Examples of anti-smoking measures and their effects
Chapter 3 discusses warning labels, anti-smoking advertising campaigns, the relationship between price and consumption, support and guidance in quitting smoking, health education, and the anti-smoking measures being taken by international organizations.
Currently, countries throughout the world are educating people about the effects of smoking on health and using legislation to regulate smoking in a variety of ways, and research into the effectiveness of these methods is being conducted. For example, a report from Australia has found that immediately after warning labels are introduced people remember their contents, but that the percentage of people who still remember the contents after a month decreases, and a U.S. report claims that changing the contents of the labels without changing the style is ineffective. In Canada and Australia various methods have been used in recent years, such as displaying photographs on the warning labels of tobacco products for visual effect and requiring that labels containing different messages, of different shapes and sizes are displayed after one another.
Reports regarding the effect of prices increases on tobacco consumption claim that when price hikes for tobacco products exceed the rates of increase for other products and for wages, the result is a decrease in consumption; particularly among under-age smokers and people in low-income groups.
Numerous studies and reports are being conducted into the effects of the many intervention efforts being made into the habits of smokers in various countries in order to help people quit smoking. Provision of guidance by medical professionals has been discovered to result in significantly higher numbers of smokers quitting, compared to cases where medical professionals are not involved in providing guidance. Further, the effectiveness of the guidance is enhanced even further when conducted by several people.
In Japan too, educational measures to prevent people taking up smoking are being implemented. These efforts are not only focused on providing information about the effects of smoking on health. Since the 1990s they have also included programs that concentrate on noticing the social factors that trigger smoking in young people and providing the skills to deal with their effects. In addition, the new curriculum guidelines to be fully implemented from the 2002 school year clearly state that education to prevent people from starting smoking be conducted in the sixth year of elementary school.
As shown by the above examples, various anti-smoking measures are currently in use in countries throughout the world. However, in view of the inequity between countries regarding the resources necessary for such counter-measures and in order to expand economic activity beyond the borders of multinational corporations, the World Health Organization (WHO) resolved to prepare the “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control” at the 1996 World Health Conference and negotiations between governments are now underway with the aim of adopting the framework in May 2003.
Intervention Strategies for Tobacco Control and the Effects Thereof
Chapter 3, in reference to tobacco control, discusses the administration of warning labels, advertising campaigns against tobacco smoking, pricing and consumption, assistance programs for quitting, health education, and the involvement of international organizations.
Currently, countries outside Japan are taking various initiatives to educate people about the health risks of tobacco smoking and to institute regulations for tobacco control. Studies are also being conducted to determine their effectiveness. A report from Australia shows awareness among people regarding the content of warning labels is highest directly following implementation but decreases after one month. Another report from the United States demonstrates that changing the text in warning label alone is ineffective and must be accompanied with a change in format. Canada and Australia have recently adopted a method to visually appeal to consumers by using graphic warning labels along with other approaches such as mandating the size and order in which multiple messages are phrased.
Another study shows the correlation between increases in price and its affect on consumption. Raising the price of tobacco products exceeding the rate of inflation and growth in average income leads to a decrease in tobacco consumption, particularly among minors and lower income groups.
As an intervention strategy to help quit smoking, other countries engage in assistance programs promoting non-smoking, along with research projects confirming their effectiveness. In comparison with no intervention, a report suggests that programs assisted by healthcare professionals help reduce the amount of smoking significantly and programs incorporating the support from multiple resources further increase their effectiveness.
In Japan, we are pursuing educational outreach to prevent smoking, not only by providing information concerning the health risks of smoking, but by promoting awareness of social factors that contribute to the initial adoption of the smoking habit among young people. In the 1990’s, we introduced programs focusing on developing skills to counteract the pressure from such social factors. The new curriculum guideline, which is to take effect in Heisei 14 (2002), requires education on smoking prevention for six grade students.
The above examples show intervention efforts across borders for tobacco control. However, issues of broadening international economic activities by multinational corporations and disparities among national administrative resources need to be addressed. Recognizing the need for multinational effort, the World Health Organization passed a resolution for initiating a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) at the World Health Assembly in 1996. Currently, intergovernmental negotiations are in progress to prepare for prospective adoption of FCTC resolution in May of 2003.
