A city in a park, where people shine Nakano Central Park South and East – Office Development
re you comfortable with your office? Scheduled for completion in Spring 2012, Nakano Central Park South and East office buildings are being constructed on a generous open space full of greenery amidst a vast 16.8ha redevelopment in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward. Nakano Central Park South is composed of commercial space on the first and second floors, and offices on the third to twenty-first floors. It boasts the largest office area in Japan, more than 5,000m2 per floor. Nakano Central Park East consists of commercial space on the first floor, and offices on the second to tenth floors providing about 2,800m2 of astylar office space per floor. The buildings share extensive meeting, retail and exercise facilities. On the first floor
basement of Central Park South is a large convention hall capable of holding 400 people, and on the first floor meeting rooms for lease. Restaurants, cafés, drug stores and convenience stores on the lower floors face the park. Running stations on the first floor are equipped with showers and locker rooms,
offering a great starting point for an active business life. Nakano Central Park South and East is a “new style of working in a green environment”. The offices have a panoramic view over approximately 3ha of open greenery. Decks extending from the park onto the office promenade make it possible
to hold meetings over lunch under blue skies and enjoy open greenery as part of an office environment. A green landscape has the beneficial psychological effects of a healthy, peaceful and refreshing environment, as well as easing the discomfort of summer heat. There are also the psychological and physiological benefits of feeling more fresh, comfortable and less fatigued at work. Nakano Central Park South and East are perfectly situated to support your domestic and international business needs. The JR Chuo line, the JR Sobu line and Tokyo Metro Tozai line can be boarded at Nakano Station, enabling smooth access to the main business districts of Tokyo. A shuttle-bus service (40 to 45 minutes) to and from Haneda Airport is also available nearby.
A green landscape has the beneficial psychological effects of a healthy, peaceful and refreshing environment, as well as easing the discomfort of summer heat
www.nakano-central.jp Contact: Rena Watami email@example.com
8 High-tech help European SMEs are ready and able to fill Japanâ€™s technology gap By Geoff Botting
14 The otaku yen Talking pop culture with Morinosuke Kawaguchi By Julian Ryall
18 i in the Sky How cloud computing can help your business By Rob Goss
1014 2248 Cover photograph Tony McNicol
COLUMNS 7 From the Editor 10 Q&A Julian Ryall interviews Yasuchika Hasegawa, chairman of the influential Keizai Doyukai.
13 Executive Notes Dan Slater on gaishi executives.
21 Chamber Voice Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce president, Fabrice Tilot.
22 Investing in Japan TÜV Rheinland has experienced a spike in demand for their radiation testing services.
24 In Committee
35 Special Feature
EBC Automotive Components Committee members are revving their engines, and ready to go. By Geoff Botting.
European luxury alcohol and glassware in Japan. By Gavin Blair.
29 Event Report
Internet retailers are consolidating their post-quake gains, says Roy Larke.
The 17th Japan Market Expansion Committee (JMEC) programme held its awards ceremony at the brand new Tokyo American Club.
30 Culture Shock Parisien Maïa Maniglier redesigns traditional Japanese items for modern life. By Rob Gilhooly.
32 EBC committee schedule
43 Shop Window
45 Upcoming Events Events for the European business community in Japan.
46 EBC Personality Mats Bruzæus has twin passions for jazz and business.
48 Work Place Francis Belin, CEO of Swarovski Japan.
The Mission of the European Business Council To promote an impediment-free environment for European business in Japan. August 2011
Publisher Vickie Paradise Green
European Business Council in Japan (EBC)
The European (EU) Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Editor-in-chief Tony McNicol
The EBC is the trade policy arm of the seventeen European national chamber of commerce and business associations in Japan
Senior Editor David Umeda
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Jay Isaac, Helene Jacquet, Prachi Pathak
Communications & PR Victoria Fang
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Published by Paradigm 4-18-12 Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 108-0074 Tel: 03-5447-8831 Fax: 03-5447-8832 www.paradigm.co.jp Published monthly in Tokyo. All rights reserved. The views and opinions expressed herein (other than editorials by the EBC ) are solely the opinions and views of their authors. The EBC is not responsible or liable for any portions thereof.
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Big everywhere: Nadeshiko Japan
Contributors Julian Ryall talks to pop culture analyst Morinosuke Kawaguchi, page 14
Andy is an independent journalist and translator based in Tokyo. He regularly contributes stories on business and current affairs to various publications. He has worked as a staff writer for The Daily Yomiuri, and in the video game and semiconductor industries. “I got a sense that Mats is always keen to try something new and never lets moss grow under his feet. I feel he could have succeeded in a number of fields.”
Alfie Goodrich photographs Keizai Doyukai chairman Yasuchika Hasegawa, page 10
British photographer Alfie’s work covers commercial photography, photojournalism and various points in between. He is freelance,
Julian has lived in Japan for 19 years and is the Japan correspondent for The Daily Telegraph. “It was hard to keep track of Mr. Kawaguchi’s thought processes and all the concepts he was throwing out there. The man is little short of a genius and has some incredible insight and ideas – but I’m just not sure how they will translate into markets other than this one.”
Andy Sharp meets businessman and jazzman Mats Bruzæus, page 46
shooting for commercial and editorial clients in Japan including: the Wall Street Journal, the BBC, TIME magazine, Q Magazine, Highlighting Japan and many more. “Taking photos of people is always a buzz for me, whether street portraits or corporate portraits. The corporate shots taken while a writer is interviewing the subject are probably my favourite though. I get to soak up something of the character of the person I’m pointing my camera at and it helps me take a good, character-full shot of them.”
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F rom the E ditor
Coming of age This is EURObiZ Japan’s twentieth issue, so you might say we have reached the Japanese age of maturity. Nevertheless, we have an interview with an expert on toys – albeit those enjoyed by grownups. On page 14 analyst Morinosuke Kawaguchi gives some intriguing insights into Japan’s otaku culture. There’s a bit of a technology theme to much of this magazine. Geoff Botting learns how EU companies with hightech products have found opportunities in post-quake Japan (page 8). while Rob Goss investigates cloud computing (page 18). Testing, inspection and certification company TÜV Rheinland are profiled in our regular Investing in Japan column (page 22). As president Michael Jungnitsch explains, the company is helping meet the huge demand for radiation testing – a demand that is unlikely (tragically) to lessen for many
years to come. Visiting the JMEC Awards ceremony in June for our event report (page 29) I was struck by the ecstatic reactions of the winning team that made it very clear how much effort they had invested in the programme. It was great too to see lots of friendly faces from the various chambers of commerce.
Join + support EBC members can not only learn about important changes taking place in Japan, but also play a critical role in influencing change themselves.
To join the EBC visit
www.ebc-jp.com For more information please contact the EBC Secretariat. Alison Murray, EBC Executive Director. Tel: 03-3263-6222. E-mail: email@example.com
And please take a look at our Q&A interview with Yasuchika Hasegawa of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) (page 10). You’ll find that as well as being one of Japan’s best-known businessmen, he’s an outspoken and clear-thinking advocate of change. Lastly, the best thing about being twenty in Japan is that you are old enough to drink. On page 35 we have a special feature on luxury European glassware and alcohol imports. And perhaps you won’t be surprised that the topic of beer is touched on when we visit the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (page 21)? Cheers. Tony McNicol Editor-in-Chief
HELP European SMEs are ready to fill Japan’s technology gap Text Geoff Botting
s the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant started to unfold, it soon became clear that the Japanese authorities were lacking some critical technology. Where were the robots, the media wanted to know? Alarmingly, it didn’t end there. Scientists and workers in Fukushima have been battling the multiple reactor meltdown and leaking radiation using improvised – and in some cases completely inadequate – equipment. Foreign governments and companies have stepped in, offering highly specialised and cutting-edge technologies. Several of those are European, and many of them are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In just one of several deals, Helipse, a small French manufacturer of unmanned helicopters, announced in April it would be shipping three aircraft equipped with radiation sensors, infrared thermometers and cameras to Japan to help monitor the nuclear plant. Such news doesn’t come as a big
ECA S.A. Montpellier’s Roving Bat
surprise to Michel Theoval, president of Group Hi Tech, a division of PMC, which represents European high-tech SMEs in Japan. At his Tokyo office, he shows off a stack of brochures advertising a mindboggling collection of European-made high-tech gadgetry – including some that wouldn’t be out of place in a James Bond film. There’s a swimming robot (the Roving Bat, made by ECA S.A. Montpellier), a gun that shoots nonlethal rubber bullets and flight-simulator machines. “There aren’t many other countries with the technology that Japan has. But
even so, Japan is lacking some specialised technologies,” Theoval explains. “Japan has a huge space programme, for example, with satellites and space probes, so they often need these kinds of things,” he says, pointing to a brochure of European-designed electrical connectors. Since well before Fukushima, European SMEs have been busily – and quietly – supplying Japanese clients with highly sophisticated components and products covering nearly every hightech field, from aviation and high-speed rail, to outer space. That’s a fact often lost on the media, which tends to obsess over the big famous brands like Apple or Toyota, Theoval argues. “Just because the press isn’t interested in us SMEs, doesn’t mean we’re not interesting,” he says. Unless you’re an industry specialist – or perhaps an astronaut – you’ve probably never seen a product by SOURIAU Japan. This unit of France-based SOURIAU makes connectors for harsh environments. At first glance, the products look
F ocus rather conventional, little different from the connectors on the back of a desktop PC. On closer inspection, however, their ultra-high precision becomes apparent. The Space D-Sub connector, for example, is gold plated so that it can endure space environments, according to Danielle Muyl, SOURIAU Japan’s general manager. Then there’s the Composite D38999 Series III. It looks like metal, but it feels like hollow plastic due to its ultra-light weight. In fact, it is constructed of a composite material treated with a very thin layer of metal. Such products are designed to keep electricity flowing in the harshest environments known to man, from outer space – where SOURIAU supplies connectors for the International Space Station – to deep under the sea. In Japan, the railway industry is SOURIAU’s biggest customer. Many of the connectors are used in equipment for trains, including the Shinkansen bullet train, and train signaling. But why would Japanese customers, with some of the world’s finest industrial technology at their fingertips, look to a foreign company to supply such key components? Long experience, says Muyl, in reference to her own firm. Established in 1917, SOURIAU has been doing business in Japan since 1963, meeting the needs of customers in the rail, defense, space and nuclear
power industries. “We are able to bring our technology that was developed in Europe and integrate it into SOURIAU connectors that we design and manufacture here in Japan,” Muyl says. Meanwhile, other companies are looking to Japan for new opportunities. When small aircraft manufacturer GECI International looks at Japan, it sees a market with the potential for rapid growth in the next few years. “There are a total of 228 turboprop aircraft in Japan right now,” notes Christian Polak, GECI International’s representative in Japan. “But those aircraft are ageing and due to be replaced soon.” GECI, a French company, has yet to deliver a single airplane here. But Polak, who is founder of K.K. Seric, a Parisbased consultancy, is looking to the maiden flight scheduled early next year of its 19-passenger Skylander SK-105, which is powered by twin turboprops. “We think the next-generation SK-105 could be a very good solution for getting from island to island, and also for rescue, research, fishing fleets and so on.” Japan, he notes, is an archipelago that includes scatterings of small islands. Turboprop aircraft are ideal islandhoppers thanks to their engines’ fuel economy and ruggedness, and their ability to land and takeoff on short – even unpaved – runways. Still, Japan hardly seems like an easy
GECI Skylander SK-105
ECA Robotics Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) INSPECTOR
European SMEs have been busily – and quietly – supplying Japanese clients with highly sophisticated components and products market to crack for most foreign SMEs in high-tech fields. Quality standards are exceedingly high, competition is intense, and then there are the language and cultural barriers. One important perquisite, says Theoval, is to have a constant presence here. “Being here is the key to success. You can’t do your business by remote control.” Muyl notes that Japanese customers tend to require regular and close attention. “Through our Japanese team, we have a high level of customer intimacy, which is absolutely key with rail, a very conservative market,” she says. Both agree that Japan is a challenge for newcomers, especially ones with a short history. “You should not come here with a brand new approach,” Muyl says. “You need to bring something that’s been proven over many years in your home market.”
