* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E 'S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.
General Edition Sunday, June 05, 2011, Issue No. 616
- What's New -- Believers in Japan's Health System
- Metropolis Members Club -- 2 air tickets on United
- News -- Young stay away from gyms
- Candidate Roundup/Vacancies
- Upcoming Events -- ICA meeting
- News Credits
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+++ WHAT'S NEW
We all have our pet peeves about the Japanese "one size
fits all" medical system. Our's is being forced to submit
to barium meal breakfasts and x-rays every year, as part
of the nation's employee health screening program. We know
of others who have been unfortunate enough to emerge from
local hospitals with infections and complications they
didn't go in with, you can't get the latest drugs here
without special personal imports, and what drugs you do
get are massively over-prescribed, as that is how doctors
But while every health system has its negatives, Japan's
does have some amazing positives. By way of anecdotal
evidence, we thought we'd share two very special stories
with you today. Both involve kids with life-threatening
problems, and the parents have been kind enough to let
us tell what happened.
Although one of the children did not make it, the common
thread between both couples is that they can reaffirm the
considerable talent, dedication, and financial generosity
of the medical system in Japan.
Our first parent is Charles McJilton, who runs the NPO food
bank Second Harvest. http://www.2hj.org/index.php/what_is.
The second is Kim Forsythe-Ferris, who is a founder of the
Tyler Foundation, which helps children with cancer.
-------- Remaining Partners for Tourist Web Project -------
Metropolis is rapidly establishing a name for itself on the
web, extending its brand and reader base. The company is
now engaged in a new nationwide project serving tourists we
believe will start returning to Japan in the second half of
So far we have had an outstanding response and have partner
candidates for Ishikawa, Fukui, Shiga, Ehime, Okayama,
Tochigi, Wakayama, Nara, Mie, Hokkaido, Tokyo, Niigata,
Kanagawa, Nagano, Hiroshima, Gunma, and ten others.
We are still seeking business partners, one per prefecture,
for the remaining prefectures. If you can write and market
and are interested in participating in a nationwide
consortium please let us know.
You do not need to be a company, but you do need to have
demonstrated commitment to Japan and business development.
Metropolis is supplying the software and marketing, so
other than your time and effort, no other major investment
required. Revenue-sharing returns are clear-cut and
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==> Ruby McJilton, as told by father, Charles.
Our baby girl, Ruby, was born on 9/18/2010 with a heart
defect. My wife and I had planned to return to the US in
fall the same year, after the baby got settled, but Ruby's
heart condition changed our plans. My wife had to travel
ahead in October alone to get her Green Card and at that
time she inquired about getting the operation done in the
US. That is when she found out it would be US$114,000 for
the surgery alone... a very unsettling discovery for us.
Early in my wife's pregnancy she was hit by a motorcycle.
She was taken to Todai [Ed: Tokyo University Hospital], as
it was the only one equipped to handle pregnant women in
such situations. Luckily the baby was OK and after several
visits we decided to continue with this hospital through
her pregnancy until we decided on where to have the baby
(in the US or in Japan). In the end, having the baby in
Japan and at Todai became our only option.
My wife spent three days in labor and finally gave birth by
emergency c-section at 0400 on Saturday September 18th.
When Ruby was born they immediately knew she was in trouble
and put her in ICU for several days. About two weeks later,
when I was checking the mail at home, I opened the bill for
our treatment and realized that they had not charged us for
the three days my wife was in labor nor for Ruby's stay in
the ICU. In fact, the local government even gave us
JPY450,000 to offset the labor costs and later gave us an
additional JPY186,000 to reimburse additional costs we
We cannot say enough about the doctors and nurses at Todai.
Our specialist, Dr. Murakami was very quiet and modest. He
explained the procedure in great detail on at least four
different occasions in English. While I speak Japanese,
they made an effort to have someone there who could answer
my wife's questions or would wait until I was available to
interpret for my wife. My wife and I feel extremely
grateful for everyone's support.
We also feel a deep sense of gratitude for the Japanese
National Health Insurance. In the last Friday of May 2011,
my wife paid our hospital bill and could not stop crying
when she confirmed again that indeed the amount due
was only ¥5,200 ($64)..! For the record, the actual cost
her operation, the ICU, and the hospital stay, was
¥4.6m, (US$56,900). As mentioned, when she
checked on costs in the US for the same procedure, she
found that the operation alone would have been US$114,000
(¥9.2m). We both feel like we have won the lottery. Not
only do we have a healthy daughter back home with us, we do
not have financial burden of paying medical bills for years
Ruby is much happier and breathes so much better. What more
could parents want?
==> Tyler Forsythe-Ferris, as told by mother, Kim.
Our son Tyler, born in Japan, was diagnosed with a rare
form of leukemia when he was just one month old. He spent
nearly all of his short two years at the National Center
for Child Health and Development in Setagaya, Tokyo.
