Table Speech


Initiation Speech

October 31, 2012

Mr. Arthur M. Mitchell
Mr. Katsuto Momii

Mr. Katsuto Momii
Senior Adviser, Nihon Unisys, Ltd.

History of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

 My speech today will be on the history and the future of ICT. ICT has evolved from mainframe computers, the large-sized computers that have achieved high-reliability and high-availability in critical applications or bulk data processing of companies. The world’s first commercial computer UNIVAC I was developed in 1951 by UNIVAC, the predecessor of UNISYS. Today, our personal computers can do calculations in an instant which had taken one year with UNIVAC I. We are amazed at how quickly computers have spread throughout the world in just 60 years to become our daily necessity today.

  IBM achieved considerable growth with the success of “System/360.” Back then, there existed eight mainframe manufacturers: IBM, Burroughs, UNIVAC, CDC, GE, Honeywell, NCR and RCA. Going through a number of reorganizations, today there remain only three Japanese manufacturers (Hitachi, Fujitsu and NEC) in addition to IBM, UNISYS and Bull.

 The IT industry underwent a paradigm shift in the 1990s that included function distribution, technological innovation to standardize software, and downsizing from mainframes to open-systems. Integrated data processing performed by mainframe computers was replaced by distributed computing systems utilizing personal computers. Computer users welcomed such a shift, as it lowered prices. As a result, the IT industry, once having only a few competitors, suddenly got exposed to a fierce competition among several tens of thousands of IT companies.

 Microsoft Windows came to dominate the market based on open-systems, which further accelerated downsizing to personal computers. The current three major ICT vendors are HP, IBM, Dell as well as the network equipment vendor, Cisco, and S/W vendors, Microsoft and Oracle. With the advancement of internet and the cloud computing technology, its utilization is about to undergo a dramatic shift “from possession to utilization” and “from exclusive possession to joint ownership.” Consequently, the main actors of the ICT industry are shifting from computer vendors to internet service providers, as represented by Google with its internet search site and Apple with iPhone and iPad. Microsoft is striving to regain its leading position.

 “Super high speed wireless, cloud computing, evolving smart-phones, tablet devices, smart TVs and VIDEO” will be the key for success. Who will emerge at the center stage next? How far and how fast will the world of ICT evolve? We will surely be left behind in this fast-moving competition if we sit back as onlookers.

 Before closing, let me encourage you to start using smart-phones to keep up with any kind of change that would happen in the future. Smart-phones are installed with antivirus software and they are safe. Why don’t you make a new challenge?

Mr. Arthur M. Mitchell
Senior Counselor, White & Case LLP

Japan-US Relations at the Crossroad

 I feel much honored to join the Tokyo RC, with so many leaders of the Japanese business community. Today, I will speak on the Japan-US relations at its new crossroad, calling for a new paradigm as the post-World War II period has come to an end.

 Please allow me to tell you a little about my personal relation with Japan. I was born in Los Angeles and first visited this country in 1961 at the age of 14. Later, I returned to Japan to study at ICU (International Christian University) and Kyoto University. I have been an observer and admirer of Japan for over 50 years. That is almost one third of the time since the Meiji Restoration (1868).

  Looking back over history, Japan became a strategic trading post in the Far East in the 1850s, when the US became a Pacific power, got attracted to China and American whale merchants hoped to sell enough whale oil to “light all the lamps in China.” Both Japan and China have long been pivotal in the US relationship with Asia.

 Today, Japan and the US share important fundamental values: emphasis on education and technological development, social progress through hard work, a market-based economy, and a commitment to free trade and democracy. No other country in Asia is as similar to the US in basic outlook as Japan.

 People everywhere wish to maintain or, if possible, improve their standard of living. When I studied in Japan in the late 1960s, everyone wanted to buy the “three sacred treasures” or three Cs, namely a private car, an air conditioning (cooler) and a color TV. Having achieved material wealth, the Japanese now seek for better health services, security in old age and a sense of purpose today. Japan must address these issues to satisfy its people and become a good US partner. The US also must successfully address its own problems to satisfy its people and become a good partner for Japan.

 The Great East Japan Earthquake of last year caused Japan to restructure its crisis management framework. Japan must solve the energy issue to improve competitiveness of its companies and prevent the hollowing out of the economy.
All developed countries, including Japan, must repair their balance sheets. Some expenditure cuts seem inevitable, as growing levels of governmental debt are unsustainable in an aging society. But new ways to raise revenues are also imperative.

 Forty percent of global trade will be covered by the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) if Japan decides to join this treaty. If not, Japan risks being left out of an emerging framework in Asia and miss an opportunity to restructure the uncompetitive sectors of its economy. Japan can potentially benefit more if membership leads to a “third opening of the country.”

 Before closing, let me suggest Japan’s “three sacred treasures” for the 21st century: i) healthy and cultured life, ii) fulfilling work and iii) peace and security in Asia. I am convinced close collaboration between the US and Japan can make significant contributions to prosperity in Asia and the rest of the world.