What is Japan’s Society 5.0?

Lately, Japan has popularized the term “Society 5.0”. While the world is busy keeping up with Industry 4.0, what do we need to know about Japan’s Society 5.0?

To understand why the term picks “5.0” in its name, we need to go back a little bit further.

The term “Industry 4.0” was arguably popularized by the World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab. The term “Society 5.0”, on the other hand, was popularized by Kaidanren, the Japanese Business Federation.

Let us take a quick look on what are Industry 1.0 to 4.0. Industry 1.0 was marked by the revolution to use steam power to galvanize machines and engines, Industry 2.0 was marked by the use of electric power to support mass production, Industry 3.0 was marked by the digital revolution, and Industry 4.0, building on the previous revolution, is marked by the fusion of technology — blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological worlds.

Society 1.0 to 5.0 are explained as follow: Society 1.0 existed during the hunter-gatherer period. Society 2.0 knew how to source their food from agriculture. Society 3.0 was also known as the “Industrial Society”, and Society 4.0 was known as the “Information Society”.

Society 5.0, conceptualized on the second half of 2018 by Kaidanren, was adopted in the Japanese government’s Abenomics program.

Kaidanren itself is comprised of 1,412 Japanese companies, 109 national industrial associations, and 47 regional economic organizations.

Society 5.0 is part of Japan’s Fundamental Plan on Science and Technology. It is written as the fifth step — the imagination society. The imagination society is a combination of digital transformation and imagination as well as diverse creativity that are expected to solve problems within the society, while at the same time producing new values.

For Japan, Society 5.0 is a response to the current situation, which places humans at the crossroads — with the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) both pose new challenges and opportunities to the very humankind.

International Relations enthusiast