The 22nd annual BioJapan conference, Asia’s largest bio business and partnering event, was held this year in a hybrid format for the first time. Every year the event is held in Pacifico Yokohama, a premier convention center in Yokohama, but this year online partnering capabilities were also included due to travel restrictions and the high participation rates from international companies. Regenerative Medicine JAPAN 2020 and healthTECH JAPAN were held over the same few days (October 14-16, 2020), which attracted a total of 13,787 attendees to the area.
Measures against the spread of COVID-19 were taken during the event, including mandatory use of masks, temperature checks at the entrance of the venue, social distancing precautions, and the use of online tools to improve efficiency and avoid congestion. The venue was also equipped with space where visitors could meet virtually with online attendees, and some of the seminars were recorded and will made available online at a later date.
738 companies from 23 countries* participated through booth exhibition and/or partnering, with 24 companies participating from North America. Eight of these companies (including state government agencies) attended through a delegation organized by the state of Maryland in the US, which is a sister state to Kanagawa Prefecture. Maryland hosted a “Bio Innovation Conference” online event prior to BioJapan, in which 10 Japanese companies exhibited through a Kanagawa Prefecture joint booth. These events formed an opportunity for business exchange between Japanese and American companies, as well as for business support from related government agencies.
The Office of the City of Yokohama Representative to the Americas participated in the BioJapan event online this year. Given that international travel between the US and Japan is limited currently due to the global pandemic, BioJapan’s hybrid format became a valuable opportunity to connect with North American companies interested in the Japanese market as well as with Japanese supporting organizations and partners. It will be interesting to see if hybrid events that attempt to incorporate the advantages of both in-person and online will become the new standard for international exhibitions and business meetings in the future.
* For comparison, last year (2019) 1,313 companies from 34 countries participated in booth exhibition and/or partnering. 17,512 people attended.
BioJapan website: https://www.ics-expo.jp/biojapan/en/