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No.30
Economy, No.30  Mar. 23, 2016

Is Relocation to Regional Cities the Equivalent of Abandoning Old people in the Mountains to Die?Is the Long-Term Care Insurance System Sustainable? ―There are two issues to solve.

Kato Hisakazu, Professor, School of Political Science and Economics, Meiji University

Launched in April 2000, the Long-Term Care Insurance System is the newest social insurance system in Japan. The hardship faced by people giving family care began to be known widely to the public due to an older, full-length novel by Ariyoshi Sawako, which is titled Koukotsu no Hito (The Twilight Years). Since the late 1980s, the government has been addressing this issue by taking various measures, such as formulating the Gold Plan and the New Gold Plan to promote the establishment of facilities, the provision of welfare services at home, among other measures. However, it was difficult to address the issue fully with the welfare for the aged that was associated with the welfare placement system, or with the medical ]]> ... [Read more]

No.30
Economy, No.30  Feb. 15, 2016

Google vs. Local Competitors in Japan Any chance for the local competitors to win the AI market?

According to Sano Kyuuichirou, Director, Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), “We share a critical feeling that Japan will lose its competitive advantage in every industry if no action is taken immediately to address the country’s status of falling behind its foreign counterparts in the field of artificial intelligence.” METI announced an interim report entitled “Changes in the response to the arrival of a data-driven society using CPS” on May 21, 2015. (Please refer to the Figure 2.) CPS stands for Cyber Physical System, meaning a system that analyzes data related to real-world problems with artificial intelligence (AI) technology and sends the analytical results back to the real world. In the field characterized by the theme of a data-driven society using CPS, Google is on its way to becoming a market leader. In this ... ... [Read more]

No.30
Economy, No.30  Feb. 15, 2016

Yahoo’s Strategy to Compete with Google in JapanWorld-class competition, A battle that cannot be lost

As the search engine giant, Google has a dominant market presence in Internet advertising by a significant margin. But Google doesn’t have a monopoly in every market. In Asia, in particular, local competitors have a great deal of importance within their own markets: Baidu in China; Naver in South Korea; and Yahoo with a stronghold over Japan. Please take a look at the figure on the lower right, which shows the search engine usage statistics for Japan. According to the statistical survey, Yahoo Japan (in red) has opened up a slight lead over Google (in blue) in terms of market share in Japan. It is true that Yahoo played a significant role in the early days of Internet services when they were first introduced to Japan in around 2000, and the company still maintains a strong brand image among search engine users in the ... ... [Read more]

No.29
Economy, No.29  Jan. 25, 2016

Special report/Is it “time to sell” in Japan? – Shedding light on what happenedFull Details of the Second Stage of Abenomics

Yamamoto Kozo, a member of the House of Representatives, of the Liberal Democratic Party, has been involved with the drafting of Abenomics initiatives, advocating, if nothing else, large-scale monetary easing since before the second Abe Shinzo administration was formed. Yamamoto, who is also the chairman of the “group that makes Abenomics a success,” a Diet member caucus, was reportedly surprised and could not keep himself from displaying anger when he heard the announcement of the second stage of Abenomics on September 24. The content of the second stage caught him by surprise like a thunderbolt, as he did not recognize any term such as “financial measures” in the list of policies. The Nagatacho sources consider that a significant change has taken place in the part of the brain of the Abe administration that drives financial measures. People who had advocated reflation were excluded from ... ... [Read more]

No.29
Economy, No.29  Jan. 14, 2016

The Approaches of Kyoto CompaniesThe secrets of competing in the international arena seen in the ancient capital

Kyoto is recognized as the Silicon Valley of Japan

... [Read more]

No.27
Economy, No.27  Jun. 19, 2015

Reversing the Disappearance of the Regions – Learning from Success Stories Local (L) Prescriptions Differ from Global (G) OnesThe Key to Revival is to Create Clusters of Corporations and Towns

TOYAMA Kazuhiko, Representative Director and CEO, Industrial Growth Platform, Inc.