Chapter 3 Outline: "Case Studies of Anti-Smoking Intervention Measures and their Effectiveness"
Chapter 3 discusses warning labels, anti-smoking advertising campaigns, the effect of cost on consumption, smoking cessation counseling and support, health education, and initiatives by international organizations and such.
Currently there are various approaches being taken in different countries with respect to legal regulations and education about the effects of smoking on health and there is a wide range of research being conducted into the effectiveness of these approaches. For example, Australia has reported that people remember the content of warning labels immediately after they are introduced, but the rate of retention drops one month after their introduction, and the US has reported that if the form of the warning label is not changed, changing the content alone is ineffective. Also, in recent years Canada and Australia have implemented measures such as the use of photographs on warning labels to increase their visual impact, and additionally have started requiring that tobacco companies make their warning labels a certain size or display multiple, different messages in sequence.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that when the price of cigarettes rises faster than the rates of inflation and income, cigarette consumption declines and this correlation is particularly strong for minors and low-wage earners.
Furthermore, smoking cessation counseling is being actively conducted in various countries as a means of intervening in the habits of smokers, and there is a large amount of research and reporting being done. According to healthcare providers and others, smoking cessation counseling results in a significant increase in the non-smoking rate when compared to cases where it is not employed, and moreover it is reported that the effectiveness of this method increases further when the counseling is conducted by multiple counselors.
In Japan too, education initiatives for the prevention of smoking are progressing, and these initiatives do not merely provide information about the effects of smoking on health. Rather, programs which make young people aware of the existence of the social factors related to smoking initiation and which focus on helping them to form the skills necessary for dealing with those factors, started to make an appearance in the 1990s. Also, since the full implementation of the new educational guidelines in 2002, it is specifically required that smoking prevention education be given in grade 6.
Anti-smoking measures are currently being carried out in various forms in different countries as described above, but at the 1996 World Health Assembly the World Health Organization (WHO), reflecting the expanding cross-border economic activities of multinational companies and the inequality among countries of the necessary resources for anti-smoking measures, voted to begin preparations for the drawing up of the "Framework Convention on Tobacco Control". Preparations are progressing with a target adoption date of May 2003, and intergovernmental negotiations are currently underway.
Chapter 3- Examples and Effects of Strategies to Curb Smoking—summary
This chapter looks at health warnings, anti-smoking advertisement campaigns, the relationship between pricing and consumption, anti-smoking guidance and support, health education, and the anti-smoking efforts of international organizations.
Different countries have through various methods engaged in educating their populations on the health consequences of smoking, and have imposed various legal restrictions in regard to tobacco usage, the results of which have been the focus much study. For instance, one report from Australia, which looked at health warnings, found that the contents of those warnings are remembered immediately after they are first introduced but not so much one month later. Meanwhile, another report, this time from the US, suggests that changing the contents of health warnings has no effect if the format of those warnings stays the same. In Canada and Australia, warnings in form of photographs and other such visually impacting methods have been used in recent years. Another device has been to enforce a requirement that numerous warning messages of varying size be arranged on each packet.
There are also reports to suggest a linkage between the price of tobacco and its consumption—smoking goes down when the price of tobacco rises faster than the cost of living and people's incomes. This is particularly the case for those underage and those on low incomes.
In many countries there are widespread moves towards antismoking advice that direct targets the habits of smokers. This too has spawned many studies and reports. It is found that the rate of smokers quitting the habit increases significantly when health professionals instruct the public to do so compared to when such guidance is absent. Furthermore, it is reported that such instructions are even more effective when coming from numerous sources.
Japan has also seen moves to combat smoking through education. In the 1990s, a program emerged which not only provided information concerning the health consequences of smoking, but was also attentive to the social factors underlying young people taking up smoking. A focus was then put on fostering the necessary skills to deal with those influences. Also, in the now fully implemented New Course of Learning issued by the Japanese Ministry of Education in 2002, there is an explicit directive for the provision of anti-smoking education to 6th grade elementary school children.
