Business Break & Trends in Japan

Electricity SymbolBy Greg Lane -- What's new and what's hot -- Business Break: Mobile Moves, Second Life, Breakthrough for Skype, Web 2.0, The sun setting on DRM?, Power from footsteps -- New business & IPO -- Trends in Japan -- Eco fashion: Tokyo teen fashion Mecca, Shibuya, is having an unusual bohemian moment. Take a stroll through the trendy Shibuya 109 fashion building and you’ll see many a boutique offering ’60s-inspired flower-print dresses with flowing skirts and sleeves and fringed suede boots and vests.


Market Data & Retail Focus

Symbolby Ken Worsley, Sarah Noorbakhsh, Peter Harris -- Measure For Measure -- Hard information about selected industries, a corporate profile of a major Japanese listed company, and a column on a selected player from the retail industry. -- Retail Focus -- Don Quijote, a chain of one-stop discount shops that offers more than just no-frills low prices, established in Tokyo in 1980. The company listed on the second section of the Tokyo stock exchange in 1998 followed by a listing in the first section in 2000.


Exclusive Interview: Michel Lachaussée

Michel LachausséeMichel LachausséeBy Peter Harris -- J@pan Inc talks to the President of the French Chamber of Commerce in Japan -- The French chamber in Japan is the oldest European chamber of commerce, started in 1918. In Japan we have now reached a membership of 556. We are also the largest contributor to the European Business Council in Japan (EBCJ) and for France, the chamber here in Japan is one its most important in the world; Japan is a major market for many French companies. There are Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel and so on in the luxury brand sector with Renault and Michelin in the automotive industry. AXA have more than 10,000 employees here and Sanofi-Aventis are big in pharmaceuticals.

Read article.


Perspectives on Tokyo Living & Real Estate

BoxBy Kenneth Arbour -- Relocation Services in Japan -- Kenneth Arbour, President of Century 21 SKY Realty and Tokyo Orientations, has spent over 20 years in the real estate and relocation business in Tokyo.

This is the third of four articles, in which Ken covers trends in the real estate market in Tokyo and Japan. With his feet firmly on the ground, and with more than a little humor, in this article Ken covers the relocations market and the services his company provides corporations and expatriates.


Is the Customer a False God?

 : Customer—the unquestionable GodBy James Mok -- Part III: My struggle at the frontline of Japanese Enterprise IT -- The ancient religion of Shinto regards all natural objects and exceptional creatures as kami or “Gods.” Visitors to Japan can easily sample a taste of kami-sama treatment by indulging themselves in the high level of customer service in tasteful restaurants, cozy ryokans or in engaging with the eye-dazzling selection of consumer goods. However, the same ‘Customer-is-kamisama’ attitude in the IT services industry has worked adversely by accounting for more inefficiency than hospitality. Vendors and IT departments, by solely focusing on indisputably meeting users’ requests, have not only engaged themselves in the costly pursuit of excessive perfection and overly riskadverse decision-making, but have also inhibited their ability to innovate beyond what is being told.


Changing the Status Quo

IllustrationBy Brad Frischkorn -- The future of stock exchange technology in Japan -- Almost since its inception in 1878, the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has been synonymous with trading in the Japanese financial markets. Other regional bourses do exist to serve investors, but after careful merging and consolidation over the decades, the TSE remains the unquestioned benchmark.


Profile: Shigeru Ishiba, Minister of Defense

Shigeru IshibaShigeru IshibaBy Adam P Liff -- Shigeru Ishiba is something of an anomaly in the Japanese political world. His soft-spoken and reserved manner belies his high level of competence. Experts credit his ability to boil down complicated defense and foreign policy issues into an easily digestible form as one of the main enablers of Japan’s rapidly transforming security policy. His relative youth, coupled with a formidable support base in his hometown all but guarantee that he will remain a prominent figure in Japanese politics for years to come.



Investment: Market Turbulence and the Emotional Conundrum

CreditCreditBy Chris Cleary-- “The recent stock market woes have dented my investing confidence, so I’m sitting on the sidelines right now. I’m scared markets will go down more...if they don’t I’ll curse myself!” -- When is a good time to invest? Obviously at market lows. And to disinvest? Obviously at market highs. The dictum buy low/sell high is perfectly rational. However, market conditions are always uncertain. Fluctuation is the mechanism of price discovery. Markets fluctuate perpetually: whether they are moving sideways, upwards or downwards


Inside Out: Business in Venezuela

VenezuelaVenezuelaBy Anna Kitanaka & Peter Harris -- Venezuela is one of the most resource-rich nations in the world yet it is also one of the most politically risky countries today. Doing business there is not something that investors or enterprises do without careful consideration. Western media doesn’t do the country any favors with its portrayal of President Hugo Chávez as a US-hating communist intent on nationalizing every major industry in the country. And, they are not simply making this up—Chávez has been on a nationalization streak and doesn’t hide his contempt for Washington. However, probing a bit deeper, Fox News’ report of his “thievery,” “immorality” and “leading his people down a pathway to hell” is a little misleading. That is not to say that there isn’t a good deal of risk involved in doing business in Venezuela, but a look at the profits that some are managing to make there gives a fuller picture than the Western media’s reactionary hyperbole.


CEO Interview: Junichi Fujimoto, FON Japan

Junichi FujimotoJunichi FujimotoBy Hugh Ashton -- Smaller devices incorporating wireless networking are proliferating—not just computers, but phones, PDAs and hand-held gaming machines are using the Internet to send and receive data at high speed. Areas of dense population, such as Japanese cities, would seem ideal for these networks which have limitations on the area covered by each base station, but on the other hand, setting up the infrastructure for such ubiquitous coverage would seem to be a prohibitively expensive operation.



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