The need for change Julian Ryall talks to Yasuchika Hasegawa, chairman of the Keizai Doyukai Photo Alfie Goodrich
Yasuchika Hasegawa took over the post of chairman of the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives) in April. Born in Yamaguchi prefecture, Hasegawa joined Takeda Pharmaceutical in 1970, and has been its president and CEO since 2003.
What is the Keizai Doyukai and how are you different from other executives’ organisations? We are a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organisation that was formed in 1946 by business leaders united by the common desire to contribute to the reconstruction of the Japanese economy. The organisation comprises approximately 1,300 top executives of some 900 large corporations. Why do you say Japanese business needs to change? Since 2000, more than 60% of the increase in real world GDP has been generated by emerging countries, which only have 30% of the total world GDP. Japanese firms cannot remain solely in the domestic market and we have to have a presence in rapidly growing markets outside the mature economies. Secondly, there is a strong correlation between nations’ working populations and their GDP growth. In countries that are still enjoying a “population bonus” that growth and GDP growth are rising hand-in-hand. Japan’s working population has started to decline, and with a decline in the working population there will always be a decline in the GDP. These are the two reasons why we have no choice but to change the way we operate and to go outside Japan, to countries with growing economies. What are the ramifications for business and Japan in general if that change doesn’t happen? We will continue the death spiral. Japan is already facing a declining population and has had a stagnant economy for 15 years. Unless we take countermeasures, that won’t change. The quickest fix is to go outside Japan and take a piece of a growing market overseas. To do that, we need totally different styles of management and marketing. We used to depend on the domestic market, and stable and mature markets overseas, such as Europe and the United States. Japanese companies targeted the wealthy and the middle classes in those countries as their customers, but they no longer have the capacity to purchase more of the goods that Japanese companies are manufacturing.
Is there resistance to change? If so, why? Of course. People dislike change; they are naturally conservative. Japanese have become inward-looking. Today, we don’t pay attention to the dramatic changes that are happening outside Japan. It’s as if we are waiting for this typhoon to go by and telling ourselves that everything will be fine afterwards. That’s not going to happen. What has been the immediate impact of the earthquake and tsunami? We should take this as a wake-up call for the whole of Japan. It was the biggest disaster in living memory and at the worst possible time, but these things often happen like that. Companies were not aware of the gradually increasing risk, so they were not prepared when the crisis came. But we cannot undo that; the best thing we can do is to take this opportunity to create a completely new country. Conceptually, that message has been very well-received, but when it comes to implementation, that’s very different. There are conflicts of interest and public opposition. On the government side, there are so many plans, leaders and politicians that the issue is being beaten to death. We have to have focus, but because of a lack of strong leadership among our political leaders, we cannot bring people’s minds together. Would you agree that the events of 11 March are forcing change upon Japanese companies? I understand there are many people who are saying that, but when it comes to the plans and implementing them, I’m still sceptical. The government and politicians will invest in the damaged areas, but without a longer-term plan, that investment will be just going into a ditch. Does the Keizai Doyukai support prime minister Kan’s call to phase out nuclear reactors in Japan and introduce feed-in tariffs for renewable energy? The Keizai Doyukai does not necessarily support Kan’s call to phase out nuclear reactors. The prime minister has not offered a clear timeline that takes into consideration technological progress and the cost of renewable energies against existing energy sources, such as fossil fuels. Before discussing the phasing out of nuclear reactors or feed-in
tariffs, the government should present a long-term (20 to 30 years) energy policy for public debate. Without a vision such as this, we cannot comment on the prime minister’s new policy one way or another. Future world energy demand will come from population expansion, especially in emerging countries such as those in Africa – but these countries will not be able to afford fossil fuels. Considering that, the world needs more cost-effective energy, and emerging countries will need safe nuclear energy before cost competitive renewable energy becomes available. As a leader in nuclear power plant technology, Japan should continue its investment in this area, collaborating with the United States and France, if possible. Does your organisation support the recent moves towards an EU-Japan free trade agreement? I have been a strong proponent of an FTA with the EU, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and bilateral free trade agreements with Asian and Pacific nations. We have no choice; that is our future. Without these, we will be left behind by competitors such as South Korea. I am very grateful that the European countries have reopened dialogue on the FTA and I hope that initiative will have a positive impact on the nine nations that are discussing the TPP. What concessions do you believe Japan should be willing to make to achieve that agreement? It goes both ways. One side can’t just have all the positives. From the European side there are requests for liberalisation of government procurement. I don’t think that is a big problem from the broader perspective, although I imagine Japanese companies in that sector would offer opposition. Are you optimistic about Japan’s economic future? The leader of any organisation has to be cautiously optimistic. I would say that I’m not a complete optimist and I have several areas of deep concern, but I think it is very important to have a “can-do” attitude. And we must also remember that no matter how difficult the challenge may be, there is always a way to overcome it. August 2011
EXE C UTI V E N OTE S
East meets west
The experiences of Japanese executives at foreign companies As promised last month, this column will assess an unusual event we held recently, titled “Gaishi executives”. The Economist Corporate Network (ECN) normally focuses on senior Western executives working in Japan. But recent friction between foreign staff at foreign-owned companies (many of whom left Tokyo in the wake of 3/11) and Japanese staff provided an excellent reason to hear from Japanese executives. The latter are often known in Japan as “gaishi executives” – hence the title of the series. The first surprise was the number of attendees. Sixty young executives squeezed into the showroom of office furniture specialists Steelcase, who kindly lent us their facilities. We had asked ECN members to select the staff they wanted to send. This was for two reasons. The first was a practical one: we did not have their contact information. The second was that we wanted our Western members to have a way of rewarding promising staff. The second surprise was the sheer enthusiasm and energy of the attendees. The first question came from a young man working at online coupon firm Groupon. He started off his comment by announcing that he wanted to be Japan’s prime minister. He believes that politics is the only way to “cure” Japan. The next interlocutor vigorously contradicted him, arguing that politics has failed in Japan, and that bicultural business executives could be a far more powerful influence. It was a promising start and set the tone for the rest of the evening. Women, by the way, were prominent in terms of their numbers, as well as their contributions. We learned some useful things. One of them was that, unfortunately, my favoured term “breaking the kimono ceiling” was not well received. I had wanted to express the event’s aim of preparing Japanese executives for a global role; in other words, of helping them break out of the “Japan expert” ghetto. However, the reaction was mostly incredulous hilarity. I will therefore revert to the much duller term of “breaking the bamboo ceiling”. This is often used to refer to Asian executives who work in the West and are promoted to the top position. I was taken aback by the very high level of English, although this brings its own problems. One executive argued that bilingual executives must move beyond being “English-speaking sycophants”. He meant that they must not use their language skills as an easy way of getting ahead. They need to focus on genuinely improving operational excellence. They should not be satisfied with working as mere “language brokers”. The CEO of consulting and training firm Kepner-Tregoe galvanised the room when she very subtly criticised executives for not working more positively with instructions from
overseas headquarters. She said that executives need to show HQ that they are keen and willing to align themselves with the rest of the global organisation. Failing to do so may mean that HQ ends up not investing in Japan. The argument of “Japanese exceptionalism” is not one that HQ wants to hear, but it’s precisely what many here preach. The result is that Japan is often viewed as an old cash cow, not a growth market. Instead, the monies flow to more enthusiastic and rapidly growing markets such as China and India.
Bicultural executives should not be satisfied with working as mere “language brokers” Sakie Fukushima, a leading HR consultant, argued that Japan’s top CEOs are changing. But she said that they themselves are underestimating the pace of change. She said that none of her contacts had remotely considered that half their workforce might have to be non-Japanese within the next decade. One young speaker got to the heart of the matter with almost the final comment of the evening. He complained that he had joined a foreign company precisely because it’s not Japanese. But, he had found that the company was being run exactly like a Japanese company. Equally inspiring was the networking at the end of the evening. Unusual for Japan, people from quite different companies and industries swapped drinks, name cards, and experiences as gaishi executives. Some of them even continued to speak in English to each other. It was enough to convince me that this is a highly promising area, and there will be plenty more gaishi executive events to come. Ultimately, the hope of the series is not just that this talented bunch will boost their own careers on the world stage. Nor is it just that their companies will perform better in Japan, although of course that is very important. The real hope is that a new pressure group will be born, whose dynamism and open-mindedness can counteract the stultifying weight of vested interests so prevalent in Japan. Dan Slater Dan Slater is director of the Economist Corporate Network (www.corporatenetwork.com) in Tokyo, and you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The otaku yen Julian Ryall talks pop culture with Morinosuke Kawaguchi Photos ROB GILHOOLY
Aficionado and analyst of Japanâ€™s otaku (geek) hobbyist culture, Morinosuke Kawaguchi is associate director at Arthur D. Little (Japan) Inc. and a lecturer at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. 14
F ocus Toshiba was the first to see this possibility. When researching a new flatscreen television, it realised how otaku use their TVs. It became the first maker to incorporate a USB port to link to a hard disc. That was three years ago, but now it seems like common sense for all makers, and Toshiba has generated a new use for televisions. Why did this otaku culture emerge here in Japan? Firstly, the island nation of Japan is isolated, yet not too far away from other countries. Also, this is a peaceful country and basically we have a culture of negotiation. Since the end of the war, we have given up our weapons and designers have had to stop thinking about how to destroy things with technology. Therefore, we have become decadent and pathetic. The culture that has developed is of gyaru (urban babes) and otaku, both of which are global fashion leaders and trendsetters. My parents are of the generation that tried to be rich, and they achieved that – but what can they offer the world now? Soft power’s innovation appeals to young people around the world.