In this way, various strategies for tackling smoking have been employed by different countries. However, in reaction to the global economic reach of multi-national corporations and the imbalance between states in their ability to come up with the resources needed to mount anti-smoking campaigns, the World Health Organization (WHO), at the 1996 World Health Assembly, made a decision to formulate an International Framework Convention for Tobacco Control. The prospects for its adoption by May, 2003 are well under way, with ongoing negotiations between governments.
Chapter 3: Examples of Intervention in Tobacco Control and their Effectiveness – Abstract
In Chapter Three, we discuss warning labels, anti-tobacco advertising campaigns, price and consumption, smoking cessation counseling and support, health education, and the efforts of international and other organizations.
Currently, education on the health effects of smoking and tobacco control via legislation are being carried out in a variety of forms abroad, and a variety of research into the results of those efforts is also underway. For example, a report from Australia shows that the content of warning labels could be recalled in the period immediately following their implementation, however, one month after implementation the recollection rate declined. Another report from the United States shows that unless the format of warning labels changes, it is ineffective to change only the content of the warnings. Moreover, in Australia and Canada various approaches have been taken towards warning labels on tobacco products in recent years: in addition to employing visually evocative methods such as using photographs or other images on warning labels, requirements have also been set regarding the amount of surface area to be covered by the labels, as well as requiring that different warning messages are shown on a rotational basis.
Additionally, with regard to the effect of tobacco price hikes on tobacco consumption, reports indicate that tobacco consumption declines when the rise of the price of tobacco exceeds the rate of inflation as well as the income increase rate. This decline is especially connected to inhibiting tobacco consumption among minors and people in lower income brackets, according to reports.
Cessation counseling for smokers is also a thriving method of smoking intervention in foreign countries. A great deal of research is being done on this topic, and a number of reports have been released. One report shows that the rate of smoking cessation dramatically increases when the cessation counseling is done by healthcare professionals as compared to when a health professional is not present; when multiple practitioners are involved counseling produces even higher results.
Health education to prevent smoking has been making progress in Japan as well. These efforts are not limited to merely providing knowledge on the health effects of smoking; efforts are also being made to raise awareness among minors of the existence of societal factors related to taking up smoking at a young age. Programs focused on fostering the essential skills to cope with the influence of these societal factors have been available since the 1990s. In addition, it is clearly specified that education to prevent smoking must be provided in the sixth year of schooling, according to the new Courses of Study that will be implemented as the standards for educational courses in all elementary and secondary schools in 2002.
As such, tobacco control activities are currently taking place in many different forms in each country, however, in light of factors such as the international spread of the economic activities of multinational corporations, as well as the disparity among nations in the resources required for tobacco control activities, the World Health Organization (WHO) voted to develop a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) at the 1996 World Health Assembly. Preparations are underway with the goal of adoption of the WHO FCTC in May 2003, and intergovernmental negotiations are currently in progress.
Section 3. Examples of Tobacco Control Interventions and their Effects (Summary)
Section 3 discusses warning labels, anti-smoking ad campaigns, prices and consumption, smoking cessation guidance and support, health education, and initiatives by international organizations.
Outside of Japan, tobacco control is being carried out in various forms through the use of laws and education about smoking’s effects on health, and various studies are being conducted on their effectiveness. According to an Australian report, consumers could recall the contents of a warning label immediately after its introduction, but one month after the introduction that percentage dropped. If the appearance of a warning label remains unchanged, changing the contents will have no effect, according to an American report. Also, in recent years, in addition to attracting the eyes through the use of pictures, an obligation to use certain label sizes and cycle through differing messages are among techniques used in warning labels on tobacco products in Canada and Australia.
Meanwhile, reports show that regarding the effect of raising prices on tobacco consumption, when the rise of tobacco prices exceeds the growth of income and the inflation rate, tobacco consumption decreases. This is particularly relevant to the control of tobacco consumption among minors and the low income class.
Also, smoking cessation guidance is actively being practiced outside of Japan through the use of intervention against the smoking habits of smokers, and much research is being done on the subject. According to reports, when smoking cessation guidance is given by a health care provider, smoking cessation rates are significantly higher than when guidance is not given, and furthermore, when the smoking cessation guidance is given by more than one guide, there is a further increase in guidance effectiveness.
