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Tuesday, March 24, 2020 (8 AM - 9:45 AM)

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Masahiro Ito (COO, Board Member at ZOZO Inc.)

Masahiro Ito

COO, Board Member at ZOZO Inc.

Masahiro (Masa) Ito is a lifelong entrepreneur, skipping university to launch his first company, Yappa Corporation at just 17 years old. In the early 2000’s, Yappa pioneered the development of digital visualization technologies across distinct industries including automotive, telecommunications and media. Yappa’s partners included the likes of Nissan, Ferrari, Honda, Nokia, Qualcomm, SoftBank among many others. Masa oversaw Yappa as its founder and CEO for 14 years until its acquisition by ZOZO, Inc. in 2014.

ZOZO’s core business is ZOZOTOWN (, Japan’s largest online fashion retailer. ZOZOTOWN sells over 7,000 unique brands to over 8.2 million customers annually (2018). Upon joining ZOZO, Masa oversaw the growth of its technology division (currently ZOZO Technologies Inc.) from a small group of engineers to over three hundred, with offices in Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and New Zealand. In 2017, Masa became a board member of ZOZO.

Over the past three years, Masa has spearheaded the invention of the ZOZOSUIT and the ZOZOMAT, revolutionary at-home measurement devices, while overseeing ZOZO’s “size-free” private label apparel business. These aforementioned initiatives provided the foundation for what is now ZOZOMSP, which supports brands in creating and launching multi-size apparel in upwards of 30-50 sizes on ZOZOTOWN. ZOZOMSP partners include Levi’s among 25 other confirmed partners.

Masa has likewise led ZOZO’s development of AI and machine learning to process ZOZO’s growing database of body data. These algorithms are capable of processing tens of thousands of measurements in minutes. As a result, in Japan, ZOZOTOWN customers have the opportunity to shop via personalized sizing recommendations for both apparel and footwear, and to filter brands and styles according to their unique measurements.

In September 2019, Ito was appointed COO of ZOZO.

Klaus Meder (President and Representative Director of Bosch Corporation, Japan)

Klaus Meder

President and Representative Director of Bosch Corporation, Japan

Klaus Meder has held the post of the President and Representative Director Bosch Corporation, Tokyo, Japan since 2017. He is responsible for Japan as a country manager with about 7000 associates and about 4 bn Euro turnover including several activities in Thailand as well.

Klaus entered Bosch Corporation in 1987 and held numerous positions in the company, including Vice President and Director ASCO Corporation (joint venture with Bosch Corporation), Tomioka, Japan and Board Member of Division Chassis Systems Control, Abstatt, Germany. From 2012 to 2017 he was the President of Division Automotive Electronics, Reutlingen, Germany where he was responsible for strategic planning for one of the biggest divisions of Bosch with close to 30000 employees and 8 production sites.

He was awarded a degree in telecommunications and electronics from University of Darmstadt in 1987. In addition to native German, he is proficient in English and Japanese languages.

James Yamanaka (Greater North Asia Director of BAT Japan)

James Yamanaka

Greater North Asia Director of BAT Japan

James Yamanaka is the President of BAT Japan, and the Area Director for BAT’s North Asia Area, which includes Japan and South Korea. James, and American citizen originally from joined the BAT Group 16 years ago, and has led businesses in Sri Lanka, the Nordics, and now in Japan. James has also served as the Group Head of Strategy for BAT, and has been involved in leading internal trainings and mentorship programmes.

Prior to joining BAT, James was a London-based strategy consultant focused primarily on mobile telecoms.

James holds an MBA from the London Business School and an MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Takuji Okubo (Director, Corporate Network, North Asia of The Economist Corporate Network)

Takuji Okubo

Director, Corporate Network, North Asia of The Economist Corporate Network

Takuji Okubo is the North Asia Director of The Economist Corporate Network, managing the Networks in Japan and in South Korea.

Prior to joining The Economist Group, Takuji was the Managing Director and Chief Economist at Japan Macro Advisors, serving global fortune 500 companies and financial institutions in Japan and abroad. In his past career, Takuji was a Chief Economist at Societe Generale, in charge of Japan and of South Korea, and a senior economist at Merrill Lynch and at Goldman Sachs. Outside his role at ECN, Takuji also serves as a non-executive director at Japan Risk Forum, an association of Chief Risk Officers among Japanese financial institutions.

Takuji holds B.A in Economics from Tokyo University and while at the university he was a recipient of prestigious INOUE scholarship. He holds MBA from INSEAD and Msc. In Economics from UPF in Barcelona. Apart from work, he enjoys motor-cycling, scuba-diving, cooking as well as worrying about the future of the Japanese economy.