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Japan's startup ecosystem has matured dramatically over the past decade, with greater societal legitimacy, business success, and government support than most observers would have expected 20 years ago. Despite the challenging times ahead with the global pandemic, Japan's startup ecosystem is still poised to inject flexibility and innovation in a system often criticized as too rigid. This panel brings together scholars who have studied and participated in the ecosystem, and one of the key government officials pushing policy supporting the startup ecosystem.
Masahiro Kotosaka, Associate Professor, Keio University
Masahiro Kotosaka is an Associate Professor at Keio University and advisor to several global start-up companies. Before moving to Keio, he was a faculty at Ritsumeikan, a junior faculty at University of Oxford, and was a consultant at McKinsey & Company (Frankfurt/Tokyo). As a practitioner, he worked for sixteen client organizations across nine industries and nine countries, and spent four years running three profitable IT/Retail businesses before joining McKinsey. He graduated from University of Oxford with D.Phil. (PhD) in Management Studies and MSc in Management Research with Distinction.
Yoshiaki Ishii, Director of Science, Technology and Innovation, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan
Since getting his start at the government's Small and Middle Enterprise Agency, Dr. Yoshiaki Ishii has shaped his career almost exclusively around supporting young companies and enhancing innovation. Now, he is the director of the Cabinet Office and responsible for determining how to execute the government's mission of supporting deep tech start-ups and creating an innovation ecosystem. Previously, he served as director of the New Business Policy Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau, METI. He has demonstrated expertise in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), and Venture Business Policy, Industrial Organisation, and Innovation Policy. Dr. Ishii earned his PhD from Waseda University, in 2012, after completing an MBA at Aoyama Gakuin, in 2000.
Kenji Kushida, Research Scholar, Shorenstein APARC Japan Program (Moderator)
Kenji E. Kushida is a Japan Program Research Scholar at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and an affiliated researcher at the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy. Kushida’s research interests are in the fields of comparative politics, political economy, and information technology. He has four streams of academic research and publication: political economy issues surrounding information technology such as Cloud Computing; institutional and governance structures of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster; political strategies of foreign multinational corporations in Japan; and Japan’s political economic transformation since the 1990s. Kushida has written two general audience books in Japanese, entitled Biculturalism and the Japanese: Beyond English Linguistic Capabilities (Chuko Shinsho, 2006) and International Schools, an Introduction (Fusosha, 2008). Kushida holds a PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. He received his MA in East Asian studies and BAs in economics and East Asian studies, all from Stanford University.