• 10 Jan 2019 2:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies (FAJS) opens its call for expressions of interest for grant support for 2019 on 10 January. This is an opportunity to apply for financial support for collaborative research projects that combine Japanese and Australian university researchers with researchers from industry or government on topics of significance for the Australia-Japan bilateral relationship. Grants are available for many different types of research and will typically be between AUD$50,000 to AUD$150,000 in value.  Please look at the Guidelines for more details about what areas will be supported.  These grants are a valuable opportunity to start up new projects or to extend existing ones with Australian counterparts. Grants can support the exchange of researchers to build lasting links between research teams from diverse organisations. 

    The Foundation’s mission is to encourage collaborations between academic institutions, industry and government in Australia and Japan and to support people who are transforming the bilateral relationship through these partnerships.  One-way FAJS does that is through the project grant program. The Guidelines explaining the criteria for projects can be found at the Foundation’s website FAJS are keen to support research collaborations between excellent institutions in Australia and Japan and hope to reach a wide range of potential research partners. 

    The expression of interest is a simple online process with very little paperwork. After initial assessment, the Foundation will invite selected projects to go to the next stage of submitting full applications. The EOI process for the projects opens on January 10 and closes on January 31.  The link to the online application process will be posted on the Foundation website on January 10. After initial assessment invitations to submit full applications will be sent to selected applicants on February 15.




    プロジェクトの基準を説明するガイドラインは、FAJSのウェブサイトhttps://www.fajs.orgに掲載されています。ガイドラインの全文は、 から入手できます。

    応募については、簡単な申請手続きをオンライン上で行っていただくだけです。FAJSの一次審査を通過したプロジェクトには、次の二次審査に進むにあたり、正式な申請書を提出していただきます。Expression of Interest (EOI) Application Formによる一次申請受付期間は、110日から131日までとなっております。オンライン申請のリンクは、110日にFAJSのホームページwww.fajs.orgに掲載されます。二次審査については215日にご案内いたします。

  • 20 Dec 2018 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On 17 December, the Australian Embassy together with JETRO and ANZCCJ held a seminar on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership at the Embassy. The Australian Ambassador to Japan, HE Richard Court and the Secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Frances Adamson kicked off the session, before passing the mic over to First Secretary, Emily Flahive (a prior CPTPP negotiator) to provide an outline of the CPTPP agreement.

    From left: Adam Coin, Australian Embassy Tokyo; Tadayuki Nakashima, JETRO; Cheryl Stanilewicz, Austrade and Tim Barnstable, Saputo Dairy.

    This was followed by a panel discussion which included ANZCCJ Food and Agriculture Committee Chair, Tim Barnstable from Saputo Dairy, along with the Chief Senior Researcher at JETRO Tadayuki Nagashima, and Australian Embassy Trade Commissioner and Counsellor (Commercial) Cheryl Stanilewicz, moderated by Australian Embassy Trade & Economic Counsellor Adam Coin. The panel discussion and question and answer time was eye opening, and we’ve summarised the top 7 key things for you to know below:

    1. The CPTPP will enter into force on 30 December 2018 for 6 countries – Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and Singapore. For Vietnam, the agreement will apply from mid-January 2019. The remaining 4 countries (Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru) still need to ratify the deal in their domestic legislatures. Once they do, the CPTPP will take effect for those countries within 60 days

    2. The CPTPP will eventually eliminate more than 98% of tariffs between CPTPP countries.

    3. Countries in the CPTPP zone account for 23.9% of Australia’s total good exports, 22.5% of Australia’s service exports and 15.6% of the total stock of Australian foreign investment.