Otaku culture seems to have been around a long time. Is it flagging? In terms of content, anime is still a giant. Titles such as “Dragonball” and “One Piece” were created 20 years ago and have become huge hits, with sales of around 300 million units so far. Those sales may be decreasing, but titles are seeping into new categories such as the character business, and so the total volume is still growing. The problem is that this expansion is limited to the contents business, the industry of animation and publishing – but I’m also interested in more serious businesses, such as using otaku culture to drive innovation in consumer electronics products.
What’s the secret of that appeal? In one way, it is related to the phenomenon of metrosexuals. The world has become generally peaceful and men are asking themselves who they are. In the past, they were warriors who protected their families. Now they have become more natural and feminine, especially in urban areas. Metrosexual men are more fashion-oriented and have less testosterone. That phenomenon has occurred in Japan more than elsewhere because we have peace and a high quality of life. We have a mature and decadent culture like the cultures now appearing in Europe and elsewhere. People are sick of the tough competition in a world where there are winners and losers. Japanese anime heroes are not always victorious, and that style of hero is very different from the usual image of a single hero overcoming the odds to end triumphant. Dragonball is the
easiest to explain because the hero uses an energy ball against the bad character, uniting all the energy in the world. It is not just his own talent or god-like power; that’s a very different concept for a hero and a different concept of justice. Where outside Japan is otaku culture most popular? According to my theory, there are four original industrial areas: northern Europe, southern Europe, North America and North-East Asia. These can be defined as either masculine or feminine, and adult or childish. Behaviour in Japan is childish and girlish. France and southern Europe are feminine, but adult. America is more boyish and energetic, but still has a sense of humour. Northern Europe is rational, and is a mature male. French and Italian culture share feminine traits with us Japanese. In the Edo era, Japan used to be an elegant woman, but since the end of the war we have become more childish. Can successful otaku businesses translate abroad? Shops and restaurants like the Shibuya 109 fashion tower, Tokyu Hands, Don Quixote, Yoshinoya – all those are unique and very Japanese, but not exported. Yet, every foreigner that comes to Japan – especially tourists from Europe – love them. A lot of the visitors feel as though they’re in Disneyland. Don Quixote (a chain of gaudy discount shops) is chaotic, like a jungle. Finding stuff there is fun. Putting things alongside others that are not related takes us back to our childhood. It’s unstructured and the opposite of how grown-up’s lives are meant to be. That kind of use of opposites is well developed in Japan, but the appeal of Japanese businesses is very poor. If we exported Shibuya 109 to Stockholm, we would have to change the design. But Japanese business people aren’t hungry enough to do that. Yet they know that they should go overseas with their products, as they have experienced success in the past and are hoping that August 2011
competitive Masculine cute
Juvenile will come back again. Many Japanese businesses are completely unknown abroad, but they are unique and have huge potential. The Japanese government is placing a lot of emphasis on “soft culture”. Does that mark a key shift in Japan’s export policies, away from its traditional strengths in manufacturing and engineering? The technology of the past was used to increase efficiency: washing machines saved time; telephones made communications much easier; and information could be gathered via the radio or, more recently, the internet. That free time is now being used to play video games or chat on the web. The change in the structure of our lives is reflected in decorated mobile phones. Once, engineers were trying to make them as small as possible, but now they are getting bigger again as people add decorations to them. It’s all about the availability of the decorations – and they are infinite. With factory-made products the user had a choice of, say, three styles. That was boring, but now everyone is able to customise anything they want – from their phone to their car. When a product is easily available and can be customised, everyone wants one. It’s the same in Europe and the US. Older people’s first impression might be “I can’t understand why they would want to do that”, and they think this is a sign that our culture has become pathetic, and despair that these young people are our future – but I prefer to think of them as our hope. They have created something new. The world is for young people and they must have something.
Why is Japan so good at product design? In Japan, we have shrines to intern old dolls since, because they have a spirit, you can’t put them in the rubbish. It’s the same with a kitchen knife or seamstress’ needle or scissors. You have a memorial service for old and bent needles, which are then put in a block of tofu because they have struggled with hard materials all through their working life. The Japanese believe that you are partners with your tool. It’s the same with a mobile phone; I’ll dress it up like me because it is my partner. Why are the Japanese better able to create the quirky than anyone else? What is the meaning and purpose of an artifact? It’s obvious for a washing machine or vacuum cleaner as they can give us a lot of free time. A smart-phone reduces the time it takes to collect data to help us in business. Then we can sit back and relax. But the number of time-saving gadgets is infinite, so maybe now the fun part is looking for these gadgets? Maybe that has become the real purpose of the exercise? What is the best-ever Japanese invention and why? Yokoi Gumpei made the “Love Tester” 40 years ago. It was based on a device to measure electric current and had two probes, but in the shape of a heart. Two people grab one probe each and, if they are in love, the meter goes up because they’re sweating a little and the conductivity is higher. It was a simple amp meter. He was the hero of Nintendo and made lots of the company’s hit products. He was a genius. Toymakers do not need high-tech.
What is the downside of all this automation and convenience? Is it changing Japanese culture? Are people getting lazy? Convenience stores have giant fridges so they have become virtual storage units for everyone who lives near one. It means you don’t have to keep everything in your own kitchen because there’s one just two minutes from your front door. Housing in Japan is still so poor that we have made these virtual extensions of our homes. Our homes are shrinking and closing in on us; the only thing we need for our home now is a toilet, a bathroom and a bedroom. Everything else can be on demand. What is the future for Japanese business? We should hire more foreigners at the top in Japanese business. We Japanese are good sheep once we are given a goal and a structure, but we cannot make the rules. We have enough engineers and we don’t need any more. We need leaders who love Japan from the bottom of their hearts and want it to realise its potential. August 2011
i in the Sky How cloud computing can help your business
Text Rob Goss
Cloud computing, one of the latest IT trends, is a term often – ahem – clouded in confusion. When techies start talking about putting your business “in the cloud”, you could be forgiven for wondering if that would entail commuting by airplane. More seriously, there are some who use it to refer to any internet-based service; for others it just means using a remote server. For an easy to understand definition, Sreekumar Ba, chief technology officer of Tokyo-based bilingual IT solutions company Panache, offers this: cloud computing, he says, simply means your infrastructure – such as servers and network – resides on the internet.
A good example of how it works is Apple’s new iCloud, a service that allows users to store music, photos, applications, documents, iBooks and contacts on a remote server and then access them using any internet connection. But the applications for cloud technology don’t stop there, says Masanobu Fujioka, chief technology officer at Swedish subsidiary Nippon Ericsson. His company supplies telecommunications equipment to network operators in Japan and offers machine-to-machine cloud services through its own mobile network platform. “We pool servers to create what is, in effect, a cloud of servers; network operators then use these servers for different
switch to your cloud server,” he says. “With this you could be up and running again in just a couple of hours.” But what about potential drawbacks? The recent hacking of Sony by a 19-year-old Briton, which saw data stolen from 77 million PlayStation Network user accounts, may have caused some to question the cloud’s security. But Fujioka and Ba are confident that data can be adequately protected. “Sony could be accessed through the internet, which made it more vulnerable,” Fujioka says. “If access is through a designated server or a mobile network, you will get much, much better security, and also a very high-quality connection.” Ba adds that with cloud providers that offer high levels of encryption and authentication, security shouldn’t be an issue. “You can set different levels of security to fully protect against or allow external access. You could use a private cloud as well, rather than a shared public cloud space, for greater peace of mind, although public clouds are very secure,” he says. Should something go wrong, however, Hansali says you need to be aware of potential shortfalls in your provider’s data management policy and customer contracts. “Cloud providers are usually not responsible for your data and possible data losses. They provide [contracts] based on the availability of their service, but nothing protects you from potential failures. And failures do happen from time to time. “It is not usually a good idea to fully trust cloud services for critical data storing and management,” Hansali says. “For businesses that have never used these services before, it’s important to be well advised by professionals who can ascertain your needs and determine if cloud services make sense for you.”
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types of machine-to-machine communication,” Fujioka says. “Hitachi Construction Machinery, for example, uses this to monitor the location, operating conditions, diagnostics and so on of its heavy machinery all over the world in real time, so it can collect valuable data that can be used for maintenance and future development.” For many other kinds of business, cloud computing can offer flexibility, security and cost performance. “For start-ups or companies willing to start a web-based service without really knowing what to expect in terms of traffic and performance needs, it is a perfect solution,” says Guillaume Hansali, founder and CEO of Wizcorp, a Tokyobased web development and consulting company. “They can start small and cheap and increase the size of their infrastructure smoothly as they grow. The more they consume, the more they pay.” But cloud computing isn’t just for start-ups, says Ba. The cloud can be a good option for small- and medium-sized companies. “For companies without a large IT budget, cloud computing is very effective. You don’t need to worry about buying or frequently upgrading hardware, and you don’t need to worry about maintaining a data centre or hiring engineers. You just pay for a service and everything else is done for you,” Ba says. “Cloud services are also very flexible. It’s very easy to scale up and scale down the size of your servers if needed, and do so within hours.” Then there is the matter of business continuity. Since 3/11, Panache has had a lot of interest from firms wanting to backup critical data. “You can recreate or mirror your most important servers in the cloud, so if your primary on-site server fails for whatever reason – a disaster such as 3/11 for example – you can then
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Don’t miss the Japan surprise Bad surprises – the big quake, tsunami, and nuclear mess. Good surprises – Nadeshiko Japan win at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Big things happen everywhere – Arab Springs, extreme weather, floods, droughts, land bubbles, bursting dams. Japan remains less exposed to most such risks than most other places. Our structures stood so firm that foreign purchase of land and buildings are up. To those who value safe, varied, big city life, with beautiful pristine countryside at a convenient distance, the jewel we love shines on. As Japanese wages and inflation remain in check, the wages of other countries are rapidly rising. And at least your technology and intellectual property remain yours when you manufacture in Japan.
