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  ISSUE 16/2005

29 June, 2005  


Finns put Japan on Fire!

Are the Finns trying to burn down some ancient Japanese dwelling to make room for more exports of log homes?

No, it is not quite as dramatic as it looks like, and my Finnish readers could already guess what it is all about. The guys are lighting up a Finnish style Midsummer bonfire, "kokko". This happened on Saturday at the Finland Village in Matsubarako, Nagano pref. where the Village and Koumi town organized the fourth Juhannus Party, attended by some 300 people, including 30 Finns.

To find out more about the party, click HERE

Report from the FCCJ Luncheon Meeting on 23 June

Ms Tuula Haatainen, Finnish Minister of Education and Science, the guest speaker at our luncheon meeting on Thursday 23 June, said that the Finnish national innovation system is the result of a long-term development.

"We must continue with our development efforts in order to adapt our system to the changing international innovation environment. In order to succeed Finland has to make even more international co-operation, especially within the sphere of science and research."

It is very important to deepen the science and technology co-operation between Finland and Japan. I would like to encourage Finnish universities and research institutions to strengthen the reputation of Finnish knowledge in Japan, said Haatainen.

The meeting was attended by 33 members and guests.

For more about the meeting, click link at right.
Jorma Julin - Finnish Ambassador Designate to Japan

Counsellor for Foreign Affairs Jorma Julin was appointed to serve as Head of the Finnish Embassy in Tokyo as from 1 September 2005. Mr Julin entered the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 1971 and has held posts in the Finnish missions in Bonn and Teheran and the Permanent Delegation of Finland to the OECD in Paris. He has been the Finnish Ambassador to Seoul and, since 2000 until now, Head of the Permanent Delegation to the OECD in Paris. At the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, he has served, among others, as Director and, from 1996 to 2000, as Director General of the Department for External Economic Relations.

The current Ambassador, Eero Salovaaara, will take up the post as Head of the Finnish Embassy in Copenhagen from 1 September.

New Corporate Law and Article 821

The Judicial Committee of the House of Councillors passed the new corporate law with Article 821 yesterday. The EBC together with other foreign groups, has undertaken vigorous discussions on 821 with the Japanese authorities. As a result of these discussions,we were able to achieve a delay in the imminent passage of the law through the upper house, thus providing time to negotiate ways to mitigate the effects of the article. In consequence, the article was passed with a politically binding rider added to the bill providing that existing foreign companies will not be affected and that new companies in the future can use the same corporate structure as existing foreign companies. Moreover, in the last sentence of the rider, there is wording that provides a foothold for discussion and a political foundation for future revision of the article.

An extensive parliamentary question and answer session last week (using a scripted Q&A based on discussions with the joint foreign group) has provided a political record of clarification. These were the minimum measures that the joint group was prepared to accept as an interim solution.

We managed to have our concerns widely understood by many politicians and argued strongly for a revision. However, the law had already passed the lower house, and the political leadership was not willing to amend and send the law back to the lower house. They did not want the session delayed further by reopening discussion on the corporate law in the lower house, thereby further delaying discussions on the post office privatisation. Thanks to the rider and the Q&A record, we are confident that the relevant companies can operate without the need to reincorporate. However, following the conclusion of the current diet session, which is now focusing on the post office privatization, the EBC will work to have article 821 amended as soon as possible to provide the proper clarity that one should expect in the statutes in order to provide legal certainty.

For more information, please refer to the attachments below.
News from Finland

Marimekko strengthens its position in Japan

Marimekko Corporation reorganizes its distribution operations in Japan and starts co-operation with the Japanese companies Mitsubishi Corporation and Look Inc. By an agreement signed on 21 June, Mitsubishi Corporation is granted the exclusive right to import Marimekko products into Japan and Look Inc. is granted the right to distribute and retail the products. Distribution agreements with Marimekko's present importers in Japan will expire by the end of 2005. Licensing co-operation with Nishikawa Sangyo Co. Ltd. continues.

By reorganizing its operations in Japan, Marimekko aims at increasing sales, as well as at streamlining distribution and strengthening the position of the Marimekko brand in the Japanese market. Look Inc. will set up several Marimekko concept shops and shop-in-shops in Japan. The first Marimekko shops will be opened in spring 2006. The reorganization of distribution operations will have a positive effect on the trend in Marimekko's exports from the beginning of 2006.
Grin of the week

Drunk and Arthritis

A drunk that smelled like a brewery got on a bus one day. He sat down next to a priest. The drunk's shirt was stained, his face was full of bright red lipstick and he had a half-empty bottle of wine sticking out of his pocket. He opened his newspaper and started reading. A couple minutes later, he asked the priest, "Father, what causes arthritis?"

"Mister, it's caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol, and contempt for your fellow man," the priest replied. "Imagine that," the drunk muttered. He returned to reading his paper.

The priest, thinking about what he had said, turned to the man and apologized: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?"
"I don't have arthritis, Father," the drunk said, "but I just read in the paper that the Pope does."

If you are, or about to go on your summer holiday, please enjoy it!
Note that our next event is the Club Evening on Wednesday 24 August.

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 580 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, 16 individual and one special member.