The Dichotomy of Global and Local Economies As the premise for understanding my unique prescription for what should be done to revive the regions, I would like to point out that the Japanese economy is divided into a global (G) sphere and a local (L) sphere. The players in the global economic sphere are the big corporations centered on the manufacturing industry and the IT industry. They compete with the rest of the world; to use a sporting metaphor, they compete at the Olympic level. On the other hand, the actors in the local economic sphere are community-based small and medium-sized companies in retail and wholesale, transportation, distribution, social welfare, day care, nursing and medical care. The focus is on customer-facing services, but since the locality imposes limitations on location, the sporting metaphor would be a prefectural tournament. In the global sphere, perfect competition ... ... [Read more]

No.27
Economy, No.27  Jun. 13, 2015

The Piketty Phenomenon and Reality in Japan: Distributive Politics – Overemphasis and the Lack of Growth Policies

Kojima Akira, Member, Board of Trustees, and Adjunct Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Trustee, Chairman of the World Trade Center Tokyo

Dubbed a “rock star” economist as he emerged from France, Paris School of Economics Professor Thomas Piketty has also caused a major sensation in Japan. The Japanese translation of his stand-out publication, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, sold more than 100,000 copies within the first few weeks of its release. In the publishing industry, which is suffering from a structural publishing slump, publishers of the Japanese editions of foreign books have become an object of envy. The theme of the book is inequality, and in Japan, where widening inequality has long been a source of lively debate, “inequality” has become a point of contention which has even found its way into economic policy debates in the National Diet. Capital that doesn’t earn money and the decline of entrepreneurship However, isn’t the reality in Japan something unique and quite different from Professor Piketty’s argument? If ... ... [Read more]

No.27
Economy, No.27  Jun. 6, 2015

The Future of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Concerns for Transparency and Governance

< Key Points > The international finance system has reached a key turning point The lack of a Board of Directors in AIIB, as well as China possibly using AIIB for political purposes, are still major concerns Given these concerns, it was the right decision for Japan not to join as a charter member in order to negotiate the MOU It was a surprise that the UK decided to join in the AIIB, followed by Germany, France and Italy Japan should maintain the option of joining the AIIB depending on the AIIB’s reform proposals At the time of the IMF and World Bank Spring meeting in Washington in April, there was much media attention over the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) proposed by China. Both the IMF and the World Bank have publicly welcomed the AIIB as a sign of increase in funding for ... ... [Read more]

No.26
Economy, No.26  Jun. 5, 2015

Superconducting Maglev Technology: Future and Development

The journey toward realizing superconducting magnetic levitation (maglev) that achieves speeds of up to 500 kilometers an hour has come one step closer to its end, with the emergence of a train known as the linear motor car. JR Central, which is responsible for the operation of the Tokaido Shinkansen line, started work on the construction of the Chuo Shinkansen line for use by the superconducting maglev at the end of last year. The occasion was marked with a ceremony held on December 17, 2014 to pray for safe construction of the line, which will run between JR Central’s Shinagawa Station in Minato Ward, Tokyo and Nagoya Station in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture. If all goes well, service is scheduled to begin in 2027, when linear motor cars will connect the 285.6-kilometer distance between Shinagawa and Nagoya in as little as 40 minutes. “Superconducting maglev” ... ... [Read more]

No.26
Economy, No.26  Jun. 5, 2015

Fifty Years of the Shinkansen, and the Opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen

The Safety of the Shinkansen October 1, 2014 marked the passage of fifty years since the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train line), which was Japan’s first Shinkansen, and also the world’s first high-speed railway. Japan’s Shinkansen network—which began with the 552.6 km stretch between the stations of Tokyo and Shin-Osaka—has continued to grow and expand and, including the new Hokuriku Shinkansen (between Nagano and Kanazawa) that entered service on March 14, 2015, has now reached a total length of 2,848.3 km. (See the table: Shinkansen) The Shinkansen mentioned above are the ones capable of running at speeds of over 200 km/h. Apart from these, there are also the 275.9 km of the Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen, which are both of the type that run onto conventional train lines; the Hakata-Minami Line; and the 1.8 km stretch of the Joetsu Line between Echigo-Yuzawa ... ... [Read more]