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  ISSUE 5/2002

5 FEBRUARY, 2002  


This seems to be a week of all kind of uncertainties, politically, economically, and even the weather does not know if it should rain or shine.
Although he might not be able to do anything about the weather, we Finns hope that Marutei Tsurunen could give some fresh input into the Japanese politics, now when he finally got his well deserved seat in the Diet. Congratulations!
We hope that you still have a lot left of your Finnish "sisu" desperately now needed (more about SISU later...).

February Luncheon Meeting
Date & Time:Friday, 15 February, 12.00 -14.00
Place: Capitol Tokyu Hotel, Take Room
Cost:7,000 yen (collected at door)
Our guest speaker is Mr. Makoto Sasagawa, General Manager, Sales & Marketing Department, Europe Division, Toyota Motor Corporation.
The theme of his presentation is:
"Toyota in Europe as well as in Nordic countries (history and future, Toyota's strategy)". Mr. Sasagawa has also promised to give some comments on Toyota's entry into Formula 1.
If you plan to attend, and have not yet registered, do so by clicking link at right.
If you would like to check if you are on the list and see who else has already registered, click HERE .

EU-Japan Centre Seminar:
Techno-Business partnerships in Tsukuba Science City
-Challenges to the new technology world-
Date & Time:Wednesday, 14 February, 15:00-17:00
Place: Tokyo ANA Hotel, B1F "Glory" Room
by Dr Kimihiro Ohta,
Coordinator for partnerships, AIST, Tsukuba Science City
This presentation will introduce the new organization and research activities of the National Institute of AIST (Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) based in Tsukuba Science City. In particular, the seminar will focus on research results, technology transfer and achievements in information technologies (IT) at the ETL (Electrotechnical Laboratory) and the AIST in Japan. Research in S&T at the AIST plays a key role not only through the increase of knowledge, but also by boosting Japan's innovative edge and creating new business partnerships in Japan.
For more about the seminar, and registration form, click link at right.

EBC Seminar:
Corporate Tax Reform in Japan
Date & Time:Wednesday, 27 February, 17:00-19:00
Place: EU-Japan Centre
Cost:2,000 yen
The corporate tax regime in Japan is undergoing a period of fundamental change. Tax facilitated corporate reorganisations were introduced in FY2001, and a consolidated tax system will be retroactively be introduced for FY2002. How will these changes affect your business? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these reforms?
Join experts from the EBC's Tax Committee in an open session exploring these issues. A Q&A session will form part of the event.
For more about the seminar, and registration form, click link at right.

World Economic Forum Report
As you may recall, I reported in the 23 October bulletin that according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, Finland was number one both in current competitiveness and growth potential.
By request from one of our member companies, we have now made a 4 page A4-size summary leaflet of this report, with an introduction in Japanese. As a member advantage, we will make for you customized reports (with logo and image) to be used when you want to promote the benefits of the Finnish origin of your company...
5 copies are provided free of charge, additional copies are charged by material cost.
For more information and order sheet, click link at right.
SISU Vol. 3
The third edition of SISU has just ben released. 184 pages full of information and, in most cases, fabulous pictures. The main theme of this issue is the forest industry, but it also contains a long interview with President Tarja Halonen, and other notable Finnish personalities.
SISU is available at selected book stores and costs 1,500 yen. If you cannot find it in your book store, or in case you would like to buy several copies, please contact the co-producer of SISU, the Finland Trade Center (Finpro), tel. 03-5447-6000/Ms. Agawa, or email her by clicking link at right.
News from Finland
Ministry of Finance: tax is too high
High taxation is the biggest obstacle to Finland's competitiveness. So said the finance ministry itself as it published its comparison of tax levels in OECD countries. Even when overall taxation falls this year to 43.5 % of GDP from last year's 45 pct, Finland will still leads the pack after Sweden and Denmark. The EU average is 41.3 %.

The FM said income tax is too high across the board, the threshold for the low paid is too high while marginal rates for top earners can reach 60 pct. Finland comes out better on corporate taxation but it has lost its edge since it was one of the only countries to raise this, to 29 pct, in recent years.

PM Paavo Lipponen said perceptible tax cuts could be achieved but only if they were linked to a moderate long term national pay settlement. He said the pay talks due at the end of 2002 would be the toughest challenge to finance policy this year.

Grin of the Week
Urban Legends
Again one of these tricks you can do in MS Word...
  1. Open a Word document
  2. Type:     =rand(10,5)
    NOTE: two spaces before =
  3. Press enter and wait a couple of seconds
Voila! You should get some funny text...
This has got almost an urban legend status, but it's actually a documented function used to create boilerplate documents with dummy text - useful for testing formatting options, fonts, etc. Change the variables, and you change the length of the generated dummy text. For example, the command above creates 10 paragraphs, each with 5 sentences.

In English, the dummy sentence is "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." The French version says (in French) "Serve this gentleman a beer and some kiwis." These strange sentences contain all the letters of the alphabet (in their native language). However, not in Japanese, try if you run Japanese version of Word....

That's all for now, have a nice week!

Best regards

Clas G. Bystedt

If you have any comments, rumors, gossip or inside information,
send it to: fccj@gol.com

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This bulletin is published by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan (FCCJ) and distributed to over 300 persons among its members and related organizations.
FCCJ was established in April 1999 to promote trade and economic exchange between Japan and Finland and has today 74 corporate members.