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The Biz Roundup April 10

As the U.S. contemplates bailing out the carmakers, Europe contemplates bailing out the banks, Japan has its eye on Pokemon.

Included in a giant stimulus package he unveiled on Friday was a target of raising exports from the “content” sector to about 18 percent of exports from less than 2 percent now. . . .

“Unfortunately, this ‘soft power’ is not being linked to business overseas … By linking the popularity of Japan’s ‘soft power’ to business, I want to create a 20-30 trillion yen ($200-300 billion) market by 2020 and create 500,000 new jobs.” . . .

The Cultural Affairs Agency wants nearly 12 billion yen to build a “National Comprehensive Centre for Media Art” that would showcase contemporary Japanese culture such as manga, anime and video games, the Asahi newspaper reported.

(“Japan eyes economic stimulus from comics, pop art,” Reuters, April 10) Cute, fuzzy creatures that pop up everywhere,tsundere, futanari, aidoru — this is “soft” economic power? Shouldn’t it make sense first?


So, what’s your idea for filling all those empty mall stores?

In just the first quarter of 2009, retail tenants at these centers have vacated 8.7 million square feet of commercial space, according to the latest report from New York-based real estate research firm Reis. That number exceeds the 8.6 million square feet of retail space that was vacated in all of 2008.

Reis’ report shows that store vacancy rates at malls rose 9.5% in the first quarter, outpacing the 8.9% vacancy rate registered in all of 2008, and marking the largest single-quarter jump in vacancies since Reis began publishing quarterly figures in 1999.

(“Malls shedding stores at record pace,” CNN Money, April 10) The recession is mauling our malls and stripping our stip malls and, in the process, providing unprecedented opportunity for highly creative entrepreneurs who can imagine different uses for those store fronts. The wave rider is one — what else? Schools? Massive Internet cafes? If you have an idea, all those empty spaces mean that you can get prime mall real estate for dimes on the dollar. Hell, some malls are even paying to put in wave riders.




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