Five Japanese Startup Companies to be Featured in Innovation Showcase of 2023 Japan–US Innovation Awards Program

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, June 15, 2023/ — The Japan–U.S. Innovation Awards Program ( is excited to announce the five 2023 Innovation Showcase honorees which will be featured at the 13th Annual Japan–U.S. Innovation Awards Symposium on July 20, 2023 at Stanford University. The 2023 Innovation Showcase companies are: Final Aim, Elephantech, LegalOn Technologies, RECOTECH, and SkyDrive.

Each year, the Innovation Showcase recognizes up to five exceptional Japanese startup companies built around new technologies and innovative business ideas that have the potential for major worldwide impact. Showcase companies are selected from a pool of over 100 nominees through stringent review, discussion, and voting by the Innovation Advisory Council, a distinguished committee of venture investors, entrepreneurs, company executives, and academic experts in the U.S. and Japan (for member list, please visit:

“We are thrilled to honor these exciting startups for their innovative leadership,” said Prof. Richard Dasher of Stanford University, Chair of the Steering Committee of the Awards Program. “These remarkable companies embody the spirit of entrepreneurship that transcends cultural differences, and they hold the promise of having a lasting impact on both Japan and the U.S. We look forward to celebrating their achievements at our Innovation Awards Program this year.”

At the Symposium on July 20, the SunBridge Emerging Leader Awards will be presented to one U.S. and one Japanese later stage high-growth firms that are beginning to transform a major industry or value chain. The program also includes timely keynote addresses on innovation topics of relevance to the U.S. and Japan. Details will follow in later press releases.

2023 Innovation Showcase Honorees:

Elephantech Inc. 
Elephantech has developed an innovative electronics manufacturing method utilizing metal inkjet printing technology that is both sustainable and cost-effective. Elephantech has raised approximately 9 billion yen in total and achieved the world’s first mass production of inkjet-printed circuit boards with a reduction in carbon footprint by 75%, in copper usage by 70%, and water consumption by 95%.

Final Aim
Final Aim, headquartered in Delaware, uses Web3 technology for its platform that allows companies to manage and execute contracts for industrial design and manufacturing. Its platform reduces cost and IP risks by providing tools that automate time-consuming processes, allow traceability of IP, and reduce tampering.

LegalOn Technologies 
LegalOn Technologies is the global leader in contract review AI. Lawyers and legal professionals at over 3,000 companies and firms globally use LegalOn to review and negotiate contracts faster and more accurately. Founded in 2017 by two corporate lawyers, the company has raised over $130M.

RECOTECH is a “ResourceTech” company that seeks to create a society without the concept of waste. Its proprietary “Material Pool System” helps manufacturers to collect, integrate and visualize waste data from their supply chain and thereby create circular supply chains that reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

SkyDrive Inc. 
SkyDrive is a leader in the field of “electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL)” vehicles (flying cars). It succeeded in the first crewed flight test in Japan in 2019 and its eVTOL “SD-05” is in the process of acquiring its Japan Civil Aviation Bureau certification. Its vision is to create a world in which everyone has access to eVOTLs for their daily transportation needs.


Japan Society of Northern California
Since its founding in 1905, the Japan Society of Northern California (JSNC) has advanced U.S.-Japan mutual understanding in a global context. The Society offers an array of programs and networking opportunities for people and organizations in the Bay Area with a strong interest in Japan. It is the go-to place for U.S.-Japan insights, opportunities, collaboration, and networking. The Society is a dynamic link connecting the world-renowned innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem of San Francisco/Silicon Valley to a resurgent Japan.

Stanford University US-Asia Technology Management Center
The US-Asia Technology Management Center (US-ATMC) is an industry-funded center in Stanford University under the Stanford Global Studies initiative. Established in 1992, the US-ATMC conducts education and research into innovation and emerging business trends in technology-intensive industries. Its courses and public programs provide Stanford students and the Silicon Valley community with knowledge and analytical capabilities that are important to global success in high-tech fields in the 21st century.

Registration and additional information are available on our website.

Robots Won’t Save Japan – An interview with author James Wright

Innovation Salon Event

**Online program**

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?

Japan is not alone in dealing with the trials that come with an aging population. Many countries around the world face three major issues associated with their aging societies: a declining population, an increasing proportion of seniors, and an increasing number of single-person households. Here in California, for instance, the government issued a Master Aging Plan in 2020 to help direct resources as California’s senior population increases.

In February 2023, author and researcher James Wright published Robots Won’t Save Japan: An Ethnography of Eldercare Automation, drawing on his ethnographic research in senior living facilities in Japan. Wright joins us June 21 for a special discussion of the research behind his book, and his conclusions about the limitations of robots in caregiving settings.

日本は官民あげて、高齢者介護をロボットに手伝わせようとしてきた結果、何が起こってきているでしょうか?『Robots Won’t Save Japan: An Ethnography of Eldercare Automation』(『ロボットは日本を救わない:高齢者介護自動化のエスノグラフィー』)という刺激的タイトルの本を最近出版した、James Wright によるオンラインセミナーです。