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Japan and Taiwan Exports Improve from May to June

Japan's and Taiwan's exports declined at slower paces in June 2009, compared to the last eight to twelve months. The fall in Japanese overseas sales went from 40.9 percent in May to 35.7 percent in June compared to the same time in 2008, reported the Finance Ministry in Tokyo. The Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan said that exports in May had fallen 20.14 percent and the decline slowed in June, to total about 10.91 percent fall in exports compared to 2008. The slowing decline of exports means that the economy in the U.S and Europe are perking up, said Tony Phoo, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Taipei. Exports are always linked to the exchange rate of a country's currency. The yen weakened against the dollar, going from 94.30 to 93.59, as signs of improvement in exports gave investors incentives to buy riskier assets abroad. Exports are important for the two countries, since their significant growth before the recession was due to fast increases in exports. Chief statistician, Huang Ji-Shih from the Ministry of Economic Affairs expects Taiwan's exports to begin rising in the last three months of 2009.

Japan's exports fell in June at the slowest pace this year and orders for Taiwanese shipments declined the least in eight months, adding to evidence that Asia's economies are on the road to recovery. Japanese overseas sales dropped 35.7 percent from a year earlier, easing from a 40.9 percent decline in May, the Finance Ministry said in Tokyo. Orders for Taiwan exports, an indication of shipments in one to three months, fell 10.91 percent from a year earlier, easing from a 20.14 percent retreat in the previous month, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in Taipei. Worldwide stimulus worth $2.2 trillion has stabilized demand and boosted shipments for exporters including Komatsu Ltd. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. East Asia's rebound from the worst global recession since the Great Depression may be "V-shaped," the Asian Development Bank said today. "The slowdown in the exports decline is signaling a potential pick-up in the U.S. and Europe," said Tony Phoo, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Taipei. "China is driving the pickup in demand." The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.7 percent at the close in Tokyo, taking its gains to 39 percent since reaching a 26- year low on March 10. The yen weakened to 94.30 per dollar from 93.59 before the report as the improvement in exports encouraged investors to buy higher-yielding assets abroad. Taiwan's benchmark Taiex index is the world's ninth best performer this year, advancing 52 percent. Taiwan's dollar was little changed at NT$32.985 against the U.S. currency. Auto Parts, Chips Japan's trade slump eased in all of the country's main markets. Exports to China fell 23.7 percent from a year earlier, the smallest drop since October, led by improving demand for steel, auto parts and chips. Shipments to the U.S. declined 37.6 percent, the least since December, and sales to Europe slid 41.4 percent, also the best this year. "You have to search to find either a region or a product that isn't recovering," said Richard Jerram, chief economist at Macquarie Securities Ltd. in Tokyo. "What's happening is going to be positive for consumer demand and positive for corporate investment." In Singapore, exports dropped the least in nine months in June, while South Korea's shipments fell at the slowest pace in eight months. The Bank of Japan last week raised its assessment of the economy for a third month, citing rebounds in trade and factory production as the reasons that "economic conditions have stopped worsening." Trade accounted for most of Japan's growth during the country's most recent expansion, a six-year stretch that ended in October 2007. China, Hong Kong The value of Taiwan's export orders rose to $27.94 billion last month from $25.17 billion in May, today's report showed. In the first half of the year, export orders fell 23.28 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 25.85 percent drop in the January-to-May period. Huang Ji-shih, chief statistician at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, expects export orders to start rising again in the fourth quarter. Export orders to China and Hong Kong from the island combined fell 10.49 percent last month, compared with a 17.65 percent drop in May. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg predict the rebound in Japanese exports helped the world's second-largest economy expand an annualized 2.4 percent in the three months ended June 30. That would end four consecutive quarters of negative growth that shrunk gross domestic product down to its 2003 size. 'Driving Force' China's 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package is feeding demand for Japan's heavy equipment, autos and materials. The market this year surpassed the U.S. as Japan's biggest. "There's no doubt China has been a driving force for Japan's exports," said Masamichi Adachi, senior economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Tokyo. "Manufacturers will probably continue to increase production amid the improvement in exports, and that's good for the economic outlook." Komatsu's sales of construction machinery in China will probably jump about 40 percent this month, Chairman Masahiro Sakane said today at a business conference. Japan's biggest maker of earthmovers expects China to grow to about 15 percent of total sales this business year, from 10 percent in 2008. Taiwan Semiconductor, the world's biggest made-to-order chipmaker, said sales in June were 5.3 percent higher than in May. The company is a bellwether for the electronics industry because it makes chips for products ranging from mobile phones to games consoles.

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Japan's Economic Forecast Downgraded but Remains Positive

The Bank of Japan is now expecting its economy to shrink 3.4 percent, higher than its previous forecast of 3.1 percent, "in the 12 months to 31 March 2010".

This is a tremendous improvement from the contraction of 12.7 percent during the October to December 2008 period. The central bank affirms that "Japan's economic conditions have stopped worsening". The Japanese economy, whose growth heavily relies on exports of automobiles and electronics, has suffered in the past year. The falling global demand for the products has caused the economy to weaken. However, second quarter reports show that both exports and industrial production, which increased by 5.7 percent in this past May, have started to improve. They expect a recovery in the third and fourth quarter of 2009. Analysts agree with the expectation of the country's recovery: "They are definitely correct when they say the economy overall has stopped worsening," said Nikhilesh Bhattacharyya of Moody's Economy.

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Japan Tankan Signals Business Spending Cuts May Impede Recovery

The Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan report reflected businesses plans to further reduce spending, since it is estimated that profits will fall 20 percent this year, which is almost twice the March forecast.

Hiroshi Shiraishi, an economist at BNP Paribas in Tokyo said, "Companies have started to realize that sales aren't really going to come back, companies are faced with massive excesses in capacity." Hiromichi Shirakawa, chief economist at Credit Suisse Group AG in Tokyo said, "It could be two or three years before companies are using even three quarters of their production capacity." Aware of this, managers are cutting investment, jobs and wages. Toyota, for instance, is cutting spending 36 percent and is simultaneously cutting wages for factory workers by 15 percent. As profits continue falling, companies will continue to hire less workers (and lay some off) and invest less.

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Bank of Japan's Tankan Survey Looks Better

It is predicted that the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey on June 1st will show that important manufacturing companies believe the "worst of the recession" is over.

It is predicted that the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey on June 1st will show that important manufacturing companies believe the "worst of the recession" is over on July 1, 2009. Evidence of the new outlook among large makers of electronics and cars is expected to rise from minus 58 in March to minus 43. Although the minus shows that pessimists outnumber optimists, the decrease in number of pessimists is important, especially in the manufacturing industry. As Jan Lambregts, head of financial markets research at Rabobank International in Hong Kong said, "we're seeing a rebound from rock bottom." A large increase in Chinese demand has helped Japan. Thanks to China's government spending, Japan's "heavy equipment" autos and materials have increased in sales. For instance, in China, Nissan sales rose 37 percent in April 20009, due to a subsidy that cut the consumption tax in half on small cars. In the U.S, Mazda Motor Corporations are also predicted to increase because of the Obama administration's "cash for clunkers" which would give consumers some money for trading in their old vehicles. (As much as $4,500 according to Bloomberg.) In Japan, electronics sales have increased 18 percent in the past month, due to the government's introduction of a program to advocate consumers to purchase eco-friendly products.

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Goldman Sachs recommends Japanese Banks

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it recommends buying Japanese banks and shorting the nation's steelmakers, citing valuations. Japanese bank stocks are relatively cheap as they trade at about 70 percent of their average price-to-book ratio, compared with up to 120 percent for banks across Asia, Kathy Matsui, the Tokyo-based chief strategist at the brokerage, said in a report dated yesterday. The country's steel shares are at or above their midpoint price-to-book levels, the report said.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it recommends buying Japanese banks and shorting the nation's steelmakers, citing valuations. Japanese bank stocks are relatively cheap as they trade at about 70 percent of their average price-to-book ratio, compared with up to 120 percent for banks across Asia, Kathy Matsui, the Tokyo-based chief strategist at the brokerage, said in a report dated yesterday. The country's steel shares are at or above their midpoint price-to-book levels, the report said. "Japanese banks should enjoy an outsized earnings impact from lower credit costs as the economy stabilizes," Matsui wrote. "The recovery in stock prices should also help alleviate capital concerns." While many investors have bought into steel stocks that are sensitive to global economic trends, most are still "extremely underweight" in domestic cyclical shares like banks, Matsui said in the report. The brokerage boosted Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. to "buy" from "sell" and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. to "neutral" from "sell," the report showed. Mitsubishi UFJ rallied 2.2 percent to 605 yen while Mizuho gained 2.1 percent to 246 yen as of the 11 a.m. trading break on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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Japan Limits Exports to North Korea while China Prepares to Act

Japan has banned exports to North Korea in response to their nuclear and missile tests in May, with the purpose of sending a "strong message".

Japan has banned exports to North Korea in response to their nuclear and missile tests in May, with the purpose of sending a "strong message". "What's most important is that North Korea make the right response... to Japan's strong message, even though there are people who point out the volume of exports is small," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura. The Japanese concern arises from the proximity of the country, since much of its territory could be hit by North Korean mid-range missiles, according to the BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo. North Korea's key trading partner is China. China "has pledged to implement tougher sanctions against North Korea, which were approved by the UN last week." These sanctions include careful inspection of ships suspected of taking banned cargo to and from North Korea, and increased ban on arms sales.

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Japan Stocks Shows Optimism

Japan's stock index closed Friday above the important 10,000-point level since October 7, 2008.

Japan's stock index closed Friday above the important 10,000-point level since October 7, 2008. "Investors are upbeat over the direction of the economy with recent indicators suggesting the global economy is heading toward a recovery," said Yutaka Miura, senior strategist at Mizuho Securities Co. Ltd.

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Distressed Japanese Work to Death

Analysts say that people facing an unpredictable economic future usually feel compelled to work longer hours, even if it is hazardous to their health. Although the Japanese culture of hard work is widely praised, it also poses a threat to those that overwork.

Analysts say that people facing an unpredictable economic future usually feel compelled to work longer hours, even if it is hazardous to their health. Although the Japanese culture of hard work is widely praised, it also poses a threat to those that overwork. According to a report released by the Health, Labor & Health Ministry on June 8, "a record number of workers suffering from job-induced mental disorders successfully filed for compensation". About 269 of 927 of applicants won compensation and among those 269 applicants, 66 had sought suicide, which is the second-highest number on record. In addition, about 158 deaths of workers were linked to karoshi, or working to death, which was an increase of 16 in just one year. Companies like Toyota are working to improve conditions by encouraging workers to rest and take vacations. During Golden Week holidays in May, for example, some manufacturers closed plants for longer and advocated the holidays. However, the economic hardships are still persistent. Many manufacturing workers have had to surrender to wage cuts, bonuses and overtime, which one worker said takes about $1,000 a month out of his pocket. Japan's positive second quarter forecast of growth in GDP might lessen the stress Japanese workers are currently facing.

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Yen Rose Against 14 of 16 Currencies

The yen rose against euro and dollar and showed signs of strength, also the yen grew on top of 14 of 16 currencies.

The dollar earlier approached a one-week high against the euro as traders added to bets the Federal Reserve will increase its target lending rate this year as the world's largest economy recovers. Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, said that American economy will recover from the crisis by September. "I would not be surprised if the official end of the U.S. recession ends up being, in retrospect, dated sometime this summer," Krugman added "Things seem to be getting worse more slowly. There's some reason to think that we're stabilizing."

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Japan's current account drops but maintains its balance

Japan continues to suffer amid the global downturn.

Its current account surplus fell in April by 55% compared to the same month in 2008. However, the rate of decline in exports has been slowing and according to Norio Miyagawa, an economist at Shinko Research Institute, it is likely that Japan may be able to maintain a positive trade balance for the time being.

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Japan Suffers First Trade Deficit Since 1980

apan's trade balance for fiscal 2008 suffered its first annual deficit in nearly three decades, data released Wednesday showed, underscoring the difficulty facing the export-reliant country in its attempt to get out of recession. The result also highlights how vulnerable the world's second largest economy is to the sharp slowdown in global trade triggered by the U.S.-originated financial crisis.

apan's trade balance for fiscal 2008 suffered its first annual deficit in nearly three decades, data released Wednesday showed, underscoring the difficulty facing the export-reliant country in its attempt to get out of recession. The result also highlights how vulnerable the world's second largest economy is to the sharp slowdown in global trade triggered by the U.S.-originated financial crisis.

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Venezuela and Japan Bolster Oil Ties

Hoping to improve Venezuela's economic outlook on the oil front, South America's largest petroleum producer is bolstering ties with Japan to the tune of a $4 billion joint investment fund, solely bankrolled by Tokyo.

Hoping to improve Venezuela's economic outlook on the oil front, South America's largest petroleum producer is bolstering ties with Japan to the tune of a $4 billion joint investment fund, solely bankrolled by Tokyo.

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Japanese Bond Yields Rise to Highest Levels Since December

Prices of Japanese 10-year bonds fell today to the lowest levels in over a month on speculation on stock gains at an auction of government debt.

Prices of Japanese 10-year bonds fell today to the lowest levels in over a month on speculation on stock gains at an auction of government debt. The auction led to the sale of $19.3 billion worth of debt, although bids went for more than 2.33 times the initial price. The dropping price led to yields increasing from 1.3 percent to 1.37 percent, their highest levels since December.

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Japanese Automakers Still Trying to Stay Afloat

Japanese automakers have been some of the most affected players of the slowing global economy.

Japanese automakers have been some of the most affected players of the slowing global economy. Both Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. recently reported a 32 percent decline in revenue, representing the lowest level of sales in 35 years. President of Atlantic Investment Research Corp. Takeshi Fushimi has predicted that "auto sales will recover, but buying will be selective". Bloomberg reports that the sales of Japanese vehicles may fall an additional 8.5 percent this year.

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Unemployment in Japan Reaches Three-Year High

The unemployment rate in Japan rose from 4.1 percent in January to 4.4 percent this month, although analysts are expected the rate to continue to go up.

The unemployment rate in Japan rose from 4.1 percent in January to 4.4 percent this month, although analysts are expected the rate to continue to go up. Kyohei Morita, Chief Economist at Barclays Capital in Tokyo, said that he expects the unemployment rate to bottom out at 5.7 percent this year because "manufacturers are going to keep cutting costs by suppressing employment". Being one of the world's largest trading countries, Japan relies heavily upon exports, which have declined over the past year. Automobile exports have dropped as much as 60 percent and companies like Toyota Motor Corp. are having to fire thousands of workers in order to save costs.

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Japanese Automakers Suffer Lowest Production Levels in Forty Years

Japan's automakers took a huge hit last month as domestic production dropped to their lowest levels since 1967.

Japan's automakers took a huge hit last month as domestic production dropped to their lowest levels since 1967. Demand for cars world-wide has drastically disintegrated, especially in the U.S. where sales dropped from to 9.12 million last month from 15.4 million from a year ago. This is critical because the U.S. is Japan's largest market. Overall automobile exports from Japan's 12 largest automakers fell by 64 percent to 212,107 vehicles, which is the biggest drop since the data was first collected.

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Japan's Stock Markets Jump

The Topix index closed today at 8.32 percent, the ninth consecutive day in a row that the index has climbed.

The Topix index closed today at 8.32 percent, the ninth consecutive day that the index has climbed. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average also closed today at a its highest level since January 9th. The recent growth in stock markets is being contributed to a U.S. economic report that the global recession is abating. They are also aided by reports that sales of homes in the U.S. have increased for the first time since July and by a separate report that U.S. durable goods had gained the most since December 2007.

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Tokyo Stock Exchange Postpones Listing Its Shares

The Tokyo Stock Exchange Group Inc., reported yesterday that they will wait until after the stock market recovers before posting their own shares.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange Group Inc., reported yesterday that they will wait until after the stock market recovers before posting their own shares. Although they had planned on going public this year, members at the exchange are eying 2010 as a feasible release date. Atchushi Saito, president of the exchange, commented by saying "we will be carefully monitoring the market conditions and earnings recovery as we prepare for listing".

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Japan's Recovery Depended on China's Government

Nobuyuki Saji, the chief economist at Mistubishi UFJ Securities Co., reported earlier today that the revival of Japan's economy rests in the hands of China's government.

Nobuyuki Saji, the chief economist and strategist at Mistubishi UFJ Securities Co., reported earlier today that the survival of Japan's economy rests in the hands of China's government. Japan's economy, according to Saji, is relatively being more affected by the global economic crisis, which has resultingly scared away many foreign investors. Japan now relies on Chinese domestic consumer spending to prevent inventories in Japan from piling up, as China is Japan's second biggest trading partner. "Rising inventories of steel products and iron ore are a sign China's recovery will be slow", said Saji.

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Japan: Nipponkoa and Sompo to Merge

Japan's key nonlife insurers Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. and Nipponkoa Insurance Co., have announced plans to merge by mid 2010.

Japan's key nonlife insurers Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. and Nipponkoa Insurance Co., have announced plans to merge by mid 2010. The merger will allow both companies to expand and cut costs as the insurance market contracts during the current economic slowdown, and the country's declining birth rate. The deal would create an insurance company with net revenues of more than 2 trillion yen.

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Japan Economy Shrank at 12.1% Pace Last Quarter

Japan's economy contracted at 12.1% pace last quarter due to sliding exports, output and slumping business spending.

Japan's economy contracted at 12.1% pace last quarter due to sliding exports, output and slumping business spending. It was the country's fastest pace contraction since 1974. Factory output and shipments have plunged at a record rate in January. Companies are posting their first losses in decades. Toyota, Sharp Corp. and Nissan are a few of the thousands of Japanese companies feeling the pressure of the economic slump. The government plans to unveil new fiscal stimulus as well as aiding banks to boost loan growth, in an effort to revive the rapidly slowing economy.

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Japan to Buy Ukraine CO 2 Credits

Japan and Ukraine are completing negotiations relating to Japan's acquisition of Ukraine's greenhouse emission credits.

Japan and Ukraine are completing negotiations relating to Japan's acquisition of Ukraine's greenhouse emission credits. Japan hopes to buy the rights to emit 30 million tons of greenhouse gases from Ukraine, in a transaction that is estimated to cost over 30 billion yen. Ukraine will benefit from the deal as it is likely to release fewer greenhouse gases than the amount permitted by the Kyoto protocol in the five years ending in 2012. Japan, which has to buy at least 100 million tons of credit to meet its Kyoto protocol target, has been making similar deals with Hungary, Poland, Russia and the Czech republic. At the same time, Japan is placing a lot of effort on reaching its goal of cutting its emissions by 6% in 2012 from its 1990 levels.

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Japan: Manufacturers' Profits Sink 94% as Exports Tank

Japan's manufacturers' profits fell 94% in the last quarter from a year earlier, the fastest fall on the country's records.

Japan's manufacturers' profits fell 94% in the last quarter from a year earlier, the fastest fall on the country's records. The plunge in profits is attributed to the country's slumping exports. Meanwhile, non-manufacturers suffered a 35% fall in profits. The combined profits of all firms fell to 5.3 trillion yen, marking the sixth consecutive quarter of profit falls and the lowest since 1985.

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Japan: Aso Looks For New Stimulus Steps

Japan's Prime Minister, Taro Aso, has plans to develop new economic measures to combat the country's current economic slowdown.

Japan's Prime Minister, Taro Aso, has plans to develop new economic measures to combat the country's current economic slowdown. Efforts will be focused on spurring consumption and combating the rapidly increasing unemployment. The new stimulus package is estimated to be worth around 100 trillion yen. The new steps are expected to be announced before the Group 20 financial summit in London on April 2.

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Japanese Mission Seeking Business Opportunities in Iraq

Japan has sent a mission of representatives, both corporate and government, to Iraq in an effort to expand collaboration as Japan sees investment opportunities amidst Iraq's improving security situation.

Japan has sent a mission of representatives, both corporate and government, to Iraq in an effort to expand collaboration as Japan sees investment opportunities amidst Iraq's improving security situation. The mission included representatives from 12 Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi Corp, Itochi Corp., and petroleum companies such as Japan Petroleum exploration Co. Iraq's oil reserves are the third largest in the world, and have recently attracted many countries looking to find investment opportunities, such as China, Britain, and of course Japan.

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japan

Japan, Peru to Start Trade Talks in March

Japan and Peru are expecting to sign a Free Trade Agreement by mid 2010.

Japan and Peru are expecting to sign a Free Trade Agreement by mid 2010. The two countries are set to begin talks on an economic partnership agreement this March. The agreement is expected to encourage lower duties on Japanese cars sold in Peru, and better access for Peru to Japan's farm and fisheries markets. The agreement marks a milestone in Peru- Japan relations, as bilateral relations have not always been good between the two countries. Last year was the first time both sides held talks in 9 years, even though Peru holds one of the largest Japanese populations outside of Japan.

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Japan's Kansai Bank Pair to Merge

Japan's Kansai Urban Banking Corp, and Biwako Bank, are finalizing a deal to merge in the first half of 2010.

Japan's Kansai Urban Banking Corp, and Biwako Bank, are finalizing a deal to merge in the first half of 2010. Both banks have combined deposits worth around 3.74 trillion yen. The merger will create one of the largest financial institutions in the Kansai region. Mergers have become increasingly more common as Japan's banks struggle to survive the recession and expanding bad loans.

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Japan's Crisis Deepens as World Stops Buying

The 46 percent drop in exports of Japan's top exports -- cars, semi-conductors, electrical machinery, and ships, had caused the current account balance to crash by their biggest margins since 1957. Down more than 80 percent to the US, Japan's automobile industry was one of the leading causes of a catastrophic drop in net exports.

The 46 percent drop in exports of Japan's top exports -- cars, semi-conductors, electrical machinery, and ships, had caused the current account balance to crash by their biggest margins since 1957. Down more than 80 percent to the US, Japan's automobile industry was one of the leading causes of a catastrophic drop in net exports.

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Japan: Utilities to Pay Premium to Solar Power Providers

Japan's government will begin to require utilities to buy surplus electricity generated from solar power systems for the next 10 years at a set price.

Japan's government will begin to require utilities to buy surplus electricity generated from solar power systems for the next 10 years at a set price. This will be an effort to stimulate Japan's slumping economy and encourage the use of renewable energy sources. This new system will assist households, facilities and companies to recover the cost of installing solar power systems, but it will make electricity bills higher for those who have not yet installed the system. With Europe rapidly expanding its solar power market, Japan must place more efforts into ensuring its position as the leading producer of renewable energy in the global market.

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Japan, Switzerland Sign EPA

Japan and Switzerland have signed an economic partnership agreement aimed at eliminating tariffs on more than 99% of their trade over the next decade.

Japan and Switzerland have signed an economic partnership agreement aimed at eliminating tariffs on more than 99% of their trade over the next decade. The agreement is expected to go into force by the end of 2009 and will also include cooperation in investment and services.

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Japan's GDP Plunge Worst in 35 years

Japan's economy has fallen at an annualized pace of 12.5% in the three months through December, marking the worst fall in 35 years. GDP growth in 2008 contracted by 0.7%, compared with a growth of 2.4% in 2007.

Japan's economy has fallen at an annualized pace of 12.5% in the three months through December, marking the worst fall in 35 years. GDP growth in 2008 contracted by 0.7%, compared with a growth of 2.4% in 2007. Japan is heavily reliant on exports of machinery, automobiles and IT products, all of which were several impacted by plunging domestic and international demand in light of the global economic crisis. The government has stated that it will aim to develop further economic stimulus measures in an effort to revive the sagging economy. Analysts suggest that the government should focus on environment protection measures and transportation infrastructure development while aiming to stimulate the economy.

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Japan December Saw Record 92% Fall in Current Account Surplus

Japan's account surplus fell 92.1%, the largest drop ever , in December from the previous year.

Japan's account surplus fell 92.1%, the largest drop ever , in December from the previous year. The steep fall is largely attribute to the sharp fall in exports amid the global financial crisis. The December figure was one of the lowest on Japan's record and marked the 10th consecutive month of year on year falls. Japan's 2008 current surplus shrank 34.3% to 16. 2 trillion yen, while the balance of trade in goods and services fell 81.7% to 1.797 trillion yen. Economists predict Japan's economy to pick up only in the latter half of the year, as slashing demand will still be affecting the country's exports.

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IMF Says Japan Economy is in 'Deep Recession'

The IMF has stated that Japan is currently in a deep recession due to the impacts of the global financial crisis on the country's crucial export sector.

The IMF has stated that Japan is currently in a deep recession due to the impacts of the global financial crisis on the country's crucial export sector. The organization stated that the sharp currency increase also contributed to "a steep decline in business investment and consumer confidence." The IMF called for an aggressive stimulus package in order to combat the crisis. It stated that, "Against this background, the Japanese economy is expected to contract by 2.5 percent this year, before modestly recovering in 2010, supported by fiscal stimulus and a pickup in global growth."

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Japan: Panasonic Terminating 15,000 Jobs Worldwide

The Japanese electronic corporation, Panasonic, has announced that it will be terminating around 15,000 jobs worldwide by the end of March 2010, roughly an amount equivalent to 5% of its workforce.

The Japanese electronic corporation, Panasonic, has announced that it will be terminating around 15,000 jobs worldwide by the end of March 2010, roughly an amount equivalent to 5% of its workforce. Half of the job cuts will take place overseas, while the other half will take place in Japan. The electronic giant also expects to close 14 overseas plants and 13 domestic plants in an effort to cut back production and cut costs as the global financial crisis has slashed the demand for its products. Panasonic expects to lose over 380 billion yen in the business year ending in March. It will be the first time in six years where the company reports a loss. Panasonic has stated that the major loss was caused by the global slowdown, the rapid rise of the yen, slumping consumer spending and increased price competition.

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Japan Auto Sales Fell 28% in January

Japan experienced a 27.9% drop in domestic sales of new vehicles in January from a year earlier.

Japan experienced a 27.9% drop in domestic sales of new vehicles in January from a year earlier. It was the biggest monthly drop since 1974. It was the country's sixth consecutive month of sales decline for new autos due to the plunging domestic demand in light of the economic slowdown. Carmakers expect the second half of the year to be even worse. The Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is asking for an increase to the 58 billion yen in the following fiscal year's budget, aimed at providing subsidies to the suffering carmakers as the recession pushes for production cuts.

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Toyota Considers Cutting 1,000 Full-time Jobs: Nikkei

According to Nikkei, a senior company official of Toyota Motor Corp. said the company is planning on cutting over 1,000 full-time jobs in North America and the United kingdom.

According to Nikkei, a senior company official of Toyota Motor Corp. said the company is planning on cutting over 1,000 full-time jobs in North America and the United kingdom. Toyota has already been reducing the number of temporary workers at its auto plants in Japan. If Toyota cuts full-time workers, it will be the first time in over 58 years. Toyota's economic woes are due mainly to decreasing global demand for its cars.

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New Condo Supply in Tokyo Plummeted 28.3% Last Year

According to the Real Estate Economic Institute, condominium supply in Tokyo dropped 28.3% in 2008.

According to the Real Estate Economic Institute, condominium supply in Tokyo dropped 28.3% in 2008. Only 43,733 units were put up for sale in Tokyo. The drop was due to rising prises which rose 2.8% to an average of 47.75 million yen. The Real Estate Economic Institute said that condo sales dropped because of higher prices, falling construction starts, and a stricter attitude to lending at financial institutions.

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24,000 Nonregular Japanese Auto Jobs to Go

With decreasing auto sales and production cuts, Japanese automakers plan on cutting almost 24,000 nonregular auto jobs.

With decreasing auto sales and production cuts, Japanese automakers plan on cutting almost 24,000 nonregular auto jobs. Honda will shed about 3,200 jobs and Mitsubishi will ax about 1,800.

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Japan's Forex Reserves Again Top 1 Trillion Yen

Japan's foreign reserves, second only to China's, increased by 27.79 billion to 1.031 trillion yen.

Japan's foreign reserves, second only to China's, increased by 27.79 billion to 1.031 trillion yen. The rise is due primarily to a rise in U.S. Treasury bond prices, which came with lower yields as the Fed cut its key interest rate to nearly zero.

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Japan: Nippon Oil, Nippon Mining to Integrate Business

In 2009, Japan's largest oil distributor, Nippon Oil Corp,will merge businesses with Nippon Mining Holdings Inc, creating the world's eight-largest oil company.

In 2009, Japan's largest oil distributor, Nippon Oil Corp,will merge businesses with Nippon Mining Holdings Inc, creating the world's eight-largest oil company. Within three years after the merger, both companies expect to save 60 billion yen per year in petroleum refinery costs, and post more than 100 billion yen annually in synergy effect.

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Major Japanese Automakers Slashing Production

In fiscal 2008, twelve major Japanese automakers will produce 1.9 million fewer units.

In fiscal 2008, twelve major Japanese automakers will produce 1.9 million fewer units. Furthermore, these automakers have slashed 14,000 factory jobs. Toyota Motor Corporation has decreased production by 953,000 cars, mainly in Japan and the United States.

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Japan's Exports Plunge by Most in 7 Years

Japan's exports have experienced their biggest decline in 7 years.

Japan's exports have experienced their biggest decline in 7 years. Exports declined 7.7% percent in October from a year earlier, resulting in a trade deficit of Y63.9bn. Exports are the driving force behind Japan's economy and recent declines have only pushed the country further into recession.

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japan

Japan Approves Whalemeat Import

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has approved the importation of whale meat from Iceland and Norway.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has approved the importation of whale meat from Iceland and Norway. The 65 tonnes of whale meat imported was held in Japanese customs since June as the country tried to establish its legality. Under UN rules whale meat trade is banned, however the three countries involved were able to sign reservations on the treaty making it legal. Iceland and Norway hope that access to the Japanese market will be key to maintaining and expanding their businesses.

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japan

Japan Slides into Recession for 1st Time Since 2001

Japan has reached recession for the first time since 2001, as a result of the global financial crisis.

Japan has reached recession for the first time since 2001, as a result of the global financial crisis. After declining an annualized 3.7% in the second quarter, Japan's economy contracted at an annual pace of 0.4% during the July-September period. GDP shrank 0.1% and business investment dropped 1.7% compared to the previous quarter.

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japan

Japan's Docomo to Buy 26% Stake in Indian Firm

Japan's largest mobile phone carrier, Docomo, announced that it will buy a 26% stake in India's Tata Teleservices Ltd. for about 269 billion yen.

Japan's largest mobile phone carrier, Docomo, announced that it will buy a 26% stake in India's Tata Teleservices Ltd. for about 269 billion yen. With the investment, Docomo hopes to boost its hold in India's wireless market to help offset the slowing growth in Japan's market.

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japan

Japan: Panasonic Aims to Take Over Sanyo

Japan's biggest electronic rivals, Sanyo and Panasonic, are starting talks which could potentially result in Panasonic buying Sanyo, creating Japan's largest economic company

Japan's biggest electronic rivals, Sanyo and Panasonic, are starting talks which could potentially result in Panasonic buying Sanyo, creating Japan's largest economic company. Sanyo has recently suffered from a 67% drop in profits during the July-September period, due to rising material costs and the rising yen. Panasonic suffered much lesser drops and is less dependent on US exports, making it stronger than most electronic companies. Panasonic is interested in Sanyo's green energy business and believes that by joining both companies, they will be able to maximize their operations.

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japan

Japan's September Tax Revenues Dip 5.8%

As compared to a year earlier, tax revenues in September dropped 5.8%.

As compared to a year earlier, tax revenues in September dropped 5.8%. Corporate tax revenues fell 35.6% and consumption tax revenues fell 4.4%.

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japan

Higher Costs Hit Hitachi Profits

Hitachi, a major Japanese electronics firm, has reported a loss of 17.3bn yen (Us$177 m)in the last quarter

Hitachi, a major Japanese electronics firm, has reported a loss of 17.3bn yen (Us$177 m) in the last quarter. The firm blames the losses on increases in material costs, the strong yen, and slower demands.

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japan

Japan PM Unveils $277 Bln Economic Stimulus Package

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso has unveiled a US$277 billion economic stimulus package.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso has unveiled a US$277 billion economic stimulus package. The package includes loans for small businesses, tax cuts and benefits for households.

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japan

Japanese Retailers' Sales See First Decline in 14 Months

Retail sales in Japan fell 0.4% year-on-year in the month of September.

Retail sales in Japan fell 0.4% year-on-year in the month of September. The drop was the first in over a year. The sharp fall in stocks and stagnant income were the main factors that contributed to the decline.

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japan

Japan's Trade surplus fell 86% in half

In the first half of fiscal 2008, Japan's trade surplus fell 85.6% from a year ago to 802 billion yen.

In the first half of fiscal 2008, Japan's trade surplus fell 85.6% from a year ago to 802 billion yen. The drop is due primarily to increased energy prices and global economic slowdown. The trade surplus was the lowest its been since 1981.

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japan

Nikko Unit Merger is Postponed

Since acquiring Nikko Cordial in January, Citigroup Inc. has looked to reshape its Japanese operations.

Since acquiring Nikko Cordial in January, Citigroup Inc. has looked to reshape its Japanese operations. However, Nikko Citigroup Ltd. and Nikko cordial Securities will probably postpone their merger to some time next year.

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japan

Capula sells 5% Stake to Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Corp. has purchased a 5% stake worth about $35 million from U.K. hedge fund Capula Investment Management LLP.

