JIN-244 -- The Arcades are Alright at the Tokyo Amusement Machines Show

J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:

T H E J @ P A N I N C N E W S L E T T E R

Commentary on the Week's Business, Technology and Cultural News

Issue No. 244
Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Subscribe for FREE:


++ Viewpoint: The Arcades are Alright at the Tokyo Amusement Machines

>> Noteworthy News
-- Japan's 100 Club: Facing the Aging Nation

================ ADVERTISEMENT =================
NOKIA Japan Co.,Ltd.


The Nokia 6650 phone supports both WCDMA and GSM (900/1800MHz),
which can be used in Japan and many other countries outside Japan.
It can meet your calling needs across national borders -
look how convenient and comfortable life could be!

*Check out the NOKIA 6650 phone at:

=================== EVENT ====================
Date: Nov. 19-21, 2003
Location: Le Meridien Grand Pacific (Odaiba, Tokyo)

Business today is all about reducing time, increasing speed, and
improving profits. Technology is the enabler.
Keeping up - and looking ahead - is your challenge and our strength.
Join over 2500 senior IT decision makers to hear Gartner's leading
global and Japanese analyst address technology issues that will
have the biggest impact on your enterprise over the next year.

View complete Symposium information at:


++ Viewpoint: The Arcades are Alright at the Tokyo Amusement Machines

Japan's arcade industry may be flagging a little, but you certainly
wouldn't guess it from the Tokyo Amusement Machines Show. All in the
line of duty, we went down to the massive trade fair last week and
spent the day playing the latest arcade games and browsing the state-of-
the-art technology. When our arms and feet were exhausted from prodding
buttons and pedals, we were left with a strong impression: If this is
one of the industries that has allegedly started running out of steam,
then Japan doesn't have much to worry about.

What impressed us most was the sheer inventiveness of the games. Arcades
have been around for nearly 30 years, and there has always been a fear
that once every genre had been tried there would be no more bottomless
pit for kids' pocket money. What the mainly Japanese makers displaying
their wares clearly showed was that even the oldest games genres can
still be rendered fresh and exciting.

Sega provided a prime example of this: It has now designed a hydraulic
simulator into which any piece of driving or flying software can be

To demonstrate the versatility of this fearsome device, each
editor took a different machine. One was in a Karting championship, the
other was in a futuristic cyber-sled. As each of us incompetently lurched
around a road and a space arena, respectively, the machine hurled us
about in perfect synchronization with the events on the screen. As we
dizzily staggered off, we concluded that the effects were far too close
to reality for comfort -- at least for anyone over 15.

Music was a big theme of the whole show. Many games concentrate on plastic
versions of classical instruments, and encourage even the most tone-deaf
to play along with famous old tunes. One of us plucked at a Shamisen, the
other pounded on a Kodo drum until he was red in the face. Later, we both
squeezed into a tiny booth for a karaoke showdown. As we warbled our way
through a couple of Morning Musume belters, we were rewarded with little
sweets, depending on which of us hit the truer notes.

Elsewhere, the theme of physical reward was also a strong one -- and this,
we believe, is what the message of the show was. The innovation that has
been poured into Japanese arcade games over the years means that the
technology has far outstripped the raw concepts.

Finally, the likes of Namco, Sammy, Taito and Sega have realized what
they need to do: keep the gaming simple, but reward people for their
success. Like it or not, arcade culture is not what it was in the 80s,
and it's longer enough for customers to walk away from a machine
with a look of satisfaction and a high score. Now they want fluffy
toys as well. The games makers have responded by adding a prize
contingent to almost every type of game -- driving simulators that
pump out prize tokens, sophisticated prize-grabber games, Print
Club machines that work with mobile phones and a host of others.

We rounded a corner to see our hunch proven correct: this show is
meant for arcade owners, and yet an area the size of a football
field was devoted to merchandise with not a single circuit board
in sight -- just row after row of fluffy physical rewards to take

-- The Editors

**FOR MORE: "Toying with Hearts and Minds," from J@pan Inc magazine,
August, 2003:

=============== EVENT =========================
ICA September 18 Event

PRESENTER: Eric McNeil - IBM Directory Product Manager, IBM Tivoli

TOPIC: When information MUST be right - the authoritative data
foundation for enterprise security

RSVP required, complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/
Date: Thursday, Sept 18
Time: 6:30 Doors open, sit down dinner included
Cost: 3,000 yen (members), 5,500 yen (non-members)
Foreign Correspondents' Club

================= NEW LAUNCH ================
NEW!! Japan Inc Communications K.K. is proud to announce the launch
of its new portal site: japan.com - your one-stop, primary access
point for Business, Leisure, Entertainment and News on Japan.

