平和
和平
평화

Japan in the Asian Century

Japan was the first “Asian miracle” economy. It rose from the ashes of World War 2 to become the world’s second largest economy. Its development was led by exports from Japanese enterprises which conquered world markets, especially in the automobile and electronics sectors.

A financial crisis in the early 1990s led to two “lost decades” of weak economic performance. During the same period, Japan’s manufacturing industry was “hollowed out” as Japanese enterprises invested substantially in both Western and Asian countries. The total GDP of the Chinese economy has now overtaken Japan.

Today, Japan faces a vast array of challenges like its aging population, large public debt, and sluggish economy, as well as the effects of the current global financial crisis and of Japan’s “triple crisis” (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown). The Japanese experience provides many lessons to other countries, which are now confronting some similar problems, or will do so in the foreseeable future.

Japan’s leading electronics companies (like Sharp, Sony and Panasonic), which once dominated world markets, are now struggling in the face of competition from companies from America (like Apple), Korea (Samsung), Taiwan and China. But Japan’s automobile companies are still successful, with Toyota leading the world’s automobile market. A new generation of Japanese enterprises is achieving great success, such as Softbank, Uniqlo and Rakuten. And Japan has become an important exporter of “cultural products” like anime, manga and computer games.

The arrival of the “Asian Century” presents Japan with many challenges, especially competition from Asia’s rising giants of China, India and Korea. But the Asian Century also offers Japan many new opportunities in emerging Asia’s fast growing markets, including tourism from Asia’s rising middle class.


1. Introduction to Japanese business and economy.


Evaluation:

1. One paper -- 2000 words. Worth 50% of total evaluation. No final exam.

Topic. Please analyse three solutions to Japan's challenges. Due midnight Sunday 30 June.

2. Class presentation worth 30% of total evaluation. Students to form 4 groups to make presentations on each of 4 solutions to Japan's challenges -- womenomics, immigration, robotics and new technologies, cultural and creative industries.

3. Class participation, especially final class debate, worth 20% of total evaluation.

Topic of first class -- in search of Japan's roots:

Identify Japan's main cities and islands -- map without labels.

Japan -- out of Africa. Last major immigration over 2000 years ago through Korea. Implication -- Japan has aboriginal people, Ainu and Ryukyu who predate this immigration, who are still disadvantaged.

Japan topography. Japan is a set of mountains in sea.

This means it is poor in agricultural and other natural resources, which it must import. So Japan had to become an exporting nation to pay for imports.

This also means that Japan's population is highly clustered in two main regions -- Kanto, area around Tokyo, and Kansai, area around Osaka. Tokyo is world's largest city.

Japan is located on "ring of fire", an area where most of world's earthquakes take place. Earthquakes and tsunamis have big impacts on economy. Japan also has much experience in managing natural disasters. But reliant on nuclear energy.

Japan is part of Asia, but isolated from Asia. Like what other country?

Japan also isolated itself ("sakoku") from rest of world in early 1600s to resist Western colonialism.

Isolation and unique culture.

But Japan was forced to open up by Commodore Perry's back ships around 1850.

"Meiji Restoration", a political coup in 1868, brought down Tokugawa Shogunate, nominally restored Emperor Meiji to throne. Meiji period heralded beginning of major political, social and economic modernisation and Westernisation.

Japan developed rapidly following Meiji Restoration. Iwakura mission.

Japan always a borrowing culture. Much borrowing from China -- writing, Buddhism, Confucianism, architecture, arts, etc.

But Japan followed the West in colonising Asian countries, and competed with the West. Japan colonised Korea and China, and still has bad relations with both. Japan has free trade agreements with many countries, but not these two.

Japan was ultimately defeated in World War 2. Japan was then remade by US as a peaceful democratic country. Very close relations with US. Trump?

Following the war, Japan recovered dramatically to become Asia's leading economy. But since a financial crisis in 1990s, Japan has been stagnating. In 2010, China overtook Japan to become Asia's biggest economy, world's second biggest.

REFERENCES:
- Japan map without labels
- Japan -- out of Africa
- Japan -- topographic map
- Ring of fire
- Map of Eurasia
- Commodore Perry and the black ships
- Iwakura mission
- READ -- In search of Japan's roots. ACI.
- Hiroshi Mikitani on Englishnization and Diversity at Rakuten
- Marketplace 3.0: The Future of E-Commerce

2. Japan's postwar resurgence


Japan was virtually destroyed by World War 2. Amazing resurgence. Benefit of backwardness.

1950-73 -- averaged 8.1% economic growth (like China more recently).
1973-90 -- solid growth of 3.0% (a slowdown, like China now).

By 1990, Japan’s GDP per capita reached 80% of US level. But Japan also transformed from low tech to high-tech, from agricultural to manufacturing to service based economy, and from rural to urban society.

Explaining Japan’s resurgence.

How do economies grow? Investment. Labour (workers). Productivity (efficiency). Governments can help foster that by creating a business friendly environment, and investing in education and infrastructure. An open and growing world economy can help too by providing markets for exports.

Role of demography. Japan had growing work force until 1995, thanks to postwar baby boom. But fertility rates declined below replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. Since 1995, Japan has declining working age population, and ageing population which are dragging down economy.

Role of education -- PISA data. Japan strong education performance. But rote learning, memorisation and training for tests. Insufficient emphasis on critical thinking. Night schools.
Poor English language skills.

Role of infrastructure. Japan has excellent infrastructure. But also wasted spending for political purposes. Also infrastructure spending associated with political corruption -- the "construction state".

Ease of doing business. Japan scores poorly due bureaucratic culture.

US support through financing postwar reconstruction, democratising Japan, open US market. US defence support relieved defence burden of Japanese government.

Societal and political motivation for postwar reconstruction.

REFERENCES:
- Angus Maddison. The World Economy : A Millennial Perspective (data), page 133
- OECD. Programme foir International Student Assessment.
- Juku or cram school in Japan
- World Economic Forum. The Global Competitiveness Report 2018.
- Bridges to nowhere in Japan
- Japan's working age population. United Nations. World Population Prospects 2017. Volume II Demographic Profiles. Page 414.
- Doing Business -- economy rankings
- READ Japan almost made it! Asian Century ... on a Knife-edge
- Doing business in Japan
- The world's largest ranking of countries and regions by English skills

3. Japan's post-war resurgence continued


Free and open trade offers many benefits:

(i) specialisation in what you are best at -- comparative advantage.
(ii) economies of scale -- production is more efficient with higher production volumes.
(iii) companies can also learn global best practices by producing for world markets.
(iv) for a country like Japan, exports finance imports of natural resources that Japan lacks.

In 1945 was a low-tech country, but wanted to become a high-tech country. So it protected its infant industries to give them the breathing space to climb the development and technology ladder.

