Top university embraces Silicon Valley spirit

The University of Tokyo, long considered a breeding ground for Japan’s political and business elite, is venturing into new terrain: entrepreneurship, writes Alexander Martin for The Wall Street Journal.

The nation’s most prestigious university, known as Todai, has produced more than a dozen prime ministers and most of the top officials at government ministries. But in recent years, the 138-year-old university has been working to shake its conservative image and bring some Silicon Valley spirit to its campus, in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s hopes to transform education institutions into centres of innovation.

The university counts about 240 start-ups affiliated with it in some way, double the figure five years ago. Sixteen have gone public, with a combined market capitalisation of about US$8 billion. Todai’s efforts suggest Japan is finally embracing entrepreneurs as its once-dominant technology industry contends with decline on many fronts. But there is still much catching up to do.
Full report on The Wall Street Journal site