Microsoft Invests $2.9 Billion in Japan to Boost AI and Compute Infrastructure

Microsoft Invests $2.9 Billion in Japan to Boost AI and Compute Infrastructure

Microsoft has announced a $2.9 billion investment in Japan over the next two years. This commitment, coinciding with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's visit to Washington, aims to bolster the country's digital infrastructure, AI skills, and cybersecurity capabilities.

This is Microsoft's largest investment in its 46-year history in Japan, and will effectively double the company's existing financial commitment to expand its AI and cloud infrastructure across the nation. This enhanced digital capacity will provide advanced computing resources, including powerful graphics processing units critical for accelerating AI workloads. Microsoft's support aligns with Japan's Generative AI Accelerator Challenge (GENIAC), a program led by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to help startups and enterprises develop foundational AI models.

Recognizing the importance of a skilled workforce in driving AI adoption, Microsoft also pledged to train 3 million full-time and part-time workers in Japan over the next three years. The company will expand its Code; Without Barriers program to Japan, providing dedicated training for women looking to participate in AI-enabled work. Additionally, Microsoft will offer free and widely accessible content on AI, cybersecurity, and digital skills in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

To nurture advanced AI professionals, Microsoft will provide courses and reference architectures for AI developers and technology companies in Japan, augmented by its AI coding assistant, GitHub Copilot. The company will also support startups through the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub and assist in implementing AI-centric programs in vocational high schools.

Furthermore, Microsoft Research Asia is extending its research leadership in the Asia-Pacific region with the opening of a lab in Tokyo. The new lab will focus on areas such as embodied AI, robotics, societal AI, and scientific discovery, aligning with Japan's socioeconomic priorities. Microsoft will provide $10 million in resource grants over the next five years to The University of Tokyo and the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence Research between Keio University and Carnegie Mellon University to foster enhanced research collaboration.

Recognizing the growing importance of cybersecurity, Microsoft will collaborate with Japan's Cabinet Secretariat to strengthen the nation's cyber defenses. The collaboration will focus on information sharing, talent development, and technology solutions, with Microsoft providing its expertise and advanced cloud and AI-driven security services.

Picture left to right: Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan; Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President, Microsoft; Suzanne P. Clark, President and CEO, US Chamber of Commerce; Rahm Emanuel, US Ambassador to Japan; Miki Tsusaka, President, Microsoft Japan.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed appreciation for Microsoft's investment, stating, "We look forward to further collaboration. We also look forward to deepening our cooperation in the field of cybersecurity." Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft, emphasized the significance of the investment, saying, "These investments in digital infrastructure, AI skills, cybersecurity, and AI research are essential ingredients for Japan to build a robust AI Economy."

As Japan embarks on its journey to become a global AI powerhouse, Microsoft's substantial investment and commitment to skills development, research, and cybersecurity will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the nation's digital future.

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