Protection took form of restrictions on Imports and foreign investment, subsidies and privileged access to bank finance. The exchange rate was kept artificially low (manipulated).

Japan also copied Western technologies, did reverse engineering, bought technology and at time practised intellectual property theft.

Japan's policies were successful for the manufacturing sector, which became competitive on global markets, especially in motor vehicle and electronics industries. Companies like Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Sony, Panasonic.

Not only did Japan catch up to Western companies, it developed new management ideas like kaizen, just-in-time inventory management and lean manufacturing.

But Japan was not successful for its services and agricultural sectors which remained focussed on the domestic market.

This development strategy was engineered by the "iron triangle" of business, bureaucrats and politicians.

Japanese companies have their own "style", and played important role in Japan's rise after 1945.

Students recruited directly from university. Personality and social activities more important than grades. Companies offer in-house training to form "company men". Sempai trains kohai. Team work important.

High degree of job security, with lifetime employment common in big companies. Seniority-based pay. Regular job rotations. Relationship of loyalty between worker and company. Family-like atmosphere. “Salarymen” -- white-collar worker. Little place for professional women. Mainly “OL” doing “pink-collar” tasks. Sexual harassment (seku-hara) a problem.

Japanese business meetings ceremonial. Everything pre-cooked through "nemawashi". Work long hours, demonstration of loyalty. Japanese productivity low by Western standards.
Karoshi. Drinking with colleagues after work for team-building. Nomunication. Arranged marriages.

Retirement a drama for Japanese men. Find their family again after 30-40 years of marriage to the company. His wife calls him “industrial waste”.

Role of amakudari in iron triangle. Many corporate corruption scandals.

Overall, Japanese companies were outstanding in high-growth, catchup period. But now changing. Irregular work. Womenomics. More international and flexible. But most Japanese companies remain very Japanese.

REFERENCES:
- Japan Almost Made It
- Toyota’s kaizen
- Just-in-time
- Four Principles Lean Management - Get Lean in 90 Seconds
- DOING BUSINESS IN JAPAN -- READ
- Japan's business world -- READ
- Omotenashi: Hospitality in Japanese
- The Incredible Journey of Chef Nobu and His Restaurant Empire With Robert De Niro
- Donald Trump Meets With SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son
- High Heels at Work Are 'Necessary,' Says Japan's Labor Minister

4. Japan's bubble economy


Japan's economic renaissance after World War 2 is a beautiful story. By 1990, it almost caught up to world leaders in terms of GDP per capita. It became the world's second biggest economy in 1968.

It was driven by factors like trade, Japanese enterprises, a young and educated workforce, excellent infrastructure, support from the US, and a motivation to rebuild the nation after defeat in the war.

What could go wrong? What did go wrong? Japan developed a bubble economy, and the bubble burst, destabilising the economy.

What is an economic bubble? Dramatic price rise, followed by dramatic fall. Often occurs in real estate or stock markets.

How do bubble economies occur? Easy money fuels price rises. Often followed by irrational exuberance. Can only be sure that a price rise was a bubble after crash. Bubbles go pop!!

Examples US real estate in 2008. Trump stock market boom. Real estate in Australia and China.

Problems of bubble economy -- people lose lots of money when bubble pops. Balance sheet recession.

Japan bubble economy in late 1980s in stock and real estate markets. How did this occur?

During 1980s, Japan's exports and economy became very strong. Japan built up a big trade surplus, partly because of protectionist policies, like a manipulated exchange rate.

US and other Western economies felt under threat. In 1985, G5 Plaza Accord pushed Japan to stop manipulating yen and increase exchange rate. This adversely affected Japanese exports and economy.

Japan responded with easy money policies, this fuelled bubble. There was also irrational exuberance. Many thought Japan was overtaking US. Japan could be number 1! Value of Tokyo's Imperial Palace higher than the state of California.

Late 1989, Bank of Japan worried about bubble, increased interest rates. Bubbles started bursting.

Japanese government slow to react. Thought prices might recover. Also, suffered five stages of grief -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

In such a situation, should save the financial system, save good banks and companies, let others go bankrupt. Japan very slow to react. Took over ten years to solve problem. Different from US in 2008. Suffered balance sheet recession as citizens and companies worked off debt (deleveraging).

But Japan was hit by many other things, not just a financial crisis. Working age population started declining in 1995. New competition from companies from Korea, and Taiwan. Big earthquake in 1995 in Kobe, which government mismanaged. Also domestic terrorist attack in Tokyo metro. Corruption scandals in government.

It was also clear that old protectionist model, even if it had been useful, was no longer effective. Japan should have opened up the economy to competition to improve productivity.

So the Japanese economy hit the wall. Thus began Japan's lost decades.

REFERENCES:
- Japan almost made it! Asian Century ... on a Knife-edge
- Banking Crises and "Japanization": Origins and Implications. Asian Development Bank Institute Working Paper No. 430 -- see page 8.
- Japan's economic bubble distant memory 20 years later
- Nintendo Switch is the fastest-selling console of the current generation — here's why Nintendo is dominating video games
- What Does Otaku Mean?
- Maid cafe @home cafe - Kawaii and fun in Tokyo | One Minute Japan Travel Guide
- Top 20 Country GDP (PPP) Ranking History (1980-2023)

5. Japan's lost decades


Following the bursting of Japan's economic bubbles, it entered its "lost decades", the 1990s and 2000s.

Economic growth slows to around 1% a year.

Per capita income falls relative to world leaders.

GDP per capita in PPP terms (source: World Bank).

Macao -- 115367
Singapore -- 94105
Hong Kong -- 61671
US -- 59928
Netherlands -- 54422
Germany -- 52556
Australia -- 49378
Canada -- 46510
UK -- 44921
Japan -- 42067
Korea -- 38824
Lithuania -- 33253
Poland -- 29924
Malaysia -- 29511
Thailand -- 17910
China -- 16842
Philippines -- 8361

Productivity of services sector falling relative to manufacturing.

Working age population starts falling from 1995.

Government debt climbs to over 200% of GDP. Government spending to stimulate economy, but also for ageing population. Weak economy reduces government revenues.

Deflation -- falling prices.

Outsourcing of low-cost manufacturing to Thailand, Indonesia, China -- hollowing-out of manufacturing sector. Also outsourcing to US and Europe.

But very little foreign investment in Japan -- so Japan is missing out on the benefits of foreign investment. Other countries like the US and Germany have large flows of inward and outward investment.

Increasing non-regular employment. Rising inequality and poverty.

Trust and confidence in the government shaken by a poor response to the 1995 Kobe earthquake, by the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin terrorist attack, and by government financial scandals.

China's total GDP overtook Japan's in 2010, symbolising the great power transition in Asia.

