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  ISSUE 11/2004

24 May, 2004  

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

The Foreign Chambers Business Confidence Survey was presented last Monday and it showed a further improvement in the views on the Japanese economy and the performance of the foreign companies in Japan, compared to the previous survey conducted in October 2003. Among other things the survey, to which 316 companies from 14 chambers and business organizations responded, showed that 80 % of the companies seek further growth in Japan, 20 % aims to keep the activities at present level. Only one company plans to downsize, none to withdraw from the market.
Read more about the survey below.

FCIJ Business Confidence Survey:
The Economy and Business Performance on Track

Presentation at Capitol Tokyu Hotel

The fifth edition of the Foreign Chambers in Japan's Business Confidence Survey was presented at a joint luncheon at the Capitol Tokyu Hotel on Monday 17 May, attended by over 80 representatives for the foreign chambers in Japan and the press.

The survey shows a further improvement in both the Japanese economy and the performance of the foreign companies in Japan. As for the sentiments on the Japanese economy, the index rose from +0.68 in the October 2003 survey to +0.92 in this survey.

Regarding the sales performance during the past 6 months, the index for October 2003 survey was + 0.55, this survey indicates + 0.80 registering a clear increase. Looking ahead, respondents continued to forecast a further improvement in sales - the index was now +1.01 compared to 0.86 in October 2003.

For more about the survey, click link below.
May Monthly Luncheon Meeting - last reminder

The next luncheon meeting will be held coming Friday. Our speaker will then be Mr. Thomas Hietto, Vice President, Toshiba Alliance Development, KONE Corporation and the theme of his presentation will be The Kone-Toshiba Strategic Alliance.

Date & Time:Friday, 28 May, 12:00-14:00
Place: Capitol Tokyu Hotel, Nara Room, B2F [MAP]
Cost:7,000 yen (collected at the door)
Registration:by Wednesday 26 May

Note that the Commissioner General of the Nordic Pavilion at EXPO 2005 Aichi, Mr. Pertti Huitu will also attend the meeting and give brief update on the project.

If you plan to attend and have not yet registered, click link at right, no later than Wednesday.
Joint Luncheon Meeting organized by SCCJ

The Swedish Chamber invites members of FCCJ and the other Nordic Chambers to a joint business luncheon held on Friday 11 June.
The speaker is Tommy Kullberg, President & CEO, IKEA Japan K.K. and the theme of his presentation is The Screws are Missing...! .
Mr. Kullberg is also Chairman of the SCCJ.

Date & Time:Friday, 11 June, 12:00-14:00
Place: International House in Roppongi [MAP]
Cost:7,000 yen (collected at the door)
Registration:by Monday 31 May

  IKEA's entry into the Japanese market has welcomed by Japanese and International media as well as the Japanese government in their push for foreign investments. Governors and Mayors are queuing to get a piece of the cake and new job opportunities. Some journalists suggested IKEA's entry to eventually become the biggest foreign green field investment ever into the Japanese market.

While the official side of Japan seems to be ready to welcome IKEA - what about the quality oriented and cash rich Japanese house wife. Is she really ready and prepared to take care of the home transport and assembly the merchandize by herself?

Mr. Kullberg will give the background for IKEA's decision to enter the most competitive market in the world. He will share his struggle and experiences in hiring and training some 1,500 people for the first two stores and how to make it all happen during the 448 days being left until the doors opens at the 40,000 sqm. Funabashi Store, where the SAWSS indoor ski slope used to be.

Note that the number of FCCJ participants at this event is limited so if you plan to attend, sign up early, by clicking the link at right.
FCCJ June Luncheon Meeting

Our June luncheon will be held on Wednesday 23 June and our guest speaker then is Agro Kangro, Charge d'Affaires, Embassy of Estonia.

The theme of his presentation will be: Estonia in the expanded EU and it's cooperation with Nordic countries - Opportunities for Japan

Date & Time:Wednesday, 23 June, 12:00-14:00
Place: Capitol Tokyu Hotel, Take Room, B2F [MAP]
Cost:7,000 yen (collected at the door)
Registration:by Monday 21 June


If you would like to register already now, click link at right.
News from Finland

Government sweetens corporate tax reform with a sales gains tax exemption

The Finnish government unexpectedly changed its corporate tax reform Wednesday by adding a clause on sales gains. In future, companies do not have to pay taxes for gains from acquisitions, but they cannot deduct sales losses in taxation either. Finnish companies have been hoping for this change for a long time.

The government submitted its reform bill to parliament Wednesday. The parliament will make the final decision on the changes to legislation. In the reform, corporate tax falls to 26 per cent from the current 29 per cent as of the beginning of 2005. Tax on capital drops by a percentage point to 28 per cent.

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said that the reform package is geared towards encouraging Finnish transnational companies to stay headquartered in Finland.
Grin of the week

The Shiny-Walled Box Thingie

We are going to have "elevators for lunch" coming Friday, so here's a related story...

An Amish*) boy and his father were visiting a nearby mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny silver walls that moved apart and back together again by themselves.
The lad asked, "What is this, father?"

The father (having never seen an elevator) responded, "I have no idea what it is."

While the boy and his father were watching wide-eyed, an old lady in a wheelchair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched as small circles lit up above the walls.

The walls opened up again and a beautiful twenty-four-year-old woman stepped out.
The father looked at his son anxiously and said, "Go get your mother."


*) In case you don't know what an Amish is, check here.

That's all for this time. Have a nice week and

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 BULLETIN
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.