The recent tsunami and earthquake in Japan left an idelible mark on the country's infrastructure and thus, also its economy, causing hundreds of factories to shut down. Rolling blackouts left those factories still open unable to produce, which resulted in an immediate disruption to Japan’s supply chain. These devastating incidents were bound to have a profound impact on Japan’s already shaky economy.

Many industries were affected by the disasters, with manufacturing, shipping and electronics suffering in particular. A huge rebuild effort was put in place, one that is still going strong, illustrating how Japan was willing to pull together to minimize the damage to the country's economy and infrastructure. The electronics industry however seems to be lagging behind still, with Taiwan and Korea proving fierce competitors to Japan’s electronics market.

According to Michael Porter’s five forces, external competition leads to companies becoming more innovative in order to battle their competitors, which can ultimately result in success. This idea seems to be taking place in the Japanese mindset with Shin Horiguchi, assistant director at the industrial revitalization division in the Ministry of Economy, stating ‘We need to compete more aggressively,’ as documented in the Financial Times. This increased drive in competitiveness in Japan will potentially create an innovative and thriving business society, an exciting prospect for executives in the region.
Executives in all areas, and particular those experienced in the electronics industry who are looking for a new challenge and a chance to think creatively, should therefore consider doing business in Japan.

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This article was written by Bella Barda, Emerging Markets Assistant from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 8,000 executive search professionals in more than 75 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 75,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at


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