Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

How a private-sector transformation could revive Japan

May 25, 2015 Comments off

How a private-sector transformation could revive Japan
Source: McKinsey & Company

Two lost decades have taken a toll on Japan’s competitiveness, but the nation has a window of opportunity to shift its trajectory. A new McKinsey Global Institute report, The future of Japan: Reigniting productivity and growth, highlights potential avenues for growth and renewal, emphasizing areas where the private sector can take the lead. With its working-age population shrinking, Japan will have to rely on productivity as the main catalyst for economic momentum. While continued policy reform is necessary, the private sector is critical to capturing new growth opportunities. If individual companies take action to improve their performance, they could add trillions of dollars of value annually to the world’s third-largest economy.

Overall productivity growth in Japan has stalled below 2 percent for much of the past 20 years. Even Japan’s advanced manufacturing industries, which once introduced the world to the concept of “lean,” lag behind the comparable US and German sectors in labor productivity by almost one-third. A continuation of current trends would lead to annual GDP growth of only 1.3 percent through 2025. This sluggish pace will do little to boost household purchasing power and will only intensify the fiscal pressures of providing social-security and healthcare benefits to an aging population.

Yet if Japan can successfully double its rate of productivity increase by sharply focusing on raising value added and reducing costs, it could boost annual GDP growth to approximately 3 percent. By 2025, Japan’s GDP would increase by up to 30 percent over its current trajectory. The size of the prize would be growth of $1.4 trillion in that year alone (Exhibit 1).

Increased Use of Digital Technologies Could Add $1.36 Trillion to World’s Top 10 Economies in 2020, According to New Study from Accenture

April 13, 2015 Comments off

Increased Use of Digital Technologies Could Add $1.36 Trillion to World’s Top 10 Economies in 2020, According to New Study from Accenture
Source: Accenture

The increased use of digital technologies could boost productivity for the world’s top 10 economies and add US$1.36 trillion to their total economic output in 2020, according to a new study by Accenture (NYSE: ACN). The study is based on the Accenture Digital Density Index, a tool that helps companies make better strategic investments based on granular measures of digital performance.

The Accenture Digital Density Index measures the extent to which digital technologies penetrate a country’s businesses and economy. A country’s “digital density” is determined by a scorecard comprising over 50 indicators, such as the volume of transactions conducted online, the use of cloud or other technologies to streamline processes, the pervasiveness of technology skills in a company, or an economy’s acceptance of new digitally driven business models.

At its broadest level, the Index reveals that a ten point improvement in digital density (on a 100-point scale) over five years would lift GDP growth rates in advanced economies by 0.25 percentage points, and by 0.5 percentage point in emerging economies. That would give the U.S. an uplift to GDP of US$365 billion in 2020. Emerging economies, such as Brazil, India and China could see rises of between $97 billion and $418 billion.

Open Data in the G8

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Open Data in the G8
Source: Center for Data Innovation

In 2013, the leaders of the G8 signed an agreement committing to advance open data in their respective countries. This report assesses the current state of open data efforts in these countries and finds substantial variation in their progress. Moving forward, countries have many opportunities to enhance their open data capabilities, such as by increasing international collaboration, better educating policymakers about the benefits of open data, and working closely with civil society on open data initiatives.

Oil Security Index — Who Is at Risk? (October 2014 Update)

November 18, 2014 Comments off

Oil Security Index — Who Is at Risk? (October 2014 Update)
Source: Securing America’s Future Energy

When launched in October 2013, SAFE’s Oil Security Index was hailed as an essential tool for those seeking greater insight into both what constitutes oil security, and which countries are most oil secure. The Index included then-current and historical data tracing national rankings back to 2000.

In this update, SAFE adds data through Q2 2014 and revises the rankings accordingly. The Index’s seven metrics capture three core aspects of oil security: the structural dependency of countries’ economies on oil, the economic exposure of countries to oil prices and the changes in those prices, and the physical supply security of a country’s domestic and imported oil.

This most recent update features a special focus on Japan, the Index’s most oil-secure country. Japan ranks highly in spite of its minimal domestic oil resources and high import levels, which are offset by several other indicators. Most notably, Japan’s high oil efficiency and its role as an international storage hub work in favor of the county’s long-term oil security.

The latest Index update also shines a light on India, where burgeoning demand has driven oil consumption up 75 percent since 2000. Amidst rising demand for gasoline and increasing incomes, India struggles with a heavy reliance on Middle East imports and low overall efficiency, leaving it suspended at 11 out of 13 in the Index rankings.

New Comparative Law Report — Approval of Medical Devices

November 14, 2014 Comments off

Approval of Medical Devices (PDF)
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report describes the approval process for medical devices in the European Union and fifteen countries, and also indicates whether or not an expedited approval procedure is available. Many of the countries reference EU law, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Israel more readily approves devices with a CE mark (indicating approval in the EU) or an indication that they are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In many nations, particularly those influenced by the EU, part of the review process is conducted not by the government but by private, independent organizations called “notified bodies.” These organizations are designated by EU Member States.

In most of the countries in the survey, medical devices are categorized based on the risks associated with their use, and the approval process varies by category. For example, in the United Kingdom, manufacturers of low-risk devices may register with the government agency and simply declare that the devices meet the requirements to be approved. Devices classed as higher risk must undergo more detailed review, by a notified body.

On the question of an expedited approval process, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Spain, and Switzerland permit some sort of rapid review in particular cases, often when a device is required for an individual patient and no substitute is available. Mexico has provided for more rapid approval of devices if they have already been approved in either Canada or the United States. No such procedure exists at present in Brazil, France, Israel, the Russian Federation, or the United Kingdom. The Russian Federation did have a rapid approval system in place prior to August 2014. Germany provides for temporary approval of devices in limited circumstances. South Africa is now considering draft legislation that would include expedited procedures in specified situations.

Interim Report of the U.S.-Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation Released

October 10, 2014 Comments off

Interim Report of the U.S.-Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation Released
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The United States and Japan today jointly released the interim report of the ongoing review of the U.S.-Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation. A full copy of the report can be found here

Transforming the Electricity Portfolio: Lessons from Germany and Japan in Deploying Renewable Energy

October 1, 2014 Comments off

Transforming the Electricity Portfolio: Lessons from Germany and Japan in Deploying Renewable Energy
Source: Brookings Institution

Amid an ongoing international debate on the reduction of carbon emissions, Germany and Japan are undertaking a dramatic shift in their electricity portfolios. The 2011 Japanese earthquake and the subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility accident have sparked both Japanese and German energy policy to shift away from carbon-free nuclear energy and towards renewables. However, despite large gains in market share by renewables, these two countries have seen increases in both fossil fuel usage and carbon emissions as the market share of nuclear energy has declined.

This shift raises fundamental energy policy questions: how can countries simultaneously decarbonize their electricity mix while phasing out nuclear energy? What are the costs and challenges of large-scale renewable integration? Who will bear these costs? In the Energy Security Initiative’s latest policy brief, authors John Banks, Charles Ebinger and Alisa Schackmann seek to answer these questions while identifying potential relevant lessons for large-scale deployment of renewables in the United States.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,052 other followers