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March 2013 | 짜900

The Magazine of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan

London firm designs New National Stadium Japan PAGE 16


INDUSTRY & A-LIST: Banking & Finance and Tax & Investment | Book reviews | Media Arts events | Community | Visiting Japan | Fashion | Charity | BCCJ Event | And much more

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March 2013

26 CHARITY Middle-aged Men in Lycra Amateur cyclists to pedal 320km in aid of disaster-stricken survivors



DESIGN Tokyo’s Shrine to Sport London firm designs New National Stadium Japan 7 PUBLISHER Fighting—and Cooking—for a Cause Simon Farrell 8 MEDIA UK–Japan News 11 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Books for Smiles Update Lori Henderson MBE 13 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Tohoku: Back to Business How our B2B initiatives help quake-hit communities

MOTORS Battle of the Black Cabs

20 AVIATION Blue-sky Thinking Air-traffic services firm and think-tank join forces 22 MOTORS Battle of the Black Cabs Nissan and Mercedes bid to make city’s iconic taxis 25 BCCJ EVENT Lord Marland The State of British Politics

14 MEDIA What you missed in the Japanese press

CHARITY 26 Middle-aged Men in Lycra 29 Tools and Skills

16 DESIGN Tokyo’s Shrine to Sport London firm designs New National Stadium Japan

31 FASHION Old is New Modern touch for vintage gear to help quake victims

18 VISITING JAPAN Getting Back on Track How Britain missed the train on railway technology

33 AWARDS For Language and Science Academics gonged for bringing two nations closer

8 MEDIA Designer Teams Up with Fashion Brand

INDUSTRY Banking & Finance and Tax & Investment 37 UK Firm Pensions: Is the End Nigh? 38 A-LIST 41 Car Insurance in Japan 42 MUSIC Living the Dream 44 ARTS EVENTS Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Britain and Gardening, A Tale of Two Cities, Michael Kiwanuka, Symphony No 9, Shakespeare Festival 47 ART Otemachi Financial City Art Project Sculptures that invite people to touch, sit and play 48 COMMUNITY BCCJ, visit, festival, social, photography, art, music 50 BOOKS Exposure Firm Commitments

The British Chamber of Commerce in Japan


BCCJ Mission To strengthen business ties between Britain and Japan, promote and support the business interests of all our Members, and actively encourage new business entrants into the Japanese market as well as Japanese investment into the UK. Leaders President: Nick Walters Individual Member Vice-president: Alison Jambert Eat Creative K.K. Executive Staff Executive Director: Lori Henderson MBE Operations Manager: Sanae Samata Executive Committee Russell M Anderson | Jaguar Land Rover Japan Ltd. Paul Atkinson | Individual Member Graham Davis | The Economist Group Ray Bremner OBE | Unilever Japan Hideya Komori | Individual Member Vishal Sinha | British Airways Richard Thornley CBE | Rolls-Royce Japan Co., Ltd James Weeks | Kreab Gavin Anderson K.K. James Dodds | KPMG Tax Corporation Philip T Gibb OBE | Magellan Financial Planning K.K. Reiko Sakimura | Clifford Chance Law Office Yayoi Sogo | Individual Member Ex Officio Sue Kinoshita British Embassy Tokyo Jeff Streeter British Council Japan BCCJ ACUMEN Editor in Chief Simon Farrell British Chamber of Commerce in Japan 12F Ark Mori Bldg. 1-12-32 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-6012 Tel: (03) 4360-8361 Fax: (03) 4360-8454

Asian Tigers Mobility Email: Customer Hotline: +81 (0)3 6402 2371

BCCJ ACUMEN is the magazine of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan


Publisher Simon Farrell President Robert Heldt Art Director Cliff Cardona

Lori Henderson MBE has been BCCJ executive director since February 2011.

Ian de Stains OBE is a former BBC producer and presenter who has been based in Japan since 1976, when he was seconded to NHK. From 1987 to 2011, he was BCCJ executive director. Aside from writing, Ian now focuses on consulting and coaching and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and convenor of its Japan chapter.

Julian Ryall is Japan correspondent for The Daily Telegraph.

Mark Schreiber is an author and translator who has been based in Tokyo since 1966. He was employed as a media analyst in market research before turning to freelance writing.

Paul Atkinson is senior vice-president of corporate distribution at AIG Japan Holdings KK. He is part of the BCCJ's Back to Business Initiative Task Force and was vice-president of the BCCJ at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Ivan Doherty, an investment adviser for IFG Asia Limited, is a keen amateur photographer who works on a freelance basis for specific events.

Steve Burson, president of Relo Japan K.K, and H&R Consultants K.K, is originally from Christchurch in New Zealand. He creates professional mobility solutions that help people with their relocations to and from Japan.

Tony Evans is area manager of deVere Group Japan. He has been helping individuals here since 2005 and specialises in pension transfer and international inheritance planning. He previously worked in the UK finance industry.

JEREMY SUTTON-HIBBERT Produced by Custom Media K.K.

Assistant Art Director Paul Leonard

Client Services Manager Sam Bird Senior Account Executive Leon van Houwelingen Account Executives Mareike Dornhege Kieran Quigley Media Co-ordinator Yoko Yanagimoto


Assistant Editor Megan Waters

Host and Producer– Mike DeJong To advertise or order BCCJ ACUMEN: Tel: (03) 6804-5267 Fax: (03) 6804-5268 Custom Media Publishers of BCCJ ACUMEN for the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Specialists in bilingual brand strategy/visual communications, corporate bespoke solutions. Producers of BIJ TV (, the bilingual online video channel featuring successful business people in Japan. Akasaka Palace Bldg. 1F 1-4-21 Moto-Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0051 Warning/Disclaimer Custom Media and the BCCJ will not accept liability for any damages caused by the contents of BCCJ ACUMEN, including, but not limited to, any omissions, errors, facts or false statements. Opinions or advice expressed in BCCJ ACUMEN are not necessarily those of the BCCJ or Custom Media.

Kate Thomson is a sculptor who exhibits her works on public, corporate and private commissions all over the world from her studios in Japan and the UK.

Contributions BCCJ Members are welcome to submit ideas for content, which will be decided on merit by the Editor.

© 2013 Custom Media K.K.



Fighting—and Cooking—for a Cause


here are just 10,000 foreign refugees living in Japan compared with over 200,000 in the UK, the eighth-largest recipient of asylum seekers in 2011, according to the most recent numbers I could find. Contrary to popular hysteria in many rich nations, most refugees stay in their region of displacement—meaning 80% live in poor countries. So what? Well, I have worked as a journalist in southern Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Asia reporting on the plight of refugees from disasters, caused by nature and humans, and I’d like to plug two related good causes. The first is the Las Vegas-style Executive Fight Night II, scheduled for 24 May in the Grand Hyatt Tokyo ballroom, of which Business in Japan TV host Mike DeJong has kindly volunteered to be auctioneer. A very deserving cause for both poor and rich nations will benefit: Refugees International Japan (RIJ), a BCCJ member firm which is still busy in the country’s

quake-hit areas (see page 29), as well as in South-East Asia, Africa and Latin America. Based in Tokyo, RIJ is an independent, registered not-for-profit organisation that channels funds through experienced organisations already working with refugees out in the field, ensuring that assistance goes quickly and directly to rebuild lives and restore human dignity in a sustainable and communityorientated way. More details:

traditional, colourful and creative recipes—some adapted to suit gentler Japanese tastes—that were contributed by refugees from Asia, the Middle East and Africa who reside in Japan. Antony Tran, one of Tokyo’s most proficient—and generous—pro bono photographers, donated most of the superb images. If you want to be sure that your money goes to help refugees living in Japan, you can buy Flavours Without Borders here:

To sponsor or attend Executive Fight Night II:

Meanwhile, Custom Media, RIJ media partner and publishers of BCCJ ACUMEN, recently finished its latest good-cause design and editorial bilingual project— the very first cookbook by the Japan Association of Refugees. Flavours Without Borders, produced by Macquarie Group Japan, features

Finally, with the BCCJ AGM scheduled for 25 April, I’d like to encourage more members to get involved in running the BCCJ. To learn more about becoming an executive committee member, please email:

Simon Farrell Custom Media

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Designer Produces Collection with Popular Fashion Brand Celia Birtwell has collaborated with Uniqlo to create a capsule clothing collection, according to a press release issued on 30 January. The new fashion range is expected to be launched in midMarch in the UK. The designer’s signature colourful bold prints will appear on dresses, T-shirts, jeggings, shirts, shorts, vests and tote bags. The Japanese clothing chain, which has previously worked with UK-based labels, chose Birtwell for her ability to “combine the traditional sensitivity towards prints with a contemporary, modern and unique twist”.

Celia Birtwell’s clothing range is expected to launch in mid-March.

Plans Could Limit Language Learning Japanese language teachers in England are worried that proposed changes in elementary schools’ curriculum might sideline the language and cause schools to stop offering Japanese classes, the Japan Daily Press reported on 31 January. Under the proposed plan, students aged 7–11 will be required to study at least one of six foreign languages, not including Japanese.

It will still be possible for the language to be taught at schools, but it will be only an option. Teachers are worried that, by excluding Japanese from the mandatory list, the government is suggesting that the language is no longer important. The changes are expected to come into effect next year and will only be implemented in English schools.

KDDI Invests in Taxi Hailing App One of Japan’s largest mobile operators is to team up with a UK-based developer of taxihailing mobile applications, the Japan Daily Press reported on 5 February. KDDI will invest in Hailo’s technology, which uses smartphone apps that directly link potential passengers and drivers to arrange pickups as well as handle billing. The new agreement could drastically change the landscape in Japan, where the numerous popular apps for calling taxis mainly register requests with dispatchers and log a caller’s GPS location. The Tokyo launch of the app is planned for later this year.

Power Firm to Launch Joint Venture Intelligent Energy Limited and Suzuki Motor Corporation have announced an agreement to develop and manufacture air-cooled fuel cell systems for various industry sectors, the Financial Times reported on 8 February. The firms will have an equal stake in the new venture, SMILE FC System Corporation. The partnership includes a non-exclusive licence agreement that gives Suzuki access to Intelligent Energy’s leading fuel cell technology for its next generation of eco-vehicles.

Harry Potter Train Starts Operation to Osaka Theme Park A new train featuring a Harry Potter design has started running on the JR Sakurajima line from Nishikujo Station in Osaka to Universal Studios Japan, Japan Today reported on 12 February. The train went into operation on 1 February, in anticipation of the opening in late 2014 of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park based on the British author’s bestselling fantasy book series. The train features images of Hogwarts Castle, and the characters of Harry, Hermione and Ron.



UK in 5th Spot for Industry Output The UK is ranked fifth in industrial production among G7 countries, while Japan is in last place, according to a Trade Union Congress study issued on 25 February. The poll compares figures since the end of 2010 and shows that industrial production has shrunk in every quarter since the start of 2011. The UK economy needs manufacturing and mining to grow and thus close the trade gap, if it is to become less dependent on financial services.

