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  ISSUE 4/2011 16 February, 2011  
Dear !*TITLE*! !*LASTNAME*!,

After a couple of days of heavy snowfall in Tokyo, according to the weather bureau for the first time in three years, the sun is shining again and seems that we could expect a bit warmer spell for the next few days. But no Spring in sight yet... .

But changing weather should not necessarily harm business, especially if you are in the clothing or umbrella industry...;-). We will perhaps hear about this, and many other matters at our luncheon meeting next week Thursday with the J-Front Retailing Chairman and CEO, Tsutomu Okuda.

In this issue I also have report from the Business Roundtable on Russia held yesterday at the Embassy, and an announcement of the March luncheon meeting. Read on for more about these below!

Thursday, 24 February - FCCJ Luncheon Meeting
Mr. Tsutomu Okuda, Chairman and CEO of J. Front Retailing Co., Ltd.

At our luncheon meeting on Thursday, 24 February we will have Mr. Tsutomu Okuda, Chairman and CEO of J. Front Retailing Co., Ltd., as our guest speaker. Mr. Okuda is also the Honorary Consul of Finland in Osaka.
The theme of Mr. Okuda's presentation is: "Japan's course of action to be learned from Finland". Naturally he will also talk about the current state and furture of the retail industry in Japan.

Date & Time:Thursday, 24 February, 12.00-14:00
Venue: Hotel Okura, Mayfair Room (South Wing. 12F)  MAP
Cost:6,000 yen for members, non-members 8,000 yen
(collected at the door)
Registration:by Tuesday, 22 February
Mr. Okuda's Profile
Born: October 14, 1939 in Tsu, Mie prefecture
April, 1964 Joined The Daimaru Inc.
Sep. 1991 Representative Director, Daimaru Australia Pty. Ltd.
May, 1995 Director, The Daimaru Inc.
May, 1996 Managing Director, The Daimaru Inc.
March, 1997 President, The Daimaru Inc.
May, 2003 Chairman and CEO, The Daimaru Inc.
Sep., 2007 President and CEO, J. FRONT RETAILING Co., Ltd.
    (to present)
Chairman, The Daimaru, Inc. (to present)

Mr. Okuda is also an Independent Director of Resona Holdings, Inc. since June 2006. He is also serving as and Director in Osaka Securities Exchange and Vice Chairman of the Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren). Mr. Okuda is also the Honorary Consul of Finland in Osaka.,

About J. Front Retailing Co., Ltd.,
J. Front Retailing fronts the retail operations of leading Japanese department stores The Daimaru and Matsuzakaya Holdings. The holding company was created by the merger of the two in 2007. The Daimaru, founded as a drapery shop in 1717, operates about 15 upscale shops in western Japan. Matsuzakaya, founded in 1611 as a kimono retailer, runs eight department stores in central Japan, including its flagship location in Nagoya. J. Front's Peacock Stores unit operates some 90 supermarkets in the Chubu, Kansai, and Tokyo districts of Japan. The company's other activities include construction, credit services, direct marketing, furniture making, restaurants, and wholesale textiles.

If you would like to attend and have not yet registered, click link at right!
To see who have already registered, click here.

Report from Business Roundtable on Russia

Om the occasion of the visit to Tokyo of Ms. Nina Vaskunlahti, Director General, Department for Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of Finland organized in cooperation with the FCCJ a Business Roundtable on Russia on Tuesday, 15 February.

Ambassador Jari Gustafsson acted as moderator for the roundtable with opening words from Ms. Vaskunlahti and commenting remarks from Masaaki Kuboniwa, Professor, Institute of Economic Research, Taisuke Abiru, Researcher, The Tokyo Foundation and Juha Nurminen and Olli Pohjanvirta of Nurminen Logistics Oyj.

30 members and guests participated in the lively discussions.
For a full report, click links at right.

Thursday, 24 March
Joint European Luncheon Meeting with New EU Ambassador Schweissgut

The Austrian Business Council organizes in cooperation with the Chambers of Commerce of Belgium-Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland a luncheon meeting on Thursday, 24 March with Mr. Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, the new EU Ambassador to Japan, as the guest speaker.

In his speech Mr. Schweisgut will address:
  • issues of the future EU-Japan cooperation
  • cooperation of the EU delegation with the EBC
  • relevance of business topics for the Delegationfs activities

    Date & Time:Thursday, 24 March, 12.00-14:00
    Venue: The Westin Tokyo Hotel, Kaede Room  MAP
    Cost: 6,500 yen (members), 7,500 yen (others) - collected at the door
    Registration:soft deadline Wed. 2 March, hard dedline Monday, 14 February

    Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, the former Ambassador of Austria to the European Union, who previously had been Austria's ambassador to Japan, is the new Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Japan.

    Mr Schweisgut assumes his post at a pivotal time in EU-Japan relations, where one of the most pressing tasks on the agenda is to map out a new bilateral framework that will succeed the Action Plan for EU Japan Cooperation, which entered into force in 2001 and is set to expire later this year.

    If you would like to attend, please click link at right:
    News from Finland

    Group of Nokia shareholders plan to challenge Microsoft alliance

    A group of nine unnamed Nokia shareholders said on a website Monday they planned to challenge the Finnish mobile phone maker's plan to form an alliance with US software maker Microsoft at Nokia's annual general meeting in May.

    The group added on that if the AGM elected them to a majority on Nokia's board they would sack Stephen Elop as managing director as well as Tero Ojanpera, Niklas Savander and Mary McDowell, and focus on the Meego operating system, with handsets running Microsoft's Windows launched under a sub-brand chiefly in North America.

    The group also said that Nokia must avoid "becoming a poorly differentiated original equipment manufacturer with only low-margin, commodity products that is unable to attract top software talent and cannot create shareholder value though innovation".

    The website does not identify the authors, saying only that all have "worked with Nokia in different capacities in the past".

    Nokia has seen its market value plummet since Elop, a former Microsoft executive, unveiled his strategy last week.

    Grin of the Week

    Dishonest Joe

    Joe the lawyer died suddenly, at the age of 45. He got to the gates of Heaven, and the angel standing there said, "We've been waiting a long time for you."

    "What do you mean," he replied, "I'm only 45, in the prime of my life. Why did I have to die now?"
    "45? You're not 45, you're 82," replied the angel. "Wait a minute. If you think I'm 82 then you have the wrong guy.
    I'm only 45. I can show you my birth certificate."

    "Hold on. Let me go check," said the angel and disspeared inside. After a few minutes the angel returned. "Sorry, but by our records you are 82.
    I checked all the hours you have billed your clients, and you have to be 82..."
  • 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.