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Back to basics

Self-improvement is one thing. Improving your company is another. But it’s something else entirely to try and improve the image of the industry you work in. Ash Elfadeli, CEO at JAC International, a subsidiary of JAC Recruitment, is aiming to do just this — and as with any lofty ambition, he’s making sure to get the small things right.

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Sustaining Swissness

After 10 years in academia, with a focus on international economic law and East Asia, Ivo Kaufmann decided to take up a post in the Swiss government. Since 1992, he has held several positions, mainly in trade and investment. Before coming to Tokyo, he served as deputy permanent representative to the World Trade Organization in Geneva for four years.

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Slurring their words

Producers, retailers and imbibers of alcoholic beverages are some of the biggest beneficiaries of the removal of tariffs since the EU–Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) came into force on 1 February. Yet while many are toasting the lower prices and higher exports, not everyone is fully satisfied.

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Zensho Agency

The guiding principle of Zensho Agency (www.zensho.agency) is freedom. It empowers and inspires people to achieve what matters most in life. The firm’s commitment to excellence makes it an ambassador for change.

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A very special environment

When you think of a boarding school, what comes to mind might be ancient dining halls, subdued uniforms and old-fashioned educational methods. But these are just the Hogwarts-influenced stereotypes. A boarding school and its staff provide the structure and fulltime support that can be the making of a profoundly successful child.

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La dolce vita

La dolce vita — or the good life, in Italian — is a life of beauty and enjoyment, often characterised by indulgence in culture, cuisine and clothing. But, according to Pontus Häggström, president and CEO of FCA Japan Ltd., and Tiziana Alamprese, the firm’s marketing director, the Italian joy of living isn’t found only in cinemas or restaurants — it can also be found in your car.

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Far more than fashion

For 20 years, Enrico Vattani has been serving Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During his career, Vattani has worked in Rome in the Press Department, on online promotion and communications, and in the Cultural Promotion Department, dealing with the 90 cultural institutes Italy has around the world and, later, focusing on contemporary art.

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Tidying up space

Houston, we have a problem. From epoch-making human exploration to the launch of weather and telecommunications satellites, our growing presence beyond Earth’s atmosphere has generated a troublesome byproduct: space junk floating around in orbit that poses a risk to spacecraft and astronauts.

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Edenred Japan

Money is not the only motivator. There are also good meals. Edenred Japan offers to boost both employee loyalty and productivity by providing businesses with lunch payment solutions for workers, which they can use at participating eateries and convenience stores, a service called Ticket Restaurant.

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Protecting prosperity

As the EU’s commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmström lives to strengthen connections and increase prosperity. She oversaw negotiations on the EU–Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the world’s biggest and most comprehensive trade pact, which came into force on 1 February.

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Dancing to a new tune

For more than a decade, it looked like pirates might sink the music industry. After annual physical album sales peaked in 1999 at $25.2 billion globally, the rampant spread of online piracy nearly halved the industry’s revenue, bringing it down to $14.3 billion in 2014.

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Flying high

Austria and Japan established diplomatic ties in 1869 with the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, and this year marks 150 years of close bilateral relations.

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Club 360

As Tokyo’s premier health and fitness centre, Club 360 is your one-stop-shop for personal training, boxing, physiotherapy, osteopathy, sports massage and group fitness classes. 

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Time flies

Sporting IWC timepieces at the annual tradeshow were celebrities such as Bradley Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Dev Patel, James Marsden and Ryohei Suzuki. They were there to promote a new line of 14 IWC Pilot’s Watches, including seven revamped Spitfire watches that are meant to evoke the overall aesthetics, as well as the cockpit design, of the storied British aircraft.

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Off and running

Sports fans around the world are getting excited about the major sporting events set to take place in Japan this year and next: the Rugby World Cup will be held this autumn and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics next July, August and September. British Ambassador to Japan Paul Madden spoke with Eurobiz Japan about the importance of these events to the UK and the new opportunities they will bring.