Norfolk Firm Takes to Japanese Ideas A manufacturing firm believes that Japanese business philosophies can advance its efficiency and boost its bottom line, the Eastern Daily Press reported on 21 February. Teknomek Ltd., a leading producer of stainless steel equipment, has introduced a continuous improvement programme based on the Japanese models of kanban (having a visible record) and kaizan (continual, incremental product and production improvements that emanate from the plant floor) to track the flow of in-process items through a just-in-time production process. Key to the changes are daily meetings at which the staff discuss objectives and positive and negative aspects of their performance.

Poppy Day Inspires Expat Charity A charity founded by Japanese people living in London has been inspired by the UK’s Poppy Appeal, the Daily Yomiuri reported on 26 February. To commemorate the Great East Japan Earthquake, Sakura Front has asked supporters to wear handcrafted brooches made from artificial cherry blossoms (sakura), similar to the artificial red poppies worn each November in the UK and Commonwealth countries to remember members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty during wartime. About half of the proceeds will be donated to Sakura Namiki Network, an organisation that plants cherry trees in areas devastated by the triple disaster.

Utility Provider Tours Nuclear Reactor Site Employees of Tokyo Electric Power Company have visited Berkeley Power Station to learn about the plant’s decommissioning work, the Gazette reported on 9 February. Ten visitors from the leading Japanese utility firm also visited other sites owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency, including Hunterston ‘A’ in Scotland and the Sellafield reprocessing facility in Cumbria. In 2010, Berkeley Power Station was one of the first sites in the world to put its nuclear reactors in Safestore, postponing the final removal of controls for 40 to 60 years.

Study Reveals Handset Preferences Mobile phones are used in different ways in Japan and the UK, according to a 7 February study by Nielsen. The research firm’s poll of handset usage patterns in the two nations found that mobile users in the UK were more than twice as likely to own smartphones compared with their Japanese counterparts. At the start of last year, while some 61% of UK handset owners had a smartphone, only 24% of the phones owned by Japanese were smartphones. The study found that smartphone owners in the two countries tend to

use different features and services on their phones. Some 50–70% of smartphone owners in Japan use search portals to navigate the internet, while their counterparts in the UK are more likely to directly access specific destinations, such as news and sports sites. Meanwhile, Japanese users have about 10 apps on their smartphones, compared with six on the average UK user’s device. In addition, Japan’s smartphone owners are more active in social networks than Britons, who are more passive users of social networks.

Sakura Namiki Network will use the proceeds from Sakura Front to plant cherry trees in devastated areas.

Themed Café Comes to London

The first cat café from Japan is to open in the UK, The Independent reported on 22 February. Members of the public donated over £100,000 to bring the popular Japanese idea to life in the UK’s capital city. The café will have 10–15 rescued cats, and guests will need to pay a fee to stroke the animals while drinking coffee. The idea became popular in Japan as landlords are often not keen on tenants keeping pets in rented accommodation. In addition, increased financial pressures mean that not everyone can afford the food and veterinary care needed to look after a pet.

Scottish City Holds Matsuri A Glasgow organisation held a Japanese matsuri (festival) on 3 March, to educate people about Japan’s culture and heritage, and promote community involvement, STV Glasgow reported on 20 February. Organised by the Japanese Matsuri for Glasgow group, the city’s Hina Matsuri is now in its 12th year, but was initially planned as a one-off event. The festival involved as many visitors and volunteers as possible, regardless of background and nationality.


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Books for Smiles Update Our initiative is creating shared value among member firms


hank you to all those who have contributed so far to our Books for Smiles initiative. Established in December 2012, this project invites firms of all sizes to support the professional development of Japan’s disadvantaged youth by donating books. Proceeds from the sale of the books will then be allocated to Bridge for Smile (B4S), a not-for-profit organisation certified by the National Tax Agency Japan. There are about 31,000 children and young adults living in 590 social welfare facilities in Japan. B4S teaches care-leavers how to build social skills, manage a budget, find accommodation and get a job. Over the past three months, 14 firms have joined this multi-stakeholder initiative: The British School in Tokyo, Conrad Tokyo, Custom Media K.K., Dyson, Eat Creative K.K., GlaxoSmithKline K.K., Hilton Tokyo, KVH Co., Ltd., MIE Project Co., Ltd., Oakwood Tokyo, Okamoto & Company, Inc., Price Global, Rain Interactive Co., Ltd., and Rolls-Royce Japan Co., Ltd. As a result, we have achieved one-third of our initial annual goal that will allow a care-leaver to attend nursing school for one year. About 20 more firms are in the process of mobilising the project and, as the number of donor firms and donations

grow, we aim to cover tuition fees for multiple care-leavers throughout the Tokyo region. In addition, the project will extend to those from areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Books for Smiles is not simply a charitable activity; it aims to create shared value among member firms. In the short term, we are able to achieve a target that would prove challenging to most firms individually. In the longer term, our shared action has the potential to secure social progress—educating and training the country’s disadvantaged youngsters. To ensure the sustainability of the project, we had to create clear objectives and processes. Since piloting the programme in July 2012, Yayoi Sogo, head of the BCCJ’s Social Responsibility Task Force, has worked tirelessly to give firms a full understanding of project expectations and impact. We have developed a very clear set of guidelines to support local implementation that can be tailored to firms of any size. Member firms across a variety of industries have risen to the challenge: Custom Media, publishers of BCCJ ACUMEN, have helped promote the project and donated 54 books from its staff and library; GlaxoSmithKline set up collection points during the Christmas period at their Tokyo headquarters and

plants, while Oakwood is hosting book boxes at seven residences around the city. The project has also reached beyond BCCJ borders; Japanese literary scholar Nozumu Hayashi has pledged his support, well-known professor Mikio Kawamura is reaching out to his personal network, and artist Bob Tobin will house a collection point at his Shimbashi gallery. The diversity of the project’s stakeholders is creating a rich dialogue. Some firms are considering the possibility of providing internship and training opportunities for those leaving care. They are hopeful that this will lead to job opportunities for the youngsters— contributing to the diversity of Japan’s workforce. This new approach to long-term, sustainable value creation for our member firms has the potential to exert a broader influence in the Japan market. BCCJ member support is indispensable to the success of this initiative. To take part, please send an email, in English or Japanese, to:

Lori Henderson MBE BCCJ Executive Director


Tohoku: Back to Business How our B2B initiatives help quake-hit communities By Paul Atkinson Senior vice-president, corporate distribution AIG Japan Holdings KK


t has been two years since the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that wreaked havoc in the north-eastern region of the country and shook the rest of the eastern coastline, causing buildings in Tokyo to sway. The triple disaster captured headlines around the world and images of it were rapidly communicated by media, Facebook and YouTube. The British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) and the British Embassy Tokyo worked quickly to assemble a taskforce to gather and disseminate factual and measured information to British people and the wider community in Japan. The shared information helped restore a degree of calm to residents and their families overseas. The images of Tohoku gradually disappeared from the front pages of the world’s newspapers, and were replaced by current newsworthy events. For the BCCJ, however, this was a time of increased focus on how to help the devastated communities of Tohoku recover. The BCCJ Back to Business Task Force, ably led by BCCJ President Emeritus Philip T Gibb OBE and Executive Director Lori Henderson MBE, and bolstered by the BCCJ’s Social Responsibility Task Force head, Yayoi Sogo, looked for ways to bring relief to the local communities under their B2B Initiative. Rather than raising money for charities, the BCCJ B2B Task Force decided that it wanted to help the people of Tohoku to establish sustainable businesses that would meet the immediate needs of the community. The BCCJ raised over ¥8.3mn for B2B through its various initiatives, including chamber events, joint events with the British Embassy Tokyo, as well as through the generous donations of individual and corporate members. A feature of the B2B Initiative was the close collaboration between the BCCJ and on-the-ground non-profit organisations and other charitable foundations.

The BCCJ B2B Task Force decided that it wanted to help the people of Tohoku to establish sustainable businesses that would meet the immediate needs of the community.

Through this network, it was possible to quickly identify the local needs of a community and assess the long-term sustainability of various proposals and requests for assistance. What has been the result of this BCCJ B2B Initiative after two years? Below are some of the projects that have been realised. • Onagawa Peace Boat Central Kitchen—funded plumbing of the Peace Boat kitchen, which provided 2,000 meals per day to survivors and volunteers. • Ichigo Café—funded equipment for eight cafés that provided a meeting place for farmers and business owners in a pleasant environment. • Funakoshi fishermen—funded and installed freezers, providing a facility for the supply of fresh fish. • Utatsu tented market—funded the setting up of shops close to remote temporary housing facilities. • Izushima Fishing Union—funded three outdoor generators to supply lights for night fishing. • Hakuba Scottish Festival—sponsored 20 students from Tohoku to attend the festival.

• Minamisanriku Green Farmers’ Association—funded construction of greenhouses for the production of fresh, inexpensive vegetables. • Ukishima Sculpture Studio—funding of the internationally acclaimed Postcards to Japan and Postcards from Japan exhibitions. • Watalis Organization—funded the procuring of sewing machines and raw materials, as well as the provision of lessons to enable women in the community to learn new skills. • Izushima Fukubukuro—funded provision of sewing machines for the production of bags and coasters for sale in Tokyo shops and restaurants. • Ishinomaki Bakery—funded the purchase of a bread slicer for PAO bakery. • Ishinomaki Citizens’ Market—funded cooling rooms for fishermen to sell prepared meals and deli items to hundreds of customers each day. • Peace Boat Volunteer Center— provided funding for the refurbishment of four containers to be used as stock rooms. • Onagawa Chamber of Commerce— provision of solar panels to provide electricity for shopping and student studies. • Aizumisato-machi—worked with KVH Co., Ltd. to provide a community centre for children in temporary housing complexes. • NPO Katariba—provided office supplies and equipment for a night school in Onagawa. • Farming equipment in the Watari area—a collaborative effort with the local government, local people and 350 farmers to develop fruit cultivation in the area. Many of the initiatives listed above were small in scale, but they have all helped communities in the Tohoku area to start regenerating their businesses and livelihoods. Through the generosity of its members, the BCCJ has made a real difference in the lives of some of those affected by the triple disaster. With the tenacity and determination of the people of Tohoku, these initiatives are helping the region get back to business.





Targeting Insular and “New Yankee” Consumers The Japanese term “Yankee” used to be applied mainly to delinquent youths, in reference to their dress, mannerisms and behaviour. More recently, however, Japan’s Yankees have become a bit more respectable. So much so that a serious publication such as the Shukan Toyo Keizai (2 March) is looking to them for guidance on future consumer marketing. The article advises readers to shrug off the term’s old negative stigmas. Today’s Yankees are a segment of new conservatives—aged 25 and under—who love their home turf, and revel in kizuna (close emotional relationships) with their peers. According to researchers at the Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living, the members of one subgroup—called jimotozoku (homeboys) and aged between 15 and 35— tend to stick to within a radius of 5–10km from their home base.

The phenomenon was first observed around 1997, and can now be found nationwide. Rather than seeking out new relationships, they make use of social networking sites to keep in contact with their old companions. This group’s close ties to home was reflected in their responses to a questionnaire circulated by TOWN WORK, a free publication that runs help wanted ads. The response “close to my home” was given by 71.8% of respondents to queries regarding “work you are seeking”, and by 78.9% regarding “the job you want to do”. This homing tendency, said TOWN WORK editor Kaoru Nakagawa, tends to result in people having a narrower perspective. For example, on the course of a trip abroad, should they not find the food tasty, they are likely to make the snap judgment that all foreign food is unpalatable.

