Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

4 Feb. “Needing Nursing Care-Level 4” to be eligible for postal voting from this year,  740,000 more voters by post

The Japanese Government plans to include in the voters who are eligible for the postal vote those persons, mainly elderly ones, who may not be able to go out by him/herself. The new regulation will be applied from the election of the Upper House planned in July. Presently, only those certified as the “Needing Nursing Care-Level 5”, the level applied to people with heaviest difficulty in mobility and needing a long-term care, are allowed to vote by post. The Government plans to amend the government ordinance to include those at “Needing Nursing Care-Level 4”. This change will allow about 740,000 more voters to become eligible for postal voting.

Comments: This amendment is a good start. Why not allowing the voting by post to other people who may not be able to go to the voting sites on the day of voting for a variety of other reasons?

5 Feb. “Will sign the agreement”, Chaiman of Hon Hai visiting Sharp, Osaka

Mr. Terry Gou, Chaiman of Hon Hai Precision Industry (Taiwan) started on 5 February the final stage of negotiations for the acquisition of Sharp at the its headquarters in Osaka, Japan. Mr. Gou left Taiwan on 4 February, saying, “I’ll sign the agreement.”, according to a source from Hon Hai.

Comment: Sharp is strong in technology while weak in finance. Hon Hai’s stake is to strengthen its technology using its large financial resource. How will the companies manage this opportunity for their interests?

8 Feb.  Amazon has started sommelier service by phone, exclusively for Japan

Amazon, a specialist of online shopping services, has started a free information service by phone for consumers to consult with sommeliers when buying wine. The sommelier recommends up to three wines out of over 8,000 wines sold by Amazon, that would match with the consumer’s preference and budget. This service is the first consultation service by telephone for Amazon and is available in Japan only.

Those consumers interested in the sommelier service input their phone numbers in the Amazon’s web site. An expert of wine calls them back between noon and 5 PM on weekdays to advise which wine to buy. The service is addressed to a wide range of consumers from beginners to advanced wine lovers.

Comment: It is interesting that an IT savvy company like Amazon uses an old media, such as phone calls, for an information service. This may be because selection of wine is so personal in nature that computer-based service can’t meet consumer needs.

9 Feb. Alleviating child poverty, bipartisan Diet member league to start for policy recommendations this month

A league of bipartisan Diet member is to start this month to alleviate poverty of children. Nine members of the Diet from seven parties, including the Liberal Democratic Party, the New Komeito and the Democratic Party, announced the prospectus on 8 February. The league plans to recommend policies for the poverty alleviation to the Government so that they would be taken into account in the “Dynamic action plan for 100 million Japanese” ( a police framework for revitalizing the economy) which the Government plans to announce in the Spring or the national budget from the fiscal year 2017 onwards.

Comment: Alleviation of the increasing child poverty is a national challenge in Japan, because child poverty will reproduce poor population for generations in the future.   Politicians are responsible for creating fundamental changes to improve income distribution in society.

10 Feb.  Reading Japanese announcements in your language by smart phone, Yamaha testing secret sound for language translation

Yamaha, a well known vendor of musical instruments (Hamamatsu, Japan), is developing technologies that enables us to read in-house announcements broadcasted in railway stations, shopping centers, airports, etc. translated in many languages by an application of a smart phone. Yamaha is currently testing the system in the field, e.g. shopping centers, boarding gates of domestic departures, and local buses that serves areas where there are many foreign residents.

The key of the system is to integrate “the secret sound” that human beings cannot catch in announcements. The system does not require the Internet connection or an additional equipment.

The languages being tested include English, Thai, Chinese and Korean.

It is expected that the system will largely help foreign visitors and residents, and people with hearing disabilities.

Comment: This system is an excellent example of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) taken by a specialist company of the sound.


  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

We had great food for thoughts watching a video of amazing Japanese.

Please take a minute to look at the video from the link below. You’d enjoy the reading this article even more. –>


What did you think?

The video is taken in the first morning of the Tokyo Comic Market in 2012.

Here you are, major point of our discussion.

Why do this voluntarily? 

B thought it happens only in Japan, not possible in Europe. P and S said what to see here is that the people in the video are not military solders. They are doing it voluntarily. This makes the Japanese unique and sometimes amaze the Europeans.

