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.
What is the “Connected Industries”?
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- Connected Industries represent a vision of industries creating new added value and providing solutions to societal challenges by connecting a variety of data, technologies, people and organizations in the midst of the global rise of the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).
- For example, a major robot maker and a venture company with superior deep learning technology have combined strengths such as sensory robots with software development platforms for applications capable of conducting advanced analysis. This has led to the co-development of an IoT platform for the manufacturing industry that makes it possible to improve productivity and operating rate, as well as automate machines by using a massive amount of data collected from various manufacturing facilities.
- In addition, there is a venture company aiming to create platform-connecting digital technology factories in more than 30 countries. This makes it easier for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), as well as individuals, to manufacture products using digital manufacturing equipment and materials from the network.
- The Connected Industries initiative aims to create new added value not only by increasing efficiency and optimizing the manufacturing process, but also by connecting the strengths of Japan’s manufacturing industry with each other. These strengths have been cultivated on the factory floor, including at SMEs, and include accurate data, technological capabilities, problem-solving know-how, and technical skills developed by seasoned workers.
- Furthermore, the Connected Industries initiative aims to connect everything not only within the manufacturing industry but also across various industries, companies and technologies. One example is tearing down the boundaries between the manufacturing and the medical and nursing care industry, or by fusing AI with the bio industry. This is precisely the future direction that should be pursued by Japanese industries.
- We hope to achieve synergy effects by collaborating with the initiatives of other countries, including Germany’s Industrie 4.0, while also taking advantage of Japan's own strengths.
- We are encouraging companies to implement security measures. For example, in order to raise awareness of the importance of management leadership, in 2015, we formulated the Cybersecurity Management Guidelines, which prescribes that management must keep aware of three key principles and be prepared to provide instruction on 10 important items to officers responsible for cybersecurity measures.
- Unexpected challenges may emerge from future technological evolution. However, we will continue to promptly and flexibly take actions to change Japanese industries under the vision of the Connected Industries initiative without undermining the potential of new businesses and innovations.
- As Japan is facing a declining population due to aging and a low birthrate, it is at the frontier of challenges which will soon be faced by other countries around the world. Japan will develop solutions to these problems through services that allow for changes to social systems by connecting various assets under the vision of the Connected Industries initiative. By doing so, I believe that Japan will be able to turn its disadvantage, as the first country to be confronted with these challenges, into an advantage, as the first country to resolve them.
- Examples of solutions to the problems include:
Improving quality of life for people in rural communities withmobility problems, including the elderly, through autonomous driving technology for regional public transportation services
- Providing personalized health management services by using individual health and medical information
- Shifting to an industrial structure independent of oil, by fusing biotechnology, AI and IT to unlock the potential of living organisms
- Japan will realize the vision of Society 5.0, which refers to a human-centric super-smart society where cyberspace and the physical world are integrated, enabling people to lead comfortable, vibrant, high-quality lives through Connected Industries.
- The Connected Industries concept is not limited to Japan. We intend to promote this concept globally by encouraging active cooperation between Japanese and foreign companies and by cooperating with other countries for international standardization.
- We hope that efforts to solve the problems faced by Japan and enhance the strength of Japanese companies will be accelerated further under the Connected Industries initiative through open cooperation with foreign companies.
- Furthermore, we are making efforts to improve the investment environment in Japan and develop an ecosystem for Japanese venture companies in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. We will also showcase the attractive business environment in Japan, including suburban regions, to the world, by holding the Japan Business Conference (JBC), the Regional Business Conference (RBC) and the Global Venture Summit (tentative title). In addition, we expect that World Expo 2025, which Japan aims to host, will be an opportunity to create new added value by connecting people, technologies and industries, with a particular focus on the use of AI and biotechnology.
- Japan will actively promote the global expansion of this initiative by seizing investment opportunities. We hope that foreign companies will consider cooperation with and investment in Japanese companies.
- The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will work towards the Connected Industries initiative, connecting everything across boundaries between industries and companies in an integrated manner, by increasing connectedness of departments at the Ministry. For detailed information, please inquire with the Commerce and Information Policy Bureau’s Information Economy Division, which is responsible for overseeing this initiative.
Five Priority Fields Tackled under the “Connected Industries”
- Manufacturing and Robotics
- Plant/Infrastructure Safety Management
- Biotechnologies and Materials
- Smart Life
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