Japanese Exports Worldwide are Crashing

There’s a bunch of confused people who think, because the yen is going down and the Nikkei is going up, the Japanese economy is on the mend.

They are completely wrong.

Japanese exports to China and to the entire world are crashing.

In November they were down 14.5%; in December, 15.8% to ¥906 billion. Worst hit were cars, trucks, and parts (-47.5%), machinery (-22.2%), and electrical machinery, which includes tech products like semiconductors (-16.8%). Imports from China edged down by 2.1% to ¥1.24 trillion. And the trade deficit jumped by 76.8%.

This debacle is unrelated to the strength of the yen. It’s caused by the deteriorating relationship between two of the world’s largest trading partners.

And, folks, that’s not all good about the yen decline. In fact, it couldn’t be worse.

Knocking the yen off its lofty perch—it’s down 11% against the dollar and 15% against the euro since November—won’t have much impact. In that respect, Abe’s cure won’t work.

Then there’s Europe. In December, exports skidded by 12.3% to ¥561 billion, after having plunged 20% in November. To Germany, which now may be in a recession, they declined by 9.2%, to the UK by 10.2%, to France by 16.8%, to Spain by 26.2%, and to Italy by 28.2%.

Read more at Zerohedge.

The United States Committed at Least Two Acts of War Against Japan Before Pearl Harbor

I can hear everyone say, “NO! Japan attacked the USA first!”

If you mean that the Japanese bombed the military base of Pearl Harbor, before the US ever bombed the Japanese, then that is not exactly true.

If you mean that Japan committed acts of war against the United States first, before Pearl Harbor, then the answer is a definitive, “No!”

The United States committed at least two acts of war under international law against Japan before December 7, 1941. They were:
US military pilots — 40 from the Army Air Corps and 60 from the US Navy and Marine Corps — in a clandestine operation organized by and funded by the Whitehouse — flying bombing missions against Japanese forces in the famed Flying Tigers as early as 1937.* These people did “volunteer” to fly for the Flying Tigers but they were paid employees of the US government. US pilots flying bombing missions for the Chinese was an act of war under international law by America against Japan. Even with the weak argument that these professional military men were “volunteers” (when they were actually sent & paid by the US government), under international law, a nation is responsible for the actions of its nationals. To claim otherwise is hypocritical and completely irresponsible.

US initiated oil embargo against Japan. This is an act of war under international law. The US was also totally hypocritical on this point as they forced the British and the Dutch to uphold the embargo, yet secretly allowed Japan oil from the United States as a way to spy on Japanese shipping. See: Day of Deceit by Robert Stinnett.

Counting the above two, then President Roosevelt had a total of eight plans to incite hostilities with the Japanese. The rest, as they say “is history.” There are a great many excellent books and articles on what really happened in World War II. The serious student (and professor) would do themselves and their country good to seek out the truth. Things are not as black and white as US public schooling and US history books would lead us to believe. The true causes of the Pacific War were the clash of the US empire in Asia and the Japanese empire.

* See: Wikipedia, “Claire Lee Chennault“: Chennault retired in 1937, went to work as an aviation trainer and adviser in China, and commanded the “Flying Tigers” during World War II

Open Letter to My Gun-Control Friends… Alas, You Are Right!

This is an open letter to one of my friends who is pro-gun control… Well, that’s not exactly true; he doesn’t just want gun control. He wants to make all guns completely illegal.

Dear Lenny (not his real name),

About gun control: I agree with you. We need to protect the children. I understand that the best entity to do that is undoubtedly the US government. They have a proven record of success that cannot be matched!

Perhaps you should tell everyone who is against gun control about how the U.S. government protected them when they killed about 1 million Native American indians (who, by the way, didn’t have guns)? Those Native Americans were savages and they had to die to make way for our God-given manifest destiny and us.

Also remind people not to forget the great protection the US government gave its own citizens when it waged a war against them and killed nearly 700,000 of them in a war to protect sanctity of the state between 1861 and 1865? A war that killed citizens that had voted in that government to protect them!

