Seminar for Japanese Business Research: How can we handle access, data and analysis?

On Monday 2 December 2019, the Embassy of Japan together with 20 professors based in the UK and the EU, jointly launched the Networking Platform for UK/EU Academia and Japanese Business during the “Seminar for Japanese Business Research: How can we handle access, data and analysis?“ event hosted at the Embassy.

There were over 98 participants from academia, government, public policy institutes, tech companies specialising in AI, Bigdata, Blockchain, Cloud, and other business industries. The seminar highlighted some critical issues and offered a space for networking and future cooperation.

Keynote Speekers
  • Professor Hugh Whittaker, Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, Oxford University
  • Assistant Professor Marco Grotteria, London Business School
  • Professor Sierk Horn, FH Vorarlberg, University of Applied Sciences

Panel discussion on “Practices of Collecting and Analyzing Data involving Japanese Business” with:
  • Professor Sierk Horn, FH Vorarlberg, University of Applied Sciences
  • Dr Daisuke Yasumizu, Japan Association of Public Meets Innovation (PMI) and London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Department of Health Policy
  • Mr Toshio Taki, Head of the Money Forward Fintech Research Institute
  • Professor Chie Iguchi, Keio University and Henley Business School University of Reading
  • Professor Hugh Whittaker opened the evening by addressing concerns that interest in Japanese companies decreased in recent years compared to in the 1980s. Data presented suggests that, at least during the 2010s, interest in research related to Japanese companies such as financial technology, other new industries, overseas acquisition of large Japanese companies or the creation of global personnel systems, has not yet been lost. However, since obtaining the necessary data proves difficult, such research is conducted in the UK rather than in Japan, and there are still few people who are aware of it in Japan. Professor Whittaker underlined that such an opportunity should not be missed and mentioned that by disclosing anonymized data, academia would be happy to provide suggestions for future time-consuming data analysis and management strategies.
  • Professor Marco Grotteria explained the latest developments in collaboration with several Japanese companies as “being able to see further away by riding on the shoulder of giants” and that the same goes for using already established knowledge. He also presented deliverables and examples of discoveries of corporate data research in other countries.
  • Professor Sierk Horn brought up examples and trends of international business research in Europe and the relationship between countries, companies and factories. By use of time-series data he showed that the number of research papers focused on Japan in these studies is already declining having been overtaken by China, while the number of papers in Japan is out of focus. Professor Horn included an overview of time-series trends - growing and developing through foreign countries comparison, multi-country comparison and referencing. At the moment, some Japanese companies are starting to show positive attitudes towards data disclosure in English but close cooperation is necessary on many important points such as the disclosure of the contents of individual personal information after limiting the use to not only statistical analysis but also to research. He called on Japan to reconsider the revitalization of international business research.

The seminar was followed by a networking reception during which the participants enjoyed Japanese canapés, sushi, sake (Japanese rice wine), Koshu wine (Japanese white wine) and Tokinoka Japanese whiskey.

The event provided valuable insights into the UK and EU’s leadership in academia and the importance of partners looking ahead to forge new opportunities and accelerate collective efforts to achieve data analysis in Japanese industries.