TT-496 -- Making the Case for Recycling Monopolies, ebiz news from Japan

* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E 'S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.

General Edition Sunday, November 30, 2008 Issue No. 496


- What's new
- News
- Candidate roundup/Vacancies
- Upcoming events
- Corrections/Feedback
- News credits

SUBSCRIBE to, UNSUBSCRIBE from Terrie's Take at:


----------------- PBXL - CUT COSTS NOW! -------------------

Looking for ways to cut expenses in your existing operations
in Japan and around Asia?
If so, PBXL's CommDown program is perfect for you.

Focusing on telecom expense management, our shared savings
approach ensures that you DON'T PAY unless you save.

Contact us today for more information!


Over the last couple of years, and particularly due to
improved awareness of the negative health and
environmental effects of pollution, global commercial
interest in "clean tech" and "green tech" has been
increasing. We believe the turning point for
environmentally-sensitive technology becoming a viable
business field would have been the recent establishment
of carbon-trading organizations and emerging government
legislation around the world to force companies to
acknowledge their pollutin' ways. We now have the
beginnings of a commercial foundation upon which a
whole new industry will be formed.

No where is the hope to make millions by creating new
ways to extract energy from garbage, reuse resources
instead of manufacturing/mining fresh ones, or make
dangerous by-products safe again, bigger than in Japan.
But the fact is that while there is a burgeoning interest
in such technologies, old habits die hard and
green/clean businesses usually require a lot of supply
infrastructure -- either for the sourcing of the trash or
alternative inputs needed, and a motivated distribution
network that receives and delivers to the consumers the
energy/derivative outputs. Thus, in Japan at least, apart
from government and big corporate fundings of trial programs,
the real opportunities to make money out of such solutions
are still premature.

Instead, where most "green" initiative money is being made
right now is not in sexy world-altering solutions, but
in the rather more mundane activity of re-distributing
trash. One of the biggest partnerships in trash re-distribution
is between Japan and China. Over the last 4-5 years, China
has been buying ship loads of recyclable steel, plastics,
paper, TV tubes, circuit boards, and just about anything
else that can broken down, digested, or leached for

Prices have soared and trash has become valuable. The
demand is such that in our neighborhood in Tokyo, on
recycling day, before the local government garbage trucks
can get to our valuable bundled newspapers and boxed PET
bottles at the appointed time of 09:00am, a privately owned
truck zips by a couple of hours earlier and hauls the waste
away for transshipping in Chiba or Kawasaki. Elsewhere in
Tokyo, manhole covers, road-side barriers, stainless steel
park fittings, and other public construction materials have
been going missing at a prodigious rate.

But the recession may be about to lay the recycling
business low, returning the ownership of issues such as
how to dispose of paper and other recyclables to the
traditional caretakers -- our non-commercially minded
metropolitan garbage authorities.

[Continued below...]

--------------- IT Services at Reduced Costs --------------

As you grow your business…

* Lower your system development costs
* Lower your IT operating costs

We help clients achieve just that through our Japan office
and offshore development center.
We offer Website Development services, Help Desk support,
Office Relocation services, Managed Hardware delivery and
setup, and Managed IT services such as O/S and equipments
upgrades, IT Setup and maintenance.

In addition to Japan we also have the capability to deliver
our services in Singapore and Australia.

For more information, please contact us at:
Phone: +81 (03) 6909-4441

------------------ Offshore Development -------------------

[...Article continues]

According to a recent Nikkei Business article, in the last
4-6 weeks there have been veritable mountains of PET
bottles, paper, plastics, steel, and other recyclables
gathering at waste-processing plants around Japan's
major cities, due to the fact that the demand for such
materials from China has suddenly dried up. Industry
players are saying that the falling demand for such waste
is directly related to the reduced demand globally for
Chinese products. In particular, the demand for recyclable
plastics and paper/cardboard has almost ceased.

PET bottles are a case in point. Until several months ago,
there was a high demand for this particular type of
plastic, because it can be recycled into soft fibers
suitable for making plush toys and apparel. 70% of all PET
bottles were purchased by Chinese firms, who typically paid
around JPY30 per kilo. Now, despite the quality of the
Japanese sorted waste and definite cost advantage over
using raw materials from chemicals firms, the price for PET
bottles has fallen to just JPY3/kilo, and industry players say
that from year-end 2008, there may be no demand for PET
bottles from China at all.

If the recession lasts for 2-3 years, as it appears it may,
will the contraction in waste demand from China damage
the current players in the Japanese recycling market?
Not necessarily.