    4. Unlike JAEPA, the CPTPP allows producers to self-produce a certificate of origin for export making it a lot easier for exporters

    5. Some specific highlights for the Japan market include:

    • Reductions in Japanese tariffs on Australian beef to 9% within 15 years (currently 18% under JAEPA).
    • Horticulture tariff reductions in areas like table grapes, where CPTPP will bring the tariffs down to 0%.
    • Elimination of the 29.8% tariff on most bulk cheese over 15 years.
    • Tariff reductions and new access for cereal and grains exporters into Japan.
    • Cotton will come into Japan without tariffs, and with Viet Nam as a CPTPP party, third-country manufacturing possibilities open up.
    • Honey into Japan will have its tariff of 25.5% removed over eight years with no quotas 
    • Greater dairy access with quotas established for butter, skim milk powder, condensed milk, among others. 
    • Frozen yogurt, which currently has a duty of 26.3%, has been reduced to 13.15% over ten years, with quota volume restrictions under JAEPA, but under CPTPP the tariff will move to 0% in ten years with no restrictions on volume.
    • Tariffs will be eliminated on bottle wine in 2021 and on bulk wine at entry into force. The tariffs on bottle wine under the EU EPA will be eliminated at entry info force. 
    6. Exporters can choose whether to use JAEPA or CPTPP, but one agreement should be chosen. To check which FTA is best for your business, DFAT have a handy online tool here:

    With the first round of tariff cuts to take place on 30 December 2018, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has released information on the application processes for importing products subject to tariff rate quotas (TRQs) under the CPTPP.  Further information can be found in Japanese here:

    For further information on the CPTPP:

      For Australian businesses, information on the CPTPP can be found here.  For enquiries, please contact:

     For New Zealand businesses, information on the CPTPP can be found here.  For enquiries, please contact:

  • 14 Dec 2018 3:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Rugby Alliance

    The Rugby Alliance 'Joint Chambers of Commerce in Japan Rugby Alliance' was launched in Tokyo on 19 September, 2018 at a special Joint-Chamber “RWC 2019 - One Year to Go” event.

    The Alliance is comprised of 8 international Chambers of Commerce in Japan, who have national teams participating in the Rugby World Cup 2019 tournament. With the first game kicking off on 20 September 2019, the RWC 2019 will provide fantastic opportunities for local communities and businesses across Japan. This has already been indicated by the unprecedented international interest in ticket sales. 

    Rugby Alliance Mission Statement:

    "Support Japan’s delivery of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, fostering a legacy of more inclusive communities and embracing opportunities for international business and exchange."

    Rugby Alliance Pledge:


    • Exchange knowledge of best practices;

    • Compile and share a master calendar of events; and

    • Channel combined resources into the delivery of three co-hosted events. 

    Choosing a Logo

    The Rugby Alliance now requires a logo to use at events and across communication channels. The logo should symbolise strength and solidarity, whilst recognising the driving forces of the RWC2019 and Chambers of Commerce.

    Please review the following draft logo designs (A-F) and cast your vote, recognising your top 3 in order. The logo which gains the highest number of votes will be announced on January 10, 2019. To understand more about the thought behind the designs, a description of each logo can be found here.

    Vote here for your favourite logo!

  • 19 Nov 2018 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On October 15, 2018, METI’s Significant Development of Renewable Energy and Next Generation Electric Grid Network Committee (Saisei Kanou Enerugi Tairyou Dounyu /Jisedai Denryoku Network Sho Iinkai) introduced strict new deadlines and other measures on solar project development, which, if not met, will result in the project FIT rate and duration being reduced significantly. According to METI, more than 20 GW of solar power projects which are entitled to 40, 36 and 32 yen kW/h FIT rates have not reached commercial operations and are unreasonably taking up grid capacity, preventing new players from developing alternate renewable energy projects in the affected grid areas.

    While some reasons behind this proposal may be well intentioned, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ANZCCJ), Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ), CCI France Japon (CCIFJ), and European Business Council (EBC) are concerned by its suddenness, radical nature and the ambiguity around its implementation, which does not reflect the reality of actual project development processes.

    For project developers and investors specifically, the proposal does not give those demonstrating good-faith progress on remaining planning requirements (including, for example, those that have already secured land and interconnection rights, and/or those that have already entered into binding agreements to purchase major components of equipment needed to build the project) the opportunity to address these concerns. Nor does it give enough time to alter project schedules, especially in cases in which any hurdles to development lay beyond the control of project developers/investors themselves, including in relation to local government approvals and community input.

