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Initiatives in Medical Care and the Senior Market

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Nurturing Industries and Environments to Actively Support the Super–aged Society in Cooperation with a Broad Range of Interested Groups

Drawing on the Group's Comprehensive Resources to Focus on Finding Solutions for the Super–aged Society

As its population ages rapidly, Japan is fast becoming a super–aged society and is confronting expanding needs for medical and nursing care and accompanying medical and nursing expenditures. In fiscal 2011, national medical costs rose to JPY 38.6 trillion, and they are expected to continue to rise.

Forecasts for Japan's Medical and Senior Nursing Care Expenditures
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Source: Prepared by MHBK Industry Research Division based on data compiled by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (estimates are as of March 2012)

To deal with these issues, provision of good quality medical and nursing care will be needed together with implementation of measures to lengthen people's healthy lifespans through nurturing related services industries, including preventive health and nursing care. Mizuho believes that further progress will be needed in providing for housing for community nursing care along with measures to restrain social welfare expenditures, and promote the development of medical care and the senior market as growth industries.

To contribute to finding solutions for these social issues, Mizuho is drawing on the Group's comprehensive capabilities. These include the broad industrial knowledge and know–how as well as the network of MHBK, combined with the research and consulting capabilities of MHRI and MHIR. Using these resources, Mizuho is providing information, including provision of policy proposals; working to develop industries; and implementing initiatives in collaboration with a broad range of private– and public–sector interests.

Establishment of a Medical Device Incubation Fund to Improve Competitiveness of Japan's Medical Devices Industry

The world market for medical devices is on a rising trend, and, against a background of demographic aging of the population in Japan and expansion in requirements for sophisticated diagnosis and treatment needs, the market is growing. Japan's medical device market is promising and in 2011 was JPY 2.4 trillion in size, thus ranking second in the world after that of the United States. However, much of the market in Japan is accounted for by European and U.S. medical device companies, and in 2012 Japan imported about JPY 700 billion more in medical devices than it exported, thus showing a major deficit in this account.

In the United States, it is established practice for venture businesses to draw on the ideas and technologies in universities and research institutes and, with the support of investors, commercialize these technologies and then sell these businesses to large medical equipment manufacturers. On the other hand, in Japan, there are very few managers who are in a position to select these projects at an early date, taking account of clinical and market needs, and shepherd these through the development processes. Moreover, there is a shortage of funds to finance such venture development. As a result, even when there are excellent "technological seeds" of promising new medical device businesses, there are cases where development is cut short because clinical and market needs are not identified and venture business cannot commercialize them as funds are lacking in the critical early stages. Thus, there is a stage gap between universities and research institutes where ideas are born and the medical device needs that medical device manufacturers would like to see met.

To achieve breakthroughs in this area, in November 2013, MHBK and the government's Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (hereinafter, INCJ) jointly established the Medical Device Incubation* Fund (hereinafter, the fund), which is Japan's first investment fund specializing in medical devices, with total resources of JPY 6.0 billion.

This fund selects development projects with an eye to commercialization from among ideas and technological seeds coming out of universities, hospitals, private companies, and elsewhere. The fund then establishes special–purpose vehicles (SPVs) for each project and invests development capital.

At the same time, INCJ and MHBK establish a fund management company, employing staff and professionals with experience as doctors and in the medical device business that is responsible for project management, including design of the commercialization process.

Thus, the fund gives strong support for funding and in the areas of personnel and know–how and acts as a bridge between the stage of technical seeds coming from universities to the stage where medical device manufacturers will want to commercialize the technologies. In the short term, the fund is focusing on developing a commercial success model for medical device technologies that are born in Japan. In the medium term, the fund will work to improve the incubation environment for medical devices in Japan, and, in the long term, it plans to contribute to the development of an industry foundation for medical devices in Japan.

Through this fund, MHBK will supply risk money for the development of medical devices and work to contribute to the nurturing of the medical device industry.

  • *Incubation: Providing management technology, funding, personnel, and other requirements of companies that have just been established
Objectives of the Fund
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Seminars Held Jointly with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Others to Encourage Development of Serviced Residences for Seniors

With an eye to 2025, when Japan's baby boom generation will reach 75 years of age or older, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is working to create "comprehensive community care systems" that will enable seniors to continue to live in communities they are familiar with, even after they require nursing care. These systems are envisioned to provide not only places to live but also medical care, nursing care, preventive care, and life support. As part of the infrastructure that is indispensable for these comprehensive community care systems, the Ministry of Land, Transport, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare are working to make available serviced residences for seniors.

The concept of serviced residences for seniors was established with the passage of a revision of Japan's Law Regarding Securing Stable Residences for Elderly Persons in October 2011, and it refers to the provision of housing with functions and services that will enable seniors to live with peace of mind. Such residences would satisfy requirements that include a certain size, necessary equipment and appliances, and such physical attributes as barrier–free design. These residences would provide other services, such as periodic safety checks and advice on living as well as provide for periodic visits by medical institution staff, all of which would give the elderly residents greater peace of mind.

To make comprehensive community care systems a reality, it will be necessary to prepare housing for seniors that comes complete with high–quality services. To this end, in February 2014, in collaboration with the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for Social Welfare and Public Health, Mizuho held a seminar entitled "Serviced Housing for Seniors," for medical and social welfare corporations with know–how in medical care and nursing. About 60 persons, mainly from medical and social welfare corporations, attended. Topics explained at the seminar included the registration system for serviced residences for seniors and the national government subsidy system as well as presentations on the subsidies provided by the Tokyo metropolitan government to secure serviced medical care and senior nursing care housing and neighborhood living promotion housing.

MHBK will continue to provide support for the development of high–quality serviced residences for seniors by offering support going forward through providing information to related businesses and funding for residence construction, etc.

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Participation in the "Next–Generation Healthcare Industry Council" Aimed at Lengthening Healthy Lifespans

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is aiming to nurture new healthcare industries, including effective disease prevention and wellness maintenance, without dependence on public insurance systems and life support services. To this end, the ministry formed the Next–Generation Healthcare Industry Council in December 2013 with the participation of specialists and interested parties from many fields. Discussions in the council have included such topics as making improvements in the business environment to facilitate the creation of new health–related businesses, ways of evaluating the quality of related services and products, and policies for promoting investment in the health of companies and individuals.

MHBK participated as a council member in these discussions and engaged in active exchanges of opinions. Looking forward, Mizuho will devote efforts to providing proposals and suggestions for realizing longer healthy lifespans through the development of new healthcare industries.

"Business Matching Forum in Kansai"

MHBK engages actively in providing business matching services. These involve introducing its customers and suppliers to potential new customers for their services and products, helping to find partners in the development of new products and entry into new businesses, and other business partners that will be best for helping to meet customers' business needs.

In September 2013, MHBK held its first joint business matching forum outside of the Tokyo area, with the title "Business Matching Forum in Kansai," and one of the themes covered the two areas of health care and the senior market. Representatives of about 100 companies, mainly SMEs, attended the event. About 30 companies displayed their products and technology, and about 150 business discussions were held. These activities help to support the expansion of sales channels for SMEs that have advanced technology and unique business models.

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Participants at the Business Matching Forum

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