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Japan Counting on Innovative Entrepreneurs for Economic Growth



(p. B3) TOKYO--Stacks of cardboard boxes serve as makeshift partitions at Mistletoe Inc.'s new office in Tokyo's posh Aoyama district, where startups gather to work on their latest projects.

The do-it-yourself vibe--a far cry from the stuffiness typical of Japanese corporate offices--is something founder Taizo Son, serial entrepreneur and youngest brother of SoftBank Group Corp. founder Masayoshi Son, wants to see more of.

"Japan has the talent and funds but lacks the necessary ecosystem to create its own Silicon Valley, so that's what we're trying to provide," said Mr. Son, 43, who describes Mistletoe as a program to cofound new businesses.

The nation that created the Walkman and the bullet train before China even had a tech industry now lags behind as Chinese Internet startups like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. become global powerhouses. With its once-dominant technology industry struggling, Japan is counting on entrepreneurs to rekindle its hobbling economy.

The government is pledging to fund startups, top universities have launched incubators and venture funds to transform their wealth of knowledge into innovation and even Japan's oldest and largest conglomerates, such as the Mitsubishi and Mitsui groups, are looking to nurture entrepreneurs..



For the full story, see:

ALEXANDER MARTIN. "Japan Looks to Rekindle Its Technology Innovation." The Wall Street Journal (Mon., April 11, 2016): B3.

(Note: the online version of the story has the date April 10, 2016, and has the title "Japan Tech Hunts for Restart Button.")






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