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Looking beyond Brexit

Many business operators in Japan have a stake in the continuation of a smooth trading relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, but as the UK draws closer to its scheduled departure from the EU at the end of this month, firms are still struggling to assess the potential impact of Brexit on trading conditions and their supply chains.

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MEES International School

Euft van den Berg, from the Netherlands, founded MEES International School as a place where children can be children.

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The driving force

America may be a republic, but there the customer is king; Japan’s emperor may not be divine, but here the customer is God — wherever you go, businesses stress the absolute primacy of the customer. But as firms the world over compete for those same kings and gods …

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Flying the flag in Japan

After working as a lawyer at an international law firm in Brussels from 2002 to 2012, Brent Van Tassel joined Belgium’s foreign service. His first posting was to Burundi, a former colony, as consul of Belgium. Since 2016, he has been serving as first secretary …

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Protecting our oceans

A slew of horrifying statistics — and a video of a turtle with a straw stuck in its nose — have helped raise awareness of the danger posed by disposable plastic over the past few years. Some 275 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced annually around the globe …

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TÜV SÜD

TÜV SÜD (www.tuvsud.com) is a trusted partner for safety, security and sustainability solutions. The 150-year old organisation, with over 24,000 employees across 1,000 locations, handles a range of testing, certification, auditing and advisory services.

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Going long on health

Japan has long led the world in life expectancy, fuelled by a diet abundant in healthy food and drinks, such as miso, natto and green tea. But Europe is climbing the longevity ladder, with Spain now expected to capture the seniors’ title by 2040.

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The growth expert

After Cecilia Öberg Leiram started her career as a trainee at the Swedish telecom giant Ericsson, she came to Tokyo with the Swedish Science & Technology Office. There, she covered technical developments and advances in Japan’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector …

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Presidential refinement

If you’ve ever wanted to have a truly presidential experience, try driving a DS, the official car of France’s President Emmanuel Macron, as well as several of its past presidents, including Charles de Gaulle. First introduced in 1955, the DS was an immediate, popular success …

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Vanguard Lawyers Tokyo

Vanguard Lawyers Tokyo, founded in 2017, is a boutique law firm that specialises in advising international clients on disputes and investigations, employment issues, regulatory matters and corporate matters in Japan.

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Kienbaum Japan / K.J. Consultants K.K.

Kienbaum is one of Europe’s leading executive search firms, operating on the belief that human capital is the decisive factor for success when faced with global competition. “Our comprehensive consultation approach ensures that, together with our clients …

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Gems among the concrete

As you look out across the Tokyo megalopolis from the viewing platform of any skyscraper, open-mouthed wonder at the city’s sheer scale all too often gives way to sadness when you realise that the buildings within this cityscape, laid bare below …

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A catalyst for greater cooperation

Born in Tokyo, Georg Löer moved to Bonn — in the German state of North Rhine–Westphalia (NRW) — at the age of five. In 1974, a visit to Japan rekindled his interest in the country, so he decided to study at the International Christian University …

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Designing a revolution

Legend has it that Sunomata Castle in Gifu Prefecture was built in only one night, by soldiers during a siege. It’s said they used pre-built castle parts and fit them together under cover of darkness. While the account of such swift construction is an exaggeration …

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Leschaco Japan

“Leschaco [www.leschaco.com] is a global logistics service provider that combines Hanseatic tradition with cosmopolitanism and a spirit of innovation,” says Hans Werner Burg, representative director of Leschaco Japan.

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Marco Zoli

Picture a sunny, cloudless day at the beach with a steady breeze blowing along the shore and waves rolling across the water. These are the ideal conditions for kiteboarding, a water sport in which you are harnessed to a kite and pulled along on a small surfboard by the wind.

