From The Editor

Back to Contents of Issue: March 2002

by Bruce Rutledge

CONTRIBUTORS TO J@PAN INC WILL be familiar with the following admonition: "Keep the story Japan specific." It's in about every writer's brief we prepare. But this month, we decided to break our own rule and head to Europe and China. That's because some of the biggest 'Japan stories' are happening beyond this country's borders.

One of the few economic bright spots in Japan during the 'lost decade' of the 1990s was NTT DoCoMo's i-mode service. This spring Europe gets its own version of i-mode. Will it fly? The performance of i-mode in Europe will dictate whether NTT DoCoMo's business model becomes an international success story like karaoke and 'Pokemon' or remains just a domestic curiosity, like love hotels. Our report from the Continent begins on page 30.

Also, the steady hollowing out of Japan's manufacturing base has eliminated so many jobs over the last decade or so that engineers are heading overseas to find work. Senior editor Sumie Kawakami takes a look at Japan's new expats, who face lower pay and less job security than their pampered counterparts of the 1980s. Kawakami's report begins on page 22.

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