    More generally, this proposal threatens to undermine market participants’ confidence in the security, stability, and predictability of Japanese market rules. This in turn harms investment and growth and gives reason to any stakeholder in the Japanese economy to view this proposal with concern.

    Our member companies and others have invested billions of dollars and years of effort in the Japanese renewable energy industry, often in rural regions or economically disadvantaged areas, and their subsidiaries employ thousands of skilled renewable energy professionals within Japan. Indeed, as the renewable power market has matured, larger, more experienced, and more diverse investors have participated – growth that is necessary for a stable, competitive industry.

    The renewable power industry is growing globally and offers opportunities for Japanese technology, construction, manufacturing, and financing organizations, as well as continued partnership with foreign companies and investors.

    Greater use of renewable power also supports Japan’s goal of a clean, diverse, safe, and secure power generation mix, reduces Japan’s dependence on imports of fossil fuel, and is essential for Japan to meet its COP21 commitments on reduction of CO2 emissions.

    With this new proposal, after years of commitment to renewable energy, Japan risks ceding its leadership in the industry and damaging its well-earned reputation for stability, transparency and rule of law, for several reasons:

    • First, the proposal does not differentiate between assets that have achieved development or construction milestones and have credible sponsors, and assets that lack these attributes (which are presumably those causing concern).
    • Second, the proposed changes to program deadlines do not account for typical – or even accelerated – timelines relative to historical averages or industry norms. The deadlines, as proposed, are subject to local governmental and newly introduced utility-driven processes that have not yet been defined.
    • Further, power plant development and construction requirements vary by region; but the proposal treats all assets in the same way. Sponsors that follow industry best practices and build for durability and safety may find themselves penalized by the introduction of new deadlines set without regard for the need to comply with existing third-party stakeholder and relevant local agency review processes.

    Investors deploy capital based on the expectation of regulatory stability that accounts for these industry norms. Any modification to a regulatory framework that is backward-looking, or applies timelines that do not accommodate industry realities, will be regarded as de-facto retroactive, and equivalent to regulatory expropriation of rights. Some investors may even find that significant investments are put at risk by policies which would give rise to claims under investment protection insurance coverage that are usually only procured for projects in developing countries.

    We hope that METI and other government stakeholders, working in good faith with industry participants, will take the time required to adequately consider the impact that this measure would have on many local economies and on the perceived risks associated with foreign direct investment in Japan. At a minimum, additional consideration should be given to projects that have met demonstrable milestones and that have made good-faith progress on remaining planning requirements.

    We are optimistic that the Japanese government and industry stakeholders can find a solution that supports the government’s priorities while protecting both Japanese and non-Japanese investors and reinforcing Japan’s reputation for stability.

  • 14 Nov 2018 1:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last night ANZCCj held its Annual General Meeting at the Australian Embassy, where members voted for seven Executive Council members for the 2018-2020 two-year term.

    Congratulations to the successful candidates (in alphabetical order):

    • Tim Barnstable, Saputo Dairy Australia (Corporate Sponsor)
    • Elizabeth Cox, Macquarie Group (AU Corporate Sponsor)
    • Ian Scott, Atsumi & Sakai (Corporate Sponsor)
    • Martin Spann, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (AU Corporate Sponsor)
    • Sally Townsend, Sarment Group (Individual Member)
    • Matthew Walker, AIG Japan Holdings (Corporate Sponsor)
    • Nobi Yamaji, Rio Tinto Japan (Corporate Sponsor)

    These EC members will be joined by the below members who are continuing on the EC as part of their two-year term:

    • Andrew Gauci, Lendlease (AU Corporate Sponsor)
    • Catherine O'Connell, Catherine O'Connell Law (Individual Member)
    • Clovis Peryer, Air New Zealand (NZ Corporate Sponsor)
    • Kohei Tsushima, Challenger (AU Corporate Sponsor)
    • Tracy Whiriskey, Ashurst (Corporate Sponsor)

    The Special Resolution to amend the Constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority to pass, was confirmed last night. This has amended the Constitution to allow for up to three Vice Chairs, one of which does not need to be an Australian or New Zealand permanent resident or citizen.