P said that whats behind this behavior may be a strong social punishment to those people who don’t keep rules.

Creativity vs Social rules

Y asked why people keep rules, though they are enthusiastic comic lovers, who’d have creative spirits. Why people didn’t show creativity or originality in queing?

S thought it because of fear to take risks. The people in the que thought it better to be submissive, even though they are creators in one way or another. He saw the same attitude of risk avoidance in doing business with the Japanese. S went on to say that harmony had a great value in Japan and that the Japanese harmony meant an agreement by everyone. This value may underly even in the mindset of creators.

Risk of being original and unique

You won’t be accepted by CEO if you reach him/her by skipping hierarchy in a Japanese organisation. In contrat, you’d be accepted in Switzerland.

“KO” between the West and Japan

Y explained a fundamental difference of “KO” between the Westners and Japanese. “個 (self)” and “孤 (being alone)” are pronounced “KO” in Japanese. The Japanese are afraid of, or don’t want to be alone, or “孤”, while the Westners stick to “個”, not being afraid of being alone.

Rules govern

We reached a kind of conclusion that the Japanese nee rules all the time. Without rules, people don’t know how to behave. That’s why even the young people with artist in mind seem to have no problem to follow guidance provided by the organiser of the show, as we observed in the video.


Naturally, neat & tidy. Ningyo-cho, Tokyo


“No question about it”




Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

28 Jan.  Five prefectures supporting suppliers of the “Rocket industry”

The rocket industry would be added in March to the industries included in the special economic zone to promote the aerospace sector in the Chubu region in Japan. A major incentive is that the Government pays the interests of the debt of vendors that manufacture parts of rockets. It is thus intended to encourage the capital investment and market entry of those vendors.

The special economic zone concerned is “the Asian number one special economic zone of aerospace cluster”, which address companies located in five prefectures of the Chubu region; Aichi, Gifu, Mie, Nagano and Shizuoka.

Comment: Swiss companies having business with the aerospace sector may benefit from this move.

29 Jan. “I’ll be happy if I graduate from a good University” said 78% of the 11 years old, up from 9 years ago

The percent of those school children who think, “I’ll be happy if I graduate from a good University” reached 78 per cent, up from by 17 per cent from 9 years ago, according to a research announced by Benesse Educational Research & Development Institute (BERD) on 28 January. A researcher considers this result as an influence of the heavy emphasis on scholastic achievement on children.

This is a result of the research undertaken last year by BERD addressed to children of primary, junior high and high schools last year. All were public schools and 9,726 children responded.

Comments: It appears that Japan has not changed in the past 50 years. Where is children’s dream?

1 Feb. Bank of Mitsubishi of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, developing own cyber currency expecting cost cutting

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd . is developing own cyber currency. The currency is one of the “Fintech”, new financial services using information technologies (IT). A major expected benefit of the new cyber currency is to largely reduce costs of financial transaction, thus reducing charges of international transfer. While the Bank plans to use the new currency in-house only for the moment, it may issue the currency to customers through the exchange with Yen in the future.

Commets: The cyber currency had rather an unhappy start in Japan due to mismanagement of a major cyber currency dealer. This move by a major Japanese bank is worth watching to see if the public would change their perception and benefits from the cyber currency.

2 Feb.  The desired number of children in proportion to a degree of understanding of your boss, Okayama Prefecture

The more your boss is favorable to raising children, you’d wish to have more number of children — found a research undertaken by Okayama Prefecture. This proves that incentives for bosses to support raising children would be a key to increase the number of children.

The survey was undertaken via the Internet with 2751 men and women who were married and whose age were between 20 to 19 years in August and September last year.

Comments: The result is interesting, though there are a number of other important factors parents would need to have more children, such as assurance to leave the office on time, husbands’ participation in house work, housing for families at an affordable rate, etc.

3 Feb. Monitoring illegal tree felling from satellite, data open to the public

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) begin monitoring of the illegal tree felling of the equator area using an earth observing satellite “Daichi (the earth) 2”. The organisations will make the data available to the public for free from August so that countries concerned will be able to take preventive measures.

