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The Changing Face Of Japan - Seminar Series In Feb

The Changing Face Of Japan: Essential Seminar Series In February


Auckland, 25 January 2005 - A series of seminars are being held around the country next month to debunk outdated perceptions and highlight the many opportunities for New Zealand exporters in Japan, the world’s second largest economy and a country undergoing rapid social and regulatory change.

Organised by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) in conjunction with Export New Zealand, The Changing Face of Japan seminars will highlight opportunities in specific sectors such as food and beverage, ICT and niche manufacturing, says Elizabeth Gollan, NZTE’s Project Manager – Aichi Leveraging Fund.

Japan, New Zealand’s third largest export market worth almost $3.5 billion annually, is a very wealthy nation with an economy 57 times that of New Zealand and three times that of China. Outward and inward investment, international travel, study abroad and an increasing number of foreigners living in Japan are helping drive the rapid internationalisation of this North Asian powerhouse and fuelling a demand for imported products and services.

Ms Gollan says these factors and the fact that Japan is hosting a World Expo in the Aichi prefecture this year, at which New Zealand will have a major presence, make it timely to hold these seminars now.

“Japan is one of the richest and most advanced societies in the world, yet in recent years many New Zealanders have perceived it as an economy in perpetual recession and under-estimated its potential as a market. These seminars will show them why they should think again.”

Ms Gollan is encouraging both new and experienced exporters to attend the half-day seminars, on in Auckland (14 February), Tauranga (15 February), Wellington (16 February) and Christchurch (17 February). They will hear from an international lineup of speakers, with a plenary session followed by workshops focused on specific sectors.

The keynote speaker is Debbie Howard, founder and president of Tokyo-based market research firm Japan Market Resource Network and the first female president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. With 20 years experience in Japan, Ms Howard will give New Zealand companies a unique insight into the Japanese consumer and changing market trends.
The seminar programme also features individuals who have carved out successful businesses in Japan; exporters active in the market; the Commissioner General of the New Zealand pavilion at the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Phillip Gibson; and New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner in Japan, David Ferguson.

Valuable intelligence from in-market experts
David Ferguson says the seminars will highlight how business and social changes in Japan over the last decade have opened up opportunities for New Zealand exporters in a diverse range of sectors, and made it easier to do business in this market.

He says sectors that offer particular opportunities include education services, information technology and software, as well as processed food and beverages. There is also increased consumer spending on quality of life and leisure related activities, as well as on products that provide consumers with convenience to support their busy and changing lifestyles.

And he says Japan’s aging population is also creating a large potential market for New Zealand companies with high quality innovative healthcare and welfare related products.

“The Japanese Government has identified biotechnology as being a growth sector and has allocated considerable financial support to the “Millennium Bio Project”. Its focus includes regenerative medicines and tissue engineering, along with the development of new drugs in areas critical to the country’s aging population. Opportunities exist for New Zealand companies to tie-up with pharmaceutical or biotechnology firms in collaborative research, or to introduce unique products such as functional foods, nutraceuticals or technologies.”

Mr Ferguson says while it’s easier to do business in Japan than in the past, it is still an exacting market that demands consistently high levels of quality and service. There is a growing trend towards ‘value shopping’, whereby consumers are demanding high quality at lower prices. But the same individual may shop at the equivalent of a two-dollar shop and then spend a thousand dollars on a handbag at an up-market fashion store.

Elizabeth Gollan says as well as being a major export market in its own right, Japan is also an economic cornerstone of North Asia, a region that is becoming increasingly important to New Zealand.

“Japan can be a doorway for New Zealand companies into North Asia’s global value chains. For example a New Zealand company could supply a part to a Japanese firm that has its product manufactured in China for export to another market.”

She says Japan is also a major player on the world stage – something that will be highlighted when it hosts the 2005 World Expo in Aichi from mid-March to mid-September.

“The Aichi Prefecture is a prosperous region, home to more than 7 million people with a GDP six times that of New Zealand. It’s located midway between Osaka and Tokyo in a catchment area much richer than the UK.”

She says around 15 million people from Japan, Asia and around the world are expected to attend the World Expo, with up to 25,000 people per day visiting the New Zealand pavilion at peak times.

“The New Zealand pavilion will be a showcase for our nation. It will reinforce that as well as being a beautiful, clean, green country, New Zealanders and our products and services are highly innovative and technologically sophisticated.”

While not a trade fair, Ms Gollan says the World Expo offers New Zealand companies a number of opportunities to participate and leverage off our national pavilion, including a restaurant where they will be able to entertain clients and business associates.

For more information:
For more information about the seminars and the 2005 World Expo contact Elizabeth Gollan, phone 09 914 9892, or email Seminar participants will receive a DVD, a book about the culture and business etiquette in Japan, and other useful information.


President, Japan Market Resource Networks
President, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
Debbie Howard has lived and worked in Japan for nearly 20 years. In addition to being the founder and president of Tokyo-based market research firm Japan Market Resource Network, she is the first female president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Ms Howard first came to Japan in 1985 to expand her marketing career internationally and worked for four years for the marketing research division of McCann-Erickson Hakuhodo. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BA in journalism and attended Georgia State University Graduate Business School. She worked in city government, publishing, and the forest products industry prior to coming to Japan.

Ms Howard has a 28-year career in marketing and communications. At the seminars she will discuss how Japan’s economic doldrums of the past 13 years have forced both individuals and businesses to look at things in a different way, and how the Japanese consumer is changing in ways that bode well for foreign products and services. Focusing on the macro topics of consumer confidence, individualism, new style parenting, and the aging of Japan, Ms Howard will address the implications of these changes.
Head of LINC Media and Japan Inc Communications
New Zealander Terrie Lloyd arrived in Japan in 1983 at the age of 25 and has stayed ever since. In the last 20 years he has notched up a number of firsts in the information and communications technology sector. Under the umbrella of his companies LINC Japan and then LINC Computer he was the first to import non-Japanese PCs into Japan and was one of the first to outsource computer operations for large corporations. Another innovation was to recruit internationally for skilled workers who were bilingual and computer literate.

Concurrent with Mr Lloyd's sale of LINC Computer to EDS in 1995 he launched Computing Japan, the only Japanese business technology monthly magazine published in English. Renamed Japan Inc, it still continues to provide market trends and analysis information to 80,000 readers worldwide, including government trade analysts and CEOs of US software companies. In 1996 Mr Lloyd formed LINC Media, essentially a conglomeration of four companies that provide foreign and Japanese customers with cross border international business solutions.

New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Japan
David Ferguson has spent seven of the last 15 years in Japan working in both the private and public sector roles. Currently Trade Commissioner to Japan, he was Trade Commissioner to Korea from 2000 to 2003. Prior to joining NZTE in 1995, he worked for one of New Zealand’s largest processed food exporters and a Japanese trading company. He has an Agricultural Science degree from Lincoln University and a Masters Degree in International Marketing from Auckland University.

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