It's official: the Partner Country at CeBIT 2017 will be Japan, as announced by Deutsche Messe AG as the producers of CeBIT. The agreement pairs the world's leading event for the digitalization of business, government and society with an absolute global frontrunner in R&D and all things high-tech and digital.
During a visit to Germany last May by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited Japan to be honored as the official Partner Country for CeBIT 2017 – an invitation that Prime Minister Abe cordially accepted, adding that Germany is Japan's biggest and most important European trading partner.
The show's partnership with the world's third-largest economy is well timed, coinciding as it does with Prime Minister Abe's call to strengthen his country's domestic industrial base and revitalize the global economy. In Abe's industrial and economic strategy, digitalization plays a very special role.
The leading German IT industry association BITKOM sees Japan as a key trading partner. BITKOM figures indicate that Japanese exports of ICT products to Germany in 2015 totaled 1.3 billion euros, up a good 19 percent from 2014. German ICT exports to Japan also increased – by around 15 percent – taking the 2015 total to approximately 270 million euros.
As a developer of digital technologies, Japan ranks among the world's foremost innovators. And it is putting these technologies to many novel uses, e.g. for the benefit of its aging and declining population, with huge resources being invested in in intelligent assistive and care systems. Other top priorities on Japan's digital agenda are the Internet of Things and associated IT security issues. In pursuit of these goals, Japan is also increasingly engaging in international partnerships.
Making the country one of the world's most progressive societies by the year 2020 – in time for the Tokyo Olympics – is a major objective currently being pursued by the Japanese government.