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Big ambitions

It has taken a while to get used to the idea that Japan — long considered an expensive destination only for the truly adventurous traveller — is now a global tourism hotspot.
The evidence is impossible to ignore: the fleets of coaches depositing parties of travellers …

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Changing with the times

“The times change, and we change with them.” While the truth of this proverb is evident, Japan can sometimes seem determined to stay the same. Even as the government promotes the idea of an “ageless society” — in which workers are encouraged not to retire at 60 …

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A third way

The impetus for Japanese companies to expand operations overseas continues to strengthen in light of the grim long-term prospects for domestic growth — despite the current relative boom times. And while projects abroad are nothing new …

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Turning good feelings into good business

For the past year, Pekka Laitinen has served as commercial counsellor at the Embassy of Finland. He first came to Japan in 1987 as a representative of a Finnish bank and has lived here for a total of 20 years. His career in banking has also taken him to the Netherlands and Russia.

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ECN Hospitality

ECN Hospitality — which has had success in Tokyo with TWO ROOMS GRILL|BAR and Ruby Jack’s Steakhouse & Bar — recently opened SEPTIÈME Brasserie & Bar in Nihombashi.

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Closing the gap

While we know we could probably eat better, drink less and exercise more, many of us go on happily believing that we’re actually quite healthy. Or, perhaps, we look at the cost of health food or gym memberships and think that they’re too expensive …

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Trotec Laser Japan Co. Ltd.

Founded in Italy in 1978, JAS Forwarding today operates in more than 80 countries, delivering integrated logistics and consulting services to maximise supply chain efficiencies for clients in all industries.

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Part of a new tradition

A career diplomat specialising in policy, Estonian Ambassador to Japan Jaak Lensment has been a witness to the development and modernisation of Estonia over the past 25 years. He has had postings in Russia, the Netherlands and Austria …

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Free-flowing

Not all that long ago, finding a decent, reasonably priced bottle of wine in Japan was something of a challenge. Restaurants aside, the limited choice generally ranged from expensive labels in department store basements or cheap …

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Total transformation

At 237 years old, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company is leaner and more agile than ever before, with sharper vision, clearer values and a more modern mindset. Japan’s largest pharmaceutical firm has even recently had a complete makeover …

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It’s official

History was made in Tokyo on 17 July. At the 25th EU–Japan Summit, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, for the long-awaited signing of the EU–Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

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Better bionics

Technology for people with missing or non-functioning limbs has come a long way since the earliest known prosthetic: a big toe discovered on the mummified body of an Egyptian noblewoman estimated to be 3,000 years old.

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JAS Forwarding Japan

Founded in Italy in 1978, JAS Forwarding today operates in more than 80 countries, delivering integrated logistics and consulting services to maximise supply chain efficiencies for clients in all industries.

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In the pilot’s seat

“When I was a teenager, we had a ranch, and the only way we could get there was by single-engine plane,” explains Juan Rabanal, founder and CEO of fashion management consultancy Numero One. “The pilot would teach me …

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A role model

I believe in the saying, “A life lived for others is the only life worth living”. I want to do everything I can to help those around me, to see that many people are happy, and so I’ve worked. To me, work is a means of meeting many people …

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Apex K.K. Executive Search

Apex K.K. (www.apexkk.com) is an executive search firm specialising in the recruitment of bilingual professionals from mid- to senior-level management positions. “Often in our market-driven culture, companies focus on the products …

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Spain in his veins

There is a tradition of public service in Spanish Ambassador to Japan Gonzalo de Benito’s family. His father and grandfather were in the military, and his three daughters are all public servants. Ambassador de Benito has served his country …

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Toward a clinical utopia

There must be many urban residents of Japan who have arrived at a clinic or hospital and — recalling the crowded waiting areas, treatment rooms lacking privacy and consultations that seem to be over before they have even begun …

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Four decades of diplomacy

After serving for nearly four years as the European Union’s Ambassador to Japan, Viorel Isticioaia-Budura will be returning to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest, Romania, and will report for work on 1 September …

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Sales master

Most people reach an age, goal or position in life where they feel they’ve achieved enough and can ease up a little and enjoy the fruits of their labour. But despite being at an age where many choose to retire …

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A smart day in the life

Imagine waking up in a world where everything is done for you, from chores to food preparation, all at the touch of a button or a spoken command. It may sound like something out of The Jetsons …

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Emphasising quality

After nearly a year in Japan, Ambassador Giorgio Starace has settled confidently into his role, enthusiastically supporting the efforts of Italian businesses here, working to strengthen political cooperation, and promoting Italian culture.

