Category Archives: BUSINESS

Social Shifts

Source: ACCJ Journal

As my children grow up and I watch how they interact with friends and one another, I’m struck more each day by how technology has changed what it means to be social.

I’m no tech slouch myself. Having gotten my first computer in 1982 at the age of 10—a gift from surprisingly prescient great-grandparents—I’ve had a lifelong love of technology and am an early adopter of the latest gadgets and apps. But whereas my children are digital natives, I’m not. I’ve just learned to work new ideas and tools into my life as they come along.

Embracing change and new ways of doing things has, I feel, made my life better. This reminds me of how other changes now taking place in society will—once adopted and normalized—create a better environment for my children.

The workstyle reforms that are now being championed by many member companies of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) are creating the type of environment that I have long felt is key to better productivity and results.

Going back to my opening observation, communication is the foundation of every­thing we do. How we all come together, whether in the same location or at a distance, shapes what is possible. It does this not only in the literal sense of what task we can undertake and complete to achieve a concrete goal for a company or client, but also figuratively in how we unleash potential.

I know that whenever I have worked for a company that places results over counting hours—something ACCJ Treasurer Nancy Ngou and Governor Ryann Thomas talk about in our interview starting on page 16—both what I personally and the team as a whole achieve has been far greater.

Another key shift is happening in the area of inclusion. Since my days as a resident of the …continue reading


190m tall apartment tower planned for Hamamatsucho, Tokyo in 2026

A 47-storey, 190m tall mixed-use apartment tower is planned for a site near the former World Trade Center in Hamamatsucho, Minato-ku, Tokyo. On November 9, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government approved the establishment of the Hamamatsucho 2 Chome District Redevelopment Committee.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2020 with completion by early 2026. The building will be located on a 7,000 sqm site with direct access to Hamatsucho Station on the JR Yamanote Loop Line, along with access to the Asakusa and Oedo subway lines.

In 2014, Nippon Life Insurance Company acquired the neighboring site on the northern side for 80 billion Yen (approximately 790 million USD at the time), or around 11.1 million Yen per square meter. Nippon Life built the 156m tall Hamamatsucho Crea Tower which was completed in August 2018.

The eastern neighbor will become the new World Trade Center, with two buildings between 197 ~ 200 meters tall planned for completion in 2021 and 2025.

The Daily Engineering & Construction News, November 9, 2018.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government News Release, November 8, 2018.
JR East News Release, September 7, 2018.

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Opportunity for Japan as APEC stumbles  

Author: Toshiya Takahashi, Shoin University

The 2018 APEC summit in Port Moresby foreshadows an uncertain future for the forum. Due to disagreement between the United States and China, the meeting concluded without a joint communique — something unprecedented in APEC history. Without leadership, APEC risks becoming little more than a regional showcase for US–China rivalry.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walks down steps as he leaves the APEC Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 18 November 2018 (Photo: Reuters/David Gray).

Japan was and remains a key player in economic cooperation in the Asia Pacific. It was vital in rescuing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and forming its replacement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Although Japanese leadership was absent in Port Moresby, the country has the potential to lead APEC in underdeveloped policy areas.

Japan was an active supporter of Australian prime minister Bob Hawke’s proposal for multilateral economic cooperation in the Asia Pacific in the 1980s. And since the establishment of APEC in 1989, Japan has played a leading role in its development. Japan has hosted APEC twice, and the 1995 Osaka Action Agenda became the roadmap for meeting the 1994 Bogor Goals — a set of targeted goals outlined by APEC member countries for realising free and open trade in the Asia Pacific. For Japan in the 1990s, APEC was the …continue reading


Historic home in Bunkyo-ku to be demolished next month

An 81-year old house in Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward will be demolished next month. A farewell open-house event was held on November 16 and 17 by a Bunkyo historical preservation society, with over 280 visitors lining up to visit the home for the last time.

The house is being demolished because the property has sold to a new buyer who is only interested in the land. The descendants of the original home-owner initially tried to find someone looking to preserve the historical home, but with no success. The house and land had been quietly listed for sale earlier this year with little publicity.

The Spanish-style home was built in 1937 for Hidenosuke Sano (1887-1955), a Doctor of Engineering and professor at the University of Tokyo. Sano spent several years studying and teaching abroad in Germany, France, China the UK and US. He was also the president of the Japan Mining Industry Association.

The two-story wooden house was designed by Sano’s close friend Toshiro Yamashita (1888-1983). Yamashita was a graduate of the University of Tokyo’s Engineering and Architectural Department in 1912. He founded his own architectural practice in 1928. His most well known works include the Kasumigaseki Building (1968), which was Japan’s first high-rise, as well as the NHK Broadcasting Center (1972).

The front of the house is Spanish-style, which was in vogue at the time, with the rear of the house in the traditional Japanese style. The home was considered very contemporary for its time with central heating and other modern comforts. It is in remarkably original condition with many of the original windows, fireplaces and interior furniture remaining.


2-9-3 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

The Tokyo Shimbun, …continue reading


Tokyo apartment asking prices increase in October

According to Tokyo Kantei the average asking price of a 70 sqm (753 sq.ft) second-hand apartment across greater Tokyo was 36,250,000 Yen in October, down 0.3% from the previous month but up 1.2% from last year. The average building age was 24.4 years.

In Tokyo’s 23 wards the average asking price was 53,980,000 Yen, up 0.2% from the previous month and up 2.0% from last year. The average building age was 24.2 years.

Asking prices in Yokohama City were down 0.4% from the previous month and are up just 0.1% from last year. In Chiba City, prices are down 0.4% from last year.

In central Tokyo’s six wards (Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato, Shinjuku, Bunkyo and Shibuya) the average asking price was 75,430,000 Yen, up 0.2% from the previous month and up 2.9% from last year. The average building age was 22.7 years.

Source: Tokyo Kantei, November 21, 2018.

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