Or how, as late as about 1890, the US government righteously executed over 150 American Indians (80% were women and children) in a legal gun seizure raid at Wounded Knee? Or freeing those evil Branch Davidians at Waco, TX in 1993, killing 76 men, women and children?

Don’t forget to mention the now rarely disputed view that FDR knew and encouraged the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor – and didn’t allow his commanders to know about it, so that 2400+ Americans died? FDR did that to save lives!

Sure, sometimes there are tough choices to make, right? But remind everyone that the US government are always the Good Guys, with God on our side. Everyone makes mistakes, but at least our government means well.

Isn’t it wonderful living in the greatest country in the world?

Oh, and don’t forget to mention about how the U.S. government – which would never turn on its citizens – imprisoned about 112,000 peaceful Japanese Americans during WWII? And also imprisoned peaceful German Americans during both world wars (over 2,000 in World War I and over 11,000 in World War II.)

Or, don’t forget to mention shooting peaceful student protestors and killing them at Kent State in 1970! Sure, those things happened… But it was for those students’ own protection!

9/11? What? There another 3000 died. But no one could possibly imagine that our benevolent leaders would intentionally allow the world’s most powerful, most feared, air force to sit at base doing nothing at the time, right?

Some nutcases will argue that US history is replete with the US government committing gross crimes against humanity (Hiroshima, Nagasaki) and a litany of atrocities against its own people. But these cases are all hearsay. What proof do they have?

Blowing away a few to several hundred troublesome Americans matters to no one except conspiracy nuts and terrorists, right? I mean, if they are troublesome, they can’t be “real Americans,” anyway!)

We need to protect the children. We need to take guns out of the hands of the citizens and give it back to the government….

After all, history shows that the US government is our best protector. They’ve proven that they will take care of us!

Thanks to my friend, David Kramer

Julie Live! Valentines Day 2013! In Shibuya!

Valentine’s Day Live!
Feb. 14, 2013 at Shibuya Last Waltz

Japan’s Sultry Jazz Newcomer Julie to Appear Live in Feb. 14, 2013 at Shibuya Last Waltz.

I wrote about Julie and her team. Please refer to Female Japanese Jazz Musician Breaking into Italy and the West:

“…the other day, I saw something that really made my heart sing and think, for the first time in a long time, “Wow! Here’s some Japanese people who are really going for it and trying to sell their product, not only in Japan but around the world!” I went to a live jazz performance of a new artist named Julie.

It was a refreshing evening. It made my heart sing to hear REALLY top quality world-class performers doing music with style….

…Meet Jazz singer Julie. Her latest EP (now on sale on Amazon) is a refreshing break from the typical pop music scene. Julie does Jazz and in the traditional mode. The EP has been released in Italy and was produced, directed, recorded, engineered, mastered by an Italian film director. The video was also shot on location in Italy. And one can tell immediately that this is not a Japanese production.

This is world class quality. Watch it for yourself and see:”

19:30 ~ (DOORS OPEN AT 18:30)
TICKETS: ADVANCE ¥2,500 / DOOR ¥3,000 (tax incl./drink excluded)


日時:2月14日(木)開場18:30 開演19:30
場所:Last Waltz

全席自由 ご予約\2,500 当日\3,000(税込み ドリンク別)
メールでの予約はこちらまで、 or


開場18:30 開演19:30
全席自由 ご予約 ¥2,500 当日 ¥3,000(税込み ドリンク別)

メールでの予約はこちらまで、 もしくは
1.ご希望公演日時 2.お名前&フリガナ 3.人数 4.お電話番号

*Julie プロフィール;
グラムロックに憧れ、小学生の頃から「rocky horror picture show」などのロックミュージカルを見て育った。「All That Jazz」を歌ったデモテープが関係者の目にとまりデビューが決定。2012年「BLACK SUIT & WHITE TIE」でアルバムデビュー。同年の夏に、日本人プロデューサーとイタリア人のクリエイターの共同プロジェクトのもと、イタリアで新しいEPのレコーディ ングとミュージックビデオの撮影を行い、新たにスタートする。新EPアルバム「J」を、2012年12月11日にリリース 。

Julie on Facebook:

L5 remote ユニバーサルリモートコントロール iPhoneがリモコンに

Make your iPhone a TV and appliance remote control!

iPhone, iPad, iPod touchに取付

App Storeから無料のアプリケーションをダウンロードして使います。





Incredibly, Over 92% of All Adults Have Bad Toilet Manners. Do You? Here’s a Simple Test!

