NTT Security CEO: "The increase in Japan’s defense budget is an opportunity for Israeli cyber companies"
Japan recently announced an increase in its defense budget so that within five years it will be the third largest in the world. "Israel is important to us. There are many companies here which specialize in cyber. NTT Israel is trying to team up with local startup companies. There is also the potential for acquisitions and investments," said Kazu Yozawa, CEO of NTT Security
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recently announced an increase in the Japanese defense budget from 1% of the country’s GDP to 2%. This means that within five years the budget will be the third largest in the world after China and the U.S. In an interview with Calcalist, Kazu Yozawa, CEO of NTT Security, the Japanese giant's cybersecurity subsidiary, says that this is a golden opportunity for Israeli cyber companies. "We work here with many Israeli cyber companies through our innovation center. Our ongoing work with the Japanese government allows us to connect the new contracts with many Israeli companies that offer good solutions for the needs of the Japanese economy."
Kazu believes that in the near future we will see an Israeli company be acquired by the Japanese giant. "Israel is very important to us. There are many companies here that specialize in cyber. We founded NTT Israel about a year and a half ago, and we are trying to team up with local startup companies. There is also potential for acquisitions and investments. We have invested in 11 companies in Israel and if it is possible to acquire companies, we will do this. We are actively looking for the acquisition of companies that will offer complementary services to a company in Israel - any type of company. At the same time, we are also looking for service or cloud companies.
“We also make investments in companies for minority holdings valued at several millions of dollars, as well as more significant investments. We usually prefer to start with a company through cooperation and initial sale of a product rather than a purchase. We are in the process of selling technology either to us or to our customers with around 20 Israeli companies.”
NTT's cyber company has about 500 employees and is profitable with revenues of about $200 million. A large part of the income comes from activities with the Japanese government and giant corporations. Another part of the company’s activity that Kazu manages is the security of all the activities of the Japanese giant.
Kazu speaks of three main cyber threat types in Japan: a politically motivated attack resulting from world events - Russia, Ukraine, Taiwan and North Korea; an attack by hackers for criminal purposes; and activists, of which he notes: "we have much less of the latter type, but we feel a significant increase in the first two.”
The Japanese communications corporation NTT, ranked among the 100 most profitable companies in the world, established an innovation lab in Israel a year and a half ago. It was established with the aim of cooperating with Israeli companies and academic institutions in the development of cutting-edge technologies in various fields, which will support NTT and its many customers around the world in dealing with contemporary challenges. The laboratory focuses on the fields of cybersecurity, digital health, artificial intelligence and robotics, with the aim of locating Israeli technologies, merging them with NTT, and marketing them to its customers around the world.
The NTT Corporation, one of the five leading business IT solution providers in the world with approximately 1,000 subsidiaries, is a large and leading player in the global communications market, and is part of the Fortune 100, with over $100 billion in annual sales, more than 330,000 employees worldwide, and operations in over 80 countries. The innovation laboratory in Israel is managed by Noa Asher with a professional team, which works to promote collaborations with academic bodies in Israel in order to find new areas of interest, potential research and development projects, and added value for the corporation's customers.
About six months ago, NTT's innovation lab in Israel expanded its activities and launched an offensive cyber lab and recruited cybersecurity researchers and hackers. The employees of the cyber lab joined an international team, which includes professional hackers from around the world, whose goal is to challenge the security capabilities of NTT, which manages complex technologies and provides business solutions in a variety of industries around the world. The innovation lab in Israel intends to expand its technological capabilities in the coming year, recruit additional relevant employees and promote activity in the field of R&D.