Mitsubishi Corp. has purchased a 5% stake worth about $35 million from U.K. hedge fund Capula Investment Management LLP.

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japan

Mitsubishi UFJ, Morgan to Merge Japan Units

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, Japan's largest bank, and Morgan Stanley will merge their brokerage units in Japan, according to reports.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, Japan's largest bank, and Morgan Stanley will merge their brokerage units in Japan, according to reports. Last month, Mitsubishi UFJ agreed to buy a 21% stake Morgan Stanley for $9 billion.

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japan

Japan Logs First Trade Deficit in 26 Years

Japan logged a trade deficit in August of this year, the first since November of 1982.

Japan logged a trade deficit in August of this year, the first since November of 1982. The deficit can be explained by an increase in pricey oil imports and a significant drop in demand from the United States. Exports to the United States dropped 21.8% year-on-year.

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japan

Bank of Japan Keeps Key Rate Steady

As expected by most Japanese economists, the Bank of Japan kept its key interest rate the same in light of turmoil in the global market.

In light of turmoil in the global market, the Bank of Japan kept its key interest rate the same at 0.5% The key interest rate has now remained unchanged in Japan for 19 consecutive months.

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japan

Japan's Machinery Orders Fell 3.9% in July

Machinery orders in Japan dropped 3.9% in the month of July as compared to June.

Machinery orders in Japan dropped 3.9% in the month of July as compared to June. The demand for engines, machine tools, and computers has decreased for five consecutive months. However, the July drop was not as large as initially expected.

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japan

Japanese Agencies File Second-Highest Budget Requests Ever

According to the Finance Ministry, government agencies have filed 89.14 trillion yen in requests for fiscal 2009.

According to the Finance Ministry, government agencies have filed 89.14 trillion yen in requests for fiscal 2009. The request is the second highest in history. Agencies only requested more in 2004 when they requested 89.15 trillion. Included in the request is an all-time high of 22.44 trillion yen in debt services to cover interest payments on and redemption of government bonds.

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japan

Sales of Imported Vehicles in Japan Take 35.5% plunge

Due to the soaring price of gasoline and the slumping global economy, sales of new imported vehicles in Japan fell 35.5% in August year-on-year.

Due to the soaring price of gasoline and the slumping global economy, sales of new imported vehicles in Japan fell 35.5% in August year-on-year. Sales have dropped for four straight months now, and this drop was the largest since 1998. The sales figure totaled only 11,676 units.

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japan

BOJ's Suda Calls for Tighter Policies

Bank of Japan Policy Board member Miyako Suda is pushing for tighter monetary policies by central banks in order to stabilize prices and lower economic growth to a more sustainable rate.

Bank of Japan Policy Board member Miyako Suda is pushing for tighter monetary policies by central banks in order to stabilize prices and lower economic growth to a more sustainable rate. According to Suda, lower commodities prices will lead to a stabilized inflation rate. She alluded to higher interest rates to contain prices on oil and raw materials.

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japan

3 Major Japan Automakers Boost Output, Domestic Sales, Exports in July

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. group, Mazda Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. all increased both domestic sales and exports to foreign countries in July.

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. group, Mazda Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. all increased both domestic sales and exports to foreign countries in July. Global economic slowdown had automakers worried that exports would fall in the month of July, but the three major automakers reported no such decrease in exports. Toyota group increased exports by 10.2% and domestic output by 4.7% as compared to one year earlier.

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japan

Japan to Market Mobile Tech Abroad

Japan is well-known for having developed some of the most sophisticated cell phone technology in the world.

Japan is well-known for having developed some of the most sophisticated cell phone technology in the world. However, the country has not been able to successfully market its products to the rest of the world. Japan will now pursue aggressive marketing of its cell phones, especially the Japanese hit, the "wallet phone."

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japan

BOJ warns Japan's economy to remain 'sluggish'

Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa states that the economy will remain "sluggish" on rising inflation and slowing exports.

The Bank of Japan left its key interest rate unchanged at 0.5 percent in a widely expected move on Tuesday. The central bank also downgraded its overall assessment of the country's economic conditions for the second consecutive month, saying that "growth has been sluggish", something that has not been heard in the last 10 years. The BOJ also said in a statement that rising energy and raw material costs as well as weak exports have increasingly hurt the economy. The economy however is expected to return gradually to a moderate growth path as commodity prices level out and overseas economies move out of their deceleration phase.

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japan

Credit Costs at 119 Japanese banks Soar 70% in April-June Quarter

Japanese banks had significantly more corporate bankruptcies and deteriorations in corporate borrowers' earnings from April to June.

Japanese banks had significantly more corporate bankruptcies and deteriorations in corporate borrowers' earnings from April to June. Credit costs at 119 Japanese banks increased 70% to about 380 billion yen. At the country's 11 major banks and banking groups, credit costs increased 60%.

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japan

Japan Wholesale Prices Rise 7.1 Percent in July

Due to increasing oil and commodities prices, Japan's corporate goods prices rose 7.1% in the month of July.

Due to increasing oil and commodities prices, Japan's corporate goods prices rose 7.1% in the month of July. The increase was the largest Japan has experienced in the past 27 years. Prices only rose 5.7% in June.

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japan

Japanese Government Outlines Economic Package to Lift Sagging Economy

In an effort to add stability to the economy, the Japanese government released its outline for an economic policy package.

In an effort to add stability to the economy, the Japanese government released its outline for an economic policy package. The package will focus on assisting fisheries and agricultural operators to buy more energy-efficient equipment. More issues covered in the package include food safety, securing regular employment, and discounts on expressway tolls. The package was introduced in light of rising fuel and commodity prices.

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japan

Minimum Wage in Japan May Rise 15 Yen on Average

A government council suggested an average 15 yen increase to the minimum hourly wage.

A government council suggested an average 15 yen increase to the minimum hourly wage. The hike would be the largest increase since the current hourly wage system was introduced in fiscal 2002. The increase is also likely to raise the national average to above 700 yen for the first time. The council divided Japan's 47 prefectures into four categories depending on their economic conditions and recommended greater increases for prefectures with the best conditions.

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japan

Japanese Government to Downgrade Economic Assessment in August Report

The Japanese government is ready to report in its August economic assessment that the country's economy has entered into a downturn.

The Japanese government is ready to report in its August economic assessment that the country's economy has entered into a downturn. The report will indicate that the economic boom starting in February of 2002 may have come to an end. The downturn is due largely to the U.S. economic slowdown, weakening industrial output, and worsening employment conditions in Japan.

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japan

Fukuda Asks Yosano to Compile Economic Stimulus Package

In light of surging oil and food prices, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda asked Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yasano to create an economic stimulus package.

In light of surging oil and food prices, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda asked Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yasano to create an economic stimulus package. Yasano said the outline for the package should be ready by mid-August. The package will include steps to enhance Japanese farm productivity and promote research into energy-saving methods. It will also support small businesses affected by rising prices.

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japan

Japanese Industrial Output Off 2% as Cars Slump

Due mostly to a decrease in output by the car industry, industrial production in Japan fell 2% in June as compared to a month before.

Due mostly to a decrease in output by the car industry, industrial production in Japan fell 2% in June as compared to a month before. Transport equipment manufacturers' output dropped 5.3%. Car exports to North America, Africa, and Latin America all shrank. In addition, production in the general machine industry recorded a decrease of 3.5%.

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japan

Jobless Rate in Japan Hits 21-Month High of 4.1%

The unemployment rate increased to 4.1%, the highest its been in 21 months.

The unemployment rate increased to 4.1%, the highest its been in 21 months. A report by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry says the ratio of job offers to job seekers was 0.91 in June. In other words, only 91 jobs were available per 100 job seekers. The ratio was the worst its been since February of 2005.

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japan

Ruling Camp in Japan OKs 47.8 Tril. Yen Spending Cap for FY 2009 Budget

In fiscal 2008, the Japanese government set a 47.3 trillion yen cap on core policy related spending.

In fiscal 2008, the Japanese government set a 47.3 trillion yen cap on core policy related spending. For fiscal 2009, the ruling coalition endorsed a plan for a 47.8 trillion yen cap, 600 billion more than last year. Efforts will be made in the upcoming year to address problems in the environment and the decreasing number of children.

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japan

Japanese Exports Fall For First Time Since '03

According to the Finance Ministry, Japan's exports decreased 1.7% in June from a year earlier. The slip was the first since November 2003.

According to the Finance Ministry, Japan's exports decreased 1.7% in June from a year earlier. The slip was the first since November 2003. Exports to the United States dropped 15.4%, the largest decrease out of all countries. Exports to Europe decreased the second most at 11.2%. The demand for Japan's automobiles and electronics have been steadily declining.

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japan

Cabinet Cuts Japan's GDP Forecast to 1.3%

Increased energy costs and weakening growth in the United States were the two main reasons the Cabinet Office decreased its projection of Japan's real economic growth in fiscal 2008 from 2.0% to 1.3%.

Increased energy costs and weakening growth in the United States were the two main reasons the Cabinet Office decreased its projection of Japan's real economic growth in fiscal 2008 from 2.0% to 1.3%. The government had set a goal to have a surplus in the primary balance at the national and government levels in fiscal 2011. Although the government has not given up on its goal, the economic slowdown will make it more difficult for it to achieve such a goal.

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japan

Chinese Shun Pricey Japan Rice

At the beginning of this year, two quality rice brands, Hitomebore and Koshihikari exported 100 tons of rice to thirteen Chinese cities.

At the beginning of this year, two quality rice brands, Hitomebore and Koshihikari exported 100 tons of rice to thirteen Chinese cities. However, over thirty tons remained unsold at the end of June. Japanese rice is several dozen times more expensive than the domestic product. Japanese exporters had anticipated a high demand for the premier rice by wealthy Chinese consumers.

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japan

BOJ Leaves Key Interest Rate Unchanged, Cuts FY 2008 Growth Estimate

For the 17th month in a row, The Bank of Japan held its key interest rate at 0.5%.

For the 17th month in a row, The Bank of Japan held its key interest rate at 0.5%. The results of rising costs of energy and raw materials have led to Japan's economic slowdown. The Bank of Japan has changed its projection of the economy's growth for the year through next March in real gross domestic product terms from 1.5%, as it had predicted in April, to 1.2%.

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japan

G-8 Plan to Push Green Technologies

The leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) made a declaration emphasizing the importance of innovative technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

The leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) made a declaration emphasizing the importance of innovative technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. A plan is also included in the declaration to establish an international framework for researching and developing these technologies, and to implement a road map to decrease emissions by 50 percent by 2050.

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japan

OECD: Japan Wasting Its Female Labor Power

In spite of Japan's status as leaders of the corporate world in many ways, there is one aspect where they are severely lacking: utilization of its highly-educated female labor force.

In spite of Japan's status as leaders of the corporate world in many ways, there is one aspect where they are severely lacking: utilization of its highly-educated female labor force. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development chided Japan for its "considerable waste of valuable human resources" in its first report on the issue of discrimination. Only 67 percent of Japanese women aged 25 to 54 have a job, which is 15 percent less than the best-performing Scandinavian countries.

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japan

Japan's Stocks Fall, Extending Nikkei Streak, on Profit Concern

Japanese stocks fell again today, making the Nikkei 225 Stock Average's losing streak the longest in 54 years.

Japanese stocks fell again today, making the Nikkei 225 Stock Average's losing streak the longest in 54 years. Investors are concerned that the worsening U.S. auto market and sky-high oil prices will erode corporate profits.

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japan

Business Confidence Plunges

Business confidence among major Japanese manufacturers has declined for three consecutive quarters, leaving it at its lowest level in almost five years.

Business confidence among major Japanese manufacturers has declined for three consecutive quarters, leaving it at its lowest level in almost five years. The decline was attributed to raging material costs and the U.S. economic slowdown. The industrial report, called the Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises, but also known as the Tankan survey, is released quarterly bu the Bank of Japan.

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japan

Japan's Nikkei Average Falls 9th Day, Longest Streak in 4 Years

The Nikkei 225 Stock Index fell for the ninth consecutive day, marking its longest losing streak in nearly four years, due largely to concerns over increasing materials costs.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Index fell for the ninth consecutive day, marking its longest losing streak in nearly four years, due largely to concerns over increasing materials costs. Large companies expect profits to drop 7 percent in the year to March 31, compared to the 0.3 percent increased expected just three months ago.

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japan

Japan's Core Inflation Surges to Decade High

Japan said core inflation has accelerated at the fastest pace in more than 10 years--1.5 percent in May--due to soaring oil costs, while consumer spending has fallen.

Japan said core inflation has accelerated at the fastest pace in more than 10 years--1.5 percent in May--due to soaring oil costs, while consumer spending has fallen. This comes after years of deflation. The numbers add concern because they are the result of rising import costs rather than a stronger domestic economy.

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japan

US Slowdown Reduces Japan Surplus

Crude oil prices have meant a cut in surplus with the US, going down by 11%.

Crude oil prices have meant a cut in surplus with the US, going down by 11%. However Japan's surplus with the rest of Asia rose for the second consecutive month. Japan has an incredibly low interest rate, with the last increase being February 2007 from .25% to .5%.

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japan

Chinese Eels Mislabeled as Domestic

An Osaka-based eel trader, Uohide, has falsely labeled grilled eels of Chinese origin as being from Isshikicho, Aichi Prefecture.

An Osaka-based eel trader, Uohide, has falsely labeled grilled eels of Chinese origin as being from Isshikicho, Aichi Prefecture. The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry suspects Uohide earned at least 500 million yen in profits through the mislabeled eels.

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japan

Fukuda: Consumption Tax Rise within 2 to 3 yrs

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said he is thinking about raising the consumption tax sometime in the next 2 or 3 years.

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said he is thinking about raising the consumption tax sometime in the next 2 or 3 years. In addition to the possibility of a tax increase, Fukuda said he would also consider the government's "zero waste" approach to expenditure and would monitor trends within the business cycle.

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japan

Competition Bubbling in 3rd-Category Beer Mart

Faced with sharp increases in gasoline and food prices, consumers are looking for cheap deals on beer.

Faced with sharp increases in gasoline and food prices, consumers are looking for cheap deals on beer. Third-category beer, which is normally made from soybeans, corn and beans is cheaper than regular beer.

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japan

Japanese Cars 'Are Most Reliable'

According to a survey by Car magazine, cars made by Japanese manufacturers are the most reliable in the world.

According to a survey by Car magazine, cars made by Japanese manufacturers are the most reliable in the world. The study, which investigated 90,000 vehicles, revealed the top seven most reliable cars are all made by Japanese. The manufacturers at the bottom were Chrysler/Dodge and Land Rover. Perhaps surprisingly, expensive German brands, like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, were all classified as "average".

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japan

Deflation Generation Fears Price Rises

The Japanese consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.9 percent in April, well below levels posted in other industrialized nations.

The Japanese consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.9 percent in April, well below levels posted in other industrialized nations. Yet for a country that has dealt with deflating wages for over a decade, that figure can seem like a lot.

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japan

PM Indicates Time is Right for Consumption Tax Hike Decision

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Tuesday he believes a consumption tax increase may be imperative due to Japan's highly aging population.

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Tuesday he believes a consumption tax increase may be imperative due to Japan's highly aging population. He said the only way to ensure the country would be able to continue supporting its universal health insurance would be to raise the rate, which currently stands at 5 percent, much lower than most other Group of Eight (G8) countries, many of whom have consumption tax rates around 20 percent.

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japan

Japan Downgrades Economic Assessment as Profits Slow

Due to slowing in exports, production and corporate profits, the Japanese government downgraded its assessment of the economy for the first time in three months.

Due to slowing in exports, production and corporate profits, the Japanese government downgraded its assessment of the economy for the first time in three months. Economists expect growth to slow, after growing at 4 percent annualized in the first quarter of 2008, due to fewer exports and lower consumer spending.

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japan

Japan to Raise Meat Prices as Corn Boosts Feed Costs

Japan, the world's biggest corn importer, will increase floor prices for domestic meat for a second time this year and boost subsidies for livestock farmers after prices of the grain soared to a record.

Japan, the world's biggest corn importer, will increase floor prices for domestic meat for a second time this year and boost subsidies for livestock farmers after prices of the grain soared to a record. The floor price for locally produced pork will rise 5.3 percent to a 20-year high of 400 yen ($3.74) a kilogram in July from 380 yen. The base price for beef will climb 3.2 percent to a 12-year high of 815 yen from 790 yen, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said today in a statement. Subsidies would rise 73.8 billion yen, it said. The ministry, which normally reviews the pr

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japan

Japanese firms Investigated over Parts Found in North Korean Nuclear Plants

Two Japanese companies are being investigated by the police on suspicion of illegally exporting vacuum pumps to North Korea, where they were used in nuclear facilities, the police and Japanese media said on Thursday.

