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  ISSUE 11/2015 11 May 2015  
Dear !*TITLE*! !*LASTNAME*!,

For my readers in Japan, hope you had a nice and relaxing Golden Week! This year some had (or took...) the option of taking four unpaid holidays and getting 12 days uninterrupted leave, from 29 April to 10 May (29 April, 3,4,5 and 6 May were national holidays).

The results if the 27th Foreign Chambers Business Confidence Survey are now available, the outcome was perhaps more optimistic than expected. Read more below.

Our next event is a luncheon meeting on Monday, 1 June when we have Mr. Roleff Kråkström, Managing Director, Moomin Characters Ltd. as our guest speaker.
Read more also about this below.

Soon after that, on Thursday, 11 June, we have a the 3rd CLIC Networking Event. This time the speaker is Steen Kokkenborg (Representative Director and Vice President) of Lego Japan. I will have more on this in my next bulletin, but if you are curious to now more, click here for a flyer.

After the long Golden Week we have a new contribution from our columnist in his Aoyama View column, this time titled: "Spring Events: Odaiba Rock, Shibuya Sex, Capitol Hill, White Hall and Red Square ".

Click banner at right for a good read on a variety of issues, not only politics!

Tuesday, 28 April - The 27th Foreign Chambers Business Confidence Survey
'Many Bright Spots - for Business and the Economy '

The Foreign Chambers in Japan (FCIJ) has been conducting Business Confidence surveys online twice a year since 2002 among foreign-affiliated companies in Japan. This, the 26th, survey was conducted between October 21 and 31, 2014, and received 300 valid responses (an increase of 8% from the corresponding survey last year) from members of 15 foreign chambers of commerce and business organizations. The survey was run and processed on behalf of all the chambers by the FCCJ.

Across the board, this survey shows further improved sentiments compared to the previous survey conducted in October 2014. The respondents remain more positive about the Japanese economy, for the next 6 months it is expected to continue to grow - the index, on a scale from +2 (strong improvement) to -2 (strong decline) - was now +0.69, compared to +0.33 in October. Looking 12 months ahead, the respondents see a further growth, and on a higher lower level forecasted in the previous survey. The index was now +0.74, compared to +0.42 in the previous survey.

The reported performance of the companies continued to improve and on a somewhat higher level than in the October survey. The index for reported sales performance in the past six months was now +0.71 compared to +0.59 the previous survey.

In the sales forecast for the coming six months the respondents were slightly more optimistic than in October, the index was now +0.89 (previous survey +0.82).

The optimism reflected in the company performance data also clearly show that the strategies of the foreign-affiliated companies in Japan continue to be bullish. 78% (79% in the October survey) are looking for further growth and 18% are expecting to sustain their current level. Only 2% is planning to downsize and also 2 % of the respondents are considering withdrawing from Japan.

For the full report, click link at right!

Monday, 1 June - FCCJ Luncheon Meeting
Roleff Kråkström, Managing Director, Moomin Characters Ltd.

Our next luncheon meeting will held on Monday, 1 June when we have Mr. Roleff Kråkström, Managing Director, Moomin Characters Ltd. as our guest speaker.
The theme of Mr. Kråkström's presentation is: "The Moomin Story in Japan: A lot of hard work, but also some good luck".

Date & Time:Monday, 1 June, 12.00-14:00
Venue: Hotel Okura, Kensington Terrace, South Wing 10F [MAP]
Cost:Members 6,000 yen, Guests 8,000 yen
Registration:by Thursday, 28 May

About Roleff Kråkström
Roleff Kråkström has been the Managing Director of Moomin Characters Ltd. since 2008. Previosuly he worked as Marketing Director at WSOY, Finland's largest publisher.

About Moomin Characters Ltd.
Moomin Characters Ltd is the official body responsible for Moomin copyright supervision. Its operations are based on selling licenses and on finding partners that are number one in their field. Every product and concept is carefully examined. With a few exceptions, the company tries to use Tove Jansson's original illustrations.

Moomin has become a world-wide brand with more than 450 licensees world-wide. All of the Moominvalley characters are globally registered trademarks.

We collect the luncheon fee at the hotel. Note that we have to invoice the lunch fee for cancellations after 13:00 on Friday, 29 May and "no-shows".

Report from Slush Asia in Tokyo 24 April 2015

A Finnish concept of a startup event landed in Asia bringing a good meeting platform and rock'n'roll attitude to Tokyo. The main event held in Finland has become the biggest and arguably the most interesting event of its kind in Europe.

Slush Asia, held on Friday, 24 April, resembled a lot the main event held in Helsinki. Gorgeous lasers lit the tents, technology products of a possible future were on display and thousands of enthusiastic guests and volunteers created an atmosphere similar to a rock festival. The artificial island of Aoumi (Odaiba) in Tokyo gathered up to 3,000 eager participants to Slush Asia that is known to be Japan's biggest and most international startup event held in English. So far the largest Slush event outside of Finland raised an enormous amount of interest and all tickets were sold out well in advance.

Although the event has a strong local ownership, the role of Finland was very visible. The face of the event belonged to a 30-year-old Finn, Antti Sonninen, CEO of Slush Asia. Three of the main speakers were Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell, Rovio's marketing director Peter Vesterbacka, and Linda Liukas, a well-known proponent of programming targeted to women and children. A dozen of employees from the headquarters of Slush were represented as well as Team Finland representatives led by Ambassador Manu Virtamo.

For more on Slush from the Embassy's web site, click link at right.

News from Finland

Banker Wahlroos warns of brain drain - unless gov't cuts taxes

Straight-talking banking mogul Bjorn Wahlroos has called for the incoming administration to reduce taxes on labour across the board. Speaking to Yle Saturday, Wahlroos said that government must ensure that skilled individuals don't leave the country in a bid to escape Finland's heavy taxes.

Speaking on Yle's Ykkosaamu Saturday morning discussion pogramme, Wahlroos said that the next government's most important mission would be to lighten the tax burden on all workers.

"It can be done so that it would most benefit low income earners or those who are unemployed. Earned income deductions should be increased to make wages for low income earners almost tax-free. It would also make it easier to return to the job market after a period of unemployment," Wahlroos explained.

Wahlroos himself came in for a flood of criticism from his compatriots when it emerged that he had essentially re-located to neighbouring Sweden, ostensibly because of the gentler tax rates there.

He called on the authorities to ensure that more skilled individuals such as engineers and product developers don't leave Finland to work elsewhere because of this country's high tax rates.

Grin of the Week

French pronounciation of Enlish can cause confusion...

Lunching with English friends at the time of her husbands reverement, Madame de Gaulle was asked what she was looking forward to in the years ahead.

"A penis." she replied without hesitation. The embarrassed silence that followed was broken by the former President.

"My dear, I don't think that the English pronounce the word like that, it is 'appiness'"
Best regards

Clas G. Bystedt
If you have any comments, rumors, gossip or inside information,
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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 64 corporate members, 12 individual and one special member.