Category Archives: BUSINESS

How to manage geopolitical instability in East Asia

Author: Hitoshi Tanaka, JCIE

East Asia and the world are facing uncertain times. The balance of regional power is shifting as emerging market economies such as China are benefiting from globalisation and are continuing to rise. At the same time, anti-globalisation sentiment is surging, as demonstrated by the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum and by the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States on an anti-free trade platform. These developments serve to throw the international liberal economic and security order, which the United States has led since 1945, into considerable uncertainty.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi take their seats before a meeting on the sidelines of a gathering of Foreign Ministers of the G20 leading and developing economies at the World Conference Center in Bonn, western Germany, 17 February 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Brendan Smialowski).

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How can we craft approaches to ensure regional stability and prosperity into the future?

The fate of East Asia has been significantly affected by relations between the three big powers — the United States, China and Japan. The United States …continue reading

    

Pooled pensions business stays where it has long been

Source: ijapicap.com
TBs and LIs Nj basis at 31 March 2016

The league tables of life insurers and trust banks managing pension funds’ investments in pooled accounts and tokkin, where newcomers would find significant barriers to entry, remained very much the same at the end of the financial year on 31 March, according to a recent report in Nenkin Joho which uses book values in its rankings.

On this basis, pooled assets under management fell by an overall 2.9% compared with a decline of on 8.52% when measured by market values (as already reported in Pooled pensions biz holds up slightly better than segregated see below). The drop comes from a decline in the number of pension funds which is, in turn, due to schemes closing, changing type or merging.

The business in tokkin accounts fared a little better at -1.47% than that in pooled arrangements which fell by 6%.

Tokkin are directed money trusts. Nenkin Joho is a fortnightly newsletter from Rating & Investment Information which is part of the publications group centred in the Nikkei newspaper.

© 2016 Japan Pensions Industry Database/Jo McBride. Reporting on, and analysis of, the secretive business of Japanese institutional investment takes big commitments of money and time. This blog is one of the products of such commitment. It may nonetheless be reproduced or used as a source without charge so long as (but only so long as) the use is credited to www.ijapicap.com and a link provided to the original text on that site.

This blog would not exist without the help and humour of Diane Stormont, 1959-2012

…continue reading

    

“It’s not-a me, Mario!” claims go-karting company in response to Nintendo lawsuit

maricar mario go kart rental service nintendo lawsuit japan 3

From the company name to its conspicuous advertisements, Tokyo-based go-kart rental service MariCar basically screams “It’s-a me, Mario!” and, according to a lawsuit filed last Friday, Nintendo is not happy with it.

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maricar mario go kart rental service nintendo lawsuit japan 1

maricar mario go kart rental service nintendo lawsuit japan

The lawsuit alleges copyright violations against MariCar for renting Nintendo character costumes to its customers and using Mario-related pictures and videos to promote its business, which includes a recent appearance on NBC Sports’ Off the Grid. Nintendo filed the lawsuit on February 24th in Tokyo District Court seeking damages of ¥10 million.

Until the lawsuit, it was all fun and games for the popular rental service. Customers could go-kart on public roads throughout Tokyo in Mario or Yoshi costumes, and, at ¥1,500 for 30 minutes, the fees were agreeable too. Costumed drivers were a common sight around central Tokyo, especially at weekends. The service was very popular with non-Japanese tourists and MariCar’s website is available in multiple languages.

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MariCar has now released a statement in Japanese defending their business against the copyright infringement claims, saying it is not breaching laws against competition or copyright infringement. In fact, MariCar says, the go-kart service met with Nintendo and was able to persuade them of this. However, as MariCar has not officially received the lawsuit yet, they are unable to comment further at this time.

The massive press coverage generated by Nintendo’s surprise statement last week also meant that MariCar’s website crashed and its phone line went down, and its …continue reading

    

The churn in China’s leadership

Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a speech at the celebration of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

The world continues to be mesmerised by the change in political leadership and the antics of the new Trump administration in Washington. But the biggest change in more than a decade is also underway in the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing. While President Xi Jinping’s second five-year term is assured, the 19th Party Congress in autumn this year will see one of the largest turnovers in China’s political leadership for many years.

This is the first of a series of assessments over the coming months of what this will mean for the Chinese party-state and its strategic direction.

Ironically, the questions that worry many in the United States and around the world about the Trump administration are not only to do with what impact the change in administration has had on US policy in the White House. They are also about the resilience of US constitutional conventions and institutions upon which reliable, democratic government has been built in the United States to the challenges that Trump and his confidantes in the White House present.

There is a widely-held and deep anxiety in democratic societies around the world that the Trump phenomenon presages abnormal change and a disturbing shift in US social and political norms. The United States no longer inspires the desire to emulate; it has also become, to put it simply, less like us.

This is not just a matter of conventional ideological difference over particular policy directions: the failed executive order to ban the entry of all travellers from seven nominated Muslim-majority states, building a wall along the border with Mexico or Trump’s assault on the global trading order through withdrawal from TPP and renegotiation of NAFTA. It’s about the loud, full frontal disrespect for the institutions …continue reading