International Executive Development Programme 2019

London, Tokyo and Dubai

Japan is a fascinating country of economic and business prowess, rich culture, technical wizardry, spatial conundrums and contradictions. Japan held onto the title of the world’s second largest economy for more than 40 years from 1968 to 2010. Tokyo, Japan’s capital city, known for its skyscrapers, shopping and pop culture, is the world’s largest metropolitan area, with a population of over 33 million people. Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku are the four largest islands, making up about 97% of the total land mass. More than 93% of the population live in urban areas, primarily clustered in Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya and a few other major cities. Japan is the world’s tenth largest country by population, with 127.3 million people as at 2016 with a corresponding GDP per capital of USD38,894.47. Japanese is the major language and Shintoism and Buddhism are the major religions.


Japan does not enjoy an abundance of natural resources, so it relies heavily on imports of petroleum, coal and natural gas for energy. The country’s reliance on fossil fuels has led to environmental issues, including smog, pollution and acid rain, which led Japan to seek alternative energy sources in nuclear, solar and wind.


Japan’s primary exports include motor vehicles and auto parts, iron and steel products, semiconductors, power generating machinery, and plastics. The country is widely recognized as the global leader in automotive technology. Doing business in Japan can be lucrative, but it often presents challenges to outsiders. Japanese consumers are early adopters with a thirst for high-end electronics and luxury goods. Japan’s strong consumer market makes it an ideal location for test marketing new products as well as providing a strong market for established brands. Unemployment is relatively low, hovering near 3.5%, and consumers have relatively high levels of disposable income (FlashGlobal 2018).


As global leaders, it is vital to understand the business and socio-economic culture of various countries. This course is on-field learning, which will expose delegates to a unique experience covering the following key issues: 

  • Review the history, social-cultural background, and political economy of Japan.
  • Overview of Japan’s economic performance.
  • South African corporate investments in Japan, if any.
  • Japan’s economic successes and challenges.
  • Degree of Japan’s interest in South Africa and the continent.
  • Increase of global investment in Japan.
  • Influence of Chinese investment in Japan.
  • Japanese employees’ values and behaviours.
  • Assess the risks and opportunities of doing business in Japan.
  • The central role of politics in business.
  • The evolution of Japanese firms and state owned enterprises into modern corporations operating in the global economy.
  • The rapid rise of private enterprise and the specific challenges facing start-ups in Japan.
  • The special and evolving characteristic of Japan’s capital markets and related risks.


Delegates will also be attending various parts of the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) in Yokohama.  TICAD is aimed at high-level government and business engagement.

This study tour will provide delegates with exposure to the different economy and culture in Japan. It is designed to expose the delegate to different organisations in Japan including government agencies, state-owned enterprises and private corporations.


By the end of this programme, delegates will be able to:

  • Use the contemporary knowledge they have developed to appraise the basics and standard protocol of interactions with the business environment in Japan.
  • Critically assess the economy of Japan and determine their strengths and weaknesses for doing business.
  • Compare and contrast different cultures and the way of life in Japan in relation to that in South Africa.
  • Evaluate and analyse business models of selected Japanese companies.
  • Hayami, Y., & Ogasawara, J. (1999). Changes in the sources of modern economic growth: Japan compared with the United States. Journal of the Japanese and International Economies13(1), 1-21. 
  • Tachibanaki, T. (2009). Confronting income inequality in Japan: A comparative analysis of causes, consequences, and reform. MIT Press Books1.
  • The articles, readings and cases included in this course pack have been copyright approved.

Recommended readings should be read before departure.

  • Delegates should also research the companies that will be visited.
  • It is essential that students focus on these readings and embark on company research.
  • The readings include links for ease of access.

Don’t forget your documents and chargers, and obtain a suitable adaptor when travelling outside of South Africa.


Remember to pack in formal wear and your business cards for company visits.


Familiarize yourself with the following information ahead of your trip:

  • The purpose of this assignment is for you to think quickly on your feet. It’s fun and interesting.
  • You will be placed in a syndicate group and will need to work as a team.
  • The purpose of this assignment is for you to think out of the box and familiarize yourself with the environment.
  • As a suggestion, download maps, study the history of the country, its attractions and all modes of transport online. 
  • Details of the assignment will be provided by your tour leaders.

Mr Conrad Viedge


Ms Sonia Newton


South African Embassy, Japan

  • Address: 4th Floor, Hanzomon First Building, 1-4, Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Japan, 102-0083
  • Phone:  +81 3 3265 3366
  • Email:


New Otani, Tokyo Gardens Towers, Japan

Flight Times and Details

Here is information regarding your flights. Please ensure that you arrive on time.

Programme Schedule*

Below you can find a day-by-day schedule of the activities that will take place for the duration of the programme.

*Schedules provided are subject to change. The digital schedule will be updated as soon as possible if any changes are made.