* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E 'S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.
General Edition Sunday, December 14, 2008 Issue No. 498
- What's new
- Candidate roundup/Vacancies
- Upcoming events
- News credits
SUBSCRIBE to, UNSUBSCRIBE from Terrie's Take at:
----------------- PBXL - CUT COSTS NOW! -------------------
Looking for ways to cut expenses in your existing operations
in Japan and around Asia?
If so, PBXL's CommDown program is perfect for you.
Focusing on telecom expense management, our shared savings
approach ensures that you DON'T PAY unless you save.
Contact us today for more information!
+++ WHAT'S NEW
Over the last four weeks, we have witnessed the possible
demise of a 100-year old business sector -- the auto
manufacturing industry in the USA. We found it almost
surreal to watch video footage of the captains of the U.S.
Big Three (Ford, GM, Chrysler) travel a second time to
Washington, this time in their hybrid test vehicles, to
beg for money to keep their businesses afloat. The
predicament of The Three comes of course as a direct result
of a perfect storm in the auto industry: a global credit
contraction, expensive oil (temporarily cheaper but
guaranteed to go back up again), pressure from better-made
foreign products, and the pending emergence of electrics.
Sales are dramatically down and the trend is for the buying
public to hold off on any new purchase for the foreseeable
future. This may be good news to parts suppliers and for
those companies launching an electric vehicle in 2010, but
it is a disastrous state of affairs for one of the first
world's largest industries.
The Japanese are not immune, either. Toyota has seen its
sales drop across the board -- down by 34% in the U.S. and
here in Japan by 28%. Toyota has said that it may lose up
to JPY100bn (US$1.1bn) in the second half of this fiscal
year, ending March 31st, 2009. Honda, Nissan, and Mazda are
not faring any better.
Against such a bleak backdrop, it is hard to see any silver
linings. However, necessity is the mother of invention and
we believe some interesting opportunities will come out of
the current situation. One of these opportunities is the
emergence of electric plug-in vehicles -- and given the
timing leading up to their launch in 2010, things are
shaping up for an initial boom in sales of such cars.
Certainly there will be plenty of pent up demand from
people who held off buying between now and then.
But for those of us living in major cities, another
opportunity is to do away with the private car altogether.
In the West people can and do spend up to 20% of their
income (2002 U.S. Bureau of Statistics) on owning and
operating a car, and given the cost of parking here in
Japan, the number is probably not dissimilar here (see the
Orix numbers later). This writer has not personally owned
a car for years, and getting around Tokyo is much more
efficient by train, bus, cab, bicycle, and on foot. There
are plenty of other people thinking the same thing, and the
Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA) reckons that
domestic auto sales will drop to 4.75m vehicles annually by
2020 (we think the fall will be much greater), with the
absolute number of passenger cars also starting to fall
But not everyone lives in areas well served by public
transport, and furthermore there are times when we do need
a car -- if only to pick up and deliver kids and shopping,
visit friends, or get some mental respite by heading out
to an onsen or to view the greenery of the countryside. So it
comes as some relief that car sharing in Japan seems to
be finally gaining traction.
------ Reduce your IT Total Cost of Ownership by 90% ------
Fusion Systems introduces: Office-In-a-Box (OIB)
OIB delivers powerful enterprise-grade IT infrastructure to
small and medium-sized businesses for a fraction of the cost
of traditional approaches.
* Instant IT Set-up, * Email Server, * Web Server, * UTM
Firewall, * WiFi Access, * Printer Sharing, * Centralized
Car sharing has been going in Japan for about five years
now, with the major player being Orix. Despite the company
spending significant effort on the business model -- both on
technology and vehicles, it has really only been in the
last 12 months that the idea of sharing a car has started
catching on. Orix now has about 2,500 members in its
Puchi-Renta club, and provides more than 210 locations and
1,000 cars to those members.
The total market size in Japan for car sharing, as of
mid-2008, was estimated to be around 4,000 people served by
1,500 vehicles. This is a small number of members compared
to car sharing in Europe, the USA, and Canada, where the
largest player, ZipCar says it has more than 180,000
members sharing around 5,000 vehicles. But on a ratio of
people to cars, Japan is clearly the place to be -- with
one car for every 2.5 members, compared to ZipCar's 1:30
ratio. ZipCar started in Europe, and like Japan, it has
large populations living in cities well serviced by public
transport. ZipCar hasn't come to Asia yet, but we expect
them to, any time now.
The basic program for Japanese car sharing was set by Orix.
