Terrie's Take 885 - Japanese Job Hopping Goes from No One to Millions in 20 Years, e-biz news from japan

Terrie's Take terrie at mailman.japaninc.com
Sun Feb 26 22:19:53 JST 2017

* * * * * * * * 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, February 26, 2017, Issue No. 885

- What's New -- Japanese Job Hopping Goes from No One to Millions in 20 
- News -- Experts recommend reclassifying definition of "old" (hint: 
it's 75)
- Upcoming Events - KEA event in Tokyo
- Corrections/Feedback
- Travel Picks -- Longest Wooden Bridge in Shizuoka, Nanataki Falls in Akita
- News Credits

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Back in 1995, at the beginning of the internet age, we met with a 
gentleman named Dayle Bowen from Santa Cruz who had started a new 
business called "online recruiting". Although not many people could 
actually use the internet at that time, mostly because we were hampered 
with slow 2400-baud modems and text-based browsers (Mosaic/Netscape was 
only just rolling out), the fact that many engineers were playing with 
the technology meant that at least for recruiting engineers it was a 
great tool.

We never did get a deal with Dayle, mostly because he realized the 
potentially huge value of the business and wasn't interested in having a 
co-investor. So, after several more years of thinking and planning, and 
all the time watching the meteoric rise of Softbank's ISP business and 
the rise of broadband, we finally decided to set up an online recruiting 
company of our own in 1998 called DaiJob.com. The timing of our launch 
meant that we were the first "tenshoku" (mid-career) recruiting company 
to go online, just months after Recruit launched a web version of its 
university graduate "Recruit B-ing" site and about two years before 
Nihon Brain Center spun off EnJapan.com.

During that two-year gap, we consulted with many business experts and 
investors about the viability of offering jobs to young Japanese online. 
We were told many times that it was unlikely to be successful because 
99% of smart young Japanese wanted to work for a big-name company for 
the rest  of their lives - at that time, a working lifespan of about 35 
years. It was disheartening to hear this even as we witnessed the 
phenomenal growth of online recruiting companies overseas, like 
Monster.com in the USA and JobsDB in SE Asia. It was for this reason 
that we named the business "daijoubu" - meaning "It's OK" [to switch 
jobs] in Japanese.

 From the launch of the business until our successful Series A funding 
some 18 months later in April 2000, we managed to register 160,000 
people and resumes on our site, and in the process became a web 
phenomenon of our own. Now, 16 years later, www.daijob.com is still 
going strong and remains one of the largest online recruiting sites 
serving job placements at foreign firms. We [Ed: Terrie and investors] 
sold the company in 2005 to Human Holdings, a Tokyo-listed firm based in 
Shinjuku and embarked on a new adventure.

--------- From Veggie Burgers to Carrot Cake --------------

Our commitment at Alishan Organics is to give our customers the best of 
western organic foods, but prepared with a Japanese twist. That's why 
our menus cover such a broad range of styles and tastes. If you're just 
getting to know us, why not visit our cafe by the river in Saitama? That 
way you can try out a variety of dishes and decide for yourself. Choose 
from an Amy's organic pizza straight from the oven, a mouthwatering 
veggie burger packed with seasonal greens and reds, or if you're feeling 
chilly, a filling vegetable curry with rice. And although we're healthy 
minded, we don't skimp on desserts. Favorites include Jack's scrumptious 
carrot cake, vegan brownies (of course with vegan ice cream), and baked 
banana cheese cake.

Our Cafe: http://bit.ly/2m0r8z7

[...Article continues]

Little did we know that between our efforts and those of many 
competitors (now well over 100 major players), the online jobs market 
would not only bring choice to young Japanese but it would significantly 
change their attitudes as well. With a continuous flow of real, live, 
mid-career jobs being offered, no longer was it risky to your career to 
switch companies, because, frankly, even if you made a mistake, you 
could always wait 1-2 years then try again. Furthermore, those unable to 
graduate from a prestigious university could now remedy that situation 
by upgrading to a brandname company through a judicious mid-career 

So it was with some interest that we saw a press announcement put out by 
the government's Statistics Bureau several weeks ago that stated a 
whopping 3.06m Japanese switched their jobs in 2016. According to the 
Nikkei, which reported the announcement, many of these job hoppers have 
not just been young people trading up, but also mid-career professionals 
in their mid-40's - 500,000 of them in fact. On the younger side, 
770,000 people aged between 25 and 34 also switched jobs. This trend for 
established middle aged workers to move jobs is particularly interesting 
because someone in their mid-40's now was of course in their mid-20's 
when we launched DaiJob.com, and so there does appear to be a direct 
correlation between exposure to the concept back in 1998 and attitudes now.

