Seattle-Tokyo-Tel Aviv: Innovation, Cyber-Security, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

AJC’s Asia Pacific Institute along with the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership hosted a three city speaking tour focused on collaboration in the realm of technology and cybersecurity between the U.S., Japan, and Israel. The last of the three programs, Seattle-Tokyo-Tel Aviv: Innovation, Cyber-Security, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, took place at the official residence of the Consul General of Japan in Seattle ,Jun Yamada, and was done in partnership with AJC Seattle and the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington. We had a full house and barely enough chairs for everyone who came out!

Consul General Yamada gave his opening remarks on the importance of cyber security. “The other day, I was in my backyard when I saw a floating object in the sky…It was a seagull. But soon enough it may not be.”

Program Chair and Co-Founder of Innovation Finders Capital, Tom Sato then introduced his fellow panelists: Mihoko Matsubara, Chief Security Officer for Japan at Palo Alto Networks, Assaf Marco, Director of Cyber Security and Homeland Security on behalf of the Israeli Trade Mission in Tokyo, and Dr. Rex Hughes, Adviser on Emerging Technology International Engagement with Madrona Venture Group.

Mihoko Matsubara elaborated on the state of cyber security in Japan with the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. She explained that in Japan there is a known saying stating that “water and security are free” and since the Olympic Games bring both opportunities and challenges to Japan it is important that nation has a clear deadline for enhancing national cyber security. How does Israeli fit into the conversation on cyber security and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games? Over the past few years, cooperation between Japan and Israel, Tokyo and Tel Aviv, has grown considerably to the extent that it has been called a “miracle.” Assaf Marco explained that the Israeli government saw the need, and the economic and business value of investing in cyber security, and recognized that the Japanese market needed to fill a gap. After a mutual exchange of Prime Ministers a few years ago, larger Japanese delegations of security professionals began travelling to Tel Aviv, generating more business for both nations.

With Seattle being the leader in cloud technology cybersecurity has become a necessity. The hope. according to Dr. Rex Hughes, is to replicate the type of collaboration between Tokyo and Tel Aviv and bring it to Seattle. Furthermore he suggested that the Seattle tech ecosystem be an active participant in the opportunities arising from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The panel was followed with an interesting Q&A discussion before closing with a toast, sake, and networking.

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