TT-716 -- Evolution of Japanese in 100 years, e-biz 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, June 30, 2013, Issue No. 716


- What's New -- Evolution of Japanese in 100 years
- News -- Medical fees to rise in 2014
- Upcoming Events
- Corrections/Feedback
- Travel Picks -- Orange Cafe in Hayama, Iris Festivals in Ibaraki
- News Credits

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Find out more at


Back at the start of June there was an interesting article ( in the Daily Mail of the UK about what humans would look like in 100,000 years, inspired by a study done by artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm and Dr Alan Kwan, a PhD at Washington University in St Louis. Their findings were that humans of the future will have huge foreheads, flat faces, and saucer-like eyes. While the graphics and the content of the study are rather cheap looking, the article itself inspired a lot of web commentary about whether the two researchers really understood the dynamics of human evolution.

On the face of it, they did their job, taking into account the natural physiological developmental changes in humans over the last 100,000 years and extrapolating both the changes and rate of change to the next 100,000 years. But they ignored one important new dynamic in human development -- that of scientific breakthrough facilitating human needs and desires. As one commentator said, it's highly likely that within 1,000 years or less, mankind will be able to and indeed will want to transfer personal identity, memories, and intelligence to a long-lived machine rather than a naturally created host. Just as we get cosmetic surgery and take longevity supplements today, we will want to trade our bodies for androids in the future.

This got us thinking about Japan and its challenges, and how it is likely to develop in the next millennia. Considering Japan's inclination towards incrementalism, commentators (see this report: pessimistically say that Japan will happily see its fortunes decline and that the demographics in 2050 will be: 92.5m people, 39% of the population over 65, 6m home care patients, 2 retirees for every worker, and the eventual ejection of Japan from the list of developed nations. But these projections ignore the core aspects of human nature, such as the willingness to change when a certain threshold of pain is crossed, or when external factors (including technology and migration) cause a new outcome to be more desirable and less threatening. In Japan's case the pain and desire are just not strong enough yet.

[Continued below...]

-------- Japanese Editor/Writer for Dog Portal ------------ is looking for a Japanese editor/writer who loves dogs, to join its team and become the content/community manager for the portal.'s mission is to change attitudes of Japanese dog owners to their pets by introducing the psychology of dogs, the rewarding social aspects of living with a dog, and fun stuff that is happening overseas relating to dogs. The site is already up and running and has major sponsors.

The job involves:
- Setting standards and "tone" for the content on the site
- Working with contributors to help them improve their writing and photographic efforts
- Working with recruiters to attract, assess, and apply applicants wanting to become contributors
- Creating content ideas and campaigns to get community engagement (we offer contributors incentives)
- Creating stories, especially in the early stages of the project

This position is open to full-time (preferred) and part-time (possible) applicants, including, potentially, applicants not residing in Japan. You must be fluent in Japanese, able to write to commercial level, love humans, and love dogs.

Contact: for details.

[...Article continues]

So in looking into Japan's future, but taking an even less scientific view than Messrs Lamm and Kwan, we think there will be one of two outcomes: either Japan will be comfortable with its loss of world influence and docilely accept irrelevance and poverty for its elderly, OR, it will regenerate its population with fresh blood -- meaning immigration. This is an interesting conundrum for the nation's rightist leadership: whether to let Japan become so weakened that China starts extracting territorial claims, or to accept a bunch more foreigners moving in. We think that Abe and his bureaucrats can see the writing on the wall and that in some way or form foreign immigration is on the cards. It's just a matter of when and how.

So how will immigration happen?

In fact, we suspect there is a master plan already in motion, started under the guise of tourism, which is being skilfully sold to the populace as a savior for the nation's financial situation. For example, have you noticed how before the Senkaku problem, the Japanese mainstream media liked to focus on how much more cash Chinese tourists were spending than Westerners? Ergo, Chinese tourists were desirable as an all-important source of income to struggling sectors of the economy. Now that the Senkaku dispute has put a wrench in that wheel, the government has quickly picked up and moved its game to the next acceptable source of tourists -- the citizens of Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia.

There was an interesting comment from the Japanese embassy in the Philippines about how although Thais and Malays would get visa-free travel to Japan, Filipinos would have to settle for multi-entry visas due to the fact that after China and Korea, Filipinos are the nationals most likely to overstay their visas in Japan. Ahhh, OK, so the Japanese government is very conscious of the connection between tourism and unregulated immigration and is trying to tie reward to reliability. Again, this is reasonable on the face of it, but if they were really concerned about overstayers, why relax travel restrictions for that nationality at all? We think the answer is that because in fact they do want people to come here and feel that they can handle those who won't go home again. We're sure the authorities realize that for SE Asian tourists, for every genuine tourist there will be two job seekers, who with easy repeat access and LCCs will be more likely to return home and apply for a work visa legally than start working straight away as an overstayer.

