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Excerpted from the Japan Career Guide

“Weak demand will be the main malaise of the financial industry,” according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, which predicts for Japan’s banks “lending and deposit volumes will stagnate in real terms, if not contract outright” this year.

“Banking doesn’t get much duller than in Japan,” says The Economist. Japan’s banking sector looks as though it had “slept through the last 20 years,” with lack of Internet services and low adoption of mobile and online banking by customers. Most Japanese bank executives, “are commercial bankers who have spent their careers working steadily through the branches,” according to The Economist. Their earnings are much lower than those in other developed countries.

Meanwhile, PWC reports as Hong Kong and Singapore have become global financial centers, Tokyo’s prospects have dimmed, in part because of Japan’s higher than average corporate tax rate.

Areas of Job Promise

Recruiting of accounting and finance professionals is expected to pick up this year across all sectors, according to recruiting consultancy Michael Page International, which anticipates the particularly strong need for candidates with public accounting and commercial finance experience. Professionals with knowledge of US GAAP and SOX, as well as ERP implementation experience, will also be in demand.

Replacement hiring is expected to dominate recruiting in Japan’s banking sector, and most firms want candidates with directly relevant experience and skills, according to specialist recruiter Hays, with experience in the same role highly valued. At the same time, demand remains for specialist skills, in particular bilingual fluency.

Organizations and Trade Associations

Japan Accounting Association (JAA)
http://www.jaa-net.jp/ (Japanese),
http://www.jaa-net.jp/chubu/english.htm (English)
In Japan, there are many formal associations for academic accountants. The Japan Accounting Association (JAA) is regarded as the most important one as most of the accounting researchers are members of this association. JAA offers various research activities. A national meeting is held annually. Regional meetings are also held at six different regions: Hokkaido, Tohoku (North-East), Kanto (Tokyo), Chubu (Nagoya), Kansai (West Japan other than Kyushu) and Kyushu. In order to promote research activities, a small number of special committees and study groups are organized each year. The most recent information indicates a membership of more than 1,700.

Japan Accounting Association (JAA)
Kazuo Hiramatsu, President
School of Business Administration
Kwansei Gakuin University
1-1-155 Uegahara, Nishinomiya
Hyogo 662-8501 Japan
Email: khira@kwansei.ac.jp

Publications

CPA Profession in Japan
http://www.hp.jicpa.or.jp/english/about/publications/pdf/PUBLICATION-CPA_Profession_in_Japan2008.pdf (English)
This seventh edition of The CPA Profession in Japan (published on the Web as a PDF file) covers a wide range of topics from JICPA initiatives to regulatory framework, including the recent amendments of the CPA Act to help readers better understand the CPA profession in Japan as well as recent developments.

The Japan Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Publishing Division)
4-4-1, Kudan-Minami, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 102-8264 Japan
Tel: +81-3-3515-1130
Fax: +81-3-5226-3356

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Japan Guide.



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