    Following on from the AGM last night, the 12 Executive Councillors and 4 Ex-Officio Members from the Australian and New Zealand Embassies met to confirm the appointment of the Office Bearer positions. We are happy to announce that Sally Townsend was confirmed as Chair elect. Sally will be taking over full responsibilities as Chair from Andrew Gauci after the Executive Council meeting in January 2019. Three Vice Chairs have also been elected, Catherine O’Connell, Martin Spann and Nobi Yamaji. Tim Barnstable will be the new Treasurer and Andrew Gauci appointed as Senior Councillor. Melanie Brock will continue as Chair Emeritus.

    Thank you to all who participated in the AGM, in particular those candidates who ran for election. We also wish to thank Ed Cole for his 6 years of service as Vice Chair on the Executive Council. The ANZCCJ's strength comes from the continued and active participation of its members and the strategic leadership of its Executive Council. 

    Minutes from the AGM will be available to members in due course.

  • 09 Nov 2018 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Australian and New Zealand embassies welcome the upcoming entry into force of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).  This history-making agreement will deliver new opportunities for our respective exporters, investors and firms engaged in business here in Japan and in other CPTPP markets.    

    With the first round of tariff cuts to take place on 30 December 2018, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has released information on the application processes for importing products subject to tariff rate quotas (TRQs) under the CPTPP. 

    Further information can be found in Japanese here:

    The list of TRQ items in the above link does not currently cover all items under the CPTPP agreement.  MAFF will make announcements on the remaining commodities at later dates.

    For further information on the CPTPP:

     For Australian businesses, information on the CPTPP can be found here For enquiries, please contact:

    For New Zealand businesses, information on the CPTPP can be found here For enquiries, please contact:

  • 02 Nov 2018 2:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On 30 October, the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ANZCCJ) held its fourth Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) event with guest speakers Kohei Tamura from Rio Tinto and Kanna Mihara from Macquarie, both Co-Chairs of the Australia Japan Business Cooperation Committee (AJBCC) Future Leaders Program. We had over 25 YEPs attend, almost all of whom were under the age of 25 years old and keen on the Australia, New Zealand and Japan link.

    The Future Leaders group host a panel discussion at the AJBCC-JABCC joint conference each year. This year, for the conference in Sydney on 14-16 Oct the theme was ‘Creating Shared Value’ - the idea that businesses can and should leverage capital to solve societal issues whilst contributing to their bottom line. They shared their expertise as well as their findings from the conference with more than 25 YEP attendees.

    Future Leaders Program

    The Future Leaders Program is part of the AJBCC and was created to: Develop and facilitate fresh ideas and perspectives and nurture the next generation of leaders within the evolving Australia-Japan relationship. A concept very similar to what we as the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan are aiming to do with the next generation of young professionals in Japan. The Future Leaders’ program started with less than ten members and has since grown to around 40 members, mostly under or around 40 years of age.

    The Australia-based side of the program holds regular seminars, discussing topics such as emerging trends and emerging industries in the Japan-Australia relationship, areas of cooperation, and how to promote trade. They also run a mentoring program, which connects Future Leaders to senior management executives.

    The Japan-based side of the program is aiming to pilot a similar mentoring program. They hold bi-monthly study sessions about the Australia-Japan relationship and often invite prominent guest speakers to share their knowledge. Past guest speakers have included an Australian TPP negotiator and a security relationships expert.

    Both sides of the program participate in and help organise sessions for the annual AJBCC-JABCC joint conference. The conference is the highest-level Australia-Japan business gathering with around 450 CEOs and executives in attendance. It is a significant opportunity for Future Leaders to share the ideas of the next generation with the current generation of leaders. This year, the theme for the Future Leaders panel at the conference was ‘Creating Shared Value’.

