Announcing the Opening of “AI HOKKAIDO LAB”: A Nexus of AI Development Within Hokkaido University

Press Release

Announcing the Opening of “AI HOKKAIDO LAB”: A Nexus of AI Development Within Hokkaido University
– Yasuhiro Tsuchida, Prominent R&D Lead in Various Projects for Panasonic and in Silicon Valley to Preside as Director –

AI TOKYO LAB Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Representative Director: Muneharu Kitade), a group company of Satudora Holdings Co., Ltd. (Tokyo Stock Exchange Securities Code: 3544 Headquarters: President, Hokkaido Sapporo City, President: Hiroki Toyama), hereafter referred to as Satsudora HD, formerly announces the opening of the AI development center “AI HOKKAIDO LAB” within Hokkaido Univeristy, and appoints Yasuhiro Tsuchida, an OB of Hokkaido University and a wealth of experience under Panasonic and a variety of Silicon Valley related R&D projects, as director of AI HOKKAIDO LAB.


Since its founding in June 2016, AI TOKYO LAB has been proud to have developed and consulted on AI solutions that realize better ways of raising productivity and finding unique methods of improving operational efficiency within organizations. While only a year and four months has passed since its inception, AI TOKYO LAB has established itself as a leading AI solution partner, with many major companies within its list of clients

To accelerate the development of cutting edge AI solutions, AI TOKYO LAB made a capital alliance with Satsudora HD in June 2017. Following this event, AI TOKYO LAB has been moving forward rapidly, carrying out live testing of solutions across 190 drugstores in Japan, mainly centered in Hokkaido, developing AI solutions that connect Hokkaido’s regional point card system “EZOCA” (membership totaling 1.5 million) with data pulled from real-time POS and mission critical systems developed by GRIT WORKS, a subsidiary of Satsudora HD.

On October 1, 2017, the Satsudora HD Group welcomed Mr. Hitoshi Matsubara, a Professor and Researcher of AI at the Future University Hakodate who served simultaneously as President of AI Research in Japan and Chairman of the Institute for Artificial Intelligence, along with Mr. Fujio Toriumi, an Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo engaged in cutting edge research in Social Media, Artificial Market, and Computational Social Sciences into the fold. Their inclusion has made it possible to integrate living experiences that close the gap between our online and offline lives, as well as develop and provide solutions that allow us all to truly experience a work style that is worthy of the AI age.

■“AI HOKKAIDO LAB”: What we aim to do

AI HOKKAIDO LAB is an R & D institution promoting the development of solutions utilizing the approximately 190 Drug Stores and data assets deployed by the SATURDA HD Group.

The opening of AI HOKKAIDO LAB heralds a deeper collaboration of research and development with Hokkaido University, and will be actively recruiting AI engineers in Hokkaido centered in Sapporo, in order to speed up the development of demonstrable solutions and prototyping at stores within the Satsudora HD group.

After graduating from Hokkaido University, Mr. Tsuchida, who has been appointed to the position of Director of AI HOKKAIDO LAB, was in charge of developing a number of new businesses at the main R&D department of Panasonic Corporation, and then moved to Silicon Valley. There, he launched the Japan and US oriented mobile O2O service (*1) from 2012 through 2016. With a wealth of experience under his belt including passing the notoriously difficult Japanese Patent Attorney Examination, he is also a specialist in intellectual property.

Under Mr. Tsuchida, the AI HOKKAIDO LAB was kicked off with a total of 10 R&D staff, and continues to actively promote R&D activities within the company as well as aggressively pursuing talent in Hokkaido.

Abbreviation for Online to Offline. A mechanism that connects web contents on the Internet, smartphone applications, and SNS (online social networking service) services (Online) to attract customers and promote the purchase of products or services at existing stores (Offline).

■A Word from Mr. Tsuchida

It’s been a long road here, and after various experiences, I am pleased to make a U turn in my life, returning to Hokkaido where I was born and raised, and be able to take the lead of AI solution development at Hokkaido University at an R&D base that fully utilizes the resources of SATSUDORA HD.
I feel that there are a lot of people who have fantastic skills in AI, and who “want to work in Hokkaido” and those who have been “Hired by a Hokkaido company, but looking for opportunities to work in Hokkaido.” From now on, we will contribute not only to private companies but also to Hokkaido’s industrial development by fusing your technology with my Silicon Valley knowledge and building a “Sapporo Valley” by a unique collaboration of industry, government and academia.

■Profile of Yasuhiro Tsuchida

1977 Born in Yufutsu-gun, Hokkaido.
March, 2001 Completed MSC course from Hokkaido University.
After joining Matsushita Electric Industry Co., Ltd. (presently Panasonic Corporation) in April 2001, and engaging in developing middleware for mobile phones for NTT Docomo, led the main R&D department in a number of new business development projects.
After this, he was appointed as an internal entrepreneurial project leader in Silicon Valley, USA, launching the mobile O2O service business for the US and Japan markets from 2012 to 2016.
After returning home, he led the launch of the camera sharing service PaN, a joint new venture between Panasonic Corporation and NTT Communications Corporation.
From October 2017, assumed the position of Director for AI Hokkaido LAB.

【Company Profile】


Representative :  Representative Director Muneharu Kitade
Address :  〒102-0073 Chiyoda-ku Kudankita 1-12 – 4
Establishment :  June 2016
Business description :  · AI solution development · AI introduction consulting
Capita l:  15 million yen (including capital reserve)

Satudora Holdings Co., Ltd. (TSE Securities Code: 3544)

Representative :  Hiroki Tomiyama President and Representative Director
Address : 〒 00-2003 Hokkaido Sapporo City Kita-ku Taisho 3-1-2-18
Establishment :  August 2016
Capital :  1 billion yen

Inquiries concerning this matter

Company name :  AI Tokyo · Laboratory Co., Ltd.
Contact name :  Takahashi
TEL :  03-6380-8669
Email :



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