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Home » Archives » August 2006 » Made in Corporate Japan: New Approach to Business

Made in Corporate Japan: New Approach to Business

Thursday, August 31, 2006 Posted: 11:15 AM JST

(International Herald Tribune) - Now that Japan is emerging from years of sluggish growth, its corporations appear to have produced something few executives or analysts expected even a few years ago: a management method that incorporates lessons from American companies while preserving the practices that once made Japanese companies famous.

Even a few years ago, it was widely expected that recession and the mounting pressures of global competition would force corporate Japan to surrender such traditions as loyalty to employees and suppliers, responsibility to stakeholders and the like. Prominent analysts in the Tokyo offices of firms like Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch were among the most enthusiastic exponents of this view.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Japanese recovery. What was almost universally written off as Japan's "lost decade" has left this nation's leading companies stunningly competitive while still holding to the corporate ethos for which they have long been known.

"A lost decade? Nonsense. A painful transition? Yes," said James Abegglen, chairman of the Asia Advisory Service and an expert on Japanese corporate organization. "Companies have done what had to be done to redesign themselves. They've retained basic values while changing what had to be changed." Read article

Keywords: national_news

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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
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