The latest edition of the Japan Entrepreneur report asserts that the time is ripe for Japan’s entrepreneurial ventures to break out, due to conditions similar to post-World War II era in Japan, and the early 1980’s in the United States:
“Social reform, technological innovation and strong needs for entrepreneurship converged, sparking an unprecedented venture boom.
These same three factors converged in the United States in the early 1980s. The U.S. had suffered from inflation for ten years, unemployment had topped ten percent and the nation needed new industries. Improved semiconductor technologies, the first personal computers and President Reagan’s broad deregulation measures combined to create a powerful wave of innovation. That wave launched a host of world-leading IT players: Microsoft, Apple Computer and Cisco Systems, to name just a few.
Today’s Japan resembles the U.S. of the early 1980s. The nation needs entrepreneurship as IT players like Sony and Fujitsu fail to generate earnings, creating pressure to restructure. Problems erupt from industry giants like Seibu Railways and Daiei. Add in Commercial Code revisions and deregulation and you have a potent mix transforming the economy.
From a technology standpoint, too, Japan is witnessing a dramatic transformation. The IT industry’s center of gravity is shifting from general-purpose computers to a new breed of digital consumer devices: computers that don’t look like computers.
Ten years ago big players dominated Japan’s promising new technologies, but today these giants are hard-pressed to survive. Ventures enjoy unprecedented opportunity as these entrenched interests lose their grip. Once again, three crucial factors–social reform, technological innovation and the need for entrepreneurship–are aligned.”