“Re-imagining Japan: The Challenge Ahead”: a collection of essays released by 80 leaders, CEOs, and academics, in July
Dominic Barton, director of McKinsey and Co, the global consultancy group’s director, who launched the English version of the book “Re-imagining Japan, The Quest for a Future That Works” in Tokyo on July 12th, puts that question to 80 leaders, CEOs, investors, academics, journalists and prominent figures from the world of foreign affairs, sports and culture. He stated at the genesis of the rebuilding of Japan, that there is two crisis left in Japan: the natural disaster crisis, and the stagnation of the public debt issue, which he believes will have a more significant long term effect on the Japanese society: “The act of omission is the same as the act of commission”, meaning if you choose not to act you are just as guilty as if you act.
Kenji Hirokane, manga creator: “Japan could export nursing care for elderly to other countries”
Hirokane, who also participated to the launching of the book, said he often travels in China, Russia, US and India, making researches in order to make his artwork happen. “Mai Manga” ‘s unique characteristic is that it reflects facts and incidents happening in the real world. He said he is currently working on a story that reflects on the accident at the Fukushima power plant and also the natural disaster that occurred in Northern Japan.
He said along with the challenging issues of the Japanese economy, he is also reflecting on the aging Japanese society. Hirokane believes Japan could become a role model for the rest of the world, by addressing the aging society issue, if Japan manages to build a new business in the model of nursing care, Japan could export it to other countries such as China and the US when these countries will face the same issue.
Waichi Sekiguchi, the Nikkei newspaper senior editor: “Japanese managers must re-examine their motivations”
Sekiguchi reflected that the Japanese IT industry is losing its competitiveness in he global market. He said the Japanese are very creative in making new products but they have the tendency to created their own standards or develop products that are “too complicated”. Although the technologies and the products are well developed, prices are becoming too high that they lose their competitiveness in the over sea markets. “In addition, the competition in the domestic market is so harsh that companies have been spending too much energy in competing amongst each other, this phenomenon is the so called “Galapagos syndrome”, he added.
If Japan wants to have its technology adapted to the international standards, it will have to lobby proactively and Japanese people are not very good at speaking foreign languages and they take only few opportunities to attend and participate to international debates and conferences because Japanese companies and universities are cutting back on foreign channels. “Japanese companies have to reach international standards in changing the global strategies of the Japanese corporate”. In the past, it was not uncommon for Japanese scholars to go to the US and other countries to study the leading researches and be involved in local research projects. However, recently, researchers and scientists have showed a strong tendency to stay within the domestic clicks, and analysis shows that in terms of technology exchange with foreigners, Japanese engineers are more isolated than their counterparts in Korea or China. During the 1970’s and the 1980’s, the most important duty of Japanese companies was to export, although industry still sells an enormous amount of products overseas, the US government has confronted Tokyo in the 1990’s over a structural trade surplus. Through the negotiations, such as the structural impediments initiatives, and a US-Japan framework talks, Japan insisted on extending and cultivating the domestic market. The generation of domestic sales during that period has become today’s top management.
Tanaka Hitoshi, Former Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs: “What is needed is to deal with short term issues of the disasters in the context of the long term issues of the public debt, social reform, agricultural reform and external relations, building new relationships with the US and China”
“PM Kan will go out sooner or later, it is not important to write a story on when, or how, what is more important is the next government, what type of government we have and the formation of the next government is very crucial to us Japanese”.
“I worked with former PM Koizumi, he was a strong leader, he was determined and decisive, always thinking of strategies. We do not have comparable candidates to Koizumi.”
I talked about North Korea, the US, Eastern Asia, and China, I think China will become the key partner for Japan for policy making.