Capitalizing on Business Opportunities Abroad (Summary) – 2014 Annual Conference

The following is a summary of the breakout session “Capitalizing Business Opportunities Abroad” at the 2014 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference on October 10, 2014.


  • Mr. Tab Bowers, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, American Savings Bank (moderator)
  • Mr. Norihiko Ishiguro, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan
  • Mr. Richard Lim, Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, State of Hawaii (DBEDT)
  • Ms. Kathy Matsui, Chief Japan Equity Strategist, Co-Head of Macro Research Asia, Goldman Sachs
  • Mr. Masaaki Tanaka, Deputy President, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.


Mr. Bowers skillfully moderated the panel, which consisted of four speakers:

Vice Minister Ishiguro discussed the transformation of the Japanese economy from “Downward Spiral” to “Virtuous Cycle” through the three arrows of Abenomics.  He focused mainly on the third arrow, “Growth Strategy,” which includes corporate tax reform, electricity system reforms, maximum utilization of human resources and integration with global economy through international trade partnerships such as TPP and FTAAP.

Ms. Matsui explained how the Japanese government is dealing with excess cash held by Japanese corporations.  The Japanese government is implementing new regulations to enforce the fiduciary responsibility of institutional investors and to focus on the role of boards as well as crossholdings.  As a result, dividends and share buybacks are rising, yen strength is driving outbound M&As, and globalization is triggering the need for more globalized talent.

Mr. Lim talked about Hawaii as an ideal location for Japanese people for initiatives in innovation and entrepreneurship.  Hawaii provides a test bed for new technologies, entrepreneurial training opportunities, renewable energy, tourism, healthcare and agriculture, and also provides entrepreneurial training opportunities.

Mr. Tanaka introduced MUFG’s growth by capitalizing on global opportunities.  In 1880 MUFG established its first branch in New York, and after World War II, it re-launched its business in New York and in the West Coast by leveraging their relations with the Japanese American community.  The recent acquisition of Bank of Ayudhya expanded the customer base in the Greater Mekong Region, where high growth is expected.  He emphasized that MUFG’s own growth stemmed from contributing to the revitalization of Japan, growth in Asia and the rest of the world, and the growth of domestic clients.

Click here to learn more about the 2014 Annual Conference.