The 2011 triple crisis highlighted Japan's vulnerability to natural disasters. And North Korea has fired intercontinental ballistic missiles over Japan.

But Japan's lost decades were not fully lost. Japan has been changing slowly. Old Japan and new Japan co-existing. Old companies -- Toyota and Sony. New companies -- Uniqlo, Muji, Rakuten and Softbank.

Japan now a leader in high-tech components for global value chains, eg Murata.

While conservative Japan still persists, Japan's cultural and creative industries (like manga, anime and computer games) have been booming.


Overall Japan's three big problems -- weak productivity and GDP per capita relative to world leaders, enormous government debt, and ageing population. Japan needs to bite the bullet!!



REFERENCES:
- OECD Economic Surveys: Japan 2019 -- pages 7, 10 and 16..
- OECD Economic Survey of Japan 2017, page 18
- Godzilla’s Origins Explained in 5 Minutes
- North Korea: ballistic missile launched over Japan – as it happened
- Level of Nonregular Employment Remains High in Japan at 37.3%
- OECD. FDI in figures, April 2019. page 10.
- Murata Corporate Video English
- Where the iPhone parts come from
- Chinese Smartphones Lift Japan’s Electronics Business
- Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Is Made Of Parts From All Over The World

6. Japan's demographic dilemmas Part 1


Japan’s working age population falling since 1995 -- from 87 million to 75 million today. Could fall to 43 million by year 2100.

Japan’s total population started falling in 2010. It could fall from 127 million today to 85 million in 2100.

Life expectancy risen from 63 in 1950 to 84 today, and could rise to 94 by end of century.

Old age dependency (people aged 65 and over, compared with people aged 15-64) risen from 8% in 1950 to 43% in 2015, and could rise to 69% in 2100.

Japan is often presented as strange case. But not so strange.

Life expectancy more than five years higher than the US, and more seven years higher than China. This increases population ageing, but a good thing.

Main factor is Japan’s low fertility rate. Fell from 3 children per woman in 1950 to around 2 in 1970. In 1974, Japan’s fertility rate fell below the replacement of 2.1 children per woman, and remained below ever since. Today is 1.4. Other countries have low fertility -- Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore is 1.2, Macao and Poland 1.3, China 1.6, US and UK 1.8, Lithuania and Netherlands 1.7.

What distinguishes Japan -- fertility dropped below replacement earlier than other countries, and has low levels of immigration.

Why is Japan’s fertility so low?

For economists: As Japanese women now better educated, more interested in working, despite discrimination in Japanese workplace.

But in Japan difficult to combine working and family life, given traditional Japanese work culture. So some choosing work over family because in Japan. And even where women just postpone a family, they may settle for one child. The average woman's age for having the first child is 30.7.

More fundamentally, with education, women are now more in control of their lives, and are able to choose whether or not to have children.

Average age of marriage in Japan -- 31.1 for men, and 29.4 for women.

The costs of housing and education (night school) also act as a deterrent to having a family. The continuing move of people to high-cost Tokyo exacerbates this. The lack of pre-school and day-care places is also a problem. Abe has promised more, but over 40,000 children are currently on waiting lists.

And with more Japanese boys have "irregular jobs", they are less attractive as potential husbands.

Hypergamy by Japanese women. Overwork, Japanese men are tired. Many people argue that Japanese women rejecting traditional gender division of labor, and would prefer not to get married.

Sociologists talk of Japan's celibacy syndrome, decline of arranged marriages, womb strike, changes in Japan's younger generation.

In Japan, fertility varies greatly between regions -- from 1.13 in Tokyo to 1.94 in Okinawa. Okinawan women marry younger, have children younger, workforce participation similar to Tokyo. But Okinanwans have better work/life balance, as work less hours. Tokyo, as world’s biggest city, and Japan’s most densely populated area is less conducive to raising a family.


REFERENCES:
- World Population Prospects 2017. Volume II: Demographic Profiles -- pages 414-415.
- OECD. Economic Survey of Japan 2015. See pages 4 and 13.
- OECD Economic Survey of Japan, 2019.
- Birth Rate by Prefecture in Japan
- The Japanese Celibacy Syndrome
- Japan: Looking For Love - #AsiaLive -- from 2.30
- What Japanese Think of Herbivore Men | ASIAN BOSS
- East Asia's fading fertility

7. Japan's demographic dilemmas Part 2


Does low fertility matter?

Major impacts on Japan's business and economy. Hits economy. In 1990, Japan's potential economic growth over 3%. Now below 1%. Today, labor shortages.

Decline in national GDP also results in a decline in national power, at a time when China's power rising.

Already, about one-third of the central government's budget finances health and long-term care, and pensions and other social spending.

The share of elderly-related social spending is expected to keep rising. And unless something is done, Japan's government debt could rise to 600% of GDP by 2060.

Other economic challenges include: succession problem for family businesses; future of agriculture as average age of Japanese farmers in 67; abandoned houses and villages; rising car accidents caused by elderly drivers.

For evolutionary biologists, low fertility is strange. Normally natural selection produces individuals who are good at converting their resources into lots of fertile descendants.

Benefits of demographic decline. Good for environment. Reduce crowding. Silver economy. Possible geriatric peace in East Asia.

What to do?

Change work culture.

Increase fertility rate. Many efforts in the past, to little effect. Even if effective, that won't solve immediate economic effects of demographic decline. Abe set target fertility rate of 1.8 for year 2025, providing assistance -- child care, cheaper education, child care facilities.

Increase labor -- migration, womenomics, youth, seniors, second jobs, robots, increase productivity.


REFERENCES:
- Japan's 1.2 million heirless businesses at risk of closure
- SME Succession Crisis in Japan
- Succession crisis stalks Japan’s family businesses
- Nature Taking Over an Abandoned House in Japan!
- Grain pain: Japan's ageing rice farmers face uncertain future
- Preventing elderly driver accidents

8. Student seminar on Japanese companies


Students made presentations on their favourite Japanese companies.

Mama Square -- aTokyo-based company that employs mothers who are raising children is pioneering a way to make it easier for such women to stay in the workforce.

Zebra specialises in ball-point pens.

A Bathing Ape (ア・ベイジング・エイプ A Beijingu Eipu) (or BAPE) is a Japanese clothing brand founded by Nigo (Tomoaki Nagao) in Ura-Harajuku in 1993.

Kao Corporation is a chemical and cosmetics company headquartered in Nihonbashi-Kayabacho, Chūō, Tokyo.

Bandai Co., Ltd. is a Japanese toy maker and a producer of a large number of plastic model kits as well as a former video game company. It was the world's third-largest producer of toys in 2008 after Mattel and Hasbro.

PILOT ballpoint pens combine technology, comfort, and longevity. Retractable, comfortable, environmentally-friendly, slick.

