The Finance Ministry came out with some negative data this week, showing that the nation's exports fell 2% in June, and that the trade balance was in deficit, again, to the tune of -JPY822.2trn.
It's companies which understand innovation and the international markets -- although it's somewhat ironic that the world leader for patent applications was turn-around challenged Panasonic corporation.
Last week we had the good fortune to be invited to participate in an expert panel for crowdsourcing alongside two major players in the crowdsourcing industry in Japan.
Through our sister company Japan Inc Holdings we have been involved in market entry for foreign firms since the 1990's, and one of the most common questions we are asked is how to find partners, resellers and clients.
Although there is a massive wifi grid throughout Japan (more than 600,000 access points), the ability for international visitors to access it easily is limited.
If you read the media, you would think that Japan is turning the corner. But when you talk to other business people in the street about business here and now, the story is not so bright.
A professor suggested that student loans be structured in a crowdfunding approach, where investors "buy" a share of the students earnings for a specific time at a defined and mutually agreed rate of revenue share.
Last week, significantly, the Singapore government announced that with a few exceptions, the restrictions on food being imported from Japan are being lifted.
The Japanese government is now plotting a future course based on software/content and soft (tissue) engineering. If really happening, it will create all kinds of opportunities for start-ups both local and inbound.
According to a NHK report, the police collared a renter after he ignored multiple requests to stop sub-letting the premises. Apparently his Adachi Ward neighbors complained of "strange people" staying at the building.
Of all the first world countries, we believe that Japan has one of the easiest immigration regimes for foreign entrepreneurs who want to be resident in the country.
Here we are in mid-May and the yen is still sitting at the 101/102=US$1 mark and there is little to no news on those Abenomics third arrow reforms.
A battle is brewing in the USA between crowdsourced accommodation provider Airbnb and the state of New York, which is challenging Airbnb's very business model allowing unlicenced individuals to rent out their homes for short periods.
We were introduced to a great Japan cycling story, American Charles Scott, who not only decided to ride the length of Japan by bike, but, and this is the really adventurous part, he did it with his 8-year old son, Sho.
The Nikkei carried a feel-good article about Japan's top three banks had cut their Non-performing Loans (NPLs) to small and mid-size companies -- however, government propaganda has its own language and smell.