Changing Japanese management – a talk on 6 October 2016 at the Embassy of Sweden

Gerhard Fasol: Changing Japanese management – a talk on 6 October 2016 at the Embassy of Sweden Gerhard Fasol "Corporate governance reforms in Japan" Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016 Corporate governance reforms in Japan

Corporate governance reforms in Japan

Changing the way Japanese corporations are managed: Can it make Japanese iconic corporations great again?

A talk by Gerhard Fasol at the Embassy of Sweden organized by the Embassy of Sweden, The Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Japan (SCCJ), and the Stockholm School of Economics

You need to know more details about corporate governance reforms in Japan?

Corporate governance reforms in Japan – practical views

Abstract: Changing the way Japanese corporations are managed

The Executive Management Board and the Supervisory Board are normally independent and composed of different people – except in Japan. In Japan traditionally Executive Management Board and the Supervisory Board are one and the same, ie the Executives of traditional Japanese companies supervise themselves – no surprise that the CEO seldom fires himself!

It is obvious that such self-supervision has big disadvantages, and may be one of the major reasons for Japan’s weak economic growth, and several recent corporate scandals. Companies in basically all other countries are managed by an Executive Management Board, which is supervised by a Supervisory Board, which approves or vetoes all major decisions of the company, and evaluates the performance of the Executive Manager, including the Chief Executive/CEO, and if necessary fires executives including the CEO, and selects and approves the new CEO.

To remedy this problem with the governance of Japanese corporations, Japan’s Government, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and the Financial Services Agency have been changing the rules to improve the supervision of Japanese companies.

Speaker profile

Dr. Gerhard Fasol is one of a microscopic number of foreigners who is an independent Director on the Management and Supervisory Board, and also a Member of the Audit Board of a stock market listed Japanese corporation, and he will talk from several years of first-hand experience of how Japanese companies are supervised, which changes are on the way, and which further improvements are necessary to improve the management and supervision of Japanese corporations.

Date: Thursday October 6th, 2016, 18:30

Place: Alfred Nobel Auditorium, Embassy of Sweden, 10-3-400 Roppongi 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032

Details and registration

Further details here.

To register please contact the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

Gerhard Fasol "Corporate governance reforms in Japan" Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016
Gerhard Fasol “Corporate governance reforms in Japan” Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016
Gerhard Fasol "Corporate governance reforms in Japan" Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016
Gerhard Fasol “Corporate governance reforms in Japan” Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016
Gerhard Fasol "Corporate governance reforms in Japan" Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016
Gerhard Fasol “Corporate governance reforms in Japan” Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016
Gerhard Fasol "Corporate governance reforms in Japan" Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016
Gerhard Fasol “Corporate governance reforms in Japan” Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016
Gerhard Fasol "Corporate governance reforms in Japan" Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016
Gerhard Fasol “Corporate governance reforms in Japan” Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016
Gerhard Fasol "Corporate governance reforms in Japan" Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016
Gerhard Fasol “Corporate governance reforms in Japan” Embassy of Sweden on 6 October 2016

Copyright·©2016 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

SoftBank acquires ARM Holdings plc: paradigm shift to internet of things (IoT)

eurotechnology softbank

On 18 July 2016 SoftBank announced to acquire ARM Holdings plc for £17 per share, corresponding to £24.0 billion (US$ 31.4 billion)

SoftBank acquires ARM: acquisition completed on 5 September 2016, following 10 years of “unreciprocated love” for ARM

On 18 July 2016 SoftBank announced a “Strategic Agreement”, that SoftBank plans to acquire ARM Holdings plc for £24.0 billion (US$ 31.4 billion, ¥ 3.3 trillion) paid as follows:

  • Cash on Hand: £16.7 billion (US$ 12.5 billion, ¥ 2.3 trillion)
  • Loans: £7.3 billion (US$ 9.5 billion, ¥ 1.0 trillion)
  • Total: £24.0 billion (US$ 31.4 billion, ¥ 3.3 trillion)

(excluding 20.4 million shares (1.4%) that SoftBank already owned on 18 July 2016).

Acquisition schedule:

  • 18 July 2016: Strategic agreement between SoftBank and ARM announced by SoftBank
  • 5 September 2016: effective date of Scheme of acquisition
  • 6 September 2016: ARM delisted, cancellation of listing of ARM shares
  • 12 September 2016: cancellation of listing of ARM US Depositary shares (ADS)

Straight line from SoftBank’s acquisition of Vodafone-Japan to acquisition of ARM

In a detailed interview in Nikkei on 3 September 2016, Masayoshi son explained that he was interested in ARM ever since about 1906, when saw the paradigm shift from PC to mobile, when he discussed his designs for mobile internet handsets with Steve Jobs, and when he acquired Vodafone-Japan (see: Why did Vodafone fail in Japan? … and miss an opportunity of US$ 83 billion).

SoftBank’s acquisition of Vodafone Japan is explained here: Softbank acquires Vodafone Japan with co-investment from Yahoo KK

SoftBank’s acquisition of Vodafone Japan – in combination with having developed YAHOO-Japan into the leading internet service company in Japan – enabled SoftBank to become a key global player in mobile communications.

Masayoshi Son: unreciprocated love for ARM for 10 years

In the Nikkei interview of 3 September 2016, Masayoshi Son explains that he had an “one-sided / unreciprocated love for ARM” for at least 10 years, but decided to acquire SPRINT first. After acquiring SPRINT he had to pay down debt before being able to acquire ARM now.

ARM Holdings plc

ARM was founded on 27 November 1990 as Advanced RISC Machines, however the abbreviation ARM was first used in 1983 and initially meant “Acorn RISC Machines”.

Acorn Computers Ltd was founded in 1978 in Cambridge (UK) by Hermann Hauser and Chris Curry to produce computers, and its most famous product was the BBC Micro Computer.

ARM has built an ecosystem of IC design systems and platforms which are at the core of low energy consumption ICs and CPUs for smartphones and many other electronic devices and cars. ARM may become or already is one of the core technology companies for the Internet of Things (IoT).

SoftBank’s ARM Business Department’s name changed to “New Business Department”

On 3 September 2016 SoftBank announced that the name of SoftBank’s ARM Business Department has been changed to SoftBank New Business Department.

Preview – SoftBank today and 300 year vision report:

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Pokemon Go – everybody loves Pikachu…

Pokemon Go is great – but will it bring another Nintendo boom as in 2009? or even exceed 2009?

Pokemon Go is great – but will it bring another Nintendo boom as in 2009? or even exceed 2009?

Google spin-out Niantic Labs’ augmented reality smartphone game booms to the top of charts

Niantic Labs is specialized on augmented reality games. In a previous game, Ingress, players selected about 15 million memorable locations globally. Niantic picked about 5 million of these crowd source generated locations, placed characters out of 740 Pokémon characters at such Pokéstops. Using smartphones, GPS, cameras and their avatars, players hunt Pokémon characters placed at Pokéstops, bring them to arenas/gyms and let their Pokémon characters fight for arenas/gyms. Thats just the beginning, and we can imagine many ways to expand this basic game structure, for example Pokéstops and Gyms sponsored by stores or corporations.

Overcoming Galapagos

Pokémon Go’s success is also significant, because the fundamentally Japanese Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are overcoming the Japan-Only Galapagos Syndrome by cooperating with Google and San Francisco based Google spin-out Niantic.

At the same time, Pokémon Go is also an indication of the power Nintendo can achieve in the smart phone sector. Will Nintendo dethrone current smart phone game kings Mixi and Gung-Ho in Japan?

Everybody loves Pikachu… No. 25 of currently 740 Pokémon characters

For the open day at my older son’s high school, kids made posters introducing their country: the highest mountain, the most characteristic flower, and the most famous person.

One Japanese student writes: “The Prime Minister is the most famous person in Japan, because he decides everything”.

Another Japanese student writes: “Pikachu is Japan’s most famous person, because everybody loves Pikachu”. Which of the two Japanese students knows more about his own country?

Pikachu is No. 25 of currently 740 Pokémon characters, and represents electricity with his zig-zag lightening bolt tail, and bright yellow color.

Pokémon character developer The Pokémon Company estimates the global market for Pokémon characters to be US$ 48 billion.

Nintendo market cap increases from US$ 20.3 billion to US$ 31.5 billion from 6 to 13 July, 2016

Nintendo shares rise from ¥14,055 in the morning of July 6, 2016 to ¥21,830 at close on July 13, 2016

Nintendo market cap rises from ¥ 2.56 trillion (US$ 20.3 billion) in the morning of July 6, 2016 to ¥ 3.09 trillion (US$ 31.5 billion) at close on July 13, 2016

Nintendo boomed around 2009 by disrupting the game world with motion sensing Wii and two-screen handheld DS game consoles. Smartphone disruption reduced Nintendo to pre-2006 size in sales, and profits did not yet recover to pre-boom levels.

Nintendo revenues peaked in 2009, and are now back to where they were before 2006
Nintendo revenues peaked in 2009, and are now back to where they were before 2006
Nintendo income peaked in 2009, and just recently recovered from losses - has not yet reached pre-2006 levels
Nintendo income peaked in 2009, and just recently recovered from losses – has not yet reached pre-2006 levels

Unexpected consequences- The Bank of Kyoto booms, and Bank of Kyoto’s 4.5% holding in Nintendo is worth more than 1/2 of Bank of Kyotos market cap

The Bank of Kyoto owns 4.5% of Nintendo, at close on July 13, 2016, this holding is worth YEN 139 billion (US$ 1.4 billion).

The Bank of Kyoto (TSE Code 8369) at the close on July 13, 2016 has a market cap of YEN 274 billion (US$ 2.64 biliion)

Thus Bank of Kyoto’s holding in Nintendo corresponds to more than one half of its value. This also means that Nintendo is worth about 10 times as much as the Bank of Kyoto.

The Pokémon Company – global market size estimate for Pokémon characters estimate: US$ 48 billion

The Pokémon Company manages and develops the currently 740 Pokémon characters.

The Pokémon Company is a private company owned in equal 1/3 parts by Nintendo KK, KK Game Freek and KK Creatures. KK Game Freek and KK Creatures are both privately held game development companies

More details and analysis in our Report on Japan’s game markets and makers.

Niantic Labs

Niantic Labs, focused on augmented reality games, is a Google spin-out founded in 2010, headed by John Hanke, one of the founders of Keyhole, which is at the basis of Google Earth.

Niantic Labs had staged initial funding of US$ 90 million equally from Google (1/3), Nintendo (1/3) and The Pokémon Company (1/3), and since then an additional Series A round in February 2016, plus we assume that Founder John Hanke, maybe Google at spin-out, other founders likely also own equity. So its not clear to us how much exactly Nintendo owns of Niantec, either directly or via its holding in the Pokémon Company.

There was a augmented reality company in Japan, Tonchi-Dot 頓智ドット株式会社(トンチドット) which created a augmented reality app called Sekai-Camera during i-Mode and Galake-Phones, but it ended all services on January 22nd, 2014.

Preview – Japan game market disruption market report:

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Kiyoko Kato: Current state of female doctors in Japanese Obstetrics and Gynecology

Kiyoko Kato, Professor, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University

The current state of female doctors in Japanese Obstetrics and Gynecology

「日本の産科婦人科における女性医師の現状」

Kiyoko Kato, Professor, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University

加藤聖子、教授。九州大学大学院医学研究院。生殖病態生理学

The Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership was held on Monday 16 May 2016 in Tokyo in honor of Dame Carol Black’s visit to Japan.

View the full workshop program here.