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R&M Japan

R&M has been developing and producing cabling solutions, such as fiber optics, since 1964. “We are a leading global producer of future-proof products and systems for high-end communication and data networks” …

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Better than business as usual

Since 1999, senior executives from businesses in Japan and the EU have met annually to discuss ways of encouraging greater trade and investment. The forum, called the EU–Japan Business Round Table (BRT), boasts leaders from nearly 50 well-established multinationals …

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Turning words into actions

After nearly a year in Japan, Ambassador Giorgio Starace has settled confidently into his role, enthusiastically supporting the efforts of Italian businesses here, working to strengthen political cooperation, and promoting Italian culture.

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A fertile business

European firms are helping Japan make more babies. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a country running short of children has one of the world’s busiest fertility hospitals. The Kato Ladies Clinic in Shinjuku, central Tokyo …

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A diverse community

On 23 May 1928, a group of 51 American businessmen founded Tokyo American Club (TAC) as an exclusive place for expatriate Americans to gather. However, over the past 90 years, the club has undergone several transformations, occupying six buildings in different locations around Tokyo.

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Heineken Kirin K.K.

Heineken has been a proud sponsor of the Rugby World Cup (RWC) since 1995. “Rugby, like Heineken, is enjoyed all over the world,” says Martijn van Keulen, general manager of Heineken Kirin K.K.

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Taking more ground

After nearly a year in Japan, Ambassador Giorgio Starace has settled confidently into his role, enthusiastically supporting the efforts of Italian businesses here, working to strengthen political cooperation, and promoting Italian culture.

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The mission to change the world by 2030

There’s a colourful, boxy graphic making the rounds on the internet these days; it looks like a calendar or the periodic table of elements, but with simple icons. The boxes are a representation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) …

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An emerging champion

The dangers that businesses are exposed to today are more considerable and diverse than ever before. One example is the threat of large-scale, organised cybertheft, brought about by the exponential growth of the digital economy …

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Antoine Bourgeois

The great blues, jazz and rock guitarists, such as Albert King, Wes Montgomery and Prince, make their instruments sing — and make it look effortless. When he was in his teens, Antoine Bourgeois, today president of Clarins Japan, wanted to know what made these musicians’ songs so good.

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The future of driving

As we embrace the age of artificial intelligence, the relationship between cars and their owners is undergoing arguably the biggest transformation since the invention of the internal combustion engine.

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Looking at the horizon

Since he was a boy growing up in Thessaloniki, Greece, Leonidas Karapiperis has been fascinated by science. He studied mathematical physics at the University of Sussex, and then did his PhD in microelectronics at Cornell University.

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A positive outlook

For years, Japan has been accused of not changing fast enough. Many bemoan factors such as the nation’s shrinking population, its outdated patriarchal business world and the sluggish economy.

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Moving to a new level

On 11 November 1868, Japan and Sweden signed a Treaty of Friendship, Navigation and Commerce, just two and a half weeks after the official start of the Meiji period. This year marks 150 years of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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Leif Nilsson

In northern Sweden, there is a small town called Lycksele that is frequently treated to the dazzling light shows of the Aurora Borealis. Leif Nilsson, general manager for Asia–Pacific at Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) …

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Winds of change

Japan’s wind power industry is getting ready to soar. International and domestic players are introducing new technology and investing in a greater deployment of wind energy. Now it is up to the Japanese government to …

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Unleashing potential

Competition is heating up for a limited talent pool of bilingual professionals to staff a booming corporate Japan. In this climate, two businesses — the bilingual arms of Japanese recruitment giant Recruit Group — serving the sector are undergoing a rebranding.