Although we lost Tyler, it was not for lack of excellent
medical care. His 10%-30% chance of cure would have been a
challenging case in any country and that we had him alive
and joyful for nearly two years attests to the quality of
medical care we received.
We were active in every decision and aspect of his
treatment - with the doctors working as a team to give us
the best possible direction and explain options. Also, we
repeatedly confirmed with doctors literally around the
world by phone and email that every step we took was spot
on. It was in fact the excellent medical care that made us
realize how much this contrasted with the lack of family
support and psycho-social support offered to families and
children with cancer, and this precipitated our founding
of the Tyler Foundation.
I would like to point out a few key points regarding our
pediatric hospital experience. Some are double edged, but
I want to stress that no system is perfect!
1. When it comes to children with serious conditions and
diseases, the National Health Care system provides
amazing financial support. For our two years in the
hospital with Tyler we paid essentially nothing. This
includes a bone marrow transplant (which costs about
US$250,000 in the US) and a total of over 3 months in the
ICU during the more than two years of treatment (probably
averaging US$5,000 per day in US). This is quite simply
astonishing and something that we cannot begin to express
our gratitude for to the Japanese government and its
2. The pediatric nurses we met over the years were lovely.
True, they might not be as highly specialized as in the US
(in Japan they often rotate wards every 2 years or so),
but in general their demeanor was gentle, sweet and caring.
3. While the tendency to keep kids in hospital for quite a
while in Japan can - when treating a long-term illnesses
like cancer - have a negative impact on quality of life
by keeping kids away from home and siblings, on the other
hand there is something to be said about not being kicked
out of the hospital when you are not comfortable about
caring for a child in such a delicate state.
4. The biggest problem I see is inconsistency in
day-to-day hospital life for child patients, as it varies
greatly by institution. Nonetheless, the "top" hospitals
have doctors who travel often overseas and who have worked
in hospitals abroad, and who really embrace "Western"
patient care concepts such as transparency in dealing with
parents and patients, quality of life while in the
hospital, involving the family in aspects of the treatment
process, decision-making, etc.
So I note that as a foreigner being treated in Japan, if
you choose your hospital carefully, you can have excellent
care at a truly reasonable price AND have a doctor/hospital
experience similar to what you would expect in the USA or
other advanced economies.
...The information janitors/
Metropolis Members Club Winners
Last week Robert Hoey who won one night's accommodation for
two at The Westin Tokyo courtesy of The Westin Tokyo. Next
we have another GRAND PRIZE, which is a pair of air tickets
to any United direct destination in the USA or Asia
courtesy of United Airlines. This is the big one...!
Our Metropolis Members Club is growing by leaps and bounds
-- join now. No obligations, simply receive our weekly
email magazine and enjoy the Metropolis stories, discounts,
--------- BIOS - Bilingual IT Systems and Support ---------
BiOS full-service IT solutions has a new service.
Working with our fully licenced temporary dispatch group,
we are now able to provide Japan in-country workers
for companies not yet registered in Japan.
This innovative service is available for companies needing
to hire staff for Japanese customers, but who are unable
to commit to the expense and infrastructure of maintaining
an office in Japan. We take care of all aspects of the
employment, contracting, and dispatch -- including
management of the employee.
Also, if you're thinking of Cloud office solutions, take a
look at Microsoft's new Business Productivity Online
Standard Suite. Terrie mentions Exchange Online in TT602,
and we can do the same implementations for you.
For more information on this and other SI and IT services,
in English or Japanese:
- Companies to move out of Kanto because of power
- Increase in beer consumption expected this summer
- Big drop in young people using gyms
- Libyan assets seized in Japan
- China amongst massive JGB buyers
-> Companies to move out of Kanto because of power
You wonder how complete the survey is, but apparently a
Teikoku Databank poll has found that 7.6% of 3,680 companies
within the greater Tokyo area are planning to shift
factories or offices away because of power supply problems.
The poll also found that 7.5% of retail companies, such as
restaurateurs, are planning to move location -- although
not necessarily out of the Kanto -- because consumer
behaviors have changed. (Source: TT commentary from
e.nikkei.com, Jun 4, 2011)
-> Increase in beer consumption expected this summer
Not everyone is disappointed by the forecasted hot summer
about to descend upon us. The beer companies are quietly
cheering the weather on, and are expecting consumption to
hit a 5-year high this year. Three of the four majors,
Asahi, Kirin, and Suntory, all plan to increase production
by 10%, while Sapporo will keep numbers at last year's
level. Japanese drink about 30% of the year's beer
consumption in the period June-August. (Source: TT
commentary from e.nikkei.com, Jun 4, 2011)
-> Big drop in young people using gyms
Interesting stats from a Nikkei article bemoaning the
reduction in the number of young people, particularly young
women, using gyms. Apparently the average age of of major
gym chains such as Central Sports, Renaissance, and Megalos
is now around 50 years old, and the percentage of customers
in their 20's is now just 10-15% of the total customer
base, varying by chain. Operators say that young people
can't afford the fees nor the time in the gym, while older
folks have become more health aware. So where are the young
going? The women at least are apparently heading for yoga
studios, and it's estimated that about 1m people were
practicing yoga nationwide in 2010, up up 500% over 2003.
