Don’t punish economic animals for imaginary sins

I have been fortunate enough to meet many Japanese CEOs, including the bosses of huge multinational companies like Toyota, Nissan and Sony. I am often bemused when business leaders claim that they are “economic animals” but perhaps this dehumanisation helps them cope with the beatings by the foreign media, which are frequent and painful. When […]

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Is North Korea setting a trap?

If the organisers of the Winter Olympic Games awarded medals for cheerleading or propaganda, North Korea would have walked away with double gold. The champion attention grabbers were the two hundred North Korean women who performed synchronised cheers throughout events which involved athletes from their country, playing alongside people from the host nation, South Korea. […]

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Royal scandal shows the power of the tabloids

Freedom of speech in the media sometimes carries a heavy price Japan. It gives great power to the tabloid press, as the Imperial Family have found out to their cost this week. Japan’s Princess Mako has announced she will be postpone her planned marriage to her fiance Kei Komuro for two years. This follows a […]

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Cryptocurrency Stolen in Silent Heist

The Japanese press are full of headlines about a massive and silent bank robbery in Tokyo. Asahi newspaper reports that around 58 billion yen (approx. $533 million) was taken by thieves from a vault in Shibuya, Tokyo. The money was not in cash but in the form of a cryptocurrency called NEM. The cryptocurrency tokens […]

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“My company’s a goose” says Japan’s richest man

Who is Japan’s best communicator? People often tell me it is the nation’s richest businessman, Masayoshi Son. As a public speaking coach, I can’t promise to make my clients rich like him. But I do encourage them to listen to both what he says and how he says it. In this blog, I’ll share with […]

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Is the party over for the Bank of Japan?

Can you imagine a party thrown by the Bank of Japan at which its officials encourage guests to become roaring drunk? That was the clever metaphor used by reporter Patti Domm of CNBC to explain a hugely important issue with is hidden behind a horrible, jargonistic name: Quantitative & Qualitative Easing (QQE). Party time In […]

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Why don’t Japanese want more pay?

In most countries, people clamour for a pay rise. For example in Germany this week, eighty manufacturing companies have been hit by strikes as unions demand a six percent increase in pay and a cut in people’s working hours.   But in Japan, it seems, there is not such a big demand for more money […]

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Investment Boss is Betting on Japan Boom

One of the most influential women in international finance has announced that Japan will be at the forefront of her investment strategy this year. Sonja Laud, who is the head of equity investment at Fidelity International, says that Japan stands out as “a very attractive opportunity.” She says the main attraction is Japan’s recent return […]

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Britain pledges more defence support for Japan

Britain is offering unprecedented levels of military support to Japan in the wake of the growing threat from North Korea and tensions with China. The United Kingdom will send two warships, HMS Argyll and HMS Sutherland, to the Asia Pacific region in 2018 and will deploy British personnel to join military training on the Japanese […]

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Abe Craves Olympic Glory

“Don’t expect Shinzo Abe to try to change the constitution before the Olympic Games,” a senior Japanese government official told me privately this week. He explained that the Prime Minister’s long-cherished plan of removing the clause in the constitution which commits Japan to a form of pacifism would be put on hold until after the […]

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