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Overcoming Hurdles –The Parallels Between Sport And The Business World

GMG is a strategic management consulting firm that helps executives to not only solve their key operational, technical and human assets but address new business opportunities. We utilize proprietary analytics and tools to efficiently and effectively assess the SWOT of your business and industry, and create a thorough gap analysis. In today's business environment executive are consistently challenged to grow and scale their businesses.

As technology continues to evolve, businesses are challenged daily to not only protect; but to grow their market. Innovation is a term that is thrown around like confetti at a New York City Canyon of Heroes celebration parade. July 14, Darrell W. Gunter Hard work and Profit! Today, I would like to speak with a broader perspective than that of the minister in charge of the financial sector and administrative reform.

In this address, I would like to share with you what I have been thinking about recently as a member of the House of Representatives. The title of my address today is "Japanese Economy: Obstacles and Opportunities. Rather, my view is that Japan's revival will require a "paradigm shift" in which negative factors will be transformed into positive factors.

This will be the key message in my speech today. Among a variety of challenges facing Japan, I identify three challenges. The first is the demographic change arising from Japan's rapidly ageing population with a low birth rate. The second is soaring energy and raw material prices. This could severely harm Japan's natural-resource-scarce economy. The final challenge is slipping global competitiveness and diminishing attractiveness. First let me start with the issue of the demographic change.

In Japan, the speed of increase in the ageing rate, which measures the proportion of the overyear-olds within the population, is three times as rapid as that of the United States or European countries. Please look at slide 1. You will find that, in the other developed countries, it took years for the ageing rate to rise to 20 percent from 10 percent, whereas it took only 21 years in Japan.

In order to facilitate your understanding of the magnitude of this issue, I would like to share with you the following figure.


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In Japan, there were only people aged over years old in , when I was born. According to the latest figure, however, more than 32, in Japan are over years old.


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  5. If this figure is broken down into men and women respectively, it is 4, men and more than 27, women. In addition, Japanese women are ranked as the top in the world in terms of their average life expectancy. Chouju-Syakai, or a society with long life expectancy itself is not bad. As Japan's society is accompanied by a low birth rate, however, it entails two difficulties. One is a large increase of social security expenditures. If you look at slide 2, you will find the expanding trend of these expenditures in Japan.

    For instance, the total budget expenditures for public pensions, medical care, and other welfare-related expenses were 3. This is an increase of 30 times. The expenditure for public pensions has risen more than fold as it reached 50 trillion yen as compared to billion yen in This expansionary pressure on the social security expenditures is the biggest bottleneck of fiscal structure reform in Japan.

    Another difficulty to be brought about by the demographic change is a shortage in the labor force.


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    Slide 3 shows that, if the pace of the demographic change continues at the current rate, there would be a shortage of 4. In addition, the labor shortage will widen further and is expected to reach the level of 10 million in This is a serious concern as it could lead to a dramatic shrink of Japan's economic output. Now I would like to move on to the issue of soaring energy and raw material prices. As you already know, the corporate goods price index recorded a 7. The important point is that this is not a cyclical trend but rather a structural one.

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    The world population is now over 6. Moreover, the growth of BRICs and other emerging economies will further increase the demand for energy and raw materials. This poses a huge challenge for Japan where energy and raw material resources are scarce. Next I am looking into the third issue of the Japanese economy: slipping global competitiveness and diminishing attractiveness.

    Please turn to slide 4. The survey by the International Institute for Management Development shows that Japan's global competitiveness ranked 16th in but fell down to 24th in The top ranked is the United States in the two consecutive years.

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    China is up to 15th from 18th, and Germany is up to 16th from 25th. The survey by the World Economic Forum shows a similar picture. The United States is ranked as number one both in global competitiveness and business competitiveness. Germany ranks 5th and 2nd respectively, whereas Japan is 8th and 10th in the respective indices. I studied at Harvard in the early 80s.

    It was the time right after Dr. Ezra Vogel wrote the book, "Japan as Number One. If I may share an episode of my time there with you - I was selected from other students as a research assistant for Professor Robert Reich, who later served as Labor Secretary in the first Clinton administration. At first, I thought that it is honor and he had a good eye to select the right person.

    But the truth was that he just needed an assistant who had a good command of Japanese and thus could conduct a literature survey in Japanese for his research on Japan's industrial policy. I was the only student in the class who passed that criterion.

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    During those days, the people in the United States learned about Japan's economic and management system with great eagerness. Such a drastic change of perception is well represented in the buzzwords for Japan from time to time, starting from "Japan as No.

    As compared to those good old days, Japan is undoubtedly facing a series of serious challenges right now as its global competitiveness fell down. Despite these difficulties, however, I believe that the revival of Japan is possible, like the revival of the US economy triggered by the IT revolution after the late 80s. Japan's revival could be achieved by a "paradigm shift" by which obstacles will be transformed into opportunities.

    Now I would like to talk about how to tackle the first obstacle, the demographic change in Japan, in more detail. As stated earlier, Japan is ranked as number one in terms of life expectancy. When it comes to Japanese women, the average life expectancy is an astonishing 86 years. More importantly, Japan also ranks at the top in terms of healthy life expectancy, which is a measure of how long a person can live in a healthy condition.

    S and Latin American companies, such as Samba Tech and Netflix, are offering streaming videos and programs over the updated infrastructure. In other cases, companies have worked to increase the infrastructure to benefit consumers and drive more business. In , U. Through this partnership, Evernote was able to reach millions of new potential customers, while also helping to improve the telecommunications infrastructure in the regions. But they cannot lose sight of one of their most important jobs: to ensure the company can access the money earned in a country efficiently.

    Even though a business strategy for Latin America may include different countries — and there are some similarities in markets — companies must consider that each country has its own currency, regulatory environment, tax laws and payment instruments. In some countries, cross-border transactions may be seen as lending transactions, which can pose tax implications. Failing to follow the individual rules in each country can cause significant problems for the business agenda. In addition to understanding local regulations and tax implications, having the right financial resources to support international expansion is crucial.

    Before pursuing an international strategy, companies should understand global financial requirements, while also being able to articulate a global plan with an understanding of where cash will be generated and any restrictions for moving capital. For instance, in Argentina and Venezuela, local regulations prevent companies from making foreign currency payments out of those countries without going through an arduous process that can sometimes leave companies with trapped cash. In Brazil, by comparison, companies do not need prior authorization for foreign exchange transactions, although a record of the transaction must be filed online with the central bank.

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    Brazil has other rules, however, that can affect a treasury strategy. For instance, only a resident, not a foreigner, can be named on legal incorporation documents. Similarly, all FX transactions require a legal contract and local authorization, making it challenging to manage FX automatically through a treasury system based outside the country. Understanding the regulatory environment, operational realties and risks is critical when entering new markets such as Latin America, and companies should seek to identify tools and resources that help them understand the latest developments and emerging trends.

    Capital Planning Ultimately, the question will be whether to raise capital onshore at headquarters or offshore where the company is expanding.