Two Sony Engineers Honored with METI’s Industrial Standardization Awards

Left: Yoichi Yagasaki Right: Teruhiko Suzuki

The Industrial Standardization Awards are presented annually by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) with the aim of facilitating the development of world-class talents in the field of international standardization as well as industrial standards and conformance assessment activities in Japan. This fiscal year, one person was selected for the Prime Minister’s Awards, 22 persons and three organizations for the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Awards, and 30 persons and two organizations for the Director-General of the Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau’s Awards. At the commendation ceremony held in Tokyo on October 1, Teruhiko Suzuki from Tokyo Laboratory 18 of the R&D Center was conferred a METI Minister’s Award, and Yoichi Yagasaki from the same department a Director-General of the Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau’s Award.

The METI Minister’s Award is given to individuals and organizations that have engaged in standardization and conformance assessment activities (including related dissemination/ enlightenment, education, research, and international cooperation activities) and have rendered distinguished services to international and industrial standardization. The Director-General of the Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau’s Award is given to individuals who have contributed to the advancement of international and industrial standardization and conformance assessment activities in Japan and to the development of standards and other activities to drive Japan’s international standardization forward, and who are expected to continue splendid activities in their respective fields.

Suzuki and Yagasaki were nominated as candidates for the award program for this fiscal year by the Information Technology Standards Commission of Japan (ITSCJ), a National Body of ISO/IEC JTC 1, which promotes international standardization in the field of information technology. After the METI’s deliberations, they were granted the Industrial Standardization Awards for their achievements as described below (excerpts from METI’s press release).

■ Teruhiko Suzuki
Suzuki served as the chairperson of ISO/IEC JTC 1 (information technology)/SC29 (coding of audio, picture, multimedia, and hypermedia information) for three years. During his tenure, he spearheaded organization reforms and made a great contribution to the establishment of a sustainable international standardization system for picture and audio coding technologies and to the improvement of our country’s standing. Among video coding technologies, he promoted the international standardization of 4K/8K/High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging technologies, resulting in the incorporation of a number of Japanese technologies into international standards.

■ Yoichi Yagasaki
Yagasaki has contributed to international standardization activities for moving picture compression technologies, such as MPEG-4 AVC, for about 30 years as an expert for ISO/IEC JTC 1 (information technology)/SC29 (coding of audio, picture, multimedia, and hypermedia information)/WG11 (coding of moving pictures) and the secretary of SC 29 mirror committee. He also gathered requests from industry and contributed to the development of standards that ensure compatibility with applications at lower implementation costs.

Suzuki became involved in the international standardization work of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 in 1995 and has since undertaken many projects as an editor and received a number of awards. The METI Minister’s Award was granted particularly in recognition of his contributions as an editor of ISO/IEC 23008|ITU-T Rec. H.265 (High Efficiency Video Coding) and ISO/IEC 23008-8 (HEVC conformance testing) and of his service as the chairperson of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29. Suzuki carried out the subcommittee’s first-ever scope review and organizational reforms since its creation in 1991, and this helped establish a system that can sustainably carry forward international standardization even if the day comes when advanced sensing and recognition technologies facilitate the use of picture and audio coding technologies in self-driving, remote control and other new application areas.

Yagasaki became involved in the international standardization work of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 in 1989 and has since served as an editor and expert. He led the technological development of widely diffused standards, such as MPEG-2 Video, MPEG-4 Visual, and MPEG-4 AVC (ISO/IEC 14496-10 MPEG-4 AVC/H.264), and promoted the industry’s adoption of standards by ensuring compatibility. He has earned awards at home and abroad for his great contribution to the development and diffusion of standards. The Director-General of the Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau’s Award was granted particularly in recognition of his achievements as the project leader of ISO/IEC 14496-2 (Coding of audio-visual objects – Part 2: MPEG-4 Visual) and ISO/IEC 14496-2 Amendment 1: Studio profile. In these projects, he led the standardization work in consideration of technological developments that may be seen during the period after issuance of standards until their implementation, based on requests gathered from TV Station and other broadcasting organizations. Amendment 1 is used at broadcasters and production companies across the globe as the principal format even today.

