Even Capcom's Keiji Inafune can agree that the Japanese game industry isn't as "dead" as he says ... as long as Level-5 is around. He's struck up a partnership with Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino. "Even though Mr. Hino is younger, he's someone I respect," Inafune said.

The two companies are "working together on some truly interesting things," Inafune told Diamond Online (according to Andriasang's translation). Inafune said he respects Hino's work ethic, to the point that, "Before I met Hino, I had confidence in the amount of work I was doing, and even thought that maybe I was the hardest working person in the game industry. But after meeting him, I thought I'm probably not number one."

The Level-5 head is looking for other ways for his (already mega-rich) company to grow. "Next year or maybe the year after that, we'd like to have Level-5 exhibit at E3," Hino said. "While it's recently become normal for us to exhibit at the Tokyo Game Show, to exhibit at E3 we feel that we have one more mountain to cross." He also expressed an interest in taking Level-5 public.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.