(Summary of Professor Kiyoko Kato’s keynote written by Gerhard Fasol)

Kiyoko Kato, Professor
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Graduate School of Medical Sciences
Kyushu University

Japanese Obstetrics and Gynecology: improving medical care requires gender equality – higher numbers and higher retention of women medical doctors

  • 18% of medical doctors in Japan in 2008 are female, 82% are male. Back in 1976 only about 10% of medical doctors were female
  • Medical school: in 1976 about 13% of medical students were women, this ratio increased up to about 35% peaking around the year 2000, and subsequently decreases slowly to around 32% in 2008.

Thus the ratio of women medical doctors are slowly increasing in Japan.

The M-curve

About 90% medical doctors enter employment after graduation, remain employed at that level until about 35 years after graduation, when employment ratios slowly decrease due to retirement.

For women medical doctors, the employment ratio curve is M-shaped, with a minimum at about 76% employment approximately 11 years after graduation, at an age around 36 years, after this minimum many women medical doctors enter employment again, reaching similar employment ratio’s as men about 35 years after graduation.

62% of women medical doctors leaving their employment do this because of pregnancy, child birth or child care (80% in case of women younger than 45 years age).

Obstetrics and gynecology medical doctors older than 40 years are predominantly men, while doctors younger than 40 years are predominantly women

For medical doctors aged 40 years and over, obstetrics and gynecology specialists are predominantly men: women obstetricians and gynecology make up less than 10% of doctors at higher ages.

This ratio is reversed for obstetricians and gynecologists younger than 40 years of age: women outnumber male doctors, below 30 years age, women doctors outnumber men nearly by a factor of 2.

There is a clear trend: older medical doctors in the obstetrics and gynecology field are predominantly male, while below the age of 40 years, women dominate by an increasing ratio.

Kyushu University Hospital: Professor Kiyoko Kato is the one and only woman Full Professor of Medicine

Kyushu University has 135 female doctors, and 81.5% are on part-time contracts, only 18.5% have full time employment.

Ratio of women at different levels of the career pyramid:

  • Part-time intern doctors: 36.3% are women
  • Part-time doctors: 30.1% are women
  • Full-time doctors: 8.6% are women
  • Assistant Professors: 22 women vs 187 men (11.8% are women)
  • Lecturers: 1 single woman vs 48 men (2%)
  • Associate Professors: 1 single woman vs 31 men (3%)
  • Full Professors: 1 single woman vs 24 men = Professor Kiyoko Kato (4%)

Only one single woman has achieved promotion into each of the higher ranks of Lecturer, Associate Professor and Full Professor, indicating that any women at all in these higher academic medical Professor ranks are rare exceptions rather than the rule (no mention here of still higher ranks, such as Hospital Directors, Deans, Heads of Department, or University President).

Professor Kiyoko Kato then explained her own career, where she spent time studying in the USA, gave birth to her first child in the USA, and then to her second child after returning to Japan. She had to cope with several challenges, e.g where one of the hospitals she worked was shut down. Finally Professor Kiyoko Kato was appointed Full Professor at Kyushu University Medical School.

Professor Kiyoko Kato proposes that three issues need to be solved:

  • improve the work environment during pregnancy and child bearing
  • re-integration assistance: re-education and support after leave of absence
  • remove obstacles to career improvements

Improve the work environment during pregnancy and child bearing: the “Kyushu University Perinatal period cradle net project” 「周産期ゆりかごネットプロジェクト」

With support from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Kyushu University created the “Kyushu University Perinatal period cradle net project” (2013 – 2017). In Japanese 「周産期ゆりかごネットプロジェクト」, the website is here:
http://www.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp/yurikago/
and an overview of the project can be found here:
http://www.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp/yurikago/data.html

As the websites show, the “Kyushu University Perinatal period cradle net project” is carefully designed, structured and provides a depth of support for women medical doctors to give birth and pursue their career. Women doctors are given part-time positions in the out patient department after returning from leaves of absence.

So far seven women doctors have taken advantage of this program, and several have been assisted to return to full or part-time employment, two are still absent because of a second pregnancy. Part-time work in the outpatient department assisted them to return back to full time employment. Experiencing the hospital as a patient during birth also provided valuable experience.

Re-integration assistance: re-education and support after leave of absence. The Kyushu University Kirameki Project.

To support re-integration after absence, Kyushu University created the “Kirameki Project” (Kirameki = glitter, shine). The Kirameki Projekt is described on the website here:
https://www.kyudai-kirameki.com/

2007-2009 the Kirameki Project helped female medical workers, female doctors, dentists and nurses to re-integrate after leave of absence.

From 2010 the program (“Kyushu University Hospital Kirameki Project”) was expanded to support continuation of the career for doctors, dental doctors, nurses for both men and women, because of delivery, child care, or disease / medical leave.

The aims of the project are to promote women doctors, dentists, and nurses who would have to resign their positions due to family reasons including marriage, children, husband’s job transfer etc, and to help them pursue their career after marriage.

Activities of the Kirameki Project are:

  • survey the problems of women doctors, dentists and nurses after marriage
  • recruit qualified but “hibernating” female medical personnel
  • learning programs
  • promote “high spirits”, encourage
  • on the job training in the out-patient department

Structured programs of the Kirameki Project:

  • Administrative: refresher program
  • Reestablishment: getting back to work program
  • Suspension/leave: web based education
  • Medical specialist: continuing specialist medical education
  • Marriage, child-care: continuing education
  • Residents, newcomer nurses: basic training
  • Students: gender equality education

Remove obstacles to career improvements

Assist women researchers after child birth and during child rearing: support attending international conferences, support system for hiring research assistants and technicians for research support.

Construct a support system:

  • Return support after child-care leave: day nursery, team medical care including emergency mutual help system, flexible working time, e.g. 9-5 work day
  • Improvement of career: system of supporting female researchers during child bearing and child rearing, grants for female researchers to support technicians

Professor Kiyoko Kato’s wishes and expectations for female doctors

  • responsibility and awareness
  • gratitude to all who helped
  • contribution to medical progress
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership

Notes

Summary of Professor Kiyoko Kato’s keynote written by Gerhard Fasol, view the full workshop program and summaries of all other keynotes here.

Copyright·©2016 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Dame Carol Black: Advancing women in healthcare

Dame Carol Black

Advancing women in healthcare

Dame Carol Black DBE FRCP FMedSci, Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge University, and Expert Adviser on Health and Work, Department of Health and Public Health England

The Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership was held on Monday 16 May 2016 in Tokyo in honor of Dame Carol Black’s visit to Japan.

View the full workshop program here.

(Summary of Dame Carol Black’s keynote written by Gerhard Fasol)

Dame Carol Black DBE FRCP FMedSci
Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge University.
Dame Carol Black has held top positions in medicine and now holds high-level policy advisory positions on health and work in the United Kingdom.

Women in healthcare – Women in the British National Health Service

The gender imbalance in the National Health Service is reflected by the facts that 77% of the total workforce is female, while only 7% of female staff are doctors or dentists, ie only 5.4% of total workforce are female doctors or dentists.

41% of Chief Executives are women.

81% of non-medical staff are women.

Alison Wolf and the XX Factor

Alison Margaret Wolf, Baroness Wolf of Dulwich CBE, is a British economist, and the Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management at King’s College London, see:

In her book “The XX Factor: How Working Women Are Creating A New Society” (Profile Books 2013), Alison Wolf writes that women are split into two groups: one group sacrificing family for rapid professional advancements, while the other group of women opts for having children at a young age, and remain in low level positions. As a result, inequality is growing faster among women than among men, and low status and low paid jobs are predominantly done by women:

  • 97% of secretaries are female
  • 92% of registered nurses are female
  • 89% of nursing, psychiatric and home health aides are female
  • 90% of maids and housekeeping cleaners are female

The fundamentals: what are the essential characteristics of “good employment”?

  • Good work: is stable and safe, allows individual control, is flexible, gives opportunities, promotes wellbeing, reintegrates sick or disabled people if possible.
  • Good workplaces: have visible senior leadership and well trained managers, enable staff engagement, empower employees to care for their own health

Good news for medicine, less good news for academic medicine

Generally we have achieved a good situation regarding gender equality in medicine. We have achieved meritocracy, and their are no reports providing evidence for systematic barriers against women’s professional advancement. Both intake and retention for women in medicine is high, and the pay scales are the same.

A study (Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Working Party 2009), investigated the female share of Consultants (= established Senior Medical Professionals in the UK), and showed the ratio of women is highest (38% – 49%) in “more plan-able” and “more people oriented” specializations such as general practice or paediatrics, while women’s share is lowest (8% – 23%) in “more technology oriented” and “more unpredictable” specializations such as anaesthetics or surgical specializations.

There is far less progress in academic medicine, and cultural stereotypes and bias remain, see:

Women’s advance into top leadership positions suffers from “cultural” prejudices, e.g. prejudices that women too kind, too caring, not logical or strong enough, or otherwise unsuited to lead.

Prominent leadership roles for women, Prominent medical leadership

Prominent leadership roles need investment in the “extras”, leads leadership dimension in each speciality, and requires career single-mindedness.

Prominent medical leadership requires investment of time “over and above” the ordinary duties, requires professional “stewardship contributions”.

The top 200 leadership positions will naturally go to those who pursue their career goals with a high degree of single-mindedness.

Women choosing the route towards prominent leadership roles need encouragement and support, they need:

  • role models
  • mentors, and
  • sponsors

Role models: Prominent women leaders in UK medicine

  • Una O’Brien, Permanent Secretary, Department of Health
  • Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer
  • Dame Julie Moore, CEO, University Hospitals Birmingham, NHS FT
  • Claire Murdoch, CEO, Central and NW London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Professor Jane Dacre, PRC Physicans
  • Clare Marx CBE, PRC Surgeons
  • Dr Suzy Lishman, PRC Pathologists
  • Dr Maureen Baker, Chair, RC General Practitioners

Need to debunk leadership myths

Its important not to fall into the traps of common leadership myths, e.g. that leadership is inborn, that leadership is that of a lone genius, that they must inspire others to follow their vision, the leadership requires formal authority, or that all leaders have common personality features.

We need to avoid similar leadership myths in medicine, e.g. that men naturally make better leaders.

Dame Carol Black: From a shoe-making village in decline to Government Advisor

Dame Carol Black is born in the shoe-making village of Barwell, Leicestershire, went to Grammar School in Market Bosworth, were she became Head Girl, despite her working class background.

Dame Carol Black studied first History, then Medical Social Work and finally Medicine at the University of Bristol, specialized in Rheumatology research, focusing on Scleroderma. Later advanced to Medical Director, Royal Free Hospital, President of the Royal College of Physicians, Chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Chair of the Nuffield Trust on Health Policy, then advising Government as National Director for Health and Work, and now Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge.

A major step was Dame Carol Black’s advancement to Medical Director of the Royal Free Hospital, since this meant not just responsibility for an institution or a group or a department, but also responsibility for the health of a population.

Leading the Royal College of Physicians

The Royal College of Physicians was founded by Royal Charter by Henry VIII on 23 September 1518 with the aim to promote the highest standards in medicine.

The skills required were: understanding a wide landscape, consensual leadership, standing ground when necessary, negotiating with Whitehall (= British Government) and building trust.

Chairing all the Medical Royal Colleges – The Academy, 2006-2009

Dame Carol Black from 2006-2009 chaired this group of 21 independent organizations. As Chair, Dame Carol Black had no executive powers, needed to lead by persuasion and with consensus.

Advising Government

Dame Carol Black shared several of her experiences advising Government and highest ranking Government officials and Ministers.

