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Japanese leaders in innovation to join GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong this month
[March 08, 2018]

Japanese leaders in innovation to join GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong this month

Top industry leaders and innovators announced to take part in the GREAT Festival of Innovation 2018

HONG KONG, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Leading Japanese innovators will represent the country's global strengths in innovation and technology on an international stage at the GREAT Festival of Innovation, taking place in Hong Kong this month. The Festival, which forms part of the UK government's GREAT Britain campaign, will be a platform to connect cutting-edge businesses and brilliant thinkers from around the world who will drive trade partnerships of the future, while highlighting the UK's position as a global centre for innovation.

Speakers joining the GREAT Festival of Innovation from Japan are leading experts in their fields and come from companies who are pioneering advancements in technology to create more connected, innovative and intuitive societies. The first round of announced speakers from Japan includes:

  • Eiji Uda, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Tokyo 2020, and Chairman and CEO of Yext. Working with the International Olympic Committee to make Tokyo 2020 the most technologically advanced Games to date, Uda will be at the GREAT Festival of Innovation discussing the Future of Sports and how the advances in technology are being used to improve both participant and spectator experience. For Tokyo 2020, Uda is overseeing innovation including the use of fuel cells as a source of clean energy, advanced security systems, enhanced accuracy in judging, improved user experience, improved technologies for the Paralympics and incorporation of robotics and AI.
Eiji Uda, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Tokyo 2020, and Chairman and CEO Yext, will represent Japan on a world stage at the GREAT Festival of Innovation


  • Shinya Kukita, Chief Engineer of NEC Corporation Global. Having worked with the Tokyo-based IT services and products corporation for nearly four decades, Kukita will be joining a distinguished panel of high-profile, international speakers who will explore the forward-facing technologies developing smarter cities for a better quality of life. A leader in forward-facing technologies, NEC recently entered into a long-term partnership with "Bristol is Open", the UK's flagship digital smart city initiative furthering Bristol's goal to be "the world's first open programmable city". The project commenced in 2016 with a focus on traffic congestion, waste management, entertainment, e-democracy, and energy supply.
Shinya Kukita, Chief Engineer of NEC Corporation Global, will share his insights into developing smarter cities at the GREAT Festival of Innovation


  • Takashi Yoshizawa, VP of R&D Autonomous Driving, Nissan. A front-runner in the autonomous drive technology realm, Japanese car manufacturer Nissan recently announced plans to introduce fully autonomous cars to the market by 2022. Nissan performed the first on-road autonomous vehicle tests in Europe in London in 2017, and has this year introduced a single-lane autonomous driving technology for highways to the UK and European market after a successful launch in Japan. At the GREAT Festival of Innovation, Yoshizawa will form part of a panel exploring the future of personal transport, allowing audiences a glimpse into what roads might look like in the near future.
Takashi Yoshizawa, Vice President of R&D Autonomous Driving, Nissan, will join experts and business leaders at the GREAT Festival of Innovation


  • Naomi Kurahaa, Co-Founder/CEO, Infostellar. An electrical engineer by trade, in 2016 Kurahara established Infostellar, a cloud-based software platform company that aims to connect satellite operators with antenna owners who can rent or sell their idling time, laying down a communications infrastructure for business expansion in space. Guided by technology-driven decision making and software-driven product development, Infostellar is passionate about creating a new status quo for space communications.
Naomi Kurahara, Co-Founder/CEO, Infostellar, will join experts and business leaders at the GREAT Festival of Innovation

Shinya Kukita, Chief Engineer of NEC Corporation Global who will speak in the session "Smart Cities: From Simulations to Citizens", says:

"NEC's in-house R&D team devises world-class technology, but we also need to be open to other ideas. Innovation comes from different ideas, so we always keep ourselves open to opportunities where we can share knowledge and ideas. With an international audience of innovators, thought leaders and decision makers, the GREAT Festival of Innovation is a very good opportunity for us to widen our views to help foster our innovative spirit."