Recipient’s comments: Teruhiko Suzuki
It has been about 30 years since the creation of Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) and Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), which develop standards for video compression technologies. They have continued efforts to develop and standardize innovative technologies that would lead the video and audio technology field. Since I became the chairperson of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29, the parent body of JPEG and MPEG, in 2017, I have pushed forward the international standardization of video and audio technologies.

The international standardization of video technologies is expected to be utilized in new application fields, such as automatic driving, where machines recognize surrounding objects and use the data acquired, in addition to human entertainment purposes. This will likely spur the spread of self-driving, remote control, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. I have pushed forward organizational reforms to establish a system that will be able to continuously take in these new technologies and sustainably drive forward the international standardization of video and audio coding technologies in the future. As to video coding technologies, I have also worked to drive forward the international standardization of 4K/8K/High Dynamic Range (HDR) video technologies.

It is a great honor for me to receive the METI Minister’s Award. It gives me encouragement in carrying on my international standardization effort. I would like to extend my gratitude to all the people who have provided cooperation and guidance for me. I will continue to do what I can for the sake of Sony and the whole industry.

Recipient’s comments: Yoichi Yagasaki
When I attended the commendation ceremony for Industrial Standardization Awards, I had a chance to see successful cases of standardization in many areas. The award-winning projects range from basic parts such as springs, railway, and other large-scale systems to environmental products, which have drawn attention in recent years. This reminded me of what an important role standardization can play. In particular, international standardization strategies are essential to advance into global markets and improve international competitiveness. Going forward, I will work on the formulation of standardization strategies and the human resource development for the next-generation standardization work, with the cooperation of members of relevant departments.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the people around me for their long-term support and guidance.

For the activities Suzuki and Yagasaki have engaged in, please read the following.

[Overview of achievements: Teruhiko Suzuki]

Suzuki became involved in the international standardization work of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 in 1995 and has since undertaken many projects as an editor and received a number of awards.

- Standardization Contribution Award from the Information Technology Standards Commission of Japan in 2007 “For the three years since 2004, Suzuki has devoted his energies to standardization activities as an assistant secretary of SC 29/WG 11/Video Subcommittee and as a member of SC 29/WG 11/MPEG-4 Subcommittee. As a project editor, he took on many MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 projects. He has also been active in the international arena, serving as the chairperson of an ad hoc group.” (From a news release issued by ITSCJ)

- Industrial Standardization Award, International Standardization Contributor Award, and the Director-General of the Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau’s Award in 2008 “In ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11, Suzuki was involved in 11 projects as a project editor and contributed to the development of high-definition video coding technologies and the international standardization of high-quality technologies. In addition, he not only worked on pure technological theories but also actively made proposals about new work items for requirement specifications and implementation technologies that are necessary for commercialization, and thereby contributed to enhancing international standardization activities.” (From a news release issued by METI)

- 2016 Distinguished Standardization Service Award, ITSCJ “Suzuki has continuously participated in international meetings of SC 29/WG 11 over a long period of time from 1995 up until now. He worked on a number of moving picture coding projects as an editor, putting his energies into standardization and dissemination activities. He has served as a member of SC 29/WG 11 Video Subcommittee since January 2004, as an assistant secretary of the subcommittee since January 2006, and as the chair of the subcommittee since March 2009. He gathered opinions from domestic stakeholders and made great contributions to reflecting them in international standards. (From a news release issued by ITSCJ)

Later, he became involved in a joint project with ITU-T (International Telecommunication Union-Telecommunication Standardization Sector)/SG 16 (Multimedia coding, systems and applications) from the start as an editor of ISO/IEC 23008|ITU-T Rec. H.265 (High Efficiency Video Coding) and drove forward the international standardization of 4K/8K/HDR picture technologies. The international standardization of these technologies has enabled compression and transmission of 4K/8K/HDR pictures, paving the way for commencing 4K/8K satellite broadcasting and 4K streaming. As an editor, he also earnestly worked on the development of conformance testing to certify the compatibility of products and services conforming to developed standards, and created an international standard named ISO/IEC 23008-8 (HEVC conformance testing). This standard certifies the compatibility of products and services conforming to ISO/IEC 23008|ITU-T Rec. H.265.

