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 Tuesday, Apr 09, 2019, Issue No. 987

– What’s New — The Unlikely Survival of Print – Just Not for Media
– News — Mt. Gox Karpeles gains (some) redemption
– Events — New “Friends of Carlos Ghosn” group
– Corrections/Feedback — Reader’s trip to Fukushima disaster area
– Travel Picks — Benten Temple in Chiba, TeNQ Space Museum in Tokyo
– News Credits


+++ The Unlikely Survival of Print – Just Not for Media

Over the last few decades, the world has seen the extinction of many
professional job roles. Gone are road toll collectors, telephone
operators, typesetters, even gas meter readers – as technology
automates and sweeps over our lives. One sector in particular that has
been hard hit and many have predicted will disappear all together is
the printing industry – a sector worth about JPY1.36trn (and still
slowly rising) in Japan. We (your humble writers) are deeply embedded
in digital, but we still love the smell and feel of printed material,
and we often think about what the direction of the print sector will
be in the future.

What we already know is that the print industry has lost the war as a
medium for conveying mass media. Printed newspapers and magazines
around the world are disappearing, including here in Japan, as it
becomes more and more difficult for print publishers to compete with
the response levels and measurement capabilities of digital. Think
about it. The more successful you are as a digital media company by
going “viral”, the more reach you have at very little additional cost.
With paper, having the same viral effect may in fact kill the company
with the incremental costs that the extra paper and distribution

And yet, there are still people who will pay for print. Some of these
last bastions in Japan are students (surprisingly, more later), old
people, and most importantly for the future of the medium, marketers
targeting consumers with short attention-getting messages.

Students have been proven in studies to do better when their text
books are studied in print. According to the Scientific American this
is partly attributed to books being a “3-dimensional” [Ed: our term]
medium and when students read texts they have better recall of prior
material through the tactile experience of page turning,
subconsciously remembering where in the depth of the book they read
it. This use of spatial and motor memory gives rise to the idea that a
book is like a topographical map – with multiple senses stimulating
one’s memory.

There has also been work done on the direct comparison of learning new
material on digital devices versus paper. Studies show that scrolling
on a digital device disorients the spatial memorization of facts, due
to there being no physical reference, and when given time to study a
new subject, students scored 10% higher with paper versus a digital

If you’re a B2C marketer, this is very interesting, and in fact
according to a study by Canada Post several years ago, the same
cognitive effort needed to absorb new information from a digital
device led researchers to declare that printed direct mail requires
21% less cognitive effort, and that recall rates for printed direct
mail are about 75% versus 44% for digital ads. Further, a study at the
Temple University in India found that print plays a bigger role in
stimulating the ventral striatum area of the brain than digital. This
is the part of the brain that is supposed to indicate desire and

The second audience we mentioned is old people. We assume this
audience likes print because it’s familiar, and particularly this
applies to newspapers. And Japan is very much the land of old people
and newspapers.

[Article continues below…]

—— Terrie’s Slow-Poke Cycling Tour – Kyushu ——-

Last Call for this cycling trip.
Last year we threatened to run a cycling tour for readers, but got too
busy to actually do it. So this year we’re making amends. The first
tour, which will happen in the third or fourth week of April (just
before Golden Week) will be a 5-6 day ride in Kyushu – most likely in
the Nagasaki region. This tour, and a Hokkaido tour in late August or
early September, will have a common format.

1. The tours are potluck, not professionally run. No complaining.
Jokes and helping each other out are mandatory.
2. There will be no support cars or spare bikes or guides. Instead, we
use Google maps and take the most scenic routes to arrive at our
hotels each night.
3. Our bags will be relayed by couriers so you can ride light. Yes, we
will have inner tubes and other basic spare parts.
4. Terrie is a slow poke, so while we will indeed be covering
80km-100km a day, it will take 6+ hours each day, with plenty of time
for lunch, photos, drinks, etc.
5. No hill climbing! Terrie is allergic to tall mountains.
6. Although the rides will run 5-6 days, people wanting to cut out at
3 days will be able to do so.
7. Our bikes will go with us on the Shinkansen. Terrie can show you
how to prepare and break your’s down for simple transport.
8. If you don’t have a road bike, you can rent one at [Excellent supplier, great prices.]
9. Anyone over 16, any gender, welcome.
10. There will be a JPY20,000 organizing fee per rider.
11. Other costs will all be at cost. Usually this works out to about
JPY13,000/day plus Shinkansen tickets.

If you’re interested in a long, slow, fun, potluck cycling tour in
Japan, contact Terrie today and he will work with you and the rest of
the group to set the final dates and routes.

