In the framework of a delegation of Japanese businesspeople visiting Israel last week, a meeting took place between the Israel Manufacturers Association and Keidanren (Japanese Business Federation), in which all Japanese economic organizations are members, including industrial companies and banks. "The two reasons why we came to Israel today are profound cooperation between the two governments and the fact that Japan is trying to consolidate a new concept, called Society 5.0," Keidanren chairperson Hiromichi Shinohara, the chairperson of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, told "Globes."
Society 5.0 is somewhat similar to the Industry 4.0 concept used in the West. "Up until now, technologies and data were used to make society more efficient. In the future, however, we'll want to develop new values in society using these technologies that will affect all of our lives. I believe that in order to achieve this vision, we will have to use technologies in which Israel excels and the technological capabilities of Japan," he added.
"Globes": Are you cooperating with other countries to achieve this vision?
Hiromichi: "When we talk about data, a large quantity is needed and international relations between many countries are involved. In technologies, however, we put the biggest emphasis on the combination of Japanese and Israeli technologies."
Why does Japan, the world's third largest economy, make such a small proportion of the investments in Israeli high tech?
"I think that the main reason is a lack of knowledge among the Japanese about Israel and Israeli companies. For example, many Japanese companies did not find an acquisition or investment opportunity in Israel because it takes them a long time to decide, and they lose the opportunities. We learned this today, and we want to learn to hurry Japanese companies and make them quicker.
Do you think that Japanese investments in Israel will grow over the coming year?
"In 10 years, trade and investments between the countries have consistently grown. We have no accurate figures for the future, but I'm confident that growth will continue. We hope that through such meetings, we will bridge the gaps between the countries, and be able to expand business."
Chaim Mer, chairperson of the Manufacturers Association of Israel's Foreign Trade and International Relations division and chairperson and controlling shareholder of the Mer Group, believes that the gap between Japan and Israel is in both directions. "The Japanese companies are huge corporations in a scale unknown in Israel. It is a very interesting meeting, but in addition to the curiosity, we are also very different in temperament, and in the end, business takes place between people. The Japanese have to learn to be more patient about the impulsive behavior of us Israelis. On the other hand, we Israelis have to adjust ourselves to the type of decision-making process that takes place in Japan."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 22, 2019
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