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 23, 2016, Issue No. 870

– What’s New — Fujifilm Looking to Build Body Part Factories?
– News — No where to hide, from the tax man
– Upcoming Events
– Corrections/Feedback
– Travel Picks — Floating Castle in Hyogo
– News Credits

SUBSCRIBE to, UNSUBSCRIBE from Terrie’s Take at:



One of the benefits of writing Terrie’s Take is that we get frequent
feedback from people who know a lot more about the various individual
topics than we do. Back in September, one such reader alerted us to an
interesting but low profile (in Japan anyway) deal involving Fujifilm
and an Australian company called Cynata. We haven’t mentioned Fujifilm
for a while, since TT-462 in March 2008 in fact, but the company has
been doing a ton of M&A recently and appears to be using a large chunk
of the JPY500bn yen in M&A funds they secured in 2014 on a relatively
new and potentially lucrative pharma-medical space – that of
regenerative medicine.

Fujifilm’s target, Cynata, sublicences its core technology from the
University of Wisconsin, USA, which allows it to induce massive
amounts of iPS stem cells. Initially they are working on
“crowdsourced” cryobank material, but eventually plan to harvest and
culture useful amounts of cells directly from the end-user donors

Cynata is a very technically accomplished company and recently became
the first globally to be licensed by a first-world medical agency, in
this case the British MHRA, to use allogenic (i.e., cryobank cells
from other people) in a clinical study. The study will be of
Graft-versus-host disease, a condition which occurs when newly
transplanted donor cells attack the recipient’s body.

—————– Partial Office for Sub-let ————–

Modern open-plan office used for incubating small
international/start-up companies has a recently vacated space for a
group of 3-5 people. Located just 200m from Roppongi Hills. JPY275,000
including furniture (desks and chairs), or JPY250,000 if you bring
your own. Internet included on common connection. Separate charges for
utilities, phones. Minimum 6-month contract. Deposit required. We can
also supply bilingual (English-Japanese) back office services, such as
HR and accounting, business mentoring, technology outsourcing, and
other assistance as required.

For inquiries, contact

[…Article continues]

Cynata is based in Victoria, Australia, and on September 5th it and
Fujifilm announced that the Japanese company would buy 10% of the
firm’s shares for US$3m (a 35% premium). In return for the money,
Fujifilm gets to fish around in Cynata’s treasure trove of IP
commercialization rights for mass production of iPS stem cells. Not
only will Fujifilm receive know how on Cynata’s Cymerus platform and
rights to create and sell derivative products and processes, it will
also supply the allogeneic cells for Cynata’s UK trial. This is smart
of Fujifilm, as the cells will be coming from Cellular Dynamics in the
USA, a company that Fujifilm bought for US$307m in 2015.

In fact, from the Cynata and Cellular Dynamics investments along with
restructuring of the Japan Tissue Engineering Company a couple of
months ago, it looks very much like Fujifilm’s management has woken up
to the fact that they need to inject some strategic effort into
pharma-medical business. The company is doing this through artful and
strategic investments and thereby bringing much-needed outside
expertise to build their regenerative medicine portfolio.

So how did Fujifilm get from cameras and medical hardware to
regenerative medicine? According to an interview of a senior Fujifilm
manager by science blogger Karen Ring, the connection is gelatin,
derived from collagen, and which was originally a major ingredient in
photographic film. Like all Japanese manufacturers, Fujifilm has
wanted to stay true to its roots and so over the years has stayed
focused on the collagen theme. This has paid off for them as they have
discovered a peptide that can be used to build “scaffolding”
(tradename “Cellnest”) upon which to grow cells and tissue. Knowing
this focus on extending a seemingly narrow core competence greatly
helps us understand the last 2 years of M&A deals in the regenerative

Where will all this investment activity in regenerative medicine take
Fujifilm? Our guess is that despite all the medical R&D and the
resulting IP and treatments/pharmaceuticals, the company will probably
still stick with manufacturing. For example, it is not inconceivable
that they will in the near future try to supply the world with
high-quality connective tissue and eventually body parts, all created
from authenticated cell sources that it also controls. In other words,
it wants to become the equivalent of a vertically integrated car
factory, wholesaling the output to hospitals and clinics globally…

This is the sort of big dream that few international firms, unless
they are similarly vertically integrated and singular in their vision,
can have. Therefore, so long as the barrier for entry on the
manufacturing side remains high, we think Fujifilm has a very fair and
reasonable chance to win over the regenerative market.

…The information janitors/


— Japan Travel Inbound Travel Professional Services —–

Japan Travel’s inbound company travel professional services team now
serves incentive and group training logistics and support. We assist
your headquarters HR teams in hosting your foreign employee groups in
a successful program in Japan. Our services include: hotels,
transportation, meals (including special diets), entertainment,
activities, help desk support, telecommunications, guest speakers, and
of course the core training (delivered by our professional training
services partners). We work on a menu-basis, providing as much or as
little as your management team needs to get the project done.

