Masami Ando

Managing Director of Jetro Dubai Office



Gateway to mutual business relationships


JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) is a Japanese government-related organization that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. JETRO Dubai was established in 1981, realizing the need to strengthen the economic and business relationships with Japan, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries. For local and foreign companies, the establishment of JETRO served as a gateway to mutual business relationships between Japan and the Gulf states.

Interview with Masami Ando, Managing Director of Jetro Dubai Office

What are you showcasing at Arab Health 2022?

At Arab Health 2022, JETRO is putting the spotlight on 6 cutting-edge companies under the Japan Pavilion. For example, these will include companies specializing in Artificial Intelligence (Al) technology to support diagnosis of diseases, unique medical devices for improving patients’ quality of life with Japanese high-quality technology, among others. 

A key theme this year is healthcare transformation. What does healthcare transformation mean to you?

Healthcare transformation means making healthcare better with innovative ideas. To contribute to such transformation, Japanese companies are challenging new technologies and ideas, such as AI-related technologies, remote medicine, and unique medical devices. Medical companies are trying to deliver their products and services to the world and JETRO supports the global business of these Japanese companies, right from start-up healthcare related companies to unique medical device companies, which are trying to innovate with new technologies and ideas and change the way medicine is practiced. It is JETRO’s mission to connect those companies with the world through showcases such as Arab Health 2022.

To what extent will emerging health technologies such as AI, IoT and big data influence your business priorities?

Especially since the pandemic, the need for technologies in the fields of AI, IoT, and Big Data in healthcare has been growing at an accelerating pace. Some Japanese companies are actively investing in these fields, and we believe that these technologies will also meet the needs of the Middle East market. For example, AI Medical Service Inc., which is exhibiting at the Japan Pavilion this time, hopes to further contribute to endoscopic medicine around the world by using AI technology.

Endoscopy is an advanced medical field that Japan is working on ahead of the rest of the world. The skills of the medical specialists are also the best in the world. By combining their excellent skills with AI technology, AI Medical Service Inc. hopes to create something truly useful in clinical practice to save patients around the world. This is exactly the kind of idea that is needed in the Middle East market, where there is a need for better patient services and a shortage of healthcare professionals.

As the world continues to pull out of the pandemic, are there any challenges still faced by your business, and how are you addressing these?

Since the pandemic, it has become more difficult to travel overseas, and many Japanese companies have limited opportunities to conduct direct business negotiations overseas. In response to this situation, we at JETRO have been focusing on creating opportunities for business meetings and negotiations online. As the pandemic continues to make it difficult for Japanese companies to travel abroad, JETRO intends to prevent the loss of opportunities for Japanese companies by providing business opportunities online.

How important is the resumption of international travel to your business?

Like the Middle East, Japan has a culture that values encounters. I believe that direct business opportunities are essential to speed up communication between companies and to foster mutual trust. Particularly in the healthcare sector, the reliability of products and services is important, and I believe that direct face-to-face opportunities are crucial for promoting business.

What will your business be prioritizing in ‘post-pandemic’ times?

While online business has become the norm, the appeal of direct, face-to-face business opportunities has increased. Dubai, having quickly recovered from the pandemic and being able to host the world's largest exhibition, has become even more attractive to Japanese companies looking for business opportunities overseas. JETRO Dubai will continue to promote Dubai's potential as a gateway to the Middle East to Japanese companies.

In addition to Arab Health, JETRO Dubai also organizes Japan pavilions for exhibitions such as Gulfood and GITEX. Also, b8ta, a store located right in front of the Apple Store in the Dubai Mall, is showcasing products of Japanese craftsmanship and start-ups. These products will be on display until the end of February, so be sure to visit here as well.

JETRO also operates the Japan Pavilion at the Expo 2020. The next Expo will be the Expo 2025 in Osaka. The Japan Pavilion also introduces the next Expo, so please take a look. Also, don't forget to try Japanese food at the conveyor belt sushi restaurant next to the Japan pavilion.