Members sign up for a usage rate of up to 9 people per
single vehicle, and they get to use that vehicle based on
prior online scheduling, by either PC or cell phone. The
cars are based in unmanned parking lots, and to use one you
simply walk or cycle to the nearest lot and activate the
car with your IC-chip equipped member's card. The business
model depends a lot on the goodwill and community spirit of
the members, so members are exhorted to keep their vehicles
clean, and to get them back to the parking lot before the
scheduled usage time expires. Being late more than a couple
of times can apparently result in a person being expelled
as a member.
Orix charges between JPY1,050 and JPY2,980 per month basic
members fee, then offers either an hourly plan or daily
plan time-related price. A K-class car (660cc or smaller)
is JPY160 per 15 minutes or JPY4,980 per day. In addition
there is a mileage charge -- to cover gas and consumables,
and Orix recently increased this rate from JPY14 to JPY19
per kilometer for a K-class car and from JPY15 to
JPY20/km for an S-class car. According to Orix, if an
average family K-class car is used around 8 hours and
travels 40km a month, it costs around JPY64,000/month to
own, run, and maintain, including gas. In comparison,
similar usage of a shared car would cost JPY8,660/month.
Clearly this is a compelling argument for families wanting
convenience but also needing to reduce monthly expenses.
The benefits of car sharing are significant: i) it's
convenient, in that you can usually get a car when you need
one -- and there are different models available depending
on what you want to do; ii) it's practical, as it is much
cheaper than owning or renting; iii) it's easy, as the
companies running the car sharing programs look after
maintenance, servicing, parking, cleaning, and even gassing
up; iv) it's environmentally sound and declogs our city
The government has obviously decided that car sharing is a
desirable trend, and in August the Transport Ministry said
it would ask for JPY1bn in the 2009 budget to provide
subsidies for municipalities and businesses promoting car
sharing. The subsidies would apparently cover about 50% of
the upfront costs by organizations wanting to establish car
sharing facilities. We find it interesting that the
subsidies will be open not only to private companies but
also local governments. Hopefully this will get local
bureaucrats out of the habit of buying vehicles that get
used only a couple of times a week.
Anyway, it appears that the pending subsidies have prompted
a number of new players to enter the market. In September,
parking space operator Nippon Parking Development said that
it has been trialing a car sharing system and would start
regular commercial operations that month. The company
expects that it can profit from the fact that normally
expensive car lots are already paid for with its network of
parking lots around the country.
Nippon Parking said that it will charge individual
customers JPY2,980 per month for a K-class car (no surprise
that this is the same as Orix), but with the advantage of
sharing by only two drivers. For corporates it will charge
JPY3,980/month for use by up to five drivers. In addition,
users will pay 160 yen per 15-minutes and JPY20/kilometer
for gas. As with Orix, members will be able to book a car
with their keitai (cell phone), selecting vehicle type, date, time,
and location to pick up. Of interest to us, the company says
it will place 7 of its initial 13 car stations around
Omote-sando, Aoyama, and Shibuya. This compares favorably
to Orix, which only has two Shibuya Ward locations --
neither of which are close to the station.
Other players entering the market include Mitsui and
Parking Management Organization. Both companies say they
expect to have 30-50 locations and 100+ cars each to start,
and that their business plans call for hundreds of vehicles
and 20,000 members or more in five years time. With all
these new players showing up, sharing a car is looking
pretty good. However, where we see a real opportunity is in
sharing next generation electric vehicles -- since these
will be costly to buy and yet there will be a surge of
consumer interest in them once they start becoming
available next year.
Terrie's Take is proud to be a supporter of The Japan
Helpline. To get help 24 hours assistance with any problem,
any time, go to www.jhelp.com and click `help`.
Your support keeps The Japan Helpline going.
...The information janitors/
----------------- Web Hosting in Japan --------------------
With prices comparable to those available in the US, and a
full range of hosting services, there is no need to put up
with slow-downloading websites hosted overseas anymore.
With nearly 10 years experience in the Japanese market,
Tsukaeru.net provides great value for money to both the
Japanese and English speaking clients.
We provide low cost shared hosting accounts from just 210
yen per month,to fully managed complex hosting.
Customers moving from our competitors receive
up to JPY10,000 cash back on completion of migration.
- Towa takes big hit on cancellation
- Dollar hits 13-year low versus yen
- One company closes down in Japan...
- ...And another opens its doors
- More tax breaks on the way
-> Towa takes big hit on cancellation
Another major real estate developer is clearly in trouble.
