On 23 May 2016, NRW State Secretary Dr. Günther Horzetzky, Mayor Thomas Geisel, Japanese Consul General Ryuta Mizuuchi and President of the Japanese Chamber of Industry and Commerce Jiro Kobayashi opened Business Day Japan. The focus of this year's specialist event was on the topic "Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation - Utopia or Reality?". Current developments in Germany and Japan were presented in lectures and case studies. Business Day Japan is an integral part of the events of Japan Day and offers a unique platform for a German-Japanese exchange against the background of the strong Japanese company location in North Rhine-Westphalia and Düsseldorf.
"Business Day Japan is a visible sign of the continuity of our good and successful relations. By addressing the topic "Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation" we are presented with both the associated challenges for companies and the solutions developed by innovation drivers from both countries. There is enormous potential here for even closer cooperation between North-Rhine Westphalia and Japan," said Dr. Günther Horzetzky, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North-Rhine Westphalia.
Mizuuchi emphasized the importance of 2016 as the 70th anniversary of the state of NRW and the 50th anniversary of the local Japanese business community. "In addition, German and Japanese representatives from the worlds of politics and business signed a joint declaration on closer cooperation with regard to IoT and Industry 4.0 on 28 April 2016. I hope that this project will bear fruit in the near future and that concrete projects for cooperation in public and private sectors will be launched in NRW," said Ryuta Mizuuchi, the Japanese Consul General in Düsseldorf.
Mayor Thomas Geisel underlined the potential of the North Rhine-Westphalian state capital: "Düsseldorf-based companies are pushing ahead with digital transformation. The major mobile network operators provide the basis for effective communication and are working with local network equipment suppliers and users on new products and strategies. Together with innovative start-ups, pioneering trends are being established in this sector."
Jiro Kobayashi, President of the Japanese Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Düsseldorf, explained: "The subject of digital transformation is highly topical in Japan and Germany. Both countries are faced with similar challenges as leading industrial nations: the decline in the young working population as a result of aging society, rising energy prices, competitive pressure from the USA and emerging developing countries. It is therefore all the more important for our two countries to exchange ideas and learn from each other. Due to the proximity of Japanese and German companies at the NRW location, such a direct exchange of information is possible at the Business Day Japan."
Expert information, exchange and networks
Dr. Tomoaki KUBO, General Secretary of Japan's Robot Revolution Initiative Council, had traveled specially from Japan to present the situation of IoT (Internet of Things) developments in Japan, from both an economic and a government perspective. Founded in May 2015, Japan's Robot Revolution Initiative Council is an initiative of the Abe administration and supported by 200 Japanese companies and universities.
Joachim Dressler, CEO of the M2M Alliance, provided an overview of the current issues of Industry 4.0 in Germany. As the largest association in the machine-to-machine industry, the M2M Alliance sees itself as a platform and mouthpiece for providers and users of M2M solutions.
The event was rounded off by six reports in which representatives of German and Japanese companies presented current strategies and questions relating to Industry 4.0 from cooperations and everyday corporate life. At the end, a panel discussion provided an opportunity for a lively exchange of views.
Organizers: Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of NRW, NRW.Invest GmbH, Japanese Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Düsseldorf, State Capital Düsseldorf
Partners: German-Japanese Economic Circle (DJW), Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Chamber of Commerce and Industry Düsseldorf (IHK)
Sponsors: ANA All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd., Commerzbank AG, The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Fujitsu Technology Solutions, Hitachi Europe GmbH, Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V., Mitsui & Co. Deutschland GmbH, Renesas Electronics Europe GmbH, Techniker Krankenkasse, Mecklenburg & Hoffmann GmbH, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation