Go Wizardry

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Making Things Happen

There are many people today agitating for change. Quite a few advocate for more economic activity to stimulate business conditions. Great. Who would disagree? However, in what way do they propose to make this happen?

Businesses in the U.S. are doing fine. The stock market is hitting record highs. And while the economy is only moving at a moderate rate, people seem to be buying goods at a fairly good pace. Europe might look as though it is slipping into another recession, but few here in America believe we are going in the same direction.

Still, there is a feeling that we could use a pick-up. But how?

For years one of my clients, All Japan News, Inc., brought Japanese money into this country in the form of products that companies wished to market here. The typical Japanese company spends one million dollars launching its products. And sometimes they spend much more. Yamasa has promoted its line of goods, such as soy sauce, for many years here. But then a few years ago it built a sake brewery in Portland, Oregon. It spent $15 million to do so. And All Japan News promoted that venture by publishing articles about it and interviewing spokesmen for the company.

At its best, All Japan News was bringing in more than $60,000 a month in promotional money from Japan. That was just direct payments from Japanese companies. It did not have any connection to the funds that those companies invested independently here.

The financial crisis in 2008 affected many Japanese companies adversely. Much of that investment income dried up. Then the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disasters rocked Japan further. It has taken some time to get the country back on track.

But now things are starting to get better. And to make things happen even further, All Japan News is planning to hold a cultural exposition in a major venue. Just in the past week we inspected a convention center to see the kind of conditions would be most suitable for such an event.

One of the halls that we saw was 78,000 square feet. It was big enough to hold 250 booths. That would accommodate the number of sponsors and vendors that typically exhibit at these shows.

When I was first learning Japanese, I used to go to Japan Expo every year. It was highlight of the year for me. In fact, at Japan Expo 2001 I met David Kudo, the president of All Japan News, and started writing articles and translating for its publications shortly thereafter.

However, the last time that the event was held was in 2006. The flamboyant organizer and his supporters had a falling out. That was unfortunate, because it was a great festival that promoted Japan and the Japanese culture.

This year, the former organizer retired. That has paved the way for a revival of the event. It is to be hoped that All Japan News can get things back on track.

Unfortunately, there have been false starts and missteps. People promising financial support have disappeared when it came time to perform. Everyone agrees that holding the event would be wonderful, but it is a major effort to hold this kind of festival, and it is no simple matter to pull it off.

Still, it is fitfully moving forward. People might disappear, but others turn up to take their place. All Japan News continues to find potential supporters to help things along. This is just one more way that the company continues to bring Japanese money into this country.

At this point in time we are continuing with our plans. We have found a Japanese television producer and photographer to help us create a video about the event. A script has been written and edited. Filming will begin within a week.

Please stay tuned for more information.

Those who wish to comment on the opinions expressed here may send their thoughts to info@GoWizardry.com. The most interesting responses will be addressed in future postings.

Robert J. Terry

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