Developer Towa Real Estate Development announced that it
was taking a JPY4.3bn penalty for canceling a JPY21.5bn
land purchase which was to be used for a 1,000-unit
apartment complex. To cover the loss, the company has sold
its shareholdings in a joint venture company with
Mitsubishi Jisho. Overall, Towa expects to report a
JPY3.8bn loss this fiscal year, compared with a net profit
of JPY5.6bn last year.(Source: TT commentary, Dec 13, 2008)
-> Dollar hits 13-year low versus yen
Failing car companies, deep economic problems, and low
interest rates have led to a sell off of the dollar, and on
Friday, the yen rose to 88.42, the highest it's been since
the dollar sank to 79.75 in 1995. The dollar subsequently
recovered to 90.87 later in the day. Traders are now
wondering if the Japanese government will go ahead with
rumors that it plans to intervene in the FX markets and
sell off the yen. Last time the government intervened, it
spent JPY35trn (US$382bn) over almost a year and a half.
***Ed: And the jury is still out on whether they made much
difference. It's the financial equivalent of the Marginot
Line.** (Source: TT commentary from reuters.com, Dec 12,
-> One company closes down in Japan...
Although it only opened for business as a Japanese firm in
July of 2007, Activision Japan is reported to already be
considering shutting its doors as early as the end of this
month, due to restructuring and poor sales in Japan. The
company is probably best known for its Guitar Hero games,
which although monster hits in North America and Europe,
were poorly received here in japan. Apparently less than
10,000 copies were sold. (Source: TT commentary from
1up.com, Dec 12, 2008)
-> ...And another opens its doors
You can never have too much frozen yoghurt. We're about to
get blitzed by California's Golden Spoon, the largest
frozen yoghurt chain in that fair state. The company will
open two more stores in addition to the ones at Universal
Studios in Osaka, Roppongi, and Shonan (Izu). You will now
be able to buy peanut butter and pumpkin flavor cones at
the Kansai International airport and Tokyo station. The
company has a 100-store, 3-year franchise arrangement with
TMP Asia. ***Maybe people turn to frozen yoghurt in
recessions -- there has to be some reason for their
unparalleled confidence. This company is going ballistic,
planning to add 500 more stores next year to its existing
100-store operation.** (Source: TT commentary from
marketwatch.com, Dec 13, 2008)
-> More tax breaks on the way
Although probably not as useful as a tax break for
photovoltaic panel installations, the government has
decided to stimulate the property and auto markets with tax
breaks for buyers. For homes, existing owners will be able
to receive higher tax deductions of up to JPY5m over 10
years for home loans worth up to JPY50m. This is almost a
tripling of the current allowance and loan values. New home
buyers from 2009 may be able to get more than this again.
At the same time, the government is going to waive 100% of
the purchase tax and tonnage tax for hybrids and electrics.
This will amount to an approximately JPY120,000 cost
reduction on a JPY2.4m Toyota Prius. ***Ed: Not great as
far as incentives go, but not peanuts, either.** (Source:
TT commentary from nikkei.co.jp, Dec 13, 2008)
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.
------------- Looking for English Magazines? --------------
Subscribe to your favorite English magazines today -- TIME,
Newsweek, National Geographic, Scientific American, People
and many more.
eigoTown.com is now offering subscriptions to English
magazines at great prices.
Credit cards and PayPal accepted.
+++ 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)
BiOS is now accepting applicants for the role of Enterprise
Systems Integration Lead Project Manager for placement
within a worldwide Television services company. As the Lead
PM you will be overseeing a wide range of projects that
include configuration, installation and deployment of
Enterprise products, technical support for newly developed
products and services, as well as providing software
development and engineering skills to the client's product
Our client is looking for someone with at least 10 years
proven experience in the Broadcast industry, working in IT.
The candidate will possess knowledge and experience in
server and network installation, and will also have some
software development experience. Familiarity with Unix and
Linux will be a plus. In addition you will be required to
communicate with a variety of teams and customers,
therefore polished communication skills as well as
Business-level English and Native-level Japanese language
skills will be essential to your application.
Remuneration is JPY9m – JPY12m, based on your experience.