In terms of consumption within their own circle, they tend to favour outlays for items that are shared, opposed to those used only by themselves. Along with a generally limited disposable income, this makes it difficult, at times, to differentiate their outlays from those of their parents. An analyst has observed that marketers are still targeting an older consumer segment, the so-called dankai junior (children of postwar baby boomers), who were born between 1971 and 1974. This group, which has been credited with spurring numerous consumption booms in the past—particularly those related to beauty and health—is now facing an “expiration” of its “consume-by” date as its members turn 40. Saddled with mortgages and the cost of educating their children, their consumption is declining. Thus, there is a need to devote more marketing effort to younger segments.

Cycling Overnighters Banking on heightened interest in health and outdoor exercise, the transport-related arm of the Kokusai Kogyo Group is planning to double to 40 the number of cycling bus tours it plans to organise during 2013. Starting on 9 March, the Nikkei Marketing Journal reports (8 February), customers will be able to load their two-wheelers onto the baggage area of tour buses that depart from Tokyo Station for nearby prefectures. Those going on the season’s first tour, limited to 30 individuals, will stay overnight at an onsen (spa) hotel in Namegata City, Ibaraki Prefecture, on the shore of Lake Kasumigaura. Over the twoday tour, participants will cover about 130km. Taking advantage of a promotional subsidy offered by the prefecture, the firm will charge the unusually low rate of ¥12,800 per person, based on a room occupancy of four. Additional tours—appealing to employed people in their thirties and forties—are planned for the southern part of Chiba’s Boso Peninsula and other rural areas of the Kanto region.


Kokusai Kogyo Group’s cycling tour participants can load their bikes onto the baggage area of the firm’s tour buses.


Department Stores, Railways Cater to Foreigners Commuter rail firms and department stores have been making an effort to bolster their services for individual foreign visitors to Japan. The Nikkei Marketing Journal (25 February) reports that Odakyu Electric Railway Co., Ltd. has renewed its website which can now be viewed in Japanese, Korean, Chinese and English. In addition, the firm’s limited express Romancecar (type 50000 and 60000) have screens which display destinations and station names in the four languages. Meanwhile, by the end of March, Keikyu Corporation will install more multilingual machines to facilitate fare adjustments at Shinagawa and 11 other stations. It eventually expects to phase them in at all 72 stations on the line. In addition to cash transactions, the new fare-adjustment machines will be fully IC-card compatible. Another development to watch is the start, on 16 March, of a direct rail service—via a new station deep underground at Shibuya—linking trains from Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and beyond to Yokohama’s Motomachi Chukagai Station, via the Tokyu Toyoko line.


漢語 한국어


Commuter rail firms and department stores have been making efforts to bolster their services for individual foreign visitors to Japan.

Taxman Targets Expats

Pack Rats: Enemies of the Economy

According to data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, in 2011 about 1.18mn Japanese were residing outside their country for three months or longer—enough time for them to qualify as long-term foreign residents. While it is not certain whether the Great East Japan Earthquake had any bearing on the figure, the total number was about 3% higher than the previous year. As more Japanese move abroad, however, the government has begun to take measures to close tax loopholes relating to foreign assets, in particular those that apply to inheritance taxes. In the Shukan Diamond (23 February), tax accountant Eiji Miura writes that, from April 2013, the revised inheritance tax— up to a maximum of 55% of the inheritance—will be applied to family members living abroad. This will also affect gifts of money and property. The tax, moreover, will apply even in cases when the recipients have acquired foreign nationality. According to the Ministry of Justice figures, 880 Japanese gave up their citizenship in 2011— although it is not known how many did so to avoid paying taxes. While many of the tax law’s new provisions will be applied in the 2015 calendar year, the loopholes for moving money abroad— including the requirement to report all foreign assets exceeding ¥50mn (at the risk of fines or imprisonment for violations)—are expected to start on 1 April.

Japanese people may no longer be living in a mono-amari jidai (age of excess), but too many possessions may still be putting a damper on consumption. The Nikkei Marketing Journal (4 February) reports the results of an internet survey conducted by Macromill of 300 Tokyo females in their twenties to forties. They were asked what items they had discarded during the past year (multiple replies were accepted). The online marketing research firm found that 80% of respondents had thrown away Western-style clothing and fashion accessories. This was followed by books and magazines (58.7%); and food and beverages, including alcohol (50.0%). The pollees were also asked what they are planning to dump this year. The top priority for 2013 was also Western-style clothing and fashion accessories, cited by 38.3%. This was followed by excess flesh (36.0%), and lounging idly around the house (15.0%). Fully 89% said they completely or partially felt that they needed to reduce their possessions. In addition, the survey asked subjects which of the following two statements applied best to them: A) I have no more space to put things, so I’ve cut down on buying things; or B) I think it’s all right to think about where to put something after I’ve purchased it. Of the respondents, 22% agreed with A, 50% leaned towards A, while 23% leaned towards B and 5% agreed with B.



Concept image of how the new stadium will look.

Tokyo’s Shrine to Sport London firm designs New National Stadium Japan By Julian Ryall • Sliding roof, 80,000 seats, eco-friendly • Sleek, elongated £130bn structure • Support for city’s 2020 Olympic bid

B Zaha Hadid beat 45 firms for the £130bn deal.


ritish architect Zaha Hadid CBE has won the New National Stadium International Design Competition for the construction of the New National Stadium Japan, with the selection panel praising the project for its dynamism. London-based Zaha Hadid Architects fought off competition from 45 other firms for the stadium, which will have a retractable roof, seating for 80,000 people and cost some £130bn. But it is the sleek, elongated shape of the structure, with flowing lines covered by translucent membranes that will truly

make the stadium an iconic addition to Tokyo’s skyline. “It is an honour for us to be selected to build the new National Stadium of Japan”, said Hadid, who won a Praemium Imperiale in 2009, a global arts prize awarded annually by the Japan Art Association, for her contributions to architecture. “Our three decades of research into Japanese architecture and urbanism is evident in our winning design and we greatly look forward to building the New National Stadium”, she said. “The stadium will become an integral part of Tokyo’s urban fabric, directly engaging with the surrounding cityscape to connect and carve the elegant forms of the design”, she said. “The structure is both light and cohesive, defining a silhouette that integrates with the city”, she added.

DESIGN “The perimeter of the stadium will be an inhabited bridge and a continuous exhibition space that creates an exciting new journey for visitors”. The design clearly caught the attention of the panel of judges, chaired by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, that included British architects Richard Rogers and Sir Norman Foster. Announcing their decision in November, Ando said: “The entry’s dynamic and futuristic design embodies the messages Japan would like to convey to the rest of the world. “I believe this stadium will become a shrine for world sport for the next 100 years”, he added. The new stadium will replace the present National Stadium, an ageing venue that was built in 1958 to serve as the primary venue for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games, but is now clearly showing its age. Hadid’s new venue is scheduled to be completed in 2018 and must be ready to host the Rugby World Cup 2019. Tokyo’s commitment to the stadium is also supported by the committee behind the city’s bid to stage the 2020 Summer Olympics. Tokyo made an unsuccessful bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, but has high hopes that it will be selected for the 2020 event when the announcement is made on 7 September, 2013. Its remaining rivals for the honour are Istanbul and Madrid, while Tokyo is considered the front-runner. Sir Craig Reedie, the British head of the International Olympic Committee

Evaluation Commission, arrived in Tokyo in early March to carry out his four-day assessment of the city’s bid to host the event, with the new stadium likely to be a key consideration. Hadid, who won plaudits for designing the Olympic Park Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, needed to meet a range of exacting criteria for the stadium design, notably the use of adjustable seating, a retractable roof, as well as being environmentally efficient and “establishing a dialogue” with its physical surroundings, in particular the nearby Meiji Shrine. Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Hadid chose a career as an architect and, after studying in Beirut and London, opened her own practice at the age of 30—rapidly earning a reputation for her original and idiosyncratic vision of how buildings should look. Her works have been characterised by fluid, dynamic exteriors, interweaving geometric curves, straight lines and sharp angles. She has also managed to find time to design furniture and interiors, including the inside of a restaurant in Sapporo and a boutique in Tokyo. Winner of numerous international competitions for her creations, she was also the visual force behind the artificial landscape formation of the One North Masterplan project in Singapore and, in 2005, won the competition to build the Neus Stadt Casino in Basel, Switzerland. In 2004, she became the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the architectural world’s equivalent of recognition by the Nobel committee.

She has also been appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) and her work was displayed at a retrospective in the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2006. Hadid has been deeply influenced by Japanese style and design, and told BCCJ ACUMEN that she dresses almost exclusively in clothing by Japanese designers.



By Julian Ryall • • • •

“High-speed trains are the future for Britain” UK lags behind in developing railways Govt budgets £37.5bn for railways by 2019 Also looking at other countries’ systems


In front of Tokyo Station: (from left) Masaki Ogata, vice-chairman of JR East; Minister of State for Transport Simon Burns; and British Ambassador Tim Hitchens

Getting Back on Track How Britain missed the train on railway technology


cottish-born entrepreneur Thomas Glover brought the first steam train to Japan in 1868, demonstrating the Iron Duke on a 13km track in Nagasaki. According to reports from the time, locals who saw the demonstration were in awe of British technology. Nearly 150 years later, the UK is looking to Japanese firms to provide cutting-edge railway technology. Simon Burns, the minister of state for transport, paid Japan a four-day visit in mid-February to experience the advances that have been made here in the intervening years. “I’ve been very impressed”, Burns said after enjoying a 40-minute journey in the driver’s compartment of a bullet train heading north from Tokyo Station. “Reliability and punctuality here are just fantastic”, said Burns, who was appointed minister in September 2012. “The safety record is phenomenal, with both railway firms I have spoken to so far not having any fatalities since the companies were privatised in 1987. “[The firms] have also embraced new technology in ticketing systems to help eliminate queues when buying tickets. “We can also see significant regeneration in areas where tracks have gone and where stations have been built, including in the hinterland beyond these stations”, he said. The minister was accompanied on his visit by Martin Capstick, responsible for the government’s high-speed rail policy since January 2011, and Andrew McNaughton, honorary professor of railway engineering at Nottingham University and an authority on the sector since 1973. “High-speed trains are without a doubt the future for Britain”, Burns said. “We already have the Channel Tunnel route which has proven to be a revolution in connectivity across the continent, at


the same time as freeing up capacity on conventional lines and for freight. “This could be a critical engine for growth that will help to revolutionise the country”. Burns also lamented the fact that the UK has slipped far behind other nations in railway technology. “We have a history of being at the sharp end of railway technology. You only had to look at the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which highlighted the time when we were in the lead; the industrial revolution, the development of Britain, and the impact that had on the rest of the world. “We are playing catch-up from successive governments in the past”, he said. “If governments got into trouble and needed to save some money, they chose to starve railways of investment. But we are now determined to have a world-class railway system. “We now have an opportunity to get back to the forefront of railway

Simon Burns met Hiroshi Kajiyama, senior vice-minister of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

UK’s railway initiative, giving the project much-needed “stability”. “The [UK] prime minister has made it plain time and time again that this is our future, for internal transport that will then flow through the Channel Tunnel into Europe”, he said. “To know that the government is consistent on this means that it will happen”.