The Nikkei article goes on to say that the number of openings for 
experienced managers is one of the strongest growing segments for 
recruiting. They posit that the reason is because slashed recruiting 
budgets in the early 2000's hollowed out the cohort of experienced 
specialists and business managers around today. Apparently online 
recruitment firm Intelligence has 160,000 mid-career positions open, 
about 23.4% up on FY2015. Demand for engineers is particularly fierce, 
as is that for experienced managers and corporate planners.

This of course is all having an effect on wage growth, and while 
employers are still not significantly increasing pay for existing 
employees, the Nikkei points out that those switching jobs are enjoying 
effective pay increases of 10% or more. Therefore, we think it won't be 
too long before the pain of out-flowing staff is high enough that even 
low-paying firms will get the message and start increasing wages to 
retain staff. Thus we will see the start of a virtuous cycle of wages 
inflation and hopefully the much-needed and long-waited for boost to 

Another side effect of this competition for technologists in particular 
is that immigration of suitably qualified foreigners will also start to 
noticeably increase. In particular software engineers, who don't really 
need Japanese language skills to be effective. Furthermore, with Trump's 
politics creating a (perceived) hostile environment for immigrants in 
the USA, perhaps Japan will become a desirable second choice for 
engineers from Asia in particular.

...The information janitors/


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+++ NEWS

- MariCart tour company gets slapped with copyright lawsuit
- PM Abe gets caught up in right-wing school scandal
- What Premium Friday?
- Experts recommend reclassifying definition of "old"
- Listed companies' net profits up average 11%

=> MariCart tour company gets slapped with copyright lawsuit

Nintendo, the developer and owner of Mario and the Mario Kart video 
game, has filed a copyright lawsuit against new start-up tour company 
MariCart. Readers may have seen MariCart go-carts around town. The 
company rents out go-karts and costumes to adult tourists with a 
driver's license. Those costumes include Mario get-ups, complete with 
cap and mustache. The activity is highly popular and photos of drivers 
have gone viral on social media boards all over the world. ***Ed: 
Actually, rather than Nintendo, we thought that perhaps the Police 
Agency might want to shut down the MariCarts business, since they are 
using a legal loop hole to allow drivers to buzz around with no helmets 
on. The loop hole is that vehicles with four wheels are assumed to be 
regular automobiles and thus don't require the riders to have the head 
protection that motorcyclists have to wear.** (Source: TT commentary 
from atimes.com, Feb 26, 2017)


=> PM Abe gets caught up in right-wing school scandal

A right-wing primary school has become the center of a scandal over 
favors between right-wing groups and the LDP, including possibly the PM 
and his wife. The Tsukamoto Elementary School was found to have 
purchased through a related organization called Moritomo Gakuen two 
acres of land from the Finance Ministry for just one tenth of the market 
price (1/7th of the tax assessment value). The Finance Ministry has 
tried to dismiss the abnormally low price by saying that Moritomo had to 
recondition the land, which contained some pollutants. However, the 
Asahi Shimbun, which broke the scandal, has found that the clean-up 
costs were just a fraction of the discount offered. PM Abe became 
involved when it emerged that the Moritomo head was also a director of 
the Osaka branch of Nippon Kaigi, a controversial revisionist right-wing 
group that includes Mr. Abe. Furthermore, Abe's wife, Akie, was the 
honorary principal of the school, although she quickly resigned as the 
scandal emerged. ***Ed: We've said all along that the LDP will be the 
source of lots of scandals over coming years. You can't have 
near-absolute power without the attendant problems, and given that human 
nature is what it is...** (Source: TT commentary from nytimes.com, Feb 
24, 2017)


=> What Premium Friday?

A government-backed campaign to help out the economy by pushing 
employers to let their staff leave the office early (around 15:00) one 
Friday a month started last week. The so-called Premium Friday program 
was tepidly received by businesses, but the media reports that, indeed, 
bars and restaurants opening mid-afternoon (they're usually closed until 
17:00) found many of their tables occupied. Commentators are saying that 
it's too early to say whether the program will actually be successful. 
We believe that those smaller firms and companies in highly competitive 
sectors will be unable to afford the loss of 3-4 hours productivity each 
month. ***Ed: Premium Friday is not mandatory, and we very much doubt 
that the bulk of employers will implement it.** (Source: TT commentary 
from asahi.com, Feb 25, 2017)


=> Experts recommend reclassifying definition of "old"

How old do you have to be to be considered "old". The Japan 
Gerontological Society and Geriatrics Society have issued a report that 
a new definition is needed. According to them, and in view of the better 
fitness and nutrition of today's aging citizens, the answer should be 
75, not 65 as currently defined. The two organizations say that if their 
recommendation is adopted, then Japan can increase the number of 
potential workers available by about 10m people, or a 16% increase. They 
go on to say that "Old" should mean people aged 75-89. People between 
65-74 should be referred to as "Pre-old", and those over 90 as 
"Super-old". ***Ed: A recent government survey confirms this position, 
with 51% of people aged over 60 saying that they didn't consider 
themselves as senior citizens. Rather, they thought that term should be 
reserved for people aged 70 or older.** (Source: TT commentary from 
bloomberg.com, Feb 16, 2017)