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Belgium and Luxembourg

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 …

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Bon appétit

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 …

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A labour of love

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 …

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The omnichannel experience

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 …

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Joaquin Martori

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 …

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On a quest to meet unmet needs

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 …

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An advocate of diversity

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.

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Pole position

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.

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First to 5G

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.

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Pawel Komender

“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.”

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The genuine article

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 …

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Doing diplomacy differently

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.

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The gateway to Europe

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.

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A new path

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 …

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The tools of the trade

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 …

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Building a hydrogen society

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 …

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Florian Kohlbacher

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.

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Fixing Japan’s talent mismatch

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 …

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A space oddity

In October 2018, an Ariane rocket will blast off from Kourou, French Guiana, taking space exploration into an unknown world, and Japanese-European cooperation into a new era.

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Learning to pilot as he flies

Having won a scholarship to study political science in Bulgaria from 1995 to 1999, Leon Malazogu, today Kosovo’s ambassador to Japan, was safe during most of the Kosovo War.

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Lighting the way

The gender equality statistics for Japan are not encouraging. The country ranked 111th globally in the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Gender Gap Report. While Japan’s female workforce participation rate is now above the OECD average …

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Peter Kronschnabl

“Without change, we would never achieve anything,” says Peter Kronschnabl, CEO of BMW Group Japan. “Maintaining the present will always lead, at a certain point in time, to mediocrity.”

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The negotiator

Mauro Petriccione speaks with the voice and authority of the European Union, and represents the collective interests of its member states during trade negotiations. He is chief negotiator for …

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Rising to the top

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 …

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Ahead of the pack

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 …

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Creators of convivialité

“We consider ourselves to be creators of conviviality, in French créateurs de convivialité; it is our overarching reason for being,” says Tim Paech, president and CEO of Pernod Ricard Japan …

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Raising Ireland’s profile in Japan

This is a year of celebration for Ireland in Japan — 2017 marks 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and it is the 25th anniversary of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Tokyo.

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Speed wins

The Luddites who outraged British industry in the early 19th century, smashing Jacquard looms in a bid to protect jobs and workers’ rights, would be horrified at the ubiquity of labour-saving machines today.

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A big moment

The exchange of two daruma dolls by EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida on 5 July marked the announcement of an agreement in principle on the Japan–EU …

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An ally of the LGBT community

The mayor of Tokyo’s Shibuya ward, Ken Hasebe, is responsible for introducing to his district the partnership certificate, a non-legally binding marriage certificate for same-sex couples.

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Broker of peace, champion of prosperity

Throughout his 32-year career in the foreign service, Ambassador Giorgio Starace has had postings on almost every continent. In addition to working at embassies in Guatemala and Beijing, he has served as diplomatic advisor …

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Focused on innovation

In April, German-headquartered global pharma firm Boehringer Ingelheim reported worldwide sales growth for 2016 of 7.3% to €15.9 billion, and a jump in operating income to €2.9 billion. This success was driven in no small part by …

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The virtuous cycle is stuck

Last month brought a rare piece of good news for Japan’s 65 million workers: their wages had risen by 0.4% in real terms in 2016, the first year-on-year increase in six years, according to government data.

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Exquisite and powerful

I’m driving down Shinjuku-dori and tapping the accelerator very gingerly. There’s a 410-horsepower Ferrari engine under my foot and it growls at the slightest touch, like a beast ready to pounce.

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Saachi Partners

Saachi Partners is the fresh new face in the talent search industry in Japan. However, its founders are anything but. Mithun Soni and Ryoko Kamo have each been at the forefront of the financial services and healthcare markets for over a decade.