    Creating Shared Value

    A range of social issues exist in the world, and while governments and not for profit organisations are usually looked to for solutions, it is often corporates who, by their nature, have the capital to help achieve these solutions.

    National Australia Bank (NAB) was used as an example of what corporates can achieve in this sphere. In working with social welfare organisations, not only did NAB help to improve the circumstances of their mortgage clients, but the business also saved $70 million as their clients were able to stabilise their financial positions and continue re-payments. Thus, shared value is created when corporates work with consumers, governments and other organisations.

    Occasionally there may be instances where regulations prevent corporates from becoming involved in certain issues, however it was suggested that private companies need to engage more with governments to facilitate better cooperation on finding shared value solutions.

    Concern around social issues has not only changed how corporates partner with governments but also how big institutions choose to invest. More and more, investors are putting their money into businesses that demonstrate their ability to operate responsibly through their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reports.

    Social responsibility is becoming increasingly important to consumers and investors, which will continue to shape the strategies that corporates use in the future.

    Our YEPs really enjoyed the discussion, with a number of them throwing some challenging questions at the speakers. Whilst there may be a career gap between the two groups, there is a bridge we want to build between the future generations of business leaders in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

    More information about shared value can be found at

    About the Guest Speakers

    Kanna Mihara

    Kanna is the Vice President of Macquarie Capital in Tokyo. Her role involves managing relationships with Japanese clients for Macquarie Group’s investment banking division and introducing investment opportunities to clients. Her experience includes the successful privatisation of Sendai Airport and eight toll roads in Aichi prefecture.

    Kohei Tamura

    Kohei is the manager of Special Projects & External Affairs at Rio Tinto in Tokyo. His role involves working with Rio Tinto's Corporate Relations team and Growth & Innovation team, as well as external stakeholders such as the Australian Embassy in Japan, and the Foundation of Australia Japan Studies for enhancement of the bilateral relationship.

    View the LinkedIn Article for this event here.

  • 26 Oct 2018 3:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Thursday 25 October 2018, we had the ANZCCJ Bledisloe Cup Charity Gala Dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo. The event was sponsored by AIG, AMP Capital, ANZ, Lendlease Japan, Melanie Brock Advisory, and STH Japan. This event marked the first ever charity gala that the ANZCCJ has held since the Chamber’s inception in 1972 and was a real highlight for many. Our aim was to bring the Australian and New Zealand rugby, business and embassy communities together with Japanese stakeholders to demonstrate our special partnership with Japan under the banner of rugby. The event also raised funds for the Kamaishi Community Sports Project, an important community for the Chamber and one which the Australia and New Zealand business community in Japan has strong links. The guest speakers we had on the night were: Australian Ambassador to Japan, HE Richard Court; New Zealand Ambassador to Japan, HE Stephen Payton; CEO Rugby Australia, Raelene Castle; CEO New Zealand Rugby, Steve Tew; and Kamaishi Mayor, Takenori Noda.

    “Take the opportunity to deepen the bonds in this community. Bonds not only in business, but the bonds that can make a difference to the broader Australia and New Zealand relationship with Japan”, said ANZCCJ Chair Andrew Gauci in his welcome remarks at the beginning of the night, reflecting the unity pursued through the event.

    Ambassador Court said that both the All Blacks and Wallabies carry three important values which are teamwork, perseverance, and commitment to excellence. He said Australia, New Zealand and Japan can share the same values in order to develop further connections amongst our three countries, and that these values already can be seen in the ANZCCJ’s commitment to connect with the Kamaishi community. Ambassador Payton reminisced of his first posting to Japan which was when the All Blacks’ first toured Japan back in 1987, and how this significantly inspired the rugby culture of Japan. Ambassador Payton said the Rugby World Cup 2019 would also create exciting new opportunities beyond the rugby field - he predicts that it will strengthen ties between the three countries in a wide variety of fields such as business, tourism, health, education and so on. Kamaishi Mayor Takenori Noda said that “throughout the recovery process, there has been a number of challenges that we [Kamaishi] faced as individuals and as a town as a whole. And throughout the process, we have felt the strong spirit of rugby especially as the slogan, “One for All, All for One” as we united together as a town”. The event MC for the evening was ANZCCJ Sports for Business Committee Co-Chair Sally Townsend. 

