business

Tokyo hopes to become innovation hub, challenge Japanese conformism

22 Comments
By Junko Horiuchi

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22 Comments
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Wish them all the best. Exactly what the country needs too. Just imagine. A nation full of thinkers!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Excellent news! I can’t see why Japan is not already the main hub for foreign start-ups in Asia. Booming economy, Super hi-tech, lightning fast internet, great transport,very educated employees, no crime,welcoming to foreigners and stable government. Leader in Asia.

Opening up Japan to fireign investment is another aim of Abenomics, crafted by PM Abe and Vice PM Aso.

-17 ( +0 / -17 )

To a large extent, low entrepreneurial rates can be attributed to a culture that stresses conformity and is highly critical of failure.

Brilliant. Wonder how much the company charged for that unique insight.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Ain't gonna happen. I spent 3+ hours at the Labor Ministry last week discussing this and that all in nihongo, at the end they brought out the Bucho dressed in a suit who read a two page documents about labor laws. I commented that their operation was like a man on a bicycle looking up at everyone else flying in jets, we all laughed but they knew what I said was true.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Reading the headline, I imagined that ‘Tokyo’ the establishment had suddenly become enlightened but The Venture Cafe seemed to be the only hope.

Unfortunately, Japan is not about free thinking and new ideas and that is why I refuse to invest in any type of business here.....

11 ( +12 / -1 )

gambare:

can’t see why Japan is not already the main hub for foreign start-ups in Asia.

I can think of four.....

Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea!

https://www.forbes.com/best-countries-for-business/list/#tab:overall

Booming economy,

It's been in stagnation for three decades.

Super hi-tech,

Places like Taiwan and South Korea also produce hi-tech stuff nowadays and are giving Japan a run for its money. TVs, cars, computers, smartphones, etc.

lightning fast internet,

And expensive. I doubt whether Japan has an edge over South Korea or Hong Kong.

It was quite expensive in my home country when broadband was first rolled out, but now it's so much cheaper than Japan and just as fast.

great transport,

And very expensive. Bullet trains and all other forms of transport in Taiwan, South Korea, China and Hong Kong are so much cheaper.

very educated employees,

Diplomas from many Japanese universities aren't worth the paper they're written on.

Plus:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/29/national/70-of-foreign-students-shun-offers-from-university-of-tokyo-degree-programs-in-english/

no crime,

Not according to JT here.

welcoming to foreigners

And here's an example of the omotenashi hospitality

http://www.debito.org/?p=14954

stable government.

Not according to the crowds demonstrating outside Nagatachō. Stable governments aren't continually dogged by scandals.

Leader in Asia.

World economy number 2, China, will have something to say about that. See above for more examples and explanations.

Opening up Japan to fireign investment is another aim of Abenomics, crafted by PM Abe and Vice PM Aso.

You can't invite foreign investment if you hate foreigners.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

never happen, J companies will never invest large amounts of money into entrepreneurs unless they can control how its run and the profits they make.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

A good idea, but my guess is before they can even do it they will have to conform to all sorts of paperwork and licensing procedures, and probably apply for a bunch of absurd credentials to become like a corporation, and in order to do that they'll have to take tests, by the books for it, etc. etc.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I'm pretty sure this urge will follow as the last five years of urges amount to absolutely nothing except several government panels and result....old men sucking air through their dentures shacking their heads "it's not the Japonese way" as they collect a huge pay packet for soiling a chair and deciding to do.....nothing.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

 I can’t see why Japan is not already the main hub for foreign start-ups in Asia. 

inheretance tax, for starters. If the foreigners decide to commit themselves to Japan, all their assets abroad become subject to the world's steepest inherentence tax, up to 55 percent...on family homes, family businesses, properties and savings -- even if the assets have nothing to do with Japan.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Ganbare Japan said -

" Excellent news! I can’t see why Japan is not already the main hub for foreign start-ups in Asia..........."

Didn't you read the article - it addresses that concern.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan would be the last place on earth I would invest. A bureaucratic nightmare.

Besides, why would I want invest in a country that does not really want you there, but wanrs your ideas.

I now regard Japan as Division 2 anyway.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why do people think that Japan is not innovative? Japan is the third largest filer of patent applications in the world, following the US and China. However, only 1/3 of China's applications are granted, 1/2 of the US patents applications are granted, but 2/3 of Japan's patent applications are granted. That is the power of Japanese innovation.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Inheritance tax of 55% is only for 600 million yen or about $5 million.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

break away from a culture that stresses conformity and fears failure

Correction: Break away from a culture that stresses intimidation and fears instant dismissal.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A lot of negative attitudes and comments, which I fully understand where they're coming from. But would you rather there be no attempts to support entrepreneurship and innovation? The comments imply as much.

This isn't about changing the whole country. It's about establishing one hub to support entrepreneurs and helping to gain some successes. It can then expand from there. A lot of challenges to be sure but I hope this goes well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Digital Nomads are growing in Asia, but don't choose Japan. Live below $600 a month in Thailand and have a posh place. Indonesia etc. People go where they are welcome. Hit enough barriers in Japan and people leave, it's not difficult to understand.

Live by the beach and get paid Western wages in a smaller economy of scale is more attractive.

Until there are actual laws and enforcement actively stopping various discriminations up and down society there's no point. Japan is a nice place to visit but it's too backward socially. Acceptance of human beings has to be normal and not just an idea. More people give up on the country than stay. If you stayed it's because you found a nice spot and that's great, but you know that's not how the rest of society works right?