REFERENCES:
- Tokyo firm to offer places of employment with kids close at hand for working moms
- A Bathing Ape
- Kao
- Bandai.
- Zebra
- Pilot ball-point pens
- Confucian ethics and Japanese management practices

9. Student seminar on Japanese comapnies -- Part 2


Students made presentations on their favourite Japanese companies.

Toyota.

Daiso.

Panasonic.

Mercari.

7 - eleven.

Muji.

Sony.

Johnnys.

REFERENCES:
- Toyota
- Daiso
- Shiseido
- Panasonic
- Mercari
- 7 - eleven
- Muji
- Sony
- Johnnys

10. Japan's demographic time bomb -- Part 1


Japan’s demographic dilemmas are often spoken of as being one of the strangely unique aspects of Japan. In reality, Japan has been merely leading the way in a worldwide trend.

Japan has been leading the world in demographic transitions. Its fertility rate fell from 3 children per woman in 1950 to around 2 in 1970. Today, fertility is around 1.4, well below "replacement rate" of 2.1 children per woman.

Japan has also seen a dramatic rise in its life expectancy -- from 68 years in 1960 to 84 years in 2016. Thus, its working age population started falling in 1995, and total population began declining from 2010.

The UN foresees Japan's fertility rate increasing a little to 1.8 by the year 2100, and life expectancy rising to 94. Japan's total population could thus fall from 128 million in 2010 to a mere 85 million in 2100.

These demographic transitions have major impacts on Japan's business and economy. A declining working age population hits the economy. In 1990, Japan's potential economic growth over 3%. Now below 1%. Today, the Japanese economy is experiencing labor shortages.

Decline in national GDP also results in decline in national power, at a time when China's power rising.

It also means that the working age population must support an ever growing number of seniors. In 1970, there were 10 seniors per 100 persons of working age. This rose 43 by 2015, and could rise to 69 seniors for every 100 persons of working age.

Already, about one-third of the central government's budget finances health and long-term care, and pensions and other social spending.

The share of elderly-related social spending is expected to keep rising. And unless something is done, Japan's government debt could rise to 600% of GDP by 2060.

There are many theories as to why Japan is suffering from super-ageing due to low fertility. But it is important to stress that Japan is not alone in having low fertility. It is just ahead of most other countries.

Indeed, elsewhere in Asia, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, all have lower fertility than Japan. As does Germany and Italy.

REFERENCES:
- World Population Prospects 2017. Volume II: Demographic Profiles -- pages 414-415.
- OECD. Economic Survey of Japan 2015. See pages 4 and 13.
- Economic Survey of Japan 2017 -- pages 43, 39.
- Birth Rate by Prefecture in Japan
- Free Abandoned Houses
- Nature Taking Over an Abandoned House in Japan!
- The Japanese Celibacy Syndrome
- Japan: Looking For Love - #AsiaLive -- from 2.30
- What Japanese Think of Herbivore Men | ASIAN BOSS
- East Asia’s Fading Fertility

11. Japan's demographic time -- bomb Part 2


There are many reasons advanced to explain Japan's low fertility.

As Japanese women have become better educated, and thus interested in working, some have been choosing work over family. In Japan, it is difficult to have combine working and family life, given the traditional Japanese work culture. And even where women just postpone having a family, they may end up settling for one child.

More fundamentally, with education, women are now more in control of their lives, and are able to choose whether or not to have children.

The costs of housing and education (night school) also act as a deterrent to having a family. The continuing move of people to high-cost Tokyo exacerbates this. And with more Japanese boys have "irregular jobs", they are less attractive as potential husbands. Hypergamy by Japanese women. Overwork, Japanese men are tired.

Japanese women rejecting traditional gender division of labor.

Sociologists talk of Japan's celibacy syndrome, decline of arranged marriages, womb strike, changes in Japan's younger generation.

In Japan, fertility varies greatly between regions -- from 1.13 in Tokyo to 1.94 in Okinawa. Okinawan women marry younger, have children younger, workforce participation similar to Tokyo. But Okinanwans have better work/life balance, as work less hours. Tokyo, as the world’s biggest city, and Japan’s most densely populated area would seem to be less conducive to raising a family.

For evolutionary biologists, low fertility is strange. Normally natural selection produces individuals who are good at converting their resources into lots of fertile descendants.

Benefits of demographic decline. Good for environment. Reduce crowding. Silver economy. Possible geriatric peace in East Asia.

Demographic decline makes Japan poorer.

What to do?

Increase fertility rate. Many efforts in past, to little effect. Even if effective, that won't solve immediate economic effects of demographic decline. Abe set target fertility rate of 1.8 for year 2025, providing assistance -- child care, cheaper education.

Increase labor -- migration, womenomics, youth, seniors, second jobs, robots, increase productivity.

REFERENCES:
- Average age of Japanese Farmers is 65 years old.... who will rice farm in 10 years?
- United Nations. World Population Prospects. 2017 Revision. Pages 1, 3 and 32-36.
- Nature Taking Over an Abandoned House in Japan!

12. Japan's womenomics solution


Last class, Japan's declining fertility. Family versus work. Women's new attitudes. Young men now different. Costs of children.

Declining fertility bad for economy. Maybe good for environment.

Womenomics is about "family-friendly" policies that enable women to work and have children at same time. Good for economy, and society. Also a human rights issue.

Traditionally, Japan had a strict division of labor. Men at work. Women at home. But women still powerful -- ran the household finances.

Now Japanese women do work. Labor force participation of Japanese women now above US and OECD average.

But the quality of women's jobs, plus weak participation in politics, are problems. Global Gender Gap Index puts Japan at 110th out of 149 countries. Gap is large for Economic Participation and Opportunity, and enormous for Political Empowerment.

What are some of the signs of problems?

Even though Japanese women now working, Japanese men do little housework.

Japanese women better educated than men, but many only do part-time, irregular work. Very few are doctors.

Enormous pay gap between men and women. Women under-represented in management positions, company boards, senior government management, and parliaments.

How do we change this? How to make womenomics happen"

Need comprehensive change in business, society and government. Government should lead in staffing, providing more childcare facilities and more neutral tax policies. Japanese companies need to adopt a family-friendly environment. In families, men need to become more active.

Womenomics on Japanese agenda since at least 1999. Some progress, especially since 2012, Womenomics part of Abenomcs, eg.

-- Targets for participation and advancement of women in workforce.
-- Increasing daycare and after-school care.
-- Encouraging private sector to promote more women and provide data on the advancement of women.
-- Recruiting and promoting women in government.
-- Expanding child care leave benefits.
-- Reviewing the tax and social security system.
-- Allow foreign housekeepers in special economic zones.

Targets not being achieved and being revised down.

