Prime Minister Kishida aims to boost yearly investment in startups and the number of unicorns 10-times each by 2027, under his “new capitalism” economic policy. It is an admirable goal, but one which cannot be reached alone by pumping more money into startups.
Enjoyed reading this Richard and let's hope for more independent incubators and VC's that will support the abundant creativity in Japan. I agree wholeheartedly that the government should "stay out of the way," and perhaps politicians and government agencies should stand back and learn from the innovators. And as an optimist I am confident that the new working arrangements brought about by the pandemic have irreversibly rendered obsolete the lazy middle managers at large Japanese corporations. They may soon be replaced by productivity-enhancing AI and software that will be created by the new start-ups in Japan.
Interesting and thoughtful insights. One missing element was the lack of conversational skills in English. That should be part of the graduate "wake up call." It has implications beyond the entrepreneurial mindset.
Aren't Japanese children taught from a young age that the nail that sticks out is the one that gets hammered? Isn't the pressure to conform to the norms of Japanese society quite intense? This might have been sensible during the Edo period, when Japan was basically a feudal society; but, in today's world, doesn't all this tend to discourage innovative thinking and everything that entrepreneurship requires? You write some very important truths about the Japanese labor market. All of this is deeply rooted and will definitely require imaginative policy intervention. The market cannot achieve the necessary changes without significant policy changes.