Key was to become valuable in the eyes of Government officials by giving independent advice based on scientific evidence, in combination with remaining totally unpolitical.

Dame Carol Black became a champion for the “cause” of health and work, and kept totally out of politics, never revealing any political views or opinion, and wrote three major reports.

The Confidence Code – forget perfection…Striving for perfection can waste women’s time, and hold back the best from reaching the top

Perfectionism and lack of confidence is large a female issue, see Katty Kay and Claire Shipman: The Confidence Code – the science and art of self-assurance, and what women should know.

Women tend to be held back by striving for perfection, while men tend to take more risks. Striving for perfection can waste women’s time, and hold back the best from reaching the top.

Women in healthcare, Women and careers, women in scientific careers

The issue of Women in Scientific Careers was examined in the “Science and Technology Committee – Sixth Report – Women in scientific careers” by the British House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in February 2014, which can be downloaded here as a pdf file:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmsctech/701/701.pdf

This UK House of Commons report finds some common traits which hold women back from reaching top leadership positions, including that women may perceive promotions as undesirable, wait until they meet all perceived criteria for promotion while men often take higher risks and may behave more speculatively, and women may think that “political” skills are required to reach the top.

Finally, to reach top leadership positions, we need:

  • self confidence
  • aspiration
  • risk taking
  • resilience
  • speaking out
  • staying motivated after failure
  • mentors, sponsors, role models
  • networks
  • personal values aligned to organisational values
Dame Carol Black DBE FRCP FMedSci: Advancing women in healthcare
Dame Carol Black DBE FRCP FMedSci: Advancing women in healthcare
Dame Carol Black DBE FRCP FMedSci: Advancing women in healthcare
Dame Carol Black DBE FRCP FMedSci: Advancing women in healthcare
Dame Carol Black DBE FRCP FMedSci, Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, and  Professor Kyoko Nomura, Associate professor, Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University, School of Medicine
Dame Carol Black DBE FRCP FMedSci, Principal of Newnham College Cambridge, and Professor Kyoko Nomura, Associate professor, Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University, School of Medicine

Notes

Summary of Dame Carol Black’s keynote written by Gerhard Fasol, view the full workshop program and summaries of all other keynotes here.

Copyright·©2016 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership – objective

Gerhard Fasol

Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership – workshop objective

The Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership was held on Monday 16 May 2016 in Tokyo.

View the full workshop program here, Gerhard Fasol’s keynote lays out the objectives of the workshop in the present article.

Gerhard Fasol CEO, Eurotechnology Japan KK, Board Director, GMO Cloud KK. former faculty Cambridge University, and Trinity College, and Tokyo University

Gerhard Fasol
CEO, Eurotechnology Japan KK,
Board Director, GMO Cloud KK.
former faculty Cambridge University, and Trinity College, and Tokyo University

Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership: objectives

There are two immediate objectives for the Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s Development and Leadership:

  1. empower women leaders with global leverage
  2. lets change mind sets

I am building the Ludwig Boltzmann Forum as global leadership platform honoring my great-grandfather, and the Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s Development and Leadership is part if this initiative:

  • drive innovation based on science and technology
  • “there is no other forum for open discussions among leaders in Japan other than the Ludwig Boltzmann Forum” (said one of Japan’s top technology leaders, former Board Director of Japan’s largest Telecommunications Operator, former President of a large University, and former President of one of Japan’s most important technology organizations)

and as an additional bonus we will create new cooperations and new initiatives.

Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership – my actions so far

Several confidential preparations with Japanese Ministry officials and foreign Embassies in Japan.

One key conclusion from preparations: top priority and most difficult is to change mindsets in Japan regarding empowering women and gender issues

At the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on 18 February 2016 at the Embassy of Austria in Tokyo, honored by the participation of Her Imperial Highness, Princess Takamado, and Nobel Prize Winner Shuji Nakamura, invited Professor Kyoko Nomura to give the keynote “Gender inequality in Japan: a case report of women doctors“.

Next step is today’s (16 May 2016) “Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership”.

How to change mindsets? Expand the solution space and add new dimensions!

The basic issues, empowering women and men to combine child care and professional development, work towards greater equality and improving decision making by implementing diversity of decision makers are similar all over the world, especially in Europe and Japan.

Learning solutions from each other, expands the dimensionality of the solution space.

Expanding the solution space: learning about The Federal Ministry for Families and Youth

When we are looking for solutions to solve difficult problems, our search for solutions is limited by our experience, knowledge and imagination. Our search for solutions is in space of limited dimensionality. In many cases solutions exist outside the space we are considering.

Therefore to reach better solutions, its necessary to expand this solution space. Looking how other countries solve similar problems is one straight forward way to expand the dimensionality of the solution space, and that is where the Ludwig Boltzmann Forum aims to contribute.

As an example, many people in Japan do not know that most European countries have a Family Ministry (家族省), which represents Families at the Cabinet level. In fact, most Japanese people I have been discussing this issue with are perplexed by the possibility of a Family Ministry (家族省), and usually in response ask, what the tasks of a Family Ministry would be.

If your country does not have a Family Ministry, if you have never heard about a Family Ministry, its difficult to come up with the proposal to create a Family Ministry, and its difficult to imagine what a Family Ministry should do.

At the same time, in today’s internet age, its in theory only a click away to have a look at a Family Ministry: here is the webpage of Austria’s Family Ministry: Das Österreichische “Bundesministerium für Familien und Jugend” (The Austrian Federal Ministry for families and youth, オーストリア連邦家族・青年省)

And here is the current Austrian Minister for Family and Youth, Dr. Sophie Karmasin. 49 years old, with two children, Dr Sophie Karmasin has achieved a Doctorate in Psychology on “consumer behavior in the health market”, from 1993 to 2013, for 13 years she has pursued a very successful career in industry, most recently as Managing Director/CEO of a major market research company, before becoming party independent Minister of Family and Youth. She is not affiliated with any political party, but independent politician since 2013.

Expanding the solution space: wouldn’t it be better to have at least one woman on a committee promoting women’s empowerment?

Compare Family and Youth Minister Dr Sophie Karmasin with the all-male “woman act.” committee promoting women’s equality in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture, wouldn’t it be better to have at least one woman on a committee promoting women? But unless you are familiar on how this is done in other countries, your solution space is limited to what you know.

Why did today’s Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership happen? Because of Trinity College Cambridge

At a recent event of Trinity College Cambridge in Hong Kong, I met with Dame Carol Black, and our meeting led to today’s Forum.

Trinity College was founded By King Henry VIII in 1546 by combining the two older colleges King’s Hall and Michael House and seven Hostels. Sir Isaac Newton worked at Trinity College and about 32 Nobel Prize winners are or were members of Trinity College. Trinity College is part of the University of Cambridge

More about Trinity College Cambridge, for example on the website of our Trinity in Japan Society.

Why Ludwig Boltzmann Forum? Who is Ludwig Boltzmann?

Ludwig Boltzmann is one of the world’s most important physicists and we use his results and tools every day. Here are some examples of his work:

  • How we measure temperature (Kelvin, Celsius) is directly linked to Boltzmann’s constant k, especially after the new definitions of the SI International System of measurement units
  • S = k log W, linking macroscopic entropy to the microscopic statistics of molecules, and linking statistical mechanics with measuring information, and the arrow of time
  • the Stefan-Boltzmann radiation law
  • Boltzmann transport equations are used to design jet engines and aircraft and in semiconductor physics and many other areas
  • philosophy of nature
  • and much much more….

I am developing the Ludwig Boltzmann Forum a global leadership platform in honor of my great-grandfather.

Ludwig Boltzmann and women’s development and leadership

1872 Ludwig Boltzmann met Henriette von Aigentler (my great-grandmother), who was refused permission to unofficially audit lectures at Graz University, where Ludwig Boltzmann later became University President. Ludwig Boltzmann advised her to appeal, in 1874 Henriette passed the exam as high-school teacher, and on 17 July 1876, Ludwig Boltzmann and Henriette von Aigentler married.

One of Ludwig Boltzmann’s students is Lise Meitner (November 1878 – 27 October 1968). She was only the second woman to be awarded a PhD in Physics from the University of Vienna. Later she was part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize for this work. Element No. 109, Meitnerium, is named after Lise Meitner.

Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership – outlook and next steps

  • Lets build the Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on women’s development and leadership together
    • Lets empower women leaders
    • Lets change mind sets
  • Lets build the Ludwig Boltzmann Forum into a global leadership platform based on science and logic
    • lets expand the solution space for important problems, and work towards implementing these solutions
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership
Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership

Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership: Notes

Ludwig Boltzmann Forum on Women’s development and leadership summary written by Gerhard Fasol, view the full workshop program and summaries of all other keynotes here.

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SONY 70th Birthday: Happy Birthday SONY!

eurotechnology.com

Today: by far the strongest profits are not from electronics or Playstation, but from the subsidiary SONY Financial Holdings Inc within Japan

SONY 70th Birthday: Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Totsuko) was founded on May 7, 1946

SONY celebrates 70th Birthday today – SONY’s predecessor Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (東京通信工業株式会社), Totsuko (東通工) was founded on May 7, 1946 by:

following preparations going back to 1945.

Outside Japan there is a tendency to focus on one of the two co-founders, Akio Morita, however, as an engineer Masaru Ibuka was as least as important a co-founder.

Masaru Ibuka (井深大), co-founder

Masaru Ibuka (井深大) was a passionate engineer, and drove much of the technical product development, recruiting and leading some of the best engineers.

Read Masaru Ibuka’s obituary in NATURE here: “Obituary: Masaru Ibuka (1908-97). Electrical engineer and co-founder of SONY” by Gerhard Fasol.

Read also: Masaru Ibuka, Founder of SONY, Obituary for NATURE

SONY over the most recent 18 years (1998-2016)

compound annual growth rate (CAGR) = 1.0% over the last 18 years

Essentially, over the last 18 years (FY ending March 31, 1998 – FY ending March 31, 2016), SONY’s revenues=sales have been stable, growing on average 1% per year.

SONY's revenues/sales grow at an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.0% over the 18 years from FY1998-FY2016
SONY’s revenues/sales grow at an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.0% over the 18 years from FY1998-FY2016

net income/profit margin = 0.4% over the last 18 years

Net income/profits have been 0.4% (approximately zero) averaged over these 18 years – as is characteristic for Japan’s top 8 electronics multinationals.

Back in the days of Trinitron vacuum tube TVs and mechanical Walkman tape recorders, SONY’s products could command relatively high profit margins, the falling edge can be seen in the Figure below: gross profit margins were as high as 8% back in 1998, and net profit margins as high as 3% of sales. However, averaged over the last 18 years, net profit margins average about 0.4%.

SONY's average net income/profit margin over the last 18 years has been very close to zero.
SONY’s average net income/profit margin over the last 18 years has been very close to zero.

SONY’s subsidiary “SONY Financial Holdings Inc” (60% owned by SONY) is by far the most profitable division of SONY

SONY publishes detailed reports of operating profits for its different divisions, showing that by far the most profitable division are Financial Services, which are not an integral part of the SONY Corporation (ソニー株式会社), but a partly (60%) owned and separately managed subsidiary SONY Financial Holdings Inc (ソニーフィナンシャルホールディングス株式会社).

In the latest financial report for the Financial Year ending March 31, 2016, SONY Finance has twice as much income/profit as the next most profitable divisions – SONY’s Financial Services (mainly offering credit card and banking services inside Japan) are and have been by far the most profitable division of SONY for many years.

