Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has Crohn’s disease, “a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract.” His condition is closely monitored, of course, and he reports it is currently “under control.” But the condition has given him a stronger understanding of (and empathy for) others in Japanese society who don’t receive the kind of medical attention that the prime minister gets. And this understanding is one of the primary drivers in Abe’s huge investment in “Society 5.0” for Japan, his effort to marshal the explosive growth in technology and data mining to make Japan a happier, more productive and healthier society.
Speaking at a tech conference recently in Kyoto, Prime Minister Abe said that the Japanese government had already invested 10 trillion yen in “tackling causes of illness and ageing.” Abe wants every Japanese citizen to be able to easily monitor their blood sugar, for example, from a wristwatch. Using himself as an example of what he hope technology can bring to all, Abe says wants a better way of monitoring his own disease. “I would like to have a robot micro sensor always looking over my intestines,” said the prime minister, “to see how far I have gotten my Crohn’s disease under control.”