Businessman and venture capitalist William Saito say the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster taught him a lot about cybersecurity. The terrifying event happened on March 11, 2011 when a 9.0 earthquake ripped tore across Japan’s coast. The tsunami that followed — with waves as high as 100 feet — caused catastrophic damage including meltdowns and the release of radiation.
In the wake of the disaster, Saito was appointed chief technology officer for the Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Division (NAIID), the investigative body that allowed him to investigate the catastrophe.
The investigation gave William Saito a new perspective on risk management. There was a long list of errors and mismanagement that made the disaster that much more dire. It was his goal to build improved security and communications systems that would prevent future catastrophes.
Despite some bureaucratic push back, William Saito helped develop better cybersecurity to secure data and create a stronger atmosphere of trust. He also found that creating more secure methods is not very expensive. He also studied major historical disasters like the Titanic, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. They all had the same thing in common: a false sense of security perpetrated by higher-ups. In all cases, the end result proved disastrous.
In town for Interpol World 2017, William Saito, special adviser to Japan’s cabinet, talks about the Japan-EU trade deal and the third arrow in Abenomics.
The lessons of Fukushima helped people better understand how to handle disasters and grapple with humanity. In the end, it is understood that as humans, we all make mistakes. But we can rise above them by facing challenges head on. We cannot take shortcuts and assume unnecessary risks because of egos and lack of communication.
William Saito has been an entrepreneur since the age of 10. His parents immigrated from Japan and settled in Walnut, CA. He overcame many obstacles to get to where he is today. He sold his first company for millions at the age of 21. He worked at Merrill Lynch as a program calculator for stock brokers. He continued to launch software and soon became one of the youngest and most successful CEOs in the U.S.
Today, he spends his time working on biometric software. He currently works for Sony and has help develop portable fingerprint software. He has won numerous awards and is considered one of the best computer experts in the world.