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  • Tokyo's Place in the World: Through the Eyes of Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    rates for cities worldwide are around 10 percent on average and in many Asian cities the rate is 30 or 40 percent Staff members walk along the streets at night holding sensitive audio equipment to listen for the sound of leaks and identify where repairs need to be made The Tokyo Marathon likewise is a showcase for Japan s talents in organization and execution Each year runners arrive in street clothes and change into their running gear at the Tokyo Municipal Government building Once the race begins workers bundle up the clothes and transport them to the finish line It is better than the hotel cloak service Thirty six thousand runners get their clothes without any mistakes This is the capability and power of Tokyo The secret to achieving such a high level of organizational prowess technological capacity and sophisticated hospitality is our unique order and sense of balance Governor Inose said These qualities are embodied in the design and layout of the city itself At the center of Tokyo s hustle and bustle is the Imperial Palace an empty space in Zen Buddhist terms a nothingness which serves as a meditative focus and anchor for the people of Tokyo As Tokyo is bidding to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games several innovations are planned that will make it even easier to welcome and support visitors from abroad These include an English language ambulance service a cadre of doctors nurses and babysitters who speak English and can cater to travelers and extended hours for the bus and subway systems The bus system upgrade will come first starting with a 24 hour service from Shibuya Station to Roppongi that should be up and running by Christmas this year Already in place in Tokyo are a number of Asian Headquarter Special Zones Governor Inose said These are areas close to Tokyo Station where companies from overseas that establish headquarters can qualify for special tax rates typically a reduction from 40 7 percent to 26 9 percent This compares to a New York corporate rate of 45 67 percent which will be reduced to 39 82 percent Prime Minister Koizumi was regarded as some kind of a strange person in a way the governor noted Japan suffers from a low rate of mixing strange guys or strange people amongst the population It was clear that strange guy was a label that Governor Inose might apply to himself and with pride At a gathering for new recruits coming to work in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government I said We don t need any honor students he commented The honor students will emulate the next smart guy and the next smart guy will copy the next smart guy standing next So what is needed is an initiative to come up with the ideas and to test out hypotheses with a sense of speed Governor Inose concluded In the U S you have the United States of America but I call Japan United Ministries of Japan

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/tokyos-place-in-the-world (2016-02-14)
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  • 3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    11 was a collusive set of relations between the electric utilities big business the national bureaucracy and academics Professor Samuels said Japan has to have better regulation It has to replace nuclear power with renewables clean and green energy The energy stay the course philosophy is propounded by those with skin in the game the utilities and others who said This was a black swan event Japan shouldn t spend its time planning for once in a thousand years events There is no way renewables can replace nuclear power renewables can t generate enough energy to enable economic growth The back to the past proponents see 3 11 as a sign that Japan needs to return to a simpler and better time Their explanation for what happened was that the enlightenment ideas of the West had crept into Japan to such an extent that it destroyed Japan Professor Umehara particularly recognized this His idea was to go back to enlightenment as Buddhists would practice it rather than enlightenment as Western philosophers would have it Local government Here there were two positions on change those who would super size local government by building larger more coherent regional units of government and those who believe that highly localized units deliver much more effective disaster response Professor Samuels explained how his doctoral dissertation almost 40 years ago talked about understanding the dynamics across the local government and not to imagine that everything that local governments do require guidance and tutelary supervision from above When I got to Tohoku this time that s all people could talk about When I first arrived at the Rikuzentakata temporary city hall I started interviewing I asked the first person a question and he said he did not know the answer because he was from Nagoya I turned to the next guy and asked Where are you from Again Nagoya The third person was from Yokohama Thousands and thousands of local government officials had been sent by their mayors and by their governors to help in the relief effort Were they altruistic Only in part They were also being trained to deal with disasters because they understand that the next one may be theirs It was brilliant What Has Changed Not So Very Much Certainly the legitimacy of the Self Defense Forces and of the alliance has never been higher Professor Samuels said U S forces won t have trouble using civilian bases and harbors as they did in the past However Tohoku didn t erase the base issues of Futenma The Japanese people weren t so taken by Operation Tomodachi that they said You can build new bases in my backyard The energy sector has a new regulatory structure and it will be harder to get nuclear plants restarted You re not going to see 50 percent of Japanese electric power generated by nuclear reactors at any time soon any time in this or the next lifetime I would guess But they have not been turned off