The GREAT Festival of Innovation will provide a unique platform for reinforcing the strong ties between Japan and the UK. Recent successful partnerships include Japanese robotics maker tmusk, who opened their first UK office in Bristol in 2017. The pioneering developer have created more than 60 types of robots to service industries including medical, communications and disaster relief, and opened their UK office thanks to the country's open testing regulations for autonomous vehicles, innovative R&D opportunities and support for SMEs, with a vision to help promote joint research and development between Japan and Britain.

Her Majesty's Ambassador to Japan, Paul Madden CMG says:

"GREAT Festival of Innovation will bring together world-leaders in innovation from the UK and across the North Asia region, and I am delighted to see such high quality speakers representing the very best of Japanese innovative business. The UK and Japan enjoy an extremely strong partnership and we look forward to increased collaboration to unlock new ideas and opportunities."

The UK and Japan enjoy a strong trading relationship which the Festival will look to further strengthen through connecting the cutting-edge businesses and brilliant thinkers who will drive trade partnerships of the future. In 2016, Japan was the UK's:

  • 11th largest trading partner (accounting for 2.1% of total UK trade)
  • 11th largest export market (accounting for 2.3% of all UK exports)
  • 12th largest import market (accounting for 1.9% of all UK imports)

The top 5 UK services exported to Japan in 2016 were:

  • Financial (61.9% of all UK services exported to Japan)
  • Other business services (14.9%)
  • Transportation (7.6%)
  • Travel (3.7%)
  • Telecommunications, computer and information services (3.3%)

Attending the Festival will be a strong delegation of business leaders and decision makers from Japan looking to create new business partnerships with their Asia and UK counterparts.

Alongside engaging sessions, panels and workshops, there will be a showcase of some of the UK's leading technology. Travelling to Asia for the first time is UK-designed and developed autonomous robot dog MiRo, the creation of designer-in-residence to the University of Sheffield engineering faculty, Sebastian Conran CEO of London/Bristol based Consequential Robotics. A companion robot with six senses capable of emotional engagement, MiRo has been developed in conjunction with Sheffield Robotics to enhance quality of later life. Also showcasing will be McLaren Design Studio who will present their VR technology that allows customers to design their own driving experience and interiors.

UK-designed and developed autonomous robot dog, MiRo, will be showcased at the at the GREAT Festival of Innovation Credit: Consequential Robotics



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Media Contacts:
For interviews with speakers or GREAT Festival of Innovation spokespeople, please contact
Sinclair at (852) 2915 1234:
Emma Williamson | 
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Jessica Man|

About GREAT Festival of Innovation 2018

The GREAT Festival of Innovation, to be held at Asia Society Hong Kong Centre from 21 to 24 March 2018, is the third of its kind after the success of the GREAT Festivals of Creativity in Istanbul (2014) and Shanghai (2015). Its vision is to share innovation and create life-long partnerships that will drive the future of free trade and prosperity between the UK, Hong Kong and the region. 

The Festival will explore the latest in cutting-edge innovation and the future of how we work, live, play and learn through a series of talks, panels and interactive workshops over four days. Bringing together some of the world's brightest minds, business leaders and policy makers, the Festival will provide a unique platform for powerful future partnerships.

The GREAT Campaign

Bringing the best of Britain to the world

The GREAT Britain campaign showcases the best of what the whole nation has to offer to inspire the world and encourage people to visit, do business, invest and study in the UK. It is the Government's most ambitious international promotional campaign, uniting the efforts of the public and private sector to generate jobs and growth for Britain. The campaign has already secured confirmed economic returns of GBP3.1bn for the UK.                

The UK has a huge amount to offer, with world-class universities, ground breaking research, high tech start-ups and entrepreneurial business people. Global leaders in the creative industries like music, fashion, design and film, the UK can offer visitors unforgettable experiences, breath-taking landscapes and iconic attractions.

The GREAT Britain campaign captures the best of all that is familiar about the UK, but also what is new and surprising about the country.

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