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Japan builder Shimizu looks to Silicon Valley for tech edge

Shimizu partnered with Japanese startup Activelink to develop a robot that can help lift steel rebar.

TOKYO -- Construction company Shimizu has invested in a venture capital fund with exposure to the U.S. tech scene, seeking access to innovations that can help it cope with an expected long-term shortage of labor in Japan.

The roughly 300 million yen ($2.69 million) investment in a fund established by Draper Nexus Ventures is a rare example of a partnership between a Japanese general contractor and a Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

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