Today's Notables

Kansai Productivity Center, Domestic Conference Part 2

May 2008
Hisashi Furuichi
President and C.E.O.

One of the major solutions is to make it into an "Special Economic Zone," which would encompass special economic zones specializing in telecommunications, finance and free trade where corporations would receive a 35% income tax exemption. The goal of the different regions is to capitalize on advantages of Okinawa and the inexpensive real estate. Okinawa is 1,600km from Tokyo, however Taipei, Shanghai and Seoul are all within a distance of 1,000 km--closer than Tokyo, making it a convenient hub.

On this trip, we visited the Telecommunications Zone and Free-Trade Zone. A company called First Riding Technology Co located in the Telecommunications Zone, which is designed to attract internet database centers and call centers, is a data center protected by the latest security technology and was established by investment from Ryuseki Corp. which markets to Okinawa power/oil, gasoline and gas companies. According to the explanation, Okinawa is ideal as a back-up data center because there has never been an earthquake over magnitude 5, making it a relatively safe place.

The next place we toured was the industrial park, Okinawa Free-Trade Zone. This region has adopted the bonded warehousing concept where certain areas and facilities are specified as a duty-free, consumption tax-free zone. In this region, products that are slated for international trade can be warehoused, processed, manufactured and exhibited free of tax which provides a clear tax advantage to business that are expanding internationally. Although companies have yet to come to this area, one company known in the Guiness Book for building the thickest (60cm) tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is located here. The company is building the tank it built for Churaumi Aquarium for aquariums in Dubai and Beijing.

Outside of the zone, we visited Okinawa Publishing which is unique for the quality of management. The president of Okinawa Publishing came from Gakken. The company was established with the idea of developing a publishing channel independent of Nippan and Tohan. Since the publishing business is quite difficult, they decided to capitalize on strengths in Okinawa when developing a product and are currently marketing a non-bricks and mortar brand of health food. With sales of 1.5 billion yen sales and 300 million yen of profit, the numbers for the company are very good. However, I was even more impressed by the atmosphere at the company and by employees that exhibited a tremendous amount of energy. The president of the company says that "there is power in words," which is one of the slogans or proverbs put on a wall called "the wall." It seemed as though all employees were closely connected, eager to cooperate and had a shared dialogue toward building their company with the objective of making their workplace one to which they looked forward to on Monday morning and enjoyed so much, they could hardly stand it. At PRIMIX we have similar things such as the "Inner Company Chats" and "Is this really okay? Activities" but compared to this company, we still have a ways to go.

The hotel, Busena Terrace, where I stayed was made famous because it was the location of the Summit in 2000. The facilities, service and atmosphere were far superior even to the famed Halekukani Hotel in Hawaii.

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