An Insider's comments on Japan's high tech business world

* * * * * * * * TERRIE’S TAKE – BY TERRIE LLOYD * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd, a long-term
technology and media entrepreneur living in Japan.

General Edition Sunday, October 11, 2015, Issue No. 823

– What’s New — TPP Doubts Linger
– News — Consumers shoulder Japan’s tax burden
– Upcoming Events
– Corrections/Feedback — More movies that draw tourists
– Travel Picks — Halal bakery in Tokyo, Unforgettably artful hotel in
– News Credits

SUBSCRIBE to, UNSUBSCRIBE from Terrie’s Take at:



Earlier this week, the trade ministers from 12 pacific rim countries
wrapped up their Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in
Atlanta, Georgia (USA). The 12 countries represented were: Australia,
Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru,
Singapore, Vietnam and the USA. Between them they account for about 40%
of the world’s total GDP and thus the new trading bloc will represent
one of the largest free trade initiatives ever.

Frankly, we never thought we’d see the TPP negotiators get this far,
after 7 long years of seemingly intractable negotiations. And still,
even though the basics are now agreed to, the hardest part is yet to
come. For now each country’s leadership has to convince their respective
law-making bodies to agree to the conditions. The country with the
biggest hurdle to approval is probably going to be the USA, especially
since it will take at least 3 months to get the legislation in place and
start getting it heard. So this means that TPP focus by legislators will
quickly get diverted to the run-up for the 2016 presidential elections.
Indeed, it is the elections that probably stimulated the 12 ministers to
hurry up and get to the final agreement so quickly. The chances are high
that the next US president won’t have the same interest in seeing them
through to conclusion as does Obama.

Although Obama has said he supports TPP and will sign a finalized deal,
pretty much everyone running in the 2016 race (Republican or Democrat
candidate) has said they oppose it — including Hillary Clinton, who did
a lot of work to get TPP to where it is today. There are lots of reasons
for people in each member country opposing TPP, but basically they fall
in three camps: those who think any easier access to home markets will
take jobs from their nationals, those who think it will impinge on the
sovereignty of their country and its respective laws and customs, and
those who don’t think it goes far enough. We suppose it depends on
whether you subscribe to world government conspiracy theories or not.

———- New Service: Foreign Tourist Surveys ———–

If your company is producing, selling, or supporting fashion, food, or
high-end consumer goods, then probably you are selling a high percentage
of your products to visiting foreign tourists. Wouldn’t you like to know
what these buyers actually think about your brand and those of your
competitors? Japan Travel KK is proud to announce the successful
trialing and now launch of its new Inbound Physical Survey service. Our
experienced survey personnel, in conjunction with leading retail
partners (who provide us with legal polling venues) can interview 100s
of tourists in surveys of up to 20 questions. This is NOT an unqualified
online survey service of “maybe” tourists, but rather a physical, proven
set of interviews with real tourists in real retail environments.

For inquiries, email us at:

[…Article continues]

At this last negotiation session, the participants agreed that the pact
would be considered active if sufficient countries to account for 85% of
the bloc’s GDP approved it at their legislative bodies. Practically
speaking this means the USA (60% of bloc GDP), Japan (18%), and either
of Canada (7%), or Australia and Mexico (5% each) would carry the day.

There are many detractors of TPP who think it is an evil plot by
multinational corporations to supersede local laws. Certainly the TPP
process does nothing to dispel those feelings. Firstly, there is the fact
that the negotiations have been kept so secret. What we currently know
about the agreement is extremely limited, gleaned from a few carefully
worded announcements by the leadership of each partner country, Oh…
and by a number of leaked documents (most dating back to early versions
in 2013) published by Wikileaks! :-) In most cases, the deepest details
are only known to a handful of people from each country, and hopefully
more information will come to hand when the leaders of each member
country starts to sell the agreement to their respective legislative bodies.

Secondly, there is the wording of those capers we do know about. For
example, one of the most controversial parts of the agreement is the one
on IP rights. Possibly it’s most controversial because it became most
recently available on Wikileaks (several days ago).

