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  ISSUE 5/2010 9 March 2010  
Dear !*TITLE*! !*LASTNAME*!,

This week we have a new contribution from the Japan veteran in Finnish business and paper salesman on Aoyama dori in the column "Aoyama View" at our web site. This time it is not about Japanese politics, but another theme, important to most of us, the image of Finland in Japan - can it last?

There's an old saying is familiar to all Finns, "To be Finnish - it is like winning in lottery".
In the past, it was much used to emphasize the advantage that Finnish people have with their high standards in living, health care, education, social security, pure nature, abundant water etc compared to some other nations that don't have them. More recently, it has well applied for us Finns here in Japan: it seems somehow Japanese people have developed special likening to Finland, its culture and people. This is a tremendous advantage for us in the ever tightening competition in business and many other areas like culture, science, diplomacy for the attention of the Japanese against other nations. In promoting Finland, "we are all in same boat", to use another worn out saying.

Click banner above to read the column titled "Finland's good image in Japan - can it last?"

  Report from the FCCJ Club Evening at Moomin Bakery & Café

The first networking event in 2010 was a club evening held on Tuesday 2 March at the Moomin Bakery & Café in Tokyo Dome City La Qua, Korakuen. This was the 6th time to have the club evening at this venue.

36 members and guests, out of them almost half of them newcomers, joined and got a taste of Finnish style delicious food, including fresh Finnish bread from their own bakery, drinks, including Finnish beer and mingle with old and new friends in a informal atmosphere with Moomins as interested spectators.

For more images from the club evening, click link below.
Tuesday, 6 April - Members Only
FCCJ Annual General Assembly
The 10th Ordinary Annual General Assembly of FCCJ will be held at the

Embassy of Finland on

Tuesday, 6 April, 2008 at 17.00

The Assembly will handle matters according to Article 9 in the Articles of Association of the FCCJ.

Dinner at 18:00
After the Assembly (at 18:00), we will have a dinner hosted by Ambassador Jari Gustafsson.

This is a member only event and he dinner is free for one representative/member.

If you would like to attend, please click link at right!
To check who has registered, click HERE!

Friday, 16 April - Stora Enso Cup
Sweden - Finland Golf Challenge 2010

The 17th Sweden-Finland Golf Challenge (team competition between the Swedish and the Finnish Chambers), the Stora Enso Cup, is played on Friday, 16 April for a trophy donated by Stora Enso Japan K.K.

Members of the SCCJ members will also play for their Spring Golf Cup and FCCJ members for their Golf Cup.

This time we have a new venue, Taiheiyo Club Narita Course, which is conveniently located just 6 km off the Tomisato I.C. (one before Narita) on the Higashi-Kanto Expressway.

Date & Time:Friday, 16 April 2010 (start from no. 1 and 10, first tee-off at 9:24)
Venue: Taiheiyo Club Narita Course
240, Wasama, Kawaguri, Narita-shi, Chiba 286-0125
Cost:18,510 yen (incl. green fee, caddie, lunch and party after play)
to be settled directly to the club
Registration:by Friday, 9 April, by enclosed form or mailing  mailing me 
Note: Remember to give your HCP

For a flyer of the event, which also includes the access map and registration form, click link below.

Nordic Job Board Expanded and Modified

The Nordic Job Board has nowl expanded its online career network in Japan by powering the job boards for both the Norwegian and Icelandic Chambers of Commerce, thus encompassing all the Nordic countries..

The Ecentral, who operates the job boards is actively refining their model and in an effort to make sure to get out the best results of all chamber boards, please note that two main changes will happen effective April 1st:
1. Make a transition from free postings to regular freebies and member discounted prices based on a subscription model
2. Implement a member job highlighting system and list all jobs to keep a constant activity of the board

Please refer to the attachment linked below for details of the changes.
EBC Sustainable Development Committee

The EBC plans to start a Sustainable Development Committee if there is sufficient interest. The first meeting will be held on March 19 from 9:00-10:30 a.m. in the EBC office.

If you or anyone else in your company would like to attend the meeting to evaluate the merits of joining the committee, please let Alison Murray know at .

Please click link at right for an outline of the planned committee.
Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber joins JMEC

The Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC) is proud to welcome the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BLCCJ) as its newest supporting foreign chamber of commerce. The BLCCJ now brings the total number of JMEC supporting chambers to 13.

JMEC is a non-profit program designed to enhance the foreign business community in Japansupported by chambers of commerce in Japan from the following countries: America, Australia & New Zealand, Belgium & Luxembourg, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland (Enterprise Ireland), the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.

In the on-going JMEC's 16th business plan competition there are 60 participants working for 9 project clients. More info on

Request for Proposal from JMEC:
Develop and Maintain Public Relations Campaign for the Japan Market Expansion Competition

JMEC is submitting a request for proposal to the members of each of its supporting Chambers of Commerce for the development and maintenance of a public relations campaign. In return, JMEC would like to offer this company Platinum sponsorship, which would give the company the opportunity to send 5 employees per year through the JMEC business training program at no cost. Platinum sponsors also receive brand exposure to all JMEC stakeholders, including our thirteen supporting chambers of commerce, as well as to JMEC corporate sponsors, participants, alumni and other supporters.

Please click link below for this request for proposal in full. Interested companies can contact the JMEC Program Director Laura Loy directly at with questions or a final proposal. The deadline for submitting a proposal is March 31, 2010.
Changes to Immigration Rules - Update

As some of you may recall, I had a notice in my bulletin in October 2009 regarding a change in the immigration rules which might require a Japanese Health Insurance Card for visa renewal.

Now it seems that the Immigration Bureau seems to have changed its mind, stating that joining the social insurance system is not a requirement for renewing or changing one's visa status.

According to the Japan Times, it had decided to change the wording of the new guidelines - which were originally drawn up last March and scheduled to take effect April 1 - to ease concerns that those without social insurance would be forced to choose between losing their visa and joining the insurance system. The original version of the guidelines said foreign residents must present their health insurance card when reporting changes to or renewing their residential status.

The wording has now been revised to read: "In order to promote signing up for social insurance, we will ask (foreign residents) to present their health insurance card starting April 1. We will not reject renewal or change of visa status for failing to present the card."

News from Finland

Finnish dockers and ports to resume talks Tuesday

The office of Esa Lonka, the Finnish government's labour market conciliator, said late on Sunday that talks between the Transport Workers' Union (AKT) and the port operators to end a stevedore strike would resume on Tuesday.

The key sticking point is job security, with the Port Operators' Association saying the AKT has demanded 12 months' severance pay.

The union says its aim is a system to improve the re-employmentchances of workers made redundant.

About 3,000 dockers went on strike Thursday last week, crippling the country's foreign trade.

Grin of the Week

Bear advisory

f you are considering doing some camping this summer, please note the following public service announcement: In Alaska, tourists are warned to wear tiny bells on their clothing when hiking in bear country.

The bells warn away MOST bears (brown, black, etc.), but be careful because they don't scare Grizzly Bears. Tourists are cautioned to watch the ground on the trail, paying particular attention to bear droppings to be alert for the presence of Grizzly Bears.

One can easily spot a Grizzly dropping because it has tiny bells in it.
Best regards

Clas G. Bystedt
If you have any comments, rumors, gossip or inside information,
send it to:

This bulletin is published by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan (FCCJ) and distributed to over 650 recipients 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 62 corporate members, 16 individual and one special member.