Three points when telling the message to Japanese people / British who uncover “inconvenient truth” in Japan
Friday August 17th, 2018
Do you know David Atkinson?
The other day, I had the opportunity to hear his lecture, and I also read his books, I got a new awareness. Therefore, this time, I will introduce him.
(1) Who is David Atkinson?
His bio is as follows. (Some excerpt from Wikipedia)
He learned Japanese studies at Oxford University. He worked for Andersen Consulting (the predecessor of Accenture) and Solomon Brothers and came to Japan around 1990. In 1992 he moved to Goldman Sachs and worked as an analyst, pointed out a huge amount of bad debts sleeping at Japanese banks after the collapse of the bubble economy. After being promoted to a partner in 2006, he left the company in 2007.
After retiring from analysts and devoting to Japanese tea ceremony, he joined Konishi Arts & Crafts Co., Ltd., which is repairing Japanese national treasures and important cultural properties, in 2009. In 2010 he became chairman of the company. After that, as an expert of Japanese cultural assets, he also makes suggestions on Japanese cultural property policies and tourism policies. From June 2017, assumed the special adviser of Japan National Tourism Organization.
(2) What is the inconvenient truth of Japan that Mr. David Atkinson exposes?
In his book “新・所得倍増論”(new edition – income doubling theory), he pointed out the low productivity of Japan.
For example, we, Japanese people have been heard the brilliant achievements of the Japanese economy as follows.
GDP = 3rd in the world
Export value = 4th in the world
Number of Nobel laureates = 7th in the world
However, he insists that “Because these are all influenced by the high population of Japan, we should see per capita figures, not absolute numbers.” Therefore, when looking at the above three items “per capita”, it turns out
GDP = 27th in the world
Export value = 44th in the world
Nobel laureate winners = 39th in the world
and it is never a special country.
For reference, the export value is only 48% of Germany (3rd in the world). Moreover, since the population of Japan is 1.6 times more than Germany, the per capita export value of Japan is only 1/3 of that of Germany.
He mentioned the incompetence of Japanese executives as follows, touching on Japan’s population decline problem.
“Japan was booming in the 1970s not because Japanese executives were excellent because they benefited from population bonus due to the rapid increase in population. When the population declined in the 1990s, it was necessary to completely change the way of economy, but Japanese executives did not recognize it. In Japanese-style management so far, emphasis was placed on “management” of things. It is fine for the time of constant growth, but now is different. Despite the fact that there are the most competent workers in the world, Japanese executives who showed only the lowest productivity in developed countries can be said to be ‘crisis’. ”
(3) Three points when telling the message to Japanese people
I was able to take the above-mentioned “inconvenient truth” obediently. I think that there are the following reasons.
- He uses objective data.
- He is familiar not only with the Japanese economy but also with Japanese culture.
- We can feel his passion of “I want to improve Japan”
And I think, these three points are also important when non-Japanese people persuades or advises the Japanese. For example, when you suggest something to your Japanese boss or Japanese management or Japanese clients, if you clear these three points, the success rate will be high.
For those who are involved in inbound business, this book is also recommended.