    CEO of NZ Rugby Steve Tew commented on the devastating effects of the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch and spoke about the power rugby had had during the recovery period from that disaster. He said “we are all incredibly excited to have the opportunity which the Rugby World Cup brings in Japan and Asia”. CEO of Rugby Australia Raelene Castle thanked the All Blacks for hosting and bringing the Bledisloe Cup finals to Tokyo. She said “it is an important opportunity for the Wallabies and All Blacks to come together and understand what it is like to play in this environment”. She also mentioned the special relationship Rugby Australia had been forming with the Odawara town, where they will have their rugby training base in Japan up until 2020. Steve said It is important to recognise that some people are a lot worse off than we are and so to sit down and use rugby as a medium for their effect is fantastic” .

    At the end the night, ANZCCJ Chair Andrew Gauci presented a cheque for JPY 1.5 million to the Kamaishi Mayor for the Kamaishi Community Sports Project. Takenori thanked the Chamber for the donation which would go towards supporting the community during the RWC19 games in Kamaishi.

    It was one of the biggest events ANZCCJ has held. We had over 280 guests, over 50% were Japanese, and a pre-event press conference which also included former All Blacks Captain, Richie McCaw.  

    Thank you also to Air New Zealand, Qantas and Kirin for their generous donations.

  • 24 Oct 2018 3:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On 2 October the Roppongi Bar Association hosted a panel together with Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Japan to discuss recent changes in Japan’s fintech environment. The panel was comprised of financial technology (fintech) related vendors, users, thought leaders and legal practitioners. The discussion started with an introduction from each of the panel members providing a brief background of what role their organisations play in fintech. The event was held at Nishimura & Asahi.

    ANZCCJ Member, Mr. Paul Chapman, CEO & Founder of Moneytree shared insights from an Australia and Japan perspective. Moneytree is a Japanese fintech company founded by an Australian and three Americans and acts as a financial data platform. People and businesses store and share their confidential financial information like cashflow data, credit ratings, banking transaction history and other digital financial data which can be used for a wide range of purposes.

    Other speakers included:

    Ms. Christine Lee of Ground X, a blockchain related subsidiary of Kakao, and an attorney admitted in Japan. Kakao is a platform that covers various industries such as taxi, bank, and music. They have been working on developing the system to ease the usage of Fintech in Korea. More info online:;

    Mr. Spyridon Mentzas, former head of equities at Mizuho Securities, and current fintech entrepreneur. Founded a company called ‘Hijojo Partners’. This company offers an online platform for investors to buy and sell securities. More info online:;

    Ms. Anri Okamoto, General Counsel for Mercari, and an attorney admitted in Japan and New York. Mercari is an online second-hand market place (mobile version of E-bay) operating in Japan, US and UK with around 1,000 employees. In the future, the company is looking to to implement a mobile payment system which would allow customers/suppliers on the net to use up their credit at the convenience store. More info online:;

    Mr. Jeff Wentworth, Co-Founder of Curvegrid which uses a blockchain server to make it easier, faster and less expensive to build business application on the blockchain.  The company is based in Tokyo, Japan. it;

    Ms. Kristina Yasuda, Director of Digital Identities at the and Consultant with Accenture Strategy; was founded “to be a bar organisation for the Internet. Traditionally, bar associations connect, educate and define professional standards for those who are members (lawyers). Because the Internet is global and involves a multi-faceted set of participants, all contributing to the normative behaviour of online interaction, IBO includes anyone – activist, lawyer, technologist, advocate, student, entrepreneur – who wants to be a part of making the Justice Layer become a reality through education, prevention, access to tools, and empowerment of the individual in the justice system through arts and culture”

    Mr. Tony Andriotis of Hughes Hubbard & Reed and the Greek Chamber of Commerce in Japan (Moderator); and

    Mr. Susumu Tanizawa (Moderator) and Ms. Chika Igarashi (Alternate Moderator) of Nishimura & Asahi.

