THE PULSE 1 - from the heart of Tokyo

Back to Contents of Issue: January 2003


- CHIBA OFFERS OFFICES AT HALF PRICE TO FOREIGN FIRMS
In order to promote foreign investment, Chiba Prefecture and Chiba City started offering office space for foreign firms in December. And the good news is that the rent is about half the market price. According to the plan, they will offer 10 offices (21 to 53 square meters each) at an office building near JR Makuhari Station.

- TELECOM STORY UPDATED
We ran a story in our November issue explaining why calling from a fixed line to a mobile phone, or keitai, is so much more expensive than keitai-to-keitai calls. Some fixed-line carriers argue that this is a conspiracy among mobile carriers to keep charges high.

Here is the latest development: Heisei Denden, a fixed-line phone carrier, has requested Japan's telecom ministry to make mobile phone carriers -- NTT Docomo, KDDI and Japan Telecom -- give the company a chance to patch through fixed-line-to-mobile calls. After being ignored by the mobile carriers, the company asked the ministry to mediate.

Last November the telecom ministry took Heisei Denden's side, by saying that it's more appropriate for the company, instead of mobile carriers, to set the prices for these calls.

Meanwhile, Heisei Denden had already launched the lowest priced fixed-line-to-keitai services (3 minutes for JPY60) in Tokyo in early November. This was done without waiting for the ministry's mediation, enabling the company to avoid the interconnection issue by using overseas carriers instead.

- GOVERNMENT WORRIED ABOUT FOREIGN EXODUS FROM STOCK MARKET
A working group of the Financial System Council (FSC), an advisory body to the prime minister, has begun deliberations on the growing exodus of foreign companies from the Japanese market, the Asahi newspaper reported. With the delisting of the Credit Suisse Group, scheduled for November 2002, the Tokyo Stock Exchange's foreign section will have shrunk to 34 listings -- a quarter of its peak.

Because of the rapid growth in Asian stock markets -- especially in China -- over the past few years, the Japanese stock market is no longer the center of Asia, if it ever was. The working group of the FSC is chaired by Keio University professor Kazuhito Ikeo, an advocate of deregulation.



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