I am optimistic. I think – like TMT – more companies and people will be investing more in land, manufacturing, and safe construction. Japan will surprise the world with how quickly it converts to clean, natural energy. It is a good time to make our companies stronger – a combination of humane and generous restructuring/replacement, hiring from a labor market that gets energized by the fine executives fighting the temporary trend to move operations outside of the Kanto area, or abroad to less safe, and much less attractive environments. Before we give a knee jerk reaction to leaving the Kanto area or leaving Japan, let us remember that we can live for months and years with a little
radiation. But in so many other lesssafe countries, life can be instantly snuffed out. Worse yet, to avoid that and stay safe, we have to live day in and day out with a very different lifestyle, and the need to constantly make careful decisions about where we go, how we go there, and when we can go or come home. I’ll take a safe, fun, lively Tokyo with its smiling service, and do what’s right and never give up attitude. Japan is a great place to live, and to do business. As the rest of the world faces more and more natural and man-made problems, Japan will have these problems solved. This is no surprise to me. Thomas J. Nevins
TMT Bldg.,4-2-22 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku,Tokyo,150-0002 Tel: (03) 6427-7055 Fax: (03) 3400-5880 email@example.com www.tmt-aba.com
C hamber voice
President, Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Japan www.blccj.or.jp
Text EUROBIZ JAPAN The past few months have been busy for the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (BLCCJ), not least because it played host to several distinguished guests. In May the chamber helped host Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg who came with the Luxembourg minister of trade, Jeannot Krecké. And in the same month they welcomed Kris Peeters, the ministerpresident of Flanders On 15 March – just four days after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami – the new Belgian ambassador, Luc Liebaut, arrived. Despite the chaotic situation in Japan he chose not to delay his arrival, a decision that BLCCJ president Fabrice Tilot calls “very brave”. Another notable event for Tokyo’s Belgium-Luxembourg community was the appointment of the vice-president of Sophia University, Jean-Claude Hollerich, as Archbishop of Luxembourg. “We are very proud that one of the key people in the Luxembourg community here has received such an honour,” says Tilot. The disaster in north-eastern Japan, of course, has been the defining event of the past year. “The chamber of commerce took an active role in passing on information to the Belgian community in Japan,” explains Tilot. During the aftermath of the quake,
Belgian beer going down well in Japan
it issued daily reports and set up an information hotline. While no Belgian or Luxembourgian companies were based in Tohoku, several suffered from supplychain issues. But in the medium term Tilot expects business opportunities for member companies as the restoration gathers pace. “There are so many sectors involved in the rebuilding,” he notes. The energy situation is perhaps less of a worry for BLCCJ members than for those of other chambers; most Belgian and Luxembourg companies in Japan are too small to be required to meet compulsory energy conservation requirements. He is sanguine regarding the economy’s prospects for the second half of this fiscal year. “From what I gather, things are now getting back to normal,” says Tilot. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.” A major event for the chamber last year was the biennial Young Executive Stay (YES) Programme. Executives from six Belgian companies (in industries from nanotech to crystal makers) visited Japan for a week. The programme helps small and medium-sized companies that wouldn’t necessarily have the means to investigate the Japanese market by themselves, and is run with the cooperation of Sophia University in Tokyo. Sophia introduces each company to a student to help with research and spend a week in Belgium over the summer before the mission. This autumn the biennial Nippon Export Award will take place. This programme rewards Belgian or Luxembourgian companies that have recorded significant achievements in exporting to Japan, importing into Japan, or distributing their products or services within Japan. The deadline for companies to enter is the end
Luxury food and drink brands are back on track of September, after which a panel of Japanese and non-Japanese business experts will select three finalists. Europe committed Japan isn’t the only country to have a turbulent time of late, but Tilot is not worried by the fact that Belgium has had a caretaker government since June 2010. He points to last year’s GDP growth of 2.7% – something he credits to a “functioning government on a local level.” He is equally unfazed by Europe’s current government debt tribulations. “We are 200% Europe committed,” he says. “We are optimistic about the future.” Of course, no story on Belgian and Luxembourg business in Japan would be complete without mentioning beer. Following last September’s highly successful Belgian Beer Weekend in Tokyo, this year’s event will take place at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo from 8 to 11 September. In June a sister event was held in Osaka for the first time. The BLCCJ will be at the Tokyo event with a shop selling Belgian products. Belgian food and drink imports are still benefiting from the so-called gourmet boom in Japan. “There was a bit of a dip after the recession, but luxury food and drink brands are back on track now,” says Tilot. “There is a trend to consume less, but better.” August 2011
Testing times TĂœV Rheinland Japan Text and photo Tony McNicol
I nvesting I n J apan
fter Fukushima we had a lot of enquiries about radiation safety,” says Michael Jungnitsch, president and CEO of testing, inspection and certification company TÜV Rheinland Japan. Fortunately, his company could draw on 50 years of experience in radiation testing and protection from radiation, as well as in dealing with radioactive waste and the decommissioning of nuclear plants. Unlike companies that scrabbled to buy Geiger counters after the quake, TÜV Rheinland already had its own equipment and could quickly source more from Germany. It helped many companies radiation- test products for export from Japan and moved quickly to provide on-site radiation checks or training for companies wishing to perform their own. Next year, Germany’s TÜV Rheinland will celebrate its 140th anniversary. The company was founded after a series of horrific steam boiler accidents created a need for safety checks and certifications. Other early business included administering driving tests, vehicle inspections and elevator checks. TÜV Rheinland’s links with Japan date back to the 1970s when Germany bought steel and pressure vessels here to build power stations. At the time, TÜV Rheinland staff visited Japan to help supervise production. Later in the 1980s, Japan was exporting large numbers of cars to Europe and TÜV Rheinland was involved in safety testing. In 1983, TÜV Rheinland Japan was set up. Not surprisingly, Jungnitsch is critical of Japan’s nuclear safety testing system. He points out that Japan has no properly independent organisation checking the safety of nuclear power stations. Tepco, for instance, in effect checks its own facilities. In Japan, he says, around 300 engineers work on safety for all the nation’s nuclear power stations; whereas in Germany the figure is 50 for each power station. That’s why companies like TÜV Rheinland have much to offer Japan, Jungnitsch stresses. “We are an independent third party: independent from
the manufacturer and independent from the operator.” The company’s special expertise was put to effective use in the first few days after 3/11 – including assessing radiation levels in Tokyo. An immediate concern of the company – as for many others – was whether it needed to evacuate its Yokohama office. TÜV Rheinland used its own equipment to measure radiation levels, sharing data with employees, as well as with the German community. “On 14 March our experts computersimulated the absolute worst-case scenario,” Jungnitsch recalls. “But Tokyo still wouldn’t have reached the level where there was a need to take iodine tablets.” Handmade prototype Of course, TÜV Rheinland’s business involves far more than measuring radiation. It certifies both products imported into Japan and products exported abroad. Although they test everything from teddy bears to office equipment to medical devices, the bulk of their work deals with items that are “relatively dangerous if not well maintained,” Jungnitsch says – including automobiles. They conduct crash tests for both Japanese and foreign car manufacturers. One test in particular sticks in Jungnitsch’s mind – for a Lambourghini. “My heart bled,” he remembers, “it was a handmade prototype.” TÜV Rheinland certifies more medical devices for the Japanese market (including those made by Japanese companies) than anyone else. And it is also number one for testing electrical devices, having issued more than 11,000 certificates last year alone. The company certifies both to its own and to others’ standards. As Jungnitsch explains, the degree of harmonisation between standards depends on the kind of product. Standards for electrical equipment, for example, are well harmonised globally. On the other hand, standards for anything to do with medical care tend to be set locally. Likewise, the company can test using the customer’s own facilities, or it can use its own. TÜV Rheinland’s HQ in Japan and two laboratories are in Yokohama, while it also has facilities
and offices in Osaka and Fukuoka. The photovoltaic power sector is a key part of the company’s business; TÜV Rheinland tests no less that 80% of all photovoltaic modules produced and certified in the world. The panels are checked for safety, quality and efficiency. “[The latter] is very important because it determines the return on investment for these products,” says Jungnitsch. Durability is equally crucial since panels need to last 25 years or more.
There was zero demand for testing of this kind before Another growing business is the testing of high-performance batteries, such as those for electric cars. “The challenge is to fit more power in smaller spaces, but this increases the risk when something goes wrong,” says Jungnitsch. “Usually the problems occur during fast-charging; if there are any faults in the batteries it can be extremely dangerous.” New jobs, long-term problem Since 3/11 TÜV Rheinland has created 10 new radiation-testing jobs for engineers in Japan. It has also set up a laboratory to test for radioactive substances in food and water using gamma spectroscopy. It isn’t common – to say the least – for so large a market to appear so suddenly. “There was zero demand for testing of this kind before,” Jungnitsch says. The company provides measurement and management of radiation at all stages of manufacturing processes. It is also a partner in the nuclear power plant stress tests already happening in Europe, and hopefully soon in Japan. Of course, Europe has had its own experience of nuclear calamity. “We are still doing testing connected with Chernobyl,” says Jungnitsch. “There will be a need for a long-term system of measurement. I think this demand will last a very long time … the half-life of caesium is 30 years.”
Automotive components A green light? Text Geoff Botting
owerful winds of change continue to blow through the global auto industry. While markets in the developed world continue to shrink, car sales in developing countries are surging and expected to remain strong for many more years to come. Meanwhile, the industry landscape is constantly shifting, as some of its biggest names have merged with former competitors or drastically restructured. Japan’s auto industry has not been immune to the shake-ups. Grappling with shrinking sales at home, it’s shifting more attention abroad. Richard Kracklauer, chairman of the EBC Automotive Components Committee, believes the time is right for European suppliers of auto parts and components to play a bigger role in Japan’s industry – not just for their own sake, but for that of the Japanese automakers as well. “We European suppliers, for many years have had connections with all the car manufacturers around the world. So we have a foundation of knowledge of what’s going on in the various markets around the world, of the different 24
brands and size of manufacturers, and so on. That could be very beneficial to the Japanese,” he says.