(Source: TT commentary from e.nikkei.com, Jun 4, 2011)
-> Libyan assets seized in Japan
Coordinating with US- and European-led efforts to squeeze
Muammar Gaddafi out of power, Japan has joined the fray by
seizing an estimated US$4.4bn in assets, including bank
accounts here. The government has not said what assets have
been seized, but with that level we have to assume it is
at least a mix of stocks, bonds, and property. ***Ed: The
scale of Gaddafi and his cronies' holdings outside Libya
gives you some idea of just how much they've screwed the
country over the last 42 years. Also interesting how the
Japanese authorities made the seizures without any fuss or
fanfare.** (Source: TT commentary from afp on google.com,
Jun 4, 2011)
-> China amongst massive JGB buyers
Following a similar pattern to last year when there were
simultaneous concerns about the US dollar and the Euro,
foreign buyers have bought up a record amount of Japanese
bonds in the last five weeks, hitting JPY4.696trn.
Apparently part of the surge is due to China getting out of
Euro and dollars and buying maturing 4- and 5-year bonds as
a short term position to park money. **Ed: Apart from the
Euro and Dollar, the Yen is the only currency available in
sufficient quantity that it can serve as a parking place
for massive amounts of foreign investment -- thus the
paradox of a not-so-healthy economy but lots of yen buying
going on.** (Source: TT commentary from reuters.com, May
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.
-------- Essential Business Reference in English ----------
If you're a manager or director of a company in Japan, you
need these references with detailed explanations in
- Japan Staff Employment Law Guide - 1st Edition
Published June, 2010 (JPY 21,000)
- Japan Master Tax Guide 2010/11
Published July, 2010 (JPY 18,375)
- Japan Corporation Law Guide - 2nd Edition
Published November, 2010 (JPY 22,050)
* Above prices include tax
* As a limited offer for TT readers: 1 title, 5% discount,
more than 2 titles, 10% discount.
+++ 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 looking for a BlackBerry Specialist with
experience providing technical support for smart phone to
end users at our client’s office in the Shinagawa-ku area.
The candidate will be responsible for setting up BlackBerry
products for business use, based on requests from end-users
and from staff to executive levels; as well as coordinating
with technical engineers from both internal and external
teams to provide best services on a timely basis. You will
also be responsible for analyzing support processes,
services, results, feedback, etc. to continuously improve
service delivery processes.
Due to the technical nature and demanding work environment,
this position is suitable for someone with solid experience
either programming smart phone applications or setting up
smart phones for business use. In addition, since this role
requires direct communication with C-level end users from
abroad, fluent-level communications skills in English will
Remuneration is JPY4.5m – JPY5.5m depending on your
experience and skill level.
** POSITIONS VACANT
- Web Designer, outsourcing co, JPY3.5m – JPY4.5m
- Junior Account Manager, BiOS, JPY3.5m – JPY4.5m
- Move Add Change Coordinator, global bank, JPY4m – JPY5m
- Senior Network Engineer, global ibank, JPY8m – JPY 12m
- Helpdesk Engr, global pharmaceutical co, JPY4m – 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:
+++ UPCOMING EVENTS/ANNOUNCEMENTS
------------ Earthquake Kids Charity Dinner ---------------
The Support Our Kids Charity Dinner & Auction
Date & Time: Friday June 24th, 2011
Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
Program from 7:30 - 10:30 p.m.
Venue: ANA Intercontinental Hotel Tokyo, Prominence Ballroom
Format: Four course seated dinner, beer, great wine and
Corporate Table-250,000 yen /table plus tax ( 262,500 yen).
(Table of 10 guests)
Individual Tickets-15,000 yen plus tax (15,750 yen).
Corporate tables-Email for corporate tables to
firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit the form online.
Individual tickets-Please submit the form online, or email
email@example.com , and pay by bank transfer.
Tax inclusive price 15,750 yen.
Dress: Business / Business Casual.
Proceeds from the event will go to support orphanages in
New Zealand and Japan and to provide 'Time-Out' home stays
in New Zealand for young Japanese affected by the Tohoku
For more information please go to our website
------------------ ICA Event - June 16 --------------------
Speaker: Jack Byrd, Managing Partner - 360 Risk Management
Title: Prevent/Detect Workplace Fraud
Details: Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/
Date: Thursday, June 16, 2011
Time: 6:30 Doors open, Buffet Dinner included and cash bar
Cost: 4,000 yen (members), 6,000 yen (non-members).
Open to all.
Venue is The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan
In this section we run comments and corrections submitted
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amplify our points, by email, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** No corrections or feedback this week.
SUBSCRIBERS: 8,845 members as of June 05, 2011
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+++ ABOUT US
Written by: Terrie Lloyd (email@example.com)
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Copyright 2011 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.
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