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  • Writer's pictureAdam German

Japan’s new middle class sheds the Showa legacy

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

On September 13th, the Asia Society in New York held a discussion panel featuring three well known figures in Japan’s economic landscape; Jesper Koll, Oki Matsumoto and Katsumi Ao.


All shared a common thought; change is finally happening in Japan’s economy after decades of talk with little walk.

 
Key Takeaways:
  • Jesper Koll, well known Japan economic strategist, gives an overview of Japan's evolving macro-economic landscape and future prospects.

  • Oki Matsumoto, founder of Monex Group, highlights a new generation of younger leaders focused on shedding the Showa legacy.

  • Katsumi Ao discusses Tokyo Stock Exchange's (TSE) groundbreaking role in enhancing capital efficiency and governance and the unprecedented shift as an activist for corporate change.

 

Watch the full discussion above.


Commencing with a 10-minute overview, Jesper Koll provides a condensed analysis of the transformative shifts and driving forces shaping Japan's future prospects.


The spotlight then turns to key figures from the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) responsible for recent initiatives targeting improved capital market efficiency and enhanced corporate governance.


Mr. Koll goes on to introduce Oki Matsumoto, the founder and executive chairman of Monex Group, and a crucial member of TSE's special committee on capital markets.


Mr. Matsumoto passionately argues that the current landscape is unique, driven by a new generation of leaders unburdened by the "Showa legacy" or the "post-bubble trauma." These leaders are singularly focused on forging a positive legacy for Japan.


TSE director and senior executive officer Katsumi Ao follows, presents the motivation and rationale behind the TSE's innovative capital efficiency guidelines for listed companies.


Notably, the TSE's role has recently evolved into that of an activist championing corporate change and improved capital stewardship; an unprecedented development in Japan's history.


Why is this important?

Real estate doesn’t sit in a silo separate from the rest of the economy; it is literally the foundation of the economy.


What is happening on a macro level very much affects the real estate market, especially the residential sector.


Historically in any country the middle class is the largest driver of real estate prices.


In terms of rents and prices, an unhealthy middle class signifies a worsening property market and likewise, a healthy one indicates a strengthening market.


As Mr. Koll outlines at the beginning of the discussion, Japan’s middle class is finally starting to enforce change after decades of stagflation.

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