Event Details

In 2020 Japan spent 3.6% of its GDP ($148bn) on R&D. In the decade 2000-2010 it registered more patents on renewable energy technology than any other country. The QR code, used widely in the region for online payments and vaccination checks was invented by Denso, a Japanese auto parts manufacturer. Instant noodles, blue LED lights, mechanical pencils and car airbags are only a few examples of the inventiveness and quality of Japan's human talent. Yet Japan stays far behind other developed countries - most noticeably its regional neighbours - in spawning or hosting unicorns (startup companies with a valuation of USD1bn or more), which to many are a benchmark of innovation in the digital era.

Seoul, Bangalore, Singapore and Beijing have not only seen their numbers of billion-dollar-plus startups soar but they've seen whole districts evolve into young innovation hubs, which in turn invite more ambitious technologists, and this in turn seeds more creativity and therefore further growth. For a country with such a long tradition and proven achievements in technological progress and human talent, what is Japan missing? More importantly, what can businesses do to turn Tokyo into a vibrant hub of innovation and reap the profits?

Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please contact us.


  • Szilvia Kovari-Krecsmary (CMO at Paidy)

    Szilvia Kovari-Krecsmary

    CMO at Paidy

    Szilvia is a business and marketing strategist with 20 years experience developing and building brands for a variety of B2C products, services and platforms, from tech to consumer goods, e-commerce to retail. Her expertise has been built through working at industry behemoths including Netflix, Dentsu, Ernst & Young and J Walter Thompson, across 5 continents.

    Currently leading all Marketing, UX/UI and PR activities for Paidy, a one time-unicorn BNPL business in Japan, acquired by PayPal in 2021 - highest valued Japanese venture M&A transaction ever.

    Szilvia is Hungarian and fluent in 4 languages based in Tokyo. Her first book was published by Diamond last year called “Start Up Nippon (スタートアップ・ニッポン)”, focused on how to create a more innovative and brighter future for businesses as well as individuals.

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  • Masayuki Omoto (Chief Digital Innovation Officer at Marubeni Corporation)

    Masayuki Omoto

    Chief Digital Innovation Officer at Marubeni Corporation

    Masayuki Omoto is an Executive Officer, Chief Digital Innovation Officer of Marubeni Corporation; Chief Operating Officer for Next Generation Business Development Division of Marubeni Corporation

    Mr. Omoto leads digital, innovation and next generation business development for Marubeni - one of the Japan’s trading and investment houses. Marubeni was founded in 1858 and has 164 years of the corporate history. Anticipating profound impacts of disruptive changes taking place today, Marubeni has initiated digital and innovation initiatives in 2017 and has thereafter established next generation business development division in 2019 with a mission to create next generation businesses.

    Prior to Marubeni’s next generation business development, Mr. Omoto was the chief of Marubeni’s corporate strategy team for years 2016-2018 and before 2016 was responsible for power/energy business development and international joint-venture management including his postings in Cost Rica, China, Turkey, USA, UAE and the UK. Mr. Omoto has experiences of working for McKinsey & Company as a management consultant and then rejoining Marubeni from McKinsey.

    Mr. Omoto holds MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School and B.A in commerce from Waseda University.

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  • Akemi Tsunagawa (Founder and CEO of Be Spoke Inc.)

    Akemi Tsunagawa

    Founder and CEO of Be Spoke Inc.

    Akemi Tsunagawa, is the Founder and CEO of Bespoke, Inc. – an AI startup founded in 2015 and located in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. Bespoke is known for its AI-Powered Customer Engagement Platform for government entities and travel industries around the world. Akemi is part of the government committee (Digital Rincho) chaired by the Prime Minister Kishida for digital administrative reforms. Prior to Bespoke, Akemi worked with Fidelity International and Macquarie Capital.

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  • Rodrigo González (Director - Tokyo of Economist Intelligence Corporate Network)

    Rodrigo González

    Director - Tokyo of Economist Intelligence Corporate Network

    Rodrigo González is the Director for Tokyo of Economist Intelligence Corporate Network.

    He works closely with regional business leaders to assist them in economic and market trends, business competitiveness, monetary and fiscal policy and general economic advisory to help them optimise their business strategies and further enhance their connections to their c-suite peers.

    He has vast experience in statistical analysis, strategy consulting and market research in different industries in and outside Japan. Rodrigo is a published author in environmental and transport economics and has spoken at international conferences in global warming and fiscal policy throughout the world.

    Rodrigo holds a PhD in Economics from Keio University and is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Japanese.

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