While there is no doubt that the main driver behind the
existing Japan->China trash trade has been almost purely
a cost-reduction exercise, there is another impetus that
is starting to appear -- that of government regulation here
in Japan. Back in 2005, new rules requiring the recycling
of automobiles meant that not only did the Chinese
demand for recycled steel push up demand, but also the
supply side was put in place by willing sellers here. The
result has been thousands of shiploads of crushed vehicles
selling to China for as much as JPY70,000/ton of steel
content as recently as July.

Now, admittedly by last month even recycled steel had
fallen dramatically in volume and price -- with one ton
now fetching JPY10,000/ton or less. However, since the
suppliers here in Japan have a motivation to keep providing
the steel, even if it sells for almost zero yen, it looks
like this area of trade will continue.

Such is the power of a new law.

So it was with interest that we read this week that the
government is likely to introduce compulsory recycling of
cell phone handsets and possibly digital cameras, so as to
facilitate the recovery of rare metals. METI and the
Environment Ministry say that from next year they will
likely require the collection of disabled phones when
customers purchase a new one. The new collection rules will
be backed up with fines and public naming and shaming of
companies not carrying them out.

Now, recovering precious metals from electronic products is
nothing new, and in fact has become a very lucrative
business for some. One of the leaders in the field is
Furuya Metal, which is a JASDAQ-listed company. Furuya is
still relatively small, at around 250 people, but it has a
proprietary in-house process for recovering the element
Ruthenium from old hard disk drives from traded-in and
out-of-lease PCs. The company recovers a surprisingly large
quantity of Ruthenium -- about 28 tons a year, which is
equal to the worldwide annual production of the element
through conventional mining. Ruthenium is used as a
catalyst in the manufacturing of silicon, as well as
various other areas of electronics.

Still, even with a lock on the technology and raw source
material, there is little demand and so the company is
suffering as a result. Furuya's share price has slumped
from a July figure of around JPY20,000/share to just
JPY5,200/share last month. The shares have recovered
a bit since then and are now trading at around JPY9,000.

What can revitalize the recycling industry? As much as we
don't like government getting involved in commerce,
sometimes it can be useful, particularly if there are
strategic issues at stake. In the case of Ruthenium supply,
this exceedingly rare metal is sourced mainly from Russia,
and is extremely important for the Japanese hard disk and
photo-voltaics industries.

Thus, we believe that the government might want to consider
introducing licenses for certain recycling sectors -- picking
those that align with national interest -- such as Ruthenium
for the nation's hard disk industry. Yes, this approach will
give certain companies trading in the field already
unfair commercial advantages, but if they are like Furuya,
then their technology already qualifies them to be part of
a small elite group of chosen suppliers. Licencing them
will force everyone else to do business with them, and so
such companies are more likely to withstand the downturn.

For those recyclables sectors that are not so immediately
strategic, but which will damage Japan's environmental
efforts if the sector collapses, the government should look
at subsidizing the domestic storage and re-processing of
these materials -- by way of tax rebates linked to the
ratio of recyclables used versus raw materials. Such a
program could be timed to tail off once the Chinese market
recovers. In the meantime, these subsidies not only would
keep an increasingly efficient waste collection network alive
and well, it would also reduce the nation's reliance on
politically reactive suppliers -- such as China (Indium),
Russia (Ruthenium), and Peru (Zinc).


Terrie's Take is proud to be a supporter of The Japan
Helpline. To get help 24 hours assistance with any problem,
any time, go to and click `help`.

To donate:
Your support keeps The Japan Helpline going.

...The information janitors/


----------------- Web Hosting in Japan --------------------

With prices comparable to those available in the US, and a
full range of hosting services, there is no need to put up
with slow-downloading websites hosted overseas anymore.

With nearly 10 years experience in the Japanese market, provides great value for money to both the
Japanese and English speaking clients.
We provide low cost shared hosting accounts from just 210
yen per month,to fully managed complex hosting.

Customers moving from our competitors receive
up to JPY10,000 cash back on completion of migration.
Isao 050-3533-8241

+++ NEWS

- Unemployment falls?
- Mitsubishi Chemical confident over auto Li-ion batteries
- Government's turn-around specialists show how to make a profit
- Japan Post Bank makes money
- Factory output plunges

-> Unemployment falls?

