Japan

Cool Japan technology

The once acclaimed Cool Japan fund fights for survival; an ode challenging Governmental nannying

What can possibly go wrong with a venture fund generously financed by the tax payer topped up by token contributions from a selection of corporates? Quite a lot it seems. Japan and specifically modern Japanese culture like animé, media, fashion and food were cool. Why not brand and fund them to promote the growth of …

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Olympus strategy

Olympus looks to the future appointing its second foreign CEO

The first time Tokyo listed Olympus appointed a foreign CEO it ended in tears. Michael Woodford’s tenure was short-lived. Woodford questioned huge fees paid to unknown companies which had links to criminal entities. Dismissed, he sued Olympus. The case concluded with a substantial out of court settlement in Woodward’s favour. Then Olympus was synonymous with …

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Tokyu Hands flagship store

Tokyu Hands changes hands; enter stage left Home Centre giant Cainz

Tokyu Hands was one of the first stores I visited when I came to Japan. I vividly recall their store in Tokyo with many more floors (and staircases) than I can remember; and then there’s the eclectic range of premium merchandise. Want something you can’t find elsewhere? Go to Tokyu Hands, said my colleagues. Founded …

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Asahi beer’s gutsy relaunch of ‘Superdry’ smashes sales targets; short term stock outs!

35 years after its original launch Superdry, Asahi’s iconic beer brand was relaunched this spring. The launch involved a change of flavour to improve its ‘sharpness’ and ‘crispness’ according to the company. According to Asahi’s consumer preference tests over 90% of the target market preferred the new formula, a fact the company has referenced in …

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Japan sports equipment

The Japanese love sport! Learn how your brand can succeed tomorrow in this $11 billion market! 

The EU-Japan centre kindly asked me and my colleague Hiro Tsujioka to write a report on Japan’s sport equipment market. They have recently published it on their website. We’re also giving a webinar on this topic on the 28th June 2022. To access the report and webinar you’ll need to register with the Eu-Japan centre. …

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As the world shifts to EV, will Porsche’s turbo-charged Taycan entice Japanese enthusiasts?

Petrol prices in Japan are currently about 6% higher than the start of the year; they’ve actually dropped slightly since February. The prognosis looking forward isn’t good, one report from Trading Economics is forecasting US$1.63/litre in 2023 and $1.74 in 2024. With these headwinds, and generous Government subsidies for EV buyers (currently JPY650,000 or $5,132) …

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With flat revenues and mounting losses, is Aeon scared to reform its legacy and low margin retail businesses?

Aeon employs over 155,000 staff across a plethora of businesses ranging from General Merchandise, Supermarket and Drug stores, plus financial services and shopping centre developments.  Although global retailers have been challenged to expand internationally (think of Tesco’s advance and retreat in the US, or Carrefour’s global pull back), Aeon has developed businesses in Hong Kong, …

With flat revenues and mounting losses, is Aeon scared to reform its legacy and low margin retail businesses? Read More »

Seijo Ishii is the jewel in Lawson’s crown. Where next for the gourmet retailer?

Lawson is one of the big guns in the Japanese convenience store channel. It boasts close to 15,000 outlets domestically, second only to 7-Eleven. Lawson has not sailed untarnished through the pandemic. Its shopper traffic dropped, it sold fewer impulse items and as a consequence the profitability in its core CVS business declined. In 2014 …

Seijo Ishii is the jewel in Lawson’s crown. Where next for the gourmet retailer? Read More »

Kao wants to become a global player but the big question is how?

If you live in Japan, you almost certainly know Kao 花王 It’s one of the country’s largest FMCG manufacturers marketing a plethora of brands in Cosmetics, Skin & Hair care, Health beverages, Fabric and Home care as well as a Chemicals division. The problem for Kao is that 70% of its revenues come from Japan, …

Kao wants to become a global player but the big question is how? Read More »

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