Fundamentally, we need: New mentalities and mindsets. Role models. Leadership. Fundamentally, women must fight for womenomics. Foreign investment can help, if foreign companies hire Japan's talented women.

REFERENCES:
- World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report 2018.
- The Pursuit of Gender Equality. OECD
- Why male Japanese wage-earners have only 'pocket money'
- Trading Success Stories - Japan's Forex Trader housewives Mrs Watanabe
- OECD. Economic Survey of Japan 2015 -- pages 15 and 16.
- Womenomics 4.0. Time to walk the talk.
- Japan's womenomics isn't working
- WAW!2016 Interview w/ Ms. Kathy Matsui, Vice Chiar of Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd. (EN)
- The New Japan Inc: One woman’s burden, another’s opportunity
- Fathers remain missing in the educational puzzle. SHIHOKO GOTO. Japan Times. January 30, 2019.

13. Nissan -- Carlos Ghosn scandal


In 1999, Japan's Nissan was almost bankrupt. France's Renault entered an Alliance with Nissan. Renault has 43% stake in Nissan, while Nissan has 15% stake in Renault. Since 2016, Mitsubishi in Alliance, effectively bailed out by Nissan, which has 34% of its shares. Three distinct companies, but work closely together.

Carlos Ghosn was Renault manager who saved Nissan -- "cost-killer". Ghosn was the chairman and CEO of alliance of three companies.

Ghosn now accused of under-reporting his salary and misusing company assets for personal benefit. Ghosn in jail under investigation.

Ghosn, a management god, dominated Nissan. Corporate governance revolved around him.

But Ghosn also had enemies among Japanese managers at Nissan.

Although the three Alliance companies already have very close links, Carlos Ghosn had plans for Renault to take a majority stake in Nissan, and may be a full merger. Japanese managers did not like because Nissan now a stronger company than Renault.

Some argue that the allegations against Ghosn are a "palace-coup" by Japanese managers, who have used Japanese justice system to get Ghosn.

Ghosn a controversial figure. Very highly paid. Flashy personality, Recent marriage at Versailles in France.

REFERENCES:
- Carlos Ghosn: Five charts on the Nissan boss scandal
- The rise and fall of Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn
- Carlos Ghosn manga
- Ghosn charges are thin soup -- case for ex-Nissan boss

14. Youth and NEETs/ Karoshi and Work Style changes


At a time when Japan needs more workers, many youth are "NEETs", not in Employment, Education or Training.

Some 1.7 million or 10% of Japanese youth aged 15 to 29 are NEETs. The number of Japanese NEETs has declined over past decade. And Japan's NEET problem is not as bad as some other OECD countries. In fact, it is lower than the OECD average of 14.7%, and the NEET problem is greater in countries like Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Korea, US and Canada. But it is a waste of human potential.

About two-thirds of NEETs are women, who may be looking after children. Many women NEETs cannot find or afford child care for their children.

An estimated 320 000 young people below the age of 30 years (about 1.8% of this age group) live in a state of acute social withdrawal – the so-called hikikomori. They are mainly boys. Hikikomori require intensive and better assistance.

Government, and families are already working to solve the NEET problem. But there is much more that can be done to identify NEETs, and help them find a way back.

Karoshi:

Nearly one quarter of Japanese companies require employees to work more than 80 hours of overtime a month, according to a 2016 government survey. Those extra hours are often unpaid.

In 2013, 31-year-old journalist Miwa Sado logged 159 hours of overtime in one month at the news network NHK, before dying of heart failure in July 2013. And in 2015, a 24-year-old employee of Japanese advertising behemoth Dentsu jumped to her death off a balcony in a company dorm room — where she lived — after working more than 100 hours in the month leading up to her suicide.

In 2018, Japan adopted “work style” reforms. 3 key elements:

Overtime work must be less than 100 hours per month and 720 per year. Companies will be punished if they exceed the limits. Applicable to large companies starting April, 2019, and to small and mid-sized companies starting April, 2020.

Highly skilled professionals exempt from regulations related to work hours. HSP is defined as one (i) whose work requires highly specialized knowledge, and the nature of such work is such that the amount of time worked and the work product are typically not highly correlated and (ii) earns annual compensation of JPY 10.75 million or more.

Equal pay for equal work to remove discrimination between regular and irregular workers -- applicable to large companies starting April, 2020, and to small and mid-sized companies starting April, 2021,

REFERENCES:
- Investing in Youth: Japan. OECD
- Japanese men locked in their bedrooms for years
- Society at a Glance 2016. OECD
- Rent-a-sister: Coaxing Japan’s hikikomori men out of their bedrooms - BBC News. First 5 minutes.
- President of Japan's Dentsu Company Stepping Down After Employee's Suicide
- Japan has some of the longest working hours in the world.

15. Migration and Japan


Long recognised immigrants can make an important contribution to solving Japan's demographic dilemmas.

How can immigration help Japan?

-- Fill labor market shortages.
-- Doing "3-D" work -- dirty, difficult and dangerous.
-- Migrant caregivers can support womenomics.
-- Filling other skill gaps, like IT workers.
-- Enterpreneurs.
-- Improve soft power with neighbours like SE Asia.
-- Accepting refugees can be a demonstration of global leadership.

What has been Japan's record in accepting migrants? Due to beliefs about its cultural homogeneity and uniqueness, Japan has been reluctant to accept many migrants. One reason Japan has escaped populism may be the low level of migration.

PM Abe once said, “... before accepting immigrants or refugees, we need to have more activities by women, elderly people and we must raise our birth rate. There are many things that we should do before accepting immigrants”. “In countries that have accepted immigration, there has been a lot of friction, a lot of unhappiness both for the newcomers and the people who already lived there”.

Economic pressures gradually forcing the migration door open over the past years. One element of Abenomics is utilising foreign human resources. It is not an immigration policy.

What have been the main trends?

-- From 1990, Japanese ethnic people from Latin America.
-- Marriage migration.
-- Skilled migrants have relatively easy access. Can gain permanent residency, and ultimately nationality. But Japan having trouble attracting skilled migrants -- language, culture, work-life balance, low pay. Many prefer Singapore.
-- A "Trainee" program officially enables foreign workers to learn about Japanese business practices and technology, and bring those insights back home. In reality, it is a de facto guest worker program -- contracts can now be extended from 3 to 5 years. (230,000+)
-- Foreign students can also work in Japan (280,000 foreign students in Japan).
-- When they graduate, foreign students well placed to find a permanent job.
-- But Japan accepts very few refugees. In 2017, received 19,628 asylum applications, but accepted only 20. Europe's experience with refugees is but one factor discouraging the acceptance of refugees.
-- Low number of illegals -- 65,000.