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/311-disaster-and-change-in-japan (2016-02-14)
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  • The Rewards of Taking Risks in the Age of Innovation: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    entrepreneurial business environment it can t allow the perfectionism of the hardware culture to overwhelm the speed and comparatively uninhibited creativity of the software culture The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor in fact ranks Japan at the bottom of advanced economies Sir Howard noted One Japanese entrepreneur who acquired an American mobile games company for 400 million said that if he were the one who sold the company They would see me as a failure in Japan The remedy is greater tolerance of risk and to achieve this Japanese society has to develop a more nuanced view of failure and of shame Feeling shame because of having violated a moral norm is one thing and shame in this sense can be a force for good he acknowledged But trying something new in the hope of positive result is not a sin And if failure results as it often will when you push the envelope it should not be shameful This is especially important now that we are in an era of disruptive technology We all need to allow ourselves to be disrupted out of our complacency true for young and old alike he added A small group of mostly young people created Instagram which Facebook then bought for 1 billion great camera makers from Kodak to Polaroid to Canon to Nikon to Sony didn t do it and neither did Facebook Sony has encouraged a trial and error environment throughout its past and present from the creation of the CD Blu ray advanced image sensors portable gaming and most recently waterproof tablets and smart phones The postwar economic miracle in Japan is itself an example The entrepreneurial spirit of Japan was alive and flourishing It had to Promotions came swiftly in the heat of competitive energy and age in those days was not a handicap Lest we forget Akio Morita was 25 when he cofounded the company that became Sony And speaking of Morita san remember that he was widely ridiculed on both sides of the Pacific for buying a music company and a movie studio Twenty five years later they are today models of stable and innovative leadership and consistently profitable And today the brilliance of young educated Japanese people is reflected in industries that are not so dependent on a huge infrastructure such as fashion design media and the arts Mobilizing Women in the Workforce Innovations that let women participate fully in the Japanese labor force are likewise critical Sir Howard continued Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike recently said To mobilize women would create a breakthrough in Japan s economy Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund echoed that saying simply Women could actually save Japan And a Goldman Sachs report demonstrates that if you reduce the barriers to women participating in the labor force in Japan you would increase GDP there by close to 16 percent According to a government study 86 percent of married women with children in Japan want to work So the desire of women to

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/the-rewards-of-taking-risks-in-the-age-of-innovation (2016-02-14)
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  • Every Nation for Itself: Japan’s Place in a G-Zero World: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    Asia have large numbers of Chinese expatriates that dominate the business communities and the economies but Japan does not Moreover Japan has a critical alliance with the United States Such factors make China s willingness to engage in anti Japanese nationalism much greater The Japanese themselves need to be seen as too big to fail That is not the case Increasingly the Chinese believe they don t need the money from Japan They don t need the technology They can get it from South Korea and Taiwan Keiko Tsuyama freelance journalist and presider for the evening s program began the Q A In the 1980s Japan was the number one economic power and then we became number two and now we are in third place Can Japan hold onto third place as it stands now economically No But the U S can t hold on to number one We should be okay with that When China becomes the world s largest economy and it will soon America will still be by far the largest economy with rule of law That matters Dr Bremmer replied It matters for investment It matters for comfort You can make billions of dollars in China but you can t buy clean air in Beijing You can t buy the right to walk around a place you can breathe You can t buy certainty that you re going to live in a country that will respect your ability to have that money and to pass it on to your kids Japan is a relatively small country population wise and it s getting smaller But the Japanese are wealthy It s sustainable with the best infrastructure in the world The longevity of Japan s people is greater than in any other major economy We should not fetishize growth Americans talk about growth as if it is good in and of itself Increasingly there are many in China who believe that that is true but there are also many in China who believe that growth is less important than quality of life he added If you re living as a middle class Chinese in a major city you want more accountability You want to know that infant formula in the stores is not going to poison your kid You can t buy that What role can Japan take in the future and what kind of influence can Japan have on other countries Japan s healthcare system is dealing with issues that other countries will face in 10 20 30 years time Dr Bremmer said Lower level education is radically better in Japan than in the U S Japan s infrastructure the ability to respond to a disaster like Fukushima is exceptional One problem is that the Japanese really don t promote themselves on this stuff at all There are a million Chinese living in Africa I think there are 8 000 Japanese The Japanese need to get out more travel more learn more languages show other countries what