According to government statistics, Japan's unemployment
rate fell a surprising 9% in October, from 4% of the overall
workforce down to 3.7%. Given that October factory
production fell 3.1% in September and that exports fell by
the largest amount in 7 years, some analysts are saying
that the jobless data is misleading. ***Ed: Indeed, one
Goldman Sachs analyst reckons that that the
unemployment numbers are not properly reflecting the fact
that many people are leaving voluntarily from jobs, rather
than being fired. This introduces a delay before they start
applying for unemployment benefits and subsequently
show up on the numbers.** (Source: TT commentary from, Nov 29, 2008)

-> Mitsubishi Chemical confident over Li-ion batteries

The entire Mitsubishi group of companies has obviously
decided to make a humungous bet in backing not only its
struggling group member Mitsubishi Motors, but also the
entire concept of gasoline vehicles being replaced with
electric ones. One indication of this can be found in some
of the otherwise innocuous announcements being made by
group companies. For example, Mitsubishi Chemical has
said that it will invest JPY1bn (US$10.5m) to almost
double a facility which produces the material used to make
the negative electrodes of rechargeable lithium ion
batteries. While the actual financial investment is small,
the fact that they are doubling their output is very
interesting and indicates a healthy level of commitment.
***Ed: So now the Mitsubishi megalith really is kicking
into action. In another 6 months we will be able to see
whether the Mitsubishi Motors i-miev due to go on sale in
July 2009 will sell just the forecast 10,000 units in its
first year, or the 20,000 units or more that the rest of the
group seems to be girding for. We expect to see lots of
growth in these subsidiary companies as things heat up.**
(Source: TT commentary from, Nov 29, 2008)

-> Government's turn-around specialists show how to make a profit

President-elect Obama and his team should be looking to
Japan on how to help government-rescued banks and mortgage
firms make money again -- they don't always have to end in
failure. Apparently the Resolution and Collection
Corporation, the government's resuscitation/turn-around
entity for dealing with bad banks and home lenders, has
reported a net profit of JPY23.3bn for the first half of
2009, despite a recent increase in mortgage firms going
bad. Right now, the RCC has a net positive worth of
JPY79.5bn (US$830m) and will pay about half of that amount
back to the government's Deposit Insurance Corporation.
(Source: TT commentary from, Nov 29, 2008)

-> Japan Post Bank makes money

Another government entity which used to be slammed for
being unimaginative is now also reporting a healthy profit
thanks to its lack of involvement in the subprime problems
in the USA. Japan Post Bank is the largest holder of
customer deposits in the world, with JPY181trn (US$1.9trn)
in public savings, and the bank reported a half-year profit
of JPY150.1bn (US$1.5bn). The government is apparently
planning to take Japan Post Bank public in 2010. (Source:
TT commentary from, Nov 28, 2008)

-> Factory output plunges

Indications of just how bad the recession may become are to
be found in the plummeting rate of Japanese industrial
production. Government figures show that production dropped
3.1% in October over the month earlier, and this is a 30%
worse result than consensus forecasts just a month ago.
Thus, the 3rd Quarter expectation for contraction of
industrial production is now least 8.6% -- a record for
recent times. (Source: TT commentary from, Nov
28, 2009)

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.

------------- Looking for English Magazines? --------------

Subscribe to your favorite English magazines today -- TIME,
Newsweek, National Geographic, Scientific American, People
and many more. is now offering subscriptions to English
magazines at great prices.

Credit cards and PayPal accepted.



=> LINC Japan Ltd., an affiliate of the LINC Media group,
is actively marketing the following positions for market
entry customers setting up in Japan, as well as other
employers of bilinguals.


BiOS is urgently looking for a high-level network engineer
to start as soon as possible in the offices of a large
multinational telecoms provider. As the NOC security
engineer you will take responsibility for all aspects of
network security, from improving the current
infrastructure with a security focus to managing all
facets of the client's IT security operations

The ideal candidate for this role will have a CCIE
qualification and be extremely bilingual. In addition you
will need Level2/3 Support experience, a strong background
in Juniper, Netscreen, and Sidewinder Firewalls, strong
Bluecoat experience, and practical knowledge of Cisco LAN
(Catalyst)/WAN (7600 and 3800 series). GF sector experience
is also an advantage.

Remuneration is JPY10m – JPY12m, based on your experience.


- Level-1 Helpdesk, foreign financial co., JPY3m – JPY4m
- Sun Micro h/w professional required! – JPY4.5m – JPY6m
- Enterprise Systems Integration Engr, TV Co. JPY5m – JPY8m
- Account Manager, foreign Media Firm, JPY3m – JPY4m +comm.
- Tech. Support Manager, SW company, JPY8m – JPY10m

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

Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to:


---------- Advice for Corporate Counsel and CEOs ----------

Business Laws of Japan Vol. 1

For the first time in English, a book which explains the
intricacies of commercial litigation and arbitration,
contracts, product liability, and safety regulation.

