Visit to Fukuoka
September started with an exciting business trip to Kyushu. We journeyed there for an appliance product promotion activity built by Fukuoka Prefecture’s solution partner and Stratus. While there, we filmed an interview-style video explaining how Stratus’ ztC Edge™ and our partner company’s manufacturing instruction application products can effectively solve customer issues and pain points. After the successful shoot, we had an interesting lunchtime conversation discussing several investment trends within the manufacturing industry. Together we all came to the consensus that these investment trends are firm. Unfortunately, we are still seeing problems in the supply chain of materials – including semiconductors – but there is no doubt we’ve seen an improvement. As an aside, the lunch we received was delivered by a local restaurant and it was truly delicious. I was especially impressed with Kitakyushu.
On the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth
During this trip, the sad news came in that Queen Elizabeth II of England passed away. Her reign for 70 years was an amazing period. She was the 4th Queen of the Windsor dynasty, the monarch of the Commonwealth Kingdom and head of the Church of England. In addition to the monarchies (UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), there are more than 50 countries – including republics – that are included in the Commonwealth of Nations. And as their head of state, she was also a symbol of solidarity. Her reign is reminiscent of many geopolitical disputes and issues related to her monarchy. There were many events, such as the Falklands War, the tragic death of Princess Diana, the Australian republic referendum, the Scottish independence referendum, the withdrawal from the European Union (EU), and much more. Although politically the prime minister and the parliament play a leading role, there is no doubt that the members of the royal family have played many important roles. On September 9, the new King Charles III ascended the throne, and his eldest son William became the Prince of Wales.
Familiarity with Britain
I personally feel closer to the UK than to the US. I say this because of my hobbies and love of rugby and horse racing, which originate in England and are still popular to this day. When I was younger, I visited the country several times for work. I will never forget visiting during the 2012 London Olympics and the 2015 Rugby World Cup – both are fresh in my memory. I find it fun and enjoy staying in London while watching sports, strolling through the beautiful Hyde Park, visiting interesting museums, seeing a musical on Regent Street – the list goes on. There are many spots in the city that were used to film movies, such as 007, and tourists can go on tours. I’m sure there are many Harry Potter fans who can support this as well, as the infamous Platform 9 3/4 is right there in King’s Cross Station. Earlier, I wrote about William becoming the Prince of Wales (Monarch of Wales/Crown Prince of England), which is the custom of the next King of England having been around since the 14th century.
Fukuoka and Wales
Believe it or not, Fukuoka Prefecture and Wales have something in common. Wales once produced an abundance of underground resources – such as coal – and supported the industrial revolution in England. In Fukuoka Prefecture, assets related to the Miike Coal Mine and Yawata Steel Works are registered as World Heritage Sites as part of the “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution.” Both regions supported the industrial revolution of their respective countries, and both happen to be very popular areas for rugby. Affectionately known as the “Red Dragons”, the Wales national rugby team made it to the top four at the 2019 World Cup held in Japan. High school rugby and rugby schools in Fukuoka Prefecture are among the top in Japan, producing many talented Japanese national team players.
In Fukuoka Prefecture, the Fukuoka Prefecture Venture Business Support Council plays a central role in fostering venture businesses. Committee members from national universities such as Kyushu University and Kyushu Institute of Technology also participate and play an important role in promoting the development and support of venture companies that will lead the new era through industry-academia collaboration. We also support overseas expansion. I personally think it’s very romantic that Fukuoka, which supported the industrial revolution in the Meiji era, will grow a new venture company that will enter the world amid the era of Reiwa. As I traveled home, I thought a lot about how I hope to see Stratus’ technology adopted more and more by our current partners in Fukuoka. I sincerely hope that we can contribute to the growth and global expansion of venture companies.