Automotive Components Committee Key advocacy issues k Globalisation – Japan’s automakers should make greater efforts to procure components based on free and open competition, rather than relying on their keiretsu suppliers. k Information exchange – regular meetings between European and Japanese auto industry officials should be continued. k Green procurement — Japan’s auto industry should adhere to accepted international practices for procurement aimed at avoiding use of hazardous substances. The problem, in the view of many European and other non-Japanese suppliers, is that Japan’s automakers have long relied exclusively on domestic suppliers, with whom they have forged tight bonds. That web was partially untangled commencing in 1999, when French carmaker Renault took a significant stake in Nissan Motor, and Renault’s
Carlos Ghosn was made CEO of Japan’s number-two carmaker. The Brazilianborn boss soon set about jettisoning many share cross-holdings between Nissan and its suppliers. But even so, in many other areas of the industry, such ties are still thriving and automakers continue to work closely with what the committee calls their “traditional suppliers”, rather than shopping around for other companies that could offer cost and technical advantages. In an increasingly globalised industry, this arrangement could eventually spell trouble for Japanese companies, Kracklauer believes, as it restricts their global business network. “I’d say that the Japanese carmakers might be putting themselves into a corner, from where they can’t come out again [by relying only on their domestic suppliers]. But we European suppliers can offer them a variety of knowledge of what’s going on in the world,” says Kracklauer, who is president of ZF Japan, an arm of ZF Friedrichshafen AG of Germany. His company supplies driveline and chassis technology like transmissions, suspension systems and components, electronic modules and other products
I n C ommittee
to Japanese carmakers for passenger and commercial vehicles. In addition, while the general impression is that Japan’s auto industry leads the world in technology and quality, in a few areas it lags. Japan’s public transit buses, for example, are reminiscent of the vehicles that plied the roads in Western countries in the 1960s. In the EBC 2010 White Paper, the committee recommends that Japanese manufacturers “focus more on the technical, commercial and logistics aspects… in the procurement of components and systems.” It complains of a “lack of transparency” as Japanese manufacturers tend to request parts made to their own specifications. The global trend, it notes, is to open standards. As it stands, European suppliers have a modest presence in Japan. In contrast, when Japanese automakers produce cars in Europe, they are free to choose from a wide range of eager suppliers. Still, committee member Nikolaus Boltze of ThyssenKrupp Steel & Technologies Japan sees a brighter future ahead for Japan. “The situation here is actually improving,” he says. “We’ve received some benefits from Ford’s cooperation
with Mazda, General Motors’ with Suzuki, Isuzu and Subaru; and there’s also Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi and, naturally, Renault and Nissan. So that has given us a situation in which the European manufacturers are now strong in Japan.” The result, he explains, is greater moves from the European and Japanese partners towards common platforms [sets of core mechanical components shared by outwardly distinct car models]. “This will automatically give us suppliers a better chance to enter the Japanese market,” he says. The Automotive Components Committee has 10 member companies. They meet once every two or three months and in advance of major events, such as auto shows. The Japanese market will remain difficult for foreign suppliers. Not only is it highly competitive, but it is shrinking as well, thanks to Japan’s greying society. If that weren’t enough, perhaps cars aren’t as trendy as they used to be. A 2008 study by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) found that fewer and fewer young Japanese are interested in owning their own cars. Domestic sales in 2010 totalled about 5m vehicles, compared to
5.9m in 2005, according to JAMA. Even so, foreign suppliers that do take the plunge and decide to stick around can find rewards.
The time is right for European suppliers of auto parts and components to play a bigger role in Japan’s industry – not just for their own sake, but for that of the Japanese automakers as well “We are in a niche business,” says Boltze, referring to his company’s exports of high-performance shock absorbers for Japanese sports cars, “but it is a profitable niche.” August 2011
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JMEC Awards Ceremony 2011 10 June 2011, Tokyo American Club Text Tony McNicol Photo Antony Tran
he ecstatic reaction from the winners of this year’s Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC) was clear evidence of the energy, commitment and sheer hard work they had invested. The team of five had spent some 2,000 hours among them on their business plan. “They have given up family life, social life and – most of all – a lot of sleep,” said Verena Urbschat, chair of the JMEC executive committee. “Every JMEC participant is a winner.” JMEC is a non-profit programme to foster the development of foreign business in Japan and strengthen the skills of young business executives. It is supported by 16 chambers of commerce in Japan, including 12 from Europe. Now in its 18th year, JMEC has produced 159 business plans by 848 participants. Often described as a mini-MBA, the programme runs from November to May, with an awards ceremony each June. JMEC always demands a lot of its participants, but this year was arguably the toughest ever. The 11 March disaster happened mid-way through the project. Yet, after taking a little time off to deal with personal matters, 51 of 53 participants went on to complete the scheme. “We are very proud of everyone who successfully completed the programme this year,” said Laura Loy, programme director. And as one of the judges Rike Wootten remarked, “March 11th was possibly the greatest excuse anyone could have used, but none of the groups even brought it up.” The business plans produced by this year’s teams were for 10 clients, included an NPO, small- and mediumsized companies, and global corporations. In return for their support and cooperation they received high-quality,
First Place Team – Project client: Sumitomo 3M Ltd. L to R: Marc Nyhan, Asami Okusawa, Mary Fidler, Kyoko Mikami, Soichi Koshikawa
professional business plans that address their needs at a fraction of the cost of hiring professional business consultants. As usual, participants signed confidentiality agreements and all plans were the property of the clients. Over the years, many JMEC plans have been put into profitable action. Mark Bogner works for TÜV SÜD Japan, one of this year’s JMEC client companies. “We’ve been looking at expanding our market,” he said, “so we greatly appreciated the fresh and cost-effective approach brought by our JMEC team for possible expansion of our services into a new business area.” This year’s competition was exceptionally close, with just a fraction of a percent difference between the marks awarded the top teams. The lightest plan weighed 168g, and the heaviest, 1,389g, Wootten told attendees. There was more than just analysis to the plans. “We had a presentation that involved the smell of pine trees,” he said. “We had a group that told us that Murphy’s Law applies more in Japan than in other countries.” Marc Nyhan, an English instructor for Berlitz, was part of the winning team. He took part in JMEC for a challenge and a chance to take his career in a
new direction, he said. “I like what I do, but for teaching, the opportunities are minimal.” The team was tasked with creating a marketing plan for Sumitomo 3M to dramatically increase sales of a particular product. “The brand’s visibility in the category was minimal,” said Nyhan. “It is a quality product, but Japanese people didn’t know about it. We came up with a bold marketing plan.” Looking forward This year’s event was in the recently rebuilt, lavish Tokyo American Club, and attended by some of the Tokyo foreign business community’s best-known names. The proceeds from raffles went to the Sendai-based Tohoku New Business Conference, which helps SMEs in north-east Japan; ¥575,000 was raised. This year is one of considerable change for JMEC. Thomas Whitson will take over from Verena Urbschat as chair of the JMEC Executive Committee, while Pierre Couret will replace the outgoing programme director, Laura Loy. Meanwhile, preparations for JMEC 18 are already underway. Prospective participants should apply by 21 October, and interested clients by 18 November. August 2011
Redesigning tradition Text and photo Rob Gilhooly
Despite having written a best-selling book on Japanese kimono, Ma誰a Maniglier resists any suggestion that she is an expert. If anything, she says, it was her love of kimono that inspired her admired designs for many media.
C u l ture S hock
Tradition is not stagnant; it’s a living, evolving thing, and we should continue to revisit traditional items to ensure their message never dies out
“I like to think of myself as a translator of Japanese customs, and it is through my acquaintance with kimono that I arrived at that place,” says the Jerusalem-born Parisian, who is president of graphic design and multimedia company exprime Inc. “The symbols of traditional Japanese customs still exist, but [Japan has] lost the stories from which they evolved. I want to re-tell those stories, to reinterpret the motifs and designs, but in a way that will be easily comprehended by people today.” Among the distinctly Japanese objects that she has redesigned are the kimono’s lighter cousin, the yukata,
folding fans and kokoro-zuke, an umbrella term for monetary gifts, for various occasions such as weddings and funerals, that are usually given in special envelopes. Her name for these kimono-inspired products is maiagonomi (Maïa’s taste). They include both designs that incorporate her take on traditional motifs and symbols – and ones that are entirely of her own creation. “I was looking at kokoro-zuke one day and realised there was not one that I liked,” says Maniglier, who majored in Japanese at Université des Langues Orientales Paris. “So I decided I must make them myself. That’s how it all started. “The root of it was indeed kimono and the symbolism that the kimono represents. Like so many traditional Japanese items, the kimono is not just fashion. It’s a whole universe in itself.” Her envelopes are a perfect example of how she incorporates kimono and traditional motifs into her designs. One envelope folds in a manner very much suggestive of the way a kimono is worn, the edges of the paper made to look like the hems of the garment. Another design does away with the bow that is wrapped around some more elaborate envelopes, such as those used for weddings, in favour of one that is cut out of the envelope itself. “So many traditional items and customs are fading from modern Japanese life, and one reason is that they no longer suit the way Japanese live today,” she says. “So I decided to redesign them so that they could be more readily assimilated by today’s urbanised society.” Maniglier first arrived in Japan during the last days of the economic bubble, landing a job promoting a Parisian exhibition at a Seibu department store in Tokyo. Prior to that, while a student in Paris, she had managed an amateur Japanese band on tour. Some of the band members were Seibu staff, she says, and six months later she was invited to Japan on a sixmonth contract. “That was in 1989. I have never looked back”. She has also worked at telecommunications giant NTT and an architect’s office. Each time, she says, her unique bi-cultural vision was as highly valued
as her ability to adapt to Japanese working environments. “In my time I have made my fair share of green tea [for colleagues], and foreign friends would say ‘what are you doing? That’s not why you went to university,’” she says. “I never understood that view – it only takes a few minutes to make the tea, but by doing so one can show respect for the Japanese way of doing things.” This is a philosophy that Maniglier has followed since founding her business, exprime, 15 years ago. The company’s clients have included Japan Airlines, for which the company creates unique cover graphics for the inflight magazine Skyward, and sake brewery Tatsuuma Honke, for which they designed bottle labels for a special New Year’s gift box. The designs in each case fused modern, almost impressionistic, elements with traditional colours and emblems. Meanwhile, her limited edition kimono have been exhibited around Japan, garnering praise from traditional garment-makers and fashion designers alike, and culminating with the publication of her book, A Parisian and Kimono. “So much traditional culture in the West disappeared several generations ago, but in Japan there are still people alive today who follow the customs of hundreds of years ago,” says Maniglier. “It means that young people can learn [these customs] directly rather than through books. There was a time when Japanese became afraid of their own culture. Fortunately, more and more people are going back to their roots as a kind of reaction to consumerism.” Maniglier is bemused by those traditionalists who decry young people’s efforts to adapt tradition to their modern lifestyles. “Japanese tend to place the bar too high. Things like the mini-skirt kimono worn by girls in Shibuya. Some people might not like that, but I say ‘why not? It’s fun’. “Tradition is not stagnant; it’s a living, evolving thing, and we should continue to revisit traditional items to ensure their message never dies out.”