Like many etiquette rules: be conservative in what you do, and liberal in what you accept from others. – Old saying

I want to talk about a pet peeve… Or, should I say, a “Pet Poo-ve”?

The following is a true story….

I had known John and Suzie since I was a high school student. In fact, I introduced them. Now, they are living together…

I walk into John and Suzie’s apartment and they are fighting again. What are they fighting about? They typical thing that a dysfunctional couple fight about: The female is complaining that the male never lowers the toilet seat after he is done with his standing up position and relieving himself.

They both ask me my opinion (I guess I look like an expert or something). Suzie says, “Shouldn’t the guy lower the seat after he’s done so that the woman doesn’t have to?” John pisses and moans that it is the duty of whoever enters to set the seat to the position that they need, not the previous person.

I ask, “Who used the toilet last?” Suzie says she did and she’s sick of having to put the seat down every time she uses the toilet. I look in the bathroom. Indeed the seat is down.

I walk back into the living room to see the two fuming over this ridiculous nonsense.

“Well?” They both ask me…

“You are both wrong.” I say….


That was 35 years ago. And from what I see I’ve taught my children well. Everywhere I go, to offices, homes, where ever only a small percentage of people close the toilet seat lid. I am anal-retentive that way. I notice things like that…

I always do. I was brought up by a woman that taught us proper manners. Even my eight-year-old son has better toilet manners than, dare I say, 92% of all people reading this blog post.

Here’s why: My son knows that after every use of the toilet that it is not just the seat that should be closed, but the top cover lid too. Women who leave the toilet with the seat down yet do not close the top lid have no business calling guys who don’t lower the seat as savages… Hell, both, if they don’t close the covering lid, seem like they were brought up under rocks.

Guys, girls, after using the toilet, you might think this is anal, but good manners and proper upbringing dictate closing the toilet cover lid.

Moms, dads, teach your children manners… Aren’t you embarrassed when they go to some one’s home and they don’t close the toilet lid?

Guys, girls, when you date someone and go to meet the parents the first time, make sure you always close the toilet seat lid. Do it even if their family never does it. Why? Because they will start to notice that after you use the toilet that you always close the lid… That shows manners and that your parents were not, as Basil Fawlty would say, “Riff Raff.”


Test your manners!

Which toilet seat position after use shows proper manners and upbringing:

Hint: For people that don’t wash their hands in public toilets because they don’t want to touch door handles or toilet lids: Close the lid. Then grab some toilet paper, then wash your hands, then use the toilet paper to shut off the water and open the toilet door. Always carrying extra tissues is a good idea… This is a good way to avoid colds and the flu.

*By the way, before someone jumps on me for some silliness…. Miss Manners completely agrees with me (of course, it’s common sense). She discussed this in a column once. When asked about the “seat up or down” issue she said they’re both wrong, you’re supposed to close the thing entirely including the lid (for both aesthetic and practical and health reasons). Always close the lid before flushing as that prevents dirty water particles from going into the air!

It Doesn’t Matter If It’s Food, Fashion, Music, Cars or? Branding is a Science

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody – Bill Cosby

I had a meeting with a nice gentleman the other day who is working on the branding of his company. I was a bit alarmed at what he said. It was obvious that this person wasn’t exactly clear as to what Branding means.

He is in the restaurant industry and said to me,

“We can’t be sure the age of our customers or who they are so we can’t decide on what kind of food we will serve, we just have to make sure that the food we serve always tastes great.”

Well, yes and no. He can’t decide what kind of customers he’s going to get or their age. That’s true… But if he thinks he is making things to please everyone, he certainly can’t do that either. He’s wrong there. Also, if he’s thinking is that his only competition are other restaurants, then he is dead wrong on that issue too.

