The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

With Japan’s fiscal year having come to a close in March, money is on the mind.

Our April issue spotlights fiscal and financial matters, beginning with the lead story evaluating Japan’s ranking out of 178 nations in the Index of Economic Freedom, an annual report published for more than 20 years.

We also attended a talk by Randall Jones, head of the Japan/Korea desk at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

While Jones and the report are generally optimistic about Japan’s future, they point to the need for fiscal and monetary policy reform, as well as private-sector changes to promote growth and household consumption. Both also extolled the value of innovation and entrepreneurs.

STARTUP CULTURE
Entrepreneurialism is a topic dear to the heart of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ).

Ease of access to capital is key to cultivating a startup culture.

Yet, while venture capital funds raised in Japan doubled from 2014 to 2015—as we read in “Tokyo’s Ambition Generation”—Japan has the second-lowest level of early entrepreneurial activity in the world. It comes just behind Suriname, a remote South American nation.

In our Entrepreneur column this month, you’ll meet Atsuko Toko Fish. In an interesting turn of events, Fish’s international career began when she was executive assistant in a place familiar to most readers: the ACCJ office. Fish’s mother instilled in her, from an early age, the value of learning English and going abroad.

As a founder of the Japan Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI), Fish empowers Japanese women to enact positive social change and spark innovation. Yuko Nakaoka, formerly of the ACCJ Kansai office, is a 2015 JWLI fellow who now works as a SelectUSA commercial specialist at the U.S. Consulate General Osaka-Kobe.

JOURNEY OF OPPORTUNITY
The April edition of The Journal also highlights travel and tourism.

ACCJ partner organization the American Chamber of Commerce in Okinawa is working to foster US businesses in the region.

With a 68 percent year-on-year increase in the number of foreign visitors in 2015—and the national government’s designation of Okinawa as a hub for tourism promotion—Japan’s southernmost prefecture is poised to become a major source of revenue for leisure businesses.

On a separate note, I, too, will soon be doing some traveling. This is my last issue of The Journal, as I am relocating with my family to Manila, the Philippines. It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know so many ACCJ members and helping redefine the ACCJ’s flagship publication.

Christopher Jones will be assuming the post of editor-in-chief, beginning with the May issue. I’m confident that his experience, professionalism, and personality will further strengthen the reputation of The Journal as the authority on global business in Japan.

Brandi Goode has been the editor-in-chief of The Journal since May 2014, and helped lead the magazine’s relaunch last year.