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Growth engines healthcare industry and medical technology

This year's Business Forum Japan was held under the motto "Growth Engines Healthcare Industry/ Medical Technology – Trends and Innovations in Germany, NRW and Japan". The event was opened by NRW Economics Minister Garrelt Duin, Mayor Thomas Geisel, the Japanese Consul General Kaoru Shimazaki and the President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Jiro Kobayashi.

"The healthcare industry is a globally growing market. Japan and North Rhine-Westphalia occupy internationally leading positions in medical technology and are eager to expand their positions. This requires continuous cooperation between companies and research institutions across both professional boundaries and national borders. I am delighted that the exchange, partly initiated by politicians, between Japan, especially the Fukushima Prefecture, and North Rhine-Westphalia has led to concrete cooperation projects," said Garrelt Duin, Minister of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine Westphalia.

"The aging of the population and the simultaneous decline in the birth rate pose a challenge that Germany and Japan share. Issues such as the healthcare industry and medical technology are therefore of great importance for both countries. The Japanese government has identified these areas as important economic engines and promotes innovation in medical services and the healthcare industry. The aim is to expand and intensify existing cooperation at various levels of these areas," said Mr. Kaoru Shimazaki, Japanese Consul General in Düsseldorf.

Mayor Thomas Geisel emphasized the potential of the North Rhine-Westphalian state capital for the sectors healthcare and life sciences: "With around 5,000 beds in 12 hospitals and 2,000 companies with 90,000 employees in the medical and health industry, Düsseldorf offers a huge market for medical technology products. At the same time, companies also find excellent conditions for research and development. Firstly, the Heinrich Heine University with a focus on the field of medical research, and secondly a well-established and strongly positioned IT and mobile industry."


Jiro Kobayashi, President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Düsseldorf, shares the view of Minister Duin: "Alongside the USA, Japan and Germany are the world's largest medical technology markets. An aging population accustomed to a high standard of living that increasingly makes demands on good medical care, combined with technological progress, ensure that the healthcare industry and medical technology are currently among the most important growth industries in our two states. It is therefore all the more important that we cooperate closely and exploit the existing potential. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Düsseldorf are very well positioned here, and consequently many Japanese companies in the industry opt for this location.

Technical information, exchange and networks

Shigetaka Komori, Chairman and CEO of Fujifilm Holdings Corporation, had come from Japan specially for the Business Forum and opened the lectures with his contribution on the topic "Innovating Out of Crisis". The title referred to the book published in May by the Japanese businessman, in which, using Fujifilm as an example, he describes how a company whose core product falls away on the market can come out the crisis strengthened by innovation and know-how. This was followed by talks and case studies from Japanese and German experts and company representatives relating to the healthcare industry and medical technology, such as current trends and visions for the future in X-ray imaging, which Hidefumi Suzuki, Deputy General Manager Medical Systems Division of Shimadzu Corporation, discussed in his lecture.

Stephan Schneider, Senior Manager/Business Development Public & Health ENN Vodafone GmbH, and Prof. Dr. med. Stephan Martin, Director of the West German Diabetes and Health Center (WDGZ), gave the participants an insight into the "Opportunities of telemedicine from the point of view of Vodafone" and illustrated this in their talk using the telemedical lifestyle coaching of WDGZ as an example.

The event was rounded off by three experience reports from the field: Prof. Dr. Thomas A. Schildhauer, Medical Director of the University Hospital Bergmannsheil in Bochum on the use of the robot suit HAL, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sauerwein, Chief Physician of the Clinic for Radiation Therapy at the University Hospital Essen, on cooperation with the hospitals in Tsukuba and Koriyama, and Dr. André Roggan, Executive Managing Director, Olympus Surgical Technologies Europe, on innovative technologies for surgical processes.

In the subsequent panel discussion, the participants discussed the topic "Future of markets/future of cooperation: market entry, opportunities and barriers in Japan and Germany".


Organizers: Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of NRW, NRW.Invest GmbH, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Düsseldorf, Japanese Club Düsseldorf, state capital Düsseldorf.

Partners: German-Japanese Business Association (DJW), Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Düsseldorf (IHK).

Sponsors: ANA All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd., Fujifilm Europe GmbH, Mitsubishi Electric Europe B.V., Toshiba Electronics Europe GmbH, Toshiba Europe GmbH, Toshiba TEC Germany Imaging Systems, Dierks & Bohle legal firm, Hitachi Europe GmbH, Mitsui & Co. Deutschland GmbH, Shimadzu Europa GmbH, Techniker Krankenkasse, The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd.