* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E 'S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.
General Edition Sunday, January 30, 2011, Issue No. 599
- What's New
- Short Takes
- Candidate Roundup/Vacancies
- Upcoming Events
- News Credits
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+++ WHAT'S NEW
Over the last couple of years, both the foreign and
Japanese press have been carrying stories about more and
more seniors being driven to shoplifting because of the
economy and other factors. The situation seems to be
getting a lot worse, and the National Police Agency (NPA)
released a statement this week saying that a full 27,362
people aged 65 or older were arrested for shoplifting last
year. This rate of arrests has the oldsters level-pegging
with teenagers, the nation's traditional shoplifters.
This number is quite significant, in that not only has it
doubled in the last 10 years, but also because at 20% of
the population, those aged 65 or older now comprise 26% of
the total number of shoplifters apprehended by police. This
is disproportionate, especially given that this is a
generation that learned respect and obedience the hard way.
Actually, you'd think that in a relatively tolerant society
like Japan that many of these aged petty offenders would
simply be let off with a warning and some sort of supervision,
and indeed that is happening. Most get a suspended
sentence and are told not to come back. Unfortunately,
the number of recidivists is climbing, and now about 16% of
the prison population is 60 or older -- most being in there for
So why are the elderly are turning to shoplifting? A 2009
Tokyo Metropolitan Police study of shoplifters found that
almost 24% of pensioner arrests said that loneliness drove
them to it. We're not sure exactly how loneliness drives
old people to shoplifting directly, surely stalking or
running out of bars before paying the bill would be a more
likely crime. But we suppose that if being alone means no
emotional and financial support, then of course someone
without that support might resort to measures that make
sense to them even as it wouldn't to friends and family
who would otherwise try to stop them.
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Certainly basic need is a big part of shoplifting for the
elderly. In the Tokyo Police study, 55.4% of aged
shoplifters were single and 40% were living alone.
Apparently 80% of the items they stole were worth JPY1,000
or less, and tended to be either food (80% of cases) or
clothing. Given that some of these elderly are trying to
survive on a basic pension of around JPY80,000 a month
(what a divorced wife, widow, or long-term unemployed
person might be on if they had not contributed to the
pension system sufficiently to qualify for additional
benefits), it's no wonder that some people might be
turning to other ways to support themselves.
We think another possible reason for the upsurge in elderly
arrests can be found in the statistics of those pensioners
already in prison. According to a Japan Times article
published last month, over HALF of the inmates of the
geriatric wing of Hiroshima's Onomichi prison have some
kind of dementia. Living alone, there would be no
one close by to recognize the symptoms of dementia
and get help. Instead, an aged, needy person could
repeatedly commit delinquent acts without remorse
or even recollection of having done so, until they get
Typically Japan's patient store owners will let an elderly
shoplifter off with a warning. But if the perpetrator is not
mentally competent, then with repeated visits to steal
something, sooner or later even the most patient store
owner will get fed up and call the police. The fact that
so many elderly are getting caught seems to further
substantiate our theory that much of this stealing is not
the work of a competent mind.
So might Japan be suffering from a wave of shoplifters
with mild dementia or Alzheimer's disease?
If the Japan Times number is correct, then it might be
asked why elderly people with dementia are being sent to
prison for such a petty crime as shoplifting when in fact
the courts should instead be placing them with care homes
where they can get proper treatment and sympathy. But, as
the Japan Times article highlights, prison is a good
pragmatic second choice if society doesn't like the idea
of letting you off the hook to a care home.
For those who are mentally competent, so long as you
can put up with a regimented life and not being allowed to
talk too often, prison is also a good second choice. As an
elderly unemployed single person you get three square
meals a day, a community of friends, and things to do.
Apparently the prisons even supply incontinence diapers for
those who need them. The JT article quoted several
prisoners who in their late 60's wanted to stay in prison
rather than try to fend for themselves, all alone, in open
society. Recidivism in such situations is not at all
Life in Japan is not going to get any easier for the
elderly, especially now that the nation's public finances
are under such pressure. And with consumption tax likely to
go to 15% in the next 5 years (our guess), even buying food
and paying rent will become difficult. Could you live on
JPY15,000 a month? We certainly could not. Thus, we suspect
that the current trend of fitting out prisons with geriatric
wards is going to increase. Further, there needs to be a
proper study done on the mental competency of those elderly
being sent to prison for petty offenses. It could well be that
they need doctors, not prison guards.
...The information janitors/
+++ SHORT TAKES
Some readers have asked why we are running these health
products messages. Just more ads? Well, no. Actully, we use
these products ourselves, to stay competitive working and
playing in Tokyo and know them to be effective. It's our
way of sharing insider tips with our readers. Of course if
you quote our reference number at iHerb.com, then we'd be
happy about that as well...
=> 1. Ubiquinol for cell health and anti-aging
Another supplement you can take for "insurance" (because
there are no immediate effects) is Ubiquinol. This is a
new highly bio-available form of CoQ10, a vitamin-like
substance that is essential for the conversion of energy
by body cells, particularly around the heart, and also
an antioxidant. If you're taking CoQ10, it's worth knowing
that Ubiquinol is a much more effective form.
* iherb.com referral code -- LOY499
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=> 2. Hotel stay for two at Hotel Avanshell Akasaka
This week's Metropolis Members Club prize is a free night's
stay at the Hotel Avanshell Akasaka, courtesy of the Hotel
Well, we said it would happen, and it did. The lucky person
to win two tickets to any United direct destination in the
USA or Asia, courtesy of United Airlines, was Seguel Kembo.
More tickets coming up in coming months.
Becoming a Metropolis Member is as simple as going to the
website and signing up for the weekly newsletter. No other
* Many more prizes scheduled in coming weeks.
* No charge to enter.
* Simply receive the MMC newsletter to stay in the draw.
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- Bird flu gets worse
- Household spending falls 3.3%
- Will Japan default on its debt?
- Bahamas tax treaty signed
- Yamato to expand significantly
-> Bird flu gets worse
Playing a repeat of the bovine foot and mouth epidemic that
required the elimination of entire herds from Miyazaki in
Kyushu last year, now the farmers of Miyazaki have been
stricken with bird flu amongst their poultry. The latest
epidemic appears to be spreading quickly and so far about
120,000 chickens have been culled. ***Ed: Perhaps worse
than the outbreaks, though, is an admission by the Miyazaki
Prefectural government that it failed to inspect 75% of the
required quota of farms and birds because it doesn't have
enough staff to do the job. You'd think they would have
learned from the bovine culls that they need to get on top
of their agricultural sanitation issues.** (Source: TT
commentary from japantimes.co.jp, Jan 29, 2011)
-> Household spending falls 3.3%
Deflation continues apace in Japan, aided by the fact that
consumers just don't have any confidence to spend. In
December 2010, the average household cut its spending by
3.3% compared to December 2009. The average outgoings for a
household were JPY327,006, well below expectations. For the
whole year, spending was also down, by around 2.8% year on
year. By category, clothing was down the most, with an
11.3% drop. ***Ed: Thus providing us with an explanation
for Fast Retailing's poor numbers this last quarter.**
(Source: TT commentary from tmcnet.com, Jan 27, 2011)
-> Will Japan default on its debt?
Probably the best summation we've seen of the Japanese
humongous public debt problem and whether or not the nation
will suffer a debt default similar to that in Greece, comes
from an article written for Reuters and published last
Friday. In that analysis, the conclusions are that Japan
still has enough savings, foreign earnings, and foreign
securities that it can sustain the current deficit for some
years to come -- despite the recent ratings downgrade by
S&P. ***Ed: Some really excellent numbers and other source
material in this article. We think it is compulsory reading
for everyone doing business with Japan. (Source: TT
commentary from reuters.com, Jan 28, 2011)
-> Bahamas tax treaty signed
Following on from the US government's lead, the Japanese
government has been signing contracts with potential tax
havens, to ensure that they can get access to information
pertaining to companies registered in those jurisdictions.
The first was with Bermuda, occurring last August, and the
latest one was signed this last week with the Bahamas.
According to the treaty, the Japanese tax office can now
request all kinds of financial information about companies
registered there and transactions they are effecting that
might concern Japan. (Source: TT commentary from
e.nikkei.com, Jan 28, 2011)
-> Yamato to expand significantly
In an indication of how exports from Japan's
small-to-medium size companies and small-lot orders are
increasing, and due to the fact that the transport business
in Japan is now at saturation, transport company Yamato
says that it is expanding its Asian delivery services
significantly. The company expects to double its shipments
over the next 9 years to 2bn parcels a year, with another
8 countries joining its delivery network over that time.
Interestingly, the company is offering some domestic-only
services abroad, such as shipping refrigerated and frozen
packages, and choosing the date and time of delivery.
(Source: TT commentary from e.nikkei.com, Jan 28, 2011)
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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- Japan Corporation Law Guide - 2nd Edition
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+++ CANDIDATE ROUND UP/VACANCIES
=> BiOS, a Division of the LINC Media group, is actively
marketing the following positions for customers setting up
or expanding in Japan, as well as other employers of
** HIGHLIGHTED POSITION
BiOS is Urgently seeking a Network Architect to join a
global information media company in Tokyo. The company is
currently expanding their services to both existing and new
clients in order to provide services not only in Japan but
also within APAC region.
The successful candidate should have very strong skill and
experience in architecting network infrastructure with little
supervision or support from management side. A CCIE holder
is preferred. Understanding of Market Data System is a plus.
Remuneration is JPY10m – JPY18m depending on your
experience and level.
** POSITIONS VACANT
- Service Delivery Project Manager, Market Data, JPY9m–12m
- Desktop Engineer, Global IT co JPY3m – JPY4m
- Wintel Integration Engineer, BiOS JPY6.5m – JPY8m
- Public Relations Specialist, Global Health co JPY6m–8m
- Account Manager (IT Sales Team), BiOS JPY3m – JPY4.5m
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
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convenient way for you to stay informed. If you would like
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Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to:
+++ UPCOMING EVENTS/ANNOUNCEMENTS
--------------- Start a Company in Japan ------------------
Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar 19th of February, 2011
If you have been considering setting up your own company,
find out what it takes to make it successful. Terrie Lloyd,
founder of over 13 start-up companies in Japan, will be
giving an English-language seminar and Q&A on starting up
a company in Japan at The Executive Centre (Tokyo Bankers
This is an ideal opportunity to find out what is involved,
and to ask specific questions that are not normally
answered in business books. All materials are in English
and are Japan-focused.
Date: Feb 19th, 2011 (SAT)
Location: The Executive Centre (Tokyo Bankers Club)
For more details:
Our special thanks for the venue go to The Executive
Centre, Mr. Paul Taylor
TEL: 090-9363-9605/email: Paul_Taylor@ExecutiveCentre.com
In this section we run comments and corrections submitted
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+++ ABOUT US
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