A showcase for technological excellence – underpinned by the land of the rising sun

On 28th and 29th of June 2019, the leaders of the G20 gathered in Osaka, as Japan hosted its first ever G20 Summit. During its presidency of the G20 Summit, the Japanese government underlined its leadership in advancing discussions toward resolving the myriad issues now facing the international community. Underlining this renewed dynamism, Japan will be the first Global Innovation Partner in the history of IFA NEXT.

IFA NEXT is a global innovation hub bringing together researchers, industry professionals, start-ups and retailers for a dynamic transfer of knowledge, information and business ideas. At the IFA NEXT Showcase, innovative companies, research institutions, start-ups, universities, labs, and associations this year will again present their ideas for the future.

“Japan is a country that was the main driver to create the world of consumer electronics as we know it today, and that – once again – has become an incredible hub for industry research, thought leadership and start-up innovation,” said Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin.


At the recent IFA Global Press Conference in Spain, Keita Nishiyama, the Director-General of the Commerce and Information Policy Bureau at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), addressed the media on the key issues at stake heading into the future, in particular when it comes to new data governance models.

“The Osaka G20 will, I believe, and as stated by our Prime Minister, long be remembered as the summit that started world-wide data governance”, said Mr Nishiyama. “The time to do so is ripe, as it will be digital data that drives our economy forward.”

With more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of digital information circulating each day, Mr Nishiyama called for the establishment of “DFFT” – or Data Free Flow with Trust, for non-personal data. He said that while personal data and intellectual property need to remain under careful protection, on the other hand, medical, industrial, traffic and other highly useful non- personal data must be allowed to flow freely across borders.

The result will, he says, be “Society 5.0”, which this fourth industrial revolution will bring about, thanks, in part to new collaboration between entities such as the OECD, WEF and G20.

Speaking about the partnership with Japan for IFA Next, Jens Heithecker, IFA Executive Director said, “This is a major step for IFA, because we learned that when different people talk about innovation, each one has very different wording, with different effects in different countries. In America, every new product is an ‘innovation’. That’s great. But in European countries or Japan, people are more hesitant to use the word innovation for a new product. In these countries, the language culture means it has to be a big step, not just a new product. This is why often in countries like Germany or Japan, the “innovators” are totally underestimated, which is why we need to spotlight them. We are starting with Japan, because we have learned that in Japan there are strong, diversified innovators that are virtually unknown to the world, so we are putting them on stage in order that their efforts might have an impact outside of their home territory. Japan is not only our partner country for IFA Next, and we will also be discovering new start-ups and tech companies from Japan, coming to Berlin for the first time”.