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Estonia’s most talented IT people are helping Japan to build a digital society

The Japanese startup company, Planetway, that has a development center in Estonia wants to help Japan to reach a similar quality of a digital society. Among others, some very well-known Estonians are advising and assisting Planetway with this project.

“To be brutally honest, I had a vision, of how the capitalist world could change. Then I met some Estonians and got excited about them. I realized that Estonia has the best people and the best technology to complete my vision,” said Japanese entrepreneur Noriaki Hirao. Planetway has offices in Estonia, San Jose in Silicon Valley, Tokyo and Fukuoka. It is a company that builds a data exchange platform which enables different companies to exchange information.

“We integrate databases from different organizations and companies into that platform. We are doing the same thing in the Japanese private sector that Estonia has already done in the public sector with X-road.”

The first market for the company is Fukuoka City in Japan, which could become the most innovative city in the world if all the information systems are integrated, as is the case with e-Estonia, explains Hirao. “The difference is that in the Japanese situation it is a privately owned company and it also covers the ‘Internet of Things’, technology”. Now, Planetway is connecting the databases from a large insurance company to a hospital’s database to create new additional value.

”This digitizes insurance payments between hospitals and insurance companies. The existing system involves using analogue technology.”

Estonian advisers, Japanese investors

Mr. Hirao is the leader of the company, the CTO is a well know Estonian IT specialist Tõnu Samuel. In addition, one of the board members is an Asian expert and a former Estonian Ministry of the Economic Affairs and Communications Officer, Raul Allikivi.

Hirao confirmed last week that he has been able to create a high-level advisory council that consists of three people. Two Estonians – Jaan Priisalu– former head of Information Systems Authority, who is also a researcher at NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence and a lecturer in Tallinn University of Technology. Taavi Kotka – is a former deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in Estonia and also an entrepreneur. The third member of the team is Ted Matsumoto who has been a senior manager in Qualcomm and also in a major Japanese IT company Softbank Mobile. Hirao says that Matsumoto is a „strategy-god“, and a legend in the telecommunications industry, he is also his personal mentor.

„We have the best people from Japan and Estonia for building a new society in Japan”, says Hirao.


Click here to read the full article in Estonian language.


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