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  • Greetings for the New Year 2019

Greetings for the New Year 2019

 Happy New Year. I would like to start off by wishing you all a wonderful new year.
 A year and a half has already passed since I assumed my post as chairperson of JIPA. Even within this short period of time, we've seen technology and markets undergo steady transformations, and the outline of a new age is visible just over the horizon. Looking back at recent economic conditions, the monetary and fiscal policies enacted in Japan have led the economic climate to a slow but certain trend toward recovery. Furthermore, although there were significant environmental changes in the economy caused by the shifts in power balances and the emergence of anti-globalism, advanced nations have led the way in economic growth, and the overall economic environment has, for the most part, demonstrated robust growth, including that of emerging nations.
 In Japan, there are expectations for a complete escape from deflation and an economic recovery that will take us into a new economic age. The crucial factors for carrying out this growth strategy are the various forms of advancements brought upon by technological innovation, such as IoT, big data, AI, and robotics.
 These technological advancements are sometimes called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and are expected to have a significant impact on our society and industries. For example, by combining the technologies of AI and robotics, automation using machines will advance at breakneck speeds. By implementing this in automobile driving and distribution system technologies, traffic accidents and the number of people without access to transportation in rural regions are expected to decrease. If applied to machine translation, we can overcome the language barrier, which has been one of the major obstacles for Japan. This will lead to advancements in communication through the acquisition and transmission of various forms of information both within Japan and around the globe.
 The new services provided by IoT have no geographical constraints. Medical and educational services will be provided without incurring large costs and universally available for people living in rural regions with poor access to transportation, as well as for people living in major cities who are busy raising children.
 Big data will also transform society in significant ways. Economic activities in the past were mainly based in energy resources and finance, but as we move into the future, the addition of abundant and high-quality data will become major catalysts for invigorating economic activities. Previously dispersed data can be utilized as big data in various ways. For example, factories will see dramatic improvements in manpower reduction and production efficiency, and in distribution sites, products and services can be provided in a timely manner, and in ways that meticulously cater to customer needs.

 In these ways, key technologies like IoT, big data, AI, and robotics will connect things with things, people with machines and systems, companies with companies and various other factors in the real world. This will lead to the creation of new products, services and value that go beyond the frameworks of companies and industries, and bring about a new reality known as "connected industries," which will require us to face and resolve various challenges in order to achieve.
 Among these challenges, one of the most consequential developments is the acceleration of open innovation in technological development. It is crucial for companies to build cooperative relationships with universities and research institutions in order to advance foundational technologies and to efficiently produce cutting-edge and creative research results. In recent years, the numbers of collaborative research initiatives carried out in cooperation between universities, research institutions, and private companies, as well as contracted research outsourced by private companies have steadily increased, and the activities of industry-academic-government cooperation have been very dynamic. However, observations of the budget levels for each collaborative research project will reveal how small investments are compared to Europe and the U.S., at an average of two million yen. This shows that the industry-academic-government cooperation in Japan is not yet fully developed.
 In addition, other than industry-academic cooperation, it is also necessary to accelerate cooperation between different industries. Besides the cooperation between major corporations, venture businesses that play a major role in accelerating innovation are in urgent need of financial and human resource development support in order to pursue further activities.

 Intellectual property is the most important factor in resolving these challenges, and is vital in connecting innovation to the growth of industries and the prosperity of society.
 I believe the biggest challenge that we face today is how to utilize intellectual property in the context of a paradigm shift with regard to innovation, in which the conventional concept of innovation defined solely by new technologies has changed in meaning to signify business models built through the innovative designs of new technologies. As we navigate our way through this major environmental transformation, I have felt a renewed conviction that our organization has the momentous duty of steadily driving the implementation of Japan’s IP activities in the operations of companies.

 Today, this organization is tackling various challenges related to intellectual property under our slogan "Creating an IP Vision for the World."
 The year 2019 marks a new era for Japan, with the end of the Heisei period (1989–2019) in the Japanese calendar. As industries and companies enter an age of major transformations, we at JIPA intend to continue driving the IP activities that help support Japan’s efforts to adapt to those changes, and to expand to new activities that are fitting for this symbolic year as the bridge builders to a new era. I ask all members of JIPA for your continued support and cooperation.
 I would like to conclude by wishing all of us a productive and meaningful year.

January 2019

Dr. Hiroshi Sato,
Chairperson of JIPA
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