Japan is a constitutional monarchy in East Asia, comprising of four large islands, Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. It also includes the Ryuku Islands and about 1,000 lesser adjacent islands.
It is bounded on the north by the Sea of Okhotsk, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, to the south is the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea and on the west is the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan.
Nationally the nation is known as Nippon or "the origin of the sun", hence the land of the rising sun.The total land mass of all of its islands is 145,850 sq. miles (UK 50,300 sq. miles). It is a rugged land of high mountains and deep valleys with many small plains which render only 11% of the land mass as arable.
The principal rivers, of course, traverse the plains upon which the principal cities are also found. Tokyo lies on the Kanto plain, Kobe, Kyoto and Osaka on the Osaka plain and Nagoya on the plain of Nobi.
The mountains of Japan form the most conspicuous feature of the topography, extending across the islands from north to south, some of the areas being volcanic, principally in Hokkaido. The highest peak is Mount Fuji (12,389 ft.), an extinct volcano, near to Yokohama. Earthquakes are frequent.
Climatic conditions vary quite widely, the mean temperatures ranging from 5 degrees Celcius in northern Hokkaido to 16 degrees in Okinawa. Short summers and severe winters are a feature on Hokkaido, being dominated by the closeness of the Siberian land mass. Further south the summers are hot and humid and winters are temperate.
From June to October tropical cyclones can occur which usually cause considerable damage.
The most important of Japan`s natural resources is agricultural as this sector produces about 71% of its own food. While hydro-electric power has been widely developed natural resources are limited.
At the time when the first licensee agreement was signed the population of Japan was about 90 million.
Tokyo is the commercial centre of the country, Yokohama is the principal sea port while Osaka, while also having strong ties to the transport systems within the country is an important industrial and commercial centre. Nagoya is noted for its association with the artistic sectors of the country`s commerce particularly in lacquerware, pottery and textiles. Kyoto was the historical capital while Kobe is an important sea port, shipbuilding and transport centre.
Many of the conventional and historical Japanese practices were revised and influenced by the American occupation following the end of the Second World War, a situation which has been slowly reverting over the past years. However, the supreme executive power still lies with the emperor, the throne being hereditary, and, at present, descending only to the male line of the Imperial family, a situation which is under review.
Governmentally, executive power lies with the party which gains most seats in the Diet elected by universal suffrage, via the cabinet headed by the Prime Minister. The Diet is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house (The House of Representatives), 500 strong elected for a 4 year term and a upper house (The House of Councillors) consisting of 252 members elected for a six year term. Administratively the country as a whole is divided into 47 Prefectures.
Japan is a member of the United nations, OECD, The Colombo Plan, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Forum.
Sale Tilney was one of the long established trading houses which operated in the Far East, dominated by the founding families. Hence, in the early days of the license while Mr. Robert Tilney headed the company HS was the link and the co-operation based very much on gentleman dealing with gentleman with mutual respect and confidence.
It was only on rare occasions that we received visits to Stafford from Sale Tilney personnel which is understandable, the distances and expense being considerable. The most frequent visitor was Mr. Brian Moore, a hard headed business man. Unfortunately, the files which would probably contain the information as to why the agreement between the companies broke down are missing so we shall never know.
I met Mr. Moore and other Sale Tilney personnel on their visits to Stafford on occasions but while he was always courteous and civil he knew where he was going and what he wanted. Perhaps information coming from former disgruntled Sale Tilney employees is not the most reliable but he was said to be a very difficult man to work with.
Two such people were Dick Minotoya and Joe Yugaki who floated the idea of a Joint Venture in Japan, a project which took up a considerable amount of J. A. Parsons time and no doubt cost Evode a great deal of money. Both of these people visited Stafford on a number of occasions when I was involved in technical discussions with them, but eventually the Evode Board decided that the venture was too risky commercially and withdrew.
Toa Boeki Kabushiki Kaisha, on the other hand was a success story, despite the early reservations expressed by Evode because of the complications of having both a distributor of the products and a separate manufacturer, a situation not experienced by the company previously. It proved to be so because of the Nozaki family and the control which they exercised over Shinsei Kinzuko Co. Ltd. and the fact that they were completely conversant with the markets they were serving and their customers requirements. All of the Nozaki family members involved in the company proved to be totally trustworthy and co-operative and, even as late as my retirement in 1992 they were still an Evode licensee.