Two Japanese companies are being investigated by the police on suspicion of illegally exporting vacuum pumps to North Korea, where they were used in nuclear facilities, the police and Japanese media said on Thursday. The police last week raided Tokyo Vacuum, a vacuum device maker, and Nakano, a trading firm, after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported it had found Japanese vacuum pumps in North Korea, said Shinya Yamada, a police official from Kanagawa, near Tokyo. The vacuum pumps were found last year by officials from the IAEA, the United Nations' nuclear regulatory arm, in nuclear enrichment equipment in North Korea, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.

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japan

Japan PM Targets Cutting Carbon Emissions by 60-80 Percent by 2050

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced that Japan will cut its greenhouse gas emission 60-80 percent by 2050, and can at least match European reduction levels over the next 12 years.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced that Japan will cut its greenhouse gas emission 60-80 percent by 2050, and can at least match European reduction levels over the next 12 years. Japan will contribute USD 1.2 billion to an international greenhouse gas reductions fund and will be more active in establishing an emissions trading market worldwide.

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japan

Lotte Group Will Buy Cosmo Investment From Sparx

South Korea's Lotte Group has agreed to purchase more than 50 percent of the nations largest investment consulting firm, Cosmo Investment Management Co., from Japan's Sparx Group Co.

South Korea's Lotte Group has agreed to purchase more than 50 percent of the nations largest investment consulting firm, Cosmo Investment Management Co., from Japan's Sparx Group Co. Lotte, the industrial group that is also Korea's largest department-store chain, said Lottle and Sparx would jointly manage Cosmo.

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japan

Japanese Sub-Prime Losses Up 41%

Losses from Japanese investments increased by 41% to JPY 850 billion (USD 8 billion) at the end of March.

Losses from Japanese investments increased by 41% to JPY 850 billion (USD 8 billion) at the end of March. Japan's second biggest lender Mizuho Financial Group has been the hardest hit so far, with a total of USD 6.1 billion lost. However, these losses pale in comparison to those losses suffered by such American and European competitors as Citigroup and UBS.

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japan

Rice Flour Used More as Wheat Prices Soar

The recent rise in international wheat prices and growing concern about food safety has persuaded consumers to turn to domestically produced rice flour or ground rice.

The recent rise in international wheat prices and growing concern about food safety has persuaded consumers to turn to domestically produced rice flour or ground rice. More and more people have turned to rice flour in the last few years as prices have risen.

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japan

Asian Stocks Advance, Led by Honda, Sony, on U.S. Sales, Dollar

Asian stocks advanced, led by exporters of cars and electronics, after Japanese and South Korean automakers outsold U.S. manufacturers in America for the first time and the dollar rallied.

Asian stocks advanced, led by exporters of cars and electronics, after Japanese and South Korean automakers outsold U.S. manufacturers in America for the first time and the dollar rallied. `A sigh of relief is spreading among investors,'' said Kiyoshi Ishigane, a Tokyo-based senior strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management Co., which manages about $61 billion. A weaker yen will ``make life much easier for exporters, and might enable them to raise their earnings forecasts,'' he said.

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japan

Japan Post to Use Only Electric Cars by 2015

Japan Post, the nation's mail delivery service, announced that it will gradually introduce electric cars to replace its fleet of gasoline-powered automobiles.

Japan Post, the nation's mail delivery service, announced that it will gradually introduce electric cars to replace its fleet of gasoline-powered automobiles. Providing costs for its fleet of 22,000 lightfreight cars, which are used to deliver mail, and an additional 1,000 passenger cars used for business purposes costs about JPY 10 billion (USD 95 million) per year.

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japan

Nippon Steel Faked Pipe-Strength Data

The huge Japanese steel manufacturer Nippon Steel Corp. fabricated data on the strength of steel pipes, which are used in natural gas plants and other facilities, and shipped them without conducting hydraulic pressure tests required by the Japan Industrial Standards, the firm said Thursday.

The huge Japanese steel manufacturer Nippon Steel Corp. fabricated data on the strength of steel pipes, which are used in natural gas plants and other facilities, and shipped them without conducting hydraulic pressure tests required by the Japan Industrial Standards, the firm said Thursday. The company said a check of records over the past five years kept at a Noda, Chiba Prefecture, plant of its subsidiary Nittai Corp. in Noda, Chiba Prefecture, showed that among about 126,000 steel pipes, only 6,000 were tested with hydraulic pressure tests.

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japan

More Companies Scrap Retirement Package System for Board Members

In response to growing criticism from foreign investors, more Japanese countries are getting rid of severance pay for board members that offer lump-sum payments without regard for performance.

In response to growing criticism from foreign investors, more Japanese countries are getting rid of severance pay for board members that offer lump-sum payments without regard for performance. In 2007, nearly 53 percent of companies were without the conventional retirement benefit system, compared with 11 percent in 2004.

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japan

U.S. Firm Asks Court to Void Contract with Yamada

Argo-Tech, a U.S. aviation fuel-related equipment manufacturer, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. against defense equipment trader Yamada Corp.

Argo-Tech, a U.S. aviation fuel-related equipment manufacturer, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. against defense equipment trader Yamada Corp. and its U.S. subsidiary, claiming Yamada's involvement in bribery cases violated their contract, which therefore should be terminated. Yamada has responded by filing a countersuit against Argo-Tech at a U.S. district court in California, claiming the termination of their contract would be illegal.

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japan

Exports Again Push Up GDP Growth

Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) rose .8 percent for the first quarter of this year, with an annualized 3.3 percent.

Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) rose .8 percent for the first quarter of this year, with an annualized 3.3 percent. This growth is mainly due to an increase of exports of goods and services by 4.5 percent, a rise on net exports by .5 percentage points and a decline of export in U.S.

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japan

Tax Offices to Keep Better Tab on Income from Foreign Exchange Trading

Recently a tax revision bill was approved in Japan, in which companies presenting foreign exchange margin trading services will have to provide all transaction records of their clients to tax authorities.

Recently a tax revision bill was approved in Japan, in which companies presenting foreign exchange margin trading services will have to provide all transaction records of their clients to tax authorities. According to the National Tax Agency, JPY 22.4 billion in taxable income from margin trading was nor reported last year.

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japan

Cost of Living Higher for 6th Month in Row

So far the consumer price index (CPI) in Japan has risen 1.2 percent in a year.

So far the consumer price index (CPI) in Japan has risen by 1.2 percent in a year. The prices of food rose by 1.8 percent and energy related prices rose by 9.5 percent. Both kinds of products account for .40 and .76 percentage point in the CPI hike respectively.

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japan

Exports Grow 2.3%, Worst Pace Since '05

Japan's exports have been growing at a slow pace due to the U.S. housing recession and fall of shipments.

Japan's exports have been growing at a slow pace due to the U.S. housing recession and fall of shipments. Exports rose 2.3 %, slower than the forecast of 8.7 and 6.2 median estimates.

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japan

BOJ to Hold Key Interest Rate Steady

The Bank of Japan will leave its key short-term interest rate unchanged at .5 percent.

The Bank of Japan will leave its key short-term interest rate unchanged at .5 percent. It will also modify its economic growth forecast to the figures of 1 and 2 percent instead of 2.1 percent. Even tough the BOJ desires to increase the long-held interest rate it will have to hold back since the business confidence level is declining.

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japan

Japan Wants IMF to Monitor Sovereign Wealth Funds

In order to reduce protectionism in recipient countries, Japan wants the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to monitor sovereign wealth funds (SWFs).

In order to reduce protectionism in recipient countries, Japan wants the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to monitor sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). The government is particularly concerned about the SWFs of countries in the Middle East and China, as well as these Countries' need to reinforce their capital bases to avoid a major setback instigated by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis.

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japan

Bank of Japan top Job Filled at Last

Masaaki Shirakawa is now Governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ), the Upper House voted on his favor.

Masaaki Shirakawa is now Governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ), the Upper House voted on his favor. He along with Deputy Governor Kiyohiko Nishimura will manage Japan's monetary policy.

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japan

Toyota Close to Deal with Fuji Heavy

Toyota will buy JPY30 billion worth of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. shares, Toyota is already a substantial share owner of Fuji Heavy Industries' shares.

Toyota will buy JPY30 billion worth of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. shares, Toyota is already a substantial share owner of Fuji Heavy Industries' shares. Nonetheless, Toyota has no plans of being part of Fuji's board so it will keep its shares below 20 percent.

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japan

Another High for Foreign Reserves Set

Japan's foreign-exchange reserves were USD 1.016 trillion at the end of March, a month before they were worth USD1 trillion.

Japan's foreign-exchange reserves were USD 1.016 trillion at the end of March, a month before they were worth USD1 trillion. Japan's foreign reserves are the second largest in the world, right after China; their reserves mainly consist on securities and deposits, IMF reserve positions, IMF special drawing rights and gold.

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japan

Nikkei Index Regained The 13,000 Mark For The First Time in a Month

The Tokyo Stock Exchange finished better than 4% higher with the Nikkei index recovering the 13,000 mark.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange finished better than 4% higher with the Nikkei index recovering the 13,000 mark. Brokers said that the TSE has increased due to the expectations in Wall Street that the financial markets will return to stability.

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japan

Toyota Denied It Had Obtained Money from the Government

Toyota Motor Corp. said that they did not receive any support from the Japanese Government for the development of the Toyota Prius.

Toyota Motor Corp. said that they did not receive any support from the Japanese Government for the development of the Toyota Prius. The car has turned into a global success for being a project that increases fuel efficiency and concerns about global warning and high gas prices.

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japan

Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Has Sold Its 35.2 Percent Stake

NTT has sold a 35.2 percent stake in state-owned Sri Lanka Telecom for 297 million dollars in order to expand SLT's business, which controls 16 percent of the country's cellular market.

NTT has sold a 35.2 percent stake in state-owned Sri Lanka Telecom for 297 million dollars in order to expand SLT's business, which controls 16 percent of the country's cellular market. This has been the largest single investment in Sri Lanka by a Japanese firm

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japan

Emirates Eyes MRJ Purchase

Emirates Airline might purchase Japan's Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), to be manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

Emirates Airline might purchase Japan's Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), to be manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. The MRJ is the first domestically produced jet; it can seat 70 to 90 passengers and is a fuel-efficient aircraft.

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japan

Nippon Oil in Deal with Petro China

Nippon Oil Corp. and Petro China Co. will sign an agreement this month; in this deal Japan's refiner will process 40 percent more oil for a unit of China Oil.

Nippon Oil Corp. and Petro China Co. will sign an agreement this month; in this deal Japan's refiner will process 40 percent more oil for a unit of China Oil. Lalita Gupta, an analyst of Morgan Stanley, said that it will be less costly for China Oil since it won't have to build its own refineries.

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japan

Japan, China Agree on Shielding Asian Economy

The finance ministers of Japan and China agreed to protect Asia's economy with bilateral cooperation from the global turmoil caused by the subprime-mortgage crisis of US.

The finance ministers of Japan and China agreed to protect Asia's economy with bilateral cooperation from the global turmoil caused by the subprime-mortgage crisis of US. Both ministers are aware that their countries exports are affected; they intend to cooperate with one and other trough interchange of information and adjustments of some policies.

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japan

Japan Inks Deal with Russia on Siberia Oil Development

The Russian oil company Rosneft and Japan's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy closed a cooperation framework agreement.

The Russian oil company Rosneft and Japan's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy closed a cooperation framework agreement. The company and the agency have the goal to develop oil fields in eastern Siberia; one will cooperate with technical development while the other will provide support respectively.

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japan

Japan to pay billions to cut emissions

In order to cut greenhouse emission by 11 percent, Japanese households and Businesses may possibly end up paying $500 billion.

In order to cut greenhouse emission by 11 percent, Japanese households and Businesses may possibly end up paying $500 billion. Japan committed to the Kyoto global warming pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent under 1990 levels by 2012.

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japan

Nippon Oil to grab 7th-ranked firm

Nippon Oil Corp. will attain Kyushu Oil Co. on October, 1 2008.

Nippon Oil Corp. will attain Kyushu Oil Co. on October, 1 2008. This acquisition is expected to bring more efficiency in refinery and sales operations.

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japan

BTMU to lose ¥1 billion in loans linked to realtor

The Bank O Tokyo- Mitsubishi UFJ will face loses due to irrecoverable loans.

The Bank O Tokyo- Mitsubishi UFJ will face loses due to irrecoverable loans. It is estimated to lose around ¥ 1 billion. The company Koshi Trust introduced the firms that are now causing loses to the bank,it might face criminal charges.

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japan

Japanese Economic Growth Remains Strong

The Japanese government has revised its downcast economic statements and revised its growth rate from 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent, despite fears that the US economic slowdown will affect the economy.

The Japanese government has revised its downcast economic statements and revised its growth rate from 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent, despite fears that the US economic slowdown will affect the economy. However, economists still warn that a weak first quarter could be a reality. The Japanese economy is also facing a power vacuum at the central bank that has frightened global markets.

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japan

Japanese Firms Cut Investment

Investment by Japanese firms has fallen at its fastest pace in 5 years according to the Ministry of Finance.

Investment by Japanese firms has fallen at its fastest pace in 5 years according to the Ministry of Finance. The report will force the Japanese government to reduce its growth estimates from their initial 0.9 percent growth rate. The two sectors that showed the weakest investment were leisure companies and information technology.

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japan

Japan Posts Trade Deficit Due to Poor Holiday Showing

Japan posted a trade deficit of 79.3 Billion Yen in January, the first deficit in a year.

Japan posted a trade deficit of 79.3 Billion Yen in January, the first deficit in a year. Higher crude prices were blamed for the inflated value of imports. Exports slowed due to the halts in business for the New Year Holiday. A Finance Ministry official reported that Japan tends to lean towards deficit in January every year because of the holidays.

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japan

Economic Downturn Won’t Effect Bank of Japan’s Rate Hike

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has declared that it won't be influenced from the risk of slower economic growth.

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has declared that it won't be influenced from the risk of slower economic growth. The Board of BOJ contends that they will continue with the goal of gradual interest rate increases. The current rate set by the BOJ is the lowest in the G8, since last February.

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japan

Indonesian Exports Up

Exports from Indonesia increased 13.09 percent in 2007 to $114b.

Exports from Indonesia increased 13.09 percent in 2007 to $114b. The main commodities exported were crude oil, Fat and animal/vegetable oils, machineries/electrical appliances, mineral fuel, and rubber and rubber-related products. Indonesia's main export partners were the United States, Japan, and Singapore.

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japan

Toyota beats GM in global vehicle production 2007 though GM still No. 1 in global sales

Toyota may have fallen short of General Motors in global vehicle sales last year, but it's beaten its U.S. rival in another measure, global vehicle production.

Toyota may have fallen short of General Motors in global vehicle sales last year, but it's beaten its U.S. rival in another measure, global vehicle production. In the latest neck-and-neck numbers race between the world's top two automakers, Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday it had made a record 9,497,754 vehicles worldwide in 2007, up 5.3 percent from the previous year. That's about 213,000 more automobiles than the 9.284 million that GM made last year. By sales, however, General Motors Corp. just barely retained its crown over Toyota, selling 9,369,524 vehicles around the world, up 3 percent from the previous year, and about 3,000 vehicles more than Toyota.

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japan

Asian Markets Decline

Chinese markets fell Monday Jan 28 following losses in the US at the end of the previous week.

Chinese markets fell Monday Jan 28 following losses in the US at the end of the previous week. The Shanghei Composite Index declined 7.19 percent and the Shenzen Component Index declined 6.45 percent. Other Asian Markets also fell; the Nikkei 225 Index declined 3.97 percent and the Hang Seng Index declined 4.25 percent.

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japan

Chinese and Asian Stock Markets Fall

Stock markets in China and the rest of Asia were down again Tuesday Jan 22, 2008, following losses the previous day.

Stock markets in China and the rest of Asia were down again Tuesday Jan 22, 2008, following losses the previous day. The Shanghei stock market composite index declined 7.22 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 8.65 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 5.65 percent.

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japan

Toyota Likely to Depose GM as World's Largest Automaker

Toyota likely to be king of the hill for automakers, after dominating GM.

GM said 9.284 million vehicles worldwide were made last year, roughly 226,600 fewer than Toyota's 2007 production estimate of 9.51 million. Toyota expects to finalize their numbers in the later part of January. GM response by Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagner is, "we lead in 13 of the 15 largest markets, but Toyota has a huge lead in Japan," Wagoner said. "We're staying focused on our plan. Great cars, smart marketing, growth in the emerging markets. And hopefully that will keep us on top. If not, we'll come back to work the next day and work even harder." Toyota said it plans to produce 9.95 million vehicles worldwide next year, up 5 percent from this year -- the same as the projected annual percentage jump for Toyota's global sales

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japan

A Stand Still for the Japanese Economy

Japanese economic activity is growing slower than government officials predicted.

