Reskilling Japan

Three steps to navigate Japan’s skills challenge

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Executive overview

Authors: Kazuaki Ikeda

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, Vice President and Leader,
Dave Zaharchuk

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, Research Director, IBM Institute for Business Value

Building tomorrow’s talent today Following decades of stagnant wages, sluggish economic growth and the continuing threat of deflation, Japanese salaries and prices are beginning to rise. Unemployment hit a 25-year low in early 2018, and adverse demographics are now motivating serious investment in workforce skills. At the same time, advanced technologies including cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI) are redefining required workforce skills. In Japan as elsewhere, education curricula and training programs often lag behind. Will new technologies reinforce Japan’s economic vitality or threaten it? Based on insights of more than 400 Japanese executives, this report outlines the country’s skills challenges, identifies new opportunities and offers recommendations to sustain future economic success.


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