committee schedu l e
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Outsourcing and HR Solutions
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Japan Council of International Schools
he first school in Japan to include the word “international” in its name was founded in 1924. However, schools offering an education in English and serving members of the expatriate community in Japan have existed since 1872, and four current JCIS member schools can trace their origins to before the First World War. Many more were founded in the 1950s and 1960s, and it was in October 1965 when representatives of such schools met formally for the first time to discuss mutual matters of administration and curriculum. The value of such meetings was immediately apparent, and schools started meeting on a regular basis. On January 12, 1972, a number of schools met and founded the Japan Council of Overseas Schools (JCOS). It was originally decided that membership would be based on schools being in EARCOS, the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools, and that school heads would meet regularly to exchange information and discuss matters of mutual interest. In 1982 a constitution was adopted that opened membership to schools offering an English-based curriculum, irrespective of membership in EARCOS. In 1987, the name of the organisation was changed to the Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS), following the lead of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS). Schools applying for membership to JCIS must meet a number of important criteria including stability, continuity, accreditation, professionalism, and an explicit commitment to internationalism. Also, education must be provided in English. Beyond that, however, there are no requirements concerning curriculum, ethos or ownership. Some schools offer programmes of the International Baccalaureate. Others offer an education rooted to a greater or lesser degree in a national curriculum. Some schools offer a full “kindergarten to grade 12” education while others specialise in certain
age groups. Some are faith-based while others are strictly secular. The smallest JCIS member school has fewer than 100 students and the largest has more than 1,600. Collectively, our schools currently enrol just short of 10,000 students from 109 countries. About half of the member schools are located in Tokyo or Yokohama. The others are spread throughout the country from Fukuoka in the west to Sapporo in the north. The heads of member schools meet twice a year – usually in September and April. Meetings are held at member schools: once a year in the Kanto region and once elsewhere in Japan. A President (Chair), Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer are elected by, and from among, the heads of member schools. On a day-to-day basis, heads of JCIS schools communicate with each other regarding matters of common interest such as changes in employment legislation, appropriate precautions to take against pandemics (such as bird flu or swine flu), experience with service providers (good and bad), and so on. Opportunities are also taken to share the cost of visiting speakers or performers with neighbouring schools, to coordinate professional development initiatives, to bring together specialist staff, and to support schools introducing new curriculums or educational programmes. JCIS is a collegial and collaborative organisation that exists for the betterment of all international schools in Japan to the benefit of the parents who choose them and the children who attend them. Peter MacKenzie President, Japan Council of International Schools www.jcis.jp Principal, Hiroshima International School www.hiroshima-is.ac.jp
Japan Council of International Schools Links to the member schools may be found at www.jcis.jp
American School in Japan
International School of the Sacred Heart
Seisen International School
Aoba-Japan International School
Kyoto International School
St. Mary’s International School
British School in Tokyo
Marist Brothers International School
Saint Maur International School
The Canadian Academy
Montessori School of Tokyo
St. Michael’s International School
Canadian International School
Nagoya International School
Tohoku International School
Christian Academy in Japan
New International School
Tokyo International School
Fukuoka International School
Nishimachi International School
Tsukuba International School
Hiroshima International School
Osaka International School
Yokohama International School
Hokkaido International School
Osaka YMCA International School
specia l feature
Liquid luxury Europe offers Japan premium alcohol and glassware Text Gavin Blair
ike many consumer markets in Japan, the one for alcohol has fragmented into a lowend, price-cutting segment and a high-end market that remains strong and profitable. European makers of luxury wines, beer and spirits – as well as the glasses to enjoy them from – are at the forefront of the sector. “The Japanese market has the world’s highest proportion of prestige Champagne as a percentage of overall sales, accounting for 11.5%; it is also a big market for rose Champagne,
which accounts for 13%,” explains Ken Moroi, chief executive officer of Vranken Japan, the local operation of global Champagne specialist, Vranken Pommery Monopole. “Tokyo has the most Michelin stars of any city, as well as a high concentration of prestige hotels,” points out Moroi. The company is now the second-largest Champagne company in the world, and the largest grower of European wines. Since its acquisition of Listel, it is also a major player in the high-end rose market, as well as offering a range of other still wines and ports.
“What gives Vranken an edge is our full Champagne portfolio,” says Moroi. The Vranken Champagne stable includes the Pommery, Heidsieck & Co. Monopole, Demoiselle and Diamant brands, which all contain a range of white, rose and vintage Champagnes. Vranken opened its Japan office in 2007 after using local distributors (which it still has working relationships with) for many years One of Moroi’s goals for the future, he says, is to see more pairing of Champagne with Japanese food, and not just European cuisine.
specia l feature
If you have a really good wine, it deserves a really good glass Roberto Pleitavino, Zwiesel Japan
Not just a glass Whether with Japanese or European food, experts insist luxury alcohol should be enjoyed from quality glasses to fully appreciate each’s taste, aroma and appearance. Austrian glassmaker Riedel, which was established in 1756, first created glasses shaped specifically for different varieties of wine. “The wine’s taste, bouquet and balance are all affected by the shape of the glass, which determines the way the wine enters the mouth,” explains Wolfgang Angyal, president of Riedel Japan. “The shape of the rim and the body of the glass dictate how much wine will go to certain parts of the palette. For example, whether the wine goes first to the tip of the tongue or the side of the tongue creates a totally different taste picture. This is related to the acidity, tannins, fruit and alcohol of the wine,” says Angyal. “Whenever wine goes to a different place in your mouth, it creates a different first impression. The first impression is the most important because it sends a taste picture to your brain,” he adds Different kinds of wine each have a certain shape of glass with optimum
affinity, according to Angyal. Riedel glasses are designed not in a laboratory, but at workshops with winemakers and wine experts where they blind-test various wines in glasses of different shapes for both taste and aroma. “The human element is crucial; you can’t just put data into a computer,” says Angyal. “Japanese customers are very brand-driven, but also willing to try new products and brands.” Space-conscious The history of Zwiesel Kristallglas dates back to the 19th century; the company began making wine glasses in 1872 in the town of Zwiesel in Bavaria. The company has three main brands: Zwiesel 1872, a collection of mouthblown premium crystal glasses, decanters and interior items; Schott Zwiesel, a range of durable crystal glass products, using patented Tritan technology that is primarily aimed at restaurants, bars and hotels; and Jenaer Glas, glassware accessories made of heat-resistant borosilicate glass such as utensils, dishes, tableware and tea sets. “The strength and flexibility of our glasses, helped by the use of titanium in their manufacture, allows them to withstand the repeated washing that
happens in hotels and restaurants, while retaining the brilliance of the glass,” explains Roberto Pleitavino, head of Zwiesel Japan. One of the company’s best-selling ranges is its Vina collection; the wine glasses appeal well to space-conscious Japanese customers. “The glasses are not so tall, so they are a good fit for some Japanese bars and homes, where space is often limited and size is very important,” says Pleitavino. Keeping glasses crystal clear is also vital for sommeliers that visually check for impurities in wines when tasting them, according to Pleitavino. The company also produces a range of glasses for premium beer, designed to bring out the best in different brews. “It’s the same principle as that for wine glasses,” says Pleitavino. While Zwiesel also sells glasses for cognac, grappa and desert wines – though mostly for the trade rather than retail customers – wineglasses remain its flagship product. “If you have a really good wine, it deserves a really good glass,” says Pleitavino. “On the other hand, if you have an affordable wine, you can kind of upgrade it through using a quality glass. It really does make it taste better.”
St. Mary’s International School
A School With A Heart
St. Mary’s International School is a boys’ school set in a picturesque nine-acre campus in residential Setagaya Ward, Tokyo. The school was founded in Mita in 1954 by the Brothers of Christian Instruction and moved to its present location in 1972. We have just completed our campus reconstruction project and offer secure, modern, well-equipped classrooms as well as an athletics field, gymnasium, swimming pool, spacious band room, choir rooms and practice rooms, art facilities and computer labs. St. Mary’s is an accredited school with more than 900 students ranging from Readiness Program (pre-First Grade) to Grade 12, representing more than 55 countries. Boys at all levels are exposed to a rich and varied college preparatory curriculum encompassing their mental, physical and spiritual development. In the high school, students have the option of entering the International Baccalaureate program, a prestigious and rigorous academic program offered in 140 countries worldwide and recognized by many leading universities.
Community connections Students at all levels have the opportunity to join activities and to benefit from the St. Mary’s community. The Elementary School is host to intramural activities, Cub Scouts and other clubs, while older students can choose to get involved in Brain Bowl, junior varsity and varsity athletics, debate, plays and musicals, band and choir performances, Boy Scouts, the yearbook and the school newspaper, The Diplomat. The school also holds celebrations and events each year that are open to school families and the community at large, including Bingo in the fall and the Boys Carnival in May. Global citizens St. Mary’s students go on to prestigious universities and become leaders in all walks of life. St. Mary’s alumni include presidents of international banks, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, lawyers, architects, even doctors volunteering their time and skills to help people in remote South American communities. In the spirit of charity
and to instill these future leaders with a sense of community, St. Mary’s has undertaken numerous projects with student involvement to assist the survivors of the great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, including donations of goods, effort and money. St. Mary’s teachers joined volunteer efforts in Tohoku during Golden Week, and teachers and students together have created a benefit music CD. In addition, the funds raised from the Carnival this year will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society. Summer programs St. Mary’s also offers summer school in June. Summer school is open to students from all international schools, boys and girls alike, and features academics, athletics and activities, all taught by St. Mary’s faculty. Children can choose to focus on skills in preparation for the following school year, exercise their creative sides, or join the Day Camp program and work off their summer energy.
To ﬁnd out more, visit www.smis.ac.jp 38
Looking ahead International schools are ready for the new academic year
n 1 April St. Mary’s International School in Tokyo completed the reconstruction of their entire campus. “We are happy with the design and the environment it provides for excellent teaching and education,” says Br. Michel Jutras, headmaster. “We are implementing a new student information system [PowerSchool] that should facilitate both the collection of data and the communications with the students and their parents.” New International School of Japan is expanding their preschool facilities and staffing. “Our music programme will include the violin by the Suzuki Method for all children from age six [previously from age eight,” explains Steven Parr, director and head of school. They are also expanding the after-school programme for the benefit of families whose parents are both employed. “Our school is less expensive than most,” Parr continues, “but still difficult for many families to support on only one salary.” The British School in Tokyo is very excited about their school going from Age 3 to University, with students taking the final year of A-Levels for the first time in 2011-12. “We have opened brand new facilities, including a specialist drama room and enhanced music facilities, at our Showa campus in Sangenjaya to facilitate this,” says Simon Lloyd, business director.