“High-speed trains are without a doubt the future for Britain ... This could be a critical engine for growth that will help to revolutionise the country”.

technology and this is the time for us to grasp that nettle”. The UK government is examining the high-speed rail links that have already been put into operation in Spain, Germany and France, as well as Japan. Burns has revealed that the UK plans to select the most appropriate elements from each country to ensure the system that is put in place in the UK is the “very best”. Burns added that there is broad support across the political spectrum for the

Investment in the British railway sector in the five years from 2014 has been set at £37.5bn—the greatest investment in the UK rail system since Victorian times. It will also create an estimated 100,000 jobs in building new lines and stations. Phase one of the construction is for a high-speed rail “spine” from London to Birmingham that is scheduled for completion by 2026 and will be the first new line for 100 years to be built north of London. Phase two would extend those

tracks to Manchester and Leeds by 2033, where there is also the possibility of a third stage that would take the network to Scotland. “We will see a spine to start with and spurs that can come off it if there is the need, perhaps to the south-west or Wales. But let’s get the spine there first”, he added. Measures to improve the network have already been taken, Burns said, such as the electrification of 1,287km of track, including on the Southampton to Oxford line that extends to South Yorkshire. “These are exciting times for the railways, but it will take some more time to come to fruition”, he said. “This is not something that can be done overnight. We are replacing antiquated overhead lines and signalling boxes and people have already begun to see the benefits. “You don’t get it on the cheap, but it’s worth the investment because of the knock-on effects on the economy and the improvements in passengers’ journeys”. As well as meeting with senior officials of Japan Railways firms, Burns met executives of Hitachi, Ltd., which is investing in engineering facilities in County Durham and creating 730 jobs, plus 200 temporary construction jobs. In the same way that Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has been successful in exporting vehicles from its Sunderland plant, there are hopes that Hitachi’s railway equipment and technology will, in future, be exported from the north-east of England to clients across Europe.



NATS provides air traffic control services from its centre in Swanwick, Hampshire.

Blue-sky Thinking Air traffic services firm and think-tank join forces By Julian Ryall


ational Air Traffic Services (NATS), the UK-based provider of air traffic services around the world, has linked up with Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. (MRI) to look into “exciting” new opportunities in the aviation sector in Japan and throughout the AsiaPacific region. Richard Deakin, the UK firm’s chief executive officer, told BCCJ ACUMEN that the firm is aiming to capitalise on the new opportunities that are emerging in a part of the world that has huge potential for a sharp rise in the number of people flying. “We are looking at joint areas of aviation development within Japan, and


in the region as a whole, as the market is beginning to pick up from a demand point of view”, Deakin said. The potential is vast, he added, pointing out that, while Narita International Airport can handle about 180,000 take-offs and landings every year, the advanced air traffic handling capabilities of London’s Heathrow Airport mean it sees no fewer than 480,000 flight arrivals or departures over the same period. However, both airports have an identical number of runways. NATS and the leading Japanese think-tank and IT solutions service firm signed an agreement at a ceremony at the British Embassy Tokyo on 4 February. They will look into opportunities to collaborate in a range of air traffic management projects, expected to

include traffic flow systems throughout the Asia-Pacific region, as well as methods of increasing capacity and optimising ground operations at a number of airports in Japan. “Civil aerospace is a sector to which the UK government attaches a great deal of importance. It is a real pleasure to see that NATS and MRI have now signed a memorandum of understanding to enable them to work together in providing the latest, modern flight-management services to airport projects both in Japan and overseas”, said British Ambassador Tim Hitchens. NATS is already working on a number of projects in Asia, including designing an air space management system for Hong Kong and assisting in developing a third runway. The firm recently signed a five-


(Top) Richard Deakin is chief executive officer of National Air Traffic Services. (Left) Etsuo Isobe, managing executive officer at Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc, with British Ambassador Tim Hitchens and Richard Deakin at the signing of the memorandum of understanding with National Air Traffic Services.

year strategic partnership with Singapore’s Changi Airport that will help increase capacity 40%. In all, the firm is working in 30 countries across six continents. “This is a fantastic opportunity to continue our growth in the Far East, and MRI is an ideal partner”, Deakin said. “NATS’ world-class knowledge and expertise in air traffic management, combined with MRI’s knowledge of the Japanese and Asian markets is an exciting proposition and I look forward to the results”, he said. He added that, as well as the obvious importance of matching requirements in business, MRI had shown similar cultural sensitivities that bode well for the future of the joint venture. Mitsubishi feel the same way, with management executive officer Etsuo Isobe describing the partnership as “a perfect fit”. “[The agreement] will help consolidate our domestic competitiveness, while a fusion of NATS’ and MRI’s knowledge and expertise will support further

“This is a fantastic opportunity to continue our growth in the Far East, and MRI is an ideal partner”. development in the wider Asia-Pacific region”, he added. “This will be a wonderful partnership”. NATS can trace its history back to the foundation of the National Air Traffic Control Services in December 1962, and provides air traffic control from centres at Swanwick in Hampshire and Prestwick, Ayrshire. The firm also operates air traffic control services at 15 of the UK’s largest airports,

including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. Between 2011 and 2012, it handled no fewer than 2.2mn flights across the country and the North Atlantic Ocean. NATS is also playing a key role in the initiative to harmonise air traffic control across European airspace—an issue that will be important in the Asia-Pacific region in the years ahead. The firm has taken on several projects in Japan in the past, including studies to increase capacity at regional airports. Deakin said the relationships that grew out of those initial contacts have helped the firm to reach this point in its evolution in Japan. He also expressed gratitude for the advice and support of the UK Trade & Investment office at the British Embassy Tokyo for helping NATS “get that allimportant foot in the door”. However, Deakin admitted, “I never thought I’d be coming to Japan to show people here how they can be more efficient”.



Battle of the Black Cabs Nissan and Mercedes bid to make city’s iconic taxis By Julian Ryall

W Named New York’s Taxi of Tomorrow, the NV200s will hit the streets at the end of 2013.


ith some of the most cutting-edge technology that one of Japan’s leading automobile manufacturers has ever devised, the new generation of London’s Hackney Carriages is to bring together the heritage and iconic design values for which the vehicle is renowned around the world. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., which has custom-built the NV200 to operate on the streets of London, knows that it will have to be at the top of its game to please the fussy cabbie community and the 300,000 people who use taxis every day in London. “We’re making sure that the NV200 fulfils Transport for London’s conditions of fitness, such as the [7.6m] turning circle and convenient wheelchair access”, Andy Palmer, executive vice-president of Nissan, told BCCJ ACUMEN. “The Nissan NV200 London Taxi will be powered by engines that deliver great performance, low CO2 emissions


Nissan’s 1.2m2 glass roof should prove popular with tourists.

and exceptional comfort”, Palmer said. “We’re equally confident that it packs a host of other innovative features for added comfort, safety and external visibility that will attract customers to the cab. With competitive pricing, lower maintenance costs, and reduced fuel bills due to the model’s best-in-class fuel economy, it will keep London’s venerable taxi drivers happy, too”. And if this is not enough, future versions of the car hold the prospect of being all electric, with the attraction of zero exhaust pipe emissions. The shape of the London cab is a key concern for purists and Nissan anticipates that the NV200 “will become just as iconic [as the traditional London taxi] as it becomes a more familiar sight”, Palmer added. There is a bizarre requirement by law for the cab to be able to transport one bale of hay in its front seat, which Nissan has interpreted as sufficient space for a large suitcase. Nissan won the 2011 Taxi of Tomorrow competition to provide the next generation of New York’s similarly famous yellow cabs. The firm learnt a lot from that experience, but has undertaken extensive modifications to the standard NV200 to ensure that the vehicle meets Transport for London’s demands. These include giving the cab a 7.6m turning circle, achieved by reengineering the front suspension and steering and, with side-door access, being able to accommodate a passenger in a wheelchair. The new cab gives five passengers more legroom than taxis that are currently on London’s roads, and will come equipped with a 1.2m2 glass roof that is expected to prove popular with visitors to the city. The NV200 has also proved a hit with London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is

championing his Air Quality Strategy for the UK capital. “Improving air quality in London is one of the most important challenges I face as mayor”, Johnson said. “Having taken the significant step of introducing the first age limit for taxis in London, I am absolutely delighted that manufacturers are stepping up to the plate and are responding to the challenge I set, in my Air Quality Strategy, to reduce taxi emissions and improve efficiency”. Cab drivers also appear to be keen on the vehicle and Nissan already has an excellent reputation with the fraternity that has passed The Knowledge—the extensive training course that all licensed London taxi drivers must pass—thanks to the reliability and efficiency of the 2.7l TD27 diesel engine that was chosen for the iconic LTI FX4 Fairway black cab. “Nissan already has a great footing in the London taxi market. The 2.7l [engine] that featured in some of the early taxis was one of the greatest engines

Vans Born to Run Mercedes-Benz is not giving up the fight to have its vehicles become London’s official taxi. As far back as August 2008, a variant of the German firm’s Vito vehicle won approval from the Public Carriage Office, the organisation that regulates and licenses taxis and private hire vehicles for use as licensed taxis, and are slowly appearing in the city. Currently, about 7% of the cabs in London are Vitos. The 2.1l diesel engine delivers 116 horsepower to the front wheels of the Vito, which has a five-speed automatic gearbox, although it is neither as green nor as economic as the Nissan NV200.

ever put in a cab”, said Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association. “From what I’ve seen of the NV200 London Taxi, it ticks all the right boxes”, McNamara added. “It’s important that it looks like a cab, is comfortable with good ingress and egress, and is reliable. If the fuel consumption figures are as promised, it will be a big seller”. There was a distinct shortage of cabs on the streets of London in the latter months of last year after a fault with the gearbox forced several hundred cars to go in for emergency repairs. Sales of new cabs were also suspended. Manganese Bronze Holdings plc, the Coventry-based firm that makes the present version of the vehicle, has been experiencing financial difficulties and had to call in professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in an effort to find new sources of funding. The NV200 London Taxi is based on Nissan’s multi-purpose NV200 compact van, which was launched in late 2009 and has since won numerous international awards. To date, more than 100,000 units have been sold in 40 countries. The vehicle also has been selected as the next-generation cab in Barcelona. In addition, Nissan is “currently in discussions with a few other progressive cities around the world about the potential of the NV200 for their taxi fleets”, Palmer revealed. “Nissan has ambitious plans for our London black cabs; I would say that Londoners will be hailing a Nissan NV200 taxi on the streets of London sooner than you think”, he said. “Trials of the electric version, using actual taxi drivers, are expected to begin soon, and sales are scheduled by the end of the year”. Mercedes pointed out, however, that the vehicle only needs servicing every 38,624km, and is appealing to cab drivers by offering the vehicles for £2,000 down and £135 per week for the next three years. After that, they can opt to take on a brand new cab. The Vito has electric sliding doors, electric steps and seating for six people, and is able to accommodate a wheelchair. For the vehicle to have a turning circle of 7.6m, the Vito also has rear-wheel steering to enhance the radius of the turn. Mercedes-Benz said in a statement that the vehicle puts into practice the same philosophy that has imbued its larger vehicles for many years: vans born to run.



