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Tuesday, 18th March 2014
In General Japan News,

Tokyo tech scene takes off

Tokyo's technology scene is already considered ultra futuristic, with big brand names such as Sony and Panasonic dominating with their games consoles, mobile phones and household appliances.

However, it's the startups that inhabit Tokyo's ward of Akihabara that tech lovers should have their eyes on, according to BBC News.

The World Service interviewed a number of big-name figures on the scene who are making waves with innovative developments in wearable tech.

Logbar chief executive Takuro Yoshida's newest development is a ring worn on the finger that connects to the phone via Bluetooth, allowing the user to make electronic payments and control any device linked to the internet.

Other examples mentioned in the article include Telepathy, a headset that has been frequently described as a competitor to Google Glass that relays live images of what the user sees directly to their smartphone.

Despite these intelligent innovations emerging from the startup scene, Yuki Kanayama, founder of IQon, claims there are still obstacles to be overcome, such as a challenging work mentality that stifles entrepreneurship.

"Japanese people don't want to be different from others. They want to work for Sony, Toyota and Google, instead of start-ups," he told the BBC. "The number of entrepreneurs is too small in Japan."

Despite this, a recent Forbes article argued that the nation's mentality is set for change, and that a ten-year-old is now much more likely to be hired by a country that doesn't exist yet.

According to researchers from Hitotsubashi University and Nihon University, Japanese companies created after 1996 contributed a net positive of 1.2 million new jobs. But older companies shed a net 3.1 million jobs in that time.

So it is possible that Japanese startups could soon be punching well above their weight on the international tech scene, and developments as innovative as the Ring will become daily news.

Written by Susan Ballion


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Japan's Obama backs namesake in US presidential race (4th September 2008)
Tokyo wins race to host 2020 Olympics (9th September 2013)
IOC evaluation commission notes Tokyo's 'financial strength' (26th June 2013)
Prime Minister Abe shows support for Tokyo's Olympic bid (8th January 2013)