The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Our February issue of The Journal focuses on real estate and technology, with a look at the innovative ways technology plays into business, the security issues surrounding it, and the exciting growth we’re seeing in Japan.

AR, VR, and MR are acronyms we hear thrown around daily in 2017. Standing for augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality, they represent ways in which tech companies are changing how we see the world. But this technology isn’t as futuristic as you might think; it’s being used today in the real estate market. On page 12, we talk to leading innovators in the fields of AR, VR, and MR—both on the creation side and the user side—to find out how a mixture of these technologies is boosting branding, marketing, and management of real estate in Japan and abroad.

Inbound tourism is a hot topic, and for good reason. Japan is barreling towards the government’s target of 40 million annual inbound tourists by 2020. This success is great, but it is also straining the country’s accommodation industry—a problem that will only worsen as we get closer to the Rugby World Cup 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Home sharing—known as minpaku in Japanese—is a popular area of the sharing economy that may play a critical role in meeting rising demand. However, there are legal obstacles that make the path forward unclear. On page 16, we talk to home-sharing leader Airbnb and others about the future of minpaku.

As a result of high-profile security breaches and revelations that governments are spying on their citizens, the protection of personal information has never been more critical. A number of frameworks have been established to control the sharing of personal information across national borders, and the United States and Japan are leading the way in the effort to balance security with the needs of business. On page 22, we examine the Asia–Pacific Cross-Border Privacy Rules, a system that brings together APEC economies to build consumer, business, and regulator trust.

Lastly, January 18 marked the end of Caroline Kennedy’s time as United States Ambassador to Japan. The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) is pleased to name her the 2016 Person of the Year, a reflection of the important and prominent role she played in supporting US businesses in Japan. On pages 10 and 11, you’ll find the text of the certificate presented to her by ACCJ leadership at the US Embassy in Tokyo on January 17. We wish Ms. Kennedy all the best in her future endeavors.

There’s much more in this issue, including coverage of January events and ACCJ plans for 2017. Turn to page 41 for the latest from the Tokyo, Kansai, and Chubu chapters.

Christopher Bryan Jones is Editor-in-chief of The Journal. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he has lived in Japan since 1997.