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  ISSUE 11/2008 14 May, 2008  

Dear !*TITLE*! !*LASTNAME*!,

The FCIJ Business Confidence Survey - Spring 2008 has been completed and the results are now available. The views on the economy were rather gloomy, but despite this, the companies are continuing to do fairly well. Read more about the survey below.

We have a luncheon meeting with the Central Finland Chamber of Commerce next Tuesday (more below). For June, we have tentatively planned two events, first a visit to Toyota factory in Toyota city on Wed. 18 June and then a luncheon meeting on Thu. 27 June. Confirmation on these, and more details in my next bulletin.

Bearish Economy Obscuring a Bullish Business
FCIJ Business Confidence Survey - Spring 2008

The Foreign Chambers in Japan (FCIJ) has been conducting Business Confidence surveys online twice a year since 2002 among foreign-affiliated companies in Japan. The thirteenth survey was conducted between April 14 and 25, 2008, and received 497 valid responses (highest ever), a 14% increase from the Fall 2007 survey. As expected, the sentiments about the Japanese economy were much more pessimistic than in the previous survey in October 2007. Despite the negative views on the economy, the companies reported and forecasted for the next six months further gains in sales and profitability, although on a slightly lower level than in the previous survey.

Concerning the strategies of the foreign-affiliated companies in Japan, most of them remain bullish despite the bearish view on the economy and see Japan as a market with room to expand - 76% looking for further growth and 21% expecting to sustain their current level. Only 3% reported that they plan to downsize and 0% (one companies out of the surveyed 497) are considering withdrawing from the market.

The next survey will be conducted in October 2008.

For the full report, click link at right.
Tuesday, 20 May - FCCJ Luncheon Meeting
Joint Luncheon Meeting with Central Finland Chamber of Commerce

Our next luncheon meeting, held on Tuesday 20 May, will be a joint meeting with the Central Finland Chamber of Commerce who is visiting Japan with a 10 person strong delegation.

We will have two speakers:
  • Ms. Ritva Nirkkonen, Managing Director of Jyvaskyla Regional Development
    Company Jykes Ltd.
    Theme: "Human Tech Business Competence in Central Finland"
  • Mr. Timo Varhama, President, UPM-Kymmene Japan KK
    Theme: "Japan Business - Tips for Success"

    Date & Time:Tuesday, 20 May, 12.00-14:00
    Venue: Hotel Okura, Main Bldg. 2F, Clifford Room MAP
    Cost:7,000 yen for members, non-members 8,000 yen
    (collected at the door)
    Registration:by Friday 16 May

    If you like to attend and have not yet registered, please click link below.
    (if you are unsure whether you have registered, click here)
    Finns in Japan on Finnish radio

    Related to the above, Timo Varhama was recently featured in a radio program by the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (YLE) where he talked about doing business in Japan (and much more). To listen to the interview, click HERE (in Finnish).

    In the same series, Seppo Kimanen, Counsellor (Press and Culture) at the Embassy of Finland, was also interviewed. To listen to it, click HERE (in Finnish).

    Friday, 23 May - An Investors Club Event
    TCI / J-POWER: A Major Case for Japan
    by Stephen Givens, adviser for the Children Investment Fund (TCI).

    THE INVESTORS CLUB is a monthly conference organized by France Japon Eco, the magazine of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan.

    The "J-Power case" has been followed very closely by Japan and by foreign investors. The British fund TCI wants to raise its share in the capital of J-Power, a power supplier, from 9,9% to 20%. The management is opposed to such action. The government has blocked TCI's ambitions by judging J-Power too "strategic" to be left in the hands of foreigners.

    A corporate lawyer, Stephen Givens has been living and working in Japan since 1987. He has spent his professional career structuring, negotiating and closing cross-border transactions involving Japanese companies. Mr Givens will share with us his knowledge of the J-Power case, and elaborate on the attractiveness of Japan for foreign investors.

    Date & Time:Friday, 23 May, 17.00-18:30, cocktails 18:30-19:30
    Venue: Meiji Seimei Kan, Brussels Room 5F, 2-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
    Cost:6,000 yen

    The conference is followed by a light cocktail, where speakers and listeners can gather and exchange meishis & ideas..
    Pekka Pylkkänen's Tube Factory in Japan

    Pekka Pylkkänen's Tube Factory Jazz band is making an extensive tour in Japan during May and June. The band consists of Pekka Pylkkanen: saxophones, compositions, Samuli Mikkonen: piano; Filip Augustson: bass and Markku Ounaskari: drums.

    Their current schedule includes the following venues:    
    22 May - Cotton Club/Tokyo
    23 May - Clinic:Concert: Pan School of Music/Tokyo
    23 May - Cotton Club/Tokyo
    25 May - Blue Note/Kyoto
    31 May - Desafinado/Wakayama City
    1 June - Body to Soul/Nagasaki
    3 June - New Combo/Fukuoka
    4 June - Dolphy/Yokohama
    5 June - Gioia Mia/Niigata
    6 June - Creole/Kobe
    8 June - Coo/Sapporo
    9 June - Bottom Line/Nagoya (Not conf.)
    10 June - B Flat/ Tokyo
    11 June - LIVEHOUSE BIRD/Okayama City
    12 June - Satin Doll/Okazaki City

    News from Finland

    Finnish confidence in Russian economy strong despite US woes

    The Finnish-Russian Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday that 90 per cent of the Finnish companies included in its poll believed Russia's economy would carry on growing despite the recent credit woes in the US.

    The chamber added more than 80 per cent of the polled firms intended to expand their operations in Russia.

    Grin of the week

    Not so smart parents

    A couple was delighted when finally their long wait to adopt a baby came to an end. The adoption center called and told them they had a wonderful Japanese baby boy, and the couple took him without hesitation.

    On the way home from the adoption center, they stopped by the local college so they each could enroll in night courses. After they filled out the form, the registration clerk inquired, "What ever possessed you to study Japanese?"

    The couple said proudly, "We just adopted a Japanese baby and in a year or so he'll start to talk. We just want to be able to understand him".

  • Best regards

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

    This bulletin is published by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan (FCCJ) and distributed to over 600 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, 16 individual and one special member.