Japanese economic activity is growing slower than government officials predicted. Margins are decreasing due to high energy costs at mid-sized companies, and with the high gas prices and decreasing wages, consumer spending and assurance is decreasing respectively.

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japan

Japan Considers Opening U.S. Beef Restrictions

As a result of pressure from the U.S. government, Japan may loosen restrictions on U.S. beef restrictions.

As a result of pressure from the U.S. government, Japan may loosen restrictions on U.S. beef restrictions. About three years ago, Japan restricted beef imports fearing mad cow disease. Eased restrictions currently allow meat from cattle 20 months or younger that had been processed at certain plants to be imported. Currently Washington is attempting to get all age restrictions removed while Japanese officials say they are considering allowing imports from cattle 30 months or younger, which is a common standard.

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japan

Wal-Mart Buys Japanese Subsidiary Seiyu

Wal-Mart has succeeded in its offer to own Japan's Seiyu.

Wal-Mart has succeeded in its offer to own Japan's Seiyu. The world's largest retailer will spend nearly USD850 million on the struggling Seiyu. Wal-Mart, which offered JPY140 a share, succeeded in securing 95.1 percent of Seiyu Shares Ltd. Once the remaining shares are secured, Wal-Mart plans to delist Seiyu from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Critics of Wal-Mart suggest Japan will continue to remain unaffected by the mass-market strategy and will still be willing to pay higher prices for convenience and luxury.

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japan

eBay Returns to Japan

eBay will return to Japan with the support of Yahoo Japan Corp.

After moving out five years ago, eBay will return to Japan with the support of Yahoo Japan Corp. The company, which also owns Skype and Paypal, is eager to return to the massive consumer market Japan offers. The Japanese site, sekaimon.com, offers U.S. eBay listings to Japanese consumers, translates the dollar to the yen as well as providing shipping services. An analyst at a Japanese brokerage firm agreed the deal was good for both parties but said, "I don't think this will have a big effect financially for the companies."

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japan

Japan Recieves Mixed Rating

While consumer prices have risen the first time in ten months, housing starts fell and Japan's economy received mixed results on its October report card.

While consumer prices have risen the first time in ten months, housing starts fell and Japan's economy received mixed results on its October report card. Japanese officials have feared the effects of the U.S. economic slowdown as the U.S. is a key export market. While the economy is still growing, the concern is the pressure on small companies, who are facing difficulty gaining much profit. There is speculation that the gain was a result of higher energy prices.

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japan

Japanese University to Offer Class on Cell Phone

Cyber University in Japan will now offer a class via cell phone.

Cyber University in Japan will now offer a class via cell phone. The University it's the only university in Japan to offer only classes online, where students can download lectures that will play on their own computers with images, video, text and sound. The new cell phone class is focused on the mystery of pyramids and in a demonstration, it showed images popping up on the cell phone screen with a lecturers voice playing from the speakers. Softbank Corp, a major Japanese mobile carrier, owns 71 percent of the university and offers broadband operations and various online services. The cell phone class will be available to viewers for free but will only be shown on some Softbank phones.

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japan

Japan to buy Carbon Emissions Credits

As Japan struggles to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, it has made plans to buy carbon credits from Hungary.

As Japan struggles to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, it has made plans to buy carbon credits from Hungary. Japan's Kyoto commitments have proven difficult for the country to meet, as it committed to reducing its greenhouse gases 6 percent below what it was in 1990. Unfortunately, Japan has been going in the wrong direction as in 2006, it's greenhouse emissions were 6.4 percent more than they were in 1990. The plan to purchase carbon credits will allow Japan to reduce their emissions by 1.6 percent below the 1990 levels, and officials have said they must find an alternative method to reduce the other 4.4 percent.

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japan

Japan's Olympus to Buy Medical Equipment Maker

Japan's Olympus Corp., is planning to spend USD2 billion to purchase Gyrus Group Plc, a British medical equipment maker.

Japan's Olympus Corp., is planning to spend USD2 billion to purchase Gyrus Group Plc, a British medical equipment maker. The deal will be completed in 2008 and Olympus will take-over at 630 pence a share. Olympus has said, "Through the acquisition, our company will expand its product line-up in the ever-growing area of minimally invasive medial treatment and contribute to the development of minimally invasive medical treatment in surgery."

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japan

Japan Economy Hit by Mortgage Crisis

Many Japanese banks are still feeling the effect of the American sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Many Japanese banks are still feeling the effect of the American sub-prime mortgage crisis. Japan's second largest bank, Mizuho Financial lowered its full-year net profit from JPY750 to JPY650 as a result of a 16.6 percent loss in first-half net profits. A proposed merger between Mizuhu Securities and Shinko Securities has also been delayed as a result of the crisis.

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japan

Disney Mobile Launches in Japan

Walt Disney and Softbank Corp., will launch a mobile telephone service in Japan.

Walt Disney and Softbank Corp., will launch a mobile telephone service in Japan. Disney Mobile will be launched in 2008 and will become Japan's first mobile virtual network operator, meaning they will buy capacity from another firm. The launch will inspire competition among mobile phone companies as Disney is highly popular in Japan.

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japan

Samsung Stops Selling in Japan

Samsung Electronic Corp., has stopped selling various consumer products in Japan

While beating similar companies in the United States and Europe, Samsung Electronic Corp., has stopped selling various consumer products in Japan. While retail store sales were stopped last August, Samsung finally halted the selling of goods through the internet to Japan. They will however, continue to sell specific products to businesses and various components such as memory chips. Softbank Corp, a telecommunications company in Japan, will still receive handsets from Samsung. Samsung's sales in Japan via the internet and retail stores accounted for less than a mere 1 percent of the company's total sales.

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japan

Microsoft Live to Launch in Japan

Microsoft plans on launching its new Windows Live services in Japan and downplays competition with Google.

Microsoft plans on launching its new Windows Live services in Japan and downplays competition with Google. While Google already has comparable services, they are planning to offer a software package for mobile phones free. Because Japanese consumers have been enjoying accessing the internet on mobile phones, Microsoft hopes they will embrace the new business. Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp as well as several other Japanese companies have signed onto be partners with Microsoft Live.

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japan

Japanese Brewer Kirin Expands into Food Industry

National Foods, an Australian dairy and juice producer will be bought by Japanese brewer, Kirin, for USD1 billion.

National Foods, an Australian dairy and juice producer will be bought by Japanese brewer, Kirin, for USD1 billion. Kirin will also gain National's debt of about USD1.5million. Kirin has been making several purchases including a bid for Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co, a Japanese drug maker. Australia's Lion Nathan brewer, which Kirin has a 46 percent stake, is planning to buy Tasmanian brewer, J Boag. By purchasing National Foods, Kirin is hoping to expand into the food business.

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japan

Japanese Auto Maker not Affected by Global Setbacks

Despite financial problems in the United States as well as high prices of gas, Japan's largest automaker, Toyota, appears to remain unaffected.

Despite financial problems in the United States as well as high prices of gas, Japan's largest automaker, Toyota, appears to remain unaffected. Its profits rose from the previous year about USD4 billion in the July through September period. Fuel efficient cars and the weaker yen helped the growth. While it is only 2nd in the world to G.M., Toyota is eyeing the new markets of China and Indonesia, and predicts strong sales gains. Toyota is so confident that growth will continue, despite the aforementioned setbacks and the additional vehicle recalls and brain drain to America, that it is expecting to sell 8.93 million vehicles.

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japan

PC Use Declining in Japan

The use of Personal Computers is declining in Japan due to the inflow of new technology.

The use of Personal Computers is declining in Japan due to the inflow of new technology. Top PC maker in Japan, NEP inc., has seen its shipments of the PC fall 6.2 percent. Analysts are beginning to wonder if this is a sign of things to come in other Countries. Sony remains optimistic that there still is a market for PCs in Japan and they just need to match other electronics in their ease and abilities. Several PC companies are attempting to make their products more marketable by adding artwork and selling laptops below USD 300 this holiday season.

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japan

Japan-Thailand Bilateral Trade Agreement Effective

A bilateral free trade agreement between Thailand and Japan has come into effect on Thursday. Hoping for increased prosperity in both countries through increased trade, 97 percent of Japan's exports to Thailand and 92 percent of the exports vice versa are going to be free of duty within 10 years.

A bilateral free trade agreement between Thailand and Japan has come into effect on Thursday. Hoping for increased prosperity in both countries through increased trade, 97 percent of Japan's exports to Thailand and 92 percent of the exports vice versa are going to be free of duty within 10 years. However, in Thailand the pact raises concerns amongst workers and activists of possible impacts on employment and the environment.

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japan

Japan-Thailand Free Trade Deal to go into Effect

The Japan-Thailand Free Trade Deal will go into effect with high hopes from both sides.

The Japan-Thailand Free Trade Deal will go into effect with high hopes from both sides. Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko told reporters, "Starting tomorrow, the bilateral economic partnership agreement will take effect. I hope this agreement will further strengthen ties between Japan and Thailand." The does not come without some protest as Thai train drivers held a strike and Thai activists fear Thailand will become a dumping ground for Japan.

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japan

Japan Toy Makers See Market in China

Japanese toy manufacturers are finding a new market in previously untapped China.

Japanese toy manufacturers are finding a new market in previously untapped China. Yoshiritsu, a Japanese toy company, has been avoiding moving to China for years, sticking to the higher standards they face in Japan. However now, it appears a new market has arisen in the toy manufacturing capitol of China. It appears that now, due to a serious of battering against Chinese toy manufacturers in recalls and safety standards, customers are willing to pay more and demand better quality, even customers in China. While Chinese families spend less on toy than other countries, the one-child policy is allowing doting parents to spend their excess money on toys. Another Japanese company, Tomy Co., is expecting to benefit from the rise in standards as well as the new market in China.

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japan

Blackstone Group LP Starts Business in Japan

Blackstone Group LP, the world's biggest buyout fund company, is on the lookout for furthering its growth by starting new business in Japan.

Blackstone Group LP, the world's biggest buyout fund company, is on the lookout for furthering its growth by starting new business in Japan. The company is seeking for real estate investment opportunity in Japan. Blackstone is optimistic that buyouts fund in Japan will be positively rising.

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japan

Automakers Discontent Over Undervalued Japanese Yen

Automakers in Detroit have been ranting against the Japanese yen for years, and it appears now that several global economic powers have heard.

While the general complaint was that because the yen was kept low, Japanese auto-exporters had an upper-hand in the market, the concern is now that the extremely weak yen could potentially pose a threat to other financial markets. General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLc and Ford Motor Corp., have been pushing various international agencies to further define currency manipulation and force Japan to reform.

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japan

Wal-Mart Buys Japanese Subsidiary Seiyu

Wal-Mart will obtain strained subsidiary Seiyu after spending USD900 million.

Wal-Mart will obtain strained subsidiary Seiyu after spending USD900 million. In December 2005, the discount retail giant purchased a 50.9 percent stake in the Japanese store; however, it was not enough to save the struggling Seiyu. Wal-Mart has invested in Seiyu since 2002, and has tried to revitalize the store by adding more 24-hour stores. Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Mike Duke said, "As a wholly owned subsidiary, Seiyu will have increased flexibility to invest in merchandising, store renovation, distribution and logistics.''

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japan

Japanese Discontent With Chinese Trading Standards

Japan, along with The European Union and United States demanded answers from China as it has failed to live up to the standards it promised when it joined the World Trade Organization.

Japan, along with The European Union and United States demanded answers from China as it has failed to live up to the standards it promised when it joined the World Trade Organization. According to Japan, EU and US, China has not opened up its market to foreign traders. Tokyo has complained about the high tariffs and export restrictions China applies. The EU has voiced their concerns in a written submission saying, "very concerned about and is not satisfied with the level of WTO compliance on a number of ... restrictions maintained by China." As part of agreement to join WTO, China promised to introduce a number of reforms and reviews. China has avoided answering the questions asked by Japan, EU and US.

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japan

Japan's Suzuki to Spend JPY187.9 billion

Japan's second largest carmakers, Suzuki, will spend JPY187.9 billion on a factory

Japan's second largest carmakers, Suzuki, will spend JPY187.9 billion on a factory in Shizuoka as it plans on adding diesel engines and gain more land. As fuel prices rise, so does the demand for smaller cars and diesel fuel. As environmental regulations are becoming stricter, diesel is becoming more prominent as diesel engines emit 20 percent less carbon dioxide. The new plant is expected to produce 260,000 cars and Suzuki is planning to construct a delivery center near the plant.

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japan

Japanese Securities Firm to Cut Down on US Business

As a result of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, Japan's largest securities firm, Nomura Holdings, will shut down its US residential mortgage backed business (RMBS).

As a result of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis, Japan's largest securities firm, Nomura Holdings, will shut down its US residential mortgage backed business (RMBS). By March, the company plans to cut 30 percent of its workforce in the US, over 400 jobs. It is expected to report a pretax loss of nearly USD621 million in its RMBS. Nomura President and CEO, Nobuyuki Koga said, "Nomura has faced challenges in the U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities market which have led to these disappointing results."

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japan

Japanese Food Processors Might Relocate from China to Thailand

According to the chairman of the Food Processing Industry Club of the Federation of Thai Industries, Japanese food processing companies that had relocated from Thailand to China in the past might return to Thailand.

According to the chairman of the Food Processing Industry Club of the Federation of Thai Industries, Japanese food processing companies that had relocated from Thailand to China, might return to Thailand. Growing concerns about chemical contamination and safety of food items produced in China could, in combination with the Japan-Thai Free Trade Agreement taking effect next month, be very beneficial for Thailand.

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japan

Japan Cuts Foreign Aid

With the potential burden of more dept, Japanese government officials have once again decided to cut funding for development assistance.

With the potential burden of more dept, Japanese government officials have once again decided to cut funding for development assistance. The World Bank has asked Japan to continue to provide foreign aid, as it could in time, provide a boost in it's own economy. According to Praful Patel, the World Bank's vice president for South Asia, South Asia is the fastest growing consumer population in the world, and if Japan helps increase the middle-class population, they will help create more consumers.

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japan

Thailand Trade Mission to Evaluate Rubber Demand in Japan and South Korea

Due to uncertainties in the world overall economy and rubber demand, Thailand will be conducting a trade mission to Japan and South Korea on Oct 14-20 for the first time in almost eight years.

Due to uncertainties in the world overall economy and rubber demand, Thailand will be conducting a trade mission to Japan and South Korea on Oct 14-20 for the first time in almost eight years. The aim of this mission is to evaluate and study the future growth demand of rubber. Thai exporters also attempt to attract large Japanese firms and processed rubber industries to invest in Thai businesses.

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japan

Japanese Property Boom Earns USD1.7 billion Investment from Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., plans to invest nearly JPY200 billion in Japanese property.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., plans to invest nearly JPY200 billion in Japanese property. For the first time in sixteen years, the Japanese land prices rose and Goldman Sachs has been buying numerous properties such as golf courses, cinemas, and spas. Morgan Stanley is also taking part in the Japanese commercial real estate market, agreeing to purchase, for JPY281.3 billion, thirteen hotels from All Nippon Airways Co. Land in major metropolitan areas is seeing a massive value increase, as land in Ginza, the central Tokyo district, costs almost JPY25.3 million per square meter. The value of property is still expected to increase, as it is not as high was it was at it's peak in 1991.

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japan

Japan-Thailand Free Trade Agreement

Japan will finally be conducting its free trade agreement with Thailand next month, after months of uncertainty over Thailand's military conditions.

Japan will finally be conducting its free trade agreement with Thailand next month, after months of uncertainty over Thailand's military conditions. The goal of this treaty is to stimulate and strengthen the economic relationship of both countries by permitting 97 percent of Japanese exports and 92 percent of Thai exports to Japan to be tax- free. Under this agreement, Thailand will also be lowering the taxes for automobile engines with 3000cc or larger by 20% and remove all taxes on steel imports and other commodities.

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japan

Japan's Takman Index Shows Business Confidence High

While several economists had predicted it would fall, the Tankan index of sentiment at large manufacturers stayed at 23 points

While several economists had predicted it would fall, the Tankan index of sentiment at large manufacturers stayed at 23 points, where it had previously been. The Tankan index is the key barometer of business confidence. The governor of Bank of Japan might raise interest rates, which are currently the lowest in the industrialised world. The Tankan shows that larger companies have increased their profit and sales estimates while it also shows there is a strong demand for workers. This index further proves Japan's confidence in the markets remains unaffected by the US subprime mortgage market.

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japan

Production in Japan Increases as well as Unemployment and Sales

Production in Japan reached an all time high, according to the Ministry of Economy, when it rose 3.4 percent since July.

