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What's up in Japan | 4Q20 review

Updated: May 5, 2021

🇯🇵 What’s up in Japan? 🇯🇵

A review of the major headlines and developments in Japan over the fourth quarter of 2020.


🇯🇵 What’s up in Japan? 🇯🇵

Week ending 11 Dec, 2020 (💹 NKY -0.4% )

  • STIMULUS #3. GREEN AND DIGITAL. Hot on the heels of two earlier supplementary budgets, the third stimulus package is a further $300b, taking the total stimulus this year to almost 17% of GDP.

  • GREEN TECH. 88 Japanese companies have formed JH2A, an body that works to ensure that Japan leads the world in the use of hydrogen #zeroemissions

  • SOLID STATE BATTERIES. VW’s QuantumScape said its solid state batteries allow a car to charge to 80% of its full capacity in 15 mins. Toyota claims that its newly developed batteries enable a maximum EV range of 500km in one full charge and a 0 to 100% charging time of just 10 mins

  • MORE ON SOLID STATE. Toyota taking the lead. Small cap plays include Ohara (5218), Mitsui Kinzoku (5706), and Sannoh Industrial (6584)

  • GREATER DIVERSITY. Companies will be encouraged to set voluntary targets for diversity - women & foreigners - in the new CorpGov Code (Spring 2021).

  • GOVERNANCE WORKING. Facing a shareholder revolt, Fujitec, announced a treasury share cancellation, new strategic direction, and improved (slightly) governance

  • VALUING JP IP. The popular manga series "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba" has generated an economic impact of at least $2.5b

  • JAPAN VACCINE DEVELOPMENT LAGGARD. Lack of government support and inadequate scale of Japan Pharmas cited as causes.

✅Links to the above stories can be found 👇👇👇

Demon Slayer




Solid State


🇯🇵 What’s up in Japan? 🇯🇵

Week ending 4 Dec, 2020 (💹 NKY +0.4%)

  1. BRAIN DRAIN 🤯: Japan is struggling to retain homeground talent in science as China makes attractive offers on compensation and conditions to Japanese researchers. EMPLOYEE SHARING is taking off as Japanese companies are becoming more flexible and starting to share workers.

  2. DIVERSITY TARGETS 🤦‍♀️: A mere 8% of senior execs are female in Japan, missing the Government target of 10%. Japan is far behind global peers.

  3. SUGA TALKS: Spend $10b on digitalization of economy and $20b on shift to carbon neutral. These two key planks of policy will continue to drive stock selection.

  4. MOBILE PRICE CUTS: Docomo finally bows to pressure from Suga in long-running fight to lower Japan’s expensive mobile data plans 🪓

  5. JAPAN EVs 🚓: Government likely to ban sale of gasoline cars by mid-2030’s following other developed nations’ carbon neutral pledges

  6. SOFTBANK: As Softbank closes controversial Call option positions, a more interesting acquisition of Sinch for $700m - a global leader in B2C mobile customer engagement.

  7. IPO WATCH: Keeping an eye on PLAID (4165), set to IPO on the TSE Mothers Exchange on 17 Dec. They know who is coming and what they are doing on your website! 👀

✅Links to the above stories can be found 👇👇👇









🇯🇵 What’s up in Japan? 🇯🇵

Week end 27 November, 2020

  1. One month following Oasis’ calls for an EGM at Tokyo Dome, Mitsui Fudosan has emerged as a “white knight”. Oasis had called for the removal of long-standing Prez & “independent” directors. Is $1.2b fair value? 🤫

  2. More signs of digitalization as SMBC cashiers hand out QR codes rather than yen bills. 🏧

  3. Japan may be engaging in a great leap into digital transformation, but it seems to have forgotten to safeguard its systems, leaving them wide open to cyber attacks.⛔️

  4. Luckily however, the government is about to provide tax incentives to pursue DX….companies will have to undergo regular cyber security audits.

  5. Activist investors promise to make life hell for Japan's CEOs...but,erm, see number one.⏫

  6. There is still a long way to go for hydrogen to justify the hype as the next big thing in transportation….Asia focused, but ditto for Japan.

  7. Re-alignment of regional banks is one of PM Suga’s key policies. New laws put into place to skirt anti-monopoly concerns. Good 📺 in the link 👇

✅Links to the above stories can be found 👇👇👇

Nikkei on Tokyo Dome

Oasis on Tokyo Dome

Reuters on Mitsui ToB

Japan Times on Digital Banking

NHK on CrowdStrike’s rather shocking findings

Nikkei on tax incentives for DX transformers

Board Prospects on activism

WSJ on the hydrogen economy

NHK Video explaining regional banks and non-banks

🇯🇵 What’s up in Japan? 🇯🇵

Week end 20 November, 2020 (💹 NKY -1.5%)

  1. Coronavirus cases hit a record daily high of 2,427….The Go To Travel domestic tourism campaign may be suspended. Olympic games 2021, discuss?