Check it out NOW at: http://www.japan.com

We welcome your input, feedback, insights - even gripes. Please
share your comments and ideas. Help us make this site rock!
Yves Bennaim on 3499-2175-1322 or at http://www.japan.com/contact/

>> Noteworthy News
-- Japan's 100 Club: Facing the Aging Nation

In Brief: In a gleeful report issued last week, the Ministry of Health,
Labor and Welfare announced that by the end of September, 20,561 Japanese
will be alive at 100. Japan already holds the record for the longest life-
expectancy at an average of 79.9 years. The ministry happily highlighted
the speed with which the 100 club has grown: there are 2,627 more members
than there were this time last year, and more than twice the number in 1998.
The Japanese Government has kept track of its centenarians since it began
compiling statistics in 1963, when the total was just 153.

The breakdown of figures this year produced the same tantalizing mysteries
as ever: The only thing that Japanese gerontologists can say for certain is
that women have a far better chance of hitting 100 than men. Nearly 85 percent
of the 20,561 centenarians are women -- including Kamato Hongo, logged in the
Guinness World Records as the world痴 oldest person. Ms. Hongo turns 116 this

Just in time for Japan's "Respect for the Aged" holiday this past Monday,
the Mainichi Daily news reported that the number of aged people in Japan
(65 years or older) and their percentage of the population both reached a
record 24.3 million and 19.2 percent, respectively. This is higher than most
other aging countries such as Italy (18. 2 percent), Germany (17.1 percent),
France (16.1 percent) and Britain (15.9 percent). Officials of the Public
Management Ministry said that Japan's aging population continues to rise,
predicting that the number of aged people will reach 32.77 million, or 26
percent of the population, as early as 2015.

Comment: In our forthcoming October issue of J@pan Inc magazine, Kansai
columnist Dominic Al-Badri attends a conference on the aging population at
the World Health Organization Kobe Centre -- raising the thorny prospects
of a shrinking labor pool and rising immigration. And in our November edition,
Darrel Whitten will offer in-depth analyses of the challenges and potential
windfalls in effectively marketing to Japan's enormous and enormously affluent
elderly population. While scientists can't quite sort out the older folks'
secret to longevity -- some of them are smokers, some are drinkers, some sleep
lots, some eat red meat, et cetera -- retailers are fast deciphering how
to sell to them.

**FOR MORE: "Holly Strollers": Japan's aged make domestic tourism lucrative,
from J@pan Inc magazine, September, 2003:

================ ADVERTISEMENT ==================
J@PAN INC magazine - the journal of business, technology and people in
Japan - invites you to participate in a "Real Estate Industry In Japan"
special ad section scheduled for the December 2003 issue.

The December 2003 special ad section will feature the major companies
actively responding to this competitive industry. Your company will be
interviewed for the ad section article and will be included in the
Directory Listings page, providing a tremendous opportunity for you
to engage customers, build relationships and explain your services to
a highly targeted audience.

For more information please contact:
Fabien Brogard on 3499-2175 ext: 1281 or email fabien@japaninc.com

================ ANNOUNCEMENT ====================
NEW!! POLICY WATCH (PW) TUESDAYS -- Our very latest newsletter:
A probing, bi-weekly account and analysis of the maneuverings behind
the scenes of Japan's halls of political power, featuring writers and
intellectuals associated with the Research Institute of Economy,
Trade and Industry (RIETI), many of whom are experts on Japanese

Provides intimate, insider access to what's really happening, what
should happen -- and what probably will.

Subscribe for FREE at: http://www.japaninc.com/subscribe_news.html
SUBSCRIBERS: 8,811 as of September 17, 2003

Written and edited by J@pan Inc staff (editors@japaninc.com)


To unsubscribe from this newsletter, click here:

To advertise in this newsletter, contact:

Subscribe at:

We welcome your viewpoint:
(NB Please do not reply to this newsletter -- it's outgoing only,
so we won't get it!)


(C) Copyright 2003 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.