Skip to main content

Exploring Japanese Tech: VivaTech Country of the Year

Posted at: 02.21.2024in category:International
VivaTech has selected Japan as Country of the Year for 2024. We explore why Japan is a pioneer in the tech industry and highlight a few of its brightest startups.

Japan graphic image of Tokyo Japan has pushed the boundaries of technology, showcasing its disruptive innovations. The current startup ecosystem has the capability to attract the greatest talents and foster the growth of startups at a scale that was unimaginable fifteen years ago.

Young Minds Are the Future

In recent years Japan’s startup ecosystem has flourished thanks to elite university graduates. Since the early 1990s, with the crash of the economic bubble and the subsequent slow economic growth with several recessions, there has been a gradual structural shift which has contributed to building a better environment for establishing ventures in Japan. A new era of young entrepreneurs who grew up in Japan emerged.

The Japanese government, such as JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization), played a role in supporting young entrepreneurs by promoting collaborations between startups and larger firms. Startups not only became potential future ventures but also viable partners. Established companies changed their perspective, viewing startups not as an investment but recognizing their value as potential tech partners to enhance their core business.

As of November 2022, Japan has created 11 unicorns. The Japanese government in collaboration with the private sector and universities have actively participated in the establishment of regional startup hubs. The collective startup ecosystem rose a record-breaking 877.4 billion yen in funding in 2022.

Leading Tech Sectors in Japan

IT and Software Services

Japan hosts a significant IT industry with the software industry alone generating nearly 16.7 trillion yen in sales starting from 2020. Recent developments have intensified the demand for computer-based solutions, increasing the importance of the Japanese IT industry. Companies are adopting technologies like cloud services to improve business operations generating strong growth in the cloud platform services market. The IT industry plays a crucial role in both the economy and realizing the government's vision of a society where cyberspace and the physical world are closely connected. This idea was initially presented in 2016 as part of the Fifth Science and Technology Basic Plan by the Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation (CSTI).

Artificial Intelligence

Japan has increased patent applications for artificial intelligence in recent years. AI is seen as a big deal for the country’s future. The government thinks AI is vital for Society 5.0.

Society 5.0, or the Super Smart Society, envisions a future shaped by a 2016 Japanese government initiative, aiming to seamlessly integrate advanced technologies like artificial intelligence into society. Companies in areas like electronics and automotive are researching AI, especially for self-driving cars and industrial automatization.


Japan leads the world in robotics, housing seven of the top 10 industrial robotics companies. It has the highest density of robot workers globally and excels in machine vision, machine learning, and AI. Japan leads in industrial robotics, being the top exporter in terms of both shipments and the number of operating units for robots.

robot and chef collaborating Robot & chef collaboration. Photo credit: Connected Robotics Inc.

Notable Japanese Startups in the Tech Industry

Startups are at the core of the tech industry in Japan. Several remarkable startups have made their mark not only in Japan but internationally as well.

  • Connected Robotics, founded in 2014, is an AI/robot controller development business. They are implementing automation and innovating the food industry. They want to increase efficiency and support the workforce by integrating robotics, image processing, and AI technologies in our products and services.
  • LeapMind, founded in 2012, specializes in developing deep-learning solutions for embedded devices such as Efficiera, a lightweight model ideal for edge devices like security cameras.
  • Mercari, established in 2013, has evolved into a prominent e-commerce platform valued at nearly half a billion dollars, with global offices.

aquaculture in open water Aquaculture deep-tech company Umitron Photo Credit: Rachel Mutter

Japan Going Green

A large percentage of startups in Japan are addressing sustainability and aspire to contribute to a better future. UMITRON for instance, is transforming aquaculture by employing technologies such as satellite remote sensing, loT, and PHC is dedicated to developing solutions for global diabetes and has environmentally responsible initiatives addressing climate change and environmental considerations through resource and circular economy.

Join the Japanese Pavilion at VivaTech 2024

As VivaTech’s 2024 Country of the Year, Japan will host a wealth of Japanese startups, innovations, and tech actors on their stand this May. We can’t wait to see which new technologies they will bring and listen to their future perspective for a better future! Don’t miss your chance to meet the most talented in Japanese tech! Book your pass for VivaTech 2024.

Share this

Related articles