JANUARY 2018 / INVESTING IN JAPAN
Imagine a scheme that boosts productivity, employee health and loyalty; costs just ¥200–¥300 a day; and is essentially tax free. Surely employers would jump at the chance to sign on the dotted line, particularly those in a country facing chronic personnel shortages and productivity levels that lag those of its OECD rivals. Edenred believes it has just such a solution for Japan in its Ticket Restaurant offering of lunch support for employees.
“going out to have a healthy meal is directly linked to employee satisfaction and productivity”
Also featured this month
JANUARY 2018 / THE INTERVIEW
In 1991, Slovenia became an independent country. Simona Leskovar, who is ambassador to Japan today, was part of the first generation of independent Slovenians attending university. After graduating from the international relations programme at the University of Ljubljana, she joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs — the first step to fulfilling her childhood dream of representing Slovenia around the world.
JANUARY 2018 / FEATURE
No doubt to the disappointment of many British children, Toys “R” Us announced at the end of 2017 the closure of a third of its stores in the UK, putting hundreds of jobs at risk. Earlier, the American retailer had filed for bankruptcy in the US and Canada, with industry observers citing its losing battle with online rivals such as Amazon.com.
JANUARY 2018 / EBC PERSONALITY
India’s festival of colour, Holi, is a vibrant celebration of good over evil, where people throw coloured powder and spray water at one another. With its origins in the Hindu legend of the god Vishnu defeating the demoness Holika, this national holiday is a time to forgive and forget, make new friends and welcome the arrival of spring.
JANUARY 2018 / COUNTRY SPOTLIGHT
The 1872 novel A Dog of Flanders, by English author Marie Louise de la Ramée, struck a chord with readers in Japan on its release, and is considered a children’s classic here. Set in Antwerp, Belgium, this tragic story of a boy and his dog was made into a popular anime series in 1975 and has also seen several Japanese film adaptations.
DECEMBER 2017 / INVESTING IN JAPAN
Get behind the wheel of a Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid and you’ll notice a small wheel within the steering wheel. Turn this driving-mode dial to Sport Plus and your seatbelt will automatically tighten, and the engine will growl when you give it gas. It’s as if this hybrid hatchback is daring you to question its sports car credentials.
DECEMBER 2017 / THE INTERVIEW
For nearly four years, His Excellency Dr Hans Carl von Werthern has been ambassador of Germany to Japan, working to strengthen political dialogue, economic cooperation and cultural exchange between the two like-minded nations. He spoke with Eurobiz Japan about new collaborations in high-tech between Germany and Japan, the importance of marching in this year’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade, and the best response to rising populism.
DECEMBER 2017 / FEATURE
One numeral. One letter. But combined, they stand for a revolution in wireless communication, lavishing smartphones with high-speed connections and changing the way we watch, listen and interact on the go. But fifth-generation mobile technology — or simply 5G — is about more than personal entertainment.
DECEMBER 2017 / BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT
King Arthur sought the Holy Grail; Captain Ahab the White Whale; and Dorothy the Wizard of Oz. German pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim is also on a quest, or, rather, a number of concurrent quests — to find unmet medical needs and develop effective treatments for them.
NOVEMBER 2017 / INVESTING IN JAPAN
At the turn of the millennium, then-president of Finnair Keijo Suila made a bold — and risky — decision to invest seriously in routes to Asia. It was a time when traffic from the continent only accounted for 6% of the airline’s revenue. But he believed there was great potential in the region and, in 2005, placed an order for 11 of the yet-to-be-built Airbus A350 aircraft — wide-body planes designed for long hauls. Suila’s sagacity has paid off.
NOVEMBER 2017 / THE INTERVIEW
On 6 December, Finns around the world will celebrate Finland’s 100th anniversary as an independent nation. Ambassador of Finland to Japan Jukka Siukosaari has been celebrating this historic occasion all year long. He spoke to Eurobiz Japan about some of the centenary events held in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Finland, and the embassy’s animated mascot, Fintan.
NOVEMBER 2017 / FEATURE
Would you offer your dinner guests some pungent cheese, a couple slices of dry-cured meat and a postprandial glass of blended brandy? Or, more likely, would you rather forego those prosaic descriptions and tantalise their tastebuds with the more appealing Roquefort, Parma ham and Armagnac?
NOVEMBER 2017 / EBC PERSONALITY
“In a way, business is all about pricing,” says Pawel Komender, founder of PJK Strategy and Marketing Specialists. “Companies need to manage their prices wisely to stay profitable.” The profit-maximising price for a product can be calculated mathematically. But price management is more than crunching numbers.
OCTOBER 2017 / INVESTING IN JAPAN
If you’ve ever wondered about the tools needed to bore through mountains, wonder no more. Atlas Copco, Sweden’s biggest industrial group, is currently using its hydraulic drilling rigs to help carve out the maglev line — a public train route that will use magnetic levitation technology — from Tokyo to Nagoya through the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture.
OCTOBER 2017 / THE INTERVIEW
Finland joined the EU in 1995, the same year Marjut Hannonen completed her post-graduate studies in EU law. The next year, she became one of Finland’s first EU officials and has spent her career at the European Commission, holding roles in three different Directorates-General (DGs), the longest stint being with DG Trade since 2002.
OCTOBER 2017 / FEATURE
If you want to get a glimpse of the future of transport in Tokyo, hop on one of the hydrogen buses at Tokyo Station. Not only do they let you enjoy the scenic route to Tokyo Big Sight — the capital’s premiere exhibition venue — these buses are helping make the city cleaner.
OCTOBER 2017 / EBC PERSONALITY
It’s estimated that by 2050 there will be more than 1.5 billion people over 65 years old on the planet. Today, in Japan — with its ongoing low birth rate — the issue of the ageing society is particularly pronounced. The over-50 segment already accounts for nearly 50% of the entire population, and the 65-plus age group for more than a quarter.
SEPTEMBER 2017 / INVESTING IN JAPAN
One man’s feast is another man’s famine. The shortage of qualified workers in many crucial fields in Japan is proving a challenge for companies across the board. With bilingual professionals in ever shorter supply, this is, however, proving a boon for professional recruitment experts as the battle for qualified candidates continues to heat up.
AUGUST 2017 / INVESTING IN JAPAN
The frozen, ready-to-bake bread and food group Aryzta can trace its history back to the final years of the 19th century, when the Irish Co-Operative Agricultural Agency Society was founded in 1897, renamed that December as the Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society. A century later, the group undertook a major international expansion through acquisitions in Europe and the US.
AUGUST 2017 / FEATURE
Japan’s love affair with high-end European bikes seems to be unquenchable. The market, once dominated by Italian steeds Colnago, Bianchi and Pinarello, expanded in the 1990s to include French offerings such as Time and Look, and has widened again to make room for German and Swiss brands.