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Constancy and change

The predecessor to today’s The Capitol Hotel Tokyu, the Tokyo Hilton, was home to The Beatles in 1966, during their only trip to Japan to play a series of concerts at the Nippon Budokan. The Hilton had opened in 1963 …

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Pierre-Antoine Guillon

“I read novels by Japanese authors when I was a teenager,” says Pierre-Antoine Guillon, Japan representative and Asia Pacific sales manager at Kerneos. “The atmosphere and the themes in them were quite different from what I read in French novels.”

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Not cutting the mustard

As the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics approaches, Japan is working to bring its often unique sets of regulations — in a wide range of fields — more in line with international standards. One area receiving particular attention is food safety.

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Mining the flexible economy

It may not be as immediately recognisable as Walmart or McDonalds but The Adecco Group is the planet’s third-largest employer after those two American behemoths. The Zurich-based staffing company manages 1.3 million workers …

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Ship Shape

If you drive a foreign car, chances are that venerable Scandinavian firm Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics helped bring it to you. Not so long ago, there weren’t any foreign cars on Japan’s roads. For decades, the Europeans, too, drove mostly European vehicles.

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The royal advantage

This year, Luxembourg Ambassador to Japan Béatrice Kirsch celebrates 25 years working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She started her career representing Luxembourg at the United Nations in New York …

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Holding to her convictions

Since taking office in July 2016, Tokyo’s first female governor, Yuriko Koike, has proved herself to be a politician committed to doing what’s best for the citizens of her city. She has postponed the move of Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market …

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Safety in numbers?

The issue of personal data protection has been gaining increasing attention as ever greater chunks of our lives are recorded, and conducted, on the internet. Networks belonging to government pension systems, e-mail servers …

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Litigate or arbitrate?

It all seems a long time ago. In 2011, Michael Woodford, the first non-Japanese president and CEO of Olympus, triggered a scandal that eventually revealed a $1.7 billion accounting hole at the company. The revelation toppled Olympus’s top executives …

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Touting transformation through tech and trees

Finland joined the European Union, together with Austria and Sweden, on Sunday, January 1st, 1995, and the day after, on Monday at 9:00, Jukka Siukosaari reported for his first day at Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Luigi Colantuoni

Lourdes, in the foothills of the Pyrenees in southwest France, is a small town of just 15,000 people, but it draws six million visitors annually. Since the mid-19th century — when a girl named Bernadette Soubirous saw numerous …

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Secure through the storms

At a time when many people feel that the world is once again entering a period of considerable instability due to unexpected political shifts, and increasingly rapid changes in the technology and business landscapes, financial security is more important than ever.

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The noble viking

As a philosophy student at the University of Edinburgh, Keita Koido was deeply impressed by the writings of British philosopher Peter Winch. In his essay “Understanding a primitive society”, Winch observes that if you want to …

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Japan’s pollen problem

Get your masks and protective glasses ready — hay fever season is about to hit again. Spring is not a happy time of year for the over 30 million people in Japan who have been diagnosed as having cedar pollen allergies.

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The matchmaker

As an ambassador for the happiest country in the world, Denmark, His Excellency Freddy Svane infuses all of his work with good humour and unflagging energy. He was posted to Brussels in the 1980s where he negotiated treaties …

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What now for the TPP?

To the dismay of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and other leaders of Asia–Pacific countries, US President Donald Trump has taken his country out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The new American president has …

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International law, samurai spirit

A full-service independent business law firm, Okuno & Partners has a history that dates back more than 90 years. It aims to uphold the samurai-inspired principles of its founder, even as it moves to internationalise its operations.

