On May 20, 2019, Ukraine elected a new President, Vladimir Zelensky, who holds the post of head of the country until today. Having received support from 70% of voters, Zelensky took 1st place in the vote by a wide margin and passed the inauguration ceremony.
About a month later, on June 25, 2019, the Join Japan team organized a meeting between the newly elected President Zelensky and the founder of the leading Japanese IT company Rakuten Hiroshi Mikitani. The event was held in the building of the Presidential Administration.
Ukrainian people elected Zelensky after his promise to overcome corruption, a promise which caused a negative reaction among many politicians. Despite his busyness, the President of Ukraine found time to participate in the meeting, which subsequently lasted 40 minutes instead of the planned 15 minutes. We are grateful to Vladimir Zelensky for his time.
We are also very grateful to Hiroshi Mikitani, the founder of Rakuten, the leading IT company of our time. Despite his busy schedule, Mikitani promptly came to Ukraine from faraway Japan in response to our truly unexpected request.
In addition, we continue to express our sincere gratitude to Rakuten employees and the cabinet ministers of Japan for their assistance in organizing the meeting.
The meeting was held at the Presidential Administration of Ukraine.
In the photo you can see the building of the Presidential Office.
The President’s Office is equipped with a professional security system, which is especially necessary due to the recent inauguration ceremony. After passing through several protection systems, the head of Rakuten Mikitani, as well as representatives of Join Japan Kimura, Ando and Mishima went to the conference room, where the President had been already waiting for them.
President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelenskiy personally greeted the guests. If you look at the photos, you will notice that the negotiations took place in a truly luxurious conference room.
The negotiations took place in a completely relaxed atmosphere and resembled a meeting of representatives of influential start-up enterprises, where everyone offers good, viable ideas.
The main subject of discussion was the creation of a “country in a smartphone”, the arrangement of Ukrainian capital and regions, as well as the expectations put on Japanese IT technologies, etc.
When the negotiations proceeded to Rakuten Viber, the most popular messenger in Ukraine, Zelenskiy replied that he was actively using it and showed his smartphone in confirmation of his words. The head of Rakuten Mikitani was glad to hear that.
In the final part of the negotiations, Mikitani promised the President “to accelerate the development of business with Ukraine” and assured that after six months the acceleration could be seen firsthand. Later, in January 2020, Rakuten began preparations for the opening of an office in Kiev.
The proverb says, walk the talk. Our team experienced the outstanding leadership abilities of Mikitani Hiroshi.
The organizer of the meeting, Mishima Satoshi, is the same age as Zelensky, and partly this was the reason the founder of Join Japan was imbued with deep sympathy for the President. As a citizen of Japan and founder of Join Japan, Mishima is determined to do his best in order to work steadily for the benefit of the President and the state of Ukraine.
President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelenskiy has set a goal to create a “state in a smartphone”. At the same time, Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani has already successfully harnessed the potential of information technology in many areas. Probably, they discerned in each other some kind of a corresponding potential.
We express our gratitude to all the representatives of the Ukrainian side who responsibly organized the meeting with the President. We would also like to express special thanks to David Brown. Thank you very much!