This hub idea is a great one and I would appreciate it coming true, but I wonder if it isn't meant to do anything but only look like they're doing something? I want to be wrong but we've been down this road before

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@zichi

Inheritance tax of 55% is only for 600 million yen or about $5 million.

Yes, that's top rate, and anyway many IT entrepreneuers in Silicon Valley, London, etc. have total assets beyond that threshold. The Japanese assess based on total family estate, not just the share one person receives in a will. What's more, the rate is scaled, 10, 20, 30 40 percent depending assessed value, so the tax hits the middle class very hard, harder than in any other country. (although I don't know about North Korea)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ sf2k

Live by the beach and get paid Western wages in a smaller economy of scale is more attractive.

Most 'digital nomads' don't contribute to the development countries where they are parasitising in.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ stepoutsidethebox

Your contribution can be seen as 'trolling' as well.

Booming economy? Stagnate. Wages have gone up in 15 years. 

Read something else than comics, try Bloomberg on the J economy.

Super hi-tech? My office has a super hi-tech PC with Taiwanese mobo, US psu, US cpu, korean SSD, chinese case, USA mouse, chinese keyboard, korean monitor. The japanese piece of technology I have is a Marantz headphone DAC. 

Obvious you've no knowledge where the stuff mentioned is made or developed.

 lightning fast internet? Yeah... I will give you that one. Its pretty darn good. 

.....

great transport? Yeah, in a few major cities. But it also costs an arm and a leg. Costs me 30,000 round trip from hokuriku to Tokyo. Using the freeway costs me 1000 yen a day for 40km round trip. 

When you've not that much to spend you can also hike.

very educated employees? Lol. No, just no. 

Well, Japan didn't become the second, now third economy without skills and the education that belongs to that. I come with a simple example to make it easier for you to comprehend : Think Toyota ..try to imagine what happens there..they have 'machines' there called 'robots' [ with a leading brand called FANUC] developed, maintained by ...

no crime? No reported crime. But to be fair it is really low. 

........

welcoming to foreigners and stable government. Leader in Asia? Lol. Welcoming to a few well educated foreigners. Hostel to 98% of all other. Stable Government. More PMs in 15 years than any other country in the last 50 years. Finally gets a long term PM and he is as corrupt as can be and about to step down. Leader in Asia... yeah tell that to china who is just stealing Japanese island and nothing is being done.

'Welcoming few educated foreigners, Hostel, ah you mean hostile, to 98% of all others...?'

A developed country needs educated foreigners as there are already too many dish washers...

Of those 50 years we see one party ruling most of the time...that is stability if you like it or not ...

I sense some anger here, that is not good for a persons health :)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ pukey2

can’t see why Japan is not already the main hub for foreign start-ups in Asia.

I can think of four.....

Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea!

https://www.forbes.com/best-countries-for-business/list/#tab:overall

'Doing business' doesn't mean 'foreign start-ups'only, lots of J firms doing great business in the 4 mentioned...

Booming economy,

It's been in stagnation for three decades.

Do some better reading on this, start with Bloomberg, WSJ and the FT

Super hi-tech,

Places like Taiwan and South Korea also produce hi-tech stuff nowadays and are giving Japan a run for its money. TVs, cars, computers, smartphones, etc.

You've no clue where fundamental research takes place, design & product development..

lightning fast internet,

And expensive. I doubt whether Japan has an edge over South Korea or Hong Kong.

It was quite expensive in my home country when broadband was first rolled out, but now it's so much cheaper than Japan and just as fast.

It's 'lightning fast'. So what's your point? Japan could be the first country to roll out 5G..

great transport,

And very expensive. Bullet trains and all other forms of transport in Taiwan, South Korea, China and Hong Kong are so much cheaper.

very educated employees,

Diplomas from many Japanese universities aren't worth the paper they're written on.

Says Pukey2..check the 'lists'.....

Plus:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/29/national/70-of-foreign-students-shun-offers-from-university-of-tokyo-degree-programs-in-english/

The reason is mentioned in the article, so what's your point?

no crime,

Not according to JT here.

Gambare is an enthousiast clown and it's of course 'low crime' and that's what it is.

welcoming to foreigners

And here's an example of the omotenashi hospitality

http://www.debito.org/?p=14954

I've seen vids and been reading articles by Debito Aroudo and will not doubt his experiences as a resident, but as a frequent visitor I've mostly felt welcome. Incidents happen in any country.

stable government.

Not according to the crowds demonstrating outside Nagatachō. Stable governments aren't continually dogged by scandals.

Well, that would make the US administration unstable as well at the moment. It needs more than that.

Leader in Asia.

World economy number 2, China, will have something to say about that. See above for more examples and explanations.

The Chinese and the Koreans know who's top and who's bottom in Asia. China is still a development country so that makes Japan...

Opening up Japan to fireign investment is another aim of Abenomics, crafted by PM Abe and Vice PM Aso.

You can't invite foreign investment if you hate foreigners.

Again do I sense anger here, not healthy :)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japanese people often are conscious of 'Japan quality'

Especially air quality in restaurants. It is the only country listed in the article above which praises everything about Japan in an ideal dream state, that still lets smoke get blown in your face in restaurants.

Many Japanese people see not following the usual path of earning a salary at a company as too risky.

This is a typical psychological father syndrome issue.

Ishii also said that Japanese families often discourage entrepreneurship.

Are not small restaurants and shops individual entrepreneurships? This article is so flawed in so many ways.

Her Taskaji service, offered mainly in Tokyo and Osaka in western Japan, now has 28,000 registered users looking for help with housekeeping while 900 are available as helpers.

Nothing special here except satisfying a need of society. One does not have to be a scientist to be successful. You however though, cannot export any product with this successful idea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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