An article in the ABS-CBN news website, (, reinforces the fact that with repeat access to Japan, there will be an increased problem with prostitution (in this case forced prostitution -- a despicable practice) and other abuses (sweat shops, etc.) of certain demographic groups. Yes, that's what happens when you make borders porous. People do what they do at home in the new country, and if there is money there, they will want to stay and make a living out of it. Not just prostitutes, but also cooks, engineers, sanitary workers, home workers, and many others. This is human nature and it's what immigration is all about.

We think the macro view of government is that immigration is inevitable, and by massively relaxing tourism entry requirements there will be a sudden influx of millions of friendly and non-threatening foreigners who will help change citizens' otherwise hardcore attitudes to immigration and having foreigners participate in the economy. This view goes a long way to explaining why the Japanese government was so insistent in bringing in the new Zairyu cards and stricter control of foreigners last year, because they know that they will be needed. Tourism is a surreptitious, but welcome, move to opening the nation's borders and letting what comes naturally happen, naturally.

Therefore, extrapolating what future Japanese will look like in 100 years (let alone 100,000 years), our forecast is that thanks to tourism-begets-immigration, they will have huge foreheads, flat faces, and saucer-like eyes. Yup, who needs 100,000 years when you can get the same result through interbreeding in 2-3 generations? :-)

...The information janitors/


------ English Community Manager for Travel Portal -------- is expanding and is looking for a English native editor/writer who has previous experience managing online communities and curating content. was set up to help Japan promote its many attractions to foreign tourists and in particular to demystify and remove anxiety by travellers about how to get around and deal with Japan. The site has been running for 18 months and is now Japan's largest online inbound travel portal.

The job involves:
- Servicing the needs and concerns of our partners around the country
- Working with Technology to prioritize software development of the site
- Working with Sales to harmonize and integrate the efforts of that team with the Partners
- Curating the best stories (and occasional editing) for display on the top page of the site
- Working with contributors to help them improve their writing and photographic efforts
- Creating content ideas and campaigns to get community engagement by contributors
- Creating incentives and campaigns to re-engage dormant contributors

This position is open to full-time (preferred) and part-time (possible) applicants, including, potentially, applicants not residing in Japan. You must be able to deal with the many personalities involved in the community and have a clear sense of mission and have a self-starter attitude. Japanese capability is helpful but not essential.

Contact: for details.

+++ NEWS

- Easier visas for Filipinos
- Lixil to buy American Standard
- Japan's TPP position seeks 5 categories of protection
- Housing starts up again in May
- Medical fees to rise in 2014

=> Easier visas for Filipinos

While visas will still be required for Filipinos, in line with relaxation of country entry regulations for nationals of other SE Asian countries, Japan is going to start issuing multiple-entry tourist visas to Filipinos as well. The new rules will come into place on July 1st. Apparently the reason that Filipinos were not offered a visa-free status as for Thailand and Malaysia was because after Chinese and Koreans, Filipinos have the highest rate of people overstaying their visas. The government reckons that the new rules will increase visits by SE Asian nationals by 250%, to 2m people a year by 2016. (Source: TT commentary from, Jun 28, 2013)

=> Lixil to buy American Standard

The toilet fittings business is a competitive one, and Japan's number two player, Lixil, has just upped the ante with an offer to buy out the largest US maker of toilets, American Standard. Lixil has offered somewhere around US$342m for the business, which includes assuming US$200m of debt. American Standard may be the largest toilet maker in the USA, but with an EBITDA of just US$49m last year, it is not the largest player nor the most profitable in that market. However, given that Lixil already owns the American Standard Asian business, presumably they know what to do with the brand going forward. (Source: TT commentary from, June 28, 2013)

=> Japan's TPP position seeks 5 categories of protection

It's hardly surprising to learn that the five categories of farm products Japan wants to protect from the TPP free trade deal are: rice, wheat, beef, sugar, and dairy products. Considering that most of the other nations in TPP produce one or more of these products, one wonders why the Japanese are even bothering to put these items up -- other than to be seen to be sacrificing wheat, beef, and dairy as the talks progress, perhaps. In the end, we see Japan keeping rice and sugar protections, and possibly dairy. The actual date from which Japan can officially participate in the TPP talks is July 23rd, after the US clears some regulatory issues to admit Japan. The TPP participants are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan (from next month), Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, USA, and Vietnam. (Source: TT commentary from, Jun 28, 2013)

=> Housing starts up again in May

Abenomics profits trickling down, OR simply a logical market reaction to consumption tax doubling by 2015 and near-term mortgage rates going up? Apparently housing starts in Japan are up significantly, with 79,751 dwellings approved for May, up 14.5% over last year. This is the highest number of starts since October 2008. Most of the dwellings are condominiums, and both rental and owner-occupied unit sales are up. ***Ed: While it's good to see cash being cycled back into the economy, the problem with property acquisition is that it locks up the consumer's cash in a long-term singular purchase.** (Source: TT commentary from, Jun 28, 2013)

