On May 16-17, Rakuten held an event called "Rakuten Regional Creation Summit" for local government officials nationwide, which considered the possibilities and methods of solving local problems using technology. 169 people from 126 municipalities participated in the two-day conference.
In the panel discussion "How does the future of Japan change with Society 5.0?", Soh Masuko (senior manager of Future Merchant Design Laboratory)introduced the ongoing and exciting projects underway at the RIT specialized lab. This includes a remote styling support system to reinvent customer-merchant interaction and the retail industry and a collaborative research effort with University of Aizu to create new shopping experiences and solve regional issues in Aizu-Wakamatsu.
Kimio Katsuyama (Rakuten's data scientist), Kazuhiro Obara (IT critic/former executive officer), and Sasaki Shin'ichi (merchant of Rakuten Ichiba) also joined as panelists. Mr. Obara, who gave the keynote speech of the summit, posited the following in his session on regional revitalization: "How can we use the power of technology to strengthen our uniqueness for regional revitalization? We will raise [the question of] our significance with the fans, deliver uniqueness in that way. How do you make something that is not about selling products but about the value of selling. This, I think, was the story of today."