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Highlights: November 2008 Issue

Staff Layoffs: IBM Japan

Is IBM Japan, a leader among foreign-affiliated companies in Japan in managing itself like a Japanese company, finally being forced to confront its cost structure and way of operating?  We've got the full detail on the big staff layoffs coming this quarter, as well as the background of IBM Japan's business strategy that has led it to this point.  Another SSJ breaking news exclusive.

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A Specialist Offers Advice: Exclusive Interview with Joel Silverstein, Former Chairman of Outback Steakhouse Japan

When we last interviewed former Outback Steakhouse Japan chief Joel Silverstein (SSJ, May, 2005), he offered readers his candid views on his experience, for several years up until 2004, leading a foreign restaurant concept in Japan. And he also didn’t mince words in speaking about the many difficulties his business faced as a result of structural obstacles in Japan’s retail food and restaurant industries.

Back in 2005, many industry analysts were generally approving of WalMart’s investment in Seiyu. But Silverstein, among other things, predicted that Wal-Mart, which had just bought a minority stake in the Japanese general merchandise chain (Wal-Mart took majority control earlier this year), would "lose their ass" in Japan.

This month we offer fresh perspective on Japan's food, restaurant, retail and consumer sectors from a man who knows it well from his own experience, and who is not afraid to mince words.

Credit Crunch: Local Japanese Companies Remain Relatively Cash-Rich

From the size and scope of its write-offs to date, to the level of its foreign reserves, Japan remains in a great position to emerge in an advantageous position once global markets settle.  This, despite the fact that the recession it's heading into will be a severe one.  Says one observer: "After the global economy adjusts, it is the countries with strong balance sheets like Japan that will be in the strongest position to take advantage of competitors, improve market positions, take risks on M&A at lower prices, etc. Just as with companies, the countries with the weak balance sheets or too much debt may never recover, but the ones with strong balance sheets like Japan will pick up where they left off."

Japan Insight: Get the Scoop

Dance Comedy and Rakugo Abroad; What Shochiku Co.’s Problems May Mean for Kabukiza Theatre; Obama Marketing at JR West?; Etc.

From the Editors

Japan Soon to Receive More Attention...

Plus much more...

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