You have a big dream but with anxiety for lack of experience. You have confidence in your idea but don’t know how to realize it. COUNTDOWN has many partners to help such challengers. The individual partners have their own success experiences in a variety of categories and will you valuable tips and advice for the success. Corporate partners can help you to realize your challenge in a larger scale through their professional services. COUNTDOWN will assist you to chose suitable partner for your challenge.

Partners are as follows:




  • Keita Yagi

    Anyone Can Be a Maker!

    Design, production, and sales of electronic products

    Keita Yagi

    Anyone Can Be a Maker!

    Odawara, Kanagawa

    Bsize was originally started as a one-person electronics maker and has evolved into a team of creators who share the same mission with unique brand value. With a clear mission and visions, anyone can start creating the product of their dreams now. We are here to support you with pursuing your visions.

  • Mike Yazawa

    Study-Abroad Coordinator and Expert of Happy Living from Irvine, California

    Founder and Coordinator of Doorways, study abroad agency with a vision to produce global-minded Japanese youths who will find success in the worldwide community.

    Mike Yazawa

    Study-Abroad Coordinator and Expert of Happy Living from Irvine, California

    Irvine, California, USA

    "Challengers, soar into the world! I look to you with much hope.
    It's unfortunate there don't seem to be enough Japanese people who aspire to pursue international success. Sure, there are many expats sent abroad by their companies, but there still aren't many who decide to step out into the bigger world on their own will. It is my biggest passion to encourage and support those who take up the challenge of breaking into the world scene, and I can't wait to meet those ""world"" challengers!"

    "Born in Tokyo, Japan, on Feb, 27, in 1956, Masahiko Yazawa was a devoted archer throughout high school and college.
    In March, 1978, he graduated from Keio University with a degree in Economics and in April started working at Sapporo Holdings Ltd. in sales. Now a devoted, front-line salesman, Yazawa spent much time roaming around his ""territories,"" Shinjuku and Shibuya.
    Then he spent seven years in the US, moving from New York to San Francisco, and then to Los Angeles, the last three years of which he took the posts of the President of Sapporo Breweries USA and the President and General Manager of the Westin Tokyo.
    While in office, Yazawa was diagnosed with acute leukemia, took a leave for forty months to battle the disease, and returned as a full-time auditor at the Westin Tokyo.
    In 2006, he left Sapporo Holdings Ltd. in June and with his beloved wife founded YAZAWA Inc. in California in July of the same year.
    In 2009, Yazawa founded Doorways."

  • Kenichi Chikuhama

    Succeeded Challenger

    Manga Artist, Event Producer

    Kenichi Chikuhama

    Succeeded Challenger

    Osaka, Japan

    大阪で漫画プロダクションの代表をしています。 「筑濱カズコ」というユニットで漫画の単行本が全国の書店で販売されています。漫画制作では 企画構成・脚本・アニメーション担当。 漫画の仕事の他に、遊園地や商店街などの エンターテイメントイベントの企画・構成も数多く行っています。 関西大学卒。イベント業務管理士1級

  • Joost van Vlijmen

    International sales and marketing professional with extensive exposure to Japan

    International sales and marketing professional with extensive exposure to Japan

    Joost van Vlijmen

    International sales and marketing professional with extensive exposure to Japan

    Haarlem (Amsterdam Area) The Netherlands, Europe

    Since his family started doing business with Japan in the 1980's Joost has always been a big fan of Japan and its people and culture. Over the years he had many Japanese business guest stay at their family home. During his college years he stayed in Osaka working for Daimaru Kogyo on a business development assignment to find new business opportunities and establish trade relationships with new and existing partners in Europe. Later he worked for 15 years at Sony in various international sales and marketing roles in Europe.

    Currently Joost is helping (start up) entrepreneurs and managers to distinguish their business and become more successful by developing, optimizing and executing their strategies. He advices and participates at the start up (business model generation, business plan) or acceleration stage (sales & marketing, communication, fund raising). He is involved in several multinational (start up) projects in e-commerce, retail and mobile technology. Joost holds both an MSc in Management and an MBA from Kellogg(US), Stellenbosch (South-Africa) and Nyenrode (The Netherlands) universities.