The American School in Japan aims to reduce their annual CO2 consumption by 30% from the benchmark year of 2007. Construction of a new high school science room, art room and new robotics studio; renovation of existing high school science rooms; and a new elementary HVAC system mark the opening of the school year. In December, the new athletics facility will include six deco tennis courts, new weight and fitness centre, dance studio, trainer’s room, and wrestling practice room. There will be a covered bus depot, geo-thermal heating and cooling, and a redesigned front entrance to improve pedestrian and bus safety. ASIJ is introducing a high school robotics course, expanding their Mandarin programme, and introducing AP World History for 10th graders, which complement the full range of high school Advanced Placement and elective classes. A 1:1 laptop computer programme for high school will complement an existing middle school programme, and fifth graders will be piloting a 1:1 laptop and a 1:1 iPad programme. From September, The NUCB Graduate School will be offering a new one-year Global Leadership Programme in addition to the two-year GLP course of studies. “This is in response to the growing market segment of working candidates and others needing to accelerate their learning because of their
occupation,” says Prof. Takehiko Ito, associate dean. Kenichi Ohmae Graduate School of Business has invited five new faculty members to teach classes on the subjects of entrepreneurship, steps to leading globally, global negotiation skills, communication skills for the global marketplace, and dynamic presentation. To facilitate offering more video lecture recordings, they have built two new studios on the Rokubancho campus in Yotsuya. 11 March “We did our best to manage the situation in a way that kept the students safe, calm and all accounted for,” says Br. Jutras. “We are fortunate to have new buildings that supported very well the forces of nature.” Like all of the other schools, New International School closed for a bit, “happily for only a week in our case,” says Parr. “Most of our families returned quickly, but a few were absent for over a month or did not return at all, largely because of pressure from their families in their home countries as a result of the negative publicity about Japan.” Br. Jutras adds, “As a school we suffered from a reduction in the number of students, but we conducted some big campaigns to try to help the people most affected by the earthquake and the tsunami. Our hope is that
the situation in the north will continue to improve and that the international community will continue to populate our school.” For the British School in Tokyo, the weeks that followed 11 March were very challenging, “with decisions required without the full range of facts that would normally be available,” says Lloyd. “We decided to put the safety of our children first, as we could never have forgiven ourselves if anything had gone wrong.” March 11th presented ASIJ an opportunity to act on their mission statement in terms of “inculcating compassion among our students and involving them in accepting and acting upon their responsibilities as global citizens,” says Ed Ladd, head of school. “It has also given us insights into the Japanese culture and national character, and initiated more direct interaction with the people and the culture.” One of the member schools of the Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS), Tohoku International School, was immediately and profoundly affected. “Happily, it is now back on its feet,” says Peter MacKenzie, JCIS president and principal of Hiroshima International School. Other member schools from Tokyo to Sapporo felt the shock, “but suffered no significant damage.” Many JCIS schools were on vacation or about to go on vacation when the crisis struck. “Schools then delayed reopening until all, or most, of their teachers and students had returned,” MacKenzie says. “And most have returned.” JCIS provided an immensely valuable forum. “We felt it was important for schools to be sending the same message to the community,” says MacKenzie. “Member schools have also contributed generously to the Tohoku relief effort and have often liaised with each other to maximise the effectiveness of their response.” NUCB decided to launch a donation scheme and Facebook page entitled “What we can do for them?”. “We also collaborated with ESADE, the Spanish business school, and others,” says Prof. Ito. Following the March 11 disaster, Kenichi Ohmae Graduate School of Business set up a special communications platform on their online portal for both students and alumni to use. Professors were extremely active with volunteer work, establishing organisations and networks to help those suffering from the ordeal in north-east Tohoku. Long-term strategy The percentage of Japanese students – or students with one Japanese parent – is increasing in international schools, says Parr. “And I am sure will continue to do so. It will also increase as global companies move more towards local hiring.” Being a highly innovative school that “few people even know about,” he says, “is why our challenge is to publicise this strength, among others.”
“As a school, March 11th offers us the opportunity to learn and to interact with our host country and live our mission as educators.” St. Mary’s wants their teachers and students to become familiar with the new tools of education and use them in a wise way to improve the learning process. “We also insist on promoting and maintaining values that are fundamental and transcend the constant changes to which we are exposed,” says Br. Jutras. At the British School in Tokyo, their longterm strategy is to take the structure and the values of the very best that British education has always offered, but to combine them with the latest ideas and thinking in international education worldwide. “We want to prepare our students for a future which will probably be very different from what we see now. We are constantly doing research on that,” says Lloyd. The way ASIJ handled the March 11 impact on the foreign community offers important lessons that apply to the future. “I think the first thing is to not be judgmental of the decisions made by others in terms of their perspective on the issues of safety,” says Ladd. “Hand in hand with this goes the need for clear and informed communication within the organisation. Third, there is the need for a sustainable effort to assist in the recovery.” ASIJ sees this as a long-term commitment long after the world headlines have ceased. “I think the business community, individually and collectively, must also reflect on how to meet their missions in relationship to the context of our host country, Japan and the tragedy of March 11th. Despite the loss and suffering, there is so much that we can learn and grow from in how we react to this
circumstance,” he says. “As a school, March 11th offers us the opportunity to learn and to interact with our host country and live our mission as educators.” The long-term challenges facing international schools in Japan include a declining number of expatriate families being sent to Japan, whose school fees are commonly paid by the employer, points out JCIS’ MacKenzie. As these students become fewer, “we find that a growing percentage of parents are paying privately,” he says. “[An international education] is increasingly becoming an appealing option for long-term and permanent residents.” Among the University of Manchester, Manchester Business School’s seven international centres, the East Asia Centre in Hong Kong organises the Global MBA programme for students from Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and southern China. “Currently, 25% of the students are working professionals in Japan travelling to Hong Kong to complete their UK part-time MBA degrees,” says Christina Siu, director, East Asia Centre, “which is exactly the same as the full-time MBA on campus. The programmes aim to suit students’ lifestyle and career demands. “We use a blend of self-study and intensive face-to-face workshops over three to four days at any of our seven international centres,” she adds. “We also recognise the importance of career progression and aim to deliver a careers service that supports our students to achieve their aspirations.” Manchester is one of the few business schools to offer comprehensive Global Career Services to their part-time students. As part of their long-term strategy, Kenichi Ohmae Graduate School of Business promotes licensing their online education platform to other learning institutions. To keep content fresh and relevant, they constantly record new lectures by global leaders who share up-to-date information. “Our monthly content committee meetings invite international leaders, and global movers and shakers to be queried on their views and impart advice regarding educational content,” says Lisa Chung, programme manager. “Our curriculum strongly focuses on improving English-language skills and building a global mindset.” Under the school motto, “Frontier Spirit”, NUCB has been pursuing an international education from its foundation. “Including an exchange student programme, we have succeeded in increasing international enrolment,” says Prof. Ito. “International education is one of the key components in our longterm strategy, and that will never change.” Not only inviting many international students and professors as NUCB currently does, they also aim to encourage Japanese students to study abroad. “The need for people possessing global business acumen is increasing day by day among Japanese companies,” he says.
the future of
The American School in Japan’s master plan nears completion Master schools need master plans, and ASIJ’s project to improve and update its campuses, which began in 1998, is near completion. The final two phases will bring dramatic enhancements that will help us realize the full potential of our school and create a more secure and richer learning environment for our students. Phase 1, which began in February 2011, will see the front of school transform both inside and out, with a new main gate and remodeled high school entrance. A new suite of athletics facilities that includes a wrestling room, dance studio, fitness center and six tennis courts will enhance our current curricular and co-curricular programs. The elevation of the tennis courts to the second story will allow us to create a designated bus drop-off and pick-up zone with covered bus parking underneath. Phase 2 will focus on the current multi-purpose room building, which will be replaced with a new two-story building. Housing elementary classrooms for art and science and a new elementary school performance space, the facility will also include a new strings room to be used by all the Chofu divisions. The creation of a Japan Center will add specialist resources to support our Japanese studies program at all levels. Crossdivisional services, such as the kiosk, bookstore, health center and curriculum office will move to the new building,
creating space in the middle and high schools for additional learning spaces. From the new classrooms in each division to the elementary performance space and Japan Center, the impact across the curriculum, and each division, will be significant. “As I view the drawings of Paul Tange, our architect, I can only applaud his vision to give ASIJ a greater sense of place that will create pride and a feeling of belonging for generations to come. In addition, the new front entrance and the new classroom spaces will enable our students to be safer as they disembark from buses, to have the privilege of expanding their learning experiences, and to experience the landmark of excellence that is the essence of what ASIJ represents,” says Head of School Ed Ladd. “I am especially thrilled with the plans to develop a Japan Center on campus to ensure that the language and culture of Japan is at the heart of the school and learning experience of all students. This celebration of culture will be an invaluable resource for everyone in our community.”
The new school entrance and facade takes inspiration from the old school gate created in the 1930s.
Pre-K through grade 12. Accredited by WASC. For complete admissions information please visit: <http://community.asij.ac.jp> or call 0422-34-5300 ext. 720
Kenichi Ohmae Graduate School of Business MBAグローバリゼーション専攻
大前研一学長を始め、世界の経営者の指導のもと、一流の経営戦略と思考 プロセスを学び、 国際的なビジネスリーダーに成長できます。 本校は日本で唯一、文部科学省が認可した、 サイバー（インターネットや衛星 放送） ネットワークを利用した遠隔教育方式の経営大学院です。時間や場所 の制約を受けないので、 企業に在籍したまま、 いつでもどこからでも講義を受け ることが可能です。 異なるビジネス環境 （英語環境） においても 「仕事をやりぬく」 「 、結果を出すこと ができる」 人材の育成を目指した、 まさに実践的なプログラムです。 働きながら、 MBAを取得できます。
ビジネスブレークスルー大学院大学 TEL: 03-5860-5531 Email: email@example.com http://www.ohmae.ac.jp/gmba_j/
The Manchester Global MBA Join us at a One to One Career Advice Session in Tokyo Date: 27 – 30 August
Net retailers consolidate gains Leading online retailers, FY2009 (Sales ¥m) 0
Amazon Japan Rakuten Senshukai Yahoo Japan Nissen JapaNet Takata Yodobashi Camera Stream Famima.com Dinos Bic Camera Cecile Abelnet Uniqlo Coop Pal System Start Today Marui Coop Tokyo
Amazon Japan is believed to be Japan’s largest online retailer, with estimated sales of around ¥320 billion in FY2009
Coop Kobe Scroll stores Notes: Rank: Nikkei ranking;  Amazon Japan figures taken from consulting estimates;  Rakuten sales for E-Commerce division (excluding sales by portal stores) included for comparison;  Yahoo Japan sales for business services division (online shopping & auctions) not sales of physical goods. Included for comparison. Source: Nikkei; Company reports; trade press; JapanConsuming.
