* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E 'S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.
General Edition Sunday, October 28, 2007 Issue No. 443
- What's new
- Candidate roundup/Vacancies
- Upcoming events
- News credits
SUBSCRIBE to, UNSUBSCRIBE from Terrie's Take at:
-------- Last Call for Low-cost US Life Insurance ---------
Bargain Prices Expire for Foreign Nationals in Japan.
If you are a foreign national living in Japan, you will no
longer have the option to obtain American life insurance
coverage after October 2007. Japanese life insurance is
considerably more expensive than a similar policy from an
American company. This option for foreign nationals is
possible only until October 31, 2007.
After this date, Transamerica Occidental Life will not
accept any new applications from expatriates in Japan.
A sample monthly premium for a 35-year old male for
US$1 million is just US$35.88. The same coverage for a
45-year old male is US$61.25, and for a 55-year old male is
E-mail today for a full, personalized illustration of the
policy's costs and benefits.
For more details: Response@pacificbridge.net
+++ WHAT'S NEW
Japan and Japanese companies have always had a "thing"
about South East Asia, represented by the 10-country bloc
known as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN). Although some might argue that the involvement by
Japan in SE Asia goes back to the nation's imperial
ambitions before WWII, we think it is more an issue of the
region simply being in Japan's back yard, both in terms of
time zone and distance, and also in terms of societal
values and business methods. As a case in point, look at
how well received Japanese-style capitalism has become,
rolling together as it does, national politics, an elite
bureaucracy, and big business. For the Japanese, this makes
ASEAN nations easier to understand and deal with.
Within the current generation of Japanese business leaders,
ASEAN fervor really started with the Plaza Accord and
resulting "en-daka" (High Yen) crisis of mid-1985 through
1986. This event was a huge shock for Japanese
manufacturers, who'd just started figuring out how to adapt
to higher energy prices and to turn out better quality
So severe was the shock in fact, that literally within 18
months, most major Japanese manufacturers, particularly
those in the electronics and auto sectors had started
setting up factories in lower cost destinations and
shutting down in Japan -- forming the vanguard of the
hollowing out of Japan.
Where did they go? Mainly ASEAN countries such as Thailand
and Malaysia. Remember, they couldn't go to China, because
back then she still didn't have the infrastructure nor the
political graces to entice foreign firms. Along with these
manufacturers went their multitude of parts suppliers, IT
firms, banks, management advisors, etc., and thus began
the makings of a Japanese migration into the ASEAN region.
Over the following 20 years, Japanese Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI) into the area has been running at around
US$2bn a year, and overall there are more than 5,000
Japanese companies operating within ASEAN borders. The
Japanese government has been doing its bit as well, and
through Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) aid and
government loans, in 2005 alone dispensed over US$1.96bn
in financial assistance.
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So far, it is Thailand and Malaysia that have attracted the
most attention from Japan and as a result, both countries
have the bulk of Japanese companies (2,500+ in Thailand,
1,450 in Malaysia) and over time more retirees as well.
Whether companies or individuals, everyone wants the same
things: lower cost platforms and lifestyles, a reasonable
chance of finding Japanese-speaking helpers, and relative
public safety. Thailand now has about 30,000 expat Japanese
residents, and Malaysia has issued more than 10,000 10-year
multiple-entry visas to Japanese retirees wanting a second
Overshadowing Japan's ASEAN relationship is China. In the
mid- to late-1990's it became clear that China was going to
commit to orderly socialist-capitalism, and Japanese
companies under pressure from the economic decline of their
home markets in the 1990's started investing in and around
Shanghai, trying to squeeze out whatever profit they could
from their foreign manufacturing operations to support the
head office. This significantly slowed down Japan's
interest in its ASEAN relationships and in fact, from 1995
to 2005, the percentage of overseas loans to ASEAN made by
Japanese banks fell from almost 70% of their porfolio, to
The tide is turning once again, however, and over the last
3 years China's cost base has started to inflate. Now, out
of habit caused by the last 20 years of externally forced
migration, Japanese manufacturers are once again starting
to trawl ASEAN nations for lower cost manufacturing. This
time, though, instead of Thailand and Malaysia, they are
turning to Vietnam, where already some 700 Japanese firms
have set up business.