Daichi (The earth) 2 was launched in May, 2014 and has ability to monitor status of the ground for 24 hours regardless of the weather.

Comment: I hope many people and organisations will benefit from the data to alleviate illegal tree felling!

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

西洋人のプロフェッショナル・ウーマンが日本人とのビジネスで成功する七つのコツとは?” 二月三日(節分ですね!)日本時間午後8時より。
Intercultural Training Channel Webinar – Japan – This Wednesday
Wednesday, 3rd February 2016 12 Noon Swiss time(Lunch & Learn), 11AM London time. (60 minutes.)
Please register for this unique opportunity to hear from a Japanese person about Japan tackling the question of Western women succeeding in the challenging environment of Japan.

Click on the link to register; https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8263161205987217922


Tokyo is changing rapidly. What should Western professional women do to work successfully with the country?

Do feel free to pass the registration link onto anyone in your circle who may benefit from the show – there is zero cost to participate. I can personally recommend Yoshiko as a witty and knowledgable presenter.

Seven (7) clues for Western professional women in Japan.

  • What is essential for Western women professionals in Japan to know?
  • What are the rules in Japan?
  • What is the Status of Japanese women and the Gender gap in 2016?
  • The Fundamental values of the Japanese
  • Japanese values in business – How are they different?
  • Seven Clues for Western Women Professionals
  • Basics = Be yourself
  • The Feminine attitude expected in Japan, etc.

Yoshiko Kurisaki is an executive consultant in cross-cultural management, specialised in helping businesses work better together between Europe and Japan. Living in Geneva Switzerland, She is a Japanese national possessing a unique competence drawn from over 10 years business experience in Japan and over 25 years in Europe. Her passion is resolving cultural issues.

Thanks. I hope you can join us.
+44 7540 65 999 5, Intercultural Training Channel Webinar


Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

21 Jan. “Kansai One Pass”, a new railway card for overseas visitors to Osaka region

JR West (Japanese railway serving between regions Osaka and Yamaguchi) will be selling a new card, “Kansai One Pass”. It is an IC card on which users may charge up to 20,000 Yen. The card will allow foreign visitors to take trains across nine major private and public railways in the Osaka and its neighbouring areas.

Comment: This card looks convenient. Why is it addressed to foreign visitors only? It will be useful for the Japanese, too.

22 Jan. Three PC vendors released new products, while in the merger talk

Three PC vendors, Toshiba, Fujitsu and VAIO (separated from SONY), which are close to agreement of business merger, released new products one after the other. It is worth watching what USP (Unique Selling Point) the merged company would show in the PC market place, where a product difference has become invisible due to maturity of the products.

Comment: Product maturity of PC signals need for revolutionary new ideas.

25 Jan. Japanese trade deficit reduced in 2015 for the first time since the East Japan earthquake disaster

The Ministry of Finance announced in the trade statistics (breaking news) of 2015 that “the trade balance” was a deficit of 2,832,200 million yen (CHF 24’180.3 million). While the deficit continued in the past five years in a row, the volume of the deficit decreased by about 10 trillion yen. The Ministry says that lower crude oil price last year contributed significantly to the deficit reduction. It was the first reduction since the East Japan great earthquake disaster in 2011.

Comment: The import of crude oil increased much for the electric power generation replacing the nuclear plants in Japan after the East Japan great earthquake disaster. All the nuclear plants in the country stopped operating after the great earthquake.

26 Jan. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, taking measures to prevent retirement from work by cancer patients

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare starts taking the measures that cancer patients may continue working while being treated. Over thirty per cent (30%) of cancer patients quite a job to continue treatment. They lose financial source to support living, despite an increase of a survival rate by the improvement of medical care. The Ministry will create a template document for a doctor and an employer of the patient concerned to exchange information about the status of the patient and the work, and plans to urge employers to support the patients.

One out of two Japanese population suffer from cancer.

Comments: It is a social responsibility to prevent people from suffering from financial difficulties because of the disease. Cooperation between the Government, doctors and companies is indispensable to support working patients.