Japan's foreign-born population risen from 1 million or 1%, 2 1/2 million or 2% past couple of decades. Biggest sources -- China, Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Brazil, Nepal. Over 700,000 from China, becoming very important group of skilled and entrepreneurial migrants.

Unfortunate dark side to Japan's immigration experience, as UN Human Rights Council has noted. There is "widespread racist discourse against members of minority groups, such as Koreans, Chinese or Burakumin, inciting hatred and discrimination against them". Foreign trainees and technical interns are the subject of "a large number of reports of sexual abuse, labour-related deaths and conditions that could amount to forced labour".

REFERENCES:
- Japan's immigration imperative
- Towards a multicultural Korea?
- Japan's experiment in ethnic immigration
- Polite Japan's dark underbelly
- The Worst Internship Ever: Japan’s Labor Pains
- Do Japanese Want Immigrants in Japan?
- Is Japan's Immigration Policy Really Strict?
- Immigration Changes Are Imperative for Japan
- How Japanese is Naomi Osaka?
- An occasion for celebration and soul-searching

16. Japan and robotics


Japan's economic strength is in manufacturing (not services or agriculture). Technology, especially robotics important.

Japan began by copying, buying and even stealing technology.
Then Japan started developing technology.

Japan world leader in production, usage and export of industrial robotics. It produces half world's industrial robots. Main export markets US, China and Korea. Fear of China catching up.

Japan's motor vehicle and electronics industries most important buyers of robots. Japan's robotic industry supported by large government investments in R&D, as well as corporate and university research. (1).

Now robotics seen as important response to demographic problem. Robots can replace disappearing workers. And robots can provide services to ageing population, including nursing care. (2)

As part of Abenomics, Japan has adopted a new robot strategy. Abe wants to showcase robotics at 2020 Olympics.

https://www.djw.de/ja/assets/media/Veranstaltungen/Symposium,%20MGV/duesseldorf-20180416/djw-symposium-duesseldorf-16.04.2018-kurihara-meti.pdf

Robotics can also revolutionise agricultural and services sectors which suffer from low productivity. (4), (5), (6), (7), (8).

Today's robotics are now part of the 4th industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). This refers to a set of highly disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain and 3D printing, that are transforming social, economic and political systems.

Industry 4.0 has the potential to improve productivity, lower production costs. But repetitive and routine tasks are increasingly replaced by robots, machines, and automation. Such technologies will also solve many problems facing countries like Japan, with its ageing and declining population. While new technologies will destroy many jobs, other new jobs will be created. There is much debate about the net balance. All countries will be challenged.

What is necessary is for governments to invest more seriously in education, skills and training, and lifelong learning, both to optimise the benefits of digitalisation, and to enable displaced workers to find new employment. They must also develop innovation policies to be part of this technological revolution.

REFERENCES:
- Japanese robotics firm unveils 'world's strongest robot'
- Japan battles population decline with robots
- Here's why Japan is obsessed with robots
- See how this Japanese robot makes sushi
- Drones help ageing farmers
- World's first 'robot run' farm to open in Japan
- Aging Japan: Robots may have role in future of elder care
- DRIVERLESS CARS COULD TRANSFORM RURAL JAPAN
- What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution | At a glance

17. Japan's fracturing middle class society


Why look at social/cultural issues in a Japanese business and economy (JBE) class? Quite simply, JBE has important social and cultural impacts, and Japanese society and culture affect JBE.

Japanese society is fracturing. What are the symptoms? Poverty, inequality, productivity growth not reflecting in wage growth, irregular employment, karoshi, suicide, hikikomori.

Why does this matter? Social justice/fairness. Inequality and poverty can weaken the economy by weakening economic demand, by reducing investment in education. It can lead to social instability and populist politics like Trump in US, Brexit in UK, and extreme right parties in Germany. It can undermine support for globalisation, like the lack of support for TPP in the US.

What are the main causes of social fracturing?

Technology can reduce the demand for low-skilled workers and increase the demand for high skilled workers. Japan's outsourcing of lower business to China and elsewhere in East Asia has the same effect. In Japan, deregulation in the 1990s, undermined life-time employment, encouraged irregular employment, and made hiring and firing easier.

Japan's trade unions seem weak and too cooperative with big business. More generally, Japan's work environment and society are very high pressure and competitive thereby contributing to social problems.

How can we solve these problems?

Prime Minister Abe has been pressuring companies to increase wages, but with little success. The government could increase the very low minimum wage. It could also provide more assistance to poor people (while cutting benefits to seniors). It could provide greater education and training to workers who have lost their jobs..

Trade unions and the general public need to become stronger in fighting for social justice.

REFERENCES:
- OECD. Inequality
- How Should Japan Address Socio-economic Inequality and Poverty?
- Japan's poverty rate hits record high
- Living Below The Poverty Line | Get Real | Channel NewsAsia
- One in three single working Japanese women living in poverty - Press TV News
- Working Poor In Japan
- Homeless in Japan
- How Japan’s Economy Is Destroying Its Youth
- Suicide. Take time to listen: Rene Duignan at TEDxTokyo
- SAVING 10,000 - Winning a War on Suicide in Japan

18. Japan's corporate scandals


Corporate scandals occur everywhere. But Japan has special problems.

Recall iron triangle -- big business, politicians and government officials -- cosy, non-transparent relationships. One role of government, regulate business. But in Japan, government officials have close friendly relationship.

Corporate governance -- the way companies are governed and managed -- in Japan always different from other advanced countries, not up to international standards.

One aspect is corporate board, supposed to supervise company's management on behalf of shareholders. But in Japan, boards are stacked with insiders, like representatives from the main bank, and former corporate staff members. Results in cosy club, management weakly supervised, blocks mergers and acquisitions, especially from overseas. Corporate decisions on golf course, not boardroom. External auditors don’t always do serious job. Mainstream media often silent -- advertising revenues.

As part of Abenomics, government implementing corporate governance reforms. But change slow.

Olympus scandal. Big losses through bad investments over 20 years ago. Covered up by creative accounting, and shady deals, some involving organised crime. New CEO, Michael Woodford, discovers it. Launches investigation. Board members and senior staff obstruct. Woodford exposes to international media. Japanese domestic media silent. Woodford gets fired. Ultimately, government acted, and ex-chairman and others prosecuted.

Toshiba scandal. Toshiba guilty of accounting scandal of $1.2 billion in overstated profits. Improper accounting, over seven years, started following global financial crisis. Toshiba's corporate leadership handed down strict profit targets, "Challenges", to business unit presidents, often with implication failure unacceptable. Only way to achieve Challenges was cooking the books. Toshiba's corporate culture, obedience to superiors, an important factor enabling fraudulent accounting practices. Culture operated on every level of authority down to accountants who cooked the books. Investigation recommends robust whistleblower system.

