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  ISSUE 8/2004

5 April, 2004  


A new fiscal year started in Japan, and also for many companies and organizations here, like the FCCJ. We held our General Assembly at the Embassy of Finland last Wednesday and among other things, we got a new President. It seems like our Presidents have decided to take three years at the stint, our first President Rauno Sirola held the position from 1999-2001 and then Timo Varhama from 2002-2004. Read more about the assembly below.

Report from the FCCJ Annual General Assembly:
Fresh Tunes in the FCCJ Board

Mika Mäkinen
After serving three years at the helms of FCCJ, Timo Varhama decided to hand over the responsiblity for the development of the chamber to younger forces.
Mika Mäkinen, President of Elcoteq Japan Co., Ltd. was elected new President of the Chamber, Mika served last year as Vice President. Another long-serving board member and Vice President since the foundation of FCCJ in 1999, Hirokuni Yoshida, President of Outokumpu K.K. also resigned from the board. As new Vice President was elected Shigeyoshi Noto, Diretor for the Finnish Tourist Board office in Japan.

Mr. Varhama and Mr. Yoshida were replaced in the board by Juhana Häkkänen, President of Vaisala K.K. and Thomas Hietto, President of Kone Japan Co., Ltd..

For more about the General Assembly with photos, click link below.
Stora Enso Cup:
Sweden-Finland Golf Challenge - last reminder
The 5th Sweden-Finland Golf Challenge (team competition between the Finnish and the Swedish Chambers) is played on Friday 16 April for a trophy donated by Stora Enso Japan K.K.
This time the event is organized by SCCJ and they have selected the Skyway G & CC, near Narita airport in Chiba Pref.

Date & Time:Friday 16 April, first tee-off 09:03
Place: Skyway Country Club, Chiba Pref. [MAP]
Play format: Stroke play with handicap, best 80 % in each team will be counted for team scores
Cost:16,000 yen incl. play fee, caddie, lunch & party
Registration:by Wednesday 7 April

We have already 53 participants registered, 23 from FCCJ, but there's still room for a couple more. So if you would like to participate, and have not yet signed-up, please do so now by clicking link at right. Please also mark your present handicap when you register.
Finnish Investment Seminar

A Finnish Investment Seminar will be held in Tokyo on Thursday, 22 April, 14:00-17:00, at the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). The seminar is organized by Embassy of Finland, Finland Trade Center (Finpro) and National Technology Agency (TEKES) Tokyo office, and from the Japanese side by the Japan Institute for Overseas Investments (JOI) and JBIC.

The seminar is targeted especially at Japanese companies, who are interested in investing in Finland and will have many prominent speakers, H.E. Minister of Trade and Industry of Finland, Mauri Pekkarinen is making the opening presentation. Director General Veli-Pekka Saarnivaara of TEKES will speak about Finnish innovation systems, their benefits and R&D funding. Managing Director Tapani Kaskeala, FINPRO, will focus on partnering with Finnish companies, including the gateway possibilities to the Russian market. The head of the Invest in Finland Bureau (IFB), Sirkka Aura, will touch upon the reasons for relocating in Finland and the opportunities for Japanese companies.

Some of you might have received an invitation for this seminar from the organizers, but in case you have not, and would be interested to participate, please contact Juha Markkanen, Counsellor at the Embassy of Finland for further details. To mail him, click link below.
French Chamber Luncheon meeting - last reminder:
Shinsei Bank - a living example of successful bank restructuring

By: Thierry Porte, Vice Chairman of Shinsei Bank

19th February 2004: Shinsei bank, Japan's first foreign-controlled lender sold its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Placed under government control in 1998 in a massive public bailout that cost more than 7 trillion yen, the former Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan (LTCJ) was then bought in 2000 by a consortium led by U.S. investment firm Ripplewood Holdings.

Analysts say the bank is in a strong position compared to other Japanese banks as it is not burdened with mountains of non-performing loans. Among the reasons that are given for Shinsei's performance, is the role played by foreign specialists in key positions.

Thierry Porte is one of them. Career investment banker at Morgan Stanley during 22 years and president of the New York firm's Japanese operations since 1995, Thierry Porte became Vice Chairman of Shinsei Bank on November 1st 2003.

Date & Time:Thursday, 8 April, 12:00-14:00
Place: Capitol Tokyu Hotel, Take Room, B2F [MAP]
Registration:Monday 5 April

If you are interested in this event, please click link below to register, but do it today!
News from Finland

Finnair starts daily flights to Japan in June

By adding two flight to the current three on the Helsinki-Kansai and the two on Helsinki-Narita route, Finnair will have daily connections between Finland and Japan from June.

This is good news for people traveling frequently on business between Finland and Japan, as it allows for more efficient scheduling of trips. Departures from Kansai are on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from Narita on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Finnair increases also its frequencies to China. During the coming summer Finnair has a total of 15 weekly flights from Finland to China. Finnair is adding a sixth MD-11 aircraft to its fleet at the end of spring, which makes it possible to expand its operations to China.

Finnair flies daily between Helsinki and Beijing, and from May 31, five times a week between Helsinki and Shanghai. As Finnair also has three flights a week to Hong Kong, there will be a total of 15 flights between Finland and China from the beginning of summer.
Grin of the week

Inventive Salesman
Need to improve yous sales? Read below for an inventive approach....

A man is looking in the classified ads for a job. He notices an advertisement for a toothbrush salesman and figured that couldn't such a bad job. So, he calls in, he goes in and they hire him. The next day, he heads out to a neighborhood to make some sales. Five hours later he comes home and says, "Man, I only sold one toothbrush".

That's not enough, so the next day he goes to a richer neighborhood, thinking maybe those people would buy more toothbrushes. He ends up selling two brushes. So he goes to his boss for advice and his boss says, "Look, you're a great guy and all, but you gotta come up with a gimmick or something."

So, the salesman thinks about it and, later that night, he finally comes up with one.
The next day, he sets up a booth near the subway with a sign that says "Free chips and dip". A guy walks over and puts the chip in the dip and says, "This tastes like shit."

The salesman replied, "Yeah, it is. Wanna buy a toothbrush?"

Next week we are trying to find out if you, or more precisely, the foreign companies in Japan need to improve their sales. Then we start the fifth FCIJ Business Confidence Survey. I will be interesting to find out if the positive trend from the last survey, and from the recently announced Bank of Japan Tankan survey, will continue.

Note that the name of the Foreign Chamber Information Group (FCIG) has been changed to Foreign Chamber in Japan to better reflect the activities it is involved in, like the surveys. Thus the acronym FCIJ.

Best regards

Clas G. Bystedt

If you have any comments, rumors, gossip or inside information,
send it to: fccj@gol.com

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This bulletin is published by the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan (FCCJ) and distributed to over 500 recipients among its members and related organizations.
FCCJ was established in April 1999 to promote trade and economic exchange between Japan and Finland and has today 72 corporate members, 15 individual and one special member.