Category Archives: BUSINESS

Art Deco building in downtown Tokyo sells for 85 billion Yen

Japan Post Insurance have posted a capital gain of 85.03 billion Yen (approx. 803 million USD) on the sale of an Art Deco building and land in Tokyo’s Minato ward that took place in February. The buyer was Mitsui Fudosan Residential.

The former Tokyo Service Center was built in 1929 as the Ministry of Communications and Transportation Postal Life Insurance Building. The 3 ~ 4-storey building has a total floor area of 34,500 sqm (approx. 371,000 sq.ft) and sits on a 26,000 sqm site of land located 400 meters east of Azabu Juban Station. In recent years the building had been used as storage.

It is unclear what Mitsui plans to do with the site, although a land parcel of this size and in this location would make for a prime large-scale redevelopment project. The Architectural Institute of Japan sent a written request to Japan Post Insurance in early 2017 asking for the property and grounds to be preserved. The property was previously the site of the Kurume Domain Daimyo’s mansion until the late 1800s. Several Daimyo once owned large and lavish estates in the elevated parts of the Mita address.

Jiji Press, February 1, 2018.
Nikkei Business Publications, March 16, 2018.

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Rebuilding trust in the global economic system

Authors: Christopher H Lim and Tan Ming Hui, RSIS

The global financial system is in a frail state. Global debt reached a record high of US$233 trillion in the third quarter of 2017. The global debt-to-GDP ratio has grown beyond expectations since the 2007–08 global financial crisis, and governments will struggle to pay off the interest. While a full-blown debt crisis has not materialised, the vulnerabilities are apparent.

A man is seen against an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Fuyang, Anhui province, China, 16 March 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Stringer).

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To make matters worse, the stock market suddenly began to turn southwards in February 2018, signalling continued market volatility globally. Investors are now bracing themselves for rising inflation and interest rates.

For the average worker who is at risk of losing their job or their pension, the frailty, uncertainty and unsustainability of the current economic system is deeply concerning. The post-crisis years have been marked by rising levels of global wealth inequality and youth unemployment.

Living in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, workers face unprecedented job insecurity. Employment has become uncertain across various sectors as technological developments threaten to take over the workforce. This is the case even for the well-educated or the highly qualified. As long as someone’s work can be codified, whether it is manual-based or …continue reading


Japan buckles up to join China’s Belt and Road

Author: Shutaro Sano, NDA

In June 2017 the Japanese government suddenly reversed its original position on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and announced that Japan would cooperate and provide financial backing for the US$1 trillion cross-border infrastructure development project.

The extent of Japan’s cooperation remains to be seen, but this move may help Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe realise his ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy‘.

Engaging with the BRI allows Tokyo to pursue some of its important economic goals through greater overseas infrastructure investment. The Initiative may also motivate Japanese companies to seek greater business opportunities along the BRI route. Japan’s own regional connectivity projects can complement the BRI and strengthen regional integration in the Indo-Pacific.

Japan’s support for the BRI is likely to enhance the efficiency of both China and Japan’s ongoing infrastructure projects due to their overlapping functional areas like energy conservation, the advancement of industry and the distribution of goods. There is huge potential for cooperation between Tokyo and Beijing to help deliver more rapid and sustainable growth given the region’s high demand for infrastructure. Japan and China may also be able to use this opportunity to improve their bilateral relationship, including by resuming high-level visits and winding down existing tensions in the East and South China Seas.

But it will be difficult for Japanese companies to compete with their Chinese counterparts, which can offer cheaper prices and quicker delivery of infrastructure projects. The BRI also poses political challenges for Japan. Countries in the Indo-Pacific need to avoid trade wars, but trade and economic cooperation with China must remain governed by the rules of the existing liberal order if the benefits are to be shared.

A number of countries including the …continue reading


New apartment prices in Greater Tokyo up 7.8% in February

According to the Real Estate Economic Institute, 2,490 brand new apartments were released for sale across greater Tokyo in February, up 28.7% from the previous month and up 7.8% from last year. The average sale price was 61,280,000 Yen, up 5.8% from last year. The average price per square meter was 889,000 Yen, up 4.3% from last year.

The contract ratio was 65.0%, down 3.4 points from last year and down 0.2 points from the previous month.


1,104 new apartments were offered for sale in the Tokyo metropolitan area, up 15.7% from the previous month but down 3.0% from last year. The average sale price was 72,230,000 Yen, up 3.8% from last year. The average price per square meter was 1,115,000 Yen, up 4.6% from last year.

The contract ratio was 69.8%, up 3.5 points from last year. In Saitama Prefecture, the ratio was 51.3%.

Source: The Real Estate Economic Institute, March 15, 2018.

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Rent in Tokyo reaches new high in February

According to Tokyo Kantei, the average monthly rent of a condominium in Tokyo’s 23 wards was 3,527 Yen/sqm in February, up 1.1% from the previous month and up 6.0% from last year. This is the highest level seen since record-keeping began in March 2008 and has broken a previous record set in January 2018.

The average rent in Nagoya City is up 16.5% from last year, while Osaka City saw an 8.1% increase. Major cities have seen average rents increase due to steady demand, a larger share of brand-new construction hitting the market, as well as seasonal factors.

The average monthly rent across greater Tokyo was 2,763 Yen/sqm, up 0.8% from the previous month and up 3.6% from last year.

Source: Tokyo Kantei, March 15, 2018.

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