The director of Microsoft in Japan sees the country accelerating its use of AI

According to Microsoft Japan President Miki Tsusaka, Japan is one of the countries that is quick to adopt new artificial intelligence tools and has the potential to boost the economy and the technology sector by going further.

The country’s digitalization drive got a boost during the pandemic as businesses adapted to new forms of working from home, and Tsusaka believes Japan has made up ground after previously falling behind.

“The Japanese have caught up. And I think it will continue to accelerate at this point because this technology can do things that we can’t do yet,” Tsusaka said in an interview. “We don’t have enough people, the population is aging but AI has the ability to accelerate growth.”

The Microsoft Corporation CEO said she is particularly interested in helping upskill more women in the local workforce. This is one of four focus areas for the US company in Japan, led by a $2.9 billion investment over the next two years to scale AI data centers in the country.

The announcement of new funding in April lifted the country’s industrial and utility stocks on expectations of growing electricity demand. The country’s growing energy needs have prompted Tokyo’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister to lobby local officials for a restart of the country’s and the world’s largest nuclear power plant.

Tsusaka identifies cybersecurity as another important priority, because “you can’t use AI without security. It’s security, security, security. And then you can use AI.” She said Microsoft works closely with the Japanese government – at both the national and local levels – as well as businesses to ensure technology is deployed responsibly and safely. However, she still sees AI as an inevitable and revolutionary new piece of technology.

“We were all surprised when the Internet came along,” she said. “Mobile phones are now part of our bodies. But I think creative AI is a technological revolution that surpasses all of that.”

–With support from Takashi Mochizuki.

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