"There's a real feeling in corporate Japan that we have got to change. Evidence of that happening is most welcome," Mark Matthews, head of research for Asia at private bank Julius Baer, told CNBC.
At its quarterly earnings announcement Thursday, Sony said it would hack off its long-ailing computer and television businesses, stepping up its restructuring efforts. The turnaround efforts include plans to cut around 5,000 jobs, a once-taboo step in corporate Japan.
Sony isn't alone. Panasonic has emerged from a period of heavy losses after it sold off some units and shifted its focus toward industrial, rather than consumer, clients; its efforts also included reducing its workforce by more than 30,000 workers.
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"It's indicative of the wake-up call that Prime Minister Abe is having. It's really causing positive reverberations throughout corporate Japan," Matthews said.
"Japan has rightly realized that if they don't do something, they're going to slowly sink into the Pacific Ocean and become vulnerable and irrelevant," he said. "In a way, Sony is a microcosm of that."
Others also see the crossing of former taboos could indicate Japan's corporate world is heading into a period of major changes.
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"Japan has been the last bastion of jobs for life," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital. "Maybe it does indicate a shift of structure in Japan."
Oliver noted that Abe likely isn't a fan of the layoffs, as they will complicate his efforts to push companies for much-need wage increases.
"One thing Japan needs is higher wages growth, but if other companies follow Sony's lead, it may not get that," Oliver said.
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But he added, "If Prime Minister Abe wants a new Japan, then some people will have to lose their jobs," noting "ultimately, a stronger Japan will lead to more jobs."