Who says change doesn’t happen in Japan? Like the melting snow on Mt. Fuji, change is slow, but it does occur. Case in point: the Japanese government’s elimination of the Alien Registration Card and re-entry permit systems next month. (Of course, these changes have been three years in the works – but I digress).
Starting July 9, long-term non-Japanese residents will see their old gaijin cards replaced by new Resident Cards, complete with embedded IC chips for easier tracking. You won’t receive new cards in the mail though; you have to pick one up the next time you visit an immigration center to renew your visa. Three-year visas will be extended to five years, while those annoying re-entry permits will be eliminated.
The changes appear to make life simpler and less bureaucratic for non-Japanese residents. However, those embedded chips make will make it easier for Big Brother to keep an eye on us. Who knows what that will mean. Hugh Ashton has more on the changes—and what they will mean for you—in his article Getting Carded (page 27).
Changes to company leadership are also happening more frequently in Japan. But how does one learn to be a leader when so few of us are born with leadership skills? The process is a lengthy one, developed through years of trial and error. There are few shortcuts to the corner office. However, training programs and professionals can help to make the process easier, offering practical leadership exercises and philosophies. Tish Robinson tells us about how ACCJ members were able to learn from some of these pros in her article Leadership Challenge (page 22), taken from the recent ACCJ Workshop series.
China has proven that change can be both good and bad. The world’s number two economy continues to steam forward, bringing a higher standard of living for its people along with it. That is good news for ordinary Chinese people— especially talented Chinese executives—many of whom now work for foreign companies. However, as the lives of these professionals improve, so do their demands. Chinese executives are becoming more demanding of salary, benefits and job security. How do American and Japanese companies deal with this reality? Tish Robinson wades in to this debate with her article the Battle for Talent in China (page 34).
Finally, with the concept of lifetime employment almost dead, many Japanese workers are also dealing with the concept to change. While some are re-thinking the way that they market themselves, a few are also learning that a “personal brand” can be an important calling card in the corporate world. In his article Personal Branding (page 32), Peter Sterlacci says learning to stand out is starting to take hold in a country where the lone nail can be hammered down.
Personal branding, new immigration procedures, leadership skills and China’s growing executive clout; part of the changes we are dealing with in modern Japan.