J@pan Inc Newsletter
The 'JIN' J@pan Inc Newsletter
A weekly opinion piece on social, economic and political trends
Issue No. 477 Wednesday August 6, 2008, Tokyo
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J@pan Inc Issue 79, August 2008
The August edition of J@pan Inc magazine including our
legal special feature is out now. Here are the highlights:
On the cover: Licensed to Bill
The three faces on our cover represent three foreign law firms
that have recently entered the Japanese market: Norton Rose from
the UK, Quinn Emanuel and Ropes & Gray from the US. As many
firms are choosing to expand in China and poised to pounce on
India, we consider the lure of Japan. Undeniably, Japanese
corporate culture has changed in the last decade to become more
litigious and companies are growing ever more conscious of the
need to protect IP. Even day-to-day corporate governance is
starting to foster more contract-based processes from employment
paperwork to agreements with suppliers.
For the foreign firms, changes in the regulatory environment as
well as a growing need for their cross-border expertise is also
pulling them towards Tokyo. In terms of IP and litigation,
foreign lawyers are picking up the work from domestic companies
working internationally and also finding their services in
demand by inbound investors and enterprises. In addition to
talking with the new firms, we also spoke to Allen & Overy, one
of the first foreign law outfits in Japan, and Nagashima Ohno &
Tsunematsu, Japan's largest domestic firm, about the changing
dynamics of the industry.
Also in the legal special feature:
Japan is anomalous among industrialized nations in maintaining
the death penalty. This year Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama
has already executed 13 death row inmates and public support for
his actions is high. Anna Kitanaka considers how the move to the
lay judge system might affect attitudes towards punishment in
Japan. Including interviews with legal experts and campaigners,
the article questions how citizen juries have the potential to
at least fuel wider debate about the penal system, if not
An Ounce of Prevention
Protecting trade secrets and personal information is an
obligation shared by many companies no matter what their
business. Databases full of sensitive details can be a headache
to secure but even more of a headache if they are breached. Our
legal expert from Kitahama Partners takes readers through the
letter of the law and gives some practical tips on how to guard
against being left open to a breach of security, and a legal
The Sound of Silencing
In February, the director of the "Yasukuni" documentary and
staff at his production company received death threats, and
in March a number of cinemas pulled the film after pressure
from politicians and nationalist groups. April saw a freelance
journalist ordered to pay compensation for libel over an article
he didn't write but was quoted in. In May, 38 demonstrating
students were arrested for trespass on their campus at Tokyo's
prestigious Hosei University and detained without charge for
three weeks. In June, the Supreme Court overturned the findings
of two lower courts that NHK had buckled to political pressure
in altering the contents of a program about WWII sex slaves.
Are these disparate incidents evidence of a lack of protection
for the right to freedom of expression guaranteed in Japan's
Legal Services Directory
Don't miss our comprehensive list of English language capable
legal services in Japan
Other articles include:
Japan Redefines the World
Long the global leader in high-definition television (HDTV),
Japan will finally see a rival when the US formally switches
over from analog to digital broadcasting next February. While
rough technological parity between the world's two largest
economies promises benefits for market players and viewers
alike, it could be just a taste of what lies around the corner.
The Greenhouse Effect
High fuel prices and air pollution are most often associated
with industrial enterprises, factories and cities. However,
agriculture is also facing similar pressures and problems.
Specifically, we looked at the problem of heating in
greenhouses. Not only do many of the most common systems emit
vast amounts of carbon dioxide, they are also responsible for
reducing the volume of minerals and vitamins in the produce.
Our writer spoke to Takeo Sugiura of Radiant Systems about how
his cutting edge technology heat pump could help the government
fulfill its green targets as well as to increase the level of
nutrients and minerals in agricultural produce.
Dancing in the Reputational Minefield
As many Japanese firms have found out, changes in the media, and
particularly the development of online information sources,
mean that bad news can spread faster than ever. A case in point
is the gyoza debacle earlier in the year where stories of
poisoned Chinese dumplings flew around, escalating fear and
causing serious damage to the companies involved. Managing PR
crises requires a flexible and tailored approached. We
look at some recent case studies as well as feature
interviews with PR industry professionals about the best ways to
weather a media storm.
The Young & The Restless
Japan's traditional lifetime employment system is in a state of
flux as droves of younger employees are quitting their jobs at
some of the country's biggest companies, about 62 years before
they're expected to. Sarah Noorbakhsh investigates the reasons
why so many people are leaving their jobs after only a few
years and how this is changing perceptions among both jobseekers
and employers alike.
Hugh Ashton explores new technology that aims to deal
with the energy waste that result from cooling units in
A Beer or Not a Beer?
Japanese beer brewers have been varying the content of malted
barley in their beers since the inventions of 'happoshu' back in
1995. Now new tax laws looks set to push brewers to stretch
their ratios even further. This leaves us wondering to just what
extent the boundaries of beer and its deviant mutations can be
There seems to be something of an obsession with business bags
in Japan. Visit any department store on a weekend and find fresh
college graduates ready to enter their first jobs or working
people spending a good portion of their days off carefully
inspecting the seemingly endless array of available shoulder
bags, totes and briefcases. Finding the right bag depends on
one's personal approach to both work and style.
CEO Interview: Peter Massion, President & CFO, Henkel Japan
From hair care products to industrial adhesives - where is
Henkel placed in the Japanese market?
Business Break & Trends in Japan
Our regular round-up of new businesses, IPO Watch and
trend news, this month on toys.
Measure for Measure
Industry and economic environment statistics, plus a focus on
classy convenience store, Natural Lawsons.
Chamber of Commerce Interview
J@pan Inc talks to Dr. Greg Story, Chairman of the Australian &
New Zealand Chamber of Commerce.
Inside Out: Business in Peru
Our column on emerging markets considers risks and
opportunities in Peru and Peru-Japan relations.
Restaurant Review: Davis Too
Unique Tokyo dining.
Arrivals & Departures
Who's coming and going in the international business
community here in Japan.
Back & Forward
Ken Worsley's satirical take on the economy.
J@pan Inc Classifieds
Jobs, Services, Events, Support
I hope you enjoy this issue.