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 in elementary school and started his own company while still in high school and was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998 (by Ernst & Young, NASDAQ and USA Today). As one of the world’s leading authorities on cybersecurity.

After selling his business to Microsoft, he moved to Tokyo in 2005 and founded InTecur, a venture capital firm. In 2011, he served as the Chief Technology Officer of the National Diet’s (Parliament) Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission. Later that year, he was named as both a Young Global Leader and Global Agenda Council member for World Economic Forum (WEF) and subsequently been named to its Foundation Board. In 2012, Saito was appointed to a council on national strategy and policy that reported directly to the Prime Minister of Japan.

Saito also advises several national governments around the globe. In Japan, he has served as an advisor to Japanese ministries; the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST); the Information Technology Promotion Agency (IPAS); the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, among others. He is currently the Special Advisor to the Ministry of Economic Trade and Industry (METI) and the Cabinet Office for the Government of Japan.

He went to medical school at UCLA and Harvard Kennedy School; serves on various boards of Global 2000 companies; frequently appears as a commentator on TV and is the author of seven books in addition to writing several weekly newspaper columns. His management book, The Team: Solving the Biggest Problem in Japan, was published by Nikkei BP and became a best-seller in 2012. In 2016, Saito received the Medal of Honor from the Government of Japan for his work in the field of education.

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