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Lord Marland The State of British Politics

Lord Marland believes business success in Japan will mean increased trade and more jobs in the UK.

By Julian Ryall


he UK’s business community in Japan is “in the vanguard of the British economic recovery” and successes here will translate into increased trade, the creation of more jobs and growth at home, Lord Jonathan Marland told a British Chamber of Commerce in Japan luncheon at the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo in late February. Lord Marland, who stepped down from his ministerial post in the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills in January to concentrate on his new role as Prime Minister David Cameron’s trade envoy, was in Tokyo with a delegation representing British businesses in the life sciences sector. However, he took the time to address the chamber on the state of British politics. His wide-ranging discussion—incisive and frequently stinging—touched on the opposition Labour Party, the coalition with the Liberal Democrats, Europe, Scottish independence and the likely outcome of the UK’s next general election.

Covered by the Chatham House Rules, which guarantee the confidentiality of a speaker, not all of Lord Marland’s thoughts on the state of British politics can be reported, although he did give BCCJ ACUMEN permission to cover some of the matters that were discussed. One thing that he was keen to emphasise was the scale of the problems that the government has inherited— the staggering budget deficit, turmoil in the eurozone and the marriage of inconvenience among coalition partners— and also the excellent job that the prime minister has done since entering Downing Street. Despite the naysayers on the opposition benches and the media at home, the UK— and especially London—remains a very attractive place in which to do business, Lord Marland said. “In terms of inward investment, London and Britain [as a whole] are places that the rest of the world can’t get enough of”, he said. “London, at the moment, is the centre of the world. “I’m not being boastful, but that’s just a matter of fact”, he added. “These things don’t last for ever and it could change tomorrow, but London is in a

very strategic place. [London is] a very outward-looking place and is a flexible city [in which] to work. “We have good transport links, good education and health services, although we may not always think so”, he explained. “There are 106 languages spoken in London. It’s an extraordinary place and at the moment it is at its nadir. “I don’t see inward investment as a problem for the next few years”. Lord Marland, who also previously served as treasurer of the Conservative Party, said he agreed with the decision by Business Secretary Vince Cable to focus the UK’s industrial strategy in areas in which the nation excels—the automotive and aerospace sectors, nuclear energy, the life sciences—as there is no point in devoting time and energy to an area in which the UK has little likelihood of being a world-beater again, such as in the steel industry. “We have to be in the high-tech sectors and other specific areas because that is what we are so good at”, he said. Turning to the coalition, just days before the by-election in Hampshire’s Eastleigh, Lord Marland said that at the working level, “the coalition is working very well”. “There is mutual respect, although there have been flashpoints, as there are in any marriage”, he said. “But on the whole, it is working extremely well and everyone is committed to restoring the country”. The result of the Eastleigh election will be a good indicator of the voting public’s attitude towards the government and the coalition, he said, but added, “ultimately, it will be the state of the economy that defines the result of the next general election”. “For the election, Cameron has only one person that he is competing against, and that’s himself”, Lord Marland said, adding some pithy asides on his rivals for the post of prime minister in the 2015 election. “It is too early to tell the outcome of the next election because it will be the economy that decides it”, he added. “If the economy turns—and there are signs that it is already happening—then I think the Conservative Party will continue to run the country in some kind of coalition arrangement”.



The team must fit in training around their busy work schedules and family commitments.

Middle-aged Men in Lycra Amateur cyclists to pedal 320km in aid of disaster-stricken survivors

“ As keen cyclists, we wanted to put our hobby to good effect and help others”.


By Julian Ryall Photos: Ivan Doherty


en British cyclists—who happily describe themselves as keen amateurs—are to cycle 320km from Tokyo to Fukushima Prefecture to raise funds for the disaster-hit residents of Minamisoma. The event emerged from discussions during Brits at Lunch, a monthly event for expats. Ways were considered in which the British community in Tokyo might assist those affected by the worst natural disaster in living memory to strike Japan.

The city of Minamisoma was devastated by the massive tsunami that was triggered by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Even today, some 7,000 residents—a great deal of them elderly—are living in temporary housing units and many have no source of income. The cyclists aim to raise ¥1mn and plan to donate all the funds to the Save Minamisoma Project (SMP), which makes regular deliveries of food and water from Tokyo to the city. “Many of us are long-term expats in Japan. We love the country and wanted to give something back”, said Robert Williams, senior investment advisor at IFG Asia Limited. “We hope [the charity


Robert Williams

Tony Collins

project] improves a, perhaps, tarnished image of foreigners fleeing after the tsunami. It’s an opportunity to make an immediate and tangible difference to other people’s lives outside our normal work environments. “The Save Minamisoma Project is a foreigner-inspired endeavour set up in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, so it was a good fit for us as British expats”, Williams said. “We know that the money raised for SMP is used within a few weeks to deliver food and water to the town’s residents. “As keen cyclists, we wanted to put our hobby to good effect and help others”. Williams—who recalls being “thrashed around” on the eighth floor of an elderly office building when the quake struck—said most of the team’s abiding memories of the difficult days immediately after the triple disaster are “of the fortitude and resilience of the Tohoku residents”. Many of the team were involved in volunteer work in the weeks after the disaster, with Nick Rees, of business process outsourcing organisation Talent2 Pty Ltd, taking emergency food and water supplies to Minamisoma, and IFG Asia’s Tony Collins delivering supplies to Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture. “As keen weekend cyclists in the first place, we wanted to put our interest to good effect and help others while getting fit”, Williams said. “We also wanted the ride to challenge us, and thought that 320km over two-and-a-half days would achieve that.

Nick Rees

Craig Harrison

Dave Lawrence

Ian Smith

“We are all over 40 and at least one member of the team is over 50. We’re part of that growing breed of middle-agedmen-in-lycra and we all like our pies and pints”, he added. Craig Harrison, director of client services for Crown Worldwide KK, is training intensively ahead of the ride and is trying to get as many hours in the saddle as his busy working schedule permits. “We all do different jobs with different working hours, and some of us have families. This makes it very hard for us all to meet up every weekend for training rides, so each of us is training at his own pace”, Harrison told BCCJ ACUMEN. “It’s clear that we are each going to be travelling at a different pace, but this is not a race or a competition. The important thing is that we’re doing it to raise money for a really good cause”, he explained. A UK-based online bicycle and apparel shop is providing the team’s jerseys while Williams hopes that corporate sponsors will put their firm’s logos on the cyclists’ shirts. InterFM’s Guy Perryman plans to interview the cyclists on the radio station and Byron Kidd is promoting the project on his Tokyo By Bike blog. In addition, a logistics firm will provide support vehicles for the riders. The ride will be over three days, with Tomoko Maeda, Miss Earth Japan 2011 and the SMP goodwill ambassador, hoping to start the riders from Nihombashi in east Tokyo at 7am on 19 April. The team plans to complete 150km on the first day to break the back of the

Richard Williams

Jon Hindley

Chris Page

journey and spend the night beyond the coastal town of Hitachi. Day two will cover about 100km, when there may be additional detours because of the exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The final day will be the least challenging, with a gentle 70km ride into Minamisoma. Asked what the toughest part of the ride will be, both Williams and Harrison were in agreement: getting out of bed on day two. “We hope that our ride becomes an annual event on the British expat calendar and, next year, we hope to encourage more participants”, Williams said. “If we can donate more than ¥1mn to the Save Minamisoma Project every year, we would feel that we are making a real difference to the residents’ lives. “Of course, we hope that soon there will be no need to buy food and water for the people of Minamisoma, in which case we shall find another good cause for which to ride”.

To support the project and obtain details about how to donate or provide logo sponsorship, please visit: Further information: Facebook: Twitter: Save Minamisoma Project:

John Stanton



A British Education Active learning is at the heart of BST’s programme


ffering a first-class education to more than 700 young people from the age of three to 18, the British School in Tokyo (BST) is approaching its 25th anniversary at an exciting time in its development. Having recently introduced its two-year post-16 A-level courses and announced the launch of its special F1 programme, the school is attracting unprecedented levels of interest from a diverse group of international students. Numbers of students from the UK and other English-speaking countries have consistently been strong, but the past three years have seen significant growth in applications from students from strong emerging economies such as India and Brazil, and from other European countries, notably the Scandinavian region. The school’s principal, Brian Christian, is convinced that the heightened demand is directly linked to the strength of the British educational brand, and the global recognition that A-levels command. “Although we only introduced our A-level courses in 2010, we already have students who are either studying at some of the UK’s top universities, or who hold offers to start at the end of the academic year, including from Cambridge University, The London School of Economics and Political Science, Imperial College London, as well as the worldrenowned Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design. “A track record like this certainly starts to generate interest, particularly now that students are beginning to understand that A-levels can give them an edge in their applications to universities around the world”. However, Christian is clear that A-levels and university success are not the only factors in BST’s international appeal. He is heartened by the positive response from prospective parents and their children to the understanding of what is meant by a British education.


He has identified three key elements in the education system: a particular style of pedagogy, clear structured progression and an emphasis on the development of character. “Active learning is at the heart of all that we do [at BST]—our students achieve so much more by doing than they ever could by simply watching and listening. Our teachers are guides and facilitators, not lecturers. “The English National Curriculum offers a continuum from [age] three through to 18, and a framework that enables us to map each individual’s progress using clearly defined criteria and externally validated standards. Above all, a BST education is values-driven and extends well beyond the four walls of the classroom”. The last point is something about which Christian and his senior staff feel very strongly. Teachers are encouraged to have high expectations of their students— and not just in academic terms. Even the youngest children are taught that consideration of others is important; confident communication, teamwork and leadership are all skills that can be acquired; and music, sport and drama are every bit as important as maths and physics. One clear illustration of the school’s commitment to character development is that the entire secondary school decamps to Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture for summer and winter field trips. These adventurous weeks are designed to offer every student exciting challenges and opportunities for new experiences,

and encourage them to believe that they are capable of achieving more than they can imagine. Whether a beginner skiing down a nursery slope for the first time, or a 15-year-old city-dweller completing a 50km mountain hike as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the focus is on achievement, ambition and fun. In 2014, the British School in Tokyo will be 25 years old. The school was founded to educate the children of expatriates from the UK, who would, for the most part, move on to boarding schools aged 13. While British students represent 41% of the school population, the BST of today is a very different institution. With one campus centrally located in Shibuya and the other on the Showa Women’s University campus, the school accommodates children of more than 50 nationalities and educates them from nursery level to university entrance. In recognition of the growing demand from international students, BST will launch a special one-year course in September. The F1 programme has been designed to prepare students to embark on A-level courses in 2014. At the same time, our 14–16 programme will change from GCSE to IGCSE, the highly regarded international version of the familiar British qualification now being followed by many of the UK’s leading independent schools. For more information, or to arrange a visit: Admissions office:


Tools and Skills How one NGO is revitalising quake-hit communities By Julian Ryall


wo years on from the Great East Japan Earthquake, the towns and villages laid waste by the triple disaster have been helped to their knees; now it is time for a final push that will get them back on their feet. Jane Best, president and chief executive officer of Refugees International Japan (RIJ), believes the best way to do this is to provide people with the tools, skills and assistance to instil new life in communities that are still dominated by temporary housing units, desolate stretches of cleared land and limited employment opportunities. It is a strategy that has proved to be effective in other communities around the world that have been affected by disasters, Best said. “We support country projects that help people to get over their displacement and build sustainable communities once again”, Best told BCCJ ACUMEN. “We want to do the same in Tohoku, making the most of the very good experience that we have built from projects overseas. “We want ownership of these projects to be in the hands of local people”, she added. Two of RIJ’s projects in the region are showing particular promise, said Best, and are benefitting from some ¥12mn raised largely through the Kawachiya Kizuna Charity Project, in which online Scotch distributor Whisk-e Limited worked with six of its partner distillers

in Scotland in 2011 to produce a special blended whisky. The most successful scheme to date has been the creation of a website to promote the Chime of Hope Shopping Centre in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture. The town, which before the disaster was home to more than 12,000 people, was one of the worst hit of all the communities in the north-east by the tsunami, with 85% of the population impacted. A temporary shopping centre has been constructed in the grounds of the town’s high school and is named after one of the four bells that used to hang in the railway station. The station was completely destroyed in the disaster and only one of the bells has been recovered. It is now a symbol of the town’s determination to rebuild. The Chime of Hope Shopping Centre— with 50 shops, three banks, a post office and a police box—has become a central part of the community and a way to boost the local economy and support the residents. The RIJ-funded website has further helped to publicise the centre, which is expected to attract tourists and further investment in the district. “This project has done better than we expected”, Best said. “By spreading out into the community, it has achieved what we had hoped. When I last visited in November, I learnt that all the businesses in Onagawa were taking part, bringing the whole city together—and that is better than it was even before the earthquake. “The shop owners in the centre are all very proud of the fact that they are now

Members of the Green Farmers’ Association in Minamisanriku are working to revitalise the community’s agricultural sector.

