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MITOU KAIGI 2018 to be Held To further encourage MITOU human resources to play leading roles in the industrial world and other fields

On March 9 (Fri.), 2018, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan (IPA), and the Mitou Foundation will jointly hold MITOU KAIGI 2018.

The conference will provide a panel discussion and other events bringing together: Mr. Shohei Hido, Chief Research Officer, Preferred Networks, Inc., Mr. Takanori Ogata, CRO, ABEJA, Inc., and Mr. Wataru Yoshizaki, CRO, Asratec Corp. and other MITOU human resources as well as notable experts in related fields, focusing on three subjects of AI, robotics and next-generation computing.

1. Outline

IPA has been working on the MITOU program (official title: Exploratory IT Human Resources Project)* for 18 years since FY2000, and has fostered approximately 1,680 talented people called MITOU human resources, i.e., graduates of the program. MITOU human resources have made contributions to many fields in Japanese society and over 250 of them have started their own businesses or commercialized their own inventions.

MITOU KAIGI conference is an event aiming to further enrich and develop the MITOU program in which Japan discovers and fosters human resources with outstanding IT ability. Against the backdrop of growing expectations for accelerated innovation in IoT-based business models in all industrial fields, METI recognizes the importance of raising public awareness in broad fields of potential in innovation brought about by MITOU human resources, and to this end, it has been holding the MITOU Day conference on March 10 to attract public awareness since 2016.
Note: As March 10, 2018, is a Saturday, the 2018 conference will be held on March 9 (Fri.), 2018.

In 2018, focusing on three subjects of next-generation computing, AI and robotics, the conference will provide a panel discussion of MITOU human resources and notable experts in the related fields to exchange views concerning the latest trends in technologies, prospects and necessary qualifications that Japan should champion in order to achieve success on the international stage.

2. Date and venue of the conference

Date and time: March 9 (Fri.), 2018; from 15:00 to 22:00
Venue: Asakusabashi Hulic Hall & Hulic Conference

3. Program of the conference (tentative)

(1) Symposium: MITOU KAIGI conference (15:00-18:45)

  • Opening remarks, opening declaration, speech by a guest of honor

MITOU keynote

  • Short session by a MITOU overall project manager and MITOU human resources
    • Mr. Shohei Hido, Vice President/Chief Research Officer, Preferred Networks, Inc.
    • Mr. Takanori Ogata, Director/CRO, ABEJA, Inc.
    • Mr. Wataru Yoshizaki, Director/CRO, Asratec Corp.

MITOU Deep-Drive

  • Panel discussion by a moderator as well as MITOU IT human resources and notable experts
    1. Next-generation computing
      • Mr. Keizo Azuma, Deputy General Manager, AI Project Headquarters, Fujitsu Limited
      • Mr. Masanao Yamaoka, Senior Researcher, Research & Development Group, Hitachi, Ltd.
      • Mr. Yoshiki Matsuda, Lead Engineer, Fixstars Corporation
      • Moderator: Mr. Shu Tanaka, Associate Professor, Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University
    2. AI
      • Mr. Shohei Hido, Vice President/Chief Research Officer, Preferred Networks, Inc.
      • Mr. Takanori Ogata, Director/CRO, ABEJA, Inc.
      • Mr. Kyuri Yamada, Manga Artist
      • Moderator: Mr. Jun Taguchi, Chief Editor, Impress Corporation
    3. Robotics
      • Mr. Wataru Yoshizaki, Director/CRO, Asratec Corp.
      • Dr. Masahiko Inami, Professor, the University of Tokyo/Project Manager, MITOU program
      • Moderator: Mr. Akihito Fujii, KDDI Corporation/Project Manager, MITOU program
  • Closing remarks

(2) Networking event: MITOU Night (admission fee required) (19:00-22:00)

Following the symposium, a networking event (social gathering) will be held targeting MITOU human resources, MITOU Program supporters and supporting associations, companies proceeding with the utilization of IT human resources, and other relevant entities.

  • Lightning talk by MITOU IT human resources, including demonstration of their works
  • Exhibitions of works by MITOU IT human resources, etc.

4. How to attend the conference

If you wish to attend the conference, please visit the following IPA website for a lottery-based application system. Acceptance of applications will be closed at 4:00 p.m., March 6 (Tue.), 2018.

*Reference 1: Outline of the MITOU program

  • IPA has been working on the MITOU program since FY2000 to discover and foster outstanding individuals (IT creators) who have ideas and skills unique enough to create innovations through the utilization of IT and who are able to utilize these innovations.
  • The MITOU program is characterized by the point that project managers or experts who lead the frontline in the industrial world and have outstanding talent and achievements will discover promising individuals and invite them to the program and support them in developing unique endeavors.
  • In FY2018, MITOU advanced a new program of human resource development, and will fully start to support human resources in efforts toward commercialization and starting up businesses. This program aims to enhance the efforts for discovering and fostering world-class human resources in IT and other areas who intend to embark on business challenges which lead to the establishment of startups. To this end, the program will take advantage of IT communities cultivated through the MITOU program and will create opportunities for outstanding human resources to receive face-to-face coaching by project managers having rich human networks.

Reference 2: Outline of the MITOU Junior (youngsters) program and the MITOU Junior Camping program

  • As an organizer, the Mitou Foundation started the MITOU Junior program in FY2016 as a miniature MITOU program, targeting students aged 17 or younger of elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools and national institutes of technology.
  • The program aims to provide such students with opportunities to experience manufacturing or monodzukuri processes while receiving assistance from project managers and stakeholders of the MITOU program, thereby encouraging students to learn about the qualities of monodzukuri.
  • The Mitou Foundation has also been organizing the MITOU Junior Camping program in which, during three days of camping, selected winners will make presentations concerning their ideas and plans, receive feedback thereon, and make final presentations thereof.

For further information, visit the following website:

Reference 3: Profiles of graduates of the MITOU program who will participate in the panel discussion

Mr. Shohei Hido, Preferred Networks, Inc.

Mr. Hido is a super creator selected under the FY2002 IPA MITOU Youth program. After completing his master’s degree in 2006 at the Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, he joined IBM Japan in the same year and engaged in research and development for data mining and machine learning at IBM Tokyo Laboratory. After he received a certification of research guidance and left Ph.D. study at the Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, in 2011, he joined Preferred Infrastructure, Inc. in 2012, and is now a chief research officer in their affiliated company Preferred Networks America, Inc., in the United States.

Mr. Takanori Ogata, Director/CRO, ABEJA, Inc.

Born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1988, Mr. Ogata studied at Kyushu University after having transferred from Kurume College, a national institute of technology. During his university enrollment, he completed the MITOU program in 2010. After finishing his bachelor’s course, he entered graduate school and began working at ABEJA, Inc. in September 2012, jointly with Mr. Yosuke Okada, now president of ABEJA, Inc. He is currently engaging in deep learning-based research and product development, while proactively conducting joint R&D with universities and making academic presentations inside and outside Japan.

Mr. Wataru Yoshizaki, Director/CRO, Asratec Corp.

Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1985, Mr. Yoshizaki was selected as a MITOU super creator within the initiative’s the main program. After engaging in developing a large number of robot control technologies, such as Kuratasu, a robot developed by Suidobashi Heavy Industry, he joined Asratec Corp. in 2013. In 2014, he was designated as a member of the Robot Revolution Realization Council, an expert meeting headed by Prime Minister Abe. In 2015, he was selected as an advisor of the Robot Revolution Initiative of Japan (RRI) and is now committed to related initiatives.

Release date

March 5, 2018

Division in Charge

IT Innovation 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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