Production in Japan reached an all time high, according to the Ministry of Economy, when it rose 3.4 percent since July. Household spending increased and industrial output boomed implying that the Japanese economy can easily recover from the U.S slowdown. Despite the slow-down of global growth, domestic demands in Japan will continue to support it's expansion. Both Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Corp.lead the growth in production as they recovered from an earthquake in July, which disrupted production. Despite the jobless rate still increasing, consumer prices dropped and retail sales rose. Although at this point it would appear that the Japanese economy has not been effected by the lack of U.S. growth, it is, however, expected by many economists that the increase in production in Japan will eventually cease.

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japan

Yunta In Talks With South Korea and Japan Re Strategic Alliance

Victor Ma, president and CEO of Yuanta Financial Holdings revealed yesterday that Yuanta officials will meet with their South Korean and Japanese counterparts from two major South Korean and one major Japanese security firms to discuss entering into a strategic alliance.

Victor Ma, president and CEO of Yuanta Financial Holdings revealed yesterday that Yuanta officials will meet with their South Korean and Japanese counterparts from two major South Korean and one major Japanese security firms to discuss entering into a strategic alliance. If this alliance goes forward the two prospective partners may hold u pto 5-10% state in Yunta, wnich currently boasts NT$83 billion of paid-in capital. Victor Ma noted that the prospective strategic alliance with the South Korean and Japanese Firms will greatly faciliate development of the company's international business, such as boosting capability of the company in sponsoring issuacne of GDR (global depository receipts) projected up to US$500 million, up from US$300 million presently.

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japan

Japan Post plans to Partner and Offer Mortgages

The world's largest financial institution, Japan Post, plans to form an alliance with Suruga Bank Ltd., and offer loans and mortgages to individuals when Japan Post becomes a private company on October first.

The world's largest financial institution, Japan Post, plans to form an alliance with Suruga Bank Ltd., and offer loans and mortgages to individuals when Japan Post becomes a private company on October first. Concerned banking leaders express their discontent and argue that as long as the government is Japan Post's largest shareholder, it should not be permitted to make new loans. If the deal is completed between Suruga and Japan Post, Japan Post will handle at it's branches the mortgages offered by Suruga. Approval to enter new business will not be secured until at the earliest, mid-2008.

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japan

Trade Surplus in Japan Quadruples

Japan's Ministry of Finance announced that a surge in the exporting of communication and auto equipment caused the trade surplus to nearly quadruple.

Japan's Ministry of Finance announced that a surge in the exporting of communication and auto equipment caused the trade surplus to nearly quadruple. Economists predicted a mere 39 percent increase; however, the actual gain was 287.6 percent. It is hoped that the tensions that arose in concern about Japanese export slowdown thus hindering the economic expansion will be eased upon news of the surplus increase.

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japan

Retail Giant enters Banking Industry

Retail giant and potential banking giant Aeon Co., has announced it's plan to entering the financial world by setting up Aeon Bank service counters at nearly 140 supermarkets nationwide.

Retail giant and potential banking giant Aeon Co., has announced it's plan to entering the financial world by setting up Aeon Bank service counters at nearly 140 supermarkets nationwide. The integration of both retail and financial services will be pioneered by Aeon as it hopes to provide financial services such as home loans, savings accounts, private pension plans as well as investment trusts. Aeon's goals remain high as it predicts to open 4.3 million accounts from it's target consumer of homemakers who shop at it's stores.

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japan

Economic Reform Under Fukuda Uncertain

The vision of Japan's economic policy remains unclear with the selection of Yasuo Fukuda as the new Prime Minister.

The vision of Japan's economic policy remains unclear with the selection of Yasuo Fukuda as the new Prime Minister. Although he personally favors reform, it is unknown if he is bold enough to implement them on his own. Fukuda, a strong traditionalist from the Liberal Democratic Party, is viewed as a symbol of stability after the rocky Abe administration. However, being placed in office by the LDP, Fukuda made it clear he will consult those who put him in power before implementing any policies.

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japan

HSBC Bank Expansions in Japan

HSBC Bank is determined to open its new branches in Japan next year, intending to attract high income, upper middle class individuals. Up to 35 new branches will be opened in major urban cities like Japan and Western city of Osaka.

HSBC Bank is determined to open its new branches in Japan next year, intending to attract high income, upper middle class individuals. Up to 35 new branches will be opened in major urban cities like Japan and Western city of Osaka. HSBC Bank only focuses on increasing its expansion, without considering any acquisitions as part of its developments strategies.

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Japan's Central Bank Governor Demands Interest Rates to Rise

Japan's Central Bank Governor Toshihiko Fukui is confident that the country's economy will continue to expand gradually. However, at the annual meeting of Japanese brokerages, he stressed the importance of rising interest rates and announced a gradual adjustment "in accordance with developments in the economy and prices."

Japan's Central Bank Governor Toshihiko Fukui is confident that the country's economy will continue to expand gradually. However, at the annual meeting of Japanese brokerages, he stressed the importance of rising interest rates and announced a gradual adjustment "in accordance with developments in the economy and prices."

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Osaka Gas Admits Deceptive Tactics for Obtaining Government Subsidies

Over the past 10 years, Osaka Gas acquired JPY 2.63 billion for 22 government subsidies through underhanded tactics. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry may demand refunds for these projects while an in-house committee will examine an additional 124 projects under scrutiny.

Over the past 10 years, Osaka Gas acquired JPY 2.63 billion for 22 government subsidies through underhanded tactics. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry may demand refunds for these projects while an in-house committee will examine an additional 124 projects under scrutiny.

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Japan, North Korea Envoys Mitigate Tensions on Mongolian Soil

The tense relationship of Japan and North Korea will hopefully begin to mollify as representatives from both nations have initiated talks in Ulan Bator concerning North Korea's nuclear program and past abductions of Japanese civilians by North Korean agents. This meeting is one of many working sessions established following the six nation deal agreed upon in February at Beijing that aimed to disarm and dismantle Pyongyang's nuclear programs. Japan is expected to take a hard stance on the kidnappings, where a resolution is imperative in order for both nations to consider normalized relations. North Korea is expected to seek a settlement for the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

The tense relationship of Japan and North Korea will hopefully begin to mollify as representatives from both nations have initiated talks in Ulan Bator concerning North Korea's nuclear program and past abductions of Japanese civilians by North Korean agents. This meeting is one of many working sessions established following the six nation deal agreed upon in February that aimed to disarm and dismantle Pyongyang's nuclear programs. Japan is expected to take a hard stance on the kidnappings, where a resolution is imperative in order for both nations to consider normalized relations. North Korea is expected to seek a settlement for the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

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North Korea Openly Invites Inspections of Nuclear Sites

According to statements made at the Asia-Pacific summit in Sydney by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, North Korea has invited experts from the U.S., China and Russia to survey disabled or soon to be disabled nuclear sites. The inspectors will travel to North Korea on September 11-15 examine the progress being made to identify and dismantle the communist country's nuclear facilities. In July, North Korea shut down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor and allowed international nuclear inspectors in the country for the first time in 5 years in exchange for energy and economic assistance.

According to statements made at the Asia-Pacific summit in Sydney by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, North Korea has invited experts from the U.S., China and Russia to survey disabled or soon to be disabled nuclear sites. The inspectors will travel to North Korea on September 11-15 to examine the progress being made to identify and dismantle the communist country's nuclear facilities. In July, North Korea shut down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor and allowed international nuclear inspectors in the country for the first time in 5 years in exchange for energy and economic assistance.

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India: New Renault- Nissan Business Center in Chennai

French automaker Renault and Japanese Nissan Motor are planning a 50/50 joint venture in Chennai. The new Business Center is expected to open in 2008, creating 1,500 jobs until 2010.

French automaker Renault and Japanese Nissan Motor are planning a 50/50 joint venture in Chennai. The new Business Center is expected to open in 2008, creating 1,500 jobs until 2010.

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Japanese Stocks Continue 3 Day Slide

As overseas investors reduce their real estate holdings in Japan on speculation that the Japanese property boom may be nearing an end, property developers including Sumitomo Realty & Development Co. led the slide in stocks on Wednesday in the Nikkei 225 and the Topix Index, a measure of real estate shares. Sumitomo Realty, Japan's third-largest developer, slid JPY 180, or 4.9 percent, to 3,520, while Mitsui Fudosan Co., the biggest, dropped JPY 120, or 4.1 percent, to 2,780. According to analysts, many banks are making a concerted effort to shrink their property lending divisions in the wake of the U.S. subprime rout. The Nikkei 225 skid 262.02, or 1.6 percent, to 16,158.45 while the Topix lost 27.27, or 1.7 percent, to 1,569.47 as trading closed in Tokyo.

As overseas investors reduce their real estate holdings in Japan on speculation that the Japanese property boom may be nearing an end, property developers including Sumitomo Realty & Development Co. led the slide in stocks on Wednesday in the Nikkei 225 and the Topix Index, a measure of real estate shares. Sumitomo Realty, Japan's third-largest developer, slid JPY 180, or 4.9 percent, to 3,520, while Mitsui Fudosan Co., the biggest, dropped JPY 120, or 4.1 percent, to 2,780. According to analysts, many banks are making a concerted effort to shrink their property lending divisions in the wake of the U.S. subprime rout. The Nikkei 225 skidded 262.02, or 1.6 percent, to 16,158.45 while the Topix lost 27.27, or 1.7 percent, to 1,569.47 as trading closed in Tokyo.

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Japan-EU Research Economic Partnership

Japan will begin joint research as early as next month with the European Union to decide whether the two parties should engage in an economic partnership. The EU, which is Japan's second largest export market, is expected to finalize a free trade agreement with South Korea by the year's end. This poses a threat to Japanese economics as South Korea and Japan are big competitors in the global markets.

Japan will begin joint research as early as next month with the European Union to decide whether the two parties should engage in an economic partnership. The EU, which is Japan's second largest export market, is expected to finalize a free trade agreement with South Korea by the year's end. This poses a threat to Japanese economics as South Korea and Japan are big competitors in the global markets.

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JPEPA Compared to Japanese Trade Agreements With Indonesia and Malaysia

IBON Foundation Inc, and independent research institution, has examined the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and found that it compares poorly to trade agreements Japan has formed with Malaysia and Indonesia. Japan's other trade pacts were used as comparisons because of the similar conditions for the trade deals, but IBON research head Sonny Africa has cited that the other countries were able to retain tariff protections on many more products and investment controls than the Philippines has under the JPEPA.

IBON Foundation Inc, and independent research institution, has examined the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and found that it compares poorly to trade agreements Japan has formed with Malaysia and Indonesia. Japan's other trade pacts were used as comparisons because of the similar conditions for the trade deals, but IBON research head Sonny Africa has cited that the other countries were able to retain tariff protections on many more products and investment controls than the Philippines has under the JPEPA.

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Japan Works to Improve Relations with Israel

In an effort to improve Japan's relations with Israel, Japan's Deputy Ambassador Kuninori Matsuda has canceled some of the visa restrictions on Israelis to Japan. This has the potential to increase cultural exposure and increase tourism, especially for business travel opportunities. There is a significant amount of interest in bringing the two countries' private sectors closer together in fields such as space research, medical equipment, and agricultural development, and improved political relations may pave the way for a better atmosphere for economic investments.

In an effort to improve Japan's relations with Israel, Japan's Deputy Ambassador Kuninori Matsuda has canceled some of the visa restrictions on Israelis to Japan. This has the potential to increase cultural exposure and increase tourism, especially for business travel opportunities. There is a significant amount interest in bringing the two countries' private sectors closer together in fields such as space research, medical equipment, and agricultural development, and improved political relations may pave thee way for a better atmosphere for economic investments.

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ASEAN, Japan Now Keen on Free Trade Area by November

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area.

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area. As part of Asean's annual summit of dialogue between trade ministers, Japan's Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari held meetings over the weekend in Manila with his Asean counterparts. Currently, Japan is Asean's largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) with direct spending rising 50 percent last year to USD 10.8 billion. According to Asean data, Asean-Japan trade totaled USD 154 billion in 2005, which accounted for 13 percent of the groups total exports and imports. Asean members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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Japan-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement Reached

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

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Japan and Malaysia Cooperate to Deal With Political and Security Issues

The two countries issued a joint statement stating that they will be promoting cooperation between themselves in order to deal with political and security issues facing the East Asia region. The areas of focus include economic, human resource development, environment and energy, as well as the international arena.

The two countries issued a joint statement stating that they will be promoting cooperation between themselves in order to deal with political and security issues facing the East Asia region. The areas of focus include economic, human resource development, environment and energy, as well as the international arena.

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Japan and New Zealand to Discuss Sharing Oil During Emergencies

Japan and New Zealand are in talks to discuss cooperation in the area of energy security. The talks could result in the sharing of oil stockpiles in the case of natural disasters and other emergencies.

Japan and New Zealand are in talks to discuss cooperation in the area of energy security. The talks could result in the sharing of oil stockpiles in the case of natural disasters and other emergencies.

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Japan Trade Surplus Falls

Japan, which relies on exports for economic growth, had trade surpluses fall in July for the first time in nine months. The strengthening of the yen, in conjunction with the current market turmoil, has caused a decrease in demand for Japanese exports while rising commodity prices result in an increase in Japan's imports bill.

Japan, which relies on exports for economic growth, had trade surpluses fall in July for the first time in nine months. The strengthening of the yen, in conjunction with the current market turmoil, has caused a decrease in demand for Japanese exports while rising commodity prices result in an increase in Japan's imports bill.

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Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement Beneficial and Constitutional

Amidst concerns that the economic partnership agreement would result in the Philippines' importing of Japan's toxic wastes, the Department of Justice in the Philippines has ruled that the deal with Japan is not only constitutional, but economically beneficial. Japan, as a member of the Basel Convention, is obligated not to allow exports of hazardous wastes. The agreement presents an opportunity for improved economic relations with Japan, and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez adds that it may later be discarded if conditions lead the treaty to become detrimental to national interests.

Amidst concerns that the economic partnership agreement would result in the Philippines' importing of Japan's toxic wastes, the Department of Justice in the Philippines has ruled that the deal with Japan is not only constitutional, but economically beneficial. Japan, as a member of the Basel Convention, is obligated not to allow exports of hazardous wastes. The agreement presents an opportunity for improved economic relations with Japan, and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez adds that it may later be discarded if conditions lead the treaty to become detrimental to national interests.

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Japan and Indonesia Sign Bilateral Agreement

Japan and Indonesia signed a bilateral agreement yesterday to expand their economic ties. Under the agreement, Japan and Indonesia will cut tariffs 90 percent and 93 percent, respectively. The pact will greatly improve trade and investment between the two countries, and will also enable semiprofessional Indonesian workers to enter Japan.

Japan and Indonesia signed a bilateral agreement yesterday to expand their economic ties. Under the agreement, Japan and Indonesia will cut tariffs 90 percent and 93 percent, respectively. The pact will greatly improve trade and investment between the two countries, and will also enable semiprofessional Indonesian workers to enter Japan.

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India and Japan to boost Cooperation

Japan's Prime Minister Shenzo Abe has arrived in India with a delegation of 200 business executives. The purpose of the visit is to boost cooperation with India, which had not lived up to expectations due to Japan's focus on China and Southeast Asian countries as partners. Preliminary estimates value the trade potential of the two countries at USD 14 billion by 2012.

Japan's Prime Minister Shenzo Abe has arrived in India with a delegation of 200 business executives. The purpose of the visit is to boost cooperation with India, which had not lived up to expectations due to Japan's focus on China and Southeast Asian countries as partners. Preliminary estimates value the trade potential of the two countries at USD 14 billion by 2012.

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Philippines' Senate Urged to Ratify Trade Deal

The Philippines government is urging the country's senate to help boost local exports through the ratification of a USD 4 billion trade deal with Japan. Since the deal was struck last year, Japan has pledged to employ 1,000 Philippine nurses, and Japan has since shown interest in investing in several of the Philippines' industries, including food, automotive and textile industries. If the trade deal is ratified, it is said to have the potential to create up to 300,000 jobs for Filipino workers.

The Philippines government is urging the country's senate to help boost local exports through the ratification of a USD 4 billion trade deal with Japan. Since the deal was struck last year, Japan has pledged to employ 1,000 Philippine nurses, and Japan has since shown interest in investing in several of the Philippines' industries, including food, automotive and textile industries. If the trade deal is ratified, it is said to have the potential to create up to 300,000 jobs for Filipino workers.

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Australia: Dollar Makes Gains for Second Day

After closing last week at a nine month low against the U.S. Dollar, the Australian Dollar (AUD) has gained for the second straight day to 80.70 U.S. cents with the help of advances by the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Analyst contribute much of the Aussie's continue gain to investors buying higher yielding assets with borrowed Japanese Yen (JPY). The AUD recovered from the year low against the JPY, as Japan's interest rate at 0.5 percent is paled by Australia's 6.5 percent interest rate, which spurs on carry trading.

