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Dear  AIB members,

We are pleased to announce that Volume 7, Issue 2, 2022 of Japan MNE Insights is now available online ( and in PDF format.
It is the official newsletter of the Japan Academy of Multinational Enterprises.

This issue includes two special essays, and we would like to share their summaries with you.

By Derek Lehmberg (North Dakota State University, U.S.A.), “Strategy in Japanese Business: A New Era?”

Synopsis: In a widely read Harvard Business Review article published in 1996, Michael Porter commented that most Japanese companies did not have strategies.  Porter further developed his observations about Japanese companies in a follow up book with Hirotaka Takeuchi and Mariko Sakakibara published in 2000.  At business and corporate strategy levels, most Japanese companies, Porter argued, had not been making strategic tradeoffs.  Over the years since then, I have often wondered: are Porter’s arguments still valid?  I recently began researching corporate turnaround in Japanese electronics companies.  The firms I have been observing have indeed been making decisions involving very significant tradeoffs, and while many of these firms used to follow parallel trajectories in the past, their future paths appear to be diverging greatly.  These observations suggesting that these companies are adopting new and unique strategies, precisely what Porter argued that they did not have.

By Naotoshi Umeno (Osaka University of Commerce, Japan), “Business and Society: Rethinking of the Old and Contemporary Issues Inspired by the Indian Experience”

Synopsis: In this essay, I talk about the old and new issues, Business and Society, based on the Indian experience. I recently published a book about the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Indian companies. In conducting research on this theme, I felt shocked by a sharp contrast between India and Japan in terms of the attitudes toward the social responsibility of a firm. I witnessed several Indian companies enthusiastically engaging with various community development projects. On the contrary, Japanese companies were filled with scandals and scams, which were reported in the media almost every day, such as accounting fraud, false-labeling, quality data falsification, and tax evasion. Such corporate scams are still going on. I felt sad hearing such miserable news about Japanese companies when compared with socially responsible Indian companies. What is going on in Japanese companies? Did they lose business ethics/moral and social responsibility? With regard to the question about business ethics and social responsibility, the Japanese critiques and media often quote Shibusawa Eiichi, a well-known entrepreneur and business leader during the late 19th and the early 20th centuries in Japan. His philosophy is based on Confucianism, and he emphasized an integration/harmony of morality and economic activity. His argument on business ethics is still effective for the current Japanese business leaders. I begin this essay by explaining the mandated CSR and its background in India, followed by an introduction of two Indian companies’ CSR initiatives. Then, I take Shibusawa and his thoughts about business and society. Finally, I conclude with a few remarks about business morality regarded as a universal value.

We hope that you will find the news interesting.

With kind regards,

Dr. Tamiko Kasahara
Editor-in-Chief of Japan MNE Insights

Tamiko Kasahara (Ph.D.)
University of Shizuoka, School of Management and Information
52-1 Yada, Suruga-ku, Shizuoka, 422-8526, Japan
TEL/FAX: +81-54-264-5435 (direct)
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