Looking at his domestic achievements, Suzuki has served as the secretary and chair of ITSCJ’s SC29 Mirror Committee/WG 11/MPEG Video (MPEG video coding) Subcommittee since 2006, formulating a policy on Japan’s standardization effort. Serving as the head of the national delegation at international meetings of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11, Suzuki helped to have proposals and technologies representing Japan’s intentions incorporated into many international standards, making great contributions to improving Japan’s standing in terms of international standardization.

After having been elected as the chairperson of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 in 2017, Suzuki set up the Joint Video Expert Team (JVET) with ITU-T/SG 16 and has promoted the international standardization of ISO/IEC 23090|ITU-T Rec. H.266 (Versatile Video Coding), a technology that enables higher compression of picture signals. As the development of sensing and recognition technologies has opened up new application areas for picture technologies, such as self-driving, Suzuki, as the Chair of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29, also carried out a review of the subcommittee’s scope and organizational reforms for the first time since its creation in 1991, transforming it into an organization that can continue to sustainably push forward the international standardization of video and audio coding technologies. This is expected to speed up the international standardization of coding technologies that will facilitate the use of video technologies in new application areas, such as automatic driving, remote control and IoT, where machines sense, recognize surrounding objects and utilize the data acquired, in addition to human entertainment purposes.

[Overview of achievements: Yoichi Yagasaki]

Yagasaki became involved in the international standardization work of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 in 1989 and has since served as an editor and expert, leading the technological development of widely diffused standards, such as MPEG-2 Video, MPEG-4 Visual, and MPEG-4 AVC (ISO/IEC 14496-10 MPEG-4 AVC/H.264). In particular, as a project leader for ISO/IEC 14496-2 (Coding of audio-visual objects – Part 2: MPEG-4 Visual: 2001/Amendment 1:2002 [Studio Profile]) and ISO/IEC 14496-2 (Coding of audio-visual objects – Part 2: MPEG-4 Visual): 2004, Yagasaki led the standardization work in consideration of requests from TV Station and other broadcasting organizations as well as technological developments that may be seen during the period after issuance of standards until their implementation. As a project editor, he made every effort to put together international standards. In recognition of his contributions as described above, Yagasaki was awarded the ISO/IEC Certificate of Appreciation, Project Editor in development of International Standard ISO/IEC 14496-2 3rd in 2003. Amendment 1: Studio Profile was adopted for broadcasting equipment and is still used today at broadcasters and production companies across the globe as the principal format.

For the standardization of MPEG-4 AVC, Yagasaki has been engaged in a joint project with ITU-T/SG 16 as an expert since its launch and has provided numerous technological proposals. Furthermore, in order to resolve differences on intellectual properties between ITU-T/SG 16 and ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 members, he conducted awareness-raising activities about the patent system for consumer equipment and worked hard to develop new standards. He also gathered requests from industry and contributed to the development of a profile that ensures compatibility with applications at lower implementation costs. Consequently, MPEG-4 AVC was adopted for the consumer-use video camera standard AVCHD, the business-use video camera standard XAVC, blue-ray discs, video streaming services, home-use game consoles and other equipment. Twenty years after its standardization, it has become one of the most commonly used video codec standards.

Looking at his domestic achievements, Yagasaki has served since 2004 as the secretary of SC29 Mirror Committee, SC 29/WG 11/MPEG-4 Subcommittee and MPEG Video Subcommittee of the Information Technology Standards Commission of Japan (ITSCJ), the National Body of ISO/IEC JTC 1. He has been pushing committee activities forward by coordinating views and assigning voting proposal tasks among the umbrella organizations, even now. For proposals to be presented by Japan, Yagasaki gathered opinions and requests from relevant sectors, ranging from broadcasters and media companies, IT companies to electronic and semiconductor manufacturers, and drew the deliberations in a direction to Japan’s national advantage. In recognition of his contributions as described above, Yagasaki was granted ITSCJ’s Standardization Contribution Award in 2010.