For those of us living in Japan, we often hear the Japanese people talk about their unique history, culture, education and skills of their artisans. We also witness the social order, cleanliness of the streets as well as trains that are so accurately on time, that one can set a his or her watch to it on arrival. On closer examination, there is a constant attention to detail as shown in their ability to build small, but very precise objects or machines – the Japanese word is “kiyo” which means skillful in great detail. This is exemplified in their ability to build world class time pieces.
Riding a train from the main train station in Zurich to Zug, one sees state-of-the-art electric locomotives, leaving clean and very well designed stations, passing through small towns on their way, that are picturesque, surrounded by nature with views of beautiful lakes. It is clear that although Tokyo does not have access to space and nature directly nearby, they Japanese, like the Swiss have a deep love of nature.
Even details on public behavior are similar. Speaking loudly on a train in Japan and Switzerland is frowned upon and will result in hard stares from the average commuter. In Zurich and Tokyo, quietly reading a book or an article is common, as in both countries, trains are clean fast and quiet which makes for a pleasant riding experience. Of course, anything that suggests or contributes to public civility seems to be valued in these nations.
Where Switzerland seems to differ is its ability to produce new ideas, to develop new technologies and more specifically: start-ups. In fact, Switzerland was ranked #1 in The Global Innovation Index in 2017 and 2016. The Innovation Index 2017 was co-authored by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). For 2017, Switzerland ranked first, followed by Sweden, Netherlands, the USA and the UK. There is no question that innovation is the engine of economic growth, especially in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy.
To be clear, Japan is a nation that does innovate, as it ranked 14th in 2017 and 13th in 2018 on the Global Innovation Index. Still, a nation that now sees a surge in Chinese economic power and challenges from South Korea, and other smaller powers in the region, Japan surely needs to build bridges and new relationships. So it behooves Japan, to build on the 150 Years of Diplomatic Relations with Switzerland that began with the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce in 1864.
How can Switzerland and Japan work together? Well, Switzerland put plainly, has new and innovative ideas, Japan has capital. That`s a great start.
Moreover, both countries show strong interest and leadership, building on both private and public support, in the world of Crytocurrencies and Blockchain. Zug is clearly a power in Europe while Japan has worked to foster a growing ecosystem here in Asia. Both countries are investing in talent and education. Keep in mind that Switzerland has the highest average wages in Europe which means that it is able to hold on to talent from its world class universities. Japan on the other hand is importing talent for its growing crypto and blockchain expansion (see our recent articles). And it goes without saying that both countries are investing and expanding in the world of Fintech, and we see opportunities.
Here at Classiarius, we see opportunities as we strive to build bridges between Switzerland and Japan, and more specifically between Zug and Tokyo in 2019 and 2020. More details to come from Classiarius.