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Highlights: October 2002 Issue

Manulife Japan: Flexibility in Product, Flexibility in Approach

Many financial firms are poised to offer new investment and insurance products to Japanese savers.  At Manulife Japan, the focus is on offering flexible products.   Its variable annuity and universal life insurance products are designed to appeal to a wide variety of customers: the elderly, small businesspeople, those concerned with future medical costs, etc.  Now, more than a year after taking over 1.5 million traditional life insurance policies from failed insurer Daihyaku, Manulife's Japan president is unveiling a new brand image, a restructured operation, and a new marketing and sales approach.

A Specialist Offers Advice: "How We Were Able to Keep a Factory Open in Japan" (Part One)

In the first of a two-part series, our specialist contributor, an experienced human resources consultant who's been helping Japanese and foreign companies restructure their operations and employment policies for more than two decades, tells how he worked with a client to keep a factory in Japan from closing and moving to China.  There are many lessons here that are certain to be of great interest to those operating Japanese units of global companies.  Why some Japanese middle managers prefer voluntary retirement (and the fat buyout packages that often go with them); why extra severance packages become so unnecessarily and harmfully expensive; and other lessons Japan managers would do well to learn.

SPECIAL REPORT: The Progress, and Promise, of Structural Reform in Japan

Beyond the bad debt problem and widespread calls for structural reform, what is the real progress, and promise, of structural reform in other areas of Japan's economy?   To answer that question for an economy as large and diverse as Japan's is not simple.  But in this Special Report we discuss three specific structural change efforts (curriculum reform, measuring the performance of Japanese government programs, and the Singapore-Japan Free Trade Agreement), with the goal of illustrating both the economic promise that each holds if fully implemented, and the difficulty and time required to deliver on the promise.  Read this report and you'll quickly understand both Japan's potential and the difficulties it faces in transforming its economy. 

Japan Insight: Get the Scoop

Japan tries to sell a restructuring story in New York; Overture's ambitions, and the obstacles it faces, in bringing pay-per-keyword internet search to Japan ; Etc.

From the Editors

Finding Japan Hands...

Plus much more...

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