JETRO and various other Japanese government bodies are
encouraging this diversification of manufacturing base,
calling the strategy "China Plus One". According to the
Nikkei, 62% of Japanese firms in Vietnam say that it is
cheaper for them to be in Vietnam than China, as well as
enduring less competition for resources. Right now, the
minimum wage in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is about $50-$60
per month, just half that of Chinese coastal cities such as
Guangzhou and Shanghai, or wages in Bangkok.
ASEAN as an economic bloc actually represents a larger
population than the entire EU, although the GDP is just
1/6th that of Europe. In 2006, the GDP was US$1.066trn,
increasing at a rate of about 4% per annum. 12.8% of
Japan's trade and 13.8% of its FDI is into ASEAN, in both
cases exceeding capital and trade flows with the EU.
Back in August, Japan took its relationship with ASEAN a
step further, by finalizing the terms of an ASEAN-Japan
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) due to by signed next month
(November 2007), and which will be effective from April
2008. The FTA lops off tariffs from 90% of imports to all
the countries concerned and is expected to have a huge
beneficial effect in the area of manufacturing and
agriculture, other than of course rice and some other
Some would say that the ASEAN FTA is simply a case of Japan
balancing the region against its exposure in China, and of
course, this has certainly been an impetus. However, we
suspect that many ASEAN countries themselves want the FTA
just as badly, and in light of the steady flow of trade and
investment over the years, see Japan as a more benevolent
partner than China will probably shape up to be -- despite
its penchant for paying top prices for raw materials and
How does knowing about ASEAN help those of us doing
business in Tokyo? Well first of all, it is important to
know that the Japan sees itself as being a big brother in
SE Asia, and so there is a strong feeling of commitment and
interest in developing new business opportunities there.
This means that it you want to do business in ASEAN
nations, besides doing the usual biz dev in-situ, it may be
worth considering detouring via a Japanese partner.
Ranging from major trading companies to small software and
technology firms, thousands of these companies want to be
doing better in SE Asia than they are. They went there in
the 1980's and 1990's with their Japanese manufacturing
customers and are now trying to figure out how to increase
their customer base. If you have technology know-how, IP,
and/or business contracts, you have desirable enhancements
for a Japanese partner.
Secondly, the ASEAN countries themselves are becoming
bolder and more interested in Japan, especially in the
areas of real estate and finance. While doing business in the
major cities requires competition with Chinese and Western
firms, the best pickings are to be had in the regions
where deal size is smaller and more manageable, and
where Japanese local companies under pressure to
internationalize don't trust Western or Chinese interests.
Perhaps more patient ASEAN capital is just the answer
for such companies.
As an example of a deal that creates an ideal combination
of synergies, imagine a small third-country (not
necessarily third world) software company with a low-cost
but good quality enterprise solution. Imagine that they
have done their homework and have found an attentive
audience in SE Asia -- there is certainly a rising demand
for IT there. At the same time, we know that Japanese SI
firms, such as Fujitsu, Oki, CTC, Kanematsu, and Mitsui
are all active in SE Asia, trying to supplement their
initial base of Japanese customers with some local
The opportunity, then is to do a joint venture with the SE
Asia arm of such Japanese firms, tapping their capital and
possibly the Japanese home market, while offering
technology and potential customers in return. While this
approach may seem a bit too creative for conservative
Japanese firms, given the continued resurgence of the
Japanese economy, head offices from Sapporo to Naha
are bound to be putting pressure on their branches in
the region, and this represents an ideal opportunity for
the rest of us.
Lastly, we invite you to take a survey and to win a bottle
of booze for your troubles. Basically, we're interested to
know what readers think of J@pan Inc. magazine, since we
significantly boosted readers and content at the start of
this year. Tell us what you think and and get the chance to
win a bottle of Tanqueray No. Ten:
...The information janitors/
--------------- Fresh Family Social Network ---------------
Japan's First Family Social Network is here! www.piqniq.jp.
Are you raising a family in Japan? Do you speak English?
Would you like to meet other English speaking families in
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Our concept is "Families helping Families" and we invite
anyone that wants to meet other families, help other
families, or discuss family-related issues pertinent to
life in Japan to come and join the Piqniq today!
