William Saito is a Japanese American businessman, former advisor for the Japanese government and venture capitalist born in Los Angeles, California in March of 1971. His specialty is cybersecurity. In 1969 his parents immigrated to the United States from Japan. He graduated from high school in 1987. He attended the University of California and engaged in the Biomedical Science Program. William Saito started a computer security company while still attending junior high school. In 1991 the firm was incorporated as I/O Software. The business developed a system to recognize fingerprints and was later adapted by Sony. The company entered into a partnership with Microsoft in 2000. Microsoft purchased the business assets in 2004.
Once the business was sold William Saito moved to Japan. He became a venture capitalist and started investing in start ups in Japan. In 2011 the World Economic Forum named him as a Young Global Leader. He was appointed for technical and IT support after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster for the National Diet committee in 2011. William Saito served Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as a top advisor regarding cybersecurity issues. From 2013 until 2017 he advised the Cabinet Office on cybersecurity. During 2016 and 2017 he served the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as an advisor. He was a member of the 2020 Summer Olympics technical task force.
William Saito additionally served the Ministry of Education, Technology, Science, Sports and culture as an educational policy advisor. In 2015 he was Japan Airlines strategic advisor while providing advice on IT strategy to JAL. He was the first Digital Innovation Promotion General Manager for JAL in 2017. In 2014 and 2015 William Saito served the Japan Times as an advisory board member. This was in addition to advising Fast Retailing and Hakuhodo.
William Saito has his own views on the affects of financial turmoil regarding startups. He has spoken of the financial stress in areas suffering from disasters. He stated this makes people more adaptable to starting new ventures. He said the history of disasters occurring in Japan was the catalyst for numerous start ups. He spoke of Honda and Sony both being postwar. Rakuten began after the earthquake struck Kobe. He feels the reason there is so much building in the Tohoku region is the belief of the people that things cannot possibly get any worse. William Saito said a lot of entrepreneurs come from this area.
William Saito bases his investments on what is required for the sustenance of the elderly population. His investments include batteries, robotics and materials because he believes these are necessary for the elderly. This is especially true in Japan. The Tokyu Group and IJF are currently working on a building in Sendai to support the entrepreneurs.