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Highlighting JAPAN

September 2014

VENTURE BUSINESSES : SHAPING JAPAN'S TOMORROW

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PRIME MINISTER'S DIARY
JAPAN-INDIA SUMMIT MEETING

COVER STORY
VENTURE BUSINESSES : SHAPING JAPAN'S TOMORROW

FEATURES

The Call to Revitalize Japan's Economy Through Venture Businesses

A push for venture businesses is central to the Japan Revitalization Strategy-the third arrow of the growth strategy developed by Prime Minister Abe's Cabinet-which envisions a flurry of original and innovative ventures. Hirokazu Hasegawa, a professor at Waseda Business school, spoke about the current situation, issues surrounding venture firms in Japan, and their prospects.

Revitalizing Japan's Traditional Handicrafts

Handcrafted items such as ceramics, textiles, wood products, Japanese paper and lacquerware, refined through Japan's culture and history, are prized as national treasures. But traditional handicrafts are now in rapid decline, due to an increasingly Westernized lifestyle and the prices of goods being forced down by mass production and consumerism. Artisans strive to preserve the wisdom and techniques received from their predecessors, but they are faced with several problems, in particular a lack of successors.

Farm-Fresh Ideas
A Rural Restaurant Run by Farm Women Serves Up Local Produce

New businesses run by farm women have been popping up in Japan's rural communities in recent years, including specialty products based on local produce and restaurants serving hearty farm-style cuisine. Businesses like these contribute greatly to financial autonomy among rural women, invigorate communities and boost communication between the residents of urban and rural areas.

The Advent and Future of "Robot Suit HAL速"
The Amazing Wearable Robot

"Robot Suit HAL" has been garnering worldwide attention as the world's first wearable robotic device for medical and wellness applications. The creator of HAL速, a pioneer in cybernics, and a professor in the graduate school at the University of Tsukuba, Yoshiyuki Sankai launched a venture firm called CYBERDYNE Inc. in 2004 to handle the research and development, manufacture and sales of assistive devices for humans and services both in Japan and abroad.

Pushing Lenses to the Limit
How One Specialty Manufacturer Sustains Its Venture Spirit

If you wear glasses with thin, lightweight polarized lenses, chances are those lenses were made with technology developed by lens maker Hopnic Laboratory Co. Ltd., the world leader in the production of thin polarized lenses. The company's president, Shunji Takagi, spoke about the venture mentality of his business philosophy.

Green Philanthropy
How Euglena Can Solve the World's Nutrition Problems

The abundant nutrients in a kind of algae known as Euglena have long received attention at universities and research institutes, especially in research on how to solve the global food crisis. In 2005, Tokyo-based euglena Co., Ltd. succeeded in cultivating Euglena outdoors on a large scale, and in the years since has become a leader among venture businesses achieving rapid growth.

Awakening the Entrepreneurial Urge
Saiwai Elementary School's Career Education Program

Without the right human resources, no business venture of any kind can be born. A growing movement to encourage venture businesses in Japan and raise awareness through support measures and systems-and to convince more people to take up the entrepreneurial challenge-is gaining strength. What is attracting the most attention in recent years is the entrepreneurial education is beginning in primary school, designed to help more children see entrepreneurship as one of their career choices.

Sprouting a New Generation of Female Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs face a multitude of challenges in getting their businesses started. Launching a company can be especially tough for women in Japan, who often have to take up household responsibilities and raise children as well. Fukuoka Prefecture-based SPROUT Women Entrepreneurs Association, an organization founded by female entrepreneurs, was formed expressly to guide female entrepreneurs through every step needed to bring the seeds of their business ideas and hopes to fruition.

SERIES

STUDENTS' CORNER
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
A Rare Sweetness
Researching Healthier Forms of Sugar

JAPANESE ABROAD
Tatsushi Tsuboi

Cultivating a Miracle Grain to Sustain Africa in the Next Century

47 PREFECTURES: FROM A TO Y
Osaka

Venerable Charms and Contemporary Energy

47 PREFECTURES: FROM A TO Y
Saga

Gazing Across the Sea into Japan's Past