Editorial

Old Japanese House

Japan Moves Quickly Toward Energy-Efficient Buildings

By Hiroyuki Arie, General Manager, Business Stream Systems at TÜV Rheinland Japan   Fire, typhoon and earthquake resistance of buildings has long been of paramount importance in Japan. This is partly because for a long period of time, the majority of structures were lightly made of wood. If a house caught fire in the Edo period (1603–1868), firefighters often chose […]

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Tokyo Buildings

JETRO Releases Global Trade and Investment Report 2017

Japan’s trade balance last year marked its first surplus in six years, according to the recently released Global Trade and Investment Report 2017 by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). At the same time, the country’s outward FDI stood at record highs, while inward FDI from Asia to Japan continued to grow. Global trade declines 3.1%, downturn for two straight […]

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Otemachi Tokyo

Japanese Government Earmarks 46B Yen in Subsidies for SMEs

The Japanese Cabinet is setting aside 46 billion yen ($416 million) in planned subsidies for SMEs, small enterprises or other entities in fiscal 2017, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The subsidies are part of the government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and geared toward business activities based on R&D results. Subsidies for SMEs The […]

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Monozukuri - Japanese Craftsman

Japan Ramps up Business Succession Support Amid Aging Owners

Small and Medium Enterprises form the backbone of Japan’s economy. They employ the majority of people and account for a large share of the country’s economic power. Yet as the aging population of business owners increases, hundreds of thousands of SMEs in Japan are about to face the time when they must hand over their businesses to the next generation. […]

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EU-Japan Summit July 7

A Trade Deal for the 21st Century

On the eve of the G20 summit in Hamburg, the European Union and Japan reached a political understanding about a new comprehensive free trade agreement. During the EU-Japan Summit, Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, hailed the agreement as “the birth of the world’s largest, free, industrialized economic zone.” EU officials proclaimed it “the most important bilateral trade agreement ever concluded […]

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Tokyo International Forum

Japanese Overseas Subsidiaries Increase Sales for 4th Quarter in a Row

Total sales of Japanese overseas subsidiaries have increased 7.9 percent from January to March 2017, according to a recent survey published by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). This marks the fourth consecutive quarter of increasing sales. Sales by Region Sales in Asia grew 8.8 percent during the quarter, also showing growth for the fourth quarter in a […]

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3D MapAutonomous Driving 3D Map

Japan Automotive Daily to Host Auto Technology Executive Briefing in Tokyo

The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (Japan Automotive Daily) together with IHS Markit will host an automotive technology executive briefing to discuss the role of digital transformation that is shaping the auto industry today. The conference will take place on July 27 in Tokyo and is open to the public for registration. Converged Digital Landscape of Autonomous Mobility Digitalization has the potential […]

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Japanese Manager

Japan Patent Office Opens Public Services Center in Osaka

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) will open the INPIT-KANSAI center of intellectual property public services on July 31. The new office is located in Osaka’s Grand Front Osaka Building and aims to support the business growth of firms in the Kansai region, including SMEs and startups. It is part of the Japanese government’s push to foster local economies. The new […]

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marketing communications japan office lady

How to Develop a Marketing Communications Strategic Plan

This is the fourth in a series of columns about Japan Inc.’s ultimate global challenge: marketing (if you came here from somewhere else, read this, this and this first). There is a lack of understanding (or training) in marketing basics within many companies. How can you execute Marketing 4.0 if you never learned Marketing 1.0? Consider the military… Anyone who […]

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India Tech Startups

Japanese Firms Invest in Tech-Startups

Japanese investors are now setting their eyes on developing countries, particularly India, for fledgling tech startups that have potential for growth. Currently, India’s economy is the seventh largest in the world measured by nominal GDP, and the third largest by purchasing power parity. Asuka Corporation, REAPRA Ventures, GREE Ventures, Mistletoe Capital, and Incubate Fund are just some of the Japan-based […]

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AI - Toyota Concept i

Japan Takes Fast Follower Approach on Artificial Intelligence, Too

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has recently become a buzzword around the globe. The processing power of microchips is now strong enough for machines to do very complex tasks. In 2015, Google’s AlphaGo defeated the best human players in the board game Go, which was considered the last bastion of human advantage. It did not use pure computing power, but deep […]

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ISO 14001 in Japan

ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard Trends in Japan

By Hiroyuki Arie, General Manager, Business Stream Systems at TÜV Rheinland Japan   Twenty years have passed since the 1996 establishment of ISO 14001, the standard for environmental management systems (EMSs). By now, there are over 25,000 ISO 14001-certified organizations in Japan. This is second only to the number in China, and demonstrates that the concept of the environmental management […]

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Japan Monozukuri Manufacturing

Six Reasons Why Japanese Companies Struggle with Marketing

Continuing from my first article, this is the second in a series of columns about Japan Inc.’s ultimate global challenge: marketing. Following are the six reasons I believe Japanese companies struggle with marketing. 1. Language In the Japanese language, there is no direct translation for the word or concept of Marketing. It is spelled phonetically via five katakana characters (separate […]

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