** POSITIONS VACANT
- CCIE Security Engineer in telecoms co., JPYnegotiable
- Mainframe Systems Manager, JPY10m – JPY12m
- Wintel Server Admin Engineer, JPY6m – JPY7m
- Escalation Analyst, bank, Okinawa, JPY3.5 – JPY4m
- Data Center Operative, bank, Tokyo, JPY 4m – JPY5m
Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to:
** BiOS Job Mail
Every 2 weeks BiOS sends out a regular communication to its
job seeking candidates, called BiOS Job Mail. Every edition
carries a list of BiOS's current and most up-to-date
vacancies, with each entry featuring a short job
description and a direct link to the main entry on the BiOS
home page. Regardless of whether you are unemployed and
searching, thinking about a career change, or just curious
to know if there is something out there that might suit you
better, the BiOS Job Mail newsletter is an easy and
convenient way for you to stay informed. If you would like
to register for the BiOS Job Mail, or to find out more,
please email email@example.com.
Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to:
---------- Advice for Corporate Counsel and CEOs ----------
Business Laws of Japan Vol. 1
For the first time in English, a book which explains the
intricacies of commercial litigation and arbitration,
contracts, product liability, and safety regulation.
Chapter 1 - Discovering The Law
- Introduction: Nature of the Japanese Legal System
- Major Laws Relating to Business in Japan and more...
Chapter 2 - Contract Law
- The Commercial Code
- General Principles of Contract Law
- Contract Formation
- Validity of the Contract and more...
Chapter 3 - Product Liability and Safety Regulation
- Product Liability and Safety Regulation
- Development of Product Liability in Japan and more...
Chapter 4 - Commercial Litigation/ Arbitration
- Hearings and Evidence
- Cross-Border Litigation
- Code of Civil Procedure and more...
Order now and receive a 2,000 yen discount!
+++ UPCOMING EVENTS/ANNOUNCEMENTS
-------- BE THERE WHEN THE MUSICAL YEAR KICKS OFF! --------
Speaking at MIDEM / MidemNet 2009
* David Eun, VP Content Partnerships, Google Inc
* Jay Marciano, Pres., Madison Square Garden Entertainment
* J.Y. Park, Founder and President, JYP Entertainment
* Jim Balsillie, co-CEO, RIM/Blackberry
* Amit Kapur, COO, MySpace
* Dr Tero Ojanpera, EVP, Entertainment & Communities, Nokia
MidemNet: 17 - 18 January 2009 View MidemNet Programme
MIDEM, the world's music market: 18-21 January 2009.
9,000 key professionals from 90 countries
The earlier you register, the less you pay.
Register now at: www.midem.com
------------ Let Others Enjoy Christmas, Too --------------
Merry Christmas! This Christmas give the gift that keeps on
giving all year long. Make a donation of any amount to The
Japan Helpline, an organization which helps the community 24
hours a day, 365 days a year, anywhere in Japan and throughout
* To get help yourself, go to www.jhelp.com and click "Help".
* To make a donation, go to
and give what you can.
Thank you from the team at JHELP
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** To our TT497 piece concerning the survival of print,
and Canada's highly successful micro-publisher David Black,
a Canadian reader rightfully points out: "...Terrie and to
your non-Canadian editorial staff: Canada doesn't have
states, it has provinces. Geez eh! :-)"
*** To which we respond, 10 provinces and 3 territories to
be exact. On a map, they sure look like states to us...
Makes us wish we hadn't forgotten to feed the fact checker
down in the dungeon. Now we need another intern...
--------------- IT Services at Reduced Costs --------------
As you grow your business…
* Lower your system development costs
* Lower your IT operating costs
We help clients achieve just that through our Japan office
and offshore development center.
We offer Website Development services, Help Desk support,
Office Relocation services, Managed Hardware delivery and
setup, and Managed IT services such as O/S and equipments
upgrades, IT Setup and maintenance.
In addition to Japan we also have the capability to deliver
our services at Singapore and Australia.
For more information, please contact us at:
------------------ Offshore Development -------------------
SUBSCRIBERS: 10,335 as of December 14, 2008
(We purge our list regularly.
+++ ABOUT US
Written by: Terrie Lloyd (email@example.com)
HELP: E-mail Terriefirstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
For more information on advertising in this newsletter,
Get Terrie's Take by giving your name and email address at
http://www.japaninc.com/newsletters/free_sign_up, or go
straight to Mailman at:
Copyright 2008 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.
------------ Japan Inc is worth every penny! --------------
J@pan Inc is Japan's only publicly sold English-language
business magazine. Authoritatively chronicling business
trends in Japan, each beautifully designed full-color issue
brings you in-depth analysis of business, people and
technology in the world's second largest economy. Don't
miss another issue! JPY3,600 for 1 year (4 issues)
JPY6,000 for 2 years (8 issues).
Visit www.japaninc.com/mgz_subscriptions to subscribe.
Terrie mailing list