27 Jan. Toyota, cooperating with Suzuki to address newly developing economies

We have learned that Toyota Motor Corporation is looking into cooperation with Suzuki, a major vendor of light automobile (a cubic capacity of 550 cc. or less). Toyota’s major stake is market development in India where Suzuki has 40% of market share, and Suzuki’s technologies for environment friendly automobiles and safety, which requires huge investment. Toyota expects to capture larger market share in newly developing economies, where demand for light automobiles is high.

Comment: Buying power of newly developing economies requires adjustment of corporate strategy to automobile giants.

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. These are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

14 Jan. Toyota plans 2.6 million sales in the US in 2017

Toyota Motor Corporation advised to its OEM vendors that the company would set 2.64 million as a sales target in the US for 2017. The sales volume has continued increasing since 2011 that sold 1.64 million, the latest bottom year. The company anticipates that the factors that supported the sales, such as wage increase and low oil price, would continue in the coming years.

Comments: Let’s hope the economy would recover.

15 Jan. Tokyo Auto Salon, with 880 dressed-up cars, 15 – 17 Jan.

Tokyo Auto Salon is the largest auto show of dressed-up cars in the world. The 34th show started in Makuhari Messe located in the suburbs of Tokyo on 15 January, joined by 447 constructors, OEMs and tuning houses. Tokyo Auto Salon is a unique opportunity that attracts a number of passionate fans of dressed-cars who do not save expenses for the dressing-up. The number of visitor reached 310,000 last year.

Comments: While dressed-up car market may be a niche, it is worth noting that there are people who are willing to spend money, despite a cold market condition of the automobile sales in general. Could Swiss automotive OEMs benefit from this market?

18 Jan. Request for referendum successfully made to question re-operation of nuclear plant in Shikoku

The citizen’s group, “Yawatahama citizens’ group to request referendum”, has successfully requested to the city Mayor Ichiro Oshiro the establishment of the referendum regulations. The regulation is needed for the citizens to directly vote to see if the’d agree with the re-operation of the nuclear plant owned by Shikoku Electric Power Co. Ltd. The third unit of Ikata Nuclear Power Plant, the plant in question, is located in less than 20 km from Yawatahama City. If the regulation is approved by the municipal assembly, the city is obliged to organise a referendum.

Comment: Need for wide public consultation on the operation of nuclear plants is increasing, as more and more citizens are deeply concerned about the safety of the plant.

19 Jan. Let’s prevent “Smart Phone addict” of children — Hyogo-ken creating a new ordinance

Hyogo-Ken (prefecture) announced that it will amend the Prefectural Ordinance of Juvenile Protection to require school teachers and parents to create rules for children in the use of smart hones and the Internet. Hyogo-Ken found that 22% of children between the ages of 11 and 18 use smart phones for more than four hours per day and 6% of may be addicted by the phones. The prefecture intends to prevent children from being addicted by smart phones or from being involved in troubles caused by false use of the Internet.

Comment: Could rules stop the passion of children to smart phones?

20 Jan. Driving by feet, Honda is releasing FIT HV for those without hands mobility

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has started taking orders of its hybrid vehicle, “FIT“, which those unable to use hands may drive. The driver will use both feet to drive the car. FIT of this type will be available in markets from March.

Comments: A good use of technology to improve mobility of the handicapped.

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. These are not an official translation of the Asahi Newspaper.

Moshi moshi, Japan?, Geneva, Friday, 29 November, 2016


Dance of a lion to celebrate the New Year

Interested in business with Japan?
Want to know more about Japanese business culture?
Wish to learn keys to success in business with Japan?

Why not spending 75 minutes once a month with like-minded people?

“Moshi moshi, Japan?” is an informal meet-up with people doing business with Japan.

Theme  “Amazing Japanese!” — What do you read from this?
We will watch an amazing video clip and discuss what you read about Japan.
Presenter   Yoshiko KURISAKI, Founder, Europe-Japan Dynamics, Geneva


Date and time: From 18h00 to 19h15, Friday, 29 January

NEW PLACE! — Meeting room at Aiguillage, 1st floor, 19 Coulouvrenière, 1204 Geneva, MAP
Languages: French and English
Fee: CHF 20.-

Registration: By e-mail or phone to Yoshiko Kurisaki, Europe-Japan Dynamics
Yoshiko.kurisaki@gmail.com, Tel. 076 411 6076


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