I’ll explain why in a moment.

Just like the old adage that Bill Cosby made into his own above, this kind of thinking is a time proven key to failure. It astounds me that to this day, with all the many example around us on why this sort of thinking doesn’t work anymore (please think: Apple, Google, famous fashion makers, etc.) When you try to please everyone, you please no one. This is obvious and has been repeated over and over again throughout history since the Industrial Revolution. The serve-all method is a sure-fire way to fail.

Here’s why…

The success of corporations like Coca-Cola, Apple, Google and Mercedes Benz, just to name a few; proves that specialization is the key to success in this day and age.

The sushi-ya is good at what they do. “But they can’t be sure of the customers or their age!” Should the sushi-ya now add Chinese Food, Hamburgers, Indian Curry, etc. to the menu? Of course not!

There are lessons around us everywhere. Let’s look at the restaurant industry for an easy example. Quick name one highly successful and profitable family restaurant? Denny’s? Nope. They are rumored to be on the verge of bankruptcy. How about in Japan? What others are there? There’s Gusto and Jonathans and Skylark to name a few. All rumored to be nearing bankruptcy. Skylark did go belly up.

How about Royal Host and Sizzler? Well, the Royal Host chain isn’t doing well, but is better off financially than Gusto and Jonathans… Why? They own Sizzler in Japan.

Sizzler?! Well, yes, folks, Sizzler is doing well in Japan, thank you. Why? They specialize. They realized years ago that they needed to set themselves apart from the others in their market space. Sizzler is a steak house and its steak meals start at over ¥3,190 a plate! (about $35.77). Sizzler may be considered a family restaurant but they are doing all they can to destroy that image and change to a higher end steak restaurant.

That’s Branding. That’s smart. That niche marketing.

Branding is doing thorough market research and then focusing on one part of the market.

The example above I gave where the boss said, “We can’t be sure the age of our customers so we can’t decide on what kind of food we will serve, we just have to make sure that the food we serve always tastes great.” He is so completely wrong on that point that it makes me wonder if he has ever bothered to read any books on Branding and Marketing? Or, does he even understand the concept? I don’t think so, that sort of thinking is like something out of the 1950s.

Let me get back to that point and prove to you why the other restaurants are not his only competition in this day and age and why trying to please everyone will fail with a simple example.

Imagine: It is your free time, say lunch time. You have one hour. There are so many things for you to do and to choose from on how you spend your one hour. You could go shopping or you could go to the gym, or for a walk, or to a coffee shop. You could go to a book store or meet friends, you could listen to music on your iPod or iPhone or Android or at a record store nearby. You could eat your own homemade lunch or, you could go to a restaurant. The choices are endless.

But, since it is lunch time, and you didn’t bring your own lunch, you are hungry.

In your immediate area there are 5 family restaurants. There’s the Denny’s, the Skylark, Gusto, Jonathan’s or Royal Host… Those restaurants have everything, but I’m sure you’ll agree that even though they do have everything, everything is not particularly delicious.

Besides the above, there’s also a plethora of choices. There’s a McDonalds (Definitely a niche restaurant), a standing soba shop, a delicious sushi restaurant, Chinese food, Indian food, Korean Barbeque, Japanese lunch of baked fish and miso soup, Wendy’s, Pizza, etc…

Now, it’s not rocket science but most people would go to the specialty shops.

“How to triple your users and sales by doing just one thing…”

This movement of the market and people’s tastes have dictated why this science of Branding is so very important.

Once again, take Apple Store for example. What if they thought that, “…there’s all sorts of people who come here of all different ages. We need to please them!” Do you think Apple store would then start carrying Epson printers and ink cartridges? How about printer paper and office supplies? Should Apple start carrying Android phone or old-fashioned cell phones to please the older crowd? See? If one were to stop and think about this for just one second, they’d realize the absurdity of not specializing towards a niche market…

And, I’m sorry, food, music, fashions, etc. are all very broad topics. Anyone who thinks they can’t be treated in a scientific fashion for Branding purposes simply just hasn’t been paying attention.

