JIN-206 -- A Global Business Model Made Only for Japan

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
T H E J @ P A N I N C N E W S L E T T E R
Commentary on the Week's Business and Technology News
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Issue No. 206
Friday, November 29, 2002
Tokyo

CONTENTS

++ Viewpoint: A Global Business Model Made Only for Japan

++ Noteworthy News
- Toyota Plans to Get into US Banking Business
- Bill Would Let Foreign Lawyers Give Local Advice
- Heisei Denden to Offer Discount ADSL Services

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++ Viewpoint: A Global Business Model Made Only for Japan

Shinji Kokage, an office manager for Yamato Transport USA, says that
when he talks about the company's famous black cat (kuroneko) services
in North America, he usually is greeted with blank stares. "No one has
heard of it," he says. But that hasn't stopped the transport company
from quietly building an international network that is recording
phenomenal growth and boosting the bottom line of the parent company.
The company reported 1.096 billion yen in operating income for
international transport services in the half year that ended in
September, a year-on-year jump of more than 75 percent.

One reason for Yamato's success is its unique menu of services for
anyone doing business in Japan. Perhaps the biggest difference between
Yamato and other international competitors like FedEx or UPS is that
Yamato offers cash-on-delivery services for US businesses sending
goods to Japanese consumers. Yamato ships the goods from one of 35 US
offices, delivers to the Japanese consumer's door, collects payment
and wires the money to the US company within two weeks. Can you
imagine this sort of service working in reverse? Forget about it.
Collecting cash payments from American consumers would be a monumental
hassle. This is a global business model made exclusively for Japan --
and it's working for Yamato.

That's why the company is planning to expand this B2C service to the
B2B realm sometime in early 2003. Yamato Transport recorded operating
income of more than 25 billion yen in the fiscal first half through
September, up almost 8 percent year on year. It's continued to be a
bright light in an otherwise dim economy, and its international COD
option is something that only a Japanese company would have come up
with.

-- Bruce Rutledge

Source:
Yamato Transport financial report:
http://www.lwk.co.uk/ViewItem.asp?id=12066

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++ NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

** Toyota Plans to Get into US Banking Business

In Brief: Toyota Motor has applied for a "thrift company license" in
the state of Nevada, which would allow it to conduct all sorts of
banking activity in the US, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported on
Friday. The license approval process takes three to six months,
according to a Nevada official.

If granted the license, Toyota would be able to hold and invest the
funds of its affiliated dealers, giving them a competitive edge, and
also offer credit cards and home loans to Toyota drivers.

GM and BMW are the only other carmakers to have similar banking
operations in the US.

Commentary: Demand for cars is still rock-solid in car-crazed America,
but the competition is intense. Car dealers have been offering
interest free loans to get people to buy, but the Japanese carmakers
were sometimes slow to follow their American counterparts down that
road. With this move, Toyota is ensuring that it won't be
outmaneuvered on the financial front in the future.

Source:
From Nikkei Net (password protected)
http://www.nni.nikkei.co.jp/AC/TNKS/Nni20021128D28JFF01.htm

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** Bill Would Let Foreign Lawyers Give Local Advice

In Brief: The Justice Ministry unveiled a draft of a bill that would
allow foreign lawyers to form partnerships earlier this week. The
bill, if passed into law, would also let foreign lawyers give advice
on domestic issues, something they are barred from doing now. The
draft, released this Monday, could be passed in the spring and take
effect in 2004.

Commentary: Foreign lawyers have been pushing for these reforms for
years. And now it looks like they may just have their way. It's easy
to get down on lawyers, but the Japanese legal system has set the bar
so high for its own lawyers and has kept the restrictions so tough on
foreign lawyers that the country suffers from an unhealthy dearth of
lawyers. At the same time, let's hope Japan doesn't get too lenient --
too many laws and lawyers can choke the lifeblood out of small
businesses.

Source:
From UK Legal News:
http://www.lwk.co.uk/ViewItem.asp?id=12066

Link:
"A Yokohama Neighborhood's Battle to Cut Through Red Tape" Part 1
http://www.japaninc.com/article.php?articleID=896

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** Heisei Denden to Offer Discount ADSL Services

In Brief: Heisei Denden has been showing its feisty side lately. First
it attacked the big telcos for jacking up rates on keitai to fixed
line calls (see the link below for our story on this), and now it is
jolting the ADSL market with a very cheap service: Its ADSL
connections at up to 12mbps can be had for 2,123 yen per month,
cheaper than even Yahoo! BB.

Commentary: Good for Heisei Denden. Japan needs more boat-rockers like
Masayoshi Son. We think Heisei Denden has a pretty strong case on the
keitai to fixed line issue, too, although authorities do not seem to
be listening.

Source:
The Japan Times:
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nb20021128a6.htm

Link:
"Conspiracy Theories" from our November 2002 issue
http://www.japaninc.com/article.php?articleID=941

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STAFF
Written and edited by J@pan Inc staff (editors@japaninc.com)

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