Japan - U.S.
Recognizing the best of innovation and entrepreneurship
in Japan – U.S. business
Now Accepting Awardee Nominations for 2024!
The Japan – U.S. Innovation Awards Program has announced that Figma from the U.S. and Treasure Data of Japan have been selected as the winners of the SunBridge Emerging Leader Award for 2023.
In 2014, Japan’s METI estimated that Japanese nursing care robots would grow to ¥391 billion by 2025. That same year, SoftBank introduced Pepper, the world’s first humanoid robot able to recognize human faces and basic emotions, and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced the Robot Revolution Initiative. It seemed apparent that Japan would lead the charge in creating robots for care. But have robots lived up to their promise in helping Japan face the dual challenge of an increasing aging population and staffing shortages?
For decades, Mr. Akira Amari has been a principal figure in Japan’s policy developments in key areas including innovation, taxation, and international trade, while excising his power to bring electoral victories to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as Secretary General (2021) and Chair of Election Strategy Committee (2018-19).
As Chair of LDP Headquarters for the Promotion of Economic Security, Amari leads developments of Japan’s national economic security policies at the intersection of economic prosperity and national security. Also, as Chair of the LDP Caucus of Semiconductor Strategy, Amari has successfully upgraded Japan’s relevant policy to an unprecedented level of quality and quantity. Amari envisions a future where Japan’s industrial prowess in semiconductors will become indispensable to its allies’ and friends’ economic security through Japan’s significant technological contributions.
During the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Amari served as Fiscal and
Economic Policy Minister from 2012-16. Amari played key roles in developing and
implementing “Abenomics,” resulting in recognition by Bloomberg Market Magazine as one of the “50 Most Influential” people in global finance in 2013. This ministerial position also
included the highest responsibility of multilateral negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In close cooperation with the United States, Amari became the greatest contributor to achieving an agreement on the mega free trade deal.
Amari was first elected in 1983 after working at Sony Corporation and in the office of Mr. Tadashi Amari, a member of the House of Representatives. In his political career, Amari held
many other important positions including Labor Minister (1998), Industrial Minister (2006), Regulatory and Administrative Reform Minister (2008), Chair of LDP Policy Research Council, Chair of LDP Administrative Reform Promotion HQs, Chair of LDP Research Commission on the Tax System, and Head of LDP HQs for a Digital Society.
Amari graduated from Keio University with a BA in Political Science in 1972.
Shixiang Shane Gu is a researcher in the ChatGPT team at OpenAI. His research spans deep learning, reinforcement learning, natural language processing, probabilistic machine learning, and robotics. Shane was an ex-Research Scientist at Google Brain and a Visiting Associate Professor (Adjunct Professor) at the University of Tokyo. Shane holds PhD from the University of Cambridge and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, and B.ASc. in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. Shane previously was also a visiting scholar at the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University. Shane’s academic work received Best Paper Award at CoRL 2019, Google Focused Research Award, Cambridge-Tübingen PhD Fellowship, and NSERC Scholarship, and was featured in Google Research Blogpost and MIT Technology Review. Shane is a Japan-born Chinese Canadian, and he speaks, reads, and writes in three languages.