For more on the Scientific Method and how Branding is a science, may I recommend: Brands and Brand Management – Contemporary Research Perspectives

From the publisher review: “Very few books exist that meaningfully integrate the rich and vast body of scientific research and theories that have accumulated in the field, relating to both traditional and contemporary topics in branding. This book accomplishes that task, with contributions from leading experts in the science of branding, national and international. The book should appeal to all students, faculty, and marketing professionals with an interest in research findings about brands, and an interest in deepening their understanding of how consumers view brands.”

Thanks to Kevin Riley for the TED link.

Japanese Government Will Spend ¥17,166,666 (about $193,333.33 USD) Per Job to Create Jobs! I Want That Job!

The government in this country is leading us to financial catastrophe. You can’t make this stuff up.

I can’t believe that the people – as well as financial commentators in Japan -aren’t up in arms about the latest financial plan from prime minister Shinzo Abe. I can see how the average person couldn’t figure this out, but it is simple math. How could most commentators on economics in Japan be so clueless that they can’t see the glaring problem with this latest plan?

First let’s look at the plan.

Bloomberg reports:

The Japanese government will spend 10.3 trillion yen ($116 billion) to drive a recovery from a recession in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s first major policy initiative to end deflation and boost growth. Enlarge image Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, speaks during a news conference at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese government will compile a 13.1 trillion yen extra budget to help pay for the stimulus program, according to the statement.

About 3.8 trillion yen will be for disaster prevention and reconstruction, with 3.1 trillion yen directed to stimulating private investment and other measures, according to a statement released today by the Cabinet Office. Extra spending will increase gross domestic product by about 2 percentage points and create about 600,000 jobs, the government said.

The article shows a construction worker and some other feel good images. But, like I said, the problem is simple math, folks.

How could the government spend $10.3 trillion yen (about $116 billion dollars) on creating inflation (thereby destroying the value of the currency) and 600,000 jobs?

First off everyone knows that the government does not create jobs. The government can only take money from the productive part of society (taxation of private industry) and redistribute it to the non-productive part of society. But my issue is not with this point.

The point is this, and I said it is simple math: How can the government justify taking this money from private industry in order to create jobs at the cost of ¥17,166,666 (about $193,333.00 dollars) each?

How can they justify that? Wouldn’t it be MUCH better to allow private industry to keep that money and hire their own people?… Oh, yeah, I forgot… If they don’t take the tax money, then they can’t pay their middlemen friends.

Did I say that Japan’s economy is doomed? Where are the reporters and economists to point out this problem that cannot be more difficult than third grade math…

That’s why math is such a bitch, the numbers tell the truth.

Johnny’s Wife Had a Baby and His Incompetent Boss

Johnny’s wife was pregnant. She was due any day. Johnny worked hard taking care of his other kids while the wife went through a tough labor. Still with all of that, Johnny also kept doing a great job at work.

The office where Johnny works has had lots of changes recently but the boss caught Johnny in the hallway one day. He said,

“Johnny! Let’s get together with the gang and have a beer and talk about how to make the company better!” Johnny was very pleased.

Johnny had been talking about the pregnancy and the baby everyday at work for two months. The day the baby was born, Johnny diligently stayed up at night with his wife until the child was born, yet was still promptly at work the next day.

Johnny is, after all, a professional.

The day of the birth, congratulatory wishes were given to Johnny from everybody…. That is, excepting from his boss at work. The bosses said nothing.

The next thing the boss did say was that Johnny’s job was terminated.

Johnny went ballistic and walked out.

Later, Johnny’s boss asked me where Johnny was. I told him that he was sick. The boss got angry.

I explained about what had happened and how Johnny was hurt (probably a most typical human emotion especially after a difficult and extremely stressful time)… I also told him about how Johnny’s other boss had said something about going out to have a drink and talking about work but not following through and how that reeks of insincerity (I mentioned about incompetent management – that includes, but is not limited too – keeping up on business trends. It especially has to do with caring for your workers. That is basic business management 101).