In Japan as well, the anti-smoking education initiative continues to progress, and rather than simply providing information about the health effects of smoking, programs that introduce social factors related to starting smoking at an early age and focus on developing the skills necessary to deal with those influences started appearing in the 1990’s. Also, the new course of study fully implemented since the 2002 fiscal year stipulate that anti-smoking education be taught in the 6th grade.
In this way, various forms of tobacco control have come to be carried out in many countries. In consideration of the spread of multinational corporations’ cross-border economic activity and the imbalance between countries of resources necessary to address tobacco control, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided to request the initiation of the development the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control at the 1996 World Health Assembly. The preparation for its prospective adoption in May of 2003 continues and governmental talks are currently being held.
The coming JAT meeting will be on January 26th, in which self-proclaimed Internet and software geek Andrew Shuttleworth will be sharing some productivity tips and tools. His presentation will cover how to benefit from mobile productivity by using smart phones and other tools such as mind mapping, to-do lists, Google Apps, as well as blogging and social networking services. The meeting will be followed a Nijikai. See the following for details.
Helen, Lisa, and Kiyoko
JAT Tokyo Activities Committee (aka, the Angels)
Date: Saturday, January 26, 2008
Time: 14:00 - 17:00
Meeting Place: Forum 8
Address: Dogenzaka 2-10-7, Shibuya, Tokyo
Cost: Free for JAT members, ¥1000 for non-members
At JAT, we have compiled the answers to the often-raised questions among translators who live outside Japan and work for Japan-based clients:
Are Japan-based clients supposed to deduct tax from payments for translation work? If so, are there ways to avoid such withholding taxes?
On November 10, 2007, we had JAT’s tax accountant, Mr. Masaru Sato, give a talk on this very subject. In addition, we had Mr. Sato prepare a document explaining the tax mechanism for us, complete with links to necessary forms. For some remaining questions raised by JAT members, we asked Mr. Sadao Kanezaki, one of the authors of “Doing Business in Japan,” also a tax accountant, to provide us with a second opinion on this topic.
As part of our effort to allow all JAT members to enjoy membership perks once privy only to those of us in Tokyo, we are kicking off an effort to broadcast all of our monthly meetings, over the web. Note that these videos require the password posted to the JAT mailing list, which is only available to members.
Says JATter James Phillips (who has been kind enough to take care of the recording and editing):
We are pleased to announce that a video of the presentation given by Juliet Carpenter, a well-known translator of books and literature, to the JAT members on Saturday December 8th, 2007 is now online. Enjoy Juliet giving an account of the trials and tribulations involved in being a literary translator.
A wide array of tricky translation tasks are covered, from how to describe emotions felt when listening to music, how to describe how somebody has been murdered, and even how to deal with whether or not to use the "F" word (gasp!). This was a fascinating presentation that will be of particular interest to those involved in the field of literary translation but can still be enjoyed by anybody with an interest in the translation business. The video is split into two halves, with the first half lasting just over an hour and the second half lasting approximately forty minutes. Enjoy!
The coming JAT meeting will be on December 8th. Ms. Juliet Carpenter will talk about literary translation. The meeting will be followed by Bonenkai and Nijikai. See the following for details.
Please RSVP to [email protected] by Friday, November 30 to benefit from a discounted Bonenkai price (applicable to JAT members only), if not by Wednesday, December 5.
Helen, Lisa, and Kiyoko
JAT Tokyo Activities Committee (aka, the Angels)
Literary Translation with Juliet Carpenter
Place: Ristorante Della Collina (http://www.ristorante-della-collina.com)
Place: Ristorante Della Collina (same as above)
Time: 16:30 - 18:30
Cost [RSVP by November 30]: members 5,000 yen; non-members 6,000 yen
Cost [RSVP on December 1 or after]: members 6,000 yen; non-members 6,000 yen
All you can drink
RSVP To [email protected]
The following are the minutes recorded for the JAT Board Face-to-Face Meeting, which took place on November 9, 2007, from 10:45am to 6:30pm, on the 27th floor of the Horizon Mare building in Ariake, Tokyo.
