Event Details

Because of the relatively better situation with covid-19 pandemic, Asia saw the lowest decline in economic activity in 2020 compared to other regions and is forecasted to show the fastest recovery in 2021. In our annual Asia Business Outlook Survey (ABOS) we were asking business leaders in APAC to provide their assessment and the view from the ground on how the year ahead may look like. Does better handling of the pandemic in Asia translate into better outcomes for business or is the sentiment still too weak? Apart from covid-19, what are the crucial risks for business leaders in Asia - and how they have changed over the last few years? How does the situation differ from country to country? And where do executives see opportunities for growth in 2021 and beyond?

Join us as we review the business sentiment in Asia and consider how executives across different sectors are positioning their companies for 2021.

ABOS is an annual survey by Economist Corporate Network of business dynamics in the Asia-Pacific and its latest iteration was conducted in January 2021. The survey draws on the views and critical insights of over 500 business leaders at some of the world's largest multinationals.

[Live Stream from Tokyo Venue]


  • Eric Johnson (CEO of JSR Corporation)

    Eric Johnson

    CEO of JSR Corporation

    Eric R. Johnson became Representative Director and CEO of JSR Corporation in 2019, where he now sets the company’s global vision and strategy, with a special focus on growth, globalization and sustainability.

    Prior to becoming CEO, Eric was president of both JSR Micro, Inc. and JSR Life Sciences. In the life sciences business, he set and oversaw global strategy including spearheading the vision and establishment of JSR Life Sciences in 2014. He also shaped the division’s manufacturing and merger and acquisition strategy,
    growing JSR Life Sciences to a global group of companies with nearly 2000 employees.

    From 2005 to 2019, Eric served as president of JSR Micro, Inc. where he was responsible for the day-to-day US operations and development and integration of global strategies. Prior to becoming president, he was chief operating officer and senior vice president of technology. In 2009 he became the first non Japanese corporate officer of JSR Corporation.

    Prior to joining JSR, Eric spent more than 13 years at Nikon Precision Inc., most recently as Vice President of Technology. During his time at Nikon, he spent more than a year in Nishi Ooi and Kumagaya, Japan assisting in the development and manufacture of Nikon’s first scanner systems.

    Eric earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University and completed executive training at Harvard University. He holds 2 patents and is the author of several technical publications.

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  • Yuko Kawamoto (Professor at Waseda Graduate School of Business and Finance)

    Yuko Kawamoto

    Professor at Waseda Graduate School of Business and Finance

    Yuko started her career at the Bank of Tokyo in 1982, and joined McKinsey & Company in Tokyo in 1988. She became Senior Expert in 2001, after spending four years in Paris office. She has been a Professor at Waseda University since 2004.

    Currently she is a Trustee Director of Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company (2011-) and a Trustee of US-Japan Foundation (2018-). From 2020 she became an independent director of SoftBank Group, Panasonic Corpration and Shinsei Bank.

    She used to serve as an independent director to Japan Exchange (2004-2014), Resona Bank (2006-2011), Monex Securities (2006-2013), E-mobile (2007-2010), Yamaha Motor(2009-2013)and ITOCHU Corporation(2011-13). She was Advisory Board Member at Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group from 2006 to 2013 and in 2013, she became an independent director (first female director for Japanese “Mega Bank”). She had chaired its Risk Committee(2013-2019). She was also an independent audit & supervisory board member of Tokio Marine Holdings (2006-2018). Other advisory roles were for Toyota Finance Corporation, a confectionery company and an airline.

    With the expertise in macro-economic and governance issues, she has contributed to a number of government functions. During the administration of Prime Minister Koizumi, she joined a committee mandated to lead its major privatization project (2002-2005). She was also an advisor to Financial Services Minister Takenaka on Japanese bad assets problems (2003-2005). Other major appointments include a member of Prominent Persons Group on Lost Pension Record Issue in the first Abe Cabinet (2007) and Member of Space Strategy and Development Council in Cabinet Office (2010-2012). Most recently she was appointed as National Public Safety Commissioner, supervising National Police Agency (2014-2019).

    She is teaching ‘Corporate Governance’ and ‘Comparing Financial Systems’ to Japanese and foreign graduate students both in Japanese and English.

    Yuko holds a BA degree in Social Psychology from University of Tokyo, and a Master degree in Development Economics from Oxford University (St .John’s College).

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  • Florian Kohlbacher (VP of Strategy, Japan & Korea at Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited)

    Florian Kohlbacher

    VP of Strategy, Japan & Korea at Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited

    Dr Florian Kohlbacher is Vice President of Strategy in the Japan & South Korea Operating Unit at The Coca-Cola Company. Previously, Florian was the North Asia Director of The Economist Corporate Network and prior to that, Florian was an Associate Professor of Marketing and Innovation in the International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in China and the Founding Director of the XJTLU Research Institute on Ageing and Society (RIAS); he also was a Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Business & Economics Section as well as Deputy Director at the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) Tokyo, Japan. Florian holds both a master's degree and a doctorate from the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Vienna) and he began his career in B2B marketing in the transportation industry.

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  • Dimitry Rakin (Associate Director, ECN North Asia of Economist Corporate Network)

    Dimitry Rakin

    Associate Director, ECN North Asia of Economist Corporate Network

    Dimitry Rakin is the Associate Director of the Economist Corporate Network North Asia, where he is responsible for events planning, private briefings, data analysis and research in Japan and South Korea. He is an expert on Japanese economy, business and trade as well as on the history and politics of the East Asia region.

    Prior to joining The Economist Group, Dimitry was a Senior Officer of Economic Affairs in the Trade Delegation Unit of the Russian Embassy in Japan connecting Russian and Japanese companies, promoting Russia as an investment destination and facilitating Russia-Japan intergovernmental negotiations on economic cooperation. He started his career as an editor covering East Asia in one of the biggest Russian news agencies (ITAR-TASS) working in the central office and Tokyo Bureau of the agency.

    Dimitry has an MA degree in Japanese language and history from the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) and was also a Japanese government (MEXT) research scholar at Meiji University’s Graduate School of Law, Tokyo. In addition to native Russian language skills, he is fluent in English and Japanese.

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