SONY Financial Holdings Inc (ソニーフィナンシャルホールディングス株式会社) is a subsidiary of SONY, and is independently listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange [TSE Code 8729], was founded on April 1, 2004, and IPO was on Oct 11, 2007. SONY owns 60% of SONY Financial Holdings Inc’s shares.

Our report: “Japan electronics industries – mono zukuri”

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Shuji Nakamura on 2nd and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting

Shuji Nakamura

Shuji Nakamura’s invention to save energy corresponding to about 60 nuclear power stations by 2020

2nd and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting

For Shuji Nakamura’s invention of high-efficiency GaN double-heterostructure LEDs he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2014, while his employer sued him in the USA for leaking intellectual property – Shuji Nakamura won this court case, and his employer lost the case. To defend himself and his family, Shuji Nakamura countersued in Japan, and the Japanese court awarded Shuji a substantial award in a settlement. Shuji shared some insights into the comparison of IP lawsuits in US vs Japan with us at the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum.

Shuji moved to the University of California Santa Barbara, and is now building the company Soraa in Silicon Valley with investments from major US VC funds. Soraa may already be or is likely to be soon much bigger in value than Shuji’s previous Japanese employer. Soraa develops 2nd and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting products.

Energy savings corresponding to 60 nuclear power stations by 2020

The global lighting revolution triggered by Shuji Nakamura’s inventions leads to energy savings corresponding to 60 nuclear power stations by 2020 – 60 nuclear power stations less will need to be built than without Shuji Nakamura’s inventions.

2nd Generation and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting

With his venture company Soraa, Shuji is now working on 2nd Generation Solid State Lighting (GaN on GaN substrates) and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting (laser lighting, which allows much higher light density), and which is already in use for car headlights.

Why squeeze Nobel Prize winner Shuji Nakamura into a top-down narrative?

Shuji Nakamura showed with a long list of newspaper clippings, TV show extracts, and Japanese Government agency announcements that he is being squeezed into a top-down innovation narrative, which is at odds with the findings of the Nobel Prize Committee of the Swedish Academy of Science.

Shuji Nakamura asks why he is being squeezed retrospectively into a top-down innovation narrative.

The truth is that most real innovation is bottom-up and disruptive, not government planned and top-down.

At the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum we had intense discussions between Her Imperial Highness, Princess Takamado, Professor Makoto Suematsu, Nobel Prize Winner Shuji Nakamura, Professor Nomura, JST-President Michinari Hamaguchi, and several other Japanese technology and R&D leaders.

Read a summary of Shuji Nakamura’s talk here.

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Makoto Suematsu: fast-tracking medical research in Japan

Makoto Suematsu (President, Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development AMED) AMED: Mission and Perspectives to fast-track medical R&D

Makoto Suematsu, Founding President of Japan’s new Agency for Medical Research and Development AMED: The situation in Japan is so crazy, but now I will stay in Japan because I have a mission

Medical research in Japan: Fast-tracking medical research and development in Japan

In April 2015 Japan created the new “Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, AMED” inspired by the US NIH (National Institutes of Health), “to promote integrated research and development in the field of medicine”.

Professor Makoto Suematsu was selected as the founding President of AMED, to build up this new Japanese national medical research agency.

Professor Makoto Suematsu is not only an outstanding medical professional and researcher, but he is also extremely outspoken about the many changes necessary to “fast-track” medical research in Japan, and particularly to overcome the fragmentation, “the Balkanization” of medical research in Japan, due to several different competing and overlapping supervising Government ministries and agencies in the past.

Professor Makoto Suematsu also explained the priorities he is setting to set out with relatively modest resources.

At the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum we had intense discussions between Her Imperial Highness, Princess Takamado, Professor Makoto Suematsu, Nobel Prize Winner Shuji Nakamura, Professor Nomura, JST-President Michinari Hamaguchi, and several other Japanese technology and R&D leaders.

Read a summary of AMED-President Makoto Suematsu’s talk directly here.

8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum, Tokyo 18 February 2016
8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum, Tokyo 18 February 2016

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Top-down vs bottom-up innovation: Japan’s R&D leaders at the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum

Ludwig Boltzmann Forum

How to fast-track innovation in Japan

Shuji Nakamura’s invention of high efficiency LEDs enable us to reduce global energy consumption by an amount corresponding to 60 nuclear power stations by 2020, for which he was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Still, a poster child for bottom-up innovation, Shuji Nakamura was sued by his employer, left for the USA, and is now building a company in Silicon Valley which might soon become bigger than his former Japanese employer.

Why does Shuji Nakamura’s bottom-up innovation not fit into top-down innovation narratives?

Why does Shuji Nakamura’s bottom-up innovation not fit into top-down innovation narratives? Would Japan be a better and faster growing place with a better balance between bottom-up and top-down innovation? Does top-down innovation work at all?

Shuji Nakamura came specially from the USA to address many of Japan’s science and technology R&D leaders at the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum, and explain why it makes no sense to try squeezing his bottom-up inventions into a top-down narrative and why its better to overcome established top-down narratives.

Read how Shuji Nakamura tries to help Japan’s leaders to overcome top-down-only narratives, and understand what bottom-up innovation means.

The 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum brought together Nobel Prize Winner Shuji Nakamura, the leaders of Japan’s two major research and technology R&D funding organizations, Professor Nomura, who is working to overcome gender inequality for Japan’s (too few) medical doctors, and several of Japan’s technology leaders to discuss how to accelerate innovation in Japan.

Her Imperial Highness, Princess Takamado honored us by taking a very active part, and asking thoughtful questions to Nobel Winner Shuji Nakamura and other speakers.

Read and join the discussions with Japan’s R&D leaders’ talks held at the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum.
[in Japanese 日本語]

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Fukushima nuclear disaster: 5 years since the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on 2011/3/11 at 14:46:24

(c) eurotechnology.com

5 years and many lessons learnt since the Tohoku and Fukushima disasters

Tohoku disaster and Fukushima nuclear disaster lead to Japan’s energy market liberalization

Tohoku disaster: On Friday March 11, 2011 at 14:46:24, the magnitude 9.0 “Great East Japan earthquake” caused a tsunami, reaching up to 40.4 meters high inland in Tohoku.

Japan’s National Police Agency registers 15,894 deaths and 2,562 missing people.

TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-1 nuclear power plant vs Tohoku Electric Power Corporation’s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant

One of the world’s worst nuclear disasters started at Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-1 Nuclear Power Plant.

The Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant, owned and operated by Tohoku Electric Power Company, and built under Yanosuke Hirai, was closest to the 2011/3/11 earthquake’s epicenter, and survived the quake without major damage and was successfully shut down, and served as a refuge for 300 people from the neighborhood who had lost their homes. There were radiation alarm signals at Onagawa Power Station, but these alarms were caused by radioactive fallout blown from Fukushima-Dai-Ichi by winds, and did not originate from Onagawa.

The Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant was the only nuclear power plant in the region of the Tohoku Earthquake that survived the earthquake without any major damage.

On Yanosuke Hirai’s insistence, Tohoku Electric Power Company built Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant at 13.8 meters above sea level, while during the construction of TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-1 plant the natural ground elevation was reduced from 35 meters to 10 meters. The Tsunami reached 13 meters height in both locations.

In 1990 Tohoku Electric Power Company (Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Construction Office) published a detailed analysis of the Great Jogan Tsunami of AD 869

Yanosuke Hirai had researched the Great Jogan Tsunami of July 13, 869, which was caused by the 869 Sanriku Earthquake (貞観地震). The results were taken into account in planning the Onagawa Nuclear Power Station, and published in 1990:

Hisashi Abe, Toshisada Sugeno, Akira Chigama, (Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Construction Office)
“Estimation of the Height of the Sanriku Jogan 11 Earthquake-Tsunami (AD 869) in the Sendai Plain”
Zisin (Journal of the Seismological Society of Japan, 2nd Series), Vol. 43 (1990) No. 4 P 513-525

See also the “869 Sanriku earthquake” entry in Wikipedia.

Fukushima nuclear disaster mitigation. US sends 150 nuclear experts headed by Chuck Casto to work with the Japanese Prime Minister and top leaders for 11 months to help deal with the Fukushima disaster

The USA sent a team of about 150 nuclear experts for 11 months to Japan to assist TEPCO and the Japanese Government in mastering the nuclear crisis. This team was headed by Chuck Casto – read some of his conclusions here:

Japan’s first ever Parliamentary Commission

Japan’s Parliament for the first time ever created an Independent Parliamentary Commission to analyze the nuclear disaster, headed by Kiyoshi Kurokawa, read the summary of his talk “Groupthink can kill” here (including videos describing the Commissions results in simple easy to understand terms).

Three former TEPCO executives have now been indicted by a citizen’s prosecution committee.

Nuclear disaster leads to energy market liberalization in Japan

Japan’s faith in nuclear power was shaken, leading to development of renewable energy, liberalization and long overdue reforms of Japan’s energy sector.

Quakes and after-quakes

The figures show that more than 300 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or larger occurred since the major quake on March 11, 2011 at 14:46. The epicenters of quakes lie mostly where the Pacific Plate moves under the North American Plate on which Tohoku lies.

According to our knowledge earth quakes are mathematically speaking a “chaotic” phenomenon, and scientific arguments are, that it is difficult if not impossible to predict earth quakes with precision. (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)

Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)
Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)
Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) on logarithmic magnitude scale (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)
Earth quakes of magnitude 5 and greater in Japan (March-April 2011) on logarithmic magnitude scale (Figure: Wolfram Alpha LLC)

Nuclear fallout on Tokyo: radiation levels in Tokyo/Shinjuku

Starting with Tuesday 15 March 2011, radioactive fallout came down on Tokyo as shown in the figures below.

Radiation in Tokyo/Shinjuku (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria
Radiation in Tokyo/Shinjuku (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria

Radiation levels in Tokyo (Shinjuku and Shibuya) and Tsukuba:

Radiation in Tsukuba (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria
Radiation in Tsukuba (until April 13, 2011) compared to Austria

The blue curve above shows the radiation levels in Tokyo/Shinjuku as measured and published by the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Public Health here:

  • each hour for the last 24 hours
  • daily starting March 1

The red curves show maximum and minimum data as measured by TEPCO in Tokyo-Shibuya, and published here: TEPCO radiation data

The green curves show radiation data measured by Japan’s highly respected AIST Laboratory in Tsukuba (Ibaraki-ken, about 60 km north of Tokyo in direction of Fukushima) and published here: AIST radiation data.

Radiation levels in Tsukuba

The green curves show radiation data measured by AIST Laboratory in Tsukuba (Ibaraki-ken, about 60 km north of Tokyo in direction of Fukushima) and published here: AIST radiation data.

The radiation measurement results in Tsukuba are considerably higher than found in Tokyo, but have decreased close to the top levels found naturally in Austria and in many other countries.

The differences in the data between Tokyo and Tsukuba could be because Tsukuba is 60km closer to Fukushima, could be caused by weather conditions, but they could also be caused by differences in the measurement equipment or a combination of these factors.

Eurotechnology-Japan newsletters in March/April 2011

In a series of newsletters, our company informed our customers, and friends about the nuclear disaster impact on Tokyo. Our newsletters were reposted by our readers to 100s of friends, and in some cases influenced the decisions by foreign subsidiaries here in Tokyo. In the days following the nuclear disaster, it was difficult for non-phycists to understand the true situation, and what the radioactive fallout really meant.