    "Japan is still having a very big pool of untapped creative and entrepreneurial talent. It is good to see that more and more Japanese are discovering entrepreneurship as a serious alternative to traditional employment. The potential market for your product or service is so much bigger than Japan only. Please start more with a global mindset when setting up your business. And most importantly, please do not be shy or afraid to loose face. If people are not laughing at your plans, then your plan is not ambitious enough! Always start with the customer in mind and work your way back. Remember that there are no facts in the building, so go out there to check your assumptions and then shoot for the stars! "

    Feel free to contact Joost via Linkedin for help in starting up or accelerate your business.

  • Hitomi Kumasaka

    Support to “Spread your passion”

    Social Media Producer

    Hitomi Kumasaka

    Support to “Spread your passion”

    Fukushima City

    Author of “Book to utilize Facebook to your business” , “Book to utilize YouTube to your business”, etc.

    Based on Fukushima, I support enterprises to take advantage of social media.

    With the knowledge and experience I have studied social media for the last 5 years, I am happy to give you some advice such as “How to send your message using movies and social media” and “How to get empathies from a lot of people”

    I sincerely support those who challenge the world with their big ambition.

  • Kathleen Kovatch

    Delivered market leading Internet products and services to hundreds of millions of consumers world-wide

    Director Product Management, Streaming Devices, Netflix

    Kathleen Kovatch

    Delivered market leading Internet products and services to hundreds of millions of consumers world-wide

    Los Gatos, CA

    Silicon Valley leader qualified with 15+ years of success in
    product management and technology at leading companies, such as
    Netflix, Amazon, Sony, RealNetworks and Intel.

    Message to challengers: Decide who you serve and deeply empathize with them.

  • Keiko Haruno

    Succeeded Challenger


    Keiko Haruno

    Succeeded Challenger

    Tokyo, Japan

    ●Date of Birth:Jul. 22 ●Blood Type:A ●Home Town:Tokyo Japan ●Home School:The University of Tokyo ●My Job:Roukyoku-shi

  • Michael Rucker

    Seasoned marketing and digital media executive

    Product Manager, YouTube

    Michael Rucker

    Seasoned marketing and digital media executive

    San Francisco, CA

    Michael Rucker is currently the Product Manager on YouTube's Original Programming and Network initiatives. Joining YouTube in 2007, Michael has driven a variety of different initiatives as YouTube has grown. From launching our early monetization products and features to leading consumer marketing programs across Asia-Pacific, in his current role, he is responsible for the strategy, operations and tools that support YouTube's funded channels and emerging networks.

  • Florent Defontis

    Startup founder, passionate about technology & innovation.

    Founder & CTO

    Florent Defontis

    Startup founder, passionate about technology & innovation.

    Paris, France / Hong Kong / Tokyo, Japan

    “The word impossible is not in my dictionary.” - Napoleon Bonaparte

    When you have a vision that can make the world a better place, don't be afraid to take the challenge and make it real.

    I strongly believe in Japanese spirit to make the impossible possible.
    My only advice to challengers would be: Have confidence in yourself and change the world today. I will help you in any way I can.

    Flo's full profile is available here :

  • Takao Sakoh


    酒匂・エフエックス・アドバイザリー 代表

    Takao Sakoh



    現在は、酒匂・エフエックス・アドバイザリーの代表、日本フォレックスクラブの名誉会員、MPayMeJapan CEOを兼任。

  • Jonah Oh

    Investment Banker, Technologist & Start-up Entrepreneur

    CEO of Enumis Group Co. Ltd. Representative Director of Tamecco K.K.

    Jonah Oh

    Investment Banker, Technologist & Start-up Entrepreneur

    Tokyo, Japan

    A native of New York, Jonah has spent nearly all of his 16-year investment banking career on expatriate assignments for Merrill Lynch & Salomon Brothers/Citigroup in locations such as London, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro. Jonah's career and experience in Financial Services is considered to be fairly unique due to the broad span of his roles and responsibilities; including M&A focusing on telecom sector,Asia Pacific Head of Cash Transaction Technology, Vice President/Trader of Yen Credit, European Government Bonds & Euro SAS. Transitioning to venture start-ups, Jonah founded his first company (Enumis Group Co.Ltd.) in 2010, followed by a second start-up company (Tamecco K.K.) in 2012, all with a focus to create innovative technology products and services that also have a clear social mission.
    Message to Challengers: I would like to share the core mantra that has shaped my life "A person makes their own luck" -because "luck" is what happens when hard work & preparation meets opportunity.