The meeting was chaired by director and president Manako Ihaya. In attendance were directors Mike Sekine, Jed Schmidt, Phil Robertson, Nora Stevens Heath, Karen Sandness, and Ko Iwata, as well as auditors Wolfgang Bechstein and Yusaku Yai. The minutes were recorded by Jed Schmidt.
Outside grants sought by IJET organizing committees require board approval before application: ACCEPTED (7 for, 0 against) JAT will waive registration fees for IJET organizing committee members up to an amount equivalent to four times the registration fee: ACCEPTED (5 for, 2 against) Payment for non-keynote presenters at IJETs requires board approval: ACCEPTED (6 for, 0 against, 1 abstain) The 2008 AGM will be held at the monthly JAT meeting in Tokyo in May: ACCEPTED (7 for, 0 against) IJET-20 will be held in Sydney, Australia on February 14 and 15, 2009: ACCEPTED (7 for, 0 against) The North Sydney Harbourview Hotel is endorsed by the board as the venue for IJET-20: ACCEPTED (7 for, 0 against)
Japan/overseas members ratio unchanged at 65/35 Number of member is holding steady, if not growing slowly, and can be checked on the members site. Data is slightly off due to paypal switchover Membership website needs are mostly incremental/usability-related
Decision to keep our US bank account for now until new treasurer takes over Funds left over from IJET18 will be sent back Mizuho bank account will be used for IJET19 Kagi is now closed, all payments now through PayPal
Transition to new website and host is complete The Board has decided to continue using Basecamp in place of a mailing list for Board communication Most changes over the next term will be for usability and design Webmaster will look into:
finding ways to have Basecamp send own email
purging old members from database
keeping static content on front page
Posted on mailing lists and social networking services (mixi, gree) Questions to raise when next contest is considered:
What should be the protocol for fixing mistakes? Should entrants be told they should flag?
Should JAT buy an article from a publication to ensure quality?
Are the prizes fair? Should we somehow compensate people who can’t attend IJET?
Should we change compensatation to the larger of transportation or IJET registration fee?
Is the contest a good PR opportunity (with Japan Times, etc.)?
Should board members help pre-screen entries to reduce burden on judges?
Japan IJETs growing faster in popularity than overseas IJETs
Time committment and total costs are biggest factors in attendance
Practical and industry-related sessions are most popular
Most desired domestic IJET: Hokkaido
Most desired overseas IJET: Canada / New Zealand / Australia
A good conference, especially given the inexperienced hosts
Proposals for Sydney IJET and IJET venue both accepted
The board decided to keep its policy of non-reimbursement for board AGM attendance.
Emily Shibata-Sato will continue her work as NPO liaison
Mike is going to record the TAC zeirishi presentation, kicking off a potential TAC podcast Mike is going to manage a member publication list The board agrees to have all site content professionally translated, using funds from the tech budget Mike proposes to have JAT pay speakers for non-Tokyo, local seminars; the board declines, maintaining its practice of paying for the venue but not for speakers (as a rule). The board will explore sending a kikakusho to tsuyaku/honyaku journal for a bimonthly article
The following is a brief write-up of the JAT Board Q&A session at the Tokyo JAT meeting on Saturday, November 10, by Helen Iwata.
What are the requirements to hold an IJET?
IJETs are held in Japan on even years and overseas on odd years. The Board accepts proposals more than one year in advance. A committee of at least four people – a chair, treasurer, program coordinator, and facility coordinator – is required. Volunteers should be prepared for a great deal of hard work and hassle. The Board is updating an IJET manual, which includes FAQs. The results of the recent IJET survey will appear on the JAT website soon. IJET will be held in Okinawa on April 12 and 13, 2008 and in Sydney on February 14 and 15, 2009.
What has happened to the members only part of the JAT website and where are member profiles?
The JAT website was renewed two months ago, as explained in e-mails from the Webmaster, Jed, to each member. JAT now has a content site at http://jat.org and a members site at http://members.jat.org. Members can now make their own profile changes and select privacy settings. Profiles can be found at http://member.jat.org/ followed by the member’s username (e.g., “hiwata” for Helen Iwata). Members can include the link on business cards and other promotional material. The new JAT website is now bookmarkable, which means Google will start to recognize us.
