After reading "Japan's Net builders" (Cover Story, Asian Edition, Mar. 6), I have strengthened my belief that abundant fresh human resources are the most important factor for a nation's economy.
To incubate newly founded companies has been one of the critical steps in Japan's economic policy. Since the end of the 1980s, the number of new companies has been smaller than the number of bankrupted ones in Japan. In contrast, in the U.S., the volume of newly evolved companies has been greater than that of those that failed. It was five years ago that the economic bailout plan made brief progress in Japan's over-the-counter stock market. Of course, the market had some drawbacks, and there was a shortage of talented people capable of setting up new companies. Furthermore, long periods of recession have provided an atrocious environment to spawn new businesses.
But recently, the situation has changed. Many talented young people have entered or are likely to enter new business fields. Many of them are the thirtysomething sons and daughters of Japan's baby boomers. They quit companies, such as U.S. investment banks that pay them huge salaries, and created new information-related companies or transferred to younger outfits. Furthermore, a lot of new intellectual graduates, such as alumni from the Shonan-Fujisawa campus of Keio University, are choosing such careers rather than careers in leading Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi Group.
They are well qualified and ambitious. It is true that they are accustomed not to the Japanese way of business but rather to the global or American fashion. The point is, as in the U.S., that aggressive, young, and talented people have come to start up new businesses by themselves. As you mentioned, Japan has a long history of venture culture. Sony was originally a venture company, established just after World War II. That was why Masayoshi Son talked about the Meiji Revolution, in which lower-level soldiers who had a wide range of modern Western knowledge constructed a new framework for Japan. Japan's new Net builders can change this country's style as well.