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/every-nation-for-itself-japans-place-in-a-g-zero-world (2016-02-14)
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  • Japan's Energy Policy After Fukushima: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    electricity costs which would severely damage international competitiveness and hurt employment Businesses are also mostly opposed to the 15 percent and 20 25 percent options again because they fear that Japanese firms will be less able to compete in the global economy The United States has expressed concerns regarding nonproliferation issues if Japan were to stop using nuclear energy and continue reprocessing Mr Toyoda said The LDP s overwhelming victory in the December elections was not specifically a vote to approve nuclear energy he added The primary focus of the party s campaigns was on the revitalization of the Japanese economy In the short term the LDP wants to restart the nuclear reactors when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission now independent says the reactors are safe It s expected the review process will take about three years Longer term the LDP believes that the energy mix should be determined within 10 years depending on how reliable and affordable renewables prove to be The LDP hasn t expressed any opinion on what the energy mix should be Mr Toyoda s own view of the best energy mix for Japan takes sort of a balanced approach he said Nuclear energy 25 percent Renewables 25 percent Thermal 35 percent Cogeneration 15 percent This balance reflects an important reality namely that none of the sources are perfect and each has both advantages and disadvantages Asia Overview Mr Toyoda discussed the overall energy picture in Asia and the benefits of cooperation among Asian countries Energy conservation Japan is perhaps number one in energy efficiency whereas Korea China India and Russia are not necessarily good in terms of energy efficiency So at least we can share our technology with Korea and China The Asian premium in LNG pricing Ten years ago LNG prices across regions were quite even But currently due to U S shale gas production plus the Asian trade custom of linking natural gas prices to oil prices LNG prices in Asia carry a premium Cooperation among Korea China and Japan will help address this problem and the U S can contribute a lot by exporting shale gas to Japan and other Asian countries Nuclear safety Of the 60 or 70 new reactors currently under construction almost two thirds are in Asia Japan learned many lessons on safety regimes safety culture and safety technology from the Fukushima accident lessons that it must share with other countries Energy mix With an appropriate energy mix Asia could realize more sustainable economic development U S efforts to maintain stability and safety in the sea lanes through the Strait of Hormuz are important contributions to the goal of sustainable development and clearly Asia should support that particularly Japan The environment and climate change The U S and Japan can act jointly to create a realistic framework for dealing with this issue We have a lot of problems in Japan in the area of energy policy but U S Japan cooperation could resolve those problems to a considerable extent And

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/japans-energy-policy-after-fukushima (2016-02-14)
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  • Japan's New Political Landscape: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    Energy Abe wants to restart nuclear power plants He can t for two reasons Professor Curtis explained The public is fearful because of the Fukushima nuclear accident And at the new regulatory agency whose independence from METI is a definite accomplishment on the DPJ s part scientists are blocking sites from reopening because they are suspected of lying on active earthquake fault lines A Hail Mary Pass and What s Next My point here is that there is something really interesting and exciting and different going on in Japanese politics There s now a government that has impressed the public and the foreigners interested in Japan and the Japanese economy that it has a strategy And it s a clear strategy To use a football analogy I think of this as Abe s Hail Mary pass strategy he said Abe s got the backing of old style LDP politicians the vested interest that supports them and Koizumi liberals though this won t last you can t satisfy them all Traditionally cabinet ministers tend to think they are the boss of whatever ministry portfolio they have Those issues that they are in charge of they say whatever they want to say No Abe is keeping a pretty tight rein And he has brought in Mr Koizumi s media manager Mr Iijima to help him with his media strategy What Abe is passionate about is constitutional revision historical revisionism making Japan stand tall in the world and having a stronger military all issues to which Prime Minister Kishi Abe s maternal grandfather was devoted Yet Abe and his grandfather are both very pragmatic politicians What Abe would like to see and what he thinks is realistic given the realities of the world I think are very different There is something of a struggle between the pragmatism and realist approach in Abe s head and the emotional rightwing ideology in his heart Pragmatism is likely to win out since it is the only way for him to succeed But if he were to make public statements disavowing apologies for Japanese wartime behavior and voice his revisionist views of Japan s wartime history the government would have a crisis with South Korea and with China and it would create a harsh reaction in the United States as well China The other potential problem is the relationship with China which is bad and dangerous and little sign that it s going to get better he said For one thing the Chinese education system is trying to inculcate this anti Japanese sentiment among young people Then there s the complicated issue of the Senkaku or Daioyu Islands Den Xiaoping s solution regarding the islands was to put it the issue on the shelf and that s the right solution in Professor Curtis s view I have been meeting with the Chinese recently and saying If you want a real right wing government in Japan one that will revise Article 9 become a major military force keep