Is it possible to video JAT meetings and IJET sessions?
Meetings and IJETs can be recorded provided someone volunteers to do the taping and editing, and the speaker agrees (a number of people volunteered). Concern was raised that videoing might reduce attendance, but most agreed that being there in person has added benefits. Videos will be made available to members only on the JAT website. On the subject of volunteers, it was suggested that JAT have a “volunteers needed” section on the website.
Does JAT have plans to help improve translator quality other than the translation contest?
Not at present. Mike Sekine is working hard to publicize the contest. Concern was raised about whether the cost of the contest outweighed the benefits, but most agreed that the publicity and ability to attract new talent to the organization outweighted the cost. Mike also commented that he is negotiating with Tsuyaku Honyaku Journal to run a series of articles by JAT members.
Which is more important, the quantity or quality of JAT members?
The consensus appeared to be that both are important; everyone was a beginner at some point.
What does the Board do (members hear little of Board activities)?
Board meeting minutes are posted on the website. In addition to day-to-day running of the organization, the Board pays attention to topics raised on the mailing list and responds as appropriate. The Board arranged for a zeirishi to speak in response to list questions about taxation.
At the Tokyo JAT meeting on February 24, Yuko Kawamoto spoke about the need for structural reform and innovation to achieve Japanese economic growth. She concluded with a few words on the translation industry, noting that prospects are good for skilled, specialized translators due to advances in technology and globalization. This write-up by Helen Iwata covers the key points of the presentation.
Numerous factors in post-war Japan have made serious structural reform a must. These include a major demographic shift, misdirected investment, and a record high government deficit. Meanwhile, businesses have tended to pay little attention to profitability, and the country’s banks have worked off a huge volume of bad debt accumulated during the bubble years. To sustain the presence and growth of the Japanese economy and society, Japan must establish an economic structure that enables it to optimize resource allocation and fully leverage the potential of its people.
The aging of Japanese society presents a major challenge for the government. By 2025, 46 percent of the population is expected to be over 60 – eligible for a pension – compared with just 18 percent in 1970. At the same time, the birthrate is declining. This situation has resulted in ballooning social security costs, with the current pension system unable to generate sufficient funds to be sustainable, and growing healthcare responsibilities.
Furthermore, the government does not invest sufficiently in the country’s youth, beginning with school-age children. The government’s policy of yutori kyoiku – the “relaxed” education system – has resulted in thinner textbooks and lower academic standards. Ranking among OECD countries, Japanese school children fell from 8th to 14th in reading comprehension and 1st to 6th in mathematical application between 2000 and 2003.
Out of school, a relatively high number of young Japanese are also out of a job. While Japan claims overall unemployment rates of under five percent, joblessness among 15 to 24 year olds grew from around six percent in 1995 to almost ten percent in 2003.
Instead of investing in its people, Japan continues to pour funds into infrastructure. By 2003, the government had laid 3.07 kilometers of concrete road per square kilometer – more than any other country. Germany ranked second, but with only 1.77 kilometers per square kilometer. Compared with the U.S., Japan has 30 times more concrete per person. Even though only a few of Japan’s numerous highways are profitable, the government still plans to build more roads and bridges.
Infrastructure maintenance costs are high and contribute to the growing financial burden on Japan’s shrinking population. The ratio of total public debt to GDP at national and local levels increased from 87.1 to 170 percent between 1995 and 2005. By comparison, the UK ratio fell from 52.7 to 44.9 in the same period.
On the business side, Japan suffers from a lack of management sensitivity to profitability. The average operating profit margin in the 1960s was 4.8 percent. By the 1990s, it had fallen to 2.5 percent, and in the 2000 to 2006 period, it had only recovered to 2.85 percent. This is half of European profitability and one third that of the U.S. Although Japan wrote off over JPY100 million of bad debt between 1996 and 2006, regional banks still hold JPY15 trillion in non-performing loans, and profitability in those financial institutions has been almost flat in the same period.
