A Goldman Sachs research report noted that Japanese major listed companies in particular are sitting on record amounts of cash and need to do something with it.
Will Shanghai Disneyland siphon off Chinese and overseas visitors to Japan, and what other overseas facilities or events could derail Japan's ascendency as a tourist destination for the throngs in Asia?
Not just hotel funds, foreign individuals are also driving up real estate prices. They are typically starting in the big cities, but we predict it won't be long before the excitement moves out to the rural areas as well.
Overseas tourist tragedies (Egypt and Tunisia) remind us just how lucky we are with public safety in Japan, and how Japan should be selling itself as a safe destination for international tourists wanting somewhere exotic to go.
A new government initiative operated from the Japan External Trade Organization in cooperation with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has been launched to help make it easier for foreigners to start a company in Japan.
Since JAL emerged from bankruptcy in 2010, the company has been on a combination of cost-cutting and strategic route planning. Everything was relatively new, staff were courteous and imbued with "omotenashi".
We remember the days when a 30% currency change over 2 years was considered dramatic, and yet here we are at more than 50% and mostly we sit back and complain about how things are getting more expensive.
Already Japan is becoming one of the premier holiday destinations for wealthy people in Asia, we think it won't be too long before we start seeing the same phenomenon here that Florida has with Canadians.
Budget airline company Skymark went into bankruptcy, marking the end of a painful 3-year process of spiraling losses (especially in the last year) due to a declining market share and expanding costs.
With the rise of Online Travel Agents (OTAs) suddenly foreigners are being directed to places and activities in Japan that are being decided and arranged by marketers and tour planners based abroad.
In TT 700, we wrote about a rice cracker company called Kameda Seika, which had just bought an upstart cracker company in the USA called Marys Gone Crackers (MGC). Has it actually worked?
Japan has many unique and interesting experiences. What all these events have in common, apart from the fact that they are powerful enough to draw foreign travelers, is that they are highly popular here at home as well.
As is our tradition for the last few years, we will make some predictions about the coming year, but with a slight departure -- all the predictions this year are about the same theme, the economy.