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Julius Baer has published the fifth edition of its ‘Wealth Report: Japan’, which elaborates on the Japanese economy, productivity growth and digitalisation. The report focuses on the following key elements with respective findings:

First, Japan remains in an enviable position of relative strength. In the midst of the trade confrontation between the US and China, Japan is actively developing new regional partnerships in Asia and Europe. Productivity growth has been improving, which will support incomes well beyond the current business cycle. 

Second, digitalisation, which today goes well beyond digitisation of offices and production lines for efficiency gains, creates new opportunities for services and new business models. Instead of looking at potential disruptions as in the past, however, Japan’s successes in effective digitalisation among constant innovators such as convenience stores, logistics and home security companies seems to increasingly provide the strategic compass for other industries, too. It shows that effective digitalisation leads to better services and strong corporate performance in the long run.

Along with these changes, workstyle reforms are supporting new flexible digital workstyles, which enhance corporate efficiency and support employees with increasing mobility and potentially better work-life balances.

Adding to the dynamics in Japan is the final spurt towards the 2020 Olympics, which is currently rejuvenating the country’s growth centre in Tokyo with the upgrade of infrastructure, real estate and many facilities. The longer-term dynamics in the real estate market seem to be indeed much more favourable.

Last, the report explores advanced 5G digital networks, self-driving vehicles and artificial intelligence (AI) services which drive innovation and revive entrepreneurial spirits not only among the young. Even conservative financial services firms are looking to build on fintech opportunities by supporting J-Coin projects and the development of business services in Asia’s future markets. As a result, Japan’s economy has indeed become stronger and offers opportunities beyond its traditional role as a safe haven during difficult times.

The 2019 ‘Julius Baer Wealth Report: Japan’ is available in both English and Japanese.