Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 25, 2011


As part of the U.S.-Japan Dialogue to Promote Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation, the U.S. Department of State and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) organized a symposium on "Promoting Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Opportunities for U.S.-Japan Cooperation" at Stanford University on February 23, 2011 to examine how entrepreneurship and venture companies contribute to economic growth, as well as to share views on opportunities for private sector cooperation between Japan and the United States in emerging sectors such as clean technology. Representatives of the U.S. and Japanese governments subsequently convened a second meeting of the Dialogue on February 24, also at Stanford University.

The United States and Japan are among the world's leaders in innovation. According to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) statistics, patents for invention granted to residents of Japan constituted roughly 42% of all USPTO patents granted to foreign residents in 2009. Combined, the U.S. and Japan accounted for more than 70% of all USPTO patents granted that year. Amid these strengths, in a spirit of continuous improvement, both economies aim to further strengthen the link between innovation and risk-taking entrepreneurship in order to create more jobs and economic growth. U.S.-Japan cooperation can help to realize this goal.

Symposium Focuses on Venture Companies, Innovation, and Clean Technology

Under Secretary of State Robert D. Hormats and Japanese National Diet Member Teruhiko Mashiko opened the symposium, which was held in Silicon Valley and brought together leading venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, academic experts, and representatives from a broad range of firms and other organizations. The event featured a morning roundtable discussion on "Venture Companies and Economic Growth through Entrepreneurship" and an afternoon panel discussion concerning "Collaborative Opportunities in Pioneering the Smart Grid." Among other issues, participants noted the importance of new and young companies in job creation, and explored how to unleash the potential of Japan’s technological seeds to create new businesses and new jobs, especially in clean technology-related fields. In this regard, they identified opportunities for U.S.-Japan collaboration both at the governmental level and particularly among private-sector organizations to realize the growth potential of both countries. With attendees including many new faces as well as business leaders having long U.S.-Japan business experience, the symposium and associated networking events themselves fostered new linkages between both business communities. This event built upon the efforts of U.S. Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos and METI to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, and was co-organized in cooperation with the Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the U.S.-Asia Technology Management Center, Stanford University and the Japan External Trade Organization. A short description of the symposium is available at: http://sprie.stanford.edu/.

Government-to-Government Dialogue

Representatives of the U.S. and Japanese governments convened a second meeting of the government-to-government Dialogue on February 24, also at Stanford University. Growing out of an initial meeting on May 27, 2010, President Obama and Prime Minister Kan formally announced the U.S.-Japan Dialogue to Promote Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation in their Leaders’ meeting on November 13, 2010 in Yokohama, elevating it to a policy-level dialogue aimed at strengthening economic ties and deepening policy coordination between Japan and the United States.

Co-chaired by METI Director-General for Trade Policy Hidehiko Nishiyama and U.S. Department of State East Asian and Pacific Affairs Economic Coordinator Kurt Tong, the dialogue participants reviewed outcomes of recent cooperative initiatives, including the previous day's symposium, and discussed policies to encourage entrepreneurship and to increase foreign direct investment (FDI).

Both governments shared the view that promotion of entrepreneurship education, encouragement of cross-border networking and ensuring supportive policies represent key areas where private-sector organizations as well as the two governments can collaborate to enhance economic opportunity for both nations. Both governments welcomed recent cooperative initiatives toward these ends among various organizations in both countries. Among them are:

  • The Cross-Pacific Innovation Network initiative bringing together the Society of Kauffman Fellows, Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, and interested universities;
  • Conferences convened by the University of Tokyo, Division of University Corporate Relations (DUCR), the Stanford-based co-organizers of the February 23 symposium and Japan Academic Society for Ventures and Entrepreneurs (JASVE); and
  • U.S.-Japan cooperation in the work of the Japan New Business Conference.

Together with SPRIE and the U.S.-Asia Technology Management Center, the two governments plan to publish a bilingual report on the proceedings of the February 23 symposium, to serve as a basic document for mutual understanding of current conditions relating to innovation and entrepreneurship in Japan and the United States.

Dialogue participants also welcomed the February 23 announcement by the U.S.-based National Venture Capital Association (www.nvca.org) and the Japan Venture Capital Association about how they may cooperate more closely in the future.

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PRN: 2011/281