Note: This article is written by Jill Shen from TechNode.

Japan Tech Forum, coordinated by ReGACY Innovation Group, was kicked off with an inspiring opening speech by OKADA Kenichi, Consul-General (Ambassador) of Consulate-General of Japan in Hong Kong at BEYOND Expo 2024, which was held in Macao. At the Forum, numerous esteemed speakers from Japanese organizations, such as the Japanese government, prominent enterprises and investment firms, participated in in-depth discussions. Speakers were from organizations such as Consulate-General, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Fujifilm, SONY, Asahi Kasei, Mitsubishi Estate, JETRO, Global Brain, Headline, and Heroad Investments.

OKADA Kenichi started the Forum with a warm speech. He said: “I hope many Japanese technologies and services will be demonstrated and showcased here in this Japan Tech Forum so that there will be more possibilities of cooperation between Japanese companies and companies from China and other parts of the world. And I also hope that discussions around investment into Japan will also be carried on here after this forum.”

“Japan has implemented a range of policies designed to support overseas startups and these include substantial subsidies for research and development,” said Yuya Makino, Japan’s Guangzhou consulate-general, during the event. With a gross domestic product of more than $4.2 trillion, the Asian economy has also witnessed a dramatic increase in venture capital investment over the past several years, according to Makino.

“We, in order to really support startups, are running various measures including SusHi Tech.” Suemura, Deputy Director General for General Coordination, Office for Startup and Global Financial City Strategy of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, told the audience. “Many social challenges are common across cities, and there can be solutions with the power of startups. We hope to face and resolve social challenges with cities around the world, including those of Asia, and to increase communication and discussions with various cities to ignite innovation.”

“I think we’ve been eclipsed by China and markets like India and Southeast Asia over the last 15-20 years or so, but now there’s enough momentum to boost Japan’s innovations both from the private and public sectors. That’s the big thing that we’re starting to see in Japan,” Akio Tanaka, partner at investment firm Headline VC, told the audience.

“Many big Japanese corporations are looking to keep up investments in China in order to retain a presence in the country, as China has huge population and big potential,” said Jie He, China office representative of Global Brain, a Tokyo-based venture capital firm.

Japanese enterprises are looking forward to cooperate with Chinese technology and innovation startups.

Hashimoto, co-founder of BRICKS FUND TOKYO, Mitsubishi Estate CVC, expressed that they’re interested in investing in outstanding Asian technology startups through CVC. When considering new businesses, such as elevator advertisement business, they often benefit a lot from cutting-edge cases in China and Asia, and are considering how to better support Asian startups enter the Japanese market.

Amao, Director of Fujifilm’s China Innovation Center, believes that the Chinese market is rich in diverse forms of innovation collaboration. They will continue to innovate and take on challenges to explore more ways to collaborate with Chinese science and technology startups.

Ono, Director of Jetro’s Innovation Department, emphasized that JETRO will serve as a hub connecting Japanese companies with Chinese companies, large corporations with startups, and the government with corporations, accelerating international cooperation in the field of innovation.

Mr. Fu Haofeng, CEO of ReGACY Innovation Group China, concluded that there is great potential for cooperation between China and Japan in the field of innovation. He looks forward to promoting exchanges and co-creation between Japanese companies and excellent science and innovation companies in Asia, including China, through the platform of BEYOND, so as to jointly promote the development of innovation in whole Asia.

Below are some of the innovative efforts presented by companies at the Japan Tech Forum during this year’s BEYOND EXPO, held in Macao between May 22-25.

Sony introduced a project using haptics technology for entertainment that was materialized in the form of a floor and said walking on the floor would provide users with realistic and captivating sensations of various walking terrains. The company’s engineers packed sensors and motors on the floor to accentuate the experience. It can be made to emulate desert and ice and create immersive and interactive experiences for theme parks, art museums, and live houses.

The company has had an extensive and in-depth research and development plan for China, ranging from entertainment to mobility and elderly care, according to Takenaka Mikio, a vice president of Sony (China) Limited.

Fujifilm shared the company’s story of technological innovation with an open mindset. The Japanese company established an open innovation hub in 2014 in hopes of creating value that “would illuminate the future with its business partners,” said Yonghua Shi, corporate communication director at FUJIFILM (China) Investment Co., Ltd. One of the examples from the hub was a joint development effort between Fujifilm and Daikin. With the use of ventilating soundproofing material from Fujifilm, Japan’s air-conditioner manufacturer managed to reduce the operating noises of its products by over 20%.

A similar entity was also established in Shanghai in 2020, followed by the launch of Fujifilm’s innovation program in China for the first time last year in partnership with ReGACY Innovation Group, in order to accelerate its technology-driven business development.

Tokyo-headquartered chemical maker Asahi Kasei presented a new optical transparent resin called AZP, which has optical characteristics not possible with existing transparent resins. It is widely expected to serve as a next-generation material that can take the place of optical glass. The AZP lenses can be used in VR (Virtual Reality) headsets to provide a larger field of view by polarization-based optical folding, allowing more compact headsets. The technology boasts reduced ghosts and flares, as well as improved contrast, making possible a clear field of view by minimizing the effects of birefringence, a phenomenon of double refraction.