Online retailers go from strength to strength as non-store [without physical shops] firms compete head to head with new channels set up by high street chains. Amazon Japan is believed to be Japan’s largest online retailer, with estimated sales of around ¥320 billion in FY2009, up about 14%. In Nikkei’s annual survey of non-store retailers earlier this year, internet sales were up 10% in 2009 compared to 2008. TV shopping sales, although a much smaller segment overall, were up 12.4%. Nomura Research Institute (NRI) put the total 2010 online market at ¥7.31 trillion, up 11% on 2009, of which 17.5% was from mobile phones. The events of 11 March have only highlighted the convenience of online retailers and the seemingly limitless sources of goods they offer. The scramble for bottled water in particular led many to online stores, boosting sales – and causing backache for under-appreciated delivery men. TV shopping linked to webstores is growing fast.
This is being driven by younger customers; even Marc Jacobs (fashion brand) now sells on what hitherto had been a shopping medium almost exclusively for middle-aged housewives. More retailers, including even luxury brands, are selling more online. NRI estimates that online retail alone will hit ¥11.8 trillion by 2015, about 11% of total retail sales, of which 20% will be from mobile phones. Roy Larke JapanConsuming is the leading provider of intelligence on consumer and retail markets in Japan. The monthly report provides news about, and in depth analysis of, current trends.
For more information, please see www.japanconsuming.com or contact Sally Bedown at firstname.lastname@example.org
Proudly providing a British education to international students from 3-18 years old
Upcoming events > Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Japan www.blccj.or.jp
Belgium beer weekend Tokyo 8-11 September, Thursday-Sunday
Venue: Roppongi Hills Arena Fee: Entry free of charge. Purchasable food and drink tickets. Contact: www.belgianbeerweekend.jp
> British Chamber of Commerce in Japan www.bccjapan.com
Inside my company 7 September, Wednesday, time to be confirmed
Speaker: Tony Ennis, president, BAE Systems (International) Ltd. Venue: ANA InterContinental Tokyo B1, Aurora room Cost: ¥5,500 (members), ¥6,500 (guests) Contact: email@example.com
BCCJ 51 informal networking 22 September, Thursday, 19:00-21:00
Venue: Conrad Tokyo 28F, Twenty-Eight Bar and Lounge Cost: ¥4,000 (members, guests), includes three drinks and food Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Danish Chamber of Commerce in Japan www.dccj.org
DCCJ social beer garden event 12 August, Friday, time: TBD
Venue: ANA InterContinental Tokyo Fee: ¥5,000 Contact: email@example.com
DCCJ Tokyo boat cruise 9 September, Friday, time: TBD
Venue: Shinagawa Fee: TBD Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan www.fcc.or.jp
FCCJ yakatabune cruise 24 August, Wednesday, 19:00-21:30
Fee: ¥8,000 (members, guests) Contact: email@example.com
> French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan www.ccifj.or.jp
Responses and perspectives after the Tohoku disaster 9 September, Friday, 12:30-14:00
Speakers: Koki Ito, Ernst & Young ShinNihon; Daniel Mary-Dauphin, Ernst & Young France; Stephane Lagut, Ernst & Young global network. Venue: CCIFJ, Iida Bldg., Yotsuya station Fee: ¥3,000 cash at the door (including bento and drinks), but must pre-register Contact: www.ccifj.or.jp
> German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan
Being competitive in spite of the natural disaster in Japan
30 August, Tuesday, 12:00-14:00
Speaker: Dr. Donald L. Amoroso, Kennesaw State University, Atlanta Venue: Hotel Okura Tokyo, Kensington Terrace Fee: ¥6,000 (members) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal do’s and don’ts for foreign executives in Japan 15 September, Thursday, 18:30-21:00
Speaker: Thomas Witty, ARQIS Foreign Law Office Venue: GCCIJ conference room, Hanzomon/ Kudanshita Fee: ¥5,250 (members), ¥8,400 (non-members) Contact: email@example.com
> Italian Chamber of Commerce in Japan www.iccj.or.jp
Aperitivo della camera 15 September, Thursday, 19:00-21:00
Venue: Via Quadronno, Aoyama Fee: ¥1,000 (members), ¥2,000 (non-members) Contact: www.iccj.or.jp
> Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in Japan http://nccj.jp
NCCJ briefing and drinks. Saving occupancy costs in today’s real estate market
21 September, Wednesday, 17:30-20:00
Speaker: Richard van Rooij, representative director, Colliers International Venue: Colliers International, Tokyo Fee: no charge Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Swedish Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan www.sccj.org
Back to Tokyo 8 September, Thursday, from 19:00
Venue: Embassy of Sweden Fee: ¥4,000 Contact: email@example.com
> Mercedes-Benz Japan cup
The North America-Europe golf challenge in Japan 30 September, Friday, 08:30-17:30
Venue: Atsugi Kokusai Country Club, Kanagawa prefecture Fee: ¥24,000 Contact: www.dccgolf-japan.com
Compiled by David Umeda August 2011
Mats Bruzæus Marching to his own beat Text Andy Sharp Photo Tony McNicol
A lot of people with musical talent don’t play or sing, whereas a lot of other people would love to play, but aren’t very gifted. The same goes for jobs
E B C persona l ity
ats Bruzæus’ career has flowed like the New Orleans jazz he loves to play. Over the decades, it has seen him swing between Tokyo and his native Sweden; sometimes as part of a big band, but more usually preferring to play solo. Matsu-san, as he is known to his Japanese friends, heads Garuda Japan, a human resources company that uses innovative tools to assess the latent potential of candidates for manager jobs. “There are many tools on the market, but most of them are totally useless,’ Bruzæus tells EURObiZ Japan at his Tokyo home office. “Ours is a method of assessment that finds a person’s core personality. That is what really determines professional success – you just add skills on top of that. “If you haven’t got what it takes to be a sales guy, it doesn’t matter how many sales training courses you attend – you’ll never be a good sales guy. So it’s a question of finding the real person and the kind of job they are into,” he says. “[Take music:] a lot of people with musical talent don’t play or sing, whereas a lot of other people would love to play, but aren’t very gifted. The same goes for jobs.” A vicar’s son, Bruzæus was raised in a rectory in Mjölby in southern Sweden, before moving to a nearby iron-making village. “It was kind of a one-company village,” he says. “You could find these places all over Sweden.” He learned to operate a ham radio in his teens, chatting with people around the world on his hand-built 10-Watt transmitter – a kind of Skype for the 1960s. When faced with military service, he hoped his self-taught skills would help him become a radio operator in the Swedish army signal corps. “[But] they said there was no space for me – so I applied for the air force as an engineer,” Bruzæus says. He was accepted and learnt to fly aircraft, later on becoming a reserve pilot in the army flying corps. Airplanes are still a passion. “When
I retire some day, my plan is to return to Sweden and build my own plane,” he says. Between 1975 and 1991, Bruzæus worked in the manufacturing industry in roles with four Swedish companies. He was involved in the production of items as diverse as heat exchangers, rubber, and rock drilling tools. But to Bruzæus, manufacturing is not really about making things. “Basically, manufacturing is not technology; it’s people,” he says. “You have machines to make things happen, but someone has to press the button.” In 1991, he saw a job posting at the Swedish Embassy in London, but the position turned out to be in Tokyo. He had fallen in love with Japan on a 10-day trip five years earlier, so applied. He got the job and spent the next six years at first assisting, but later heading, a bi-cultural team of 13 as the Swedish government’s science and technology counsellor. In 1997, he moved back to Sweden to take up a position as trade and industry director with the local government in Malmö, but cut his contract short after he met the founder of Anoto, a company offering digital handwriting technology. Bruzæus was deeply impressed by the product. “I was drunk with excitement the first time I saw it; it was the greatest technology I’ve ever been presented with.” He was tasked with leading Anoto’s Japanese operations. “It was really fun,” he says. “Starting a company in Japan, learning all the facets of it, and having a wonderful technology.” The father of three took this experience back to Sweden to establish his Matsu-san business consultancy, but it was not long before Bruzæus met the owner of the HR firm Garuda and persuaded him that the company could set up a branch in Japan. Bruzæus is an active member of the Swedish chamber of commerce – as well as the EBC. “The EBC has grown in importance over the years,” he says. “The tide has turned a little with Japan now more interested in creating some kind of non-tariff agreement with Europe. Without the EBC, I doubt we’d be so far along in this process.”
Do you like natto? Title: President and Representative Director of Garuda Japan. Time in Japan: 14 years in total since 1991. “This is my third stint.” Career highlight: “The creation of Anoto Nippon; an opportunity to create a company with a wonderful technology.” Career regret: “Basically, I don’t regret things. I look forward.” Favourite saying:: “As Snoopy said: ‘You can’t call me an old dog as long as I’m learning new tricks.’ ” Favourite music or book:: “ “For music, good ol’ jazz. I would say George Lewis. My favourite book is ‘Kafka on the Shore’. I just love Haruki Murakami.” Cannot live without:: “People”. Most important lesson: “Patience. I’m still trying to control myself.” The secret of business is: “Listening, which I’m not as good at as I’d like to be.” Do you like natto? “No. Not because of the taste, but because of the texture.” He is also fascinated by many aspects of Japanese culture, recently becoming a sake sommelier. Indeed, in 1997 Bruzæus’ contributions to Sweden-Japan relations earned him the Imperial Order of the Rising Sun, Third Class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon. Throughout his globe-spanning career, the one constant for Bruzæus has been jazz. He first picked up the clarinet aged 11 and, from a formal classical grounding, he branched off into learning jazz saxophone and forming bands in middle school and university. It was a “heady time for jazz,” he recalls. He is now more musically active than ever, having formed several bands here. “In 1992, the summer after I came to Japan, I was in Akasaka looking for a restaurant – but I heard jazz. I have a sixth sense for jazz,” he says. “I went up to the trumpeter and asked if they could play the ‘Tishomingo Blues’ by Spencer Williams. Later on in the evening, the band did a kind of New Orleans march through the locality, and the clarinet player gave me his instrument and said ‘play’. “That was the start of a good friendship, and I’m still playing with them from time to time.” August 2011
W ork P l ace
Francis Belin CEO, Swarovski Japan Swarovski Japan’s sales have almost doubled since 2007, helped by twice-yearly special collections designed in-house, and tie-ups with well-known brands. This year the company produced 88 special 20cm tall Hello Kitty figurines. Each has almost 20,000 handmade crystals and is on sale for ¥1,155 million. “We have been in the Japanese market for a long time,” says Belin, “but our brand has been reborn to appeal to younger customers.”
Photo Tony McNicol
EURObiZ Japan August 2011