Brian Barry writes in The Economist about how little Japan has leveraged IT and how this is still the source of inefficiency. He also gives some examples of companies that are using IT to change Japan. I agree with him totally and think that in addition to unwiding some of the big companies that don't make sense anymore, improving the cost performance of the exisiting companies can greatly increase the profitability of Japanese companies which is key.
I feel self-conscious about quoting my one quotes after that parody of this site but:
Actually, someone else pointed this out to me a long time ago and I have since observed it myself and have used it as one of my favorite examples.
business-class lounges at Narita airport, says Joichi Ito, an internet entrepreneur, reveals how senior managers feel about information technology: "In United's lounge everyone has their laptop out; in the Japan Airlines lounge they are all drinking beer."
PS Having a meal with TWO Brian B's in Tokyo this week was very confusing for my calendar...
PPS The Economist site link is "premium content". blah.