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  ISSUE 7/2004

22 March, 2004  


It seems that now the weather in Japan is more unpredictable than the economy here. One day its sunny, warm and 20+ degrees, the next day (like today), freezing cold and almost snowing. It feels just like Finland.

Talking about feeling like Finland, according to a study at Helsinki University made by researcher Toshiko Isei-Jaakkola, it is easy for the Japanese to pronounce Finnish, as well as for Finns to pronounce Japanese. Isei-Jaakkola compared the combinations of short and long consonants and vowels in the two languages and found that the systems where almost identical.

To find out more about this study, go here: Lexical quantity in Japanese and Finnish

Report from March Luncheon Meeting
Antti Kalliomäki - Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Finance

The theme of Minister Kalliomäki's presentation was "On Present Challenges Facing the EU and Finland"

Minister Kalliomäki had taken his time from a very busy schedule to make his presentation at the luncheon. In the morning he had met Cabinet Minister Takenaka and Finance Minister Tanigaki, and after the luncheon he continued talks at the Ministry of Finance. The next day he flew to Beijing for meetings with the Chinese Vice Premier Huang and Finance Minister Jin.

He thanked the FCCJ for arranging me this opportunity to express his views on topics of pressing concern at present for the EU governments, including the Finnish.

The meeting was attended by four ambassadors, representatives for Japanese Ministries, organizations and press and FCCJ members and guest, in all 61 persons.

For a report from the luncheon, including the full speech, please click link below.
FCCJ Annual General Assembly

The sixth Annual General Assembly of the FCCJ will be held at
the Embassy of Finland on Wednesday, 31 March at 17.00.

The General Assembly will be followed by a reception at 18:30.
The Reception is free for one representative per FCCJ member, additional participants will be charged 7,000 yen. Note that the General Assembly is open only to members and represenatatives for member companies. The reception is in part sponsored by UPM-Kymmene Japan KK and Elcoteq Japan Co., Ltd.

If you would like to attend, please click link below.
Stora Enso Cup:
Sweden-Finland Golf Challenge
The 5th Sweden-Finland Golf Challenge (team competition between the Finnish and the Swedish Chambers) is played on Friday 16 April for a trophy donated by StoraEnso Japan K.K.
This time the event is organized by SCCJ and they have selected the Skyway G & CC, near Narita ariport in Chiba Pref. This time also some members from the DCCJ will join.

Date & Time:Friday 16 April, first tee-off 09:03
Place: Skyway Country Club, Chiba Pref. [MAP]
Play format: Stroke play with handicap
Cost:16,000 yen incl. play fee, caddie, lunch & party
Registration:by Wednesday 7 April

If you would like to participate, please register now by clicking link at right. Please also mark your present handicap when you register.
Joint ACCJ-EBC Event:
A Seminar on Telecommunications Services Regulation:

Regulating for Competition Under the Revised Telecommunications Business Law

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) and the European Business Community (EBC) invites you to a seminar with the above theme.

Date & Time:Monday, 29 March, 14:00-16:00
Place: Europa House (Delegation of the European Commission in Japan)
9-5, Sanbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo [MAP]
Lanuage:English and Japanese, with simultaneous interpretation
Registration:first come, first served basis

For more information and registration form, click link below.
French Chamber Luncheon meeting:
Shinsei Bank - a living example of successful bank restructuring

By: Thierry Porte, Vice Chairman of Shinsei Bank

19th February 2004 : Shinsei bank, Japan's first foreign-controlled lender sold its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Placed under government control in 1998 in a massive public bailout that cost more than 7 trillion yen, the former Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan (LTCJ) was then bought in 2000 by a consortium led by U.S. investment firm Ripplewood Holdings.

Analysts say the bank is in a strong position compared to other Japanese banks as it is not burdened with mountains of non-performing loans. Many of Japan's banks have accumulated bad debts during the country's economic slowdown over the past decade. The listing could encourage investment in other banks here. Among the reasons that are given for Shinsei's performance, is the role played by foreign specialists in key positions.

Thierry Porte is one of them. Career investment banker at Morgan Stanley during 22 years and president of the New York firm's Japanese operations since 1995, Thierry Porte became Vice Chairman of Shinsei Bank on November 1st 2003.
Date & Time:Thursday, 8 April, 12:00-14:00
Place: Capitol Tokyu Hotel, Take Room, B2F [MAP]
Registration:Monday 5 April

If you are interested in this event, please click link below to register.
News from Finland

Finland's Raisio Group to sell chemicals unit to Ciba for EUR 475 mln

Finland's Raisio Group said Friday that it would sell its subsidiary Raisio Chemicals to Swiss-based Ciba Specialty Chemicals for 475 million euros. The enterprise value consists of cash and assumed debt, it said. "This will lead to an estimated sales profit before taxes at around EUR 200 million," the company said in a statement to Helsinki exchange.

Turnover of the chemicals arm reached 422 million euros or nearly half of the group's net sales in 2003. Raisio Group raked in 861 million in turnover last year. Raisio Group said the deal is still subject to the approval of merger control authorities. The divestment is expected to be finalised in the second or the third quarter of 2004.

Due to respect for the victims in the tragic traffic accident, the worst ever in Finland, early Friday morning near Äänekoski where at least 24 people were killed and 14 injured in a collision between a bus and a heavy goods vehicle, there is no "Grin of the week" this time. Our deepest condolences to the victims, as well as their relatives and closest ones.

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.