On February 19, the 20th U.S.-Japan Council Business Advisory Board (BAB) Meeting was held at the Tokyo American Club. It welcomed Patrick Newell, Future Vision Navigator and Founder of 21 Foundation, as the featured speaker.
The meeting opened with remarks from USJC Board Member Scott Sato. Two BAB members introduced themselves, showcasing the diversity of USJC and BAB membership. Taisuke Sasanuma, Representative Director of Advantage Partners, Inc. and Miyuki Tani, Executive Director of Morgan Stanley Capital KK, discussed their careers and interest in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations.
BAB Chairman and Vice-Chair of the USJC Board of Councilors Masaaki Tanaka provided updates on USJC activities, highlighting the Council’s new phase with the retirement of President Irene Hirano Inouye, as well as the USJC Annual Conference in Chicago in November. He also welcomed the four TOMODACHI alumni in the audience, encouraging BAB attendees to network with these next generation leaders.
Mr. Newell began his keynote address by reflecting on his background as an entrepreneur and educator, leading to his founding of 21 Foundation to help large companies create new strategies for their futures. Drawing on his current work, Mr. Newell began to consider ways in which Japan may change by 2030. For his new book, Strategies for Keeping Japan #1, Mr. Newell conducted surveys which asked respondents for their future vision of Japan. Most answered that Japan will be radically different by 2030, envisioning widespread use of AI and employees that work remotely and have more free time.
Yet, Mr. Newell noted, Japan faces several challenges, like a lack of diversity and a shrinking workforce, which make it difficult to achieve this 2030 vision. He also explained that, at the same time, the curve of technological development is exponential and will eventually impact every industry in Japan. He believes companies must “be disruptive” and innovate in order to overcome these challenges and shifts.
As Japan is a rule-focused society, Mr. Newell suggested the Japanese government should lead the way by creating new policies regarding issues like gender equality, the environment and AI, which will encourage companies to be more forward-looking. By creating new strategies together, he concluded, we can bridge the gap between the current situation and Japan’s vision of 2030.
Following his talk, audience members, including TOMODACHI alumni, were eager to ask questions, touching on areas in which Japan can improve in the future and ways to get firms interested in using technology to better society. After his speech, Mr. Newell met with attendees and answered individual questions as the guests enjoyed networking over food and drinks.
More photos can be found here.