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Learn more about Tokyo's startup ecosystem by joining Oct 27 online event

By John Amari

In the wake of the unprecedented success of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) seems to be keen to elevate the city’s reputation as a center not just for international sports but also global innovation and business.

This ambition and underlining strategy is guided by the principles of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs), and includes economic, societal and environmental considerations, as well as the wellbeing of people.

Tokyo also maintains the largest economy in the world as a city with a GDP of U.S.$1.06 trillion (FY2019). The city's 14 million inhabitants are less affected by the post-2022 inflationary environment, and a variety of new services and products are being introduced to the market by both large corporations and startups.

Tokyo has opened up its business environment to foreign companies and is creating an ecosystem that allows startups in particular to accelerate their business once they have established themselves in the city.

U.S.-based startup

For foreign-affiliated firms, innovation in Tokyo can be found across a wide range of industries: DX, telecommunications, finance, healthcare and more.

Tell Us You Care Inc, for instance, is a U.S.-based startup in the healthcare industry. The company, which develops a plug-in device that can monitor the health of a person and provide real-time insights, entered Japan in 2020.

The startup, whose device can monitor the health of seniors, chose Japan in part due to the growing need for services targeting the country’s growing population of seniors.

With the support of TMG, Tell Us You Care has entered partnerships with local venture capital firms and other corporate partners.

China-based venture

Infervision, a startup from China, has similarly found Tokyo to be fertile ground for expansion. InferVision Medical Technology (Asia Pacific) Co., Ltd., a AI medical technology company, was established in 2018. The subsidiary offers AI medical products intended for disease screening and diagnosis, disease intervention and treatment, patient management and medical research.

Infervision chose to enter Japan because of its mature healthcare market and receptiveness to new ideas, and has also benefited from the market entry support services of TMG.

Located in Tokyo’s Chiyoda district, where medical facilities are concentrated, Infervision’s goal is to establish and maintain its global collaboration network in Japan, such as collaborations with top-tier professional imaging centers, research institutions, hospitals and other medical institutions.

For companies like Tell Us You Care and Infervision, setting up in Tokyo was a natural step. After all, the metropolis has a population of around 14 million people, accounting for 11 percent of Japan’s population.

Further, Tokyo has a gross metropolitan product of some 115.7 trillion yen ($1.06 trillion) — or 20.7% the GDP of Japan — which is larger than the GDP of entire countries.

And, the TMG itself has made it a strategic priority to support creativity, new thinking and innovation, something that sets it apart as a destination for global business creation.

Tokyo: Innovation Is Everywhere

On October 27th, 18:30 – 20:00 EDT, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will host the second session of online events titled “Tokyo: Innovation is Everywhere.”

SESSION 2 New York, U.S.A (October 27, 2022 local time)

Session 2 — “Startup Ecosystem” — will begin with a message from the governor of Tokyo. The first discussion in this session will focus on key factors that go into creating an ecosystem, focusing on the startup community in Tokyo.

The presentation will then turn to open innovation initiatives in the city that are being launched by Japanese corporate venture capital divisions.

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To close the session, the TMG’s support services for foreign firms and entrepreneurs will be introduced.

For details on how to take part, please visit the event website.


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