December 1999 Issue

On the cover:
Back: Jun Saeki,Takashi Hakii, Mieko Towada.
Center: Takao Hiramatsu,Jiro Funakawa.
Front: Susumu Fujita,Kazutomo Hori.
Thanks to Nihonbashi Tei restaurant, Shibuya.

December 1999
No. 2


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December 1999 Issue

Features

  Seven Who Dare
Tokyo E-preneurs on the Rise
 
 
  The New Gold Diggers
The third VC wave comes to Japan
 
 
  Out with the Old -- In with the New
We've all had a great idea at some time or other that might have made us rich. Alas, we took it no further than wondering why no one else had ever thought of it. So instead of preparing for an IPO, I'm working bleary-eyed on this story, and you're reading it on some crowded commuter train. Askul Corporation, Tokyo-based office supplier and the leading proponent of e-commerce in Japan's retail industry, is the result of someone carrying a great idea to fruition.
 
 
  The Art of a Failed Economy
During the bubble economy of the late 1980s, Japanese corporations became the nouveau connoisseurs of the art world, snapping up masterpieces one after another with little regard to either quality or price. Today, as many as 10,000 paintings, valued at JPY 1 trillion ($9.5 billion), are stored in bank vaults, secured by the banks as collateral against loans to failed corporations.
 
 

Columns

  VALLEY VIEW
Winning venture captial -- it's not as easy as you think
 
 
  Joi's Diary
Don't believe the lawmakers when they sat that law can protect your privacy.
 
 
  VENTURE WATCH
The youngest of the son family deals smartly with net business in Japan
 
 
  The J-Files
A cure for the mid-management flu?
 
 
  INSIDE EYE
American road kill on Japanese information superhighway (Part 1)
 
 
  Interview
Back to the future with Fujiyo Ishiguro, president and COO of Netyear Group Inc.
 
 

Reports

  DDI and IDO to Merge?
DDI, the number two domestic telecommunications carrier, and IDO, a cellular company affiliated with Toyota Motors, are reportedly in their final stage of negotiations regarding a potential merger, targeted for April 2000.
 
 
  Linking Regional Network
Cable & Wireless IDC Commits Japan to lead Asia's Net
 
 
  The Power of the Net
In July this year, a personal site set up on Nifty Serve received over a million hits. From July 11 to 17, the URL held steady as one of the top five sites accessed from both home and office on Nikkei BP's weekly rankings. At almost the same time, one Web page on the Toshiba Japan site was also receiving lots of attention. What was the fuss about?
 
 
  Legally, the Net Raises Many Questions
Who governs the Internet? In Japan, a country famous for the ambiguities inherent in its culture, politics, and law, this question is more difficult to answer than you may think.
 
 
  Customer Service with a Digital Smile
Lands' End Launches Real-time Customer Service
 
 
  Retail Potential of Japan Not to Be Underestimated
Thirty-five million page views of Yahoo! Japan per day, an equally staggering seven million daily visits to the Nikkei Index, and Merrill Lynch is calling the Japanese Internet market the "next big thing." Who said the Japanese were to be tripped-up by their own inflexibility toward Internet connection rates, credit card use, and security issues surrounding personal data and so forth? Phooey. Forget it.
 
 
  Keitai as Kitsch
Of course, people like me, who wish mobiles (keitai in Japanese) -- and the people whose ears are skin-grafted to them -- would just go away, are going to be disappointed. Previously unthinkable transmission speeds are coming, bringing with them color LCD screens, Java software, audio and video capabilities, and global positioning system (GPS) functions that will allow users to pinpoint their precise location (i.e., right next to someone trying to enjoy a meal in peace).
 
 
  Crashing and Burning While the Violins Play
Small and medium enterprises (SME), employing the vast majority of Japan's workforce, have long underpinned Japan's economy, but they're going out of business faster than new ones can replace them -- so fast, in fact, that in a macabre statistical twist, the overall life expectancy for males went down last year, skewed by the suicides of small businessmen whose companies had collapsed.
 
 
  NASDAQ Japan
Taking the Club Approach
 
 
  NTT Challenges Crosswave
NTT Communications Corp., the long distance and international arm of NTT Corp., will soon launch a new domestic high speed backbone service.
 
 
  NTT DoCoMo Eyes Mobile Internet Startups
NTT Mobile Communications Network Inc. (NTT DoCoMo) and three others have announced plans for a JPY 5 billion (US$47.2 million) venture capital fund that will invest in companies developing mobile communications, and Internet and related businesses.
 
 

Research

  Japan Studies
The Long Dark Recession
 
 
  Statistics
(PDF-formatted file, Acrobat 4.0 or later required)
Japan Telecommunications Companies
 
 

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