This chapter appears to have been drafted in consultation with large US
multinationals. It provides very specific terms and conditions for
managing rights for music, movies, pharma, agrochemicals, the internet,
and other industries. This has caused fears that the USA is trying to
impose its will and systems such as the flawed Digital Millennium
Copyright Act (DMCA) on other sovereign countries. Indeed, after reading
the IP chapter, you can’t help agreeing that the other 11 countries are
going to have to rewrite a lot of their laws to fit TPP expectations.
For example, on Page 40, section 4, there is specific mention of the
right to seek loss of profits and disincentives to illegal activity, in
legal proceedings. Usually Japanese courts only award actual damages and
not punitive damages, so we imagine that this will become a political
hot potato if there is ever a high-profile case.

It’s also interesting to compare on the Wikileaks site the IP chapter,
which US corporate interests are so focused on, with the Environment
chapter, which is so vague and watered down that you have to wonder why
they even bothered writing it. Of course we don’t have the latest
environment chapter, just the 2013 version on Wikileaks, so maybe it got
sharpened up a bit. But we doubt it will change that much, because the
IP section didn’t change so significantly from the 2013 version to the
current one either, and it is one of the most aggressive parts of the

The TPP documents thus leaked not only show one-sideness from the point
of view of big countries versus small ones, but also big companies
versus the public. In the IP chapter, there doesn’t seem to be any
enshrinement of fair use by individuals, which is well established in
the USA already — so why did it get left out? It appears also, that US
large companies can sue individuals and even governments from their home

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a very good web page on what they
see as potential threats to consumer rights here:

We conclude by saying that while we do support the general concept of
the TPP, it appears that the current agreement has been partly hijacked
by US big corporate interests and the fact that there has been no open
discussion about the measures being considered just reinforces this
feeling. The Japanese farming and legal sectors won’t like this
agreement one bit and will kick up a lot of fuss about it. Therefore, we
would not be at all surprised that if the agreement gets shot down in
the USA the Japanese government won’t be sorry about it.

Anyway all eyes will now be focused on the US between next week and
Feb-Mar 2016. If, by some miracle, Obama can get the agreement ratified,
then Japan and Australia/Mexico will most likely fall in line and TPP
will at long last become fact.

…The information janitors/


———- Unique Low-cost Accommodation in Tokyo ———

The non-profit organization, Tokyo House, has been operating since 1968.
We have rooms available for students and others in need, wanting to live
in the Tokyo area. We have private, furnished rooms complete with desk
and WiFi. Fees are very reasonable and made on a donation basis.

For information please contact


+++ NEWS

– Online attacks costing more in Japan
– Economic slowdown forecast for top 3 economies
– Machine orders down 3.5%
– Consumers shoulder Japan’s tax burden
– Monkey underwear in 2016

=> Online attacks costing more in Japan

A study by the Ponemon Institute of Michigan, USA has found that across
seven major economies, US companies suffered the highest costs of online
attacks, with an average cost (averaged across all surveyed companies)
of US$15m. Lowest costs were incurred by Russian firms, at US$2.4m a
year, and the average cost was US$7.7m. Japan was a bit lower than
average, at US$6.81m. The biggest financial impact was caused by DDoS
attacks, followed by insider attacks and stealing of company data.
***Ed: It’s pretty common knowledge that Japanese firms are
under-prepared for cyberattacks, especially from Chinese hackers. We
regular hear of stories from customers who were attacked. Public
disclosure and related damage control actually seems to be the biggest
cost.** (Source: TT commentary from, Oct 08, 2015)

=> Economic slowdown forecast for top 3 economies

Probably we already knew this, but the OECD has made it official that
based on August numbers, the world’s three largest economies: USA,
China, and Japan, have all slowed down and the indicators show that this
is a trend. The OECD is now warning of the risk of a global recession —
something that the US Fed will surely be watching carefully. The Bank of
Japan is countering the slowdown with ongoing QE and share purchases,
but as a UN agency has said, maybe instead of focusing on pumping more
liquidity into the financial system, governments should instead consider
more material alternatives such as public works and similar public
investments. ***Ed: Although the last thing Japan needs is more public
works! They’d be better served investing in the social infrastructure,
such as providing better facilities for working moms, advanced education
to adult students, and better financing for start-up companies.**
(Source: TT commentary from, Oct 08, 2015)

