Budget season

This is the season for budgeting in Japan. Most companies and government entities end their fiscal year on March 31st. With the world economy the way it is as well as the Hatoyama administration cutting government funding, it is interesting to see all the maneuvering that is going on these last few weeks.

Working in several government based or related organizations, the first thing I’m always amazed at is the effort put into zeroing out the funds left in this fiscal year. Apparently, it is incredible bad form for leaving money on the table unspent. In some cases, the budget for the following year is reduced or in worse cases, you need to pay back double the money you did not spend.

For some entities, they are starting to allow the roll over of funds to the next year. Unfortunately, most departments will zero out their accounts by buying unneeded office supplies such as copy machines, printers or computers. Perhaps that might give the economy a slight bump this month, but the long term waste is incredible.

Your comments are always welcome.
William Saito
Special Advisor at Cabinet Office (Govt. of Japan)
Named by Nikkei as one of the “100 Most Influential People for Japan,” Saito began software programming at an early age and started his own company in high school. By the time he was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998 (by Ernst & Young, NASDAQ and USA Today), he was recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on encryption, biometric authentication and cyber security.

After selling his business to Microsoft, he moved to Tokyo in 2005 and founded InTecur, a venture capital firm and consultancy that identifies innovative technologies, develops global talent and helps entrepreneurs become successful. In 2013, Saito was appointed a Special Advisor to the Cabinet Office for the Government of Japan.

Similarly, in 2012 he served as a council member on national strategy for the Cabinet-level National Policy Unit, and prior to that, was named as the Chief Technology Officer for the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC). He is a Foundation Board Member at the World Economic Forum (WEF), and has been named by the WEF as both a Young Global Leader and Global Agenda Council member.

Saito also advises several national governments around the globe. In Japan, he has also served as an advisor to METI, MIC, MEXT, MLIT, AIST, IPA and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), among others.

He teaches at multiple universities, serves on several corporate boards, appears as a commentator on national TV and is the author of numerous publications in addition to writing a weekly column for a prominent Japanese business newspaper. His best-selling management book, The Team: Solving the Biggest Problem in Japan, was published by Nikkei BP in 2012, his follow-on book, Is Your Thinking up to Global Standards?, was published by Daiwa Shobo in late 2013 and his autobiography, An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur, was published in 2011 by John Wiley & Sons.

Posted by whsaito

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