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  ISSUE 17/2002

16 May, 2002  

Dear !*SALUTATION*! !*LAST_NAME*!,

Let's not talk about ice-hockey this time, right?
But last night we Finns got some kind of boost of confidence... In the business news on NHK BS1 just before midnight, there was a fairly long report about the FCIG Business Confidence Survey which was published yesterday. There NHK reported: "...450 companies belonging to 14 groups from the United States, Britain and Finland, among others....".
More about the survey below.



Presentation Luncheon
The survey was presented at a joint luncheon meeting at the Capitol Tokyu Hotel on Wednesday 15 May, attended by 126 members of 13 chambers and 12 representatives for the press.
The results show us, among other things, that while changes still need to take place, foreign businesses see Japan as a land of opportunity with 19% expecting to sustain current size level and 77% expecting growth. They also expect the Japanese economy to take an upturn in the coming 12 months. The main reasons behind change in performance came from companies' own efforts 50%. Exchange rates did not play a big factor in results and that perseverance and patience pays dividends.
For more about the survey, click link at right.

Jaakko Iloniemi
May Luncheon Meeting - last reminder
Our May Luncheon meeting will be held on Tuesday, 21 May (12:00-14:00) at the Capitol Tokyu Hotel, B2 Floor, Take Room.
Our guest speaker is a prominent expert and opinion leader on the Finnish economy and society, Minister Jaakko Iloniemi. His theme will be: "Finland's Economy and Future". Note that his presentation will also be available in print in Japanese.

Please note that we will collect the luncheon fee of 7,000 yen at the door and provide you with receipt. Note also that we have to invoice the lunch fee for cancellations later than 20 May and "no-shows".
To register, at latest tomorrow, Friday 17 May, click link at right.
If you would like to check if you are on the list, click HERE.
Joint Chamber Guest Speaker Luncheon
Creating New Business Opportunities to Build a New Osaka
Governor Fusae Ota, Osaka Prefectural Government
Osaka is home to a number of high-profile foreign companies, including the new Universal Studios Japan entertainment park, and has a GDP equivalent to Australia's. The region continues to attract foreign investment through its many research facilities and universities and offers excellent government-industry alliance opportunities and support for foreign businesses through the Osaka Business and Investment Center. Governor Ota will discuss the many opportunities for foreign businesses in Osaka and outline how the government is prepared to assist foreign firms in the region.

Before serving as Osaka governor, Fusae Ota worked at the national government level, joining the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (now METI) in 1975. She holds a degree in economics from the University of Tokyo.

Date & Time:Monday, 3 June , 12:00-13:30
Place: Akasaka Prince Hotel Shinryoku Room (Goshiki Centre 1F)
Cost:6,000 yen for members, 7,000 yen for guests (will be invoiced)
Registration:by Friday, 24 May, click link at right.

EU-Japan Centre Seminar
"The future of Europe: Political & Business Diagnosis and Prognosis"
by Mr. Stanley Crossick, Director & Founding Chairman, The European Policy Centre

This seminar will highlight current EU political and institutional challenges concerning enlargement, touching upon Europe`s high-level "constitutional convention", which started proceedings in March in Brussels. The objective of the convention is to propose changes in the EU treaties and working methods in order to cope with enlargement. The seminar will also look at EU enterprise policy developments, with a particular focus on the tax system, environment, and competition policies.

Date & Time:Thursday, 23 May16:00-18:h00
Place: to be confirmed
Cost:free

For more information and registration form, click link at right.
News from Finland
Mood bright, output shakey
For the first time since the beginning of 2000, optimistic firms outnumber the pessimists, industry and employer's federation TT said. Its April survey showed a sharp rise in confidence since February as companies reported shrinking stocks and firmer orders and sales expectations.

But as industrial output slowed to a 1.6 % rise in March, against February's 2 pct, TT warned that there were still considerable risks that a steady upturn might be far off. The recovery has been slower than foreseen last autumn, TT said.

Consumers too are more circumspect: Statistics Finland said whilst job prospects improved in April, consumers' belief in their own as well as the country's financial prospects had waned slightly.
Grin of the Week
GREAT BITS OF WISDOM FOR OUR TIME
"Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and just give her a house." -Steven Seagal

"When I die, I want to die like my grandmother who died peacefully in her sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in her car." -Author Unknown

"Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar." -Drew Carey

Still a couple of words about the Business Survey. Even though I had some "feeling" for the companies' confidence in the Japanese market, based also on the previous surveys FCCJ has made, I still find it rather amazing that when we asked 450 companies about their strategies in Japan, only ONE responded that they consider withdrawal, and 77 % said that they seek further expansion.

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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ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER
This bulletin is published by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan (FCCJ) and distributed to over 360 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 71 corporate members.