It can be hard, even for established expats, to make it in Japan.

I know there are a number of successes. But it’s interesting to read the stories of some who weren’t sent to Japan on the corporate (or government) expense account.

In my commentary on LINC Media’s Terrie Lloyd the other day, I learned that Lloyd is involved in some new ventures in Japan, and so is raising capital by selling his Hihi Northland, New Zealand property. The story is here.

The money quote is here:

[Terrie Lloyd] is chief executive of Tokyo-based technology companies Japan Inc and Linc Media.

Despite his success, Lloyd said it had been hard for foreigners to get involved with big business deals – until after the March quake and tsunami.

“The earthquake has catalysed a lot of things,” he said. “Normally I’d tap the local market for funds. But at the moment there are none. I need liquid capital.”

Lloyd has been in Japan since 1983. So you’d think that someone there almost 30 years would have entree into the circles of Japanese business. But apparently only now has the catalyst been put in motion to do the deals.

The hurdle? The local market for funds. So even if you’ve been in the country for almost 30 years, and set up all these businesses, with all the multi-millions and so forth, the banks still won’t lend. As Lloyd said, “I need liquid capital.”

(Why not just mortgage the New Zealand property? I don’t know how it works there, but apparently this is not an option. I really just want to focus on the pieces that go to Japan.)

If a man who has been there almost thirty years is having to look outside the country for some cash, basically, to get things going, how easy do you think it is for fresh-off-the-plane types to make a go of it in Japan?

More coverage here.

Another set of money quotes:

Lloyd had founded probably more than 20 companies in Japan and was currently involved with a group of seven firms, including the fields of information technology, software, recruiting, publishing and an original incubator company called LINC Media, of which he is chief executive.

“Our biggest and fastest growing business and in fact one of the reasons why I want to be liquid again is data centres,” he said.

. . .

Some of the proceeds from the property sale will be used to help fund business opportunities the Japan.

“As you can imagine with the post earthquake the banks aren’t lending a lot of money so whereas a year or so ago I could have just gone out and just simply raised the money locally I’m finding now that liquidity is much tighter.”