For more information: www.piqniq.jp
- Let the Phone do the talkin'
- Mild winter predicted
- Japan accused of faking tuna numbers
- Nova files for bankruptcy
- Foreign freight firms complain about Japan Post
-> Let the Phone do the talkin'
Maybe only in Japan, but a new cell phone software
application called the "Anti-Groping Appli" has become the
seventh most popular download last week. A sleeper
originally released in 2005, the application allows young
women who feel threatened by a nearby male, to pop up
warning messages on her cell phone screen and show them to
the potential molester. Apparently the messages escalate,
starting with "Excuse me, did you just grope me?" "Groping
is a crime," then "Shall we head to the police?" ***Ed: You
really have to wonder about an application like this. One
wonders why woman wouldn't simply speak out, OR even if the
messages were shown and seen, whether an inveterate groper
would even care. It all sounds a bit over-polite to what
must be a nasty situation.** In 2005, 1,853 people were
arrested for groping passengers on trains in Tokyo.
(Source: TT commentary from ap.google.com, Oct 25, 2007)
-> Mild winter predicted
The Meteorological Agency is predicting that most of Japan,
including Tokyo, will experience an average-to-mild winter
this year, between the months of November to January. The
Agency is saying that there is a 40% chance of an average
winter, meaning temperatures in Tokyo of 13 C in November,
8.4 C in December, and 5.8 C in January, and a 40% chance
of higher temperatures than this. In Agency-speak, this
means that temperatures will probably be higher than
average. ***Ed: Certainly 25+ C in Tokyo on Halloween
Sunday is higher than normal...** (Source: TT commentary
from reuters.com, Oct 25,
-> Japan accused of faking tuna numbers
Australia has claimed that Japan is under-reporting its
Southern Bluefin tuna catch by at least 50% each year, a
fact that if proven true would make a mockery of Japan's
claims to be engaged in sustainable fisheries management.
The Australian government says that in 2005 it conducted
a forsenic analysis of tuna sales in the Japanese fish
markets and compared these with the reported catch numbers.
What they found was a wide discrepancy: with sales
exceeding up to 200% of the stated catch. The Australians
say, for example, that during the years 2002 through 2004,
the amount of Tuna available through Tsukiji and other markets
was about 8,696 to 11,260 tonnes higher than reported,
annually. ***Ed: The good news is that Japan is reducing
its quotas of Southern Bluefin tuna, from 6,000 down to
3,000 tonnes. Unfortunately, whether you can actually
believe those numbers is a matter for some conjecture...**
(Source: TT commentary from radioaustralia.net, Oct 26,
-> Nova files for bankruptcy
No sooner than we predict that Nova will keep going for a
while, than the company declares bankruptcy and the CEO,
Saruhashi, goes missing. The remaining directors took
matters into their own hands this last week and declared
bankruptcy, so as to protect the company's assets and try
to sort out the mess. ***Ed: The news media are saying that
Nova has liabilities of JPY43.9bn. A review of the July
financials will show that assets and receivables offset
this amount substantially and the real deficit is a lot
less -- but still a daunting number to be sure.** (Source:
TT commentary from nikkei.co.jp, Oct 26, 2007)
Foreign freight firms complain about Japan Post
Four of the world's largest freight companies last week
held a news conference to complain about the unfair
preferential treatment Japan Post is receiving at their
expense for international mail. Apparently, Japan Post's
parcels will not only enjoy cheaper rates, they will also
get priority handling by customs for duty and import
procedures. The four said that the government should have
a concrete schedule for ending the favoritism, and that
Japan Post needs to be supervised by an independent
regulatory body. ***Ed: Actually, we can think of a few
semi-governmental operations that this idea needs to be
applied to...** (Source: TT commentary from nikkei.co.jp,
Oct 26, 2007)
NOTE: Broken links
Many online news sources remove their articles after just a
few days of posting them, thus breaking our links -- we
apologize for the inconvenience.
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+++ CANDIDATE ROUND UP/VACANCIES
=> LINC Japan Ltd., an affiliate of the LINC Media group,
is actively marketing the following positions for market
entry customers setting up in Japan, as well as other
employers of bilinguals.
** HIGHLIGHTED POSITION(S)
(1) IT Support Person at Law Firm
A global law firm is urgently looking for an IT support
person who can also conduct training for internal users.
The person should be bilingual, with native-level English
and advanced-level Japanese.
The successful candidate will have training experience,
HelpDesk Support experience. Network and server experience
is preferable but not a must. Applications training will
be provided after the successful candidate joints the
company, and induction training will include approximately
one week abroad.
Remuneration will be JPY4-5M annually.