In response to the above factors and the resulting need for structural reform, the Japanese government has launched efforts spanning finance, government-affiliated corporations, fiscal discipline, regulation, the pension system, Japan Highway Public Corporation, the postal service, and a regional reform that aims to reduce national subsidies, transfer tax revenues to local governments, and reform the grant-in-aid system. While some areas, notably the bad assets issue, have seen progress, reform is far from complete in others.
Structural reform alone, however, is not enough. Japan also needs to innovate in order to address weak productivity, respond to the changes in the 21st century economy and corporate environment, and compete internationally.
A look at labor productivity in Japan reveals that the economy is polarized. Ten percent of the workforce is employed in export-oriented manufacturing, including automotives, electronic machinery, IT equipment, and steel, where labor productivity is 20 percent higher than in the U.S. Productivity in other sectors, which collectively employ 90 percent of the workforce, is 37 percent lower than the U.S. average. Moreover, while productivity in the Japanese retail sector is half that of the U.S., the Japanese work 47 percent longer hours than Americans. Innovating to increase productivity in the sectors that employ the majority of the population is vital if Japan is to achieve economic growth, especially in the face of its declining workforce.
At the same time, the 21st century economy is characterized by three factors: globalization (expanded business sphere and increased M&As and market failures), capitalization (heightened volatility due to a greater likelihood of market impact), and digitalization (expanded networks and information volume). Simplification and flexibility through innovation are essential for business leaders to manage increased complexity.
Recently, the Japanese corporate environment has shown clear signs of change. Companies used to have low profitability and capital productivity, but domestic institutional investors in capital markets are demanding stronger returns, and more activist funds, such as Murakami Fund and Steel Partners, are emerging or taking an interest in Japan. The number of M&As is likely to increase as Japanese companies become potential targets for foreign players. As a result, top management is under increasing pressure to enhance corporate value and looking for innovative ways to do so.
Japanese companies are becoming more aware of the need for governance, and are beginning to reorganize into boards (ownership), corporates (management), and business units (execution). Disclosure requirements are becoming more stringent, and there is a more apparent correlation between information disclosure and performance – with disclosure, companies become more self-disciplined, work faster, and become accustomed to evaluating and verifying results. Japanese companies need to move away from individualist thinking and embrace more objectiveness, including bringing in outside directors – even women!
While Japan has some highly competitive international players, others lag in comparison with their global rivals. In a Yahoo! Finance index ranking the top company in each industry as 100, Japan leads the automotive industry with Toyota at 100, while DaimlerChrysler scores 33.3. By contrast, non-Japanese players lead other sectors, namely mobile phones, courier services, banking, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, consumer goods, electrical equipment, retail, and food, and Japan lags considerably. For example, Pfizer stands at 100 with Takeda at just 21.1, P&G scores 100 and Kao trails with a mere 9.8. Japanese companies need to innovate in order to compete globally.
Despite the clear need for innovation in the above areas, Japan’s investment in venture capital compared to GDP is the lowest among OECD countries and around one tenth of the average. Japan has its share of outstanding scientists and engineers, and plenty of investors and cash to support them in the pursuit of innovation. An environment that allows these resources to be fully leveraged, however, remains to be created.
Corporations are looking at innovative ways to leverage resources and do business. As part of this effort, executives from a number of Japan’s top companies should form a group with the aim of promoting a freer labor market for talented individuals, including movement between academia and business, and investing into venture startups. Innovation, particularly to improve productivity, will continue to be an important theme in Japan.
Implications for translators
Japanese and English translation supply is growing due largely to two factors: more translators and more output per person on average. In addition to the translation community traditionally found in Japan and English-speaking nations, large numbers of practitioners are emerging in developing countries, such as India and China. Productivity and potential output per translator have increased with advances in technology, including faster look-up through the Internet and wider use of tools such as translation memory, optical character recognition, and voice recognition. Increased supply is putting downward pressure on translation rates in parts of the market. In a sense, this reflects a balancing of supply and demand compared with the past when limited supply drove prices higher.
The good news for translators is that globalization and larger flows of information will bring more translation demand because most people will not have the skill or will to learn the required languages quickly enough to be able to operate effectively in a multilingual environment. In this expanded market, if translators translate like machines, that is, if they simply replace words automatically with little consideration for context or appropriate target-audience style, they will produce material of machine-translation quality and earn at machine-translation rates. Translators who provide a value-added service through expertise in their field and polished writing skills will command higher rates. Quality is key.
