Throughout history, Japan has shown a remarkable capacity to rebound from disasters. It is already well on its way to recovery from the triple disasters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown that struck in March 2011. The recent captivating win by the Japanese team in the Women’s World Cup was a notable example of the country’s spirit and resilience (even if it did come at the expense of a very talented American team). And there have been countless examples of heroism reported in the weeks and months since the tragedies.
Still, these tragedies came at a crucial juncture for Japan, as the nation struggles with a difficult economy, an aging population, shrinking workforce, deflation, soaring public debt and a loss of competitiveness.
Starbucks has been an active participant in Japan since we opened our first store there in 1996. In fact, next month we will celebrate our 15th anniversary in the country with more than 900 stores.
So it should not come as a surprise that we jumped at the opportunity to participate in a global effort to “reimagine” the country. The result is the recently published book, Reimagining Japan: The Quest for a Future that Works. This is a collection of essays in which 80 men and women around the world contemplate Japan’s short- and long-term challenges, including perspectives on recovery from the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, global competitiveness, political reform, foreign policy, technological innovation, education, sports and culture. The book also contains original artwork and photography.
Starbucks founder and CEO Howard Schultz contributed an essay to the book entitled “Finding the Perfect Brew.” His message for Japan at this difficult time: Stay true to your core values and in the end you will prevail.
Other contributors to this book include Bernard Arnault (CEO, LVMH), Ian Buruma (author, historian), John Chambers (CEO, Cisco), Steven Covey (author, leadership expert), Carlos Ghosn (CEO, Renault/Nissan), Pico Iyer (author), Bob McDonald (CEO, Procter & Gamble), Masayoshi Son (CEO, Softbank), David Sanger (Washington bureau chief, The New York Times), Klaus Schwab (founder, World Economic Forum), Bobby Valentine (former baseball manager), Robert Whiting (author), Tadashi Yanai (CEO, Fast Retailing) and more than 50 others.
Although it was released just a few weeks ago in both Japanese and English editions, the book has attracted quite a global audience. We thought Starbucks fans like you might be interested in Howard’s essay and the work more broadly.