Health is Wealth: METI and the Ministry of Economy and Industry of Israel Sign a Memorandum of Cooperation in the Field of Digital Health
January 17, 2019
On January 15 (Tue.), 2019, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Economy and Industry of the State of Israel, signed a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) in the field of digital health. Under this MOC, METI will open a one-stop counter in JETRO, targeting Japanese companies that are interested in collaboration with Israeli startups and implementation of a proof of concept at Israeli medical institutes. Moreover, METI will hold events concerning healthcare business environments and measures for supporting companies related to digital health.
1. Background to the cooperation
METI aims to achieve a society in which every person can work throughout their lives and secure a happy daily existence. To this end, efforts for establishing a next-generation healthcare system and extending the healthy lifespan, priority fields specified in the Future Investment Strategy 2018, are indispensable for Japan. The medical equipment industry is an important dynamo of Japan that dramatically contributes to achieving these goals and plays a significant role in Japan’s growth: it is a large and expanding 40-trillion-yen global market.
In recent years, business environments surrounding the medical equipment industry have been dramatically changing. The industry has been facing innovations in medical equipment and services not only for conventional treatment but also for preventing disease, for suppressing disease progression, and for nursing care. The innovations have been driven in part by the advancement of an aging society in Japan, a situation that Japan is experiencing ahead of other countries. Moreover, the industry is facing technical innovations brought about by industries in different fields, for e.g., robot technologies, AI and IoT, and facing more and more new entries, including those from different industries, venture businesses and other industrial players.
In light of this trend, METI, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), has been advancing efforts for supporting research and development (R&D) for innovative medical equipment through the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED). Moreover, these ministries have been advancing efforts for: connecting Japanese industries with global ecosystems; encouraging venture businesses and other new industrial players to participate in the medical equipment industry by taking advantage of the J-Startup Program, an initiative in which METI approves outstanding venture businesses with the potentiality to win global markets as a scholarship company and intensively supports their activities; and international dissemination of medical equipment as an effort integral with services.
Israel is a global leader in medical technology, with many companies, both established and startups, in various fields, including life science, medical equipment, and healthcare IT, operating businesses in the country. The government of Israel has placed the field of digital health, following on from cyber security, at a core national strategy, as seen in the formulation of the National Digital Health Plan, and has been promoting development of technologies, data research and other related initiatives. In addition, the country provides an outstanding medical industry environment including a thriving business ecosystem that involves digital data on patients that have been stored over the past two decades or longer, abundant IT human resources, medical institutes, universities and other organizations. Japanese and Israeli capabilities and interests in the field of medical technology have come together to create many collaborative opportunities.
2. Outline of the MOC
The MOC stipulates the establishment of one-stop counters in Japan and Israel in the field of digital healthcare to provide information on: business environments and support measures, including information on regulations; and convening of events, for e.g., seminars, in cooperation with MHLW and the Ministry of Health, Israel.
The one-stop counter on the Japanese side will be opened in JETRO. The counter will target Japanese companies that are interested in collaborating with Israeli startups or implementation of a proof of concept at Israeli medical institutes or other organizations. The counter is expected to provide related information to such companies and introduce them to related associations in Israel.
Division in Charge
Medical and Assistive Device Industries Office, Healthcare Industries Division, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group