For more information, email:

[…Article continues]

In fact, the number of newspaper readers in Japan is by far the
highest in the world, although it’s slowly falling. In 2018 the number
of Japanese using digital devices to get their news exceeded those
getting it from print for the first time. A Nikkei random 5,000-person
poll in 2008 found that 90% of consumers were getting their news from
print, whereas last year, 2018, the number was just 68.5%.
Interestingly, although the number of readers went down, the
percentage of people stating printed news was more credible went up,
to 68.7%.

In case you’re wondering, according to the Audit Bureau of
Circulations (ABC) in 20187, the top newspaper in world is still the
mildly right wing Yomiuri, followed by the equally mildly left wing

Yomiuri: Morning – 8,732,514, Evening – 2,534,292
Asahi: Morning – 6,113,315, Evening – 1,892,138
Nikkei: Morning – 2,625,471, Evening – 1,245,456

But even among these top 3, the mighty Yomiuri has seen its combined
readership drop 20% from 14,323,781 people in 2002 to 11,266,806

OK, so we’re not breaking any news here by telling you that print is
declining. Why this article?

What we believe is that while print media has fallen off a cliff, the
printing industry may nonetheless be saved by the physicality of our
own bodies. Cognitive scientist Maryanne Wolf of Tufts University says
that, the skill of reading is one in which, “the brain improvises a
brand-new circuit (from childhood) by weaving together various regions
of neural tissue devoted to other abilities, such as spoken language,
motor coordination and vision”. This motor coordination aspect of
reading is accentuated by print and it’s the edge that allows
marketers to more effectively attract the attention of random
passersby. Unlike an ad on your cell phone, a brochure or even a
packet of pocket tissue thrust in your hand provides enough physical
interruption to create an automatic (and subconscious) need to focus
on the media and either accept or reject the object and information in
front of you. This physicality, as the studies show, is more
memorable. Of course Japanese signage, flyer, and pocket tissue
marketers have known this for ages, and the formats, designs, and
colors they use are great examples of how to get attention.

Then there is the matter of standing out from marketing “noise”. With
digital advertising there is a tremendous amount of commercial
competition for a tiny piece of viewable real estate on a potential
customer’s cell phone screen. As a result, unless you have an
incredibly niche product, only by appearing on the biggest sites will
get you daily and hourly love. Remember that 90% of Japanese web users
still access Yahoo via their cell phones every day – so most corporate
marketing budgets go there or to Google and Line/Facebook. If you’re a
small business and you want digital attention, the costs may simply be
out of reach and furthermore much of your precious budget is being
wasted on readers physically far from where you actually sell your
goods. So what is a small B2C marketer to do?

So we ran a little hypothetical case study of a restaurant in Harajuku
trying to reach customers among 1,000 people. Here’s what we came up

OK, let’s print off 1,000 flyers at 15,000 yen, then hire a student at
JPY1k/hr to distribute the flyers to foreign tourists for 2 days =
JPY16,000. Your incentive is to give a flyer with a coupon offering a
10% discount – hardly an issue for most restaurants. With a total
investment of JPY31,000, your likely yield with strangers accepting
printed flyers is about 20%, with a conversion rate of perhaps 1%-2%,
giving you 2-4 customers at an acquisition cost is
JPY8,000-JPY16,000/person. Negatives of this approach are that not
everyone receiving the flyer is hungry, and not everyone will like
your menu. That’s why the conversion rate is low.

Here we start off with 1,000 hungry people (otherwise they wouldn’t be
searching online) who have 100 cuisine preferences – there are over 30
Japanese cuisine types alone. In fact, there are 162,000 restaurants
in Tokyo and while Trip Advisor shows just 200 in Harajuku, Yelp shows
2,649 in the same location, so probably it’s safe to say there are at
least 1,000 restaurants in Harajuku. This means that you might get 1
person per restaurant from them finding that restaurant by search. OK,
so free listings online are not enough.

Instead, to increase your chances of landing a customer, you need to
run Google ads, at say, JPY200/click. Now you still have 10 competing
restaurants in your cuisine class, and at JPY200/click x 1,000 visits
to get 10 guests – assuming that you get a 100% conversion rate –
which works out to be JPY20,000/person.

So in the case of the restaurant targeting a local area, it may
actually be cheaper to do print.

