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Round Table Conference on "Connected Industries" Held with METI Minister Mr. Seko and Top company executives in related industries

Taking the opportunity of their attendance at CeBIT 2017, a global event for digital business held in Germany in March, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, and Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry announced “Connected Industries” as the new concept for the future of Japanese industries to the participants.

Japan aims to achieve “Society 5.0” in the future through the full utilization of technological innovation including IoT, AI and Big Data derived from the fourth industrial revolution. To achieve Society 5.0, industries must play a key role. In light of this, the Japanese government has announced “Connected Industries,” as a new concept framework in which industries will create new added value and the solutions to various problems in society through connectedness of various facets of modern life, including humans (including our roles as consumers and suppliers), machines, systems, companies. To this end, the Japanese government is advancing a wide variety of policy initiatives in cooperation with private sector parties.

As the first step in launching these initiatives, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) held a round table conference with Minister Seko, bringing together industrial players and experts.

1. Background and purpose

Japan aims to achieve “Society 5.0” in the future through full utilization of technological innovation including IoT, AI and Big Data derived from the fourth industrial revolution. To achieve this goal, it also needs to change the existing approaches that Japanese industries have been taking.

Taking the opportunity of their attendance at CeBIT 2017, a global event for digital business held in Germany in March, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, and Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry announced “Connected Industries” as the new concept for the future of Japanese industries to the participants.

Japan aims to connect a variety of assets, e.g., machines, data, technologies, people, and organizations, as well as the existing industries and digital technologies, thereby bringing about the creation of new added value and the solutions to societal problems, bringing “Connected Industries” to fruition. To this end, the Japanese government is advancing a wide variety of policy initiatives in cooperation with private sector parties.

As the first step in launching these initiatives, METI held a round table conference with Minister Seko, bringing together representatives of the industrial world and experts to lead Japanese industries, to hold discussions concerning public and private efforts to realize the policy concept.

At the round table conference, industrial players and experts cited specific case examples of industrial efforts involving the policy concept, as achievements derived from advanced technologies under the Smart Manufacturing policy, approaches to combining biological and digital fields, artificial intelligence (AI) utilization, and other initiatives. At the same time, they also proactively exchanged views with Minister Seko concerning these issues.

2. Participants

Yoshiharu Inaba
Chairman and CEO, FANUC Corporation; Chairman, Japan Robot Association
Hideaki Omiya
Chairman of the Board, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry; Vice-Chairman, The Japan Machinery Federation
Yoshimitsu Kobayashi
Chairperson, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation; Representative Director, Keizai Doyukai
Hiroto Saikawa
President/CEO, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.; President, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc.
Jasper Cheung
President, Amazon Japan, K.K.
Kazuhiko Toyama
Managing Partner/CEO, Industrial Growth Platform, Inc.; Chairman, IoT Acceleration Lab
Toru Nishikawa
Founder/CEO, Preferred Networks, Inc.
Toshiaki Higashihara
President/CEO, Hitachi, Ltd.; Vice Chairman, Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association
Masayuki Makino
CEO, Works Applications Co., Ltd.
Masahiko Mori
President, DMG Mori Co., Ltd.; Vice Chairman, Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association
Kenichiro Yamanishi
Chairman, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation; Vice-Chairs, Keidanren

(Japanese syllabary order; honorifics omitted; titles are as of May 29, 2017)

3. Reference: Efforts for achieving the Connected Industries (CI) policy

1. Field-based efforts for achieving the policy
1) Smart Manufacturing

Assisting industries in creating leading case examples of: developing foundations for international standardization and other rules; and sharing data of sales order/design/production and industrial safety, aiming to achieve the Smart Manufacturing policy under which Japanese industries utilize technical strengths and on-site management capabilities

2) Autonomous driving vehicles

Aiming to achieve globally-advanced technologies through successful commercialization of autonomous driving vehicles (designing public systems = regional-based demonstration tests, etc.) and development of related technologies (maximization of harmonized regions = highly-accurate maps, etc.), so as to maintain existing competitiveness in the automobile industry

3) Robots, drones

Advancing R&D of robot fundamental technologies and human resource development and accelerating public utilization of robots in the fields of manufacturing, service industries, nursing, infrastructure inspection, etc., as a world-leading robotics country

4) Biology, healthcare

Shifting the existing industrial structure to one with environmental-friendliness through the integration of biological and digital technologies, and assisting industries in developing services, devices, etc. in which information on healthcare and medical care is utilized

2. Cross-sectoral efforts for achieving the policy
1) Data utilization

Releasing public data, encouraging the distribution or utilization of industrial or personal data, and promoting smooth data distribution at a global level, as foundations for realizing data utilization under the CI policy

2) Development of human resources in the field of IT

Enhancing the quality of educational training programs, making computer programming educational programs compulsory in schools, and establishing a new start-up-support program in the field of IT, as efforts targeted to human resources who will lead the CI policy

3) Cybersecurity

Constructing a common framework for sharing incident information, etc., conducting human resource development, and promoting investment in cybersecurity, aiming to secure cybersecurity measures, as indispensable efforts for advancing the CI policy

4) AI research

Encouraging AIST to collaborate with universities and other institutes to accomplish R&D contributing to the improvement of Japan’s productivity and to enhance inter-institute collaborative efforts on a global level, so as to fully secure the CI-based approaches to obtaining new market share.

5) Intellectual property and standard systems

Making rules to address the integration of hardware and software and advancing development of an environment for smooth utilization of intellectual property rights required for industries to comply with standards, as efforts for enhancing the quality of the existing rules under the CI policy

Release date

May 29, 2017

Division in Charge

Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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