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/japans-new-political-landscape (2016-02-14)
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  • NAIIC Report on Fukushima: Lessons Learned & Next Steps Forward: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    videotaping records the voices of those speaking during one particular segment of the video Then TEPCO was forced to allow the media to come So that transparency and openness really helped to make the change Conclusions A Real Manmade Disaster In the end I think we documented that this was a real manmade disaster Dr Kurokawa said At METI at TEPCO perhaps at the manufacturers too every responsible person knew about the added safeguards adopted by the U S France the UK and elsewhere following various nuclear accidents within their borders They all knew what practices the IAEA recommended But they failed to force the industry to implement them This was Regulatory Capture Dr Kurokawa declared The industry has more information more expertise than government so much so that its private interests somehow are just embracing government Or it is failure of the government The NAIIC addressed the argument advanced by some analysts that the Fukushima plant would have held up against the earthquake and failed simply because the tsunami was huge beyond precedent Fukushima s earthquake protections were more than adequate these observers said This reasoning is flawed Dr Kurokawa said The NAIIC found very suggestive evidence albeit not conclusive that electric power at the oldest Fukushima plant the number one plant may have been knocked out by the earthquake before the tsunami hit the plant So even if the tsunami had been minor a nuclear accident might well have happened anyway Fukushima s lessons on earthquake risks must be taken seriously in that earthquakes of significant magnitudes e g greater than 4 hit Japan more often than the rest of the world and Japan has more than 50 nuclear plants NAIIC Recommendations on Structural Reforms The NAIIC s final recommendations included a number of structural reforms Dr Kurokawa explained The job of monitoring the nuclear regulatory body should be given to the Diet The potential for conflicts of interest when the administrative arm of government serves as both watchdog and industry promoter undermines the mission of keeping the system safe and is unacceptable Japan s crisis management system must be reformed and government responsibility for public health and welfare clarified Criteria for the new legislative branch regulatory body must be developed and the legislature should have certain authority to monitor TEPCO Laws relating to nuclear energy have to be revised and a system of independent investigation commissions established In his foreword to the NAIIC report Dr Kurokawa noted he chose to reflect on lessons offered by Kanichi Asakawa a brilliant scholar of history and international relations who was born and brought up in Fukushima Prefecture toward the end of the 19th century Asakawa studied at an institution that later became Waseda University and then at Dartmouth College He earned a PhD in History at Yale University where he also taught for many years as a professor His book Crisis of Japan offered a strenuous and prescient critique of Japan s activities in Manchuria around the turn of the

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/naiic-report-on-fukushima-lessons-learned-next-steps-forward (2016-02-14)
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  • Reviving Wendy's: Ernest Higa on Entrepreneurship in Japan: Articles: Multimedia: Japan Society
    customer is God Service has to be extraordinary Finally the Japanese customer expects variety The golden rule in the fast food business is to keep it simple You want to have a simple menu because you re dependent upon part timers to do it and if you complicate it then they screw it up Thus Domino s succeeded in the U S with 12 toppings and one drink Coke Bringing in Diet Coke was considered a major revolution But in Japan you can t do that When Mr Higa brought Domino s to Japan the menu grew to 30 or more different toppings tons of drinks and all kinds of side dishes and seasonal menus As he researched Wendy s prospects for a comeback in Japan Mr Higa was intrigued to see over 30 000 social media fans on networks like Mixi and Twitter who were eager for the company to return Discussions proceeded with Wendy s parent company in Ohio He told them that he d build the Japanese business based on two hot trends fast casual typified by Chipotle and Panera in the U S but not yet introduced in Japan and gourmet hamburgers bestsellers in the U S at restaurants like Five Guys and Shake Shack The company agreed to a joint venture that gave Mr Higa a 51 percent interest to the parent s 49 percent To honor Wendy s namesake Mr Higa chose March 3 2011 Girls Day for the announcement on Wall Street Then March 11 happened Every time I saw CNN my heart would drop Yet he decided to go ahead Being an optimist and also living in Japan for so long I really believed in Japan s future that it would come back I really believed in the resilience of the Japanese people The deal closed on April 6 2011 and the first store welcomed customers in Omotesando on December 27 At the opening the line to enter started forming at 6 30 in the morning An enthusiastic young woman from Yamanashi came dressed as Wendy and ordered everything on the menu A second store just made its debut in Roppongi The new stores have a fresh and sleek décor The menu includes a foie gras hamburger an avocado wasabi burger and a truffle and porcini grilled chicken sandwich Thirty percent of sales are coming from these high end items the foie gras burger is the best seller responsible for 12 percent of sales The business plan is now being refined to broaden the appeal and put more emphasis on the classic less expensive items that Wendy s has long been known for Mr Higa s partners expect Wendy s Japan to end up with as many as 700 stores and he himself agrees that there s room for a few hundred he said Nearer term the goal is to build up a critical mass which Mr Higa pegged at 100 stores within five years enough to give the brand purchasing power

    Original URL path: http://japansociety.org/page/multimedia/articles/reviving-wendys-ernest-higa-on-entrepreneurship-in-japan (2016-02-14)
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