JIN-454 -- Japain?

The 'JIN' Japan Inc Newsletter
A weekly opinion piece on social, economic and political trends
in Japan.
Issue No. 454 Wednesday February 27, 2008, Tokyo

-------- Job Fair for International Students & Careers ---------

The JOBFAIR will be held on March 8th in AKIHABARA.
This JOBFAIR is the biggest event for international students
and foreigners who are thinking about a career change in Japan:
50+ companies will attend seeking internationally-minded people!

JOBFAIR participants will have an opportunity
to visit company booths and ask HR about careers.

Some companies may have interviews on the day.
The JOBFAIR provides a great chance to meet many companies and
learn about them what they do and the people they need in a
short period of time.

DATE: March 8th /11:00 - 18:00


Japan's phenomenal rise to economic super-power status in the
last century has long ceased to be the cause of optimistic
speculation by the international press. Since the late 1980s,
at regular intervals of 1-2 years, it has become the norm for
business media to run a big feature article prophesying doom
and gloom about Japan's economic future. The problems identified
are normally the same, and they are very real: lack of
regulatory reform, political confusion, unhappy demographics
and a tendency to protectionism.

The most recent piece of this kind was in last issue of The
Economist that has the word 'JAPAiN' emblazoned on its cover.
The leading article blames Japan's crusty political
establishment for the current slump. It warns that, 'The
incompetence of politicians and bureaucrats does not just lead
to expensive short-term disasters; it also threatens Japan's
long-term growth prospects.' The article neatly catalogues a
series of governmental blunders and mistakes showing how they
have adversely affected the economy. It singles out Abe, Fukuda
and the DPJ's Ozawa as a trinity of disastrous and incompetent

There is little that can be said to defend the politicians but
there is a case to be made that the political establishment has
much less power, and therefore responsibility; additionally,
while perhaps not as exciting a story as commercial Armageddon,
Japan's economic are arguably not so frightening.

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Expert analyst Jesper Koll gives the other side of the story in
a piece this month for Forbes Asia - he argues that Japan's
'decoupling' from the global economy, or protectionism, actually
make the country a profitable haven for investment. Furthermore
he states that the 'policy mistakes are beginning to run their
course. Fiscal policy is actually being eased at the margin,
with regional public investment rising modestly and, more
importantly, pension payouts to seniors being pushed up in
2008-09.' According to Koll, the credit crunch is easing,
dividends are up, and domestic demand shows sign of recovery.

Indeed, for all its short comings, Japan's regulatory
environment as well as its economic prospects show some healthy
signs. Never an organization to allow the FSA to pat itself on
the back, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan published a
white paper on Japan's financial and capital markets last year
that declared, 'the evolution of Japan's regulatory environment
is at a critical turning point and welcomes the shift in focus
towards competitiveness and better regulation.' In particular,
the J-SOX regulation, governmental efforts to reduce
non-performing loans and the attitude of FSA Commisioner Sato
are singled out for praise before the further recommendations
are made.

While the politicians squabble, big business in Japan seems to
have recognized that in the current market, Japan needs to
internationalize further in economic terms - as the financial
crisis of the late nineties shows, in times of trouble the
reformers wake up. Significant evidence that this may well be
the case right now can be found in a Nikkei article of February
4 (www.nni.nikkei.co.jp/AC/TNKS/Search/Nni20080203D03JFF03.htm).
The article reported that the FSA is starting to pursue a more
principles-based regulation system and plans to bring in a code
of conduct. A source close to the FSA told us that the Nikkei
had got hold of some information prematurely but that the
regulator is rapidly moving to make the environment more
favourable for foreign businesses - while Japanese banks have on
the whole been less hit by subprime than their Western
counterparts, the credit crunch, plus increased interest in
emerging markets, means that Japan is forced to act fast if
wants to avoid a crisis in the longer term.

Meanwhile, on the ground, although there is a sense of caution
among investors, and the population issue is starting to hurt,
there seems to be no shortage of ambition and new ventures, not
to mention lower level M&A (www.japaninc.com/tt455).
Anecdotally, just last week we met with a jewelry designer who
runs a side business selling a new type of wheel that can
traverse stairs, an entrepreneur who has started up a corporate
video production company, and an architect planning to set up
his own magazine to be published across Asia. Japan may be in
for some suffering, and the political establishment may continue
to be in turmoil for some time, but the gory vision of recession
touted by The Economist goes a little too far. Moreover, many
important foreign business interests here are hoping that a
little pain will be the kick the bureaucrats need to bring on
the next wave of reform. And if that transpires we will have the
hapless politicians of today to thank.

Peter Harris

------------ Translation/Marketing Service ----------------
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Please contact at sachie.kuroda@japaninc.com for more details.


Want to comment? It is now even easier to voice your opinion
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online at www.japaninc.com/jin454


Start a Company in Japan

Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar 1st of March, 2008

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 and A on
starting up a company in Japan.
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.

For more details: http://japaninc.com/terrie_lloyd/

-- Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo - Tuesday, March 4th --

'The Social Learning Revolution:
Creating a disruptive business model from Japan'

Speakers: Andrew Smith Lewis, Founder and CEO, Cerego Japan
and Eric Young, Founder and CEO, Cerego LLC.

Long time Japan entrepreneurs Andrew Smith Lewis and Eric
Young will share their experiences building the education
business Princeton Review of Japan and learning technology
company Cerego.
Cerego is now focusing on the rapidly growing online learning
platform iKnow with the goal of changing the way people learn
and becoming the world's primary online learning solution.

Date/Time: Tuesday, March 4, 7:00 pm
Location: Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan
Language: English
Website: http://www.ea-tokyo.com

------------ PMP Certification Prep Course ----------------

Get ready for the PMP (Project Management Professional)
certification exam, in 4 short days while taking just
1 day off from work!

March 20, 21, 22 and 23 -- 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
(Thursday, March 20 is a national holiday)

Satisfies the PMI's requirement of 35 PDUs for certification.

Enroll and pay by Friday, February 29, and you will be eligible
for a 35,000 yen discount and pay only 160,000 yen (incl. tax).

InnoSoft Japan K.K
For more information visit: www.innosoft.co.jp
or call us at 03-6868-3000


Marcus Evans Events - Supported by J@pan Inc

-Customer Relationship Excellence
15th - 16th April 2008, Hilton Tokyo
This event features leading speakers from Daihatsu Motor,
Daimler Japan, General Motors, Honda Motor, Nissan Motor,
Mitsubishi Motors, Toyota Motor and Johnson Controls
Automotive Systems Corporation. Don't miss this out!

-Compensation and Benefits
27th - 28th May, Tokyo
This event provides Japanese firms the understanding and
'how-to' of investing in their employees for the purpose
of sustaining their businesses Corporations nowadays need
to formulate a business-driven compensation policy that
leverages human capital to drive corporate growth.

'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