Japan’s startup ecosystem is critical to the country’s future. It injects much-needed flexibility and dynamism into Japan’s rigid postwar social structures and an economy dominated by large firms. Japan’s startup ecosystem will influence the technological and strategic trajectories that large firms and much of the economy pursue. This series features data, company cases, policy analyses, and individual stories to illustrate this transformative force within Japan that took decades to mature but is now ready to take off.
To understand how Japan’s economy changes over time, it is important to differentiate the traditional, new, and hybrid parts that coexist—observers who look at only the traditional areas may conclude that very little has changed, while those more familiar with the new areas see rapid and extensive change.
Japan is determined to foster a startup economy. But every startup ecosystem is built on several components and a strategic conception of how they fit together. Cracking this puzzle will be Japan's challenge.
Japan's startup ecosystem, which grew as a relatively peripheral segment of Japan’s economy throughout much of its recent history, is now front and center in getting attention from the government and big business.
Japan and the United States would benefit immensely from cultivating closer ties between their startup ecosystems and other efforts to spur shared innovation.