    A number of issues were discussed and by the end of the night it was clear there were a number of opportunities for fintech start-ups in Japan, especially in light of Japanese banks increasingly opening themselves up and digitising their services more. Panelists had a range of views about Japan being “behind” other developed economies on fintech development. A large economy like Japan’s takes time to adjust to market forces – the major banks cover a huge customer base. Paul Chapman thought this was perhaps “The 1.5 Dilemma” for Japan. Japan invents something at 1.5 when the rest of the world is focused on 1.0 – the Japanese flip phone that connected to the internet as an example - but the result being Japan would tend to delay its adoption of 2.0 once the rest of the world had got to this (for example the “smart phone” as we now know it today took time to penetrate the Japanese market).

    The Japanese consumer is somewhat reluctant to shift away from a predominantly cash-heavy society, to using online financial services and web platforms, despite the Japanese government’s efforts to modernise the Japanese banking system. This is due to a number of factors: In terms of credit cards, Japanese consumers are reluctant to spend money they can’t see. Instead, the typical Japanese consumer wants visual acknowledgement of how much they spent, when and what. So Japan has seen a slower uptake of credit cards and online payments. Consumers also have security concerns, questioning how safe their online financial details are, furthermore the transaction fee associated with credit cards or online payments are still too expensive in Japan, because they are relatively new to this market. Whilst there has been rapid implementation in the last 2-3 years. The change in Japanese mind-sets toward electronic payments will eventually shift but until they do, fintech software/Apps and the like will continue to develop slowly. Open banking (which refers to increased financial services/e-payments being offered by banks to consumers) will need to play its part to increase consumer confidence and uptake, but likewise fintech companies like MoneyTree can do their part to develop systems that close gaps in the banking system and make a consumer’s life easier.

    MoneyTree Co-Founder, Paul Chapman said one solution would be if banks continued to open up more through greater deregulation, this would foster more innovation and stimulate growth in Japan. It would also ensure Japan keeps pace with the rest of the world. Who knows, maybe Japan may start to lead in this area one day with banks having the advantage of a big customer base, allowing Japan to play an increasing role as an investment hub in Asia, a role still very much dominated by Hong Kong and Singapore. 

  • 05 Oct 2018 2:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Members of the Chamber met with the Odawara Hakone Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI) on 4 October. The visit was to build relationship between the two chambers as the Wallabies and Australian Sevens teams will be using Odawara (the Shiroyama rugby ground) as their Japanese training base for the next three years. A group from ANZCCJ, including Chair Andrew Gauci, Chair Emeritus Melanie Brock, Food, Ag and Hospitality Committee Chair Tim Barnstable, Executive Director Judith Hanna, Australian Embassy Public Diplomacy Counsellor Michael Hoy, Murray River Organics’ Joe Gayton, Harnets Corporation’ Frank Hart, Melanie Advisory’s Shoma Kubo, and Club Australia’s Tad Watanabe travelled to Odawara for the meetings.

    With key matches and tournaments to be played in Japan in 2018, 2019, and 2020, we met with counterparts from OCCI including Mr Teisuke Suzuki, President of the Odawara and Hakone Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Executive Director Hiroshi Yamaoka, representatives from Yokohama Bank and local company representatives from their own sports for business committee (DACS). We were also pleased to meet with the Deputy Mayor of Odawara Yasuhiko Kabe and the Mayor of Hakone Nobuo Yamaguchi. Andrew Gauci was interviewed by the local news. Our Chamber’s interest in and visit to Odawara was reported by local media. In anticipation of our visit, a group of children with disabilities created a Wallabies banner for us, something we were so touched by that our Chair Emeritus Melanie Brock arranged to have up on display at our ANZCCJ Bledisloe Cup Charity Gala Dinner on 25 October. Read more online about the visit from the Odawara Official Website, Kanaloco,  and Town News.

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