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, Technology and Cultural News
Issue No. 287
Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Subscribe for FREE:
@@ VIEWPOINT: In Defense of "Freeters"
============ EA Event =======================
Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo: September Seminar
This September, Tokyo entrepreneur Mark Devlin -- CEO and Publisher of
Crisscross KK and Japan Today -- will be presenting, "Metropolis & Japan
Today: Past, Present and Future." Don't miss this great opportunity to
hear how Mark has created Japan's No. 1 English Magazine and the
world's leading source for Japan news.
===================== NEWS =============
FREE Japan Daily Business Briefs from Nikkei
Stay in touch with the latest news on the industries and
topics of interest to you with News by E-mail.
* Over 60 categories to choose from.
* Daily delivery to your inbox.
* Available in regular and mobile e-mail formats.
Register for your free News by E-mail account today:
@@ VIEWPOINT: In Defense of "Freeters"
As a person who spent far too much time during my 20s in bars and other
places of leisure, jumping from job to job and from country to country,
I would like to defend my fellow freeters.
Freeters, for those of you living far from Japan or deep in a Zen state
of ignorance, are youth who work part-time jobs or are unemployed and
usually live with their parents. One government estimate says the number
of freeters will hit 10 million by 2014. And if we're not careful,
those 10 million freeloaders will cause the social and moral decay of
Japanese society ... or so the news media would have you believe.
Here are a few recent quotes on freeters that I found while doing my
usual reading on Japan:
- From the Asahi Shimbun (8/23/04): "Women ... are looking for a
reliable breadwinner to marry, but with so many freeters in the
workplace they have trouble becoming acquainted with steady wage
- From The Japan Times (8/22/04): "The surge in the nonregular
workforce, which is comprised especially of young people called
'freeters' who usually live with their parents, are frequent job
changers and now number 4.17 million, is casting a dark shadow over
Japan's future ... Problems include a shaken social security system
into which many young people cannot afford to pay, spreading
nonpayment of income tax, a growing pool of single people avoiding
marriage because of worries about the future and lower wages, the
resulting lower birthrate, restraints on personal spending, a
diminished sense of social belonging, and a lack of will to do
- From The Economist (8/12/04): "Within a few years, today's freeters
will start to lag further behind their full-time peers in skills and
Like the otaku of 20 years ago, the freeters are generally painted
as lazy ne'er-do-wells. While I know a few who certainly fit that
mold, many more are just spending their youth working, traveling
and weighing their options. The Economist argues that freeters will
lack the skills of their full-time peers. But who learns more, a
freelance designer trying to sell her illustrations while
moonlighting at 7-Eleven or a young graduate serving tea at a large
Japanese firm? The answer depends on the individuals, of course,
but it certainly isn't obvious that the worker in the big firm is
the winner every time.
(Which reminds me of a joke: A restructured salaryman talks with a
job counselor. "Tell me about your skills," the counselor says.
"I'm really good at being kacho," the salaryman replies.)
Freeters are here to stay. And some parts of the economy will thrive
because of them. That's right -- just like the otaku fueled the
growth of the anime industry, freeters will make their mark.
It probably won't be on the pension system, though.
-- Bruce Rutledge
[Bruce Rutledge is a former editor of Japan Inc and the founder
of Chin Music Press -- http://www.chinmusicpress.com -- in Seattle.]
========== JOURNALISM INTERNSHIPS ===========
Japan Inc. magazine is offering a limited number of journalism
internships to qualified individuals. This is a unique opportunity to
acquire hands-on experience in creating the content, developing the
design and shaping the vision of a major, independent business and
tech-oriented monthly English-language publication.
Qualified individuals seeking this opportunity must be Tokyo-based
and fluent in English. (At least some knowledge of the Japanese
language is a significant asset.)
Interested parties should send relevant resumes, samples and contact
information to Maria Deutsch at:
========= Setting up a Company ============
Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar
Terrie Lloyd, founder of over 12 start-up companies in
Japan will be giving an English-language seminar and Q&A on
starting up a company in Japan. This is an ideal
opportunity to find out what is involved, and to ask
specific questions that are not normally answered in
business books. All material is Japan-focused.
Time/date: 10:30am, Saturday, September 11, 2004
Place: 7-8-1 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107
Price: 15,000 yen prepaid, 20,000 yen at the door
Included: Lunchbox, refreshments, handouts
Bookings: email@example.com, in English or Japanese.
SUBSCRIBERS: 18,500 as of September 1, 2004
CHECK OUT OUR OTHER JAPAN-SPECIFIC NEWSLETTERS:
To unsubscribe from this newsletter, click here:
To advertise in this newsletter, contact:
GET THE MAGAZINE
FEEDBACK AND PROBLEMS
We welcome your viewpoint:
(NB Please do not reply to this newsletter -- it's outgoing only,
so we won't get it!)
(C) Copyright 2004 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.