When Tokyo hosted the Olympic Games in 1964, it used the opportunity to showcase Japan’s outstanding technological prowess. Ten days before the event began, for instance, Japan launched the Shinkansen ‘bullet’ train service, at that time the world’s fastest train. It was also the first host nation in Olympic history to broadcast live images of the Games on television via satellite – and, of all things, in colour!
Today, as the country readies itself to host the 2020 Olympic Games, its innovators, entrepreneurs and academics are hard at work on projects that will once again display – and, in many cases, debut – some of the most sophisticated emerging technologies on the planet. Driverless taxis, a hydrogen-powered Olympic Village, instant language translation wearables and ultra-vivid 8K broadcasting technology are just a few of the features currently being planned. Meanwhile, NTT DOCOMO, Japan’s biggest mobile network operator, has partnered with Nokia to explore the possibility of deploying 5G networks during the Games and beyond.
This kind of forward-thinking, tech-ready attitude has long made Japan a world leader in innovation. More recently, Japan has become one of the top Asia Pacific markets for growth in ICT and cloud services. For three years in a row, between 2012-2014, the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) recognised Japan as Asia’s most attractive cloud market in its Cloud Readiness Index.
Today, as foreign enterprises expand their infrastructure in Japan to serve local customers, and local companies grow together with the market, the demand for data centres is growing quickly. Digital Realty is deeply committed to supporting the sustainable supply of data centres in Japan, and helping to ensure sufficient future capacity. That’s why we are very excited to be opening our first data centre facility in Japan this month.
Named Digital Osaka 1 (第一大阪データセンター), this premier 161,000-square-foot facility is located less than 20 kilometres from Osaka’s central business district and will support 7.6 megawatts of IT capacity.
Japan’s “second city” has a rich history – both as the capital in olden times and as a gateway for international exchange. For centuries, Osaka prospered as a central area for business and finance, and it played a significant role in the growth of Japan’s industrial economy.
Today, building on its heritage as the commercial heart of Japan, Osaka is moving rapidly into the future. The Kansai region around the city has a population of 20 million people and a GDP of approximately ¥78 trillion. This massive market is served by a lively business community covering a wide range of industrial fields. It is also home to many universities and specialist organisations carrying out high-level research and technological development.
Companies considering expansion into the region, using Osaka as their base, need digital data centres that operate as vibrant, connected digital ecosystems, providing access to a choice of broadband and mobile networks, Internet exchange points, content distribution networks and fixed lines.
That’s certainly the case at Digital Osaka 1, where customers will have access to an open, carrier-neutral environment consisting of a range of telecommunications providers, service providers and business partners. The Digital Realty facility also provides excellent diversity from a power, cooling, security and connectivity perspective.
In addition, it’s worth noting that the facility has deployed Digital Realty’s latest proprietary network topology. This has been optimised for Japan’s climatic conditions, focusing on flexibility, reliability and energy efficiency.
Domestic and global demand for critical IT facilities in Japan is soaring, and the country’s leadership is playing a pivotal role in their development. Since 2009, for instance, it has strengthened cloud infrastructure through the ‘Kasumigaseki Cloud’ project, which supports all government ICT systems and is playing a prominent role in growing the market for cloud.
At the same time, Japan’s commitment to providing universal broadband access for all households presents a uniquely connected market, and brings the potential benefit of cloud services to every home.
Japan is also home to a thriving start-up scene and a growing venture capital pool. The government is encouraging innovators to see it as a test-bed where start-ups can experiment, develop proofs of concept and quickly scale up their businesses.
A stringent data protection regime is another reason why global companies see Japan as a great place to do business. As well as joining the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) framework, Japan has robust intellectual property (IP) and cybercrime laws, which protect IP stored in the cloud from theft and offer recourse if breaches occur.
Growth in Asia Pacific’s data consumption is forecast to be 30-60% p.a. between 2015 and 2020 based on a recent PwC report. Japan is expected to experience a 30-40% growth per annum. Such growth will be driven by an increased take-up of digital technologies among consumers as well as businesses.
All these trends point to an increasing demand for data and computing capacity – and for the infrastructure to support it.
Digital Realty is delighted to be expanding our global network into one of the Asia Pacific region’s rapidly growing markets. Japan’s reputation as a leader in innovation and data security remains undimmed. We’re very proud that our new data centre will help it to build on that reputation as it speeds its digital economy along the fast track to success.
Learn more about Digital Osaka 1 (第一大阪データセンター) and Digital Realty’s other next generation Data Centres across Asia Pacific online at:
 ACCA Cloud Readiness Index 2014 http://www.asiacloudcomputing.org/research/cri2014
 Industry of Kansai (Kansai Region-wide Industrial Promotion Vision), Region-wide Industrial Promotion Office, Union of Kansai Governments https://www.kouiki-kansai.jp/data_upload03/1438568144.pdf
 'Surfing the data wave. The surge in Asia Pacific’s data centre market' PwC, 2017 https://www.pwc.com/sg/en/publications/assets/surfing-the-data-wave.pdf