After closing last week at a nine month low against the U.S. Dollar, the Australian Dollar (AUD) has gained for the second straight day to 80.70 U.S. cents with the help of advances by the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Analyst contribute much of the Aussie's continue gain to investors buying higher yielding assets with borrowed Japanese Yen (JPY). The AUD recovered from the year low against the JPY, as Japan's interest rate at 0.5 percent is paled by Australia's 6.5 percent interest rate, which spurs on carry trading.

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Sri Lanka: Exports to Japan Can Increase Through Regional Bloc Membership

While examining the offer of Japanese admission to join the Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), analysts close to Lanka Business Online see Sri Lanka's exporters benefiting from access to the developed country's market. Currently Sri Lanka's main exports to Japan are tea, fish, rubber products, textiles and precious stones, but Sri Lanka is held to Japanese tariff peaks on vegetable, live animal and animal product exports. Beyond trade, Japanese investment is also an attractive possibility for Sri Lanka when evaluating Japan as a member of BIMSTEC.

While examining the offer of Japanese admission to join the Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), analysts close to Lanka Business Online see Sri Lanka's exporters benefiting from access to the developed country's market. Currently Sri Lanka's main exports to Japan are tea, fish, rubber products, textiles and precious stones, but Sri Lanka is held to Japanese tariff peaks on vegetable, live animal and animal product exports. Beyond trade, Japanese investment is also an attractive possibility for Sri Lanka when evaluating Japan as a member of BIMSTEC.

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Indonesia and Japan Sign Free Trade Pact

After a negotiation period that spanned two years, Indonesia and Japan signed a wide-ranging free trade pact today, during a visit by Japanese Priminister Shinzo Abe to Indonesian Pressident Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will see reductions to zero for more than 90% of Japan's tariff's on 9,275 items.

After a negotiation period that spanned two years, Indonesia and Japan signed a wide-ranging free trade pact today, during a visit by Japanese Priminister Shinzo Abe to Indonesian Pressident Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will see reductions to zero for more than 90% of Japan's tariff's on 9,275 items.

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Bank of Japan Not Expected to Raise Interest Rates

According to Kyoto News in Japan, the Bank of Japan is not likely to raise interest rates at a policy board meeting next Thursday, keeping the overnight call rate target at 0.5 percent. Many traders are concerned that the central bank will increase interest rates as high as 0.75 percent due to the global credit squeeze, but the bank has said that it will increase interest rates only to reflect the economic and price improvements.

According to Kyoto News in Japan, the Bank of Japan is not likely to raise interest rates at a policy board meeting next Thursday, keeping the overnight call rate target at 0.5 percent. Many traders are concerned that the central bank will increase interest rates as high as 0.75 percent due to the global credit squeeze, but the bank has said that it will increase interest rates only to reflect the economic and price improvements.

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Yen Continues to Rise Amid Subprime Concerns

For the third day in a row, the yen may rise against the euro and the dollar due to US mortgage subprime losses. The losses have put pressure on investors to cut less secure assets funded by loans in Japan. The yen reached a four-month high against the euro Tuesday as traders left the carry trade.

For the third day in a row, the yen may rise against the euro and the dollar due to US mortgage subprime losses. The losses have put pressure on investors to cut less secure assets funded by loans in Japan. The yen reached a four-month high against the euro Tuesday as traders left the carry trade.

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Japan Loans India INR 13.45 Billion For Development Projects

Japan has agreed to lend India INR 13.45 billion to be used for developmental projects, including the Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project, which will have a 1.3 percent interest rate per annum. The loan is part of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) package, and will be supplied to India in two parts. The repayment period is 30 years, with a grace period of ten years.

Japan has agreed to lend India INR 13.45 billion to be used for developmental projects, including the Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project, which will have a 1.3 percent interest rate per annum. The loan is part of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) package, and will be supplied to India in two parts. The repayment period is 30 years, with a grace period of ten years.

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Slow Growth in Japanese Investment Trust Holdings of Foreign Assets

Japanese investment trust holdings have shown little growth, primarily due to the yen's continued appreciation which is cutting the value of overseas investments. Trust holdings of foreign assets rose USD 849.5 million, the smallest amount of growth in over a year. The yen appreciated 4 percent against the dollar last month after hitting a 4 and a half year low in June.

Japanese investment trust holdings have shown little growth, primarily due to the yen's continued appreciation which is cutting the value of overseas investments. Trust holdings of foreign assets rose USD 849.5 million, the smallest amount of growth in over a year. The yen appreciated 4 percent against the dollar last month after hitting a 4 and a half year low in June.

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Aussie Dollar Slides Amid U.S. Subprime Credit Woes

In what currently has been the largest currency fluctuation of the day, the Australian dollar dropped as credit market losses spurred investors to unload high-yielding assets procured through carry trades. As the Aussie slid for the third straight week vis-à-vis the yen (JPY), risk-averse investors have slowly diminished their practice of buying high-yielding assets with funds borrowed in Japan. Analysts attribute the paring of the carry trades to BNP Paribas SA, France's largest bank, suspending withdrawals from funds that own subprime mortgages.

In what currently has been the largest currency fluctuation of the day, the Australian dollar dropped as credit market losses spurred investors to unload high-yielding assets procured through carry trades. As the Aussie slid for the third straight week vis-à-vis the yen (JPY), risk-averse investors have slowly diminished their practice of buying high-yielding assets with funds borrowed in Japan. Analysts attribute the paring of the carry trades to BNP Paribas SA, France's largest bank, suspending withdrawals from funds that own subprime mortgages.

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Japan's Central Bank Puts JPY 1 Trillion Into Money Markets

In the midst of the Tokyo stock plunge and US subprime mortgage concerns, Japan's central bank put USD 8.4 billion into money markets in an effort to avoid an overnight jump in a key interest rate. Japanese Economic Minister Hiroko Ota said Friday: "It's hard to tell how the subprime issue will affect the Japanese economic. Its impact on the country's real economy is limited, but I will closely monitor its effects."

In the midst of the Tokyo stock plunge and US subprime mortgage concerns, Japan's central bank put USD 8.4 billion into money markets in an effort to avoid an overnight jump in a key interest rate. Japanese Economic Minister Hiroko Ota said Friday: "It's hard to tell how the subprime issue will affect the Japanese economic. Its impact on the country's real economy is limited, but I will closely monitor its effects."

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Concerns in Subprime Mortgage Market Affect Yen, Euro

Due to concerns in the US subprime mortgage market, many investors have stopped trades financed with the yen, leading the currency to swell quickly. France's BNP Paribas, one of Europe's biggest banks, temporarily suspended redemptions at three funds worth EUR 1.6 billion, causing the euro to fall 2 percent against the yen and 1 percent against the US dollar.

Due to concerns in the US subprime mortgage market, many investors have stopped trades financed with the yen, leading the currency to swell quickly. France's BNP Paribas, one of Europe's biggest banks, temporarily suspended redemptions at three funds worth EUR 1.6 billion, causing the euro to fall 2 percent against the yen and 1 percent against the US dollar.

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Yen Falls With US Dollar

The yen fell across the board Wednesday as the US dollar declined following a Federal Reserve statement that cooled expectations for a US interest rate cut. According to Kathy Lien, a strategist at DailyFX.com, "Carry (trading) is moving in lockstep with stocks, so we're seeing a weaker yen." The yen is currently trading at approximately 118.68 to the dollar.

The yen fell across the board Wednesday as the US dollar declined following a Federal Reserve statement that cooled expectations for a US interest rate cut. According to Kathy Lien, a strategist at DailyFX.com, "Carry (trading) is moving in lockstep with stocks, so we're seeing a weaker yen." The yen is currently trading at approximately 118.68 to the dollar.

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Bank of Japan Expected to Raise Rates

The International Monetary fund increased its forecast for Japan's growth Tuesday after the government revised its outlook on exports and jobs upward. The move intensified expectations that the central bank of Japan will raise rates. Further emphasizing these expectations, according to the governor of the Bank of Japan, is the fact that there was no change to the bank's assessment despite the global market slump as of late.

The International Monetary fund increased its forecast for Japan's growth Tuesday after the government revised its outlook on exports and jobs upward. The move intensified expectations that the central bank of Japan will raise rates. Further emphasizing these expectations, according to the governor of the Bank of Japan, is the fact that there was no change to the bank's assessment despite the global market slump as of late.

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Japan Metal Company Buys Thai Shares

One of Japan's major metal trading and processing companies, Metal One Corporation, has acquired a 5 percent holding in Thailand's Thai Metal Trade Plc, with 21.25 million shares purchased for THB 112 million. The president of Metal One, Moriji Kanada, said Monday that the purchase was an attempt to strengthen cooperation between the two companies and improve Japan's business in Thailand.

One of Japan's major metal trading and processing companies, Metal One Corporation, has acquired a 5 percent holding in Thailand's Thai Metal Trade Plc, with 21.25 million shares purchased for THB 112 million. The president of Metal One, Moriji Kanada, said Monday that the purchase was an attempt to strengthen cooperation between the two companies and improve Japan's business in Thailand.

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ROK: Six Party Economic Working Group Meeting Opens

The six-party working group (South Korea, North Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and Japan) on economic and energy aid to North Korea opened in the truce village of Panmunjeom, South Korea on Tuesday. At the meeting North Korea is expected to talk about what it wants to receive in return for implementing second-phase measure to disable its nuclear facilities. North Korea will be given economic and energy aid equivalent to 950 thousand tons of heavy fuel oil if it completes the nuclear facilities' disablement under February's denuclearization agreement.

The six-party working group (South Korea, North Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and Japan) on economic and energy aid to North Korea opened in the truce village of Panmunjeom, South Korea on Tuesday. At the meeting North Korea is expected to talk about what it wants to receive in return for implementing second-phase measure to disable its nuclear facilities. North Korea will be given economic and energy aid equivalent to 950 thousand tons of heavy fuel oil if it completes the nuclear facilities' disablement under February's denuclearization agreement.

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Japan Expected To See Economic Growth This Year

According to Japan's cabinet office, the country's economy is expected to grow 2.1 percent this fiscal year. Additionally, the cabinet office predicted zero growth in the consumer price index, instead of the 0.5 percent previously expected. The forecast is based on the latest economic indicators, but it has not yet been approved by the government as the official growth forecast.

According to Japan's cabinet office, the country's economy is expected to grow 2.1 percent this fiscal year. Additionally, the cabinet office predicted zero growth in the consumer price index, instead of the 0.5 percent previously expected. The forecast is based on the latest economic indicators, but it has not yet been approved by the government as the official growth forecast.

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The Bank for International Settlements’ Report: Potential Global Crisis

This report is based on the Bank for International Settlements' 77th Annual Report released June 24, 2007 in Basel, Switzerland.


The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) forecasts all manner of dismal future trends in its 77th Annual Report. The BIS telegraphs through their report that current global growth is not sustainable and there is a strong probability that the credit boom may ignite a long-lasting global crisis not unlike that of the Great Depression of the 1930s or the East Asian Financial Crisis of the 1990s.

The Bank (BIS) states that recently "real growth has been maintained around levels that are among the highest recorded" and "despite significant upward shocks to most commodity prices, underlying inflation levels have generally remained subdued." The Bank also affirms that "real interest rates and risk premia of all sorts have remained uncharacteristically low" and "global trade imbalances have thus far been easily financed and exchange rates have been generally quite stable." Although some economists believe that this exuberant growth is sustainable, the BIS addresses certain issues in the current global economy that could possibly lead to serious problems in the near future.

Although inflationary pressures are suppressed right now, the threat of global inflation is real as growth in industrialized countries is slowing and growth in developing countries is rapidly increasing. The Annual Report highlights the Chinese government's failed attempts to slow growth by tightening monetary policies perpetuating "robust broad money and credit growth" that could increase inflationary pressure and has "raised questions for some central banks about sustainable growth." Currently, lenders are increasingly willing to extend risky credit to corporations with inflated debt levels. In addition to increased sovereign, corporate and personal credit around the world, the cost of raw materials is increasing, which will only add to global inflationary pressure. Despite the signaling of these cautionary markers in the Annual Report, the long-term effects of this credit boom are unknown.

Another important uncertainty in the global market is the effect of the all-time high ratio of house prices to rents in the United States. According to the BIS, wages are not increasing sufficiently to support the increase in consumer spending and investment, citizens are increasing personal debt, and mortgage rates continue to rise. If housing prices decline there may be steep deceleration in US growth and dire consequences for social infrastructure. The United States economy still has a large impact on the world economy and any downturn in the US housing market could have significant effects on global growth. According to the United Nations' "World Economic Situation and Prospects 2007," the occurrence of a plunge in US housing prices will considerably weaken global growth and cause problems in financial markets around the world.

The Bank comments that global trade imbalances are important medium-term uncertainties. Many economists believe that the US external imbalance is unsustainable and will eventually adjust. According to the Annual Report, the uncertainty lies in the possibility of "large and perhaps abrupt movements in exchange rates" or whether "capital inflows needed to finance such deficits will be available" in the future.

The Bank asserts two reasons to explain how public sector inflows may become unreliable. First, country currencies may rise as a result of government "hands-off" policies rooted in distorted beliefs regarding effects of government intervention. Second, current holders of large reserves of US dollars may start to favor reserves in other currencies.

The Bank acknowledges that many people believe "individual asset price increases are justified and therefore more likely to be sustainable" but it also portends that "market reaction to good news might have become irrationally exuberant." If the latter is the case, purchasers of risky investments could be vulnerable in the long run. Banks, global players, and companies have been encouraged to invest in risky instruments based on low expected loss, but there is a probability of an unwelcome shock that would have massive consequences.

Based on the above excerpts from the Annual Report and the economic analysis of all the issues affecting the conclusions stated in the report, it appears that the global economy is vulnerable and growth may not be sustained.

This report is based on the Bank for International Settlements' 77th Annual Report released June 24, 2007 in Basel, Switzerland.


The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) forecasts all manner of dismal future trends in its 77th Annual Report. The BIS telegraphs through their report that current global growth is not sustainable and there is a strong probability that the credit boom may ignite a long-lasting global crisis not unlike that of the Great Depression of the 1930s or the East Asian Financial Crisis of the 1990s.

The Bank (BIS) states that recently "real growth has been maintained around levels that are among the highest recorded" and "despite significant upward shocks to most commodity prices, underlying inflation levels have generally remained subdued." The Bank also affirms that "real interest rates and risk premia of all sorts have remained uncharacteristically low" and "global trade imbalances have thus far been easily financed and exchange rates have been generally quite stable." Although some economists believe that this exuberant growth is sustainable, the BIS addresses certain issues in the current global economy that could possibly lead to serious problems in the near future.

Although inflationary pressures are suppressed right now, the threat of global inflation is real as growth in industrialized countries is slowing and growth in developing countries is rapidly increasing. The Annual Report highlights the Chinese government's failed attempts to slow growth by tightening monetary policies perpetuating "robust broad money and credit growth" that could increase inflationary pressure and has "raised questions for some central banks about sustainable growth." Currently, lenders are increasingly willing to extend risky credit to corporations with inflated debt levels. In addition to increased sovereign, corporate and personal credit around the world, the cost of raw materials is increasing, which will only add to global inflationary pressure. Despite the signaling of these cautionary markers in the Annual Report, the long-term effects of this credit boom are unknown.

Another important uncertainty in the global market is the effect of the all-time high ratio of house prices to rents in the United States. According to the BIS, wages are not increasing sufficiently to support the increase in consumer spending and investment, citizens are increasing personal debt, and mortgage rates continue to rise. If housing prices decline there may be steep deceleration in US growth and dire consequences for social infrastructure. The United States economy still has a large impact on the world economy and any downturn in the US housing market could have significant effects on global growth. According to the United Nations' "World Economic Situation and Prospects 2007," the occurrence of a plunge in US housing prices will considerably weaken global growth and cause problems in financial markets around the world.

The Bank comments that global trade imbalances are important medium-term uncertainties. Many economists believe that the US external imbalance is unsustainable and will eventually adjust. According to the Annual Report, the uncertainty lies in the possibility of "large and perhaps abrupt movements in exchange rates" or whether "capital inflows needed to finance such deficits will be available" in the future.

The Bank asserts two reasons to explain how public sector inflows may become unreliable. First, country currencies may rise as a result of government "hands-off" policies rooted in distorted beliefs regarding effects of government intervention. Second, current holders of large reserves of US dollars may start to favor reserves in other currencies.

The Bank acknowledges that many people believe "individual asset price increases are justified and therefore more likely to be sustainable" but it also portends that "market reaction to good news might have become irrationally exuberant." If the latter is the case, purchasers of risky investments could be vulnerable in the long run. Banks, global players, and companies have been encouraged to invest in risky instruments based on low expected loss, but there is a probability of an unwelcome shock that would have massive consequences.

