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Twelfth Japan Innovators Award: Grand Prize Goes to the CEO of LINE for its Free Messaging App Used by 200 Million People

Tokyo – October 23, 2013 - Nikkei Business Publications (President & CEO: Kohei Osada; Tokyo) has announced the winners of the twelfth Japan Innovators Award. Established in 2002, the award aims to stimulate the country by shedding light on unique and innovative individuals.

The nomination was made from individuals from a broad range of fields who had breathed new life into Japanese industries by creating new industries and business models, new technologies for the future, and new universal values. The final selection committee was held the other day, and the winners of the Grand Prize, Excellence Award, and Special Award were decided.

The awarding will take place at 5 p.m. on November 27 at Hotel Okura in Tokyo’s Minato-ward.

The story featuring this year’s Award will appear in the November 11 issue of Nikkei Business.

Grand Prize
Mr. Akira Morikawa, Chief Executive Officer, LINE
As the top executive, Mr. Morikawa led the development of “LINE”, a free calling and messaging app used on smartphone and PC. Attracting over 200 million users worldwide, LINE has been enjoying the unprecedented level of success as an internet service invented in Japan.

Excellence Award

Mr. Hideo Hosono, Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Mr. Hosono developed a new oxide semiconductor called “IGZO”, which enables lower power consumption and higher precision of thin LCD display screens. This element technology has been adopted widely by electronics manufacturers both in Japan and overseas. He is also one of the first people who discovered a new-type of iron-based superconductor, and continues to lead the frontline of technological innovations from Japan.

Mr. Kanetoshi Oda, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nippon Poly-Glu
Nippon Poly-Glu invented the water depurative made of polyglutamic acid in sticky fermented soybeans called “Natto”. The depurative can purify water contaminated with poisonous arsenic and E. coli at affordable costs. It is now used actively in Bangladesh and African countries, contributing to improve the quality of life for local people.

Special Award

Mr. Katsumi Tsukamoto, Professor, Nihon University
Mr. Tsukamoto contributed greatly to analyzing the ecology of Japanese eel, one of the endangered species designated in February 2013 by the Japanese Ministry of Environment, through such achievements as collecting wild Japanese eel eggs successfully for the first time in the world. His discoveries will also pave the way to establish the technology for complete artificial breeding of eels.

[Selection Criteria]

A prospective winner must exhibit originality in his/her idea, ability to put the idea into action, and potential to significantly affect Japanese industries with the idea, as well as a certain level of results already made. Individuals of any genre, whether he/she is a corporate engineer, academic researcher, or corporate manager, are eligible.

[Points of Evaluation]

  1. Whether the idea has given rise to new and original value born in Japan.
  2. Whether the value has been regarded highly both in Japan and overseas.
  3. Whether it has spurred the country in some way, directly or indirectly.

[Selection Procedure]

Candidates were sought through the Nikkei Business magazine and Nikkei Business Online, as well as by the editorial teams of other B-to-B magazines published by Nikkei BP, from July to August 2013. Of these candidates, 26 people were nominated for final selection.

[Selection Committee] (Honorifics omitted)

Hiroshi Komiyama Chairman, Mitsubishi Research Institute
Shoei Utsuda Chairman, Mitsui
Ken Sakamura Professor, the University of Tokyo, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies
Mari Matsunaga Director, Terumo
Yoshihiko Miyauchi Chairman and CEO, Orix
Seiichiro Yonekura Professor, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University


Grand Prize: Prize money of one million yen
Excellence Award: Prize money of 500,000 yen
Special Award: Prize money of 300,000 yen

Organized by: Nikkei Business Publications
Co-sponsored by: Daiichi Sankyo

For further details, please contact:
Global Business Development Office
Phone: +81-(0)3-6811-8311
Fax: +81-(0)3-5421-9804

This press release may contain forward-looking statements that reflect the company's current views with respect to future events and business performance. Those forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and the company's actual results could differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among other factors, general business and economic conditions, rapid or unexpected changes in technologies, cancellation or delay of customer orders.

About NikkeiBP

Nikkei Business Publications is part of The Nikkei group, which has newspaper publication as its main business and three additional business divisions of digital media, publishing and broadcasting under its umbrella. Covering a wide variety of specialized areas including business, computer, electronics, construction, services and medicine, Nikkei Business Publications, in July 2008, merged with its sister company, Nikkei Home Publishing, to also bring consumer magazines into its portfolio.

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