  2. Japan to invite bids for offshore wind plants off Chiba and Akita...yes, get on with it.

  3. Japan’s new Digital Ministry to nab 150 IT engineers from the private sector. Wonder if they will use TechnoPro or Altech to source the talent?

  4. Asia mega trade deal as Asia becomes the world’s torchbearer for free trade. The catchily-named RCEP will eliminate 86% of tariffs on Japan exports to China.

  5. Kerching: KKR and Rakuten to invest in supermarket, Seiyu. Hitachi Metals also on the chopping block as Hitachi continues to unlock value 🔑

  6. Amazon to start selling prescription drugs to Prime customers...Japan drugstore stocks = placebo

  7. If you are not up to speed on 5G….then fuhgeddaboudit. 6G is the next big thing and NTT wants to be top dog. 🐶

  8. Will Daikin investors get cold feet as Elon Musk eyes the HVAC market?

✅Links to the above stories can be found 👇👇👇

🇯🇵 What’s up in Japan? 🇯🇵

Week end 20 November, 2020 (💹 NKY +4.2%)

In the week when Pfizer announced a vaccine: Japan registered 1,705 new COVID cases, a new record. Third 👋

We are going to hear a lot more about the 'Quad'. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will travel to Tokyo next week to meet his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga against the backdrop of increasing tensions with China

Here’s more about the ‘Quad’: Biden affirms security treaty applies to Senkaku Islands in Suga call. China calls US-Japan arrangement a product of the Cold War 🥶

Some hostile conflicts are good: Shimachu agrees to accept the $2b TOB offer from Nitori, shifting from DCMs offer.

Japan Inc. net profit is expected to be down 34% from the previous year. However, over 30% of companies have revised up full-year guidance as many are now expecting a significant recovery in the second half of the year.

Tax breaks for lower carbon emission investments. Offshore wind bids are about to kick off for Chiba and Akita.

Fast Forward Money Forward & Freee! Japan’s MoF is reviewing the procedures for paper-based tax treatment in corporate expense reimbursements.

Sony's PlayStation 5 goes on sale, pre-orders overwhelm supply. Retailing at 39,980 yen, you may be lucky to pick one up on Yahoo Auction for 80,000 🥇

✅Links to the above stories can be found 👇👇👇

Australia PM in Japan

Biden-Suga call

Nitori / Shimachu deal

Japan corporate profits

Carbon tax breaks

Wind bids

Japan MOF tax policy

🇯🇵 What's up in Japan? 🇯🇵

Week of 6 November, 2020

1) The Nikkei-225 ended the week at its highest level since the collapse of Japan’s bubble economy in the early 1990s 🥂🍾

2) Youngsters escaping Tokyo. Third straight month those moving out outnumbered those moving in, the longest run on record, led by people in their 20s and 30s.

3) Telco capex to rise sharply as Softbank and KDDI budget around $20b each to roll out 5G base stations over the next 10 years.

4) Nidec plans $2bn motor factory in Europe as part of wider $10bn investment for EV motor dominance

5) Japan Airlines to raise up to $1.6 billion through a public offering, following a collapse in demand for air transport.

6) The Nuclear agency in Japan reportedly suffered a cyber attack. Corporates will need to step up investment in security as they embrace digital transformation 🚨

7) Brighter days ahead as many companies beat or raise - Honda, Nintendo Daikin, Kirin, Unicharm and Toyota 🚀🚀🚀

✅Links to the above stories can be found 👇👇👇

Japan Airlines

Market at high

Japanese fleeing crowded Tokyo


5G Spend

Cyber attack

🇯🇵 What's up in Japan? 🇯🇵

Week ending October 30, 2020

  1. PM Suga officially unveiled Japan’s new commitment to go carbon neutral by 2050.

  2. Japanese Gov't unveils further action plans to lower mobile phone fees...again.

  3. Toyota (7203) to invest $500m in KDDI to develop 'connected car'.

  4. ANA (9202) and JAL (9201) forecast a combined operating loss of 880 billion yen versus the current 1,400b yen mkt cap. Passenger traffic down 97% YoY in 1H

  5. Sony (6758) close to finalizing a deal to buy US-based anime streaming service Crunchyroll for nearly $1 billion

  6. MHI (7011) spring clean. Will suspend the development of Japan's first domestically produced passenger jet. Will also sell its 50% stake in offshore wind JV to Vestas.

  7. Nitori (9843) to launch a rival takeover bid for Home Centre operator Shimachu (8184)





Mobile fees



Suga/zero emissions



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