Govt to pick base cities for cutting-edge start-ups

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A government council came up with an innovation initiative Tuesday calling for full support for creating cutting-edge startups in several designated “base cities” across Japan.

The initiative, called a strategy to create globally competitive startup companies, is aimed at doubling the number of innovative startups by fiscal 2024 from the fiscal 2018 level, against the backdrop of the emergence of more than 300 “unicorn” new businesses with a valuation of $1 billion or over each mainly in China and the United States. It was drawn up at a meeting in Tokyo of the Integrated Innovation Strategy Promotion Council, chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, along with two other initiatives as well as the fiscal 2019 integrated innovation strategy, which will be adopted by Cabinet ministers by the end of the month.

To give intensive assistance for creating highly competitive startups, the central government will solicit project plans from local governments in January next year and pick two to three “global base cities” and several “promotion base cities” by March. From fiscal 2020 starting in April, the governments will help establish startups together with private-sector businesses and universities.

By making those base cities “meccas for entrepreneurs,” the state government will also aim to foster at least five unicorn firms by fiscal 2024.

The other initiatives seek to promote artificial intelligence and biotechnology, respectively.

The AI program urges the government to have by 2025 all high school graduates obtain basic skills in science, mathematics, data science and AI, to nurture 250,000 people who can apply AI skills to expert fields each year and to enable 2,000 people to acquire world-class skills in AI per year.Speech

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