Hello everyone, today is July 1st, 2021.
My name is Yuusuke Wada, probably the only funeral business podcaster in Japan and also a death industry consultant. I am also the Researcher of the Reform of Death and I prepare for the End of Life Journey.
Podcast No. 29 of YEYSHONAN, a weekly podcast in English.
Sorry, I am one day late for the weekly podcast.
Last week I was at the funeral trade show in Yokohama. It was better that I imagined.
I’ll talk about this in a different episode.
This morning, I was at The Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) for an event called the Deep Dive, which is a task force organized by ex-presidents of FCCJ and a few members including myself. The topic was Japan’s economic recovery trajectory.
The panelists were Mr. Paul Sheard who is the research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, Mr. Naoyuki Yoshino at professor at Keio, and Mr. Jesper Koll who is a venture capitalist, moderated by Mr. Anthony Rowley of Asia Economic.
One of the issues discussed was that the old aged society is pulling our legs in the workforce. These government expenditures on welfare could be put to a better use. The idea of prolonging the retirement age and wages based on productivity should precede seniority in the company.
The workforce in Japan switches jobs due to NOT the enhancement of their careers but due to human relationships at work, such as not liking the Bucho or Kacho at all. These are all negative impacts. The engineers are in silos and do not go out meeting others.
They do not seek out the outside world and there is a tall wall that restricts them from physically and intellectually contacting others. There is a Japanese proverb of “井の中の蛙大海を知らず”, meaning “The frog in the well knows nothing of the ocean.”.
Also, a language barrier that restricts people from mobility in the world.
Beside these issues, Japan still has the highest technology and manufacturing capabilities and people should realize this. Then why are top level Japanese people leaving Japan and people not coming to Japan? It’s the wage and productivity issue.
Despite all these restrictions and issues, Japan still holds a strong economic status.
Does the stock market reflect the current Japanese economic status? Probably not.
But due to almost zero interest rates and inflation, the government debt is not growing as much as thought.
Dr. Yoshino’s opinion was:
We need to reduce social welfare to make the budget stable.
We should provoke local government autonomy and not rely on the central government but we also have decentralization restrictions imposed by the central government which needs law changes to act upon.
Monetary Policy which affects the working population, creates jobs thus the unemployment declines and the effect is that consumption of working will rise.
But Retired population relies on pensions and social welfare
Monetary policy does not affect retirees
Dr. Yoshino expressed to delay retirement age and the wages should rely on productivity.
As a death industry consultant, I threw in a question of “What is your (Dr. Yoshino’s) idea of regaining a strong economy?”
This question ended up as a fuse to many other opinions at the event since two other panelists Jesper and Paul do not believe that aging is a problem but wage system and productivity are the issues.
Dr. Yoshino suggested using the retirees’ knowledge and having them teach the young with the struggles they had and how they solved these issues.
There is more information available now but there is no wisdom compared in balance.
I agree with all three with a different point of view.
What I can say is that the death industry itself is dying due to COVID-19 where people are not having funeral services but just going directly to the crematorium.
But this might be a chance for smaller companies that have less capital (including less expense on large halls) to disrupt the industry.
Smaller companies only have smaller halls which are less of a burden on maintenance.
Large companies with large halls cannot put any use to these halls since no large services are being held.
The only issue we have is that the banks be less conservative and not just lend money to large corporations since Japan is made up of 99.7% small and medium size businesses, including the large corporation franchize system which are owned by small companies.
Cash flow is important in all industries.
What we do not want, is a downfall of the economy after the government withdraws the subsidization.
This wraps up today’s post.
I will be podcasting once a week in English.}
The next podcast will hopefully be posted on July 7th.
Have a good day and have a good week.
You only live once and you only die once.
And don’t forget to subscribe to this channel.
Thank you very much.