(2) Bilingual Support Engineer
A leading foreign enterprise solutions and open source
software company is looking for a bilingual Technical
Support Engineer to provide technical support to global
customers. The successful candidate will have a good
understanding of different installation methods for
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The successful candidate will have specific experience in
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Projects will be advantage.
The remuneration will JPY8-10M annually.
Candidates can contact email@example.com for
* Country Manager, business software -- JPY30m+
* Operational Reporting and Analysis Manager - JPY11+m
* Sr. Inside Sales Manager, bilingual - 11-12m
* Enterprise software salesperson, bilingual -- JPY10-12m
* Oracle, open source SQL DBA, bilingual -- JPY6-10m
* Applications support engineer, SQL experience -- JPY6-8m
* Inside sales representative, bilingual -- JPY7-8m
* Jr. System Administrator, bilingual -- JPY6-8m
* Regional Account Manager - JPY6.5-7.5m
* IT software solution sales, bilingual -- JPY6-7m
* IT Administrative Officer, bilingual -- JPY6-7m
* Onsite Project Coordinator - JPY6-7m
Bilingual Japanese in his early 40's is seeking an
Administration officer (CAO) position in a start-up
company. Has strong background in finance and managing
relationships with major Japanese banks and vendors. Has
been doing hands-on management in a foreign start-up
already (was M&A'd recently) and is a strong problem
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annually. Interested Japanese or foreign candidates may
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+++ UPCOMING EVENTS/ANNOUNCEMENTS
----------- Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo -------------
Speaker: Ines Ligron, President of IBG Japan Co., Ltd. and
The Miss Universe Organization, National Director Japan
Title: 'The Beauty Business - from the Beauty Queen Maker'
Have you ever wondered what it takes to succeed in the
beauty business? Wonder no longer, join us at EA-Tokyo's
next seminar to hear from Japan's very own 'Beauty Queen
Maker,' Ines Ligron.
Date/Time: Tuesday, November 6, 7:00 pm
Location: Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan
--------Marcus Evans Events - Supported by J@pan Inc-------
Date :27th - 28th November, 2007
Venue: Hilton Tokyo Hotel
1) Creative Advertising and Media Marketing Strategy
This event features leading case studies from Fuji Xerox,
KDDI Corporation, Nissin Food Products, Kubota and Nihon
Michelin Tyre Co. There will be no future without effective
2) Quality Sourcing and Strategic Procurement
Come listen to best practices and case studies from
renowned organizations like Pioneer Corporation, Bayer
Healthcare, Fujitsu and Mastercard.
'J@pan Inc readers are entitled to a 10% discount upon
registration with Ms. Esther Wong.'
For further details and brochures, please contact:
Ms. Esther Wong
Tel No: +603 2723 6736 Fax No: +603 2723 6699
Email add: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Speaking at MidemNet 2008:
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Register before October 31 and save close to 40%.
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-------------------- Celebrity Dinner ---------------------
Benefitting The Tyler Foundation for Childhood Cancer
November 8th, 2007, The Westin Tokyo 6pm - midnight
Mingle with international sport and entertainment
celebrities including Grammy-award winning-lyricist Sir Tim
Rice, Australian cricketing legend Dennis Lillee, Japan
rugby coach John Kirwan and Japanese cyclist Fumy Beppu and
A triathlon of games, fantastic auction prizes and
delectable delicacies from Japan and the world presented in
a matsuri atmosphere will make for an extra-ordinary dinner
28,000 per person including dinner and drinks.
IT events announcements are priced at JPY50,000 per week.
For more information, contact sales at japaninc.com
In this section we run comments and corrections submitted
by readers. We encourage you to spot our mistakes and
amplify our points, by email, to email@example.com.
-> No feedback this week.
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SUBSCRIBERS: 12,221 as of October 28, 2007
(We purge our list regularly.)
+++ ABOUT US
Written by: Terrie Lloyd (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HELP: E-mail Terrieemail@example.com
with the word 'help' in the subject or body (don't include
the quotes), and you will get back a message with
Send letters (Feedback, Inquiries & Information) to the
editor to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on advertising in this newsletter,
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Copyright 2007 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.
_____________Japan Inc is worth every penny!__________
Don't forget you can get deeper analysis on Japan's
hottest new businesses and technology from the
quarterly edition of J@pan Inc. 1-year subscription
JPY3,600(Japan). It's so cost effective you can even get
your company to pay for it!
Go to: www.japaninc.com/mgz_subscriptions for details.