EICN Tokyo - The Sega Effect: Will Wages Start Rising in Japan?
Sega, an established Japanese arcade and video game maker, announced on 17 February that it was raising the annual salary of its full-time employees by an average of 15%. The increase in the wage base will see the monthly initial salary for a college graduate rise by 35% (78,000 yen), from 222,000 yen to 300,000 yen. The measure is seen as a way to enhance Sega's global competitiveness by securing high-quality talent.
As Japan faces historically high levels of inflation, human resources are becoming increasingly valuable. The number of Japanese nationals looking for working visas and jobs abroad has grown to record numbers, according to Indeed, a recruitment firm. A weakened currency complicates matters further, stirring workers' thoughts about earning in another denomination. During the 1990s and 2000s, workers had difficulty demanding higher wages, as a prolonged period of deflation resulted in slow growth, low corporate profitability, and higher debt burdens.
However, this year is different. Japan's 30-year high inflation will push companies to decide between raising salaries by an equally record percentage or leaving employees poorer and more impatient. Sega seems to have taken a step in the right direction, but will it catch on? What should companies do with salary margins in 2023? Is it necessary for large multinationals to raise wages, even when the much larger Japanese SME sector claims to be unable to pay more? What effects would higher salaries have on the Japanese economy as a whole? Could this lead to a turnaround in Japan's long deflationary slumber?
Join us at this event where we will discuss everything executives should know about wages in Japan, as well as the potential effects on the workforce.
Dress code: Business attire
5:00 PM - 5:20 PM
Registration and networking
5:20 PM - 6:30 PM
Panel discussion and Q&A
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Drinks and standing dinner
Founding Partner, Aspirant Group, Inc. / Professor, Faculty of Economics, Keio University
After graduating from Law Faculty of University of Tokyo in 1981, Kawamoto’s 31 years’ public service spanned from METI to Cabinet Office, Cabinet Secretariat and OECD Secretariat in Paris. His responsibilities covered various areas of economic/industry policy, including macro-economic management, regulatory reform, electricity liberalization, and social security reform.
After his last service as senior executive of government-sponsored fund which invested in post-financial crisis turnaround of companies such as Japan Airlines, he co-founded Aspirant Group Inc., a PE fund in 2012. He also teaches on Japanese economy at Keio University. His publications include “Why Japan Cannot Carry Out Reforms” (2013) and “Regulatory Reform” (1998).
He holds a M.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford.
Michael Spranger is the COO of Sony AI Inc., Sony’s strategic research and development organization established April 2020. Sony AI’s mission is to “unleash human imagination and creativity with AI.”
Michael is a roboticist by training with extensive research experience in fields such as Natural Language Processing, robotics, and foundations of Artificial Intelligence. Michael has published more than 70 papers at top AI conferences such as IJCAI, NeurIPS and others. Concurrent to Sony AI, Michael also holds a Senior Researcher position at Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc., and is actively contributing to Sony’s overall AI ethics strategy.
Head of HR, International at Nikko Asset Management
Ken Cogger is the Head of HR, International at Nikko Asset Management, with over 25 years of experience in the HR field. He specialises in talent development, HR business partnering, and has held senior HR positions in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, including head of HR roles. Ken has worked for Nikko Asset Management for a significant portion of his career.
During his time at Nikko Asset Management, Ken has been instrumental in implementing effective performance management strategies, ensuring that employees are recognised and rewarded based on their contributions to the company's success. As an active participant in human capital change management, Ken has played a key role in transforming Nikko AM from a domestic-focused firm to a global entity with a diverse client base and headcount.
Ken is also a certified executive coach, bringing additional skills and insights to his work in HR. In addition, he speaks four languages, including fluency in Japanese, and serves as the standing chair of the HR committee at the Tokyo American Club.
Director, Tokyo of Economist Intelligence Corporate Network
Rodrigo González is the Director for Tokyo of Economist Intelligence Corporate Network.
He works closely with regional business leaders to assist them in economic and market trends, business competitiveness, monetary and fiscal policy and general economic advisory to help them optimise their business strategies and further enhance their connections to their c-suite peers.
He has vast experience in statistical analysis, strategy consulting and market research in different industries in and outside Japan. Rodrigo is a published author in environmental and transport economics and has spoken at international conferences in global warming and fiscal policy throughout the world.
Rodrigo holds a PhD in Economics from Keio University and is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Japanese.
Director, North Asia of Economist Intelligence Corporate Network
Vivian Tokai is the North Asia Director of the Economist Intelligence Corporate Network based in Tokyo and covering Japan and South Korea. She is responsible for programme development and client engagement. She works closely with c-level executives on key economic and political issues and industry-specific analysis to support their businesses in the region.
Vivian is a government affairs and public policy professional with 25 years of experience covering a wide variety of sectors, including energy, environment, aviation, transportation, defense, IT and digital economy. She has extensive senior leadership experience with a wide range of blue-chip multinational businesses in Japan. Prior to joining the Economist Group, she led Japan government relations activities at UPS, GE, Facebook, eBay and Honeywell. She was responsible for developing and executing strategic lobbying approaches, and ensuring strong relationships with regulators and government leaders.
Vivian has been active in a number of business organisations. She is a member of the Keizai Doyukai, Japan Association of Corporate Executives, and has held various board roles with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. She has also been a visiting professor and lecturer at a number of Japanese universities including Chuo University and Showa Women’s University.
Her personal commitment is female empowerment. She served as Chief Diversity Officer at Citigroup in Japan and was selected as Women’s Leadership member at GE.
Vivian also possesses extensive experience in the media. She anchored a sports news segment of a daily evening news program at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. She earned a Master of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from School of Journalism, College of Communication, Boston University. She can speak Japanese and English, and introductory Chinese, Korean and French.