=> Machine orders down 3.5%

Japanese manufacturers are a pretty smart bunch and have once again been
proven right about their conservatism in the face of PM’s Abe’s
exhortations for them to spend more on their employees. The recent
turmoil and overall economic slowdown in China is something that goes
far beyond the ability of Japanese corporates to remedy, and since the
situation is worsening, machine orders by Japanese firms have fallen by
the largest margin in the last 10 months, down 3.5% for August from the
same period a year earlier. ***Ed: You really have to wonder why the US
markets are so optimistic when here in the East everyone is already
waiting for the penny to drop.** (Source: TT commentary from, Oct
08, 2015)

=> Consumers shoulder Japan’s tax burden

It’s amazing that the hard-pressed Japanese public never complains about
the big switcheroony that the government (the LDP and the DPJ before it)
achieved by moving the tax system base from personal earnings to
consumer spending. At the time it was said that the increase in
consumption tax would be fairer because it spread the tax burden across
people who didn’t work but who still consumed government services (i.e.,
the retired). That was a reasonable proposition, but the numbers now
show that what has actually happened is that Japanese consumers not
companies are shouldering most of the tax burden. Apparently 61% of the
government’s tax revenue now comes from personal income tax and
consumption tax, while corporate tax provides only 20%. Why the big
difference when Japanese companies are making so much money? The answer
is that they are not repatriating the profits back to Japan — their
right, of course, but it does mean that deflation is still very evident
and that real wages adjusted for inflation fell 2.8% last year. ***Ed:
Tax revenue is expected to be around JPY54.5trn this fiscal year, the
highest in 24 years, but still less than half the government budget.**
(Source: TT commentary from, Oct 08, 2015)

=> Monkey underwear in 2016

We have never heard of this custom before, but apparently it’s lucky to
wear red underwear during Year of the Monkey, the next one of which will
be next year, 2016. Known as “saru-mata” (literally “monkey underwear”),
in the last Year of the Monkey, in 2004) Wacoal apparently sold 500,000
pairs of undies, four times more than usual. Mostly it was to older
people who follow the oriental belief that the color red keeps the body
warm. But this time around young women are also getting interested
because red denotes passion as well, so apparel makers are girding up
for a record-breaking year. (Source: TT commentary from, Oct
11, 2015)

NOTE: Broken links
Some online news sources remove their articles after just a few days of
posting them, thus breaking our links — we apologize for the inconvenience.


————– Have a Tour to Promote? ——————–

Japan Travel is recruiting tour operators who would like to list their
inventory on our new Tours Marketplace ( Listing
is free, and only successful bookings will attract a marketing fee. Take
advantage of our position as Japan’s largest independent inbound travel
website (714,000 unique users in March, 2015) and give your tours the
exposure you need to develop your business. We are particularly
interested in tours that include a unique aspect of Japan and where your
marketing collateral includes strong photography and/or videos,
evocative descriptions, and strong appeal. After June 1st, all new tours
MUST include at least a one-night stay or formal (not public) ground

Operators and agents wishing to apply, contact


—————– ICA Event – October 15th —————-
Speaker: Jonathan Hope – Partner, Fusion Systems Japan
Title: ” Secure Corporate Data and Messaging on the Cloud: What are the
Commercial Risks?”

