JIN-446 -- People to watch out for in 2008

The 'JIN' Japan Inc Newsletter
A weekly opinion piece on social, economic and political trends
in Japan.
Issue No. 446 Wednesday, December 26, 2007, Tokyo

------------ Translation/Marketing Service ----------------
The J@pan Inc Translation/Marketing team now offers translation
and marketing services for companies to help them enhance their
performance internationally. Our services include:

- Professional translation
- Catchy copy writing
- Strategic design
- Effective PR
- Direct marketing

Our achievement includes:
- Corporate report translation and desktop publishing
- In-house magazine translation and desktop publishing
- Annual report translation
- Company legal document translation
- Government PR brochure copy writing and design
- DM service targeting senior executives

Please contact at sachie.kuroda@japaninc.com for more details.
People to watch out for in 2008

This week's JIN attempts to peer into future and identify who
might be making the Japanese headlines in 2008.

In many ways, 2007 in Japan was a year of 'out with the new and
in with the old.' This is hardly surprising in a nation where
year on year the population graph paints a picture of the younger
generation looking more and more like Atlas, straining to support
the world on his shoulders. In November this year the
government's Statistics Bureau reported that there were 27.53
million aged over 65 years old—that's roughly 21.5% of the total
population estimated to be 127.70 million.

Beyond the statistics one can't help wondering whether
demographical structure was lurking behind some of the political
events that we saw over the year—would a more youthful populace
have based their vote on issues related to pensions records?
Then, in September, Japan's youngest Prime Minister of the
postwar era, 52-year-old Shinzo Abe, quit to be replaced by
71-year-old Yasuo Fukuda. In the LDP there is no obvious, young
up and comer in the wings although when Fukuda does step aside—
which could be sooner rather than later given his recent dismal
performance in opinion polls—we will probably see Taro Aso
resurface as a potential candidate as might Sadakazu Tanigaki.

On the other side of the house, Mr Ozawa has had an eventful year
marked with both highs and lows. He will most likely continue to
give the LDP a run for its money, but he might also face
challenges from within his own party. In particular, Seiji
Maehara who has openly disapproved of the current party
leadership might try and jostle his way into the DPJ's top job
or, more calamitously, set up a rival camp.

In business too, the days of youth, personified by Horie and
Livedoor seemed in 2007 to have given way to a return of the old
boys with headlines being devoted much more to Toyota and
Mistubishi than to any new start-ups. However, SoftBank and
Mixi have also both had very successful years and their
respective heads are likely to be even more active in 2008. This
year, SoftBank's 49-year-old Masayoshi Son started to see his
efforts really come to fruition. The 'White Plan' subscription
deal won the business waves of new customers—White Plan
subscribers swelled to over 9 million—and the deal with Disney,
not to mention the launch of flashy new Smartphones manufactured
by HTC, mean that Son is likely to take on an ever higher profile
in 2008. Meanwhile, Mixi's 31-year-old owner, Kenji Kasahara, took
his SNS service firmly into the wireless sector in 2007 with more
users accessing the site on their cell phones than on their PCs;
it'll be interesting to see how he crowns this in 2008.

This year also witnessed the end of Nova English schools which
finally closed its doors this autumn leaving thousands of foreign
teachers impoverished and unemployed. The Nova story looks set
to be equally interesting next year as G Communication, the
company that have taken over a large part of the Nova group, is
an innovative player—the owner, Masaki Inayoshi owns an
impressive portfolio of businesses, mainly in the retail sector.
G Communication was fined by the FSA for insider trading last
year and Inayoshi's boldness could see him take on a Horie-esque
role in 2008.

And, in the wake of Japan's first ever hostile takeover that
occurred this month, we can expect to see two or three more of
these in 2008, probably thrusting president of the Tokyo Stock
Exchange, Atsushi Saito in to the limelight more and more. Saito
may be 67 but his outlook is surprisingly modern and his
determination to take the TSE public in style by 2009 should not
be underestimated.

It is not only in business and politics that young upstarts get a
kicking in the Japanese media. Early twenty-year-olds Yuuki Goto
and his sister Maki, who have both had high profile showbiz
careers, will no doubt continue to hit the press for less
glamorous reasons as Yuuki goes on trial for robbery and assault.

But there is media sycophancy too. The blossoming romance
between Sawajiri Erika and Tsuyoshi Takashiro is set to become
a great media bore in 2008—the 21-year-old actress and her
43-year-old film director boyfriend have been spotted by
paparazzi around Tokyo, normally in a car. It doesn't really get
much more exciting than that but if these two decide to get
married it has the potential to clog up the airwaves for quite
few weeks. Thankfully coverage is limited to 'Josei Seven' and
a few other rags at present.

As a more general rule, we are expecting 'talentos' (comedians
or TV presenters) to make more of a move into serious professions
as celebrity lawyer Toru Hashimoto is doing in his attempt to
become governor of Osaka (see the J@pan Inc Blog for more on
this: http://www.japaninc.com/node/2748).