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Mobile internet’s 17th birthday

The global mobile internet revolution started with Docomo’s i-Mode on February 22, 1999

The global mobile internet revolution started with Docomo’s i-Mode on February 22, 1999

i-Mode, Happy Birthday!

Today, exactly 17 years ago, on February 22, 1999, NTT-Docomo launched the world’s first mobile internet service, i-Mode, at a press conference attended only by a handful of people.

NTT-Docomo created the foundation of the global mobile internet revolution, and i-Mode is still a cash-cow for Docomo in Japan, but Docomo did not succeed to capture global value.

i-Mode pioneered many business models, which are today monetized by Apple and Google (mainly via Android).

i-Mode also contributed to make Japan the world’s biggest App market in terms of cash revenues, and helped Japanese app companies to be among the world’s largest and top grossing.

Read in detail in our blog:
i-Mode was launched Feb. 22, 1999 in Tokyo – birth of mobile internet

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SHARP and the future of Japan’s electronics

SHARP and the future of Japan’s electronics

SHARP is in the news, but its about Japan’s US$ 600 billion electronics sector

The need for focus and active portfolio management

SHARP, supplier of displays to Apple, faces repayment of about YEN 510 billion (US$ 4.2 billion) in March.

Innovation Network Corporation of Japan INCJ (産業革新機構) and Taiwan’s Honhai Precision Engineering (鴻海精密工業) “Foxconn” compete for control of SHARP.

While SHARP makes headlines, the big-picture issues are:

  1. corporate governance reforms in Japan
  2. the future of Japan’s US$ 600 billion electronics sector, which dominated world electronics in the 1980s but failed to keep up with the evolution and growth of global electronics.

To survive Japan’s old established electronics conglomerates have two choices:

  1. focus on a small number of key products (remember Apple CEO Tim Cook showing that all of Apple’s products fit on one small table)
  2. actively managed portfolio model

however, for Japan’s economy to prosper, Japan needs many more young fresh new companies in addition to the old established conglomerates.

Interviews for BBC-TV and French Les Echos

Last week I was interviewed both live on BBC-TV and also by the French paper Les Echos about SHARP’s future:

In summary, I said that its not just about SHARP’s current predicament, but its about corporate governance reform in Japan, about reinventing Japan’s electronics sector, and that its more likely at this stage that Japan’s Innovation Network Corporation (INCJ) will take control SHARP, since INCJ is not just concerned with SHARP but with the bigger picture of restructuring Japan’s electronics sector.

INCJ has concepts for combining SHARP’s display division with Japan Display, and has plans for SHARP’s electronics components divisions, and for the white goods division, and other divisions.

SHARP governance: How and why did SHARP get into this very difficult situation?

SHARP is a poster child for the urgent need for corporate governance reform in Japan.

Essentially SHARP assumed that the world market for TVs and PC displays will continue to demand larger and larger and more expensive display sizes, and thus took bank loans to build a very large liquid crystal display factory in Sakai-shi, south of Osaka.

In addition, SHARP, has a huge portfolio of many different products ranging from office copying machines and printers and scanners, mobile phones, high-tech toilets, liquid crystal displays, solar panels, and hundreds of other products. SHARP keeps adding new product ranges constantly expanding its portfolio of businesses, and rarely sells loss making divisions.

Effective and strong independent, outside Directors on the Board might have asked questions during the decision making leading to the building of the Sakai factory. They might have asked for a Plan B, in case the global display market takes a turn away from larger and larger and more expensive displays, or if the competition heats up and prices start decreasing, they might have asked about SHARP’s competitive strengths, they might have also questioned the wisdom to finance an expensive factory via short-term bank loans as opposed to issuing shares to spread the risks to investors.

Its not just outside Directors, shareholders could have also asked such questions.

SHARP has about YEN 678 billion (US$ 5.6 billion) debt, most is short-term debt, and in a few weeks, in March 2016, SHARP needs to repay about YEN 510 billion (US$ 4.2 billion), and needs to find this amount outside.

SHARP is a Japanese electronics company, founded in 1912 by Tokuji Hayakawa in Tokyo as a metal workshop making belt buckles “Tokubijo”, and today one of the major suppliers of liquid crystal displays for Apple’s iPhones, iPads and Macs.

SHARP today has about 44,000 employees, many factories across the globe, sales peaked around YEN 3000 billion (US$ 30 billion) in 2008, and show a steady downward trend since 2008.

Revenues (profits) peaked in 2008, and have fallen into the red since.

SHARP's revenues (sales) peaked in 2008, and since then stagnated around YEN 3000 billion (US$ 30 billion), and show a downward trend ever since
SHARP’s revenues (sales) peaked in 2008 around YEN 3000 billion (US$ 30 billion), and show a downward trend ever since
Averaged over the last 14 years, SHARP shows average annual net losses of around YEN 38 billion per year (US$ 380 million per year)
Averaged over the last 14 years, SHARP shows average annual net losses of around YEN 38 billion per year (US$ 380 million per year)

What future for SHARP? Focus vs portfolio company

SHARP (or rather, its creditors, the two “main banks” Mizuho and Mitsubishi-Tokyo-Bank, and others controlling the fate of today’s SHARP) needs to decide whether it focuses on a group of core products, in which case it needs to be No. 1 or No. 2 globally for these products. Successful examples are Japan’s electronic component companies.

Or on the other hand, SHARP could be a portfolio company, in which case this portfolio must be actively managed.

What future for Japan’s US$ 600 billion electronics sector?

Japan’s 8 large electronics conglomerates:

  • Hitachi
  • Toshiba
  • Fujitsu
  • NEC
  • Mitsubishi Electric
  • Panasonic
  • SONY
  • SHARP

combined have sales of about US$ 600 Billion, similar to the economic size of The Netherlands, but combined for about 15 years have shown no growth and no profits. They are poster children for the urgent need for corporate governance reform in Japan.

These 8 electronics conglomerates are portfolio companies, and they need to manage these portfolios actively, such as General Electric (GE) or the German chemical industry are doing. Germany’s large chemical and pharmaceutical industries started active and drastic product portfolio management in the 1990s, and are continuing constant and active portfolio optimization via acquisitions, spin-outs, and other M&A actions, and so is GE.

A stark contrast are Japan’s very successful, profitable and growing electronics component companies.

Innovation Network Corporation of Japan INCJ (産業革新機構)’s dilemma

INCJ aims “to promote the creation of next generation businesses through open innovation” according to its website.

Japan’s NIKKEI financial daily mentions INCJ’s dilemma, whether attempting the rescue of an old conglomerate is compatible with its mission to create next generation business through open innovation.

Why “let zombie companies die” is beside the point

Concerning SHARP some media wrote headlines along the lines of “let zombie companies die”. Thats easy to write, however, SHARP is a group with 44,000 employees, many factories, about US$ 30 billion in sales annually.

“Let this zombie die” is not an option, SHARP has 100s of products, and divisions, and the best solution for each of these divisions is different. And that is exactly what the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan seems to be considering in its plans for SHARP.

I think the way forward is not “to let zombies die”, but to develop private equity in Japan

I think the move of Atsushi Saito, one of the key drivers of Japan’s corporate governance reforms, from CEO of Tokyo Stock Exchange/ Japan Exchange Group, to Chairman of the private equity group KKR is a tremendously important one in this context.

Will there be native Japanese private equity groups with sufficient know-how and ability to take responsibility of restructuring Japan’s electronics sector? Thats maybe the key question.

Why its not really about nationalism

Some media bring a nationalist angle into SHARP’s issues. However, Nissan was rescued by French Renault, UK’s Vodafone acquired Japan Telecom, and there are many other examples, where foreign companies acquire Japanese technology companies.

I don’t think nationalism is an issue here. The key issues is to create and implement valid business models for Japan’s huge existing electronics sector, and more importantly, create a basis for the growth valid new companies – not just reviving old ones.

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Economic growth for Japan? A New Year 2016 preview

Economic growth for Japan in 2016?

Economic growth for Japan in 2016?

Economic growth: Almost everyone agrees that economic growth is preferred over stagnation and decline. Fiscal policy and printing money unfortunately can’t deliver growth.

  1. Building fresh new successful companies,
  2. returning stagnating or failed established companies back to growth (see: “Speed is like fresh food” by JVC-Kenwood Chairman Kawahara), and
  3. adjusting the structure and business models of existing companies to the rapidly changing and globalizing world (see: “Japanese management – why is it not global?” by Masamoto Yashiro)

deliver growth.

Governments best help economic growth by reducing friction, and by getting out of the way of entrepreneurs building, turning-round, and refocusing companies.

Some required action is counter to intuition: for example, in many cases reducing tax rates increases Government’s tax income, a fact known for many years. Effective education and research are key to create, understand and apply such non-obvious knowledge.

Companies need efficient leadership, leadership needs feedback, wise and diverse oversight by Boards of Directors, who ring alarm bells long before a company hits the rocks, or fades into irrelevance. Corporate governance reform may be the most important component of “Abenomics”. Read a Board Director’s view on Japan’s corporate governance reforms:

Japan’s electrical conglomerates are some of the poster children motivating Japan’s corporate governance reforms. In an interview about Toshiba’s future on BBC-TV a few days ago, I explained that Japan’s electrical conglomerates showed no growth and no profits for about 20 years, and the refocusing Toshiba has announced now should have been done much much earlier, 10-20 years ago (“Speed is like fresh food“). Refocusing Japan’s established corporate giants will release resources for start-ups, spin-outs and growth companies.

Japan can be very good at restructuring and turn-rounds, e.g. see

Happy New Year!

Gerhard Fasol

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Corporate governance reforms in Japan – practical views of a Board Director

eurotechnology.com

A Board Director’s view

Corporate governance reforms in Japan progress faster than even one of their key promoters expected, and cost almost no tax payers money

Author: Gerhard Fasol

Corporate governance reforms in Japan are one component of “Abenomics” to bring back economic growth to Japan.

Corporate governance reforms in Japan are driven at least in part by the spectacular stagnation of Japan’s top 8 electronics conglomerates, which 25 years ago dominated world electronics, but largely failed to adapt to the changes driven by much more agile Silicon Valley or South Korea based competitors. The right type of Board Directors, could potentially have rung the alarm bells much earlier, and woken up executive management under their supervision.

A welcome factor is that corporate governance reform costs Japan’s heavily indebted Government almost no money – unlike public works programs, and similar traditional ways of stimulating the economy.

The speed with which Corporate Governance Reforms in Japan are being implemented surprised even one of their main promoters, emeritus Group CEO of the Japan Exchange Group, Atsushi Saito, as expressed in his recent talk.

In March 2014 the shareholders appointed me as independent Board Director of the Japanese cybersecurity company GMO Cloud KK, which is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Our main business are internet security solutions, cybersecurity, digital identity management solutions, and cloud hosting and related services and solutions.

Read an article on Corporate Governance Reforms here in the Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), and more below in this post – from my experience practicing corporate governance in Japan as a Board Director.

The main components of corporate governance reform in Japan

The main components of Japan’s corporate governance reform are:

  1. The revision of the Company Law (会社法(平成十七年七月二十六日法律第八十六号)), Law No. 816 of July 26, 2005. The latest revision is No. 63 of September 4, 2015 (平成二七年九月四日法律第六三号).
  2. The Corporate Governance Code of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), issued on June 1, 2015, “Seeking Sustainable Corporate Growth and Increased Corporate Value over the Mid- to Long-Term”
  3. Japan’s Stewardship Code, issued by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) on February 26, 2014, “Principles for Responsible Institutional Investors ≪Japan’s Stewardship Code≫- To promote sustainable growth of companies through investment and dialogue”

What is corporate governance and why?

