Japan has accomplished a high level of modernisation within an exceptionally short period of time and they have acquired the knowledge and know-how for high quality infrastructure within Japan. Moving forward, Japan is looking to export and help build quality infrastructure abroad for sustainable development, hand in hand with foreign partners to best meet the needs of each country and region. They have the technology and expertise to realise on-time delivery, as well as high operations rates, low failure rates and long operating life. Japan is especially strong in areas such as traffic and transportation, ICT, and area development. Singapore companies can look forward to opportunities for master planning opportunities with Japanese companies such as redevelopment projects in Japan regional cities, as well as in third countries in the region. Collaboration in Smart City projects could be an example, such as within Japan (Fujisawa Smart City) as well as regional countries, including those in Southeast Asia.
Technology and innovation are a foundation of Japan’s competitive edge. Japan is committed to being one of the first countries to prove that it is possible to grow through innovation even when its population declines. The Japanese government is implementing policies to encourage various players, including startups and “hidden gems” among SMEs, to come up with innovative ideas to provide the world with solutions. Japan has also been leading the world in industrial robot technology, and is now about to spur an even greater evolution by combining this technology with an open source deep learning framework developed in Japan. Deep learning enables industrial robots to make judgements in complex operational situations by learning from past examples. Innovative Singaporean startups can consider strategic partnerships with large Japanese corporates as many of them are now looking at open innovation for new business opportunities.
Japan’s exponential growth in inbound visitors reflects its advancing position as a global tourism destination. Japan placed fourth in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Travel & Tourism competitiveness ranking. Growth in annual inbound tourists to Japan has averaged 18.7% since 2010. Upcoming global events such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Osaka Expo 2025 are also expected to push inbound tourist numbers further up. Also the expected development of integrated resorts (IR) in Japan is also expected to be a strong driver for Japan’s hospitality industry. If there is enough demand, there could be a potential spillover to regional cities. Additionally, the increasing global popularity of shared and alternative housing shows that travellers are seeking more than cookie-cutter hotel services. Tourists, especially millennials, are looking for genuine cultural experiences and opportunities to connect with locals. This trend poses great opportunities for Japan, which is eager to share its rich culture and history with overseas travellers. Singapore companies can consider partnerships with Japanese corporates on ways to explore innovative ways to capture the tourism and hospitality sectors