William Saito

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William Saito
William Hiroyuki Saito

(1971-03-23) March 23, 1971 (age 48)
NationalityJapanese American
Venture capitalist
WebsiteWilliam Saito

William Hiroyuki Saito (齋藤ウィリアム浩幸, born March 23, 1971)[1][2] is a Japanese American businessman, venture capitalist and former advisor to the government of Japan specializing in cybersecurity.[2]

In December 2017 reports emerged on the Internet that he had falsified his education and work experience, and he resigned from his government and other advisory posts, apologized, and issued corrections.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Saito was born in Los Angeles, California; his parents immigrated to the US from Japan in 1969, two years before he was born.[5][2] He is the eldest of three children.[2]

In 1987, Saito graduated from Damien High School in La Verne, California.[6] He attended the University of California, Riverside from the Fall of 1988 to the Fall 1992,[7] and was a student in Riverside's joint Biomedical Science Program with the University of California, Los Angeles in 1988.[4][7]


Saito began a computer security venture while in junior high school, and incorporated the firm as I/O Software in 1991 while attending university.[2] Among other technologies, I/O Software developed a system to display Japanese characters in software written in English, and a fingerprint recognition system used by Sony.[8] Microsoft began a partnership with I/O Software in 2000 to adopt the latter's authentication technology in future versions of Microsoft Windows.[9] Saito sold the I/O Software business assets to Microsoft in 2004.[2][4][8]

After selling the I/O Software business, he moved to Japan, where he became active as a venture capitalist and invested in several Japanese start-ups.[2][8] He was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2011.[10]

Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011, Saito was appointed to provide IT and technical support to the National Diet committee investigating the disaster. He used the title of "Chief Technology Officer" in this role and later admitted that this title exaggerated his actual responsibilities.[4]

Saito was at one time a top advisor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on cybersecurity issues.[11] He was formally a cybersecurity advisor to the Cabinet Office from 2013 to 2017, and an advisor to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry from 2016 to 2017.[3] He also served as a member of the technical task force for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, and as an advisor on education policy to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.[12] Saito accompanied Abe on a 2015 visit to Silicon Valley, where Abe met with the heads of several major technology firms.[13]

In the private sector, Saito was appointed as a strategic advisor to Japan Airlines in 2015, and provided advice to JAL on its IT strategy. He served as a part-time Executive Officer and as the first General Manager of Digital Innovation Promotion at JAL from May to December 2017.[14][15] He was a member of the advisory board of The Japan Times from 2014 to 2015,[3] and also served as an advisor to Hakuhodo and Fast Retailing.[12]

In December 2017 the writer Ichiro Yamamoto raised questions on his blog about Saito's claims that he graduated from UCLA's medical school and about his work experience in cybersecurity.[3][16]

Saito resigned from his Cabinet and METI advisory positions in December 2017, citing personal reasons.[17][18] The same day, Japan Airlines announced that he had resigned as a digital innovations officer.[19] After leaving his posts, on his website he said that he did not graduate from UCLA medical school, and clarified his role in investigating the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.[3][4] Following these revelations, economy minister Hiroshige Sekō stated that no falsifications had been found in the resume that Saito submitted to METI in connection with his hiring.[18]

In January 2018 an article in the New York Times listed Saito's twitter account as among those for which ghost followers had been purchased from Devumi.[20][19] Saito denied that he had done this, and deleted his Twitter account.[19]

In May 2019, Saito took a legal action in the Tokyo regional court against Kodansha which published the Shukan Gendai magazine (published on 3 March,2018). The article was related to a series of uprisings that started with Mr.Ichiro Yamamoto's. Kodansha paid a settlement and deleted the article at the request of the court. [21]

Works and publications[edit]

