Tokyo’s leading professional network

Corporate Network operates the leading professional network in Tokyo where members can access critical insights while engaging in high-level networking with senior business leaders from some of the most important MNCs operating in North Asia. Bring the collective expertise of The Economist Group and other business leaders into your organisation to allow you to explore new ideas and create space for understanding how external factors will impact your business.

Upcoming events

If you would like to attend any of these, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

June 20 — The evolution and future of AI applications

At this event we will discuss the exciting and controversial uses of AI in business, with a focus on the recent hype cycle triggered by the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. AI has become increasingly important for business leaders due to its potential to transform industries, enhance productivity, and deliver personalised customer experiences.

June — Data science: Getting more value from digital marketing

In 2020, the digital marketing market in Japan increased by 2.6% YOY, to ¥430.5bn. Yet, many business leaders are hesitant of the value of digital advertisement, and often struggle to move away from traditional publicity such as TV and newspapers. As digital marketing grows in potential outreach and importance, we discuss the do’s and don’ts of digital marketing from the perspective of data science.

July 12 — Supply chain reshuffling in the 2020s: The “friend-shoring” experiment

As China’s self-imposed zero-covid restraint drags on, global players are shifting part of their logistics operations to other countries. “Trusted allies” of the US have been called to strengthen trade relations to shore up global supply chains, hampered by covid-19 and worsened by Russia’s war in Ukraine. How will such alliances reverberate in Japan? What lies in the balance for crucial commodities (e.g. semiconductors) and how will politicians respond?

July 20 — Health in the workplace: body and mind

Bosses see a lot less of their staff nowadays, especially from the chest down. Obesity, depression and alcohol intake spiked during covid-19, a trend likely to continue as remote working takes hold. HR surveys have limited ability to monitor mental health, let alone find the cause of why it falters. Physical checks are sporadic and confidential. What is the cost of a sick worker? What physical or mental checks are adequate before a new hire? Can your company confidently assess its staff’s health?

August 10 — Keeping a weather eye on the horizon: Geopolitics’ impact on business

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and China’s military build-up, herald a new era of big-power rivalry, which directly affects large market economies, like Japan. As commercial partnerships (ASEAN-Japan, TPP11, TPP12, CPTPP), security alliances (QUAD) and mutual ministerial visits (think India) mount, Japan is in a unique position of vulnerability and expected regional leadership. What should CxOs do to ensure their business resilience amid geopolitical tensions? What are some companies already doing to protect their assets and workers?

September 5 — The circular economy: how is a better use of resources possible?

Manufacturing has typically been a one-way business. Raw materials go in and finished goods come out. Less than 9% of raw materials worldwide are reused. How are firms in Japan performing in terms of reusing valuable (limited) raw materials? How much of corporate efforts can be tagged as “greenwashing”? What can companies learn from successful case studies such as EV batteries?

Past events

Talent, the world’s most valuable commodity, has been difficult to find for the best part of one generation. Even before Covid-19, when profits were up and capital was footloose and fancy-free, bosses fretted that talented workers were in short supply. Employees are changing jobs at a record pace (about 33% of new college graduates leave after three years) and companies are struggling to respond to increasing demands for flexible hours and working locations. Furthermore, a weakened currency and stagnant wage growth make it less likely that talent will be seeded from abroad —only 0.025% of Japan’s workforce is foreign-born. 

This event addressed how business leaders can respond to talent shortages, lessons learned from other companies’ experience, and what executives can expect as new working trends take hold despite the economy’s apparent downward turn in 2023.

Speakers:

  • The Honorable Masahiko Shibayama, Former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology & Member of House of Representatives
  • Jordan Jarjoura, Head of Talent Capabilities at Meshd
  • Justin Scarpone, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Asia Pacific at Scopely Inc.
  • Yohei Shibasaki, Founder and CEO of Fourth Valley Concierge Corporation

According to MIC (総務省), 54% of Japanese firms fell victim to some sort of cyberattack in 2020. For any company, the threat of cyber crime weighs heavily on corporate management and its presence riles executives. But are companies in Japan doing enough to protect themselves?

In September 2022, the official Japanese government’s website e-gov was breached, allegedly by Killnet, a Russian hacker entity. One month later, a government-affiliated hospital in Osaka was hit by a ransomware attack. Whether the ransom was paid is not clear, but by December the hospital was still filling patients’ charts by hand.

During this event, EICN members learned about new cybersecurity threats likely to be faced in 2023 and guidance on how much to protect their businesses and how much investment is required.

Speakers:

  • The Honorable Takuya Hirai, Japan’s first Minister of Digital
  • Joich Ito, Co-founder and board member of Digital Garage
  • Cartan McLaughlin, CEO of Nihon Cyber Defence

Global energy prices have rocketed due to both demand and supply factors, as well as unyielding pressure toward clean energy transition, at least in the West. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated supply challenges and further accelerated energy costs.

Japan has committed to becoming a carbon neutral society, with zero emissions by 2050. Economists, environmentalists and Japan’s residents at large are growing increasingly doubtful as to whether the noble target was overambitious. With ever-increasing threats to its energy supply Japan needs to secure its energy. As a resource-poor country, the implications of even small changes to how “power” trades can be significant for Japan.

This event examined which mix of solutions might work best for Japan, how business and future investment in Japan will be affected by the country’s energy dependency, and how they can mitigate energy risk.

Speakers

  • Kenichi Hosoda, Ex-State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; Member of Japan’s House of Representatives
  • Russell Cato, Managing Director and CEO of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

The Covid-19 pandemic has already revealed much about the fragility of the world in which we live. The institutional strengths and weaknesses of individual nations —and of the global political economy —laid bare. Moreover, the economic ramifications of the pandemic will reverberate for years, if not decades.

Geopolitical fault lines have also been put into stark relief. Political responses to the pandemic have exacerbated the already fractious relationship between the United States and China, for example. How will these and related geopolitical factors shape the global political economy? What are the implications for the Asian business environment?

Members of EICN’s Tokyo network were invited to join a conversation on these and related issues with world renowned historian, Niall Ferguson. Author of numerous bestselling books including The Ascent of Money, Civilization and most recently The Square and The Tower, Professor Ferguson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and holds academic posts at Stanford, Harvard and Tsinghua University, Beijing

Find out more

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