Japan’s Corporate Governance Code, which was issued by the Tokyo Stock Exchange on June 1, 2015, defines Corporate Governance as “a structure for transparent, fair, timely and decisive decision-making by companies, with due attention to the needs and perspectives of shareholders and also customers, employees and local communities”.

The subtitle of Japan’s Corporate Governance Code is its mission statement: “Seeking sustainable corporate growth and increased corporate value over the mid- to long-term”.

Corporate governance has been analyzed in great detail in Professor John Kay’s analysis of UK’s capital markets: “The Kay Review of UK Equity Markets and long term decision making“, which was triggered by certain M&A transactions among other factors, and published on 23 July 2012.

“The Kay Review of UK Equity Markets and Long-Term Decision Making” has been archived in UK’s National Archives here.

The Kay Review analyzes UK’s capital markets in depth, and argues that its companies’ duty to be successful in the long-term, and its only the success of companies that brings wealth to all stake holders and people who invest in companies, in many cases pensioners. Over the years a fine grained system of specialized service providers has developed between companies on one side, and individual investors on the other side. Professor Kay argues that this system of intermediaries (fund managers, analysts etc) can be seen as “overhead” and needs to be as efficient as possible.

Overall the capital market system needs to be built on long term trust and stewardship, not on anonymous one-time monetary transactions.

The Kay report had important impact, for example it led to the end of the requirement of quarterly financial reports by UK companies, as we discussed here.

Martin Lipton, of the NY law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, in an article published on the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation blog encourages the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to keep the UK developments in mind, when reforming the reporting requirements for US corporations, and also calls for an end to the requirement of quarterly reporting.

Why end the requirement of quarterly financial reports? Because short term focus on quarterly financial performance may cloud the view on long-term success and investment. Intense discussions between fund managers and management are strongly encouraged.

Will the end of quarterly financial reporting reach Japan?

Why Japan’s focus on corporate governance?

GNP as a measure of economic size has many flaws – however many signals, not just GNP, indicate that Japan is the only major economy that does not grow.

While there are many excellent Japanese corporations, overall it is no secret that Japan’s economy has the potential to do much much better.

Japan’s decline was even deplored by Keidanren and Toray Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara at the 2015 Kyoto Bank New Year Gala event. Stanford Economics Professor Takeo Hoshi has analyzed the factors which caused Japan’s economy to stop growing after catching up with the developed economies, see Professor Hoshi’s recent talk about Abenomics for the Stockholm School of Economics.

A case in point are Japan’s 8 large electronics conglomerates which combined are approximately the same size as the economy of The Netherlands. Unlike The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Japan’s top 8 large electronics conglomerates have not grown for the last 20 years, while on average reporting losses over these 20 years. While Japan’s top 8 electronics conglomerates dominated the global electronics sector, they have been faded, and today Apple alone is about 10 times bigger in market cap/value than all top 8 Japanese electronics conglomerates combined, see: “Japan’s electronics giants – FY2012 results announced. 17 years of no growth and no profits.

There is much hope that outside directors supervising executive management will bring outside expertise, and improve the performance of company-insider executive management, and if necessary also insist on replacements.

Much faster than expected

One of the most outspoken promoters of corporate governance reform is emeritus Tokyo Stock Exchange Chief Executive Atsushi Saito. In a recent talk, Atsushi Saito expressed his great surprise that corporate governance reform was implemented in Japan must faster than he had expected.

The cheapest part of “Abenomics” – corporate governance reform comes at essentially zero cost to tax payers

Many measures of Premier Minister Abe’s “Abenomics” stimulation programs pump borrowed Government Bonds (JGB) money into the economy, thus cost money and ultimately increase Japanese very large Government debt.

By comparison, corporate governance reforms cost essentially zero cash and don’t further increase government debt.

Theory and practice

Non-diversity: about 0.6% of Japanese Board Directors of listed companies are non-Japanese

As of 17 December 2015 Japan has 3504 listed companies on the exchanges operated by the Japan Exchange Group:

  • TSE 1st section: 1933 (incl. 6 foreign companies)
  • TSE 2nd section: 544 (incl. 1 foreign company)
  • Mothers: 219 (including 1 foreign company)
  • JASDAQ Standard: 750 (including 1 foreign company)
  • JASDAQ Growth: 44 (including 0 foreign company)
  • TOKYO PRO Market: 14 (including 0 foreign company)
  • Total: 3504 (including 9 foreign companies)

In addition there are three regional exchanges:

  • Fukuoka Stock Exchange
  • Nagoya Stock Exchange
  • Sapporo Stock Exchange

Assuming there are about 10 Board Directors per company, there are about 35,000 Board Directors of listed companies in Japan. Of these approximately 200 are foreigners, ie. about 0.6% of Directors of listed Japanese companies are foreign (I am one of these).

Maybe 10-20 of Japan’s public companies are “Englishized” such as Rakuten or SoftBank, or hire simultaneous interpreters at Board Level (you’ll see Directors with headphones listening to the interpreted/translated version of what is being said – of course slowing and filtering understanding and communication)

All other approx. 3490 Japanese Stock Exchange listed companies are run 100% in Japanese language at all levels including Board level – and almost exclusively by Japanese men.

In a rapidly globalizing world, these companies desperately need global input from many nationalities, different backgrounds, and genders at Board level in Japanese language, but the number of people providing this depth of diversity, having the qualifications and being able to function at Board level in Japanese in addition to several other languages is severely limited – this is one of several factors limiting Japan’s growth after having caught up with developed countries in the 1980ies.

What are the main issues?

Diversity delivers better decisions and better results

Japan has many outstanding leaders, such as SoftBank’s founder Masayoshi Son, or Kyocera’s founder Kazuo Inamori, who also founded part of today’s KDDI, and who turned around Japan Airlines from bankruptcy in his 80s.

Some Japanese Executives are outstanding leaders, however, many are not, but function more like chief administrators – as in any other country.

Outstanding leaders don’t fear working with excellent people and will attract top leaders. However, chief administrator type executives will fear for their power and will assemble teams who fear to speak out, as can be observed in many recent corporate scandals in Japan, and many other major countries. Corporate scandals and corporate governance failures may happen anywhere, not just in Japan.

Diversity at top management levels and Board levels has many benefits, as has been proven in many studies. Diversity delivers better decisions and better results. Boards of Directors are one way to bring diversity to decision making.

Overcoming stagnation

Many major Japanese corporations show no growth and no income for the last 20 years.

A showcase example are Japan’s top-8 electronics conglomerates. Combined they are as large as the economy of the Netherlands, but contrary to The Netherlands, they have shown no growth for the last 17-20 years, as well as losing money on average over all these years. Of course, as a consequence the market capitalization = value of these top-8 electronics companies has decreased dramatically. While Japan’s top-8 electronics companies dominated 60% or more percent of the global electronics industry in the 1980, they have fallen steep. Clearly a dramatic example of failed corporate governance, and surely a big push for Prime Minister Abe to put so much priority on improving Japan’s corporate governance, together of course with the need to improve employment, and returns for pension funds to fund Japan’s aging population.

Three forms of corporate organization: splitting supervision and execution

Traditionally, executives supervised themselves at Board level

Traditional Japanese corporation have a Board of Directors composed of corporate executives, i.e. the executives supervise themselves without external supervision or input. Supervision is done by the Kansayaku Board (corporate auditor’s Board) which however has limited powers on corporate decision making.

Japan’s corporate government reforms now give Japanese companies options to split execution (executives, 執行役員) and supervision (Board Directors, 取締役).

Japanese corporations now can chose between three forms of organization

  • company with Kansayaku Board
  • company with Supervisory Board
  • company with three committees:
    • Nomination Committee
    • Audit Committee
    • Remuneration Committee

According to the new Corporate Governance Code, the Board (independent which of the three options is selected) has the following three duties:

  1. setting the directions of corporate strategy
  2. encourage and support appropriate risk taking by senior management
  3. supervise Directors and executive management, including senior executives (執行役員)

Connecting the dots: the link between accounting issues and the space shuttle Challenger disaster

Toshiba’s recent accounting issues reflect much deeper fundamental problems – of course.

I see parallels between Toshiba’s accounting issues and the space shuttle Challenger disaster: Nobel Prize Winner Richard Feynman determined that the cause of the space shuttle Challenger disaster was the failure of top management to communicate with the people doing the work (“genba”, 現場): “Appendix F – Personal observations on the reliability of the Shuttle, by R. P. Feynman“.

Space shuttle Challenger’s top management was insisting to keep the planned launch date fearing public relations issues, while the workers and engineers on the ground, “genba”, knew that they were not ready. But top management at space shuttle Challenger did not listen to “genba”.

My advice to Japanese corporations: embrace and learn to love diversity!

Embrace and learn to love diversity! Diversity delivers better results overall. We all learn from each other.

My advice to foreign investment funds seeking more influence on Japanese companies

Shouting at the CEO or Boards of Japanese companies will not help – many foreign activist investors have already proven this fact many times. Insisting on your superior knowledge will not make you many friends – as anywhere else.

You need to develop trust and relationships. You need to start by learning Japanese, understanding Japan, and earn trust and contribute with achievements, or partner with people who have: KKR hired Japan Exchange Group emeritus CEO Atsushi Saito.

There are no increasing numbers of examples, where outstanding Japanese corporations careful listen to outside advice from investors, and thus become even more outstanding: SONY and robotics maker FANUC come to mind.

My advice to foreign companies operating in Japan

Your subsidiary in Japan is a Japanese corporations and needs corporate governance. There have been a long list of corporate governance failures leading to huge problems and losses at foreign subsidiaries in Japan, in the financial sector, the elevator sector, the pharmaceutical sector and several others.

Make good use of the Board of Directors of your Japanese subsidiary corporation.

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Was Osamu Suzuki first to understand Volkswagen’s Diesel issues?

Suzuki Volkswagen Diesel: interlinked time line of the Suzuki-Volkswagen relationship and the unravelling of Volkswagen's Diesel issues

Osamu Suzuki: “we looked at Wagen’s technologies, and could not find anything we need” (Nikkei, 1 July 2011)

Did Volkswagen underestimate Mr Suzuki?

Over the last 18 years myself and our company have worked on many foreign-Japanese company partnerships, therefore we always have great interest in business partnerships involving Japanese companies, and have followed the Volkswagen-Suzuki relationship closely.

We published two blog articles after the ICC Arbitration Court issues judgement sealing the Suzuki-Volkswagen divorce, and before we became aware of the Volkswagen Diesel issues:

When I was asked to brief German President Horst Köhler on April 3, 2005 about Japan’s technology sector, my advice included the following:

Interaction with Japan enforced total restructuring of leading US companies, including INTEL and MOTOROLA. According to my knowledge, there are almost no European companies yet which were forced to totally restructure their business due to interaction with Japan. I feel that this may happen in the future.

Volkswagen could be a candidate now, although US agencies and courts are now primary actors, Suzuki’s role may not be negligible.

Volkswagen had already lost out against Suzuki, and Suzuki’s CEO Mr Osamu Suzuki in the 1980s when India started to build an Indian automotive industry. India had considered to build India’s car industry based on Volkswagen’s Beatle, but decided to go with Mr Osamu Suzuki instead. Maruti Suzuki India Limited (マルチ・スズキ・インディア) achieved 45% market share in India’s passenger car market in 2014. Suzuki Motors owns 54% of Maruti Suzuki, and Mr Osamu Suzuki is greatly respected as Japan’s No. 1 top India expert.

