Corporate Japan and Changing Winds of Foreign Capital: United Kingdom Business Disease is Spreading
Takeshi Hasegawa and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Corporate Japan, based on the political concepts of Yoshida Shigeru in the early post-World War Two years, seems to be showing the first signs of withering in a similar style of the United Kingdom. Of course, other multi-national companies in Japan have witnessed international investment, but the feeling is that structural problems – and new political and business concepts – are emerging whereby foreign capital seems the easy solution. Therefore, the next stage of more open immigration will probably follow on the anti-British path of internal erosion, based on self-defeating politicians and business elites that seek the easy option.
Sharp Corp. and Toshiba Corp. are like slumbering British companies of yesteryear that either collapsed or were taken over by foreign companies. Indeed, for Sharp Corp., they made history, albeit not particularly good history. This applies to this company being the first powerful Japanese electronics company to lose control of the company, by enabling a foreign company to take an 80.1% controlling stake.
Of course, for liberal capitalists then this takeover will be welcomed. Yet, a look at the United Kingdom doesn’t bode well. After all, from the nuclear sector to heavy investment in other powerful sectors like the car industry, to the national sport of football, it is all about foreign companies taking control – or for British labor to make money for foreign entities, for example, the car sector. On top of this, mass immigration and the mantra of a flexible labor market (often equals the erosion of working rights and an attack on pensions), means that little is left of a once powerful manufacturing and business nation, apart from corporate buyouts, exploitable labor, a cultural demarche and relying on international capital.
Patrick Collinson, The Guardian, reports “When our companies are controlled from abroad, we lose a sense of common interest with the people who actually live here. Foreign shareholders have no interest in the schools and hospitals here that are paid for from corporation tax, and they will do their utmost to avoid tax by squirreling the money through one offshore tax haven to the next. Global capital scoffs at the idea of “national champions” – perhaps explaining why Britain now has so few.”
If Japan wants an example of how to erode the internal business sector and alter the indigenous dynamics of society, then just take a look at the United Kingdom. In other words, from high crime to exporting Takfiri ISIS killers, then the new United Kingdom is blessed with all these negatives. Indeed, it is reported that around 9,000 people die a year in the United Kingdom based on not being able to afford adequate energy cover. Basically, a once powerful nation is nothing more than a pale shadow of itself based on the simple logic of “cutting corners,” “begging for foreign investment,” seeking shortcuts at home and focused on a relentless stream of “open immigration” and “liberal labor laws” based on favoring corporate companies.
In 2013, the Daily Telegraph reported “Twenty years ago, less than a fifth of the UK stock market was foreign-owned; new figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that the proportion has risen to 53.2 per cent, up nearly 10 percentage points in just three years. For the first time in history, UK PLC is majority‑owned by foreigners.”
ITV, a major television company in the UK, also highlighted in 2014 that “A third of the UK’s infrastructure including energy and transport is owned overseas…and 4 of the UK’s so-called “big six” energy suppliers are foreign owned, including the state-owned French firm EDF” Since then, China is increasingly involving itself in the nuclear sector.
Indeed, Professor Dieter Helm at Oxford University, normally an individual associated with free market principles, is questioning the involvement of China within the British nuclear sector. Helm says about the nuclear angle that “Add in the military and security issues of letting Chinese state-owned companies into the heart of the British nuclear industry, and it seems positively perverse to prefer Chinese government money to British government money in so sensitive a national project.”
Of course, foreign capital and controllable immigration benefits countless societies, however, the British model is just “the white flag.” It may well be that Sharp Corp. and Toshiba Corp. is only based on a limited opening up, whereby foreign capital is required in order to safeguard jobs at home. If so, then the impact of both companies will be limited. However, the feeling is that Japan is facing the reality of what happened in the United Kingdom in the past. In other words, a trickle soon became an avalanche. This was then followed by social policies at home that today seem shortsighted, to say the least.
Steve Preddy, Unite, says “The reality is if we keep losing our major British companies to foreign investors, and they then take the intellectual rights and the revenues from those companies abroad, then eventually the British economy will suffer. Jobs will suffer. And the British economy will be less able to bounce back from recessions as it’s struggling to do currently.”
Corporate Japan is either on the path of new controllable dynamics based on a flexible market and increasing foreign capital. Or, Japan is on a slippery road based on the disease of the United Kingdom. Only time will tell but ripples and new concepts of the British disease can be heard within certain quarters in Japan.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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