This Year has been a banner year for Japan. After something like 14 years of near recession, the country has discovered that there is such a thing as rebirth. Exporters are experiencing massive profit growth, and are busy reinvesting in plant, M&A, and R&D.
Watching TV last night reminded me, though, that this rebirth could be temporary. I can’t help noticing that Shinzo Abe, the nation’s new PM, is no Junichiro Koizumi. Maybe it’s just the foreigner in me, but I liked the way Koizumi jousted with the establishment and threatened the nation’s many cozy self-interest groups. I just don’t see that in the Abe government, so one wonders whether the period of reconstruction is now over. If it is, then that means the opportunities for foreigners will decrease as well, as the wagons are circled for the next down curve.
Still, right now in December 2006, it’s all systems-go, and foreign investors and companies are taking a strong second look at Japan. Bypassed in favor of China for more than a decade, Japan is suddenly cashed up and ready to take on new technology and new (often foreign) business partners. The slip stream effect of this new activity has been significant and beneficial for both the Japan Inc. magazine and our online media channels. Business is good, subscribers are growing, and requests for consulting by our downstream market entry unit have jumped.
As a result, we are planning to expand our media activities, and the most noticeable of these will be a brand new web site, at www.japaninc.com and ‘live’ by the time you read this. The site is being designed to be user-supported, so that articles published by us and questions posed by newcomers can be responded to by experts both on our editorial team and also from outside consultants. In this way, we hope to customize the information channel to assist people with specific interests in Japan.
Another initiative, and a good indicator of the flow of enquiries from foreigners wanting to establish in Japan and in Japanese firms wanting to expand overseas, is the fact that we are linking up with another icon in the English-language publishing industry to address the shortage of information about how business gets done here. The icon I refer to is the Japan Times. The plan is for our content to provide coverage of technology, venture and private investment, and the latest movers and shakers in Japan—i.e., exactly those areas where the greatest amount of leverage and market penetration can be achieved by foreigners building business in Japan..
So if you are thinking of setting up in Tokyo, or you’re wondering how to get a partnership going here, you’re going to like the specific and practical business information and editorial we plan to provide over the next 12 months.
Publisher, Japan Inc magazine