A roundup of stories from the booming world of tech in Japan that you may have missed:
- A new law to ensure that industry whales behave fairly toward tech minnows came into force Feb. 1. The law obligates behemoths with sales over a certain threshold — that means you, GAFA, Rakuten and Yahoo Japan — to disclose terms of contracts with partners and report regularly to the government.
- Speaking of Rakuten, last month a former SoftBank employee was arrested on suspicion of disclosing its 5G trade secrets to his new employer, Rakuten Mobile, as it was preparing to launch its own phone network. The news came just a couple of weeks after Rakuten Inc. admitted that a security problem had exposed nearly 1.5 million sets of customer information to access from the outside.
- In under a decade, a vast area of idle land outside Tokyo will become the site of Japan’s biggest data-center campus, covering an area seven times as large as Tokyo Dome. The boom in cloud services, AI data analysis and 5G are among the factors driving the proliferation of such sites, mostly around Tokyo.
- Everything changed for Yuta Tsuruoka when his mom, who runs a small shop in rural Japan, made a passing comment: She wanted to set an online store but didn’t know how. Nine years on, Tsuruoka is the head of Base Inc., a company worth about $1.7 billion that has proven invaluable as small firms seek to outlast the pandemic, Bloomberg reports.
- Taihei Kobayashi has gone from sleeping on the streets of Tokyo to heading a tech startup — Sun* Inc. (no footnote; it’s part of the name) — with a market value over $1 billion. Like Tsuruoka, Kobayashi is a beneficiary of a rally in small-cap tech stocks in Japan as retail investors sought to pick winners in the pandemic.