Elsewhere, eatathon queen Garu Sone will most likely become
increasingly famous—Japan's thinnest greedy guzzler has started
to become a media darling this year because she can eat a lot and
yet remain 'cute.' And, one celebrity who might actually
disappear in 2008 is Yoshio Kojima, the Waseda university
graduate comedian who became famous this year for prancing around
in his underpants and saying silly catchphrases (also see J@pan
Inc blog www.japaninc.com/node/2743). He has apparently paid
off his Mum's debts and both he and his mother feel the time has
come for him to get a real job.

This year Tokyo launched its bid to host the 2016 Olympics but
next year the media spotlight will fall on Beijing. Back in
October, we reported that Japan's performance in the Olympic
games has been steadily improving (www.japaninc.com/jin437)
but the pressure on Japanese contestants in national sports will
be immense. Former champion Hideaki Tomiyama, now head of the
national judo side, is likely to come under scrutiny as Japan's
recent perfomance in global contests has been somewhat under par.
In women's wrestling Saori Yoshida will be going for a gold while
Kosuke Kitajima has the same ambition for his swimming

In baseball, Senichi Hoshino, the Japan manager, has a chance to
make a larger name for himself in Beijing this summer and star
player Yu Darvish is likely to be the hero for fans. Meanwhile
Takeshi Okada will be keen to establish himself as coach of the
nation's soccer team, reportedly he's aiming for a top three
placement in the 2010 World Cup: he has his work cut out for him.

For more predictions about people and trends in Japan, see the
forthcoming issue of J@pan Inc magazine, available from 11th
January. We wish all our readers a happy, healthy and successful

Peter Harris

Want to comment? It is now even easier to voice your opinion
than ever before! Simply post a comment below this article.
Alternatively, you can email it directly to the author at peter.harris@japaninc.com

Last week reported that there were 5 McDonald's in a 200 square
meter area in Shibuya, this is closer to 400 square meters. Also,
as one reader pointed out Ronald McDonald is simply known as
'Donarudo' or Donald in Japan. For readers comments on these
issues please visit www.japaninc.com/jin445

If so, you may be interested in finding out how to register for
the new automated gate system at immigration, brought in to
facilitate compliance with the new regulations that require
foreigners to be finger-printed. Download the information from:


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
your area? Piqniq is a Social Network Service tailored
specifically for you!
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


************WHAT DO YOU THINK OF J@PAN INC?************
We invite you to take a survey and to win a bottle of
premier gin 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:

---------------- ICA Event - Jan 16 -----------------------

Event: New Year Mixer Party-Joint event with
the American Chamber (ACCJ)

Overview: An evening of fun, games, salsa dancers, dancing,
prizes, drinks, and delicious food
Details: Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/
(RSVP Required)

Date: Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Time: 7:30-9:30, includes open bar, finger food.
Open ended nijikai at same location
Cost: 6,000 yen (members), 6,500 yen (non-members)
Open to all-venue is 57 - Roppongi 4-2-35, Tel. 03-5775-7857



Marcus Evans Events - Supported by J@pan Inc
Date :22nd-23rd January, 2008 Venue: Hilton Tokyo Hotel

-Clinical Trial and Drug Development Excellence 2008
Date :23rd-24th January, 2008 Venue: Hilton Tokyo Hotel
The event features case studies and expert presentations by
Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Bayer, AstraZeneca
and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.

'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: estherw@marcusevanskl.com

--------------------- MIDEMNET FORUM ----------------------


26/27 January 2008, Cannes, France, at MIDEM, the world's
music market. MidemNet Forum brings you an invaluable
update on how digital is driving the music business
forward, changing it rapidly and radically. Over 2 days of
intense conference sessions and serious networking
opportunities. You will debate and engage with more than
1,300 key international executives and play an active role
in shaping the future of the industry.

Speakers: Janus Friis, Co-Founder, Joost, Kazaa and Skype;
Jean-Bernard Levy, CEO, Vivendi; Tero Ojanpera, EVP & CTO,
Nokia; Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi.
The earlier you register, the less you pay. Hurry, seats
are limited! www.midem.com

------Metropolis Magazine Valentine`s Glitterball-------

Glitterball is back!
Tokyo's favorite party makes its triumphant return on
February 14, 2008-Valentine's Day.
An institution for nearly a decade, the Metropolis-hosted
Glitterball was on hiatus this year due to the closing of
Velfarre nightclub, but 2008's version promises to be better
than ever.

Roppongi hotspot Alife will host over 1,000 V-Day revelers
for a night of eating, drinking, dancing, making friends-and
who knows what else.
Prize drawings, swag bags, and Tokyo's funnest crowd will make
the reborn Glitterball the highlight of the Tokyo social calendar.