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The Prime Minister in Action

CEATEC JAPAN 2016 Opening Reception

October 3, 2016

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister viewing exhibits

Photograph of the Prime Minister viewing exhibits

Photograph of the Prime Minister viewing exhibits

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the CEATEC JAPAN 2016 Opening Reception held in Tokyo.

After observing exhibits in the exhibition venue, the Prime Minister said in his address,

“I am truly grateful to have been invited to the CEATEC JAPAN 2016 Opening Reception today. I was able to come here after finishing up a seven-hour budget deliberation today. Recently, even in the Diet, I have been receiving many questions about IoT and the fourth industrial revolution.

I believe that the history of our country’s IT and electronics industries is the history of our economic growth since World War II.

A television program I cannot help but watch in the mornings ended last week. There was a nostalgic scene in the final episode that made me recall how life would become richer whenever a new kind of electronic device was released.

1964 was when the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games were held, and it was the first year for CEATEC’s predecessor, the ‘Japan Electronics Show.’

In those years, I remember how exciting it felt every time a new electronics device was released, and the feeling that our homes had become much more convenient. The cityscapes of Japan, having entered Japan’s period of rapid economic growth, were at that time just on the cusp of a great change. Electronics such as the so-called ‘three holy durables’ (televisions, refrigerators, and washing machines) quickly pushed us toward becoming one of the greatest economies.

I have heard that CEATEC, which has so far supported growth in electronics, is now shifting itself away from these items and toward an exhibition that offers solutions to social problems through IoT. I have high expectations that technology, people, and information from all around the world will gather, and CEATEC will become a Mecca for this cutting-edge field.

The whole world is currently being swept up in the wave of the fourth industrial revolution. New value is being produced by making use of big data and AI and by creating connections between people and products unlike any that have been thought of before. For instance, take the current social phenomenon of Pokémon Go. This game has taught us the joy of walking to various places in the real world by fusing a game with reality. I do not play it myself, but I have heard there are even Pokémon within the Prime Minister’s Office. I do not know if anyone has caught any there though.

Some may feel that the technological capabilities and strengths that Japan has cultivated so far will not be applicable to the era of the fourth industrial revolution. I do not believe that. For instance, we have technology such as our fine-tuned control systems for accurate sensors and robots, which will both be central to the fourth industrial revolution. Or there are our strong workplaces, which work to accumulate steady improvements. Our strength is our capability to continuously improve our technology, products, and services under the stern gazes of our customers, as it is often said that the ‘customer is king.’

The fourth industrial revolution will improve the lifestyles of the Japanese people while also enhancing the productivity of Japanese companies. We will support your attempts to tackle new challenges, which are going to play a main role in that revolution. Centered on the recently established Council on Investments for the Future, we will not hesitate to implement needed reforms.

For instance, work is being done to develop 8K technology for medical uses. I saw a demonstration of this technology at the Prime Minister’s Office, and I was able to see very clearly each individual vein on the screen. With this technology, I became confident that the precision of procedures such as endoscopy will improve dramatically, reducing the burden on patients.

Japan faces the challenges of a society with an aging population and a falling birthrate. However, with your advanced technology and bold spirit of taking on challenges, I am confident that we will absolutely be able to achieve a strong economy in Japan. We will truly make those challenging circumstances into opportunities.

This May, Chancellor Merkel and I reached an agreement that Japan would be a Partner Country at CeBIT to be held in March in Hannover, Germany, next year. I have heard that a Partner Country agreement has just been concluded between Japan and Germany in light of that. There can be no doubt that collaboration between Japan and Germany, which are both competitive in the fields of “monozukuri,” or manufacturing, and IoT, is a big step toward the acquisition of global standards in these fields.

I hope to travel to Hannover in March next year when CeBIT is held. Let us all go to Hannover together. Thank you very much. I hope that those of you who applauded just now will absolutely come with me to Hannover. I also hope that we will show off Japanese technology that will astound the world, and that together with Germany, we will continue to lead the world through its fourth industrial revolution.

The IT and electronics industries are key industries for Japan which support more than 1 million jobs. Without your activities, there can be no development of the Japanese economy.

I would like to end my remarks by expressing my wishes for the continued success and activities of everyone gathered here today, as well as for the success of CEATEC.”

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