  • An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur. Singapore: Wiley. 2012. ISBN 978-1-118-07727-6. OCLC 778431581.
  • ザ・チーム: 日本の一番大きな問題を解く / Za chīmu: nihon no ichiban ōkina mondai o toku. Tokyo: Nikkei BP. 2012. ISBN 978-4-822-24924-3. OCLC 812155963.
  • その考え方は、「世界標準」ですか? / Sono kangaekata wa, "sekai hyōjun" desu ka?. Tokyo: Daiwa Shobo. 2013. ISBN 978-4-479-79372-4.
  • IoTは日本企業への警告である / IoT wa nihon kigyō e no keikoku de aru. Tokyo: Diamond-sha. 2015. ISBN 978-4-478-06745-1.
  • ザ・チェンジ・メイカー / The Change Maker. Tokyo: Nikkei Publishing. 2016. ISBN 978-4-532-32055-3.
  • 超初心者のためのサイバーセキュリティ入門 / Chō shoshinsha no tame no saibāsekyuriti nyūmon. Tokyo: Bunshun Shinsho. 2016. ISBN 978-4-166-61097-6.
  • 世界一の会議 ダボス会議の秘密 / Sekaiichi no kaigi Dabosu kaigi no himitsu. Tokyo: Kodansha Plus Alpha Shinsho. 2017. ISBN 978-4-062-72978-9.


  1. ^ "William H Saito, California Birth Index, 1905-1995". FamilySearch. 23 March 1971.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Nguyen, Hoang (2015-09-14). "Teaching Japan to take more risks". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Former METI adviser Saito rewrites resume after quitting government posts under cloud of doubt". The Japan Times Online. 22 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e Saito, William Hiroyuki (2017-12-21). "ブログ等におけるご指摘について". saitohome.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  5. ^ Saito, William Hiroyuki (2012). An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur. Singapore: Wiley. ISBN 978-1-118-07727-6. OCLC 778431581.
  6. ^ Lin, Justin (May 2015). "William Saito, Entrepreneur and Alumnus, to Speak at Damien Graduation". The Laconian. XLVII (7). pp. 1–2.
  7. ^ a b "University attended by William Saito says he did not graduate". Tokyo Reporter. 5 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Blair, Gavin (2012-12-03). "William H. Saito: Embrace failure to nurture entrepreneurs". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  9. ^ "Microsoft and I/O Software Strengthen Industry Adoption of Biometrics". Microsoft. 2000-05-02. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  10. ^ "List of 2011 Young Global Leaders Honourees" (PDF). World Economic Forum. 2011-04-20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 August 2011.
  11. ^ Mochizuki, Takashi (2015-07-01). "Top Abe Cybersecurity Adviser Says Japan Could Be Global Leader in Field". WSJ. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  12. ^ a b "経歴詐称の斎藤ウィリアム浩幸氏 なぜ自民党は重用したか". Nikkan Gendai (in Japanese). 2017-12-24. Retrieved 2018-01-26.
  13. ^ Layne, Nathan; Wilson, Thomas (2015-04-30). "Shinzo Abe wants to bring Silicon Valley to Japan". Business Insider. Reuters. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  14. ^ 金子寛人 (2017-05-30). "JALが「デジタルイノベーション部」、起業家を招へい". The Nikkei (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-01-25. 2015年4月からJALの戦略アドバイザーを務めており、IT関連の施策についてアドバイスをしていた。今回非常勤の執行役員として、より具体的にJALのIT活用に携わる。
  15. ^ "JAL Announce Changes to Executive Officers/Assignment" (PDF). Japan Airlines. 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  16. ^ "William Saito resigns as METI adviser amid questions about background". Tokyo Reporter. December 22, 2017.
  17. ^ "「サイバー対策専門家」 経産・内閣府参与辞任". Tokyo Shimbun (in Japanese). 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  18. ^ a b "斎藤ウィリアム浩幸氏、内閣府などの参与辞任 経歴訂正:朝日新聞デジタル". Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  19. ^ a b c "William Saito denies NYT report on buying Twitter followers". Tokyo Reporter. February 26, 2018.
  20. ^ Confessore, Nicholas (2018). "The Follower Factory". The New York Times.
  21. ^ 東京地方裁判所平成30年(ワ)第9375号2019年5月10日東京地裁判決

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