A bell salvaged from the ruins of Onagawa Station has become a symbol of the town’s plans to rebuild.

on blogs and Facebook”, she said. “They are much more confident and proud of what they have achieved, and that is having a very positive knock-on effect throughout the community”. A second project that is taking route is the Green Farmers’ Association (GFA) in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture. The devastation wrought by the tsunami decimated the town’s fishing industry and sent the unemployment rate as high as 90%. RIJ is working with the locally formed group O.G.A. for Aid to bring in volunteers and develop opportunities in the agricultural sector on plots of land that have not been used for many years. The first year of the project posed many challenges, as the land needed to be cleared and the soil turned over to prepare for planting. However, the team overcame the challenges and was able to get a limited crop to market. In 2012, the GFA became one of the largest local producers in the neighbourhood and employs six regular staff and a number of volunteers. The organisation has built links with the allpowerful Japan Agricultural Cooperatives Group, but is considering setting up their own cooperative in the long run. Further assistance in the months and years ahead will enable the GFA to purchase a new tractor, a pest-repellent sprayer, and crates for storing and transporting produce. A logo for the organisation will also be designed, along with a website and blog to raise the GFA’s profile and promote its products. “Now, we want to help them follow through and see them succeed. I really believe they will be self-sustaining within five years”, Best said.



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Old is New Modern touch for vintage gear to help quake victims

Joanne Wilkinson is the founder of Vintage Kimonos.

By Julian Ryall


British entrepreneur is giving a new lease of life to vintage kimono and obi (sashes) by turning them into eyecatching items of clothing, bags and home furnishings, while at the same time helping some of the people worst affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Originally from London, Joanne Wilkinson grew up in Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire and first arrived in Japan 21 years ago. She spent her first two years in the country doing a variety of parttime jobs and studying Japanese before working for a number of local firms for three years. After joining US computer giant Dell in 1997, she went on to became the firm’s director of marketing for Japan; executive director for their operations in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region; chief operating officer; and finally, executive director for sales operations throughout the region. While her latest venture, Vintage Kimonos, is wildly different in scale and scope, 47-year-old Wilkinson believes that many of the skills she learned in the world of big corporations can still be applied to smaller concerns. “I am funding the start-up of the company myself, as well as setting up

the supply chain, the manufacturing operations, the website, retail sales and so on”, Wilkinson said. “The company will not employ me. Once it is up and running, it will be managed by Sanna Garton, whom I met through one of the many people who has given me help and advice while I have been setting up the company”. Established last November, the firm reworks into appealing new items old silk kimono and obi that are in good condition—which most are, because often they have been cared for by generations of the same family. Attracted by the colours, designs and quality of the fabric used in the making of traditional Japanese clothing, Wilkinson realised its potential and has created unique ladies’ evening bags, table runners and even quilt covers and bedspreads. “We only started the business in November, but we completed our first sale in December and have since sold [our products] at two vintage fashion fairs in the UK”, she said. “At the moment, we only employ two people and I am in the process of hiring more staff and outsourcing some of our manufacturing to existing clothing manufacturers in Tohoku”. The events of 11 March, 2011 have played a significant part in the evolution of Vintage Kimonos.

“I was on the 20th floor of the old Dell offices in Kawasaki when the earthquake struck”, she said. “It was terrifying. Bits of the ceiling were falling down and all the cabinets were falling over. I was desperate to know where my kids were. “I was out of the building like a shot after it stopped shaking and home in 20 minutes”, she said. Luckily, her daughter Rossalyn, now six, and 5-yearold Douglas were already home from their kindergarten. Wilkinson took part in a wide range of charity events at Dell, and through the British School in Tokyo, assisted the victims of the disaster. However, she wants her new venture to provide longer-term assistance to those who need it most. “I would like the company to succeed and help—albeit in a very small way— rebuild the local economy”, she said. “I would really like it to provide a longterm source of funding for projects to help local communities, especially children”, she said. A percentage of the firm’s profits will be donated to schools and orphanages in Tohoku, while Wilkinson plans to meet officials from cities and prefectures throughout the region to identify the most urgent needs and then try help meet those needs.

Old silk kimono and obi are turned into home furnishings and bags.


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For Language and Science Academics gonged for bringing two nations closer

Roy Hurst (left), who taught Russian to Japanese diplomats, received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays.

By Julian Ryall


wo Britons have received awards from the Japanese government for their contributions over many years to improving relations between the two countries. Roy Hurst OBE, a linguist who taught Russian to countless Japanese diplomats at the Defence School of Languages in Buckinghamshire, received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, in a December ceremony at the official residence of the Japanese ambassador to London, Keiichi Hayashi. The investiture was followed by the ambassador bestowing the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, on Professor David Cope. Former director of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, the professor took up a post at Doshisha University’s Institute for Technology, Enterprise and Competiveness in February and was recognised for promoting contacts in the field of science and technology. Hurst, who retired in 2002 after nearly 39 years of teaching Russian, said he was “speechless” when informed of his latest honour. He was awarded Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2000 New Year’s Honours

list, as well as the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation in 2006. “I had the pleasure of teaching all but one of the Japanese diplomats who came to Beaconsfield”, 74-year-old Hurst said. “My first [student] was almost 50 years ago, in 1964, the last was in 2002. I didn’t get off to a particularly good start because Issei Nomura, former ambassador to Russia and former grand master chamberlain to Crown Prince Naruhito, lasted just one lesson in my grammar class since he couldn’t understand a word I was saying”. Hurst was full of praise for the Japanese diplomats whom he instructed in the complexities of the Russian language. “I can, with hand on heart, say that no exaggeration is needed when extolling the virtues of the Japanese diplomat students”, he said. “They were an absolute joy to teach, and rarely, if ever, complained. They were super-intelligent, the crème de la crème; it was a rare student indeed who scored less than 90% in the first major examination at the sixmonth mark”. No fewer than 15 of his former students went on to become ambassadors. “For our part, we—both staff and UK students—were amazed at how these young men, and one lady, quickly adapted to life in Britain. They were able to cope in class simultaneously with

three of the world’s most challenging languages, without any allowance whatsoever made by the staff for the fact that they were foreigners”. Hurst put the success of his classes down to his obvious love of the language, enormous enthusiasm, the ability to make the very difficult appear relatively simple, a desire for the students to perform to their optimum ability, constant improvements to the course, and the addition of new materials. Cope expressed his “great honour” at being recognised with the award, adding, “I have learnt a great deal over the 30 years since I first came to Japan—and am pleased to have contributed, in a small way, to good relations between our two countries”. A life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University’s special international postgraduate college, 66-year-old Cope first came to Japan in 1983 to study the country’s policy on local air and water pollution control, which was recognised even then as the best in the world. While the expertise he has shared has primarily been in the areas of physics, energy and the environment, Cope has been deeply involved in links between Britain’s Parliament and Japan’s

“I can, with hand on heart, say that no exaggeration is needed when extolling the virtues of the Japanese diplomat students. They were an absolute joy to teach, and rarely, if ever, complained”. MARCH 2013 | BCCJ ACUMEN | 33


Professor David Cope was honoured for promoting contacts in the field of science and technology.

and participated in various activities in he said. “Before it was dominated by the UK to provide support and assistance Japan ‘specialists’, particularly on the for victims of the triple disaster. cultural and historical sides; now there is “The things I saw [in the disaster areas] much more contact across a wide range are seared on my mind for as long as I of areas. live”, Cope said. “Of course, there is a worry that Japan However, he is immensely optimistic is being eclipsed by the rise of China in about future ties between Japan and public awareness, so it is good to know the UK. that numbers are increasing [of students] “The relationship [between the two signing up to study Japan-related subjects countries] has blossomed enormously”, atfor UK help universities”. RMS ad-Looking with compliance.pdf 11/6/2009

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national Diet in electoral reform and the operation of coalition politics. In addition, he is a trustee of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, which provides grants to promote bilateral relations in everything from medical research to a forthcoming conference on politeness. As a visiting professor for one year at Kyoto’s Doshisha University in 1997, Cope travelled the length and breadth of Japan and indulged his passion for the country’s coastal environment. Just as memorable, although in a very different way, were his experiences in Kobe, shortly after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, and in Tokyo during the Great East Japan Earthquake, when the quake struck. The professor visited Minamisanriku and Kessenuma in Miyagi Prefecture, Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture, as well as other cities affected by the disaster,

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UK Firm Pensions: Is the End Nigh? Crisis has created difficulties for UK pension holders By Tony Evans Area manager deVere Group Japan


n 2007, the world suffered the largest financial meltdown of our generation. While this was a key catalyst in today’s pension crisis, it is not the sole issue. Coupled with a rise in life expectancy, the crisis has created a major problem for everyone (of British or other nationality) with a UK pension who is expecting to receive an income while in retirement. In 1948, the retirement age in the UK was set at 65, to provide financial support in the final year or two of life—the average life expectancy for a male then being 66.8 years. Today, however, the average life expectancy is in the eighties and rising! Pensions were designed to fund retirements that were short, not lasting 20 or 30 years. As people’s life expectancy has risen, so have their expectations for an early and long retirement: in some cases, 30 years of work followed by 30 years of retirement. Some 80% of UK firms’ pension schemes today are in serious deficit; they do not have the financial assets to meet their liabilities. Thus the amount of pension income received in retirement could be significantly less than expected. Ten people for tea, only six sandwiches on the plate … A guarantee is only as good as the person or organisation making it. Former US president Benjamin Franklin once said: “In this world nothing can

be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. The UK has 7,800 pension schemes, of which 1,184 have gone bust due to the failure of the firm or unsustainable funding ratios. On average, 15 schemes per month are entering the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and, at this rate, 25% of all final salary schemes will be transferred to the PPF within the next seven years. The PPF—a statutory fund run by a statutory corporation—has neither government guarantees nor funding. The fund’s objective—to pay compensation to defined benefit (DB) pension scheme members when their employers go bust and cannot afford to pay what they promised—is to be commended. PPF assets per member for the 2010– 2011 period were £86,500, while the PPF assets per member in 2015 are expected to be £34,000. Once a defined benefit scheme enters PPF assessment, the opportunity for members to transfer is gone. But won’t the value of your pension recover, you may ask? Very unlikely. Some 60% of UK pension scheme money is invested in government bonds, not equities; thus there is little growth. It is a myth that final salary schemes are guaranteed. They are not. In the 2013 stock market boom (FTSE up 7.26%), UK pension schemes missed out. Eleven FTSE 100 firms have pension liabilities in excess of their market capitalisation: British Airways, British Telecom, BAE Systems, the Royal Bank of Scotland, RSA Aviva, Lloyds TSB, GlaxoSmithKline plc., Marks and Spencer plc, Barclays, ITV plc and Sainsbury’s.

