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So Fast Company has released their list of most innovative companies in 2010.
Fast Company: The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2010
Hardly surprising is that Japan is hardly present on the list.  In fact, only one Japanese company made the list.

In fact, in recent years only two other Japanese companies have made this list; Nintendo (#21 in ’09, #10 in ’08) and Toyota (#39 in ’09, #48 in ’08).  What’s most concerning is that this year’s Fast Retailing (The parent company that runs the clothing chain/brand Uni-Qlo) was certainly not brought in for technology.
Meanwhile, mobile and technology companies littered the list, with Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Huawei taking the top five slots, well over half the list has strong ties to mobile technology, mobile services and media.

So is Japan completely out of the loop?

Well, yes, and no.

In a global sense, Japan is a non entity.  Language being one of the major factors has kept a wall keeping Japanese customers and trends from participating with the global market.  As much as has been commented on regarding the difficulties involved with foreign businesses operating on the ground in Japan, it’s equally difficult for Japanese companies to operate abroad. (Ironic that one of the only Japanese companies from Fast Company’s lists is experiencing that right now).

But at the same time, we are seeing great innovation in Japan, particularly in mobile technology and services.

This year’s #5 is Huawei, who has been doing gangbuster business in Japan’s new high speed mobile network as the largest manufacturer of 3G data cards and adapters.  The whole 0yen netbook Emobile revolution has created a cheap laptops market that is the envy of both hardware manufacturers and data network carries across the globe.

And what about Gree?  The mobile based social network has seen enough growth in this down market to make the President Yoshikazu Tanaka the youngest billionaire in Asia.  This game based social network has achieved domestic success that makes global SNS’s like facebook green with envy. Most of that growth taking place in just the last two years.

So why the shun?  The tech isolation of Japan has to end. For Japan and to benefit the rest of the world.  Until we demystify and bring both Japanese companies and Japanese consumers into the global market, a place for this country in the most important technology field of the next decade is in doubt.

This is my first post in out newly redesigned Mobile in Japan.  It’s my hope that this website and community will be a strong positive influence on the communication between Japan and the rest of the world.  Would be great if we can make a difference and maybe see more Japanese influence in the mobile market.

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