=> Listed companies' net profits up average 11%

A Nikkei stock review report has found that most listed companies will 
enjoy a record year of profits this year, up by 11% on average from 
FY2016. The report covers all sectors other than financial institutions. 
Manufacturers are seeing a drop of 1% y-o-y as a sector, but this is 
more than offset by global export gains from the semiconductor, 
chemicals, and telecommunications industries. ***Ed: Although the yen is 
now weaker than the last 12 months and so one might hope that this 
surplus would continue, exporters are now increasingly worried about 
border taxes that the Trump administration seems to be planning in the 
USA.** (Source: TT commentary from nikkei.com, Feb 23, 2017)


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.



------------------ KEA Tokyo Inspire Event ----------------

Kea is a global community of Kiwis and friends of New Zealand that 
exists to inspire, connect and enable a borderless nation of one million 
advocates, champions and storytellers for New Zealand. The organization 
is hosting a joint event with the ANZCCJ chamber, to bring together the 
New Zealand community here in Japan. Keynote speaker will be Terrie 
Lloyd talking about lessons learned in the inbound travel sector.

Date: 17:30-19:30, Tuesday 14th of March
Where: New Zealand Embassy, Tokyo (20-40 Kamiyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 
Fee: ¥5,000 (Spaces are limited so please RSVP by 7th March, 2017)
RSVP: Cristina Merino Cristina.Merino at anzccj.jp

----------- ICA Event - Thursday 23rd March ---------------

Speaker: Thomas Nevins - Founder and Chief Consultant. TMT Inc
Title: "Doing Hard Labor in Japan"

Details: Complete event details at http://www.icajapan.jp/
Date: Thursday 23rd March, 2017
Time: 6:30pm Doors open
Cost: 1,000 yen (members), 2,000 yen (non-members). Open to all. No sign 
ups at the door!!!!!!!
RSVP: By 5pm on Monday 20th March 2017
Venue: Room F, 9F, Sumitomo Fudosan Roppongi Grand Tower, 3-2-1 
Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0032


** No corrections or feedback this week.



=> Horai-bashi: Longest Wooden Bridge, Shizuoka
Located over the Oh-i River near Shimada

Horai-bashi Bridge, which spans the Oh-i River that runs through Shimada 
in Shizuoka Prefecture, was certified as the world's longest wooden 
pedestrian bridge by the Guinness Book of Records on December 30th, 
1997. This wooden bridge was originally constructed in 1879. However, as 
its piers had been damaged so often by the increased water and rapid 
flow from rain, they were partly changed from wood to concrete in 1965. 
The bridge  is 897.4 meters long and 2.4 meters wide. Only pedestrians 
and bicycles are allowed to cross, paying 100 yen for those above 12 
years old or on a bicycle, and 10 yen for those under 12.

Until the end of the Tokugawa government in the middle of the nineteenth 
century, Japanese local sovereign lords had been reluctant to construct 
bridges because rivers, especially large ones, often played a role in 
the defense against attacks from outside. The Oh-i River, starting at 
the steep 3189m Mt. Ainodake in the northern area of the Southern Alps 
in Shizuoka Prefecture, had been famous for its rapid flow especially 
after rainfall. This situation persisted until dams were constructed 
some time later. As there had been no bridges over the river, travelers 
often had to wait for several days until the depth of the water was safe 
enough to walk across. There's a well-known poem that reads, "Even 
though horses can go over the Hakone Pass, they can barely go across the 
Oh-i River". Small boats were available but they were unstable, and 
people were carried over on floats held by four to six porters. There 
were 350 porters stationed on each side of the river.


=> Nanataki Falls
Northern Akita's Beautiful Slice of Nature

Less than 20 km southwest of the famous Lake Towada lies another beauty 
of nature, the Nanataki Falls. Literally meaning "seven waterfalls," 
Nanataki Falls was listed as one of Japan's top 100 waterfalls by the 
Japanese Ministry of the Environment in 1990.

The Legend of Nanataki says that long ago, a great landowner named 
Magozaemon, in attempt to show off his power, threw firewood over the 
falls despite it being prohibited. As the firewood fell, a horrible 
pained groaning emanated from the falls, and the earth and heavens alike 
began to shake. The firewood hit the water but never resurfaced, and 
soon after Magozaemon became bedridden with disease. As it turned out, 
the waterfall was actually the incarnation of a snake spirit, and the 
spirit appeared in Magozaemon's dreams to curse him for his arrogance. 
Reflecting on his actions, Magozaemon built the Nanataki Shrine, 
absolving him of his sins.




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Written by: Terrie Lloyd (terrie.lloyd at japaninc.com)

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