Connect to a community of fellow translators and interpreters. Especially for freelancers, being a translator can be a fairly isolating experience, as many of our members work alone from home, for clients on other continents. JAT helps to bring back a sense of community through jat-list, a mailing list where members can ask eachother questions about translation-related topics, monthly meetings about translation topics held in the Tokyo area, annual IJET conferences, and other events around the world.
Promote yourself in our database of translators. Translation agencies and other companies or individuals looking for translation services can search our open database by language, specialization, and location. And since every member gets their own address on the JAT web site (member.jat.orgmember-name), it’s easy to refer clients to your resume.
Get discounts on JAT events like IJET and monthly meetings. Being a JAT member entitles you to discounts on IJET conferences, and free admission to our monthly meetings in Tokyo. For our more active members, these discounts offset most of the membership dues.
How do I become a JAT member?
First, you need to create a profile by going to our Signup page. Once you’ve done this, and logged in as a guest, you can become a JAT member by clicking the “Become a member” button from your Settings page. As soon as you’ve paid your dues, you can subscribe to the mailing list and enjoy all the other benefits of membership.
How much does it cost to become a JAT member?
The annual dues for JAT membership are JPY 10,000.
How can I pay my membership fee?
You can pay by either PayPal or Japanese bank transfer. More details are available here.
What is my OpenID identity URL?
OpenID is a protocol that lets anyone log in to any supporting website with a single, unified login. This means that you can use one login for all sites that support OpenID, instead of having to remember a username and password for each. You can learn more about OpenID, or create your new OpenID account in English or in Japanese. Note that OpenID is offered as a convenience, and not required in order to log in the JAT website.
Who will be able to see my profile?
That depends on your profile settings, as set on the Settings page. Logged-in JAT members can view all of the profile for other members. Non-members can see only the information that each member has decided to make public. JAT members can choose to make public any or all of (1) their primary contact information, (2) secondary contact information, and (3) specialties and background. Note that even if contact information is made public, email addresses are replaced with a contact form. This allows members to receive inquiries from non-members, without fear of having their email address out in the open for spammers to harvest.
What is my Web address on the JAT site?
Your web address on the JAT site is http://member.jat.org/username, where username is your JAT username.
What should I do if I’ve forgotten my username/password?
On the Login page, click the Reset password link at the bottom, and enter the primary email address of your JAT member account. Within a minute, you should receive a link that you can click to automatically log in.
Should I make my profile public?
Members are allowed to choose whether they want to make certain parts of their profile public. While some members choose to keep their information hidden for privacy reasons, others choose make it public, to let potential clients get in touch with them more easily. Since there are separate privacy settings for contact information and professional information (such as background and specialties), members can decide what to make public and what to make private. Members can change their privacy settings on the Settings page.
How can potential clients contact me?
Every JAT member receives their own web address on the JAT site (http://member.jat.org/username). All members can be contacted from the page at this address, through a contact form whose contents are sent to the primary email address of that member. Members wishing to be contacted by other means can make their contact information public.
Why are my posts to jat-list being rejected?
There may be several reasons that your posts to the JAT mailing list are being rejected.
Your JAT membership has expired.
You are posting from an unregistered email address.
Your email address has been suspended due to excessive bounces.
If the emails you send to the list are getting bounced, go to the Settings page, and make sure that your membership is current, and that the email addresses under which you are currently subscribed are valid.
How do I unsubscribe from jat-list?
If you no longer wish to receive jat-list email, from the Settings page, select Do not send jat-list email for the email address for which you would like to stop receiving email. Note that you will still be able to send email to the list, but will no longer receive email. This setting takes 24 hours to take effect.
The International Federation of Translators, of which JAT is a an associate member, is now accepting proposals for presentations at its XVIII World Congress, which is going to be held in August 2008 in Shanghai (right before the Beijing Olympics kick off). Proposals are due in about a month (September 30th, to be exact), so if you're interested, head over to their site for more information.