An eye on Japan

Japan is a fascinating country, especially for Western eyes. The Lens’ colleagues at CAMRADATA recently held a roundtable focusing on Japanese markets. The Lens keenly attended, and made the following observations based on our expert participants’ experiences.

Japan is aiming to compete more effectively in a global context and so a widescale corporate restructuring is underway in the country. Boardroom behaviour is being addressed with a series of multi-year reforms.

These reforms are aside to the improvements being made to the already quite well-documented changes in corporate governance.

We also heard that, historically, Japanese youth would enter their careers and stay on the same path for life, valuing the safety and stability of the company salary and steady progress up the corporate ladder. But increasingly there is evidence of young people becoming more open to doing things differently, namely working for start-ups where stability may be traded for a more dynamic working life.

There are signs, too, of high-quality management professionals graduating from universities, and signs of universities managing to generate graduates with entrepreneurial spirit and strong cultural identity.

Many of the participants at the roundtable either lived in Japan currently, or had lived there, so they understood the nuances of the marketplace. Some of them had also conducted face to face research visits among managers there, which further helped to understand these nuances, so the Lens awaits eagerly the publication of the Japanese roundtable.

ETA: next month. Watch this space.