Pensions were designed to fund retirements that were short, not lasting 20 or 30 years. As people’s life expectancy has risen, so have their expectations for an early and long retirement: in some cases, 30 years of work followed by 30 years of retirement.

Tony Evans is area manager for the deVere Group Japan.

The DB pension scheme liabilities of British Airways, for example, are five times the value of the firm. Many schemes are unsustainable and represent a serious risk to firms’ survival. So, what should you do? If you have a frozen (DB) final salary scheme, there has never been a better time to transfer into a Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). Why? Transfer values are 80% higher today than they were six years ago. Why the increase in QROPS? People are frustrated because Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has moved the goalposts on pension benefits, the retirement age and contributions. When there is confusion, people don’t do anything. People want some certainty. In Japan, people have seen the GBP/JPY exchange rate go from 240 to 140—cutting their incomes in half. What can you do? Sit down and review your current situation, including the pension itself and the scheme. In my position as area manager of deVere Group Japan, I have seen an increase in individuals who are fearful of the current UK pension crisis—with good reason. But there is an unprecedented window of opportunity available to eligible DB scheme members today that may not be there tomorrow. Due to the complex and convoluted nature of pensions and pension transfers, the deVere Group have commissioned an independent actuary to prepare a report, for interested individuals, that is very simple to initiate. For further information, please email:



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Car Insurance in Japan Knowing your options is key to finding the right coverage By Steve Burson President H&R Consultants K.K.


lthough the basic idea of car insurance in Japan will seem familiar to foreigners, car insurance here is very different from that in other countries. To determine how much you pay for insurance, there is a system of numbered levels, between one and 20; most people start at level six. Filing a claim may cause your points to drop below six, which will be more expensive. From level three down, coverage becomes hard to find or very expensive, while rising to a higher level will significantly lower your rates. Choosing the right insurance depends on your circumstances, including age, driving record, type of car and how often

it is driven. However, the key to choosing the right insurance is to understand the options available, so you can get what you really need. Low-cost insurance providers offer online applications and generic policies that may suit your needs—if you know what you are doing and feel comfortable using Japanese. The insurer must understand properly your needs, and the extent to which each policy is able to meet them. This requires a level of English ability that has been missing from the Japanese insurance market and, thus, has put some consumers at risk. Prospective customers should learn about the system before buying motor insurance, not after. Basic insurance is placed on a vehicle when it is first registered, and additional levels of insurance can then be added for extra protection.

The most common mistake foreign consumers make is to have insufficient insurance coverage. Accidents here are almost never found to have been entirely the fault of one party, unless one car was stationary. Using one’s insurance to cover small bumps and slight damage to a car ultimately raises the premium and lowers the point level within the system. Reporting too many incidents may result in significantly higher rates, making the consumer uninsurable in some cases. Thus, paying out of one’s own pocket to maintain a good insurance record is sometimes a good idea. Used vehicles should not necessarily be insured for the full cost of replacement, since almost no value remains once a car is older than about six years. Insuring such a vehicle for the replacement value often will mean you are paying premiums that are much too high.


Living the Dream Expat bands from all over Britain enjoy firm following here By Julian Ryall

I The Watanabes’ music is British-influenced pop rock with lyrics inspired by Japan experiences.


n bars, live houses and recording studios around Tokyo, musicians from across the UK are demonstrating that Britons really do have talent. Expat musicians have banded together to perform their own songs in genres that range from country and rock to folk, reggae, bluegrass and more. Many are building up a dedicated following, regularly releasing CDs and even finding commercial success with their music being featured on television. One of the biggest names on the live circuit here are The Watanabes, so named because it is a common surname in the wilds of Ehime Prefecture, where brothers Selwyn and Duncan Walsh originally taught on the JET programme. “We chose The Watanabes because we wanted to ingratiate ourselves with the locals, while alluding to one of our favourite bands, The Smiths”, Duncan Walsh told BCCJ ACUMEN.

Originally from Norfolk, the brothers have teamed up with bassist Ayumi Sato and drummer Yoko Osawa on stage, and work with Glaswegian music producer David Naughton. Walsh describes the band’s sound as British-influenced pop rock “with lyrics often inspired by our experiences in Japan”. “[The music] is pretty mellow, and a bit folky at times”, Walsh said. “We grew up listening to Brit-pop and bands such as Belle & Sebastian and The Smiths, but when our parents weren’t listening to Radio 4, they had 60s legends on the stereo: The Beatles, Cat Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel. I think it rubbed off on us”. The Watanabes play two or three times a month at various Tokyo venues and have also gone on tour to cities around the country, but admit it’s tough to make a living out of live music. “It’s very difficult for an indie band such as ourselves to be much of a money-spinner”, he revealed. “Obviously we make money from record sales, downloads and live events but all of it is put back into the band.



Jimmy Binks and the Shakehorns have recently released their first album.

“My brother and I are currently sharing a room in a bid to finance our next record”, he said. “During the daytime, we teach in Japanese elementary and junior high schools. It’s a fun job and the money comes in handy”. While the band has had successes, the Walshes are hopeful that a rising profile will lead to more. One of their tracks was recently used for a Triumph Motorcycles television campaign, and “Whales Can Sing”, inspired by the award-winning documentary The Cove, has been adopted by environmental campaigner Ric O’Barry. In addition, the band have appeared on Nihon TV’s Zoom in Saturday programme. The band is currently working on a new EP, but the goal remains the same: to reach as many ears as possible. “We’d love to get on a movie soundtrack or play at a big festival, both of which are obtainable with a little bit of effort and persistence”, Walsh said. “That’s what it’s all about”. Arguably the oddest-named band currently doing the rounds in Tokyo is Jimmy Binks and the Shakehorns, a five-piece outfit that performs a fusion of country, rock and folk, with roots in what vocalist Sam Berry believes is best described as “alt-country”. “The band’s name is a long and not particularly fascinating story, but is basically the result of having to decide a name on the spot while on the phone to a venue, a little bit of gentle bullying by a friend similar to the annoying Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks, and an accidental nod of respect to a 1950s Yorkshire wicket keeper”, Berry admitted. A shakehorn is a plastic acorn-shaped shaker percussion instrument that the band uses as often as possible. Brought up in South Yorkshire’s Sheffield, and in Wales, Berry shares most of the songwriting with Julian Peters, who is originally from Cambridge. Saxophonist

Kinlay aims to continue to create good music and progress to bigger shows and venues.

Tim Marchand is from Kent and drummer Darren Scaife hails from Blackpool. Yuki Shiroma, on bass, rounds out the line-up. “The level of dedication [in Japan] is really impressive”, said Berry. “Even at an amateur level, people can really play their instruments. “Even kids on the street put the time in and have incredible equipment”, he added. “Live houses and studios generally have excellent equipment, too, and there are lots of places to play in Tokyo. “You might not often get paid, but there are always places to play if you want to”. In late 2010, the band released a demo CD online. Recently, they brought out their first EP, titled Not Too Late, which was recorded at a Kichijoji studio and at the flat Berry and Peters share in Shinjuku, before being mixed and mastered at Aquarium, a Cambridge-based music studio. Several Jimmy Binks songs were used in the trailer for the indie film Let Go, while the track “Such a Smile” was featured in the prime-time NBC sitcom The New Normal. BBC Radio Wales has also played the track “Half the Time” from their new album. “We’ve just released our new EP, which we hope will open a few more doors”, said Berry. “For me, I’d love to do a little tour and play some new places in other cities. Also, I believe that we would be a great band to watch outdoors, so we would love to play at a festival”. Another British-rooted staple of the scene here is Kinlay, a four-piece band fronted by Manchester-born Andy MacKinlay. “I used to run about four jam sessions per week at various venues around town back in 2003 and 2004 and I picked up the best musicians to start playing at bars in the city”, he said. Regular venues for the reggae-inspired performances included the Rock Factory in Roppongi, The Fiddler in Takadanobaba, and What the Dickens in Ebisu—which still hosts a

monthly jam session on the first Tuesday of every month. Influences range from Dr. Dre and Radiohead, to Femi Kuti and Amy Winehouse, and to date the band has released three CDs. The most recent is Golden Zero, comprising seven original tracks written by MacKinlay and recorded at the KRH Studios in Harajuku. Performing in front of audiences in Japan can be “frustrating if you are looking for energy from the crowd”, MacKinlay revealed, although it can be different in Osaka, Hiroshima and other cities around the country. He has words of praise for the many bands who perform live in Tokyo— suggesting there is an alternative to being force-fed AKB48 or the latest manufactured hit. “I think [Japanese pop music] is fairly decent”, he said. “Music generally just reflects people, their hopes and dreams— and, of course, a catchy tune goes a long way. “Back home there is music you like and relate to—I was an ‘indie kid’ but loved American rock—and don’t like”, he added. “Maybe as you hear more, you can appreciate different [types of] music, but when you are a kid, you either love it or hate it—no moderation”. MacKinlay’s ambition is to continue to create good music and progress to bigger shows and venues. Just like the other bands, it’s all about being heard. Jimmy Binks and the Shakehorns: “Half The Time”: Kinlay: “No Time To Wait”: The Watanabes: “Whales Can Sing”: http://thewatanabes.


ARTS EVENTS Compiled by Yoko Yanagimoto

To apply for free tickets, please send us an email with your name, address and telephone number by 31 March: Winners will be picked at random.


29 MARCH Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, this contemporary ballet allows each character to play a special role. The English choreographer’s work has contributed to making the performance appealing to several generations, from children to the elderly. Warner Mycal Cinemas For more details, please visit: FREE TICKETS We are giving away five pairs of free tickets.

Conditions: • Tickets are also valid for Sleeping Beauty (from 10 April) and La Fille Mal Gardée (from 22 May) • Tickets can only be used at Warner Mycal Cinemas or United Cinemas.

