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Japanese companies must dare to be different

Copycat strategies will fail in the face of accelerating competition and innovation

| Japan
Doing things like other companies is more of a liability in globally competitive markets.

It's that time of year again -- we have witnessed graduation days, school and company entrance ceremonies, interdepartmental transfers, the close of one fiscal year for most Japanese companies and the beginning of the next.

The uniforms worn by graduating students and brand-new employees, the formulaic speeches, the observation of the same time-honored rituals of the season across the nation, touchingly remind one that Japan is different. It is hard to imagine scruffy college graduates in the U.S. today tamely attending corporate entrance ceremonies wearing dark regulation suits. Japanese schools and companies demand levels of discipline, uniformity, and group consciousness that exist nowhere else.

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