The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Regular as clockwork. As one season in Japan seamlessly gives way to another, September sees summer bid adieu and fall take its rightful place in nature’s fixed, yet flexible, merry-go-round.

Like its seasons, Japan is a country of change, contrasts, and constancy: tradition rubs shoulders with modernity; the old walks hand-in-hand with the new; custom often meets with innovation.

This issue of The Journal takes a magnifying glass to these issues. The lead story considers some of the challenges facing the country’s best-known marques, as they seek to stay relevant in the “age of social.”

The theme of Japan’s place in a fast-changing world is taken up again in an examination of corporate governance reform. A sharp contrast is drawn between Japan’s efforts to reform its business environment and those of competing countries.

What’s more, a key element in the country’s drive to be more competitive is its human resources capital. Can Japan internationalize and learn the lessons of cutting edge organizations? Or will its long, illustrious, and often change-averse culture keep progress at bay?

Once again, a Japan native—who has learned to shine both domestically and internationally—is the subject of our regular column, “Voices of Japan.” As founder of the International Conference for Women in Business, Kaori Sasaki is the embodiment of many conversations in this edition: she is a trailblazer and an agent of change, who is steeped in the best of Japan.

And if the country can be described as being at the center of a tug of war between the forces of globalization and the guardians of heritage, the collaboration between YouTube and Toei suggests a third way. That path enables both sides to be winners.

The Journal sat down with some of this nation’s leading entrepreneurs of the Internet age for a behind-the-scenes look at how a Japanese heritage brand and a sprightly US company have bridged cultural and generational gaps to create something new.

The intertwined themes of cross-cultural relations, US–Japan collaboration, and challenging or changing mindsets permeate even the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) section.

The Chubu-chapter writes of the mind-boggling bid to fly around the world using only solar power, and gives us good reason to attend the 2015 Chubu Diversity Summit in October.

We take another peek at the building, beneficial US–Japan relationship that is being crafted through the Furusato Project, while ACCJ leaders capture the sense of occasion they witnessed when Carnegie Hall came to town and the Special Olympics went to Los Angeles.

Rounding out the September issue are a few words about the close collaboration between the ACCJ and the Japan Market Expansion Competition. The chamber’s involvement with the community at large is underlined by both Emeritus President Tom Whitson, and ACCJ President Jay Ponazecki.

As always, we wish readers an enjoyable read, and encourage your feedback.