The boss said that he didn’t know about either events. He didn’t know about the baby.

I asked him why his staff knew about it, but he didn’t? Both Johnny and he work in the same place five days a week and Johnny has announced it publicly dozens of time at the office yet the boss didn’t know? Hmmm? Is this the same boss that didn’t know about a critical business trend that was announced publicly 4 years ago? Am I seeing a trend here?

I suppose that this boss not knowing these things points to one of two things, or both:

Either he is incompetent (I believe this) or his own staff don’t respect him enough to pass along the information (I believe this too!). One or the other or both. If you have another possibility, please send it along in the comment section.

I asked this guy if he was the boss. He confirmed. I told him that as boss it was his business to know what was going on with his people. I told him it was his business to motivate people and get them to do their best. Wishing a guy congrats on a new baby costs nothing but a moment in time and it is important to make people feel respected. Johnny didn’t get that.

The boss protested, “But my job is to make money!”

I asked him how much money he can make if the employees are not happy.

Like I said, some people can’t even use their heads enough for basic common courtesies and niceties to others… How can they possibly run well a company? Not knowing that one of your main employees’ wife just had a baby when they had been talking about it at work for two months and then not saying congratulations to that employee is, what? You tell me: is this good management or incompetence? Please decide.

This is, actually, not about being nice to people per se. It is about management and being smart enough to treat people right so that one can make more money. Sun Tsu wrote about it in The Art of War. Another book I highly recommend for Johnny’s bosses… Of whom, I’m sure do not read books.

I now expect some anonymous to write to me and tell me I am incompetent. Like I said, maybe so… But I’m not THAT incompetent.

I ask my dear friends like Jeff Bernier, Managing Director of Delta Airlines Asia or Tim Williams founder of Value Commerce or Roger Marshall Executive Director of Odgers Berndstein to write to me and tell me if you think I’m wrong or right? Everyone else’s opinion is welcomed too.

Clueless Management? It’s Everywhere!

You’ve got to wonder how people, who are so clueless to even their own industry, get into management positions.


But, come to think of it, actually, you and I don’t have to wonder; someone wondered about it long ago and wrote a book on it in the 1970s. It was all explained in the seminal book, The Peter Principle. That book explained the phenomenon of how, in a hierarchy, everyone rises to their top level of incompetence. Then because they are incompetent, they remain in that position, unable to advance or, because of politics, be demoted.

Wikipedia says:

The Peter Principle is a belief that, in an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit, that organization’s members will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability. The principle is commonly phrased, “Employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.” In more formal parlance, the effect could be stated as: employees tend to be given more authority until they cannot continue to work competently.

Yep. That’s it.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have railed on incompetent management at broadcasting stations for years. Just to prove that even a broken clock is right twice a day, two and one half years ago I wrote (on July 24, 2010) in One More Phase in the Shattering of Mainstream Media:

I rode the Tokyo subway today and saw a sign inside the car that notified the passengers that as of July 24, 2011, terrestrial television stations will no longer broadcast analogue signals in Japan and will finally make the switch to digital.

This signals the final nail in the coffin of many of the FM radio stations in this country and the collapse of TV Tokyo and TBS.

I predict that *****FM will either be bankrupt or sold to a new owner by 2014 and TV Tokyo will be in the same situation: insolvent or absorbed by another company by 2016.

I picked the first one correctly (polite applause here). The FM station was sold to another company in the summer of 2012. My prediction came true two years ahead of schedule.

I’ve got three more years left on my TV Tokyo prediction and I’m feeling very good about that. Especially since TV Tokyo is unable to payback a $5 billion dollar loan from Mizuho bank they made in Feb. of 2010 and keeps rolling that loan over every year… I wonder how long the rollover will be allowed by Mizuho bank especially since the new Japanese government has publicly stated a policy of 2% inflation which will lead to much higher interest rates.

(TV Tokyo share price was around ¥4,400 at that time. Today, TV Tokyo Holdings shares run at ¥946.)

