I recently wrote a feature for the 2013 Asia Supplement published by Global Trade Review (GTR), with a specific focus on Japan. The country's manufacturers were particularly hard hit by the huge natural disasters that have hit both Japan and its neighbours in the past few years. In response to the intense pressure on the supply chain caused by such events, Japanese companies have gone out of their way to diversify their supply chain within Asia by setting up bases in a variety of Asian countries and looking to local suppliers much more.

Beyond the diversification, there is also innovation being demonstrated. I was struck by one story I heard about how a Japanese motorcycle manufacturer dealt with the thorny issue of a foreign company making counterfeit bikes that sold for a fraction of the price of the authentic models. Rather than attempt to shut down these operations through a potentially lengthy legal battle, the Japanese firm actually ploughed equity into the foreign company, investing to increase the standard of their motorcycles and even putting the official badge on the new improved bikes. 

From the people I interviewed, it also seems clear that Myanmar has captured the attention of Japanese government and investors. You can read the full feature online (subscription required):