Table Speech

Initiation Speech

December 7th, 2005

Mr. Koichi Kajima

“Trend in bookselling”

Yaesu Book Center Co., Ltd.
Deputy President & Representative Director
Mr. Koichi Kajima

 The bookselling industry had been in a difficult situation that their sales had decreased for 7 years since the peak in 1996, however finally the sales showed signs of recovery in 2004. That is partly because of economic recovery, but mainly, I suppose, of the result of positive responses by the industry.

 Bookstores are growing in size and becoming complex in order to meet their customers’ various needs. At present, there are 20 bookstores, each of which has its floor space of 3,300 square meters or more. In Asian countries, there are already bookstores of 6,600 square meters or more for each. I suppose, also in Japan, mega-bookstores of 6,600 square meters will appear soon. As for the recent trend of the bookstore complex, especially the combination of a bookstore and a café seems to be welcomed among customers as a good mix. A business model that they keep book sales and also earn profits from cups of coffee is becoming established. The way to sell music CDs, videos, and DVDs with books also became popular. Now bookstores are changing to the places not only giving the opportunity for their customers to buy books, but also providing entertainments, including books and other things.

 The appearance of the Internet brought a substantial change to the bookselling industry. The Internet is gradually boosting its presence, by enriching search systems, diversifying ways of settlement, and developing distribution systems.

 In 2001, “The Law of Promotion of Children’s Book-reading Activities” was enforced. We, the bookselling industry, hope to increase opportunities for children to meet many books, by positively supporting the “book-reading to children” activities of elementary schools. And we hope to promote activities not only for schools but also for families, in a positive way.

 Publications like reprinted books that had been out of print, high-price books having good contents, and richly bound books also began to appear. It is indispensable to publish highly valued books positively for the development of culture.

 The bookselling industry is determined to protect Japanese culture becoming the trinity of publishers, distributors, and bookstores, and cooperating with the printing industry and the pulp and paper industry.

“Commodity futures market
(oil, precious metals, etc.)”

The Tokyo Commodity Exchange
Special Advisor
Mr. Tadayoshi Nakazawa

1. Commodity markets fluctuating at high prices
Since the beginning of this century, prices of commodities have been rising. A representative example of them is the rise of crude oil. Prices of gold and platinum also have doubled.

 The first reason of that is the rapid economic growth of Asian countries. They turned from exporting countries of natural resources to importing countries of them, and their importing amount is increasing.

 The second reason is the inflation hedge, due to the conflicts in the Middle East and currency uncertainty in major industrialized countries. Being responsive to the news, funds money played a role to raise commodities prices in commodity futures markets.

2. Commodity futures markets in Japan
 The Japanese commodity futures markets have a history of more than 50 years since the formulation of the Commodity Exchange Act in 1950. At present, 10 commodities including textiles, rubber, gold, gasoline and kerosene, crude oil, and precious metals, are traded in 7 commodity exchanges across the country.

3. Commodity exchanges in the world
 NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) in NY (energy and metals) is the largest, and Dalian Commodity Exchange (soybeans), Tokyo Commodity Exchange, LME (London Metal Exchange) (non-ferrous metals) and International Petroleum Exchange, Shanghai Futures Exchange (copper and rubber), Central Japan Commodity Exchange (oil products) and Tokyo Grain Exchange (soybeans and coffee) are following it. It is remarkable that the Shanghai Futures Exchange is growing rapidly.

 Among those commodity exchanges, co-movements of prices are increasing along with economic globalization, and it seems that they compete with each other for market efficiency and credibility.

4. New movement in commodity markets in Japan
 In May this year, the Commodity Exchange Act was drastically amended. The aim is to develop the commodity markets as a place for a hedge on price volatility risk (a kind of insurance), and to improve convenience and credibility of it as an industrial infrastructure.

 It was formulated that the companies violating the act are to be severely penalized. Therefore, the negative image of this industry is becoming wiped out rapidly.