Category Archives: BUSINESS

Can ‘womenomics’ achieve better work–life balance?

Nobuko Nagase

Japan’s policies to increase women’s employment are finally bearing fruit, especially by allowing female university graduates to continue working during child-rearing years. In 2017, the percentage of first-time mothers who are university graduates in long-term employment rose to nearly 50 per cent, from below 30 per cent in the early 2000s. This trend accelerated after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe started his ‘womenomics’ policy in 2013.

The shoes of female job seekers are seen as they listen to an employee give a presentation at a company’s booth during a job fair held for fresh graduates in Tokyo, Japan, 7 December 2013 (Photo: Reuters/ Yuya Shino).

Rather than labour participation, the important ratio is women in long-term employment. Long-term employees are paid far more than non-regular employees. Re-entering long-term employment positions in middle age after being out of the workforce is difficult. A rise in long-term employment implies an increase in the pool of female workers enjoying promotion possibilities.

The government aims to increase female employment without affecting the country’s already low birth rate. ‘Womenomics’ policies focus on changing Japanese corporate culture and improving access to day-care centres to help workers of both sexes achieve a better work–life balance. Six-hour working …continue reading


Tokyo Apartment Sales in February 2019

The following is a selection of apartments that were reported to have sold in central Tokyo during the month of February 2019:

Building Sold Price
(USD/sq.ft) Days Listed Discount
Azabudai Parkhouse (2011)
/sq ft
25 0%

Azabudai Parkhouse is a leasehold condominium located next-door to the Tokyo American Club. When new, apartments had an average price of around 1,720,000 Yen/sqm. The average resale price in 2018 was 1,370,000 Yen/sqm, down 10% from 2017 (1,525,000 Yen/sqm). This was a compact apartment on the ground floor. It has been the most expensive reported resale in this building on a price-per-square-meter basis to date, selling for 110% more than a slightly larger apartment on the same floor sold for in 2015.

The Roppongi Tokyo (2011)
/sq ft
274 0%

A 39-storey high rise in the Roppongi neighbourhood with concierge, gym, guest suite and resident lounge. Current asking prices in this building range from 2,080,000 ~ 2,525,000 Yen/sqm, with an average price of around 2,250,000 Yen/sqm. There are currently 23 sale listings. The average resale price to date in 2019 is around 2,010,000 Yen/sqm, down 4% from 2018 (2,100,000 Yen/sqm), but up 2.5% from 2017 (1,960,000 Yen/sqm). This apartment sold for approximately 39% more than an identical apartment a few floors up sold for in 2013.

The Conoe Daikanyama (2016)
/sq ft
56 3.9%

The Conoe Daikanyama is a 13-storey apartment building in front of Daikanyama Station. There are currently 10 sale listings in the building with an average asking price of 2,040,000 Yen/sqm. The average resale price in 2018 was 1,760,000 Yen/sqm, down 7.4% from 2017 (1,900,000 Yen/sqm) and down 14% from 2016 (2,050,000 Yen/sqm). This was a compact apartment on a low floor.

Daikanyama Address …continue reading


Pensions boss Ministry of Health, Labor & Welfare set for split?


Rumours that the Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare is targetted for breakup in an upcoming policy paper from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party broke cover in the Nikkei today.

The proposal is said to be part of a wider review of the structure of central government since it was reorganised two decades ago into 13 agencies and ministries. That reform included the amalgamation of the Ministry of Labor with the Ministry of Health & Welfare, a marriage which may now be dissolved.

In the intervening years the nw Ministry’s remit has expanded significantly so that it now covers job-based pension funds of all types.

As soon as the two were departments were conjoined the assets of many zaikei (savings accumulation) schemes, which had rested with the Ministry of Labour, were passed to SERAMA (The Smaller Enterprise Retirement Allowance Mutual Aid) in whose oversight the new Ministry plays a significant role.

The MoHLW then took over from the Ministry of Finance responsibility for the regulation of approximately 65,000 so-called tax-qualified plans (TQPS), re-establishing the 13,000+ of them which met its criteria into covenant (or “contract”) schemes and folding the rest into one of SERAMA’s many arms or dissolving them.

Next it assumed responsibility for the several giant civil service schemes as their benefits structure was reorganised and they agreed to follow the same asset allocation as the Government Pension Investment Fund — the world’s largest institutional investor — which is also under the MoHLW.

Small wonder that it is now said to be overburdened but the repeated scandals in which it has been involved since 2007 — when it could not match about 50 million pension records to their owners — mean that it attracts little pubic sympathy.

The future of the Pension Fund Association may also be up for review. Despite its name, the …continue reading


One of Shibuya’s oldest homes hits the market

A traditional Japanese house in the heart of Shibuya is currently on the market for 2.27 billion Yen (approx. 20.3 million USD).

The two-storey wooden house has a total floor area of 222 sqm (2,389 sq.ft) and sits on a 501 sqm block of freehold land. Some renovations and extensions have been added to the house in recent years. It is located in a prominent and highly desirable position directly across the street from Nabeshima Park. This may have been one of the very first homes built in the Shoto area when it was redeveloped by the Nabeshima family in the 1920s.

The asking price works out to around 4.5 million Yen per square meter.

About the Shoto neighborhood:

Located a 10 minute walk from the hectic Shibuya scramble, Shoto is an exclusive and historically wealthy, low-rise residential enclave with large homes on large allotments. It is among some of the most expensive residential addresses in Japan. Several of Japan’s high-profile individuals call this place home.

During the Edo period this district was vast estate of Kishu-Tokugawa clan. In 1876, it was purchased by Nabeshima Naohiro, daimyo of the Saga Domain, at a government sale. The land was converted into a tea plantation with the tea branded and sold as ‘Shoto-en’. For a short while it was considered some of the best quality tea in the Tokyo area. The opening of the Tokaido rail line to Shizuoka in 1890 saw increased competition in the local tea market, causing Nabeshima to stop tea production in 1904. The land was then used for farming. Following the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, Nabeshima subdivided the land into a luxury housing estate to provide high-end homes for nobles and upper class residents. One of the early residents was Hidesaburo Ueno, a scientist, but mostly famous as the …continue reading


5 billion Yen Toranomon penthouse rumored to have sold off-the-plan

A penthouse in Toranomon is rumored to have sold off-the-plan for 5 billion Yen (approximately 45 million USD), making it potentially one of the most expensive apartments to have sold in Japan. Naturally, details are sparse and unconfirmed.

The majority of high-end residential sales of this nature in Japan are conducted entirely off-market with no public advertising or public reporting of transactions. Listings are only provided direct to potential buyers through their agents. Having a good relationship with a local agent ensures you access to this segment of the market.

The penthouse is located atop a 65-storey, 330 meter tall skyscraper that is part of the Toranomon-Azabudai District redevelopment. The sale was said to have been reported in an unnamed trade journal. The skyscraper will be Japan’s tallest building when it is completed in 2022, and just 2 meters short of the nearby Tokyo Tower. It will be eclipsed by a 390 meter tall office tower due for completion near Tokyo Station in 2027.

The as-yet unnamed tower will have 80 apartments on floors 56 ~ 65, with the smallest apartment sized at a generous 125 sqm (1,345 sq.ft). The penthouse apartment is said to be over 1,000 sqm (10,760 sq.ft), which is possibly the largest single apartment to have been built in the country.

The Toranomon-Azabudai District redevelopment also includes several other buildings including two 270m and 240m tall towers. In total, 1300 apartments are planned for the 8.3 hectare site.

Source: Business Journal, February 5, 2019.

…continue reading