From December 9-16, 2017, Sasakawa USA partnered with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) to take a cohort of seven rising U.S. cybersecurity experts and technology entrepreneurs for a week-long study trip to Japan. Dr. Dan Kliman, CNAS Asia-Pacific Security Program Senior Fellow, led the delegation. Other participants included representatives from the defense industry, financial and technology sectors, consulting firms, and civil society organizations. During the week, the delegation met with Japanese experts in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto to discuss shared cybersecurity challenges, the emerging innovation ecosystem in Japan, and ways to deepen U.S.-Japan cooperation around these topics.
In Tokyo, the delegates visited government officials at the National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC). They discussed a number of issues ranging from Japan’s internet and cybersecurity policies to how the government supports innovative start-ups and entrepreneurs in Japan.
On the topic of cybersecurity, the delegation visited training centers, including the National Institute for Information and Communications Technology (NICT)’s Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence and the Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA)’s Industrial Cyber Security Center of Excellence. They learned more about how Japan is improving the workforce capabilities of its government agencies and large-sized enterprises including critical infrastructure providers. The group also met with representatives from C4 Systems Planning Division (J-6) of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Cyber Security Policy Planning Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to learn more about Japan’s national security priorities and challenges and Japan’s efforts to define its rule of law in cyberspace.
On the entrepreneurship side, the delegation visited Plug and Play Japan’s new office in Shibuya, Tokyo, to learn about its recent launch as a technology startup accelerator in Tokyo and Japan’s evolving innovation ecosystem. Two delegates led an informal discussion on the growing importance of cybersecurity in Fintech with representatives from Plug and Play Japan, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), and Fujitsu. In Tokyo, the delegates also met with the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, a private-public investment fund dedicated to supporting start-up companies and promoting open innovation across industries and organizations.
Later in the week, the delegates traveled to the Kansai region to visit the Osaka Innovation Hub and learn about the city’s efforts to support and promote global innovation and entrepreneurs in the region. The delegates also met with representatives from the Kyoto Research Park, a privately-operated research park that hosts tenant companies in the field of ICT, biotech, electronics, and machinery.
Through these meetings, the delegation identified key issues, including the importance of start-ups building cybersecurity into their products at the outset and market challenges to Japanese start-ups looking to scale rapidly. They also found room for Japanese start-ups to consider further growth outside the Japanese market.
On the last day of the trip, the delegates enjoyed sightseeing in Kyoto including visits to Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion) and Ryoanji (famous for its rock garden), and solidified their new friendships. The group’s “genki” spirit was evident as they took advantage of every opportunity to discover more about Japan, including a meeting with JR Central representatives on their bullet train ride back from Kyoto to learn more about bullet train technology.
December 2017 SEED Participants
• Daniel M. Kliman, Senior Fellow, Asia-Pacific Security Program, CNAS (Lead Delegate)
• Krista Auchenbach, Senior Strategy Advisor, U.S. Department of Defense
• Amy Chang, Vice President for Cybersecurity, JPMorgan Chase
• Daniel Charles, CEO, Charles Bernard Ventures
• Brian Ferguson, Founder & CEO, Arena Labs, Inc.
• Shirali Patel, Cybersecurity Manager, Raytheon
• Ashwin Rajaram, Consultant, Boston Consulting Group
• Megan Stifel, Cybersecurity Policy Director, Public Knowledge
The SEED delegates also participated in a special roundtable discussion on “Cybersecurity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Challenges and Opportunities in Japan” on January 22 at Sasakawa USA in Washington D.C. The delegates had the opportunity to expand their network and to exchange thoughts on their major takeaways from the trip with a group of approximately 15 guests, including representatives of Japanese organizations they met on the trip and other cybersecurity experts in Washington.
Each participant will produce a deliverable to share their findings and participate in a post-trip session to meet the D.C.-based experts and representatives of organizations they met with during the trip. The SEED delegates also become part of the Sasakawa USA Alumni program and will receive additional opportunities to continue their engagement in U.S.-Japan relations.
• Megan Stifel, Cybersecurity Policy Director, Public Knowledge, published “Start-ups and their entrepreneurial leadership cannot hold off on cybersecurity: Governments can and should help,” on the Sasakawa USA website’s Commentary & Analysis page on May 29, 2018.
• Brian Ferguson, Founder and CEO, Arena Labs, served as the featured alumnus in the June 2018 issue of Sasakawa USA’s Alumni Newsletter. His full interview can be read here.
• Daniel Charles, CEO, Charles Bernard Ventures, and Ashwin Rajaram, Consultant, Boston Consulting Group, co-wrote “Perspectives on Japan’s National Policy Agency’s public-private partnerships,” published on the Sasakawa USA Blog on July 26, 2018.