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  ISSUE 1/2004

14 January, 2004  


Happy New Year to all of my readers, hope you have got a flying start to the year of the monkey!

January Luncheon Meeting

Our January Luncheon is a joint meeting with the Danish Chamber of Commerce in Japan. We apologize for the short notice. We had other plans for a luncheon later in the month, but decided to take this opportunity to join the Danish Chambers' event because we think it is of interest to our members.

The guest speaker is Jesper Koll, Chief Economist, Merrill Lynch Japan and the theme of his presentation is: "Japan is Back - from Lost Decade to a New Golden Age"

Date & Time:Tuesday, 20 January , 12:00-14:00
Place: Capitol Tokyu Hotel, Take Room, B2F [MAP]
Cost:7,000 yen (collected at the door)
Registration:by Friday 16 January at 15:00

Before becoming the Chief Economist for Merrill Lynch in 1999, Jesper Koll was a Managing Director of Tiger Management L.L.C. and he was the Chief Economist and Head of Economic and Market Research for J.P. Morgan in Tokyo. He has been serving on several Japanese government advisory councils. Recently, he was chosen as a member of a task force within the Economic Planning Agency that reassesses the viability of the economic indicators now in use. His major published work includes Towards a New Japanese Golden Age.

If you would like to attend, please click link below, at latest on Friday 16th.
Scandinavian Christmas Party Survey Report

We have now concluded the survey among participants at the Scandinavian Christmas Party. We got 42 responses and the survey gives the organizers a lot of ideas on how to further improve the event.

Overall the party got good remarks from the respondents. 92% tought that the party idea was excellent or good, 86 % that the arrangements were excellent or good. Least positive responses related to the food and beverage service at the event.

To find out more about the survey, please click the link below.
Lunch Seminar on the Japanese Economy

"Foreign Investment in Japan"
Presentation by Professor Kyoji FUKAO
Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo

This event is organized by the Maison Franco-Japonaise (Nichi-Futsu Kaikan) with the support of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan and the Economic Section of the French Embassy. The presentation will be followed by a discussion with participants (in English, no translation).

Date & Time:Friday 23January , 12:30-14:00
Place: Maison Franco-Japonaise (Nichi-Futsu Kaikan) Room 601

Please note that this is a "brown bag lunch seminar" (please bring your sandwiches or "bento"), and that the discussion will be "on the record". There is no participation fee but the number of seats is limited (first come first serve basis).
More more information and registration, please click link at right. Please note that you should register directly to the French Chamber.
Tokyo Tourism Word-of-Mouth Campaign

In the interest of promoting tourism, the Tokyo metropolitan government wants to make sure foreign residents go back to their home countries with something good to talk about.

To help spread the word about the nation's capital, the government is planning by the end of this fiscal year - March 31 - to treat 90 foreign residents in Tokyo to a free (incl. lunch and dinner) one-day sightseeing trip around the city. The tours, scheduled for February and March, will visit famous sightseeing spots, including traditional haunts like Asakusa as well as newly developed areas.

To qualify, participants must have stayed in Tokyo for three to five years and are about to return to their home countries.
If you, or some of your colleagues are qualified and interested, please mail me for futher info and application forms.
News from Finland

ALI Group's purchase of Hackman confirmed

The second oldest Finnish stock company, Hackman, is going to be sold to the Italian ALI Group. This was confirmed on Monday when 97 % of Hackman's shareholders accepted ALI Group's offer of 37.50 euro per share, or a total of 180 mill. euro. Approvals for the deals have already been received from related authorities.

ALI is interested in Hackman's Metos division, which manufactures professional kitchen equipment. Through Metos ALI will get a significant position in Scandinavia and a gateway toe the Eastern European and Russian markets. Hackman's second major division, the flagship of Finnish design, iittala, is going to be sold.
Grin of the week

The Church of Fish and Bread

This is partly serious, partly funny. I am sure most of you have received letters from the so called Nigerian 419 scammers (also known as Advance Fee Fraud scams). Most people realized that these are just scams, but there are also hundreds of cases where people have got cheated of tens of thousands of dollars, and even worse got mugged or even killed. Experts estimate that the scammers collect 1.5 billion USD annually from these scams.
Remember: "If it sounds too good to be true, then it is!"

But a number of people have got involved in a "sport" called scam-baiting, which means that they enter into a dialogue with scammers, simply to waste their precious time and resources, and hopefully make them look like complete idiots in the process.

In one case a baiter which called himself Father Bateyoo Reelgud (could also be read as "bait you real good"...) of the Church of Fish and Bread contacted the spammer and in the process asked him to provide some proof of his identity. The spammer was asked to take a photo of himself with a bread in his mouth and some fish on his head. The result is at right...

For the full story, go here: http://www.419eater.com/html/tope.htm

On this site there are several other very amusing stories (see letters archive) and also links to other sites involved i this same sport. Some of the "baits' are truly amazing, I spent several days of the new years holiday on reading these...

Until next 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 500 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 72 corporate members, 15 individual and one special member.