Details: Complete event details at

Date: Wednesday, October 15th, 2015
Time: 6:30 Doors open, Buffet Dinner included with charges and pay as
you go cash bar.
Cost: 4,000 yen (members), 6,000 yen (non-members) Open to all. No sign
ups at the door!!!!!!!
RSVP: By 1pm on Monday October 12th, 2015. Venue is The Foreign
Correspondents’ Club of Japan


=> In Terrie’s Take 822 we spoke about using movies as a way to pull
tourists to otherwise uninspiring locations around Japan. A reader comments:

*** Reader: Your latest newsletter resonated with me. In my case there
are three places that drew me to visit them after seeing the movies:
– I went to Dogo Onsen because of Spirited Away
– I usually bring visitors to the Nishi-Azabu Gonpachi, also because of
its connection with the Kill Bill movie
– I used to bring every visitor I had to the Karaoke booth in the
Shibuya Karaoke-Kan, which starred in that famous scene of Lost In
Translation. Well, it was the same booth, until they unfortunately
renovated it.

There must be more places like this. It would probably make a good
special feature on your site?



=> Let’s have bread for breakfast! (Tokyo)
Warm and Fragrant bread at Halal Bakery Cafe Liason

There were only three things I could think of after visiting the Halal
Bakery Cafe Liason: “Delicious”, “fresh”, and “I’ll be Back Again”. This
wonderful bakery is located in Minato-ku (ward) in Tokyo. The name is
catchy enough for Muslim tourists to remember when visiting Japan, but
it’s great even if you are not Muslim and just want to try something

Though Halal Bakery Café Liason has only been operating since 2013, it
has successfully attracted customers from all over thanks to its
delicious line-up of breads and pastries. Take your pick — buns,
pastries, cakes, or French baguettes. Aside from baked products, the
cafe also serves hot and cold drinks such as tea, coffee, and fresh juices.

I soon realized that the display trays were emptying quickly, with staff
shuttling back and forth to fill them up again right away. Hamizah, one
of the staff from Brunei, recommended me to try the Chicken Curry Bun,
which is a local favorite and soon sells out. So I became curious to see
what it was like. Oh, I also tried the Strawberry Pastry.

Well, I can tell you that it was great, and right after biting into it,
I instantly knew why this bun is such a big favorite. It was so soft,
fragrant, and fresh, with a unique curry taste and soft texture. Mmmm…
just thinking about it as I write this is enough to make me want to be
back there again!

=> Art Hotel Color Aomori
A completely unique (and artful) Japanese business hotel

The Japanese business hotel experience is fairly universal. Anyone who
spends time in Tokyo can at least recognize them from the outside; in
fact one could argue that the speckling of blue neon Toyoko Inn signs
are what make Tokyo’s night time skyline. The beds are hard, sitting
adjacent to a desk on one side and a relatively small bathroom on the
other. Wi-Fi strength varies, but aside from that not much sets one
Japanese business hotel apart from the next.

However, I found an amazing exception in a little alley near the
northernmost tip of Honshu — in the form of the Aomori Art Hotel Color
in Aomori-Shi, Aomori — a ten minute walk from Aomori station in one
direction and the same from the port in the other. There you will be
greeted not by a hotel employee, as at more up-scale hotels, or by a
sign pointing you to check-in, as at other business hotels, but rather
by a wall painting of a face, featuring highly made-up eyes and rouged
mouth, painted under a bright red nose comprising the fire alarm…! The
face is surrounded by a wall of pink and blue dots and patches,
suggesting to me that this hotel could be the most fun accommodation
I’ve ever had. The adjacent walls are no less colorful, varying in
design from abstract to apples, the prefecture’s main crop.



SUBSCRIBERS: 6,844 members as of October 11, 2015 (We purge our list


Written by: Terrie Lloyd (

HELP: E-mail with the word ‘help’ in
the subject or body (don’t include the quotes), and you will get back a
message with instructions.

Send letters (Feedback, Inquiries & Information) to the editor to

For more information on advertising in this newsletter, contact

Get Terrie’s Take by giving your name and email address at, or go straight to
Mailman at:


Copyright 2015 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.

—————– Japan Inc opens up Japan —————-

J@pan Inc authoritatively chronicles business trends in Japan. Each
posting brings you in-depth analysis of business, people and technology
in the world’s third largest economy.

Visit for the best business insight on Japan available.

Terrie mailing list