If you have a group needing assistance, we invite them to contact us

Or visit our pages at:

+++ NEWS

– No where to hide from the tax man
– Majority check news on phones
– Shy? Date with a face mask on
– Skyscanner for sale (or IPO)

=> No where to hide from the tax man

The Japanese Tax Office has been itching for years to get at Japanese
nationals living abroad and avoiding inheritance tax – especially
after sensationally losing a case involving the son of late loan-shark
Yasuo Takei (of Takefuji fame). Now the government plans to pass the
requisite legislation to make that possible. The new law will double
the length of time required for Japanese to live abroad if they want
to avoid paying inheritance tax – from 5 years to 10 years. The
maximum tax rate of 55% will still apply for amounts of JPY600m and
over, and applies to not just Japanese citizens but also to permanent
residents. (Source: TT commentary from, Oct 21, 2016)

=> Majority check news on phones

Just in case you were ever in doubt, it is now official that 77% of
Japanese check the news on their cell phones, not PCs (46%). The
numbers were announced by the Japan Press Research Institute
yesterday. In fact the number was even higher for smartphone users
aged 18-49, where 90% of users check the news on their phones. ***Ed:
If you’re not running a responsive website, this should be your wake
up call. (Source: TT commentary from, Oct 23, 2016)

=> Shy? Date with a face mask on

Right out of the “only in Japan” box, a dating service called Def
Anniversary has started speed dating events where the participants are
required to wear medical face masks – you know, the same ones you use
when you are prone to hayfever or don’t want to catch a cold from
people around you. The founder of the service reckons that the masks
help shy Japanese, especially the guys, to overcome their fears, and
for both parties to focus on personality rather than looks. ***Ed:
Given that Japan’s marriage rate is now just 5.1 per 1,000, maybe they
should complete the medical fantasy by giving out drugs as well!
(Source: TT commentary from reuters, Oct 17, 2016)

=> Skyscanner for sale (or IPO)

The great thing about market rumors is that they can be extremely
broad. For example, according to, Scotland-based
Skyscanner is apparently either looking to be bought out, or to do an
IPO…!!! What is certain, though, is that several Japanese players
will probably be bidding. One will be Yahoo Japan, which despite being
a very conservative domestic player, is also an early investor into
Skyscanner. The second will be Recruit, which has been buying
profitable online travel assets at high valuations all over the world.
(Source: TT commentary from, Oct 18, 2016)

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


——— Micro Loans Program in South Pacific ————

SPBD and MicroDreams seek to combat poverty in the South Pacific by
enabling women to become entrepreneurs. These women apply for small
loans, as low as US$120, to launch, grow, and maintain small
businesses. Previously, many of our clients did not have a stable
source of income to support their families. We work alongside these
hardworking women, teaching them essential business and financial
skills to expand their businesses and generate steady income and
improve their quality of life. With our program, these women turn
dreams into reality as they reap the rewards of their efforts.

Read about our remarkable clients You can also donate to the
program at:


———- ICA Event – Wednesday November 9th —————-

Speaker: Daniel Trask, CEO and Founder of Sysamic K.K
Title: “Addressing eCommerce complexities and challenges in Business”

Details: Complete event details at

Date: Wednesday 9th November, 2016
Time: 6:30pm Doors open
Cost: 2,000 yen (members), 4,000 yen (non-members) Open to all. No
sign ups at the door!!!!!!!
RSVP: By 10am on Monday 7th November 2016
Venue: Room 2, 7F, Izumi Garden Conference Center, Izumi Garden Tower,
1-6-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0032



=> Sunrise at Ritsuun-Kyo Valley
Seeing Takeda Castle float in the sky

Takeda Castle is also known as Japan’s Machu Picchu. It has more than
600 years of history, the beautiful mountains surrounding it, and its
ruins can make you understand why its called this. The fort, which is
one of Japan’s top 100 castles, is also known as the “castle floating
in the sky.” To understand this name, you must wake up early and see
sunrise just in front of the castle.

During autumn (mostly from September to November) Takeda Castle floats
in a sea of clouds. The sunrise is already beautiful at the viewpoint.
The trees of the surrounding mountains changing their colors from
green leaves to red. Then, the rising sun slowly shows the majesty of
the scene.

The best viewpoint to observe this is at Ritsuun-Kyo Valley, just in
front of Takeda Castle. It takes approximately forty minutes walking
from Takeda train station to get to the top.

Make sure to take a warm jacket, a blanket, and some snacks with you.
It can get really cold and the ground can be very damp. You cannot buy
food in the valley and the fog can hang around for ages before it
finally unveils the castle. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight with
you. Before sunrise, it’s really dark and there are a lot of steps.



SUBSCRIBERS: 6,655 members as of October 23, 2016 (We purge our list regularly.)


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 2016 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