Chapter 1 - Discovering The Law
- Introduction: Nature of the Japanese Legal System
- Major Laws Relating to Business in Japan and more...

Chapter 2 - Contract Law
- The Commercial Code
- General Principles of Contract Law
- Contract Formation
- Validity of the Contract and more...

Chapter 3 - Product Liability and Safety Regulation
- Product Liability and Safety Regulation
- Development of Product Liability in Japan and more...

Chapter 4 - Commercial Litigation/ Arbitration
- Hearings and Evidence
- Cross-Border Litigation
- Code of Civil Procedure and more...

Order now and receive a 2,000 yen discount!

For details, contact:
E-mail:, or 03-3265-1161,



Speaking at MIDEM / MidemNet 2009

* David Eun, VP Content Partnerships, Google Inc
* Jay Marciano, Pres., Madison Square Garden Entertainment
* J.Y. Park, Founder and President, JYP Entertainment
* Jim Balsillie, co-CEO, RIM/Blackberry
* Amit Kapur, COO, MySpace
* Dr Tero Ojanpera, EVP, Entertainment & Communities, Nokia

MidemNet: 17 - 18 January 2009 View MidemNet Programme
MIDEM, the world's music market: 18-21 January 2009.
9,000 key professionals from 90 countries

The earlier you register, the less you pay.
Register now at:

--------------- Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo ---------

Wednesday, December 3rd seminar
Speaker: Maria Mercedes M. Corrales, Rep. Director
CEO and COO of Starbucks Coffee Japan, Ltd.

Join EA-Tokyo's holiday seminar to hear Maria Mercedes
(Mercy) M. Corrales.

Mercy joined Starbucks Coffee Japan Ltd. in January 2006
and now oversees the operation of a company with approx.
800 coffee shops in Japan.

Prior to Starbucks, 'Mercy' worked for 31 years with Levi
Strauss, where she held a series of executive positions in
Southeast Asia, North Asia (including Greater China) and
South America. From 2001 through 2005, Mercy was President
and Representative Director of Levi Strauss Japan K.K. and
led the entity to a highly profitable and successful
business. Mercy has built a reputation for building
world-class teams, executing strong brand management, and
understanding at a deep level different cultures and
operating environments. Mercy was chosen as the Business
Stateswoman of 2008 by the Harvard Business School Club of
Japan. Please sign up early while seats are available.

Date/Time: Wednesday, December 3rd, 7:00 pm
Location: Shinsei Bank Head Office - 20th Floor
Language: English

--------------- Tokyo PC Users Group Meeting --------------

Thurs. Dec. 4, 7:00 pm - "Why is Security Hard?"
Tokyo Union Church, in Omotesando

Matthew Dons, an active member of the international
security community, will look at the technological, social
and economic aspects of security with an aim to helping
attendees choose security products, configurations and
policies for everything from booking a holiday online to
implementing building access control systems. See for more details, including map.

------------ Let Others Enjoy Christmas, Too --------------

Merry Christmas! This Christmas give the gift that keeps on
giving all year long. Make a donation of any amount to The
Japan Helpline, an organization which helps the community 24
hours a day, 365 days a year, anywhere in Japan and throughout
the world.

* To get help yourself, go to and click "Help".
* To make a donation, go to
and give what you can.

Thank you from the team at JHELP

Events announcements are priced at JPY50,000 per week.
For more information, contact sales at



In this section we run comments and corrections submitted
by readers. We encourage you to spot our mistakes and
amplify our points, by email, to

*** No corrections this week.


SUBSCRIBERS: 11,132 as of November 30, 2008
(We purge our list regularly.


Written by: Terrie Lloyd (

HELP: E-mail
with the word 'help' in the subject or body (don't include
the quotes), and you will get back a message with

Send letters (Feedback, Inquiries & Information) to the
editor to

For more information on advertising in this newsletter,

Get Terrie's Take by giving your name and email address at, or go
straight to Mailman at:


Copyright 2008 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.

------------ Japan Inc is worth every penny! --------------

J@pan Inc is Japan's only publicly sold English-language
business magazine. Authoritatively chronicling business
trends in Japan, each beautifully designed full-color issue
brings you in-depth analysis of business, people and
technology in the world's second largest economy. Don't
miss another issue! JPY8,000 for 1 year (12 issues)
JPY15,000 for 2 years (24 issues).

Visit to subscribe.

Terrie mailing list