Another and perhaps more compelling example is at a trade show. In
this case, all the attendees in your area of the hall are already
self-selecting, or they wouldn’t be there. So the issue is not in
separating out interested visitors, but rather how you can breach
their boredom threshold and leave an actionable memory. Most trade
show visitors glaze over after the first hour and are probably
thinking about having a beer for lunch by the time they pass your
booth. This is where physical media, something you can’t easily
ignore, coupled with creativity, can really penetrate. For example,
exhibitors at Japanese trade shows in summer give out printed fans.
These are cheap to print and yet hugely popular, and of course guests
are waving them in front of both their and everyone else’s noses as
they walk along. Talk about great exposure.

Much the same way, in western trade shows (and supermarkets), the
go-to print product is jute cloth bags that the customer can recycle
and reuse later, even when it has your logo written on it. If you make
that logo sound exotic, as in supporting a cause or coming from a
foreign country or prestigious institution, you will have an higher
chance of the recipient continuing to use the bag. Japan is probably
still about 5-10 years ago from banning the use of plastic bags in its
supermarkets and thus the appearance of jute reusable shopping bags is
delayed, but the time is coming. In fact, for a hint of the future,
just go down to Ginza and witness all the little old ladies proudly
strolling around with their real (or fake) green Harrod’s reusable
vinyl shopping bags.

As these examples show, probably the real potential of print in the
future will be to create functional products that physically but not
intrusively invade the bubble of the consumer.

…The information janitors/


—— German-speaking Travel Consultant Internship ——-

Japan Travel KK ( is experiencing strong growth of
its German desk for inbound travelers to Japan, and we are looking for
a German-English speaking intern to join the team, with a view of
transitioning to a full-time position and work visa in Japan. The
internship will be for a minimum 3 months and a maximum of 6 months,
after which there will be a management and peer review. You can be
either a student who needs to do an internship to meet academic course
requirements, or you can be a person in the workforce thinking to
reset your life and location. Apart from German you should be able to
speak basic English and/or Japanese (either is OK).

The type of work you’ll be doing is assisting German customers wanting
to plan trips to Japan. This would include the following:
* Responding to incoming leads and conversing (usually email/chat)
with customers
* Researching accommodation, transport, activities, diet
preferences/availability, entertainment, guides, and other things that
travelers require
* Using our quotation and itinerary systems to produce the customer materials
* Interacting with customers and consulting them on choices and areas of concern
* Translation of content about destinations
* Writing original content (articles) about destinations and activities
* Assisting us with German social media

For more details:


+++ NEWS

– Time for dinner Lulu, not you Fifi
– Mt. Gox Karpeles gains (some) redemption
– Liquid is first Japanese crypto unicorn
– Uh-oh, wages fell last month
– Personal information law about to change?

=> Time for dinner Lulu, not you Fifi

Got two or more cats? Well now it seems that there is scientific proof
that they (kind of) recognize their names, even if they are still
fighting over the left-over salmon. A Japanese research team at Sophia
University has run experiments showing that regular house cats react
when their names are called, even if it’s by other people, and can
distinguish those names from other words of similar length and
phonics. In contrast, though, highly socialized cats such as at cat
cafes are not so discriminating and pay no attention. ***Ed: Cute
article, but sorry to tell you that the reality is that your favorite
feline doesn’t actually recognize their name as a name. Instead, the
study shows that cats learn to associate a particular word or words
with rewards and regular events (a bath, for example). Needless to
say, the one consistent word you use every time you talk to your puss
– is their name.** (Source: TT commentary from, Apr
06, 2019)

=> Mt. Gox Karpeles gains (some) redemption

Nice potted account from Fortune about the Mt. Gox affair and who
really stole the money. After being villainized and jailed for months
in 2014, and probably unemployable here in Japan for many years to
come, Mark Karpeles, the CEO of the Mt. Gox crypto exchange, has had
some recent redemption that is only just now coming to light. It seems
there really was an outsider in the online heist of US$473m worth of
Bitcoins. The arrest last year in Greece and recent arraignment in the
USA of Alexander Vinnik, a 38-year old Russian IT specialist,
identifies him as the thief. Vinnik has now been charged by U.S.
federal prosecutors with laundering 530,000 of the stolen Mt. Gox
coins. ***Ed: This is real egg on the face of the Japanese police and
prosecutors office who tried so hard to break Karpeles during his
months of detention and jail. Coming on top of the Carlos Ghosn case,
it would seem that the Japanese legal system is being exposed as
harsh, one-sided, and ignoring human rights of people it has decided
are guilty. Of course, as a face-saving measure, they did pin another
charge on him, and he’s appealing that one as well.** (Source: TT
commentary from, Apr 19, 2019)