UNTIL 31 MARCH Britain and Gardening

Built in 1929 as Japan’s first wireless telecommunication station with Europe, Yosami Radio Transmitting Station is holding an exhibition of British gardening photographs at its Memorial Hall. The exhibition’s photos were taken by Kaori Kondo, the chief manager and gardener at Floral Garden Yosami, and are divided into three sections: garden of B&B, flower show, and British culture. Yosami Radio Transmitting Station Memorial Hall 2F 2-1 Ishiyama Takasu-cho Kariya, Aichi Prefecture 448-0812

9am–5pm (closed on Mondays) 0566-29-4330

3–30 APRIL A Tale of Two Cities

Written by English novelist Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities depicts the plight of the French peasantry in the years leading up to the French Revolution. In this play, celebrated scriptwriter Hideo Tsuchida has replaced the original story with one of ancient Japan. The performers are well-known Japanese actors and actresses. Tokyu Theatre Orb Hikarie 11F 2-21-1 Shibuya Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8510

Popular actress Maki Horikita will be performing in A Tale of Two Cities.


Closed on 10, 17, 24 April Adults from ¥5,500 0570-550-799

9 & 11 APRIL Michael Kiwanuka

British musician Michael Kiwanuka, whose soulful voice and sound produce feelings of nostalgia, will be performing at both the Tokyo and Osaka Billboard Live clubs. His first album, Home Again, peaked at number four in the UK Album Chart, while his performances at events around the world have impressed audiences. Billboard Live Tokyo Tokyo Midtown Garden Terrace 4F 9-7-4 Akasaka Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052 03-3405-1133 9 April, 7pm and 9:30pm

Billboard Live Osaka Herbis Plaza Ent B2 2-2-22 Umeda Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0001 06-6342-7722 11 April, 6:30pm and 9:30pm Adults from ¥5,500

11–14 APRIL Symphony No 9

Established in 1999, the K-BALLET COMPANY has held more than 50 performances every year. This spring, it will be performing Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 and releasing two new works. The ballets are directed and choreographed by Testuya Kumakawa, who joined The Royal Ballet aged 15. Liam Scarlett, also of the renowned ballet company, will choreograph one of the new works.


Bunkamura Orchard Hall 2-24-1 Dogenzaka Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0042 Adults from ¥10,000 (Preschool children will not be admitted)

11 April, 3pm 12 April, 6:30pm 13 April, 1pm; 4:30pm 14 April, 2pm 03-3477-9111

27 APRIL Shakespeare Festival

Founded in 1961, The Shakespeare Society of Japan seeks to promote research on Shakespeare in Japan. At the organisation’s Shakespeare Festival, translator Kazuko Matsuoka and actor Satoru Kawaguchi will hold a discussion, while Akiko Kusunoki, executive of the International Shakespeare Association, will give a talk—providing a great opportunity for Shakespeare fans to share opinions and knowledge. Hyakushyunen Kinenkaikan Seido Gakushuin University 1-5-1 Mejiro Toshima-ku Tokyo, 171-0031

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, April 2012

03-3260-8109 Free of charge

MARCH 2013 2013 | BCCJ ACUMEN | 45 MARCH


Otemachi Financial City Art Project Sculptures that invite people to touch, sit and play By Kate Thomson Ukishima Sculpture Studio


iving and working in Iwate Prefecture, I am inspired by the seasonal, solar, lunar and stellar cycles, as well as the countryside. My work is abstracted from the human form and landscape, and explores relationships in physical, cultural and social space by using form to articulate light and life in such a way as to touch on something essential, yet unique, in each of us. For the Otemachi Financial City Art Project I wanted to amplify the lively and dignified movement of people in the bustling financial area of Otemachi, and create an environment in which people could relax and enjoy the company of others during a busy working day. Thus I decided to make Keys of Affinity, an installation of five sculptures that invite people to touch, sit and play on them. I chose to create the sculptures from Balkan White marble because it has a warm colour and a grain that is reminiscent of a cloudscape. Stone encompasses geological time and allows me to create tactile, timeless work that can survive outdoor public environments. The beautiful translucence of the marble catches the ambient light, reflecting it inside the open forms to express daily and seasonal changes. The forms draw on Celtic and Ainu key patterns that are translated into three dimensions and, zigzagging through the space, imply a continuous connection hidden under the surface. The installation creates a landscape of rock, cave and wave forms that are condensed into abstract form. This reintroduces a natural context into the busy city environment, in which we all crave to create a sense of wellbeing. I would like to invite people to explore and enjoy my sculptures, so that they might have an opportunity to feel something similar to what I experience while working: what it is to play again, while rediscovering a sense of wonder.




5 1. Cavescape 2. Chain Echo & Celtic Anchor 3. Mind’s Eye 4. Kate created the sculptures from Balkan White marble. 5. Keystone 4







Those attending the BCCJ’s Welcome Ambassador Hitchens luncheon at the Conrad Tokyo on 21 February included (from left) Sam Bird, client services manager at Custom Media K.K.; BCCJ Executive Director Lori Henderson MBE; Kieran Quigley, account executive at Custom Media; British Ambassador Tim Hitchens; Simon Farrell, BCCJ ACUMEN publisher; and Robert Heldt, Custom Media president.

Robin J. Maynard (left) with Lord Jonathan Marland, Prime Minister David Cameron’s trade envoy, and BCCJ Executive Director Lori Henderson MBE at the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo on 25 February. Marland addressed BCCJ members on the state of British politics at the luncheon.





Will Hutton, principal of Oxford University’s Hertford College, reviewed the causes of the economic crises in Japan and the West, after which he suggested reforms to macroeconomic policy, attitudes to business and institutional reform. He spoke at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo on 30 January.


Lord David Arthur Russell Howell paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo in mid-February.


British Ambassador Tim Hitchens (left) and Minister of State for Transport Simon Burns met Masaki Ogata, vice-chairman of JR East, at the British Embassy Tokyo on 18 February.


Sir John Whitehead GCMG CVO (left); Professor Timon Screech, Japan400’s co-chairman and head of the School of Arts, SOAS, University of London (third from left); and former British ambassador to Japan, Sir David Warren KCMG (third from right) at the official launch of the Japan400 festival at Skinners’ Hall in London on 5 February.


Attending a 16 February St Andrew Society of Yokohama and Tokyo Burns Supper at the Tokyo American Club were (back row, from left) David Morris; Kwido and Hiroe Sen; Robin Maynard, BCCJ honorary member; Nina Oiki, BCCJ assistant; James Pearson, Danone Ltd.; Ray Bremner OBE, CEO of Unilever Japan Customer Marketing K.K.; (front row) SJ Pearson; Midori Maynard; Christine Morris; Silvia Bremner; and BCCJ Executive Director Lori Henderson MBE.

BT Japan held a Women’s Networking Dinner on 31 January at ARK Hills Club.




Postcards from Japan–A Message From Tohoku Artists, produced by Kate Thomson and Hironori Katagiri at the International House of Japan in Tokyo (2–15 March), was held to commemorate the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The exhibition featured works by 22 artists from the areas affected by the triple disaster, including art works sent to Tohoku by artists from all over the world.


Russell Anderson (second from right), managing director of Jaguar Land Rover Japan Limited, and BCCJ President Emeritus Philip T Gibb OBE attended the Lyrical Abstraction exhibition at Space TRY Gallery on 2 March. The exhibition, produced by artists Kate Thomson and Hironori Katagiri, was held from 26 February–12 March.

The Great East Japan Earthquake Press Photo Exhibition, held at the Yurakucho Asahi Hall between 1–13 March, to mark the second anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and show the course of events—from the initial devastation of the earthquake to subsequent rebuilding projects. The exhibition is also being shown at London’s Oxo Tower Wharf, until 17 March.


The Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers, Europe’s only professional touring company of the Japanese performing art, on their UK tour in February.


BCCJ ACUMEN has one copy of each of these books to give away. To apply, please send an email by 31 March to: Winners will be picked at random.


Reviews by Ian de Stains OBE

Betrayal in the Boardroom “The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”—Albert Einstein. Jake Adelstein quotes Einstein in his afterword of the deeply personal memoir by Michael Woodford, the former British president and chief executive officer of the disgraced Olympus Corporation. Woodford may not have exactly seen evil in his employer’s actions, but he did see something terribly amiss and set out to try do something about it. The irony is that his actions—intended to do good—put himself and his family at risk. Indeed, by the end he was literally in fear for his life. Woodford was the first Westerner to have risen through the ranks to the head of the boardroom of a Japanese firm for which he had worked for 30 years. He was a man who appeared to have everything; a multi-million pound salary, impressive home, chauffeur-driven cars, and was accustomed to only turning left when boarding an aircraft. So what drove him to risk it all?

Exposure sets out his reasons for exposing a series of bizarre merger and acquisition deals worth £1.12bn that, it turns out, were intended to write off losses from the firm’s books. In doing so, he found himself caught up in a web of intrigue and Michael Woodford deceit worthy of the most complex Portfolio Penguin work of thriller fiction. £20.00 In addition, he was being betrayed at virtually every turn by the people he had worked alongside, including some he had seen as his champions and mentors in the firm. Those who know corporate Japan well may not be surprised by the tendency to stick together, especially when faced with any perceived threat from “the outside”. Thus it is perhaps a little surprising that Woodford appears not to have expected anything of the kind. Or maybe he thought that, having worked for the his colleagues and enjoying all the perks firm for three decades, he was himself of his position. an insider. However, Michael Woodford is nothing As Time magazine pointed out, when but a man of principle and his personal naming him as a 2011 Person Who integrity is evident on every page of this Mattered, he could have spent years captivating and deeply disturbing book. turning a blind eye to the shenanigans of

Restoring Trust in the Corporation Colin Mayer Oxford University Press £16.99


If Michael Woodford focuses on one specific corporation, Colin Mayer, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, takes on the entire corporate world and argues that the time has come for radical change. Professor Mayer believes that the corporation is failing society—and not just as financial entities—while there are more complex issues of ownership, governance, accountability and trust. He uses numerous examples from around the world to illustrate where the fissures in the corporate world are at their most extreme and sets out a bold theory of how and why changes must be made if the entire structure is to not fall apart completely. Far from being a dry business analysis, this thought-provoking book is engrossing and should be required reading for anyone seeking a place in the corporate world of tomorrow.

A Tribute While preparing this month’s page, I learnt, with sadness, of the death of my old friend Donald Richie. He was, in many ways, a role model for me. I first met the author in 1977 when I narrated a film script he had written. It was, like much of his published writing, deceptively simple, articulate and touched with brilliance. Reviewing his last published work (BCCJ ACUMEN, March 2012) I remarked that no other commentator was capable of completely deciphering the kaleidoscope of Japanese culture and society as he could. Now that voice has been silenced and we are all the poorer because of it. We remain, however, enriched by the published works he has left behind and I am grateful for the gift of having known him.


WALKJAPAN Pioneers of tours to the great places of Japan you never knew existed.

Small actions, big difference Unilever’s history started in 1884, when our founder William Lever launched “Sunlight” soap. Lever’s soap helped to make cleanliness and hygiene commonplace in Victorian England. Even a small product like a bar of soap can make a difference to people’s lives. Driven by the values inherited from our founders, we have set the ambitious target of doubling the size of our business, whilst reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact. We work to create a better future every day, inspiring people to take small actions that will add up to a big difference.

Unilever Sustainable Living Plan Key targets by 2020


Help more than

1 billion people improve their health & well-being.

the environmental footprint of our products.



of our agricultural raw materials sustainably.

BCCJ ACUMEN, March 2013