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Bucking globalisation

Friday 9 December should have been a day of quiet satisfaction for Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe. After months of acrimonious debate, the House of Representatives ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) …

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Presenting and representing a nation

For most of his career, Austrian Ambassador to Japan Dr Hubert Heiss has had Europe on his mind. He was assistant to the chief negotiator when Austria was discussing terms for its entry into the European Union …

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Skill-set specialists

Nothing is more important for success in business than finding people with the right skill set and cultural fit to help a company prosper and grow. And today’s increasingly rapid pace of technological change and globalisation …

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The hybrid recruiting-consulting firm

The challenges Japanese companies face today in recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce are well-documented and are set to become even greater in the coming decades — given the country’s demographics …

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Trump’s triumph threatens Asia

Donald J Trump stunned opinion polls, the US establishment and media — as well as his Democratic opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton — in winning a crushing victory to be the 45th president of the United States from 20 January, 2017.

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A unique position

Since starting his career in the early 1980s at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, Netherlands Ambassador to Japan Aart Jacobi has had postings to the US and Spain, and served as ambassador to the South American …

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Smooth ride

Despite the shrinking domestic automobile market in Japan — which is widely-perceived as having considerable import barriers for foreign cars, and particularly US vehicles — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has been …

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Helping people be happier

“As my therapist was saying to me…” is not a refrain often heard in the restaurants and izakayas of Tokyo. But all that is about to change if Dr Tyson A Furr and his team at Herald Square Psychology have their way.

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Promoting strong global relationships

Swiss Ambassador to Japan Jean-François Paroz only arrived in Tokyo in September, but his career with Switzerland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spans nearly 30 years. In the four years before coming to Japan, he was Ambassador …

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The WAA factor

The lofty goal of Unilever Japan’s new WAA (Work from Anywhere and Anytime) super-flexitime system is nothing less than to change the way Japan works, according to the company’s human resources director Yuka Shimada.

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The sky’s the limit for biometrics

Science fiction films are often a template for emerging technology. The 2002 thriller Minority Report has a memorable scene in which Tom Cruise’s character undergoes an instant retinal scan as he walks into a Gap store …

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Centred on people

Founded in 1885 in Ingelheim, a small town on the Rhine River where it remains headquartered, family-owned pharma company Boehringer Ingelheim now has more than 47,000 employees at 145 affiliates around the globe.

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Universal basic income

Imagine if every citizen, regardless of age or employment status, received a modest, yet guaranteed, income from the state — no strings attached. It sounds like a pipedream, but universal basic income is becoming a reality …

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At the pinnacle of a rewarding career

German Ambassador to Japan Dr Hans Carl von Werthern has had a fruitful and rewarding 32-year career with posts to countries such as Paraguay, Belgium, Vietnam, the United Kingdom and China.

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Manoeuvring through uncertainty

The Tokyo offices of Morrison & Foerster (MoFo), one of the world’s leading international law firms, is busy helping Japanese clients prepare for the potential implications of Brexit on their business operations …

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Celebrating two cultures

An avid reader of history and a collector of antique books, Italian Ambassador to Japan Domenico Giorgi has spent his career in the foreign service in places such as Beijing, Geneva and Brussels.

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In capable hands

It is said that in Tokyo you are never more than a few hundred metres from an automated external defibrillator, or AED. The device is now a familiar sight at railways stations, hotels, government buildings, police boxes and …

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State of the art

Marking its 35th year of operations in Japan — as its parent company celebrates its 100th anniversary worldwide — BMW Group Japan is enjoying double-digit sales growth, even as the domestic auto market shrinks.

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Business support from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Two years ago, neither of them had a company in Tokyo, but today both Saburo Takahashi, Managing Director at Rhino-Powa Japan Co., Ltd., and Allan Watanabe, Managing Director of PIPELINE Japan, are running successful, thriving businesses here.

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Fernando Iglesias

“Uruguay is a unique country,” says Fernando Iglesias, president of Clestra Hauserman Japan. “It’s one of the smallest in South America. The population is only 3.4 million — some neighbourhoods in Tokyo have more people than that.”