=> Medical fees to rise in 2014

Consumption Tax is going up next year, so of course the Health Ministry sees next April as the ideal time to also put up the basic costs of health care. From next year, patients will have to pay more for outpatient visits at hospitals and clinics across the nation. There is no word of what the increases will be, but the Nikkei is giving examples in the order of 30%-50% more. ***Ed: So, what's the bet this is the government's back door subsidy to the medical sector in return for support on TPP and other deregulatory measures being planned? Either way, demographics and the government's debt repayment obligations ensure that health care will not stay cheap in Japan for long.** (Source: TT commentary from, Jun 27, 2013)

NOTE: Broken links
Some online news sources remove their articles after just a few days of posting them, thus breaking our links -- we apologize for the inconvenience.


------ The Robert Grondine Memorial Scholarship Fund ------

In 2011, we lost a great friend and colleague, Bob Grondine. Bob made considerable contributions in Japan to the legal and business community as well as important civic and charitable efforts. Not only was Bob a wonderful friend, family man and mentor, he was also a role model as a leader in US-Japan relations.

Among a number of US-Japan causes, Bob was an important supporter and chair of the Japan Advisory Committee of the United States-Japan Bridging Foundation, an organization established to grow global leaders through a program providing scholarships to American college students to study in Japan. Students designated as Grondine Scholars will be selected for their ability to emulate Bob's intellect and spirit as well as his dedication to the
US-Japan relationship. The fund will keep his mentoring spirit alive and memorialize his great legacy.

Donations of all amounts are welcome. To learn more, visit or click on the link below. Thank you.


=> BiOS, a leading bilingual IT services and resourcing company, is actively marketing the following positions for customers setting up or expanding in Japan, as well as other employers of bilinguals.


BiOS is urgently looking for an Account Manager with experience in recruiting and account management for IT infrastructure service delivery, at our BiOS office in the Minato-ku area. The candidate will be responsible for supporting the continued development and management of our existing clients, and serving as the BiOS frontline and primary point of contact for new clients and onsite staffs, as well as networking and developing opportunities with potential clients. You will also be responsible for providing a permanent recruitment support.

Due to the technical nature and demanding work environment, this position is suitable for someone with solid experience in recruiting, sales, account management, or similar client-facing tasks, preferably in IT. In addition, since this role requires direct communication with both internal staffs and clients who are bilingual in English and Japanese, fluent English and Japanese will be required.

Remuneration is JPY3.6m - JPY4.5m plus commission, depending on your experience and skill level.


- Bilingual IT Support Engineer, Japanese IT services provider, JPY4M - JPY5M
- Corporate Assistant, BiOS, JPY3M - JPY4M
- Service Delivery Manager, data center services provider, JPY5M - JPY7M
- HR/Office Manager, global licenses renewal services provider, JPY5M - JPY7M
- Bilingual Data Center Engineer, global financial firm, JPY3.5M - JPY4M

Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to: Check out the BiOS web page for other jobs:

** 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 featured entries containing a short job description and every job being linked 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



------------------ ICA Event - July 24th-------------------
Speaker: Dr Greg Story, President, Dale Carnegie Training Japan

Title: "Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm - How to Create Engaged Employees"

Details: Complete event details at

Date: Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
Time: 6:30 Doors open, Buffet Dinner included and cash bar
Cost: 4,000 yen (members), 6,000 yen (non-members). Open to all No sign ups at the door!!!!!!!
RSVP: RSVP by 5pm on Sunday, July 21st. Venue is The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan



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 or comments this week.



=> Hayama Cafe “Orange Blue”, Kanagawa
Cozy seaside spot inside the Museum of Modern Art

“Orange Blue” is a cozy cafe, just in front of Issiki Beach, Hayama. It is inside The Museum of Modern Art, Hayama, but you can have tea here without entering the museum. The cafe is inside a long, glass covered room facing the expanse of the Pacific Ocean. You can enjoy a cup of pleasant tea, as well as beer, cake and some light meals. It's open from 10 AM to 5 PM, closed Mondays. By car, the cafe is 7.2 km from Zushi Interchange or a 20-minute bus ride from JR Zushi Station. Definitely worth the stop if you're in that area.

=> Itako Iris Festival, Ibaraki
Blushing brides and purple petals in Ibaraki

Most of the year, the canal-laced town of Itako in Ibaraki prefecture is a quiet place. Come in June, however, and you'll find the town awash with the color purple and traditional wedding parties being ferries gliding up and down the local waterways. On May 18th, Itako kicked off its 62nd annual Iris Festival. Over the course of six weeks, over one million irises (around 500 different varieties) will unfurl their indigo, pale violet, white and even yellow petals in the Maekawa Iris Garden on the bank's of Itako's river. The iris plots are criss-crossed by a series of wooden bridges, from which visitors and photographers can find the perfect vantage point to shoot pictures of the bloom.



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