Japan has moved away from the era of population growth models and has been shifting to an era in which it is necessary to aim for productivity improvement, high added value, high income, etc. However, since still the majority of seniors and conservatives there, such things became heavy to move and those shifts were not tackled with a sense of enough speed.
But fortunately, however, this corona is gradually making their masses and individuals having a sense of proactive crisis that they must change even more than before. I think that these pattern of thinking, the order of their changes, steps, trends etc can only be read and understood by the Japanese or those who are deeply and widely familiar with Japan.
From the perspective of foreigners outside of Japan, it is often thought that modern Japanese are all salarymen and salarywomen who dislike risk and prefer lifetime employment in large companies, but the situation has been not the same for the last 10 years. I think it has been changing little by little. From the perspective of overseas investors and entrepreneurs, it's not because they disregard Japan, but they are just lack of information and really don't know much about Japan.
Japan seems to be very open, but even from the perspective of its origins, history, and geopolitics etc, it is still a closed country overall from a global perspective. There are both good and bad factors on it, and one answer, like either good or bad, cannot be short-circuited. In any case, I think it is a fact that one of the paradigm shifts is beginning to occur in Japan now. To be precise, it would become pretty bad situation if they don't shift at an accelerated pace now though…
Even in Japan, start-up companies and all forms of entrepreneurship and business development are beginning to become one of the mainstream. In fact, many of Japan's top-level talents and innovative talents are beginning to take a keen interest in startups and entrepreneurship. This is a big difference compared to 10 years ago. (Of course, it's still a minority, though) There are various factors behind this, such as national policies and the efforts of large companies etc, but in any case, the changes are occuring little by little, and they are catching up.
The Japanese startup world, which is overwhelmingly less competitive than other mega developed nations, has certainly made great progress, but of course there is still big remained rooms for further growth. In terms of GDP, Japan's startup investment on it is still overwhelmingly smaller than that of the United States and China. I think this difference shows the great growth potential of the Japanese startup market and the lack of competition. For example, competition is intensifying everywhere in the United States and China. By comparison, Japan's competitive environment is still very mild.
Also, big cities like Tokyo are great places to start a startup. This is because most of Japan's major economy is concentrated in the metropolitan areas. For example, Japan's Hollywood, Washington DC, New York, and Silicon Valley are all concentrated in Tokyo. Most large and well-established companies are based in Tokyo and its metropolitan areas, and are easily accessible by train at low cost, making sales activities extremely efficient. In addition, there are currently about 40 million people living in the metropolitan area, but they also have a lot in common with the problems they have, who have similar lifestyles and who like similar content. In other words, it can be said that it is a customer base that is convenient to devise and market products and to capture there. The human resources are also excellent level in the global perspective. Retained technologies, know-how, ability, essential mentality/senses/personality etc are also there, so a lot of synergistic partnership/collaboration things can be also explored to add a lot of values. The number of good growing Middle and SME related companies ecosystems(huge GDP) are also there which most of investors haven't have enough attention to outside of major stock market(sometimes foreign investors complain about no growth of Japanese companies, but they just don't know the reality and diversity behind it, only knowing name of very small one part of some top giant type Japanese companies).
It's a big advantage, at least for startups with limited resources. This is because simply focusing on Tokyo will be a major axis for getting the Japanese market in your hands. In addition, based on the results of this, we can also consider expanding our business to the surrounding Asian region with retained resources(soft and hard) in Japan.
Japan is also a country with advanced challenges in many industries. As one of them, Japan, which is aging the most in the world, has the huge growth market that can become the world's top runner of various services in health, medical care, long-term care, etc. This is not an area that can be matched by hub countries that have reduced taxes to the utmost limit, countries that sell their youth number and have remarkable economic growth, and countries that are trying hard to join the ranks of developed countries, etc Although the economy as a whole is not a growing country, Japan still has the world's top class stable and biggest scale domestic demand and market (growth of various issues market).
Inviting institutional investors, foreign investors, and foreign entrepreneurs etc in Japan has been and still is one of the major goals of the Japanese startup industry for many years. Also, from the perspective of overseas entrepreneurs and investors, how well they can collaborate and form win-win with Japanese business local partners who are excellent and interact and compatible with each other seems to be very key to the development and sustainable management.
The country of Japan and the Japanese have a lot more depth and breadth than overseas people think, and in fact, the individuality and uniqueness is very outstanding in the world, so it's easy to get out of Japan(means not easy to develop and sustainably manage in the market). This is because it is not possible to produce good results simply only by horizontally transferring the pattern of thinking, knowledge, know-how, abilities, experiences, and values etc from outside of Japan. It requires a deep commitment to be familiar with the area, ground, and their people’s heart.