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Omotenashi for the surging number of tourists to Japan

Japan was somewhat of a late-starter when it came to marketing itself as a tourist destination. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, when countries like Indonesia and Thailand were beginning to milk the tourist dollar for all it was worth …

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Representing a small nation’s unparalleled expertise

In 1986, shortly after Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev held their historic meeting in Reykjavik, Ambassador Hannes Heimisson joined the Icelandic foreign service. He has worked in Paris, Stockholm …

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Leader, mentor, inspiration

Lady Barbara Judge has had a singular career, blazing the trail for women into the highest positions in business, and encouraging them to follow. Her extensive list of former and current titles — including commissioner …

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Frank Bignone

France is known for its rich food, historic landmarks, and influential culture; but the country is not so well known for its karate dojos or its Muay Thai boxing gyms. For Airbus Japan’s Frank Bignone, originally from Nice …

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Getting ready for work

The intricacies of Japanese society and culture can sometimes feel like impenetrable riddles. However, some things are easier to understand and are, quite literally, closer to the surface. It’s no secret that Japanese women …

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An untraditional career

French Ambassador to Japan Thierry Dana describes his career in the foreign service as being both traditional and untraditional. The traditional part includes diplomatic postings to places such as New York, Algeria and Hong Kong …

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At the centre of it all

Central Tokyo is changing. Leading up to 2020, the Toranomon area — a short distance from Tokyo station, Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace — will have been extensively redeveloped with a new subway station …

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Breaking out of the old system

Intelligence Global Search (IGS), a division of one of the largest recruiting companies in Japan, Intelligence, Ltd., has fostered a culture of diversity since it began. Aiko Tokuhisa, senior manager of talent management; Eiko Kishida …

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Appreciation and not comparison

This year, Ambassador Magnus Robach celebrates 40 years with the Swedish foreign service. His career has taken him all over the world, with postings in places such as Paris, Brussels, Cairo and Brasilia. He sat down with Eurobiz Japan …

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Better courts for better protection

“Japan remains a key and highly regarded intellectual property [IP] jurisdiction worldwide that IP lawyers and practitioners watch very closely. It also remains a driver of legal development in the IP field,” says Richard Bird …

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Jean-Louis Moraud

Although half of Jean-Louis Moraud’s 40-year career at the electrical systems company Thales has been spent away from home — he has lived in Germany, Canada, South Africa, Taiwan and, now, Japan — “my heart is still in the south of France,” he confesses.

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Open markets, stronger economies

“If we can work together effectively on the basis of open markets, our economies will gain, our businesses will gain, and our consumers will gain,” insisted EU Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska in her speech at the EU-Japan …

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The Pebble Beach of Japan

“We think of Pebble Beach as our competitor,” says Hiromichi Murai, general manager at the Kawana Hotel in Izu. That’s California’s Pebble Beach on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Not many courses would have the audacity …

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A leap in the dark

With Japan’s demographic time bomb ticking, how will the government fund millions of retirements? And how will its pension reforms affect Europe? Until recently, the office of the planet’s biggest public pension pot …

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Johanna Honeyfield

Just before moving to Japan from Singapore in 2013 to take up the position of Representative Director for Diageo Japan, Johanna Honeyfield was asked to go in for a routine medical check-up. When one of the tests came back …

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Yoshitaka Sonoda

Founded in March 1998, Sonoda & Kobayashi Intellectual Property Law offers reliable legal services to clients around the world. The firm has assembled an international staff of 80 people from eight countries who strive …

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Work Perks

Although salary may still be the first thing job seekers look at when scanning potential positions, perks and benefits are being increasingly recognised as crucial ways for companies to attract and retain staff …

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Karl Hahne

“I need to accomplish new things all the time, so my life is a continuous trial and error,” says Karl Hahne, president and representative director of Häfele Japan. “I cannot sit still. I need to find new stuff [to do]. …

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Richard Collasse

At 17, Richard Collasse came to Japan knowing very little about the country, except that he wanted to buy a Nikon camera. Now, after having lived here for over 40 years, 20 of them as president of Chanel Japan …

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