=> Liquid is first Japanese crypto unicorn

A small JPY1bn investment by IDG Capital as the lead on Liquid’s
Series C values the crypto trading company at more than JPY1trn. Other
firms are expected to join the round. This is good news for the Series
B investors (JAFCO, SBI, and others), who plopped down JPY2.2bn late
last year. Liquid is a subsidiary of Quoine, also based in Japan, and
is licenced to operate here by the FSA. The company has had an
interesting capitalization ride, including the raising of JPY10bn by
issuing an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) round that was blessed by the
FSA. ***Ed: Clearly some very financially savvy folks running Liquid
(founders are ex-Softbank and Credit Suisse) – especially given that
it has sold very little of its equity and yet has managed such a
humongous valuation. The ICO in particular is a smart move, and came
before such funding methods fell out of favor.** (Source: TT
commentary from, Apr 03, 2019) [Quoine website – interesting]

=> Uh-oh, wages fell last month

Maybe the statistics are wrong, or maybe it’s a one-off, but the
consumer data coming out from the government on Friday indicate that
inflation-adjusted real wages fell in February, when compared to the
same month last year. Real wages were down 1.1%, the biggest drop
since June 2015. The biggest contributor to the fall in income was the
cutting of annual bonuses at many companies (the survey covers 33,000
companies, so it’s pretty complete). ***Ed: This blows a hole in Abe’s
claims that incomes are trending up, and instead points to the fact
that many domestic companies are still under significant financial
pressure.** (Source: TT commentary from, Apr 05, 2019)

=> Personal information law about to change?

In a move that will make it much harder for B2C companies to manage
their client data, discussions are apparently underway to give
individuals the right to demand companies to stop using their personal
data. The current law allows individuals to demand their data to be
deleted only if they can prove that the information was improperly
obtained or is being misused – both virtually impossible to prove if
the company knows what it’s doing. The new standard being considered
will allow consumers to simply contact a company and require them to
remove their personal information. ***Ed: It appears that Japan is
following the Europeans with their General Data Protection Regulation
(GDPR) laws, which is interesting, because after this first step
forward, it is easy to see other aspects of recent EU lawmaking about
personal privacy coming into play as well.** (Source: TT commentary
from, Apr 03, 2019)

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



=> A group of concerned citizens from the international community has
formed a support group called the “Friends of Carlos Ghosn”. The group
points out that Ghosn was a member of TAC and his children grew up in
Japan. With the seemingly arbitrary nature of the Japanese legal
system, what has happened to him could happen to anyone in the
community. So if you would like to help, please contact for more information.


——— Japan Travel Corporate Travel Services ———-

Japan Travel’s Type-2 licensed travel agency business is one Japan’s
few independent foreign-owned inbound DMCs. One of our specialties is
looking after corporate groups of 10-300 people. To date we have
assisted in the successful holding of training events, incentive
travel, conferences, off-sites, and team bonding programs. We have
looked after the full gamut of services, such as: international air
travel, hotels, local travel, event logistics and venues,
entertainment, micro-management of dietary needs, and special needs

We are highly motivated and are happy to work in a variety of roles
tailored to suit your needs: as a full-fledged corporate travel agency
partner, as a logistics partner for a particular issue, or as a source
of innovative experiences and venues. Looking after hard-to-please
high-tech groups is our specialty!

For corporate travel assistance, contact us at:
Or visit our pages at:



=> In TT-983 we wrote about the Fukushima Daiichi powerplant aftermath
and what the true cost is likely to be. At the end of the article we
shared that we had traveled to view the plant and were taken inside
the current exclusion zone. A reader kindly shares his own experience
in the area.

***Reader says: My trip to Fukushima was as expected, an eye opener.
On December 16th I boarded a bus with 37 people for an all-day tour of
the area affected by the 3/11/11 earthquake, tsunami, and powerplant

The group consisted of a PHD student in Disaster Recovery; a German
who wanted to know if his country had overreacted by shutting down all
nuclear plants; a Russian from an island north of Hokkaido, where the
residents are wondering if radiation from Japan will affect them; an
environmental scientist, who was interested in how the recovery had
progressed; a post disaster discourse artist; and a large group of
international exchange students. Besides the coordinators there were
only two other Japanese in the group, an MD from Tokyo and a tourism
lady whose husband was on the management team for reconstruction. Each
attendee had their reasons for taking this tour. As for myself, I
wanted to see first hand how much progress was made over the past
seven years and to meet a few of the residents.