When Mr Osamu Suzuki entered into the Maruti Suzuki India Joint-Venture, he reportedly insisted to have 100% decision making and management rights in the Joint-Venture.

Links between the Suzuki-Volkswagen and the Volkswagen Diesel issues time lines.

We can see interesting links in the time lines of the Suzuki-Volkswagen relationship and the Volkswagen Diesel issues:

Time line of events relevant to the Suzuki Volkswagen relationship

  • 16 Nov 1970: “Maruti technical services private limited” (MTSPL) to create an Indian automobile industry, first CEO: Sanjay Gandhi. Sanjay Gandhi contacted Volkswagen AG to seek a cooperation to produce an Indian version of the VW Käfer (Beatle). However, a cooperation with Volkswagen did not work out. The company failed in 1977, and was reborn as Maruti Udyog Ltd by Dr V. Krishnamurthy.
  • 1982: Maruti Udyog Ltd and Suzuki entered into a licensing and joint venture agreement, creating Maruti Suzuki India Limited (マルチ・スズキ・インディア), which in 2014 achieved a 45% market share of India’s passenger car market.
  • 20 0ctober 2005: Suzuki and FIAT announce a partnership on FIAT’s Diesel engines (see: Suzuki announcement)
  • 6 March 2006: Suzuki and GM announce the reduction of GM’s stake in Suzuki from 20% to 3%, strongly reducing the GM holding in Suzuki, which had started in August 1981. (see: Suzuki announcement)
  • 9 Dec 2009: VW-CEO Martin Winterkorn and Suzuki-CEO Osamu Suzuki announced the “comprehensive partnership” at a press conference in Tokyo (see: joint Suzuki Volkswagen press announcement)
  • 9 Dec 2009: Suzuki transferred 107,950,000 treasury shares to Volkswagen AG, valued approx at 226,695,000,000 yen (= approx. US$ 2.3 billion)
  • 15 Jan 2010: VW purchased 19.89% of Suzuki shares for about € 1.7 billion
  • March 2011: Volkswagen writes in the annual report that Volkswagen “significantly influence financial and operating policy decisions” at Suzuki
  • 1 July 2011: Osamu Suzuki publicly airs his frustrations with “Wagen-san’s” intentions in his Japanese language blog in Japan’s Nikkei “スズキとワーゲンの今とこれから (鈴木修氏の経営者ブログ)” (“Suzuki and Wagen now and the way forward”) (may need Nikkei subscription)
  • Sept 2011: Suzuki’s Board decides to terminate the partnership
  • 18 Nov 2011: Suzuki gives notice to Volkswagen of termination of partnership, Volkswagen does not reply (says Suzuki)
  • 24 Nov 2011: Suzuki files for arbitration at International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in London
  • 2013-2014: The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) conducts a research project in collaboration with the West Virginia University to determine real world, away from test rigs, emissions from diesel cars in the USA. Project leader is John German. ICCT tests a VW Jetta, a VW Passat, and a BMW X5, and finds that in real world driving conditions, the VW Jetta exceeds the US-EPA Tier2-Bin5 Nix (Nitrogen Oxide) emission standards by 15 to 35 times, the VW Passat by 5 to 20 times, while the BMW X5 generally conformed to the standards except in extreme conditions. The fact that the BMW X5 conforms to the standard for the ICCT was proof that the technology to conform existed. (see: ICCT announcement)
  • 30 Aug 2015: ICC Arbitration Court issues judgement and holds the termination of the partnership valid, orders VW to sell all Suzuki shares back to Suzuki (or a 3rd party selected by Suzuki), and orders Suzuki to pay damages for breaking the agreement
  • 17 Sep 2015 8:45am: Suzuki purchases back 119,787,000 of its own shares previously owned by VW via Tokyo Stock Exchange ToSTNeT-3 system for 460,281,547,500 yen (approx. US$ 3.9 billion), completing the termination of the partnership and capital alliance with VW
  • 18 September 2015: Press announcement by The ICCT “EPA’s notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen
  • 18 September 2015: EPA notice of violation to Volkswagen (See: EPA announcement), EPA website concerning Volkswagen
  • 18 September 2015: California Air Resources Board (CARB) letter to Volkswagen, “Re: Admission of Defeat Device and California Air Resources Board’s Request”
  • 26 Sep 2015: Suzuki announced the transaction to sell all 4,397,000 Volkswagen shares which Suzuki owns to Porsche Automobile Holding SE, completing the termination of the partnership and capital alliance with VW

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) study on real-world exhaust emissions from modern diesel cars

The ICCT noted that there is a wide discrepancy in emissions by cars under test conditions and in real live road driving conditions, and conducted the project on real-world exhaust emissions from modern diesel cars.

The report can be dowloaded here as a pdf file: “REAL-WORLD EXHAUST EMISSIONS FROM MODERN DIESEL CARS

“In-Use Emissions Testing of Light-Duty Diesel Vehicles in the United States”

The ICCT contracted with the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions (CAFEE) at West Virginia University to test the real road emissions of three cars in the USA. This study is explained on the ICCT website “In-use emissions testing of light-duty diesel vehicles in the U.S.”

The final report can be downloaded here: “Final Report: In-Use Emissions Testing of Light-Duty Diesel Vehicles in the United States. by Dr. Gregory J. Thompson (Principal Investigator)“.

Copyright·©2015 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Mr. Suzuki didn’t want to be a Volkswagen employee, and that’s understandable (Prof. Dudenhoeffer via Bloomberg)

Suzuki Volkswagen divorce: a teachable moment. Its not about "cultural differences". Partners with colliding agendas and expectations can't partner

Suzuki divorces “Wagen-san” – a teachable moment

No partnership works without meeting of minds, with opposite agendas and colliding expectations

by Gerhard Fasol, All Rights Reserved. 20 September 2015, updated 27 September 2015



Suzuki Volkswagen – bottom line first:

  • Volkswagen wanted Suzuki more than Suzuki needed Volkswagen
  • Suzuki-CEO Osamu Suzuki: “we looked at Wagen’s technologies, and could not find anything we need” (Osamu Suzuki’s blog in Nikkei)
  • Volkswagen underestimated Suzuki’s strength and resolve, and didn’t do the required homework
  • Volkswagen overestimated its own leverage on the opposite side of the world from Wolfsburg
  • Partners with opposite agendas and colliding expectations, without communication and no homework can’t partner
  • Its not about “cultural differences”. Not at all.

On 9 December 2009 a beaming Martin Winterkorn (VW-CEO) was celebrating the new “comprehensive partnership” with Suzuki Motors, and Osamu Suzuki, the 79 year old CEO of Suzuki, was looking the other way, avoiding Mr Winterkorn’s eyes – as you can see in Reuters’ photograph of the occasion.

Reuters reported, that Mr Osamu Suzuki was asked how he would feel about a German CEO of Suzuki Motors in the future, and his answer was unambiguous: Mr Suzuki emphatically stated that Suzuki will not become a 12th brand for Volkswagen, and that he does not want anybody to tell him what to do.

Wall Street Journal reported, that Suzuki and Volkswagen would negotiate details in the weeks or months to come. We now know that these negotiations did not lead anywhere, and were never concluded satisfactorily.

It is obvious that there never was any “meeting of minds”, the expectations were colliding, and the CEOs had not a single language in common in which they could talk directly. At the press conference they looked away from each other.

Osamu Suzuki airs his frustrations with “Wagen-san” in his Japanese language blog in Nikkei – the world’s largest business daily

On 1 July 2011, Suzuki-CEO Osamu Suzuki informs the world about his frustrations about “Wagen” (ワーゲン), via a blog post “スズキとワーゲンの今とこれから (鈴木修氏の経営者ブログ)” (english translation: “Suzuki and Wagen now and the way forward”). Osamu Suzuki’s blog post can be read here (may need Nikkei subscription).

Professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, Director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University Duisburg-Essen according to Bloomberg, summarized: “Mr Suzuki didn’t want to be a Volkswagen employee, and that’s understandable”.

VW’s reply: “The tail is not going to wag the dog” (VW-CEO Winterkorn cited in Der Spiegel on 19 Sept 2011)

Germany’s leading intellectual and business weekly Der Spiegel on 19 Sept 2011 quotes VW-CEO Martin Winterkorn about the VW-Suzuki relationship: “Da wackelt der Schwanz nicht mit dem Hund” (the tail is not going to wag the dog, which I guess has the meaning that Mr Winterkorn perceived Suzuki Motors as the junior partner who cannot have any independent power in a relationship with Volkswagen).

Suzuki Volkswagen alliance time line

  • 9 Dec 2009: VW-CEO Martin Winterkorn and Suzuki-CEO Osamu Suzuki announced the “comprehensive partnership” at a press conference in Tokyo
  • 9 Dec 2009: Suzuki transferred 107,950,000 treasury shares to Volkswagen AG, valued approx at 226,695,000,000 yen (= approx. US$ 2.3 billion)
  • 15 Jan 2010: VW purchased 19.89% of Suzuki shares for about € 1.7 billion
  • 1 July 2011: Osamu Suzuki publicly airs his frustrations with “Wagen-san’s” intentions in his Japanese language blog in Japan’s Nikkei “スズキとワーゲンの今とこれから (鈴木修氏の経営者ブログ)” (“Suzuki and Wagen now and the way forward”) (may need Nikkei subscription)
  • Sept 2011: Suzuki’s Board decides to terminate the partnership
  • 18 Nov 2011: Suzuki gives notice to Volkswagen of termination of partnership, Volkswagen does not reply (says Suzuki)
  • 24 Nov 2011: Suzuki files for arbitration at International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in London
  • 30 Aug 2015: ICC Arbitration Court issues judgement and holds the termination of the partnership valid, orders VW to sell all Suzuki shares back to Suzuki (or a 3rd party selected by Suzuki), and orders Suzuki to pay damages for breaking the agreement
  • 17 Sep 2015 8:45am: Suzuki purchases back 119,787,000 of its own shares previously owned by VW via Tokyo Stock Exchange ToSTNeT-3 system for 460,281,547,500 yen (approx. US$ 3.9 billion), completing the termination of the partnership and capital alliance with VW
  • 26 Sep 2015: Suzuki announced the transaction to sell all 4,397,000 Volkswagen shares which Suzuki owns to Porsche Automobile Holding SE, completing the termination of the partnership and capital alliance with VW

A teachable moment

  • “Comprehensive partnership” without meeting of minds does not work
  • Partnerships are hard when CEOs on both sides don’t have any language in common, thus can’t talk to each other – and have exactly opposite expectations from the start and don’t address them until its too late
  • Processes and methods successful in Europe or USA often don’t work in Japan
  • Its not about “cultural differences”. Not at all.
  • Its about trust, respect, communication and “meeting of minds”, shared (not opposite) expectations and agendas.
  • Speaking at least one language in common helps.
  • more details and analysis here

Financial aspects

  • VW made approx. US$ 1.3 billion profit on the Suzuki shares it owned from 2009-2015
  • Suzuki broke even approximately on selling own treasury stock to VW and repurchasing the same shares back from VW a few days ago, and on temporarily owning 2.5% of VW, but still may have to pay compensation to VW.
  • Read detailed financial analysis here.

During the period 2009-2015 both VW and also Suzuki share prices increased substantially. The reason that VW made substantial financial profits from the VW-Suzuki share transactions, while Suzuki did not, is that Suzuki used 1/2 of the proceeds of selling Suzuki treasury stock to VW for R&D, thus had a much smaller holding of VW shares than VW did of Suzuki shares.