I haven’t been writing about these stations recently, but last night I had a meeting with management at a broadcasting station that just made my head spin. The boss of the station said to me in an incredulous manner,

“Mike! We have to do something to get people back to listening to the radio… Did you know that Toyota stopped putting radios in cars? Did you know that??”

What planet has this guy been living on? Doesn’t he read at all? Duh!

It was in 2009 that Toyota had publicly announced that they were phasing out analogue radio in the automobiles within three years and that they would no longer be standard equipment in 2012. Taking that obvious clue, I even blogged three years ago that the future of radio lay in the hands of, not the stations, but Toyota. How could a station manager, almost four years later, just be finding this out?

Please refer to: One More Phase in the Shattering of Mainstream Media

The future of FM radio doesn’t lay in what they broadcast or how they up the ante of quality of content (but, of course, it will always be a competition between stations for dwindling audience and sponsorship dollars)…

The future of FM radio depends on what Toyota does.

That’s right. Toyota is the one who decides what is going to happen. In my opinion, it is obvious that FM is is serious trouble and that we are now witnessing the end of an era; and it’s happening, in slow motion, right in front of our eyes.

But, don’t take my word for it, decide for yourself. Let me explain further…

Think about this: Where do most people listen to FM radio? In cars, right?

The Japanese government and all the big manufacturers in this country, Sony, Panasonic, etc. (who, by the way, all have an incestuous relationship with each other and Toyota in stock holdings) are pushing for the digital conversion big time. These manufacturers need their flagging fortunes to get an injection of sales and profits that new broadcasting and new equipment will generate. Digital equipment costs anywhere from $500 – $2,000 (USD) a set. The Japanese manufacturers want and need for the Japanese public to go whole-hog into digital broadcasting. They need the public to dispose of their analogue equipment and buy the new digital equipment… (By the way, a cursory check of analogue equipment at Bic Camera the other day – what little I could find – showed that all the analogue products were all manufactured outside of Japan).

If digital broadcasting is a failure in this country, then it’s going to hurt Japanese manufacturing for a very long time… The analogue equipment I saw was all manufactured in Malaysia, Indonesia, and I found some from Taiwan (which was surprising).

Now, how does Toyota fit into this equation?

Imagine your car dashboard. It has a GPS, CD player, and television/radio set all built together. Most people have an analogue device (with terrible TV reception!) From July 2011 there will be no cars that come with that device. They will all be digital.

After July 2011, on your dashboard, you will have a digital GPS, Internet, digital TV and digital radio. Want to do Social Media, YouTube, Twitter, U-Stream, blog? Got you covered. Need to Google or Yahoo search? Sure. When you need traffic conditions, just a click on your GPS will give you up to the minute details on traffic and road conditions. All the TV channels? No problem. Throw on top of that 6 digital radio channels and, of course, a CD player and probably an iPod connection, and you have the next generation of car entertainment system.

Now where does that leave radio in the equation? Especially when you consider the fact that radio, unlike TV and the Internet, cannot give data on exactly how many users it has and cannot give ratings…

Why does it matter that radio cannot give ratings? Well, because any advertising campaign expenditures from sponsors must be justified at accounting at the sponsor company. How can one justify a radio campaign in Japan when clients cannot be told how many people listen and who is listening? They can, though, get data on viewers for TV and Internet and numbers for print media.

That upper management at a station can be dead serious and tell me in an incredulous tone, in January 2013, that they just found out that the world’s largest car maker stopped making radios for their cars shows just how completely out of touch with reality and what’s going on with people’s lives they are.

Gee, far be it from me to tell people what to do, but I think it is the duty of management to keep apace with the market and conditions. Anything less is gross negligence.

You be the judge! Do you think people like that, who are so unaware of the market – and even their own business merits and demerits – who seem to not read business publications on market trends – can run a successful business?

Of course, if the guilty parties read this, they will probably be angry at me…

I don’t know why. I am doing them a favor….

But, of course, when the king doesn’t like the message, he will not consider where he went wrong, he will just kill the messenger boy…

What was I saying about the Peter Principle?