Several of us were issued hand-held Geiger counters to track radiation
throughout our tour route, and I can say that all but one No-Go zone
indicated normal radiation ranges for daily life. We managed to get
within 6 kilometers of the TEPCO plant.

Fukushima is the fourth largest prefecture in Japan. The area covered
by the disaster only makes up 2.7% of the prefecture. The guides, one
of whom who was from Fukushima wanted to show us how safe it is even
near the No-Go zones. This part of Japan still suffers the stigma of
the disaster. Farmers who have perfectly safe crops cannot sell them
because of the overall fear of contamination. As part of the clean-up,
50 centimeters of top soil have been removed and placed in secure bags
for storage.

Along the major highways within the prefecture are digital signs
showing the current radiation count. Our tour locations included
Namie, Futaba, and Tomioka. Each town had partially reopened for
residents, but with large sections that will never be livable again.
The pre-disaster populations ranged from 21,000 to 8,000 and now after
reopening can only muster about 800 per town, which are mainly made up
of the elderly.

Even with all the government assistance, this area has huge challenges
ahead to make a comeback. After seven years the area is still
struggling and most likely will continue to do so. In my opinion there
are three reasons that stand out. Firstly, the young people moved to
other areas of Japan after evacuation and have no incentive to come
back. Secondly, once the major towns started opening up, real estate
taxes were also back, forcing former residents to pay for an unlivable
house. What I observed in all neighborhoods were empty lots because
the residents had their homes demolished to avoid the taxes –
especially if they had no intention of resettling. Thirdly, no matter
how safe it really is, the continuous negative press, whether true or
not, has former residents very concerned about their personal health.

We were able to meet some residents, one an anti-government activist
who refused to kill off his cattle when ordered to do so days after
the reactor meltdown. He maintains around 300 head that cannot be
sold, and he survives through charitable gifts. A large pineapple
canning company sends him the skins they do not use in their process,
for feed. He proudly calls the cows his pineapple cattle. The mixture
of the pineapple and cow dung makes for a very strong nasty smell…!

The second person was a lady who lost everything even though her home
and business were declared safe to return. Her family operated a large
jewelry store and after evacuation, when supposedly no one was
permitted in the area, robbers took every valuable they owned. She
gave us a passionate tour of the various neighborhoods of the once
very vibrant Tomioka, explaining the government’s revitalization
plans. What I saw were several brand new structures that will take
years to be occupied if at all. Another resident stopped some people
from our group and was eager to tell his story. He had only just
returned to check out his large bonsai collection, which was
completely destroyed, and was heading for a town meeting to determine
if a major lawsuit should proceed.

In summary, the effects of 3/11 live on and despite the massive
amounts of money being poured into the area, along with government
good intentions, it will take a miracle for this area to ever recover
to what it once was.



=> Fuse Benten Temple, Chiba
Flow and beauty at a goddess’ temple

Perhaps you have visited the Bentendo at Shinobazu Pond in Ueno, or
Enoshima, the island in Kanagawa Prefecture dedicated to Benzaiten.
Fuse Benten, also known as Tokaiji Temple, is one more Benzaiten
temple to see this goddess.

This temple, properly called Koryuzan Fuse Benten Tokai-ji, is
popularly known as Fuse Benten. It is celebrated as one of the Kanto
Three Benzaiten temples. It is said that the Buddhist scholar Kukai
was ordered by the emperor in 807 to build a temple on this site. At
this Shingon Buddhist sect temple, Benzaiten, the only female member
of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, is enshrined. She is the
personification of the flow of water and words. Fuse Benten is a
popular pilgrim destination in spring when visitors can see cherry
trees laden with blossoms, and as a place to welcome the new year.
Make a day trip of your visit by strolling through Akebonoyama
Agricultural Park.

=> TeNQ Space Museum, Tokyo
Launch into space at Tokyo Dome City

TeNQ Space Museum, located within Tokyo Dome City, offers a range of
experiences from educational to interactive and also visually
arresting spectacles. With a total of nine distinct space-themed
areas, there is plenty to explore. Step into the museum and be amazed
by an introductory space show, telling a story of how science has
progressed thus far with space exploration being the next stage.
Beamed onto a multi-dimensional wall of large square tiles, the
Starting Room’s 3D projection-mapping movie is resplendent and

Around the corner, get ready to be floored as you huddle around
Theater Sora, an 11-meter wide screen beneath the floor that almost
resembles a spaceship’s observation deck. Gain a new perspective on
space from above thanks to the ultra sharp 4K resolution movie that
explores the solar system and beyond, which also includes actual video
of Earth as shot from the ISS (International Space Station).



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