Kobe Steel admitted data fraud for nearly five decades. Japan’s third-biggest steelmaker supplies steel parts to manufacturers of cars, planes and trains around world, admitted supplying products with falsified specifications to over 600 customers, , including 222 customers overseas, throwing global supply chains into turmoil. What caused Kobe's problems -- greed, insular corporate culture, dishonesty and negligence.

Yakuza members of organized crime syndicates originating in Japan. Traditionally, Japanese government tolerated yakusa, because crime is inevitable, better be organized. Yakuza acts like second police force, tolerating their existence helps keep petty crimes like theft and robberies to an absolute minimum. More recently, government been cracking down, and yakusa membership declining.

REFERENCES:
- Ex-CEO of Olympus blows the Whistle on Fraud and a Culture of Dysfunction in Japan. Start 1.50 -- 9.00.
- Toshiba scandal: Why did the boss resign? BBC
- Toshiba's accounting scandal
- Toshiba boss resigns over accounting scandal
- Toshiba scandal shakes corporate Japan
- New head of scandal-hit Kobe Steel may seek mergers for some business units
- Who are Japan's Yakuza? In 60 seconds - BBC News
- Japan's Yakuza: Inside the syndicate
- Japan calls its corporates to account

19. Japan and China parallels


Chinese President Xi Jinping is worried. China could be turning Japanese!

China shares Japan’s three big problems -- low productivity, poor demography, and big debt. China needs more reform and opening of economy to boost productivity, but Xi is worried about possible instability of reform. China fertility rate has been below 2.1 since 1993. China’s working age population has been falling since 2014. China is becoming old before it becomes rich! In contrast, Japan became rich before it became old.

China’s debt has exploded over past decade. Many are worried that China could have a debt crisis, or lost decades like Japan. How did China get into debt problem.

When US caused the global financial crisis in 2008, Chinese government became worried. Chinese economy had long been dependent on exports to US and other Western markets. And it was concerned about possible unemployment, and social and political stability.

So Chinese government launched a massive economic stimulus program. This program involved increasing spending on infrastructure and housing, encouraging companies to increase production, and easy money. It was largely financed by money from state-owned banks, which was loaned to state-owned enterprises and local governments.

This stimulus was very effective in maintaining growth in the Chinese economy. It was also very helpful to world economy, especially to China’s Asian neighbors, and natural resource exporters like Australia.

This stimulus program did, however, have adverse side effects:

-- not all infrastructure was efficient -- some white elephants, and ghost cities.

-- excess capacity in many industries like steel, cement and aluminium.

-- asset bubbles. Following a rise in stock prices, in 2015 there was a crash. In some cities, housing prices rose sharply, and today there are concerns about housing prices in China's large cities.

-- China's total debt has risen dramatically, from 150% of GDP to over 250%, and could rise over 300% in coming years. Much of this is corporate debt debt, not government debt. But it is still in the public sphere because much is state-owned enterprise debt owed to state-owned banks. Debt in shadow-banking sector also very high.

-- And much of this debt is held by inefficient zombie companies.

Some are worried that China is headed towards a debt crisis. IMF says China’s “credit growth is on a dangerous trajectory, with increasing risks of a disruptive adjustment and/or a marked growth slowdown”.

Others argue that China is safe. It has high foreign exchange reserves, low government debt, and the Communist government has a great capacity to control the economy. Against that, the government seems more concerned about preventing unemployment than its debt, and more concerned about achieving its economic growth targets.

One thing is certain now that China needs to improve its productivity, much of its debt and investment are increasingly inefficient, raising is spectre of stagnation

REFERENCES:
- Is China’s economy turning Japanese? Financial Times.
- The Vapors - Turning Japanese - 1.10
- Credit Booms—Is China Different? Sally Chen ; Joong Shik Kang. IMF Working Paper
- Resolving China's Zombies: Tackling Debt and Raising Productivity. W. Raphael Lam ; Alfred Schipke ; Yuyan Tan ; Zhibo Tan. IMF Working Paper.
- China's eerie ghost cities a 'symptom' of the country's economic troubles and housing bubble
- A look at China's debt issues
- China's Central Bank Chief Warns Corporate Debt Is Too High
- Xi Jinping, Barack Obama, Winnie the Pooh
- Xi Jinping, Shinzo Abe, Winnie the Pooh
- China’s Great Wall of Debt

20. Japan and China, peace and prosperity


China and Japan have experienced political ups-and downs in recent decades. First half of 20th century -- Japan/China was down. 1970s and 80s -- Japan/China was up. 1990s and 2000s -- down again.

But hot economics/cold politics. And today, political ties are becoming positive in response to Mr Trump.

Japan and China have complementary relationship. Japan is high-tech, China is medium tech. Japan is low-growth, China is high growth. Japan and China are neighbors.

Deng Xiaoping's visit to Japan in 1978, above all his visit to the Panasonic factory in Osaka, instigated Japan's colossal business investment in China.

Following 1985 Plaza Accord, and rising yen, Japan offshored labour-intensive parts of its manufacturing sector to its Asian neighbours, especially China and Southeast Asia. This "hollowed out" Japan's manufacturing sector at home. Laid the foundations of global value chains that now criss-cross Asia, and which have driven Asia's development these past few decades.

Japan has a stock of $427 billion outward foreign investment in Asia, with $118 billion in China. China is also undertaking some investments in Japan, although amounts are still small. Chinese companies are motivated by the desire to acquire Japanese technology and brands.

China is a leading trade partner for Japan -- accounting for 25% of imports, 18% of exports.

Japan welcomed 31 million tourists in 2018, up from 8 million in 2012. More than eight million Chinese tourists. 7.5 million South Koreans. 4.8 million Taiwanese. Chinese visitors biggest spenders -- ¥1.54 trillion -- or just more than one third of total tourism outlay.

Factors driving increased tourism have been the depreciation in the yen exchange rate, easier visa requirements, and Asia's rising middle class.

Japan also has a growing number of international students. In 2017, international students numbered 267,042, of which 107,260 came from China (40% of total).

Japan's foreign-born population risen from 1 million or 1%, to 2 1/2 million or 2% past couple of decades. Biggest sources -- China, Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Brazil, Nepal. Over 700,000 from China (30% of total), becoming very important group of skilled and entrepreneurial migrants.

Discussion:
Could this hot economics help foster hot politics?

REFERENCES:
- Deng Xiaoping visits Japan Shinkansen
- On October 28, 1978, Konosuke Matsushita welcoming Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping at the TV Division
- FDI stock (Based on International Investment Position, net)
- Investment builds bridges between China and Japan. ACI
- Japan and China -- a valuable economic partnership
- Japanese tourism statistics.
- International Students in Japan 2017
- Japanese migration data at end
- List of the largest trading partners of Japan
- ‘Wise diplomacy’ embraced in China-Japan ties

21. Happiness in Japan


Japan is ranked the 54th most happy nation in the world, according to the World Happiness Report. In contrast, Japan's GDP per capita in PPP terms would be the 22nd highest in the world, according to the World Bank.

Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are all ranked as happier nations than Japan.

The OECD's Better Life Index provides interesting insights into Japan's wellbeing. As the OECD says, there is more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics. This Index allows you to compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics the OECD has identified as essential, namely housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety, and work-life balance.

Japan scores quite well for income, education, very low unemployment rate, very low murder rate.

But Japan scores poorly for housing quality, civic engagement (very low voter turnout), self-reported health (despite high life expectancy), life satisfaction, work-life balance (working very long hours), and gender equality.

Suicide is a widely publicised phenomenon in Japan. In recent years, it has been falling. But it is still is the second highest among the OECD countries after South Korea.

REFERENCES:
- World Happiness Report 2018
- List of countries by GDP per capita
- OECD Better Life Index, Japan
- Suicide in Japan is dropping.
- Suicides down, but Japan still second highest among major industrialized nations, report says
- Japan: Promoting Inclusive Growth for an Ageing Society -- page 8.
- what is well-being?

22. Opinions on Japan


Japanese Nobel Prize winning scientist Susumu Tonegawa

“Having spent a half century abroad since I went to the United States to study, I now regard Japan as a society rather dictated by rules. Within a fixed framework, the Japanese are able to produce things with extreme precision.” In making a comparison with the US, Tonegawa argues that “A climate that respects individualistic thinking—thinking not bound by conventional wisdom—will produce revolutionary discoveries that shatter the framework. Unlike the Japanese, Americans put their own ideas first, and what others think of them is secondary. It is essential to have education that respects individual abilities and preferences.”


Pascal Senkoff, president of Levi Strauss Japan K.K.

Japanese people ... are 100 percent devoted to what they do ... this is one of the keys to success and reasons Japan is successful and unique.

It would be good if they become more positive ... Japanese society is probably too negative, and they need to enjoy more, they need to be more optimistic about the future.

Japan is doing more of is to be more open to the rest of the world. I think [the Olympics] will be great, then we have the exposition in 2025.

You go anywhere in Japan you have tourists now, and I think it’s great for Japan to be more open, and they are more open for the rest of the world to recognize what Japan has to offer.

Could you give some advice to Japanese businesspeople in general? ... first of all to learn English ... When I was here in the ’80s, young people were more open to the rest of the world ... Today, sometimes I feel the young generation are not so open to the rest of the world ... if you look at the number of young Japanese studying overseas at American universities, whatever, it’s declining every year. That to me is kind of a bad thing because I think there is a lot of potential ,,, I think young people need to be more confident in their capabilities and more confident they can compete.

In Japan, it’s very difficult to have Japanese people take overseas assignments ... That’s because maybe because they feel not so comfortable in English ... I think you should take the risk to go overseas.

in Japan you trust people. When you do business, you can really trust the people. It’s a very safe society, it’s a very peaceful society, there is no violence, and that’s really something that changed my ways of working, living.


The BBC reports that "Japan is home to some of the most resilient buildings in the world - and their secret lies in their capacity to dance as the ground moves beneath them."

REFERENCES:
- Japanese Nobel Prize winning scientist Susumu Tonegawa
- My Japanlology / Strong brand traits allowed deeper connection to culture. The Japan News, January 13, 2019.
- How Japan's skyscrapers are built to survive earthquakes

23. Cybersecurity in Japan


Cybersecurity in Japan

Like all countries, Japan has cybersecurity vulnerabilities. High-tech country. Lack of public awareness. Ageing society. Seniors easy victims. N.Korea, Russia and China could cyber-adversaries. But US is a cyber-friend.

The 2020 Olympic Games and Rugby World Championships are special vulnerabilities.

But Yoshitaka Sakurada, a government minister, deputy chief of the government's cybersecurity strategy office, admitted that he does not use computers. His staff do that.

Last Japanese government launched a new cybersecurity strategy. Many press comments that Japan's corporate and government cyber defenses need improvement.

Japanese private sector lags behind its US and European counterparts. Business leaders lack cyber awareness. Need more cyberprofessionals.

24. Australia-Japan bilateral relationship


Australia–Japan partnership is our closest and most mature in Asia.

Underpinned by shared commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as well as common approaches to international security. In 2017, Japan was Australia's second-largest trading partner, second-largest export market, and second-largest source of foreign direct investment. In 2015, Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.

The transformation of Japan from enemy to friend after World War 2 a major achievement.

Australia and Japan work very closely in strategic alliance with the United States. Regularly participate in joint defence exercises and frequently consult on regional security issues.

Australia and Japan close partners in regional forums such as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

Australia and Japan agreed not to let our differences over whaling affect our close relationship.

Australia-Japan economic relationship is underpinned by complementary strengths and needs. Australia a safe, secure and reliable supplier of food, energy and mineral resources. Japan became Australia's largest trading partner in early 1970s.

Japan was Australia's second-largest trading partner in 2017, and second-largest export market, 15% of total exports -- mainly LNG, coal , iron ore, beef , and copper. Japan Australia's fourth-largest source of goods imports, including passenger vehicles, refined petroleum, gold, and goods vehicles.

Japan Australia's largest source of investment from Asia and fourth-largest overall. Japanese investment essential in development of export industries like coal, iron ore and LNG.

REFERENCES:
- Australia-Japan bilateral relationship

25. Working Japan


ROCHELLE KOPP has some good advice on working in Japan. See article below. The Key points are:

Positives:

Politeness
Teamwork
Social contacts
Consensus in decision-making
Planning, process and details
Ability to execute
Lack of pigeonholing
Increased responsibility
Opportunity for learning

Challenges

The language barrier
Indirect communication style
A need to read between the lines
Lack of positive feedback
Takes a long time to get anything done
Slow to change
Detail orientation
Unclear career path
Long working hours


Demand for non-Japanese engineers is growing, but know what you're in for before you apply

IT engineering is a field in which there are a lot of opportunities for non-Japanese who possess sufficient skills to work in Japan. There are 28,000 non-Japanese IT engineers working in Japan currently, comprising about 3 percent of all IT engineers in Japan, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The ministry projects that Japan will face a deficit of 789,000 software engineers by 2030, a gap that non-Japanese engineers are well-positioned to help fill.

REFERENCES:
- Thinking of working in Japan? It's good to know what you're in for. ROCHELLE KOPP. Jan 30, 2019. Japan Times.
- Demand for non-Japanese engineers is growing, but know what you're in for before you apply. ROCHELLE KOPP. Jan 30, 2019. Japan Times.