The East Asian Forum
Tokyo, Nagoya and Kyoto, Japan,
|How will Japanese companies respond to the pressures of free market shareholder capitalism? Will they adopt the concept of shareholder value while maintaining their traditional focus on the employee, customer and community? Which companies in Japan are likely to change and how will this be different for companies in Tokyo, Nagoya and Kyoto?|
|How should companies organize international operations to recognize the cultures and values reflected in other forms of capitalism—particularly those in East Asia—when dealing with customers, employees, suppliers, competitors, alliances and the communities where they do business?|
|In what ways can international companies help their managers to understand these different systems of economic behavior.|
The Forum examines the different "forms" of capitalism that have emerged in Japan, Korea and among the ethnic Chinese communities in East Asia. Participants are asked to think about the reasons for these differences and in doing so will have the opportunity to meet, interview and visit with those who manage companies in Japan, Korea and other parts of East Asia.
Japan in Times of Change – Innovation and Reinvention
The process of globalization affects almost all businesses and most nation states – Japan is no exception. For some years, Japan has been undergoing the pressures of change brought about by globalization. As an island culture, it values its traditions, appearing to resist change. Yet Japan has demonstrated throughout its history that, with pressure to do so, it can respond well to the need for change. It has a remarkable ability to adopt foreign ideas into its own culture with great effectiveness. One example is the Japanese language, but there are many more. Japan’s record of reinventing itself and its institutions is exceptional; its leading companies illustrate this. Japan’s creativity comes in many forms, particularly in art and design, yet also in process re-engineering where it’s firms continue to innovate.
A theme of this Forum is Innovation and Reinvention. Participants will be asked to seek answers as to how Japan and Japanese companies have dealt with change and why they have continued to reinvent themselves and innovate. How can these lessons be applied to the strategic choices that must be made by leaders of global corporations?
Japan and East Asia
Japan’s heritage in East Asia is examined in the context of Kyoto, its ancient capital and center of culture. Kyoto was founded on the plan of the great city of Chang’an (Xian today), capital of the Tang Dynasty of China.
|How will Japan’s relationship with China – political, psychological and economic – evolve in the future and what are the implications for the rest of East Asia and the world?|
|How are Japanese companies seeking opportunities in China – as a source for production, a market for products and a base for R&D and development?|
|What fundamental changes if any have occurred as a result of, or following the East Asia financial crisis? How will these changes be manifested in the future economic well being of Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines? What will emerge from the economic and political courses set by Malaysia and Indonesia? What is Islamic fundamentalism likely to become in East Asia?|
Learning from Differences
Just as no man is an island, neither does any country, company or people ever develop in isolation. Each of us learns from others, borrowing ideas and building on them with our own. From food to art to business, the nations of the world have been exchanging ideas for centuries. Noodles brought from China became pasta in the hands of Italians. Design concepts from Japanese woodblock print artists influenced Impressionism under the paintbrushes of the Europeans. American engineering reaches new levels of perfection in the automobile factories of the Japanese.
There are lessons to be learned from each other through careful observation of the social, cultural and business environments of others. What lessons can be learned from Japan?
Clues in the Landscape
In the course of this Forum, participants will hear, observe, experience and think about many different aspects of Japan. Some of these will be contrasted with other parts of East Asia, Korea and China in particular. The Forum provides these opportunities in the sessions and discussions, which are described in this agenda book, along with walks in the morning, visits to important sites and explorations to be conceived by the participants themselves.
A special task for the participants of this Forum is to think creatively about what can be learned from the ways of others, to observe differences in culture or in business practice which may provide new insights and, if adapted to one’s own situation, may result in more effective ways of doing things. More specifically, by observing aspects of Japan’s culture – its society, change, business, organizations, art, sports, architecture, community, government, etc.
|What can we learn about Japan that will improve our understanding and ability to relate to the Japanese?|
|What can we learn that, if adapted to the way we do things "at home", would help us to better manage our lives, our companies and our communities? (For Japanese participants at the Forum, there is much to be learned from seeing the way that others view them.)|
|What can we learn that will help us in leading a global enterprise to balance both global and local elements in the challenges and opportunities it will face?|
|In what ways can an understanding of Japan and its position provide a context in which to consider the economic, political and cultural challenges facing the East Asia region and the future importance of China and East Asia to the rest of the world in future?|
©The International Forum 2002. All rights reserved.