profession anyway? The organizers were persistent and upon further investigation, I realized it was being organized by an old acquaintance from Microsoft – Bill Neukom. Therefore, I agreed to be one of their keynote panelists and flew to Kuala Lumpur to attend the World Justice Project APAC Rule of Law Conference.
At the conference, I was one of the few (less than 1%) non-lawyers at the event, but, I must say, it was one of the best conferences I have participated in. Perhaps because lawyers are naturally predisposed to discussion and debate (which, for anyone who knows me, I like very much). There were actually three other people from Japan at this conference, led by the Honorable Kunio Hamada, a former member of the supreme court of Japan – a very kind gentleman – and we spent many hours talking about a variety of topics.
Initially, I was concerned that my topic (titled “Japan ‘leading’ the way” – a play on words) would not be germane to the listening audience. I ended up speaking about how innovation and entrepreneurship is often hindered by well meaning laws and regulations when, in fact, they have many unintended consequences; and how Japan has been a good (and bad) example of this “experiment” over the past 20 years. I specifically focused on how Japan’s aging and shrinking population is going through a grand experiment that many countries in the world will encounter shortly (and therefore should learn from). Since it is “leading” in this area, I focused on three main points that government, corporations and society in general have attempted to address, but which haven’t gone as planned: 1) Addressing risk, 2) The role of governments, education and research, and 3) The role of women.

In the end, the speech went over very well, and I received a lot of great feedback during and after the conference. There have been numerous requests for my slides, so I have posted them here as well.

Your comments are most welcome.
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 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.

Posted by whsaito

  1. tres interessant, merci


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