With cash reserves of approx. US$ 8 billion Suzuki will be just fine, and can now focus on expanding Maruti-Suzuki’s 37% market share of India’s passenger car market and other exciting growth projects.

And Volkswagen can now focus on growth markets, and Toyota – and other very pressing issues.

Copyright·©2015 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Quarterly financial reports to go away: UK and EU remove requirements for quarterly financial reports

Quarterly financial reports: are they useful to understand the true performance of companies, or do detract from focus on long term value?

Voluntary quarterly reporting?

Quarterly financial reports: can they be the trees which obscure long term growth of the forrest?

As a Board Director of a Japanese company traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange I have to study and approve monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports, and I share responsibility for the future success of the company.

It is obvious that the longterm success and growth of the company is the most important priority for all stake holders. So how useful are quarterly financial reports? Lets look at some recent developments and at an example below from our Report on Japan’s Telecommunications Industries.

UK setting the trend!

Britain’s leading economist, Professor John Kay, created the Review of UK Equity Markets and Long-Term Decision Making which he reported to the UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in July, 2012.

Motivated by Professor John Kay’s report, the UK regulator removed the requirement for companies to publish quarterly financial reports.

Mark Zinkula, CEO of Legal & General Investment Management, one of UK’s largest investment management firms, around 8 June 2015 wrote a carefully worded letter to 350 UK company Chairmen, recognizing that each company has different circumstances, and encouraging them to report the most meaningful key metrics and to omit reporting quarterly financial results if these don’t contribute to longterm value creation. You can download Mark Zinkula’s letter as a pdf file here.

Martin Lipton, of the NY law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, in an article published on the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation blog encourages the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to keep the UK developments in mind, when reforming the reporting requirements for US corporations.

The European Union (EU) reduced the reporting requirements including the requirement for quarterly financial reporting.

Will Japan and other important countries such as USA follow this trend as well?

Quarterly financial reports: pro’s and con’s

Essentially all well managed companies have fine grained financial management systems which document the financial position of the company at any moment in time.

As an example, when Kazuo Inamori rebuilt Japan Airlines from bankruptcy, he created a reporting system which calculates the profit/loss of every single flight in real time: i.e. when a Japan Airlines flight from Tokyo arrives in San Francisco, the pilot and everyone else knows before landing in San Francisco whether this particular flight was profitable or not – while before Japan Airlines bankruptcy, profit/loss (mainly losses for the last years leading up to bankruptcy) was determined on a full company basis every 3 months in arrears. Read Kazuo Inamori’s talk here. Clearly Kazuo Inamori thinks that such fine grained profit/loss awareness is a crucial component for Japan Airlines’ revival from bankruptcy.

Its obvious that for today’s IT systems the creation of quarterly financial reports from such fine-grained measurement systems such as Kazuo Inamori had installed at Japan Airlines does not cause much additional effort or costs once the coding is done.

Quarterly financial reports: trees vs. the forrest

Quarterly financial reports can be complicated to understand for highly cyclical industries: lets have a look at the quarterly vs annual reports of Japan’s mobile operators from our Report on Japan’s Telecommunications industries.

The figures below show exactly the same financial data – the net income (= profit) of Japan’s mobile operators NTT-Docomo, SoftBank and KDDI over the last 10-15 years:

  • Upper Figure: quarterly net income (thick curves) vs annual net income (thin curves)
  • Lower Figure: quarterly net income (thin curves) vs annual net income (thick curves)
Net income of Japan's mobile operators: quarterly results (thick curves) vs annual results (thin curves)
Net income of Japan’s mobile operators: quarterly results (thick curves) vs annual results (thin curves)
Net income of Japan's mobile operators: quarterly results (thin curves) vs annual results (thick curves)
Net income of Japan’s mobile operators: quarterly results (thin curves) vs annual results (thick curves)

It is hard to draw conclusions from quarterly income curves above. Most eye-catching is that SoftBank’s quarterly income results became much more fluctuating in the last two years. Its hard to judge the relative performance of Docomo, SoftBank and KDDI from the quarterly income curves.

Annual net income curves give a much clearer picture. Annual figures clearly show that SoftBank caught up and overtook Docomo and KDDI in net profits.

As Mark Zinkula points out that every company and every industry is different. In the case of Japan’s mobile operators, annual figures give a clearer picture.

Will quarterly financial reports become voluntary and go away? They might partly in the UK, and maybe also in other countries. As so often in finance, the UK sets the global trends.

Quarterly financial reports & the Toshiba accounting issues

Quarterly financial reports can be the trees and annual reports the forrest… seeing the forrest can be more important than seeing individual trees

Would focus on annual and long-term performance have prevented Toshiba’s accounting issues?

Copyright·©2015 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Burberry Japan: breaking up is hard to do

Burberry Omotesando Tokyo (c) eurotechnology.com

Burberry Japan pivots from successful partnership to direct business

by Gerhard Fasol, All Rights Reserved.



Burberry's new directly operated flagship store in Tokyo Omotesando
Burberry’s new directly operated flagship store in Tokyo Omotesando

Sanyo Shokai pivots from Burberry to Mackintosh and other brands

Burberry Japan pivots to direct business to solve Burberry’s “Japan Problem”: for the last approx. 50 years Burberry’s business in Japan was not Burberry’s business at all, but run under license by the Japanese company Sanyo Shokai and the giant trading company Mitsui. Sanyo Shokai’s core business was developing its own product lines Blue Label and Black Label and selling them under the Burberry Blue Label and Burberry Black Label brands.

Almost every day a foreign company approaches us to help them find a “Japanese partner” to build their business in Japan…

There are many examples of very successful Japan-market-entries via partnerships. Success stories include: Oracle, Salesforce.com, Starbucks, Fuji-Xerox, Yahoo, SuperCell, and many more, and until a few months ago, Burberry.

Read our analysis here, and background facts here.

Burberry found an excellent Japanese partner in 1965, Sanyo Shokai, backed by giant trading company Mitsui, and Sanyo Shokai built a terrific business for Burberry in Japan! Not only did Sanyo Shokai import Burberry products to Japan, but Sanyo Shokai also developed two enormously successful sub-brands for Burberry in Japan: Burberry Blue Label and Burberry Black Label. And Sanyo Shokai kept transferring substantial royalties/license fees to Burberry’s headquarters.

Actually it turned out that almost all the business value for Burberry in Japan was in the Burberry Blue Label and Burberry Black Label sub-brands, which were developed by Sanyo Shokai in Japan, by Japan and for Japan – and with the required Japanese quality and customer service. Sanyo Shokai also contributed the Japanese Burberry flagship store in one of the world’s prime luxury shopping areas, Ginza, and about 300-500 Burberry stores all over Japan – many in prime locations.

In June 2015, Burberry terminated this very successful licensing relationship.

Now after their divorce, both Burberry and Sanyo Shokai rebuild their businesses in Japan from scratch:

  • Burberry lost 300-500 stores which belong to Sanyo Shokai, and Sanyo Shokai’s flagship store in Ginza, and essentially has to build a Burberry business in Japan from zero, while former partner Sanyo Shokai is busy moving former Burberry customers over to Mackintosh and other Sanyo Shokai brands, with Mackintosh in almost the same segment Burberry is now entering afresh
  • Sanyo Shokai licensed the Mackintosh brand from Osaka based Yagi Tsusho, and is now pivoting 300-500 stores in Japan from the Burberry brand to the Mackintosh brand, and other Sanyo brands
Sanyo Shokai's flagship building  in Tokyo-Ginzs, one of the world's prime luxury shopping areas, much frequented by cash-rich Chinese shoppers. Currently being converted from the Burberry brand to Mackintosh and other Sanyo Shokai brands (second building from the left)
Sanyo Shokai’s flagship building in Tokyo-Ginzs, one of the world’s prime luxury shopping areas, much frequented by cash-rich Chinese shoppers. Currently being converted from the Burberry brand to Mackintosh and other Sanyo Shokai brands (second building from the left)

Some puzzles about this split

  • why has Burberry not decided on a less disruptive transition? For example, acquiring Sanyo Shokai comes to my mind. Acquisitions in Japan are not unheard of, and since Sanyo Shokai is a publicly traded company, well established rules apply.
  • why did Sanyo Shokai over the 50 years since starting the relationship with Burberry not build its 100% owned brand? Much smaller Yagi Tsusho managed to acquire Mackintosh, why did not Sanyo Shokai within the last 50 years acquire or develop a 100% owned and successful brand? With Blue Label and Black Label, Sanyo Shokai has proven its ability to build and develop brands, why not under their own brand?

There are a number of other puzzles here. Has this transition been well thought through?

It will be interesting to see where both Burberry and Sangyo Shokai will stand 10 years from now – 10 years from this divorce. Both certainly are in challenging situations in Japan now after this divorce. Will both survive in Japan? Or only one of the two?

Read more details here.

Foreign companies seeking to build a business in Japan via a partnership, and Japanese companies seeking to build the business of foreign companies in Japan can certainly learn from this case study. Although its fashion and apparel, many of the underlying issues also apply in all other business areas, such as electronics, and technology.

Copyright·©2009-2015 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Toshiba income restatement: corresponds to one full year of average operating income

Toshiba's income restatement determined by the independent 3rd party committee corresponds to 1 year of average operating profits

Toshiba’s income restatement announced by the independent 3rd party committee

Independent 3rd party committee chaired by former Chief Prosecutor of Tokyo High Court

On 12 June, 2015, Toshiba announced corrections to income reports, and at the same time engaged an independent 3rd party investigation committee headed by former Chief Prosecutor at the Tokyo High Court, Mr Ueda, to investigate. This independent 3rd party committee submitted their report yesterday, and held a Press Conference this evening.

Lets look at the announced Toshiba financial data in detail. The figure below shows:

  • Toshiba’s previously reported operating income/profits (blue curve),
  • corrections announced by an internal committee on June 12, 2015 (green curve),
  • corrections announced by the independent 3rd party committee on July 20, 2015 (red curve).

The combined amount of downward corrections determined by the independent 3rd party committee is YEN 151.8 billion (US$ 1.22 billion) in total.

Lets put this amount into context:

  • annual sales: approx. YEN 6000 billion (US$ 60 billion)
  • annual operating income (average over last 17 years): YEN 148 billion (US$ 1.5 billion)
  • annual net income (average over last 17 years): YEN 19 billion (US$ 190 million)

Therefore the downward correction summed over the years corresponds to:

  • approx. 2.5% of average annual sales
  • approx. 103% of average annual operating profits, ie more than a full year of average operating profits
  • approx. 8 years of net profits

Toshiba – typical for Japan’s large electronics corporations – operates with razor-thin profit margins: Toshiba’s net profit margin averaged over the last 17 years is 0.25%.

Therefore, the downward correction corresponds to 8 years of average net income/profits.

Toshiba's corrections: internal investigation (June 12, 2015, green) vs independent 3rd party committee (July 20, 2015, red)
Toshiba’s corrections: internal investigation (June 12, 2015, green) vs independent 3rd party committee (July 20, 2015, red)
  • Blue curve shows Toshiba’s initially reported operating income.
  • Green curve shows corrections determined by an internal examination, announced on June 12, 2015. Corrections amount to approx. YEN 50 billion (= approx. US$ 0.5 billion).
  • Red curve shows corrections determined by the independent 3rd party commission, chaired by former Tokyo High Court Chief Prosecutor Ueda and announced on July 20, 2015. Corrections amount to YEN 151.8 billion (= approx. US$ 1.22 billion)

Detailed data and analysis in our Report on Japan’s electronics sector (25th edition).
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