Based on the above excerpts from the Annual Report and the economic analysis of all the issues affecting the conclusions stated in the report, it appears that the global economy is vulnerable and growth may not be sustained.

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Corporate Social Responsibility: The Asian Impact

Over the years, Asian companies have begun to realize the significant effects that corporate social responsibility can have on businesses, employees and stakeholders alike. The move towards building more socially responsible enterprises has been gradually gaining momentum across the region. In recent years, many Asian governments have initiated a series of measures aimed at encouraging private organizations to participate more effectively in community development projects. This, they believe, will not only help raise the economic welfare of the local populace but also result in a more equitable distribution of domestic economic resources. Such steps are critical if the end goal of preventing the lopsided concentration of economic power in the region and ultimately promoting social stability are to be achieved in the near future.

CSR: The story so far

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not an entirely unknown concept in the Asian region. In the past, national leaders like Indira Gandhi of India and Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, have stressed that local businesses should act with a greater sense of responsibility and consider the social, moral and environmental consequences of their enterprises and their resultant effects on the safety and well-being of the communities which they serve. However, the overall record of many countries on the ethical business front has been disappointing. This has been attributed to factors like poor work conditions prevalent in many factories existing in the low-cost manufacturing hubs of the region and the lack of concerted efforts on the part of local governments to enforce stricter compliance standards for both domestic and foreign companies. In recent years, much criticism has been directed toward developed countries for using developing nations as a dumping ground for "e-waste" and other environmentally hazardous materials. There has been a spike in the number of mass protests and demonstrations being staged by international and local human rights groups to highlight the abysmal work conditions and massive exploitation of human labor being carried out in particular countries. Also, certain organizations like India's ICICI (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) are already leading the way in terms of incorporating more employee-centric policies and promoting a greater degree of transparency in their financial reporting and public accountability standards. These organizations clearly believe that the private sector should play a greater role in improving infrastructure, health and safety standards in the local economies and act as a catalyst in the broader economic development process. Even corporate heavyweights like Nike have started implementing better corporate standards in Indonesia after the backlash they received in the international news media over the unfair labor standards..

Future of CSR in the region

Despite all the above measures, the overall success on the CSR front remains largely limited. There are several corporations who believe that advancing the greater common good and realizing bigger profits are mutually exclusive goals. Also, questions have been raised about the efficacy of the CSR initiatives undertaken by the companies in the region. It is believed that the kind of CSR that merely goes through the motions, delivering no new resources to worthy causes gives the firm's workers or customers no good reason to think more highly of it (perhaps the opposite) and may ultimately involve a net loss of welfare. This occurs when the costs of enforcing the requisite CSR measures outweigh the overall social welfare gains realized. Therefore, organizations that desperately want to be perceived in a flattering light by the general public must rationally consider the potential costs and resultant benefits arising from the various socially responsible initiatives that are implemented. Only then can corporate social responsibility truly fulfill its role of achieving a fairer distribution of resources, thereby disseminating the benefits of social welfare across the various strata of society across the Asian region.

Over the years, Asian companies have begun to realize the significant effects that corporate social responsibility can have on businesses, employees and stakeholders alike. The move towards building more socially responsible enterprises has been gradually gaining momentum across the region. In recent years, many Asian governments have initiated a series of measures aimed at encouraging private organizations to participate more effectively in community development projects. This, they believe, will not only help raise the economic welfare of the local populace but also result in a more equitable distribution of domestic economic resources. Such steps are critical if the end goal of preventing the lopsided concentration of economic power in the region and ultimately promoting social stability are to be achieved in the near future.

CSR: The story so far

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not an entirely unknown concept in the Asian region. In the past, national leaders like Indira Gandhi of India and Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, have stressed that local businesses should act with a greater sense of responsibility and consider the social, moral and environmental consequences of their enterprises and their resultant effects on the safety and well-being of the communities which they serve. However, the overall record of many countries on the ethical business front has been disappointing. This has been attributed to factors like poor work conditions prevalent in many factories existing in the low-cost manufacturing hubs of the region and the lack of concerted efforts on the part of local governments to enforce stricter compliance standards for both domestic and foreign companies. In recent years, much criticism has been directed toward developed countries for using developing nations as a dumping ground for "e-waste" and other environmentally hazardous materials. There has been a spike in the number of mass protests and demonstrations being staged by international and local human rights groups to highlight the abysmal work conditions and massive exploitation of human labor being carried out in particular countries. Also, certain organizations like India's ICICI (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) are already leading the way in terms of incorporating more employee-centric policies and promoting a greater degree of transparency in their financial reporting and public accountability standards. These organizations clearly believe that the private sector should play a greater role in improving infrastructure, health and safety standards in the local economies and act as a catalyst in the broader economic development process. Even corporate heavyweights like Nike have started implementing better corporate standards in Indonesia after the backlash they received in the international news media over the unfair labor standards..

Future of CSR in the region

Despite all the above measures, the overall success on the CSR front remains largely limited. There are several corporations who believe that advancing the greater common good and realizing bigger profits are mutually exclusive goals. Also, questions have been raised about the efficacy of the CSR initiatives undertaken by the companies in the region. It is believed that the kind of CSR that merely goes through the motions, delivering no new resources to worthy causes gives the firm's workers or customers no good reason to think more highly of it (perhaps the opposite) and may ultimately involve a net loss of welfare. This occurs when the costs of enforcing the requisite CSR measures outweigh the overall social welfare gains realized. Therefore, organizations that desperately want to be perceived in a flattering light by the general public must rationally consider the potential costs and resultant benefits arising from the various socially responsible initiatives that are implemented. Only then can corporate social responsibility truly fulfill its role of achieving a fairer distribution of resources, thereby disseminating the benefits of social welfare across the various strata of society across the Asian region.

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japan

Private Equity Firm in Asia: An Emerging Presence in Emerging Economies

Over the past decade, the amount of private equity deals in Asia has grown exponentially. According to Dealogic, the total value of private equity deals in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, tripled in 2006 to USD 26 billion. This has been attributed to factors like strong economic growth in the region, severe competition for deals in the developed markets of Europe and America and more efficient local capital markets in the Asian region. Moreover, there exists a vast network of domestic companies in these emerging economies that have an immense desire to acquire global recognition via the expertise and network of foreign investors. Factors like shoddy infrastructure, poor corporate governance standards, hostile local governments, severe shortage of skilled personnel and a relatively higher cost of borrowing, however, may tend to severely disrupt the current pace of expansion. It is critical for the governments of these emerging economies to take the requisite measures to remove the aforementioned shortcomings if they still hope to remain attractive investment destinations in the near future.

Challenges to growth

Private equity firms primarily function as follows: They purchase publicly traded companies, take them private, restructure the acquired firms in the hope of reselling these companies at a huge profit a couple of years later. Yet in countries like India-despite the active presence of several heavyweights of the private equity arena like the Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, the Blackstone Group etc.-the size and volume of the deals have been comparatively smaller as compared to similar deals being struck in North America and Europe. In fact, most of the big private-equity deals in India so far have involved the purchase of small, passive stakes in companies. This is an unusual strategy for most of the big players who prefer to call the shots by acquiring a controlling stake in the target companies. In India, this can be explained by the fact that most large, publicly traded companies are family-owned, which makes it extremely difficult for a foreign company to aspire to buy a majority stake. Even more, these private equity firms are viewed with a considerable degree of suspicion by local governments and local citizens. The massive restructuring steps that typically accompany any large private equity deal invariably do result in countless jobs being lost and other cost-cutting measures. Another factor limiting the size of the deals in the region is the fact that most emerging economies of Asia like China and India remain grossly overvalued, which drives up the prices that the acquirer would have to pay for deals being struck with potential targets. According to a survey conducted by the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, most of the private equity firms seek returns of at least 25 percent on their investments in the emerging economies.

One principal reason why bank shares in a country like Taiwan seem particularly attractive to the private equity players is the fact that these shares are some of the region's least expensive-trading at an average of 1.1 times 2007 book value as compared to 1.5 for the South Korean banks and 2.8 for the mainland China bank shares.

What lies ahead?

Despite the above setbacks, Asia still has immense growth potential as a region for several private equity players. Industry giants like Texas Pacific, which has earmarked roughly USD 4 billion for the future in the region, desire to make continued investments in Asia. Although these private equity players are driven primarily by the profit motive, they can still prove to be an advantage to the local economies they invest in. They possess the requisite global expertise, immense international experience, a highly professional code of conduct and a wide network. All these strengths can be leveraged by ambitious domestic firms who partner with these firms in the hope of eventually growing into full-fledged thriving global players in the years to come. Thus, the influx of long-term capital into Asia, coupled with the potential advantages that can be realized by the local firms via mutually advantageous partnerships with foreign firms, can help to further accelerate the economic expansion process in the Asian region in the immediate future.

Over the past decade, the amount of private equity deals in Asia has grown exponentially. According to Dealogic, the total value of private equity deals in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, tripled in 2006 to USD 26 billion. This has been attributed to factors like strong economic growth in the region, severe competition for deals in the developed markets of Europe and America and more efficient local capital markets in the Asian region. Moreover, there exists a vast network of domestic companies in these emerging economies that have an immense desire to acquire global recognition via the expertise and network of foreign investors. Factors like shoddy infrastructure, poor corporate governance standards, hostile local governments, severe shortage of skilled personnel and a relatively higher cost of borrowing, however, may tend to severely disrupt the current pace of expansion. It is critical for the governments of these emerging economies to take the requisite measures to remove the aforementioned shortcomings if they still hope to remain attractive investment destinations in the near future.

Challenges to growth

Private equity firms primarily function as follows: They purchase publicly traded companies, take them private, restructure the acquired firms in the hope of reselling these companies at a huge profit a couple of years later. Yet in countries like India-despite the active presence of several heavyweights of the private equity arena like the Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, the Blackstone Group etc.-the size and volume of the deals have been comparatively smaller as compared to similar deals being struck in North America and Europe. In fact, most of the big private-equity deals in India so far have involved the purchase of small, passive stakes in companies. This is an unusual strategy for most of the big players who prefer to call the shots by acquiring a controlling stake in the target companies. In India, this can be explained by the fact that most large, publicly traded companies are family-owned, which makes it extremely difficult for a foreign company to aspire to buy a majority stake. Even more, these private equity firms are viewed with a considerable degree of suspicion by local governments and local citizens. The massive restructuring steps that typically accompany any large private equity deal invariably do result in countless jobs being lost and other cost-cutting measures. Another factor limiting the size of the deals in the region is the fact that most emerging economies of Asia like China and India remain grossly overvalued, which drives up the prices that the acquirer would have to pay for deals being struck with potential targets. According to a survey conducted by the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, most of the private equity firms seek returns of at least 25 percent on their investments in the emerging economies.

One principal reason why bank shares in a country like Taiwan seem particularly attractive to the private equity players is the fact that these shares are some of the region's least expensive-trading at an average of 1.1 times 2007 book value as compared to 1.5 for the South Korean banks and 2.8 for the mainland China bank shares.

What lies ahead?

Despite the above setbacks, Asia still has immense growth potential as a region for several private equity players. Industry giants like Texas Pacific, which has earmarked roughly USD 4 billion for the future in the region, desire to make continued investments in Asia. Although these private equity players are driven primarily by the profit motive, they can still prove to be an advantage to the local economies they invest in. They possess the requisite global expertise, immense international experience, a highly professional code of conduct and a wide network. All these strengths can be leveraged by ambitious domestic firms who partner with these firms in the hope of eventually growing into full-fledged thriving global players in the years to come. Thus, the influx of long-term capital into Asia, coupled with the potential advantages that can be realized by the local firms via mutually advantageous partnerships with foreign firms, can help to further accelerate the economic expansion process in the Asian region in the immediate future.

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japan

Indonesia - Japan EPA Implementation to Begin in November

The Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which is scheduled to be signed on August 20 is expected to be implemented in November, said the Trade Minister of Indonesia, Mari Elka Pangestu. With the agreement Indonesia hopes to increase its export market share for a variety of its products in Japan. At present Japan contributes to 20 percent of Indonesia's total exports. Japan also agrees to assist Indonesia on various sectors (energy, manufacturing, agriculture, fishery) and in export promotion and promotion of small and medium enterprises.

The Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which is scheduled to be signed on August 20 is expected to be implemented in November, said the Trade Minister of Indonesia, Mari Elka Pangestu. With the agreement Indonesia hopes to increase its export market share for a variety of its products in Japan. At present Japan contributes to 20 percent of Indonesia's total exports. Japan also agrees to assist Indonesia on various sectors (energy, manufacturing, agriculture, fishery) and in export promotion and promotion of small and medium enterprises.

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South Korea and Japan Conclude Open Sky Agreement

South Korea and Japan have agreed to liberalize aviation so that both passengers and freight can fly freely between Japan and South Korea, except for flights serving Tokyo. Previously, Japan had limited the service to certain cities, but now Korean airlines may choose the times and locations wherever international flight is possible.

South Korea and Japan have agreed to liberalize aviation so that both passengers and freight can fly freely between Japan and South Korea, except for flights serving Tokyo. Previously, Japan had limited the service to certain cities, but now Korean airlines may choose the times and locations wherever international flight is possible.

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japan

Japan: Mazda's Profit Drops 62 Percent For April to June

On Tuesday Japanese automaker Mazda reported a profit drop of 62 percent for April to June, but announced that its forecast for a record profit for the whole year had not changed. The company attributed the loss to foreign-exchange-related accounting expenses and greater research investment, and said that the slide had been within expectations.

On Tuesday Japanese automaker Mazda reported a profit drop of 62 percent for April to June, but announced that its forecast for a record profit for the whole year had not changed. The company attributed the loss to foreign-exchange-related accounting expenses and greater research investment, and said that the slide had been within expectations.

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japan

Land Prices in Japan On The Rise

Land prices in Japan have escalated this year, growing 8.6 percent since January. The prices have surged JPY 10,000 and now sit at JPY 126,000. According to analysts, increasing property investments and development products have pushed prices higher in urban areas. In Tokyo, the average land price grew 13.1 percent, compared to its 3.5 percent rise last year.

Land prices in Japan have escalated this year, growing 8.6 percent since January. The prices have surged JPY 10,000 and now sit at JPY 126,000. According to analysts, increasing property investments and development products have pushed prices higher in urban areas. In Tokyo, the average land price grew 13.1 percent, compared to its 3.5 percent rise last year.

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japan

Indonesian Minister Embarks on Nuclear Energy Mission to South Korea and Japan

Dr. Carunia Mulya Firdausy, the Indonesian Minister of Research and Technology, has embarked on a 10-day working mission with the Ministry of Economic, Trade and Industrial Affairs (METI) to oversee Japanese and Korean nuclear energy development and control. Dr. Firdausy stated that this is the time for Indonesia to learn from both South Korea and Japan in order to implement the development of a nuclear energy program. Through scouring new forms of renewable energy, Dr. Firdausy commented that Indonesia can no longer depend simply on oil and alternative sources of energy need to be explored.

Dr. Carunia Mulya Firdausy, the Indonesian Minister of Research and Technology, has embarked on a 10-day working mission with the Ministry of Economic, Trade and Industrial Affairs (METI) to oversee Japanese and Korean nuclear energy development and control. Dr. Firdausy stated that this is the time for Indonesia to learn from both South Korea and Japan in order to implement the development of a nuclear energy program. Through scouring new forms of renewable energy, Dr. Firdausy commented that Indonesia can no longer depend simply on oil and alternative sources of energy need to be explored.

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japan

Stock Exchange of Thailand Drops as Concerns about BoJ Interest Rates Rise

The Stock Exchange of Thailand lost 3.82 points yesterday, down from 863.58, as shares fell 0.44 percent on spillover from last week's global sell-off. Nasit Prasertkul, a strategist at Far East Securities, said many investors are worried about a possible rise in interest rates by the Bank of Japan in the upcoming month. Prasertkul said: "The yen has appreciated while Japanese interest rates are going to rise. So, it's normal to see fund managers who obtained yen carry trades dumping their positions to reduce risk."

The Stock Exchange of Thailand lost 3.82 points yesterday, down from 863.58, as shares fell 0.44 percent on spillover from last week's global sell-off. Nasit Prasertkul, a strategist at Far East Securities, said many investors are worried about a possible rise in interest rates by the Bank of Japan in the upcoming month. Prasertkul said: "The yen has appreciated while Japanese interest rates are going to rise. So, it's normal to see fund managers who obtained yen carry trades dumping their positions to reduce risk."

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japan

Japan Unemployment at 9-Year Low

Japan has experienced a significant decrease in its unemployment rate, falling to a nine-year low of 3.7 percent in June. Japan is currently undergoing its longest economic recovery since World War II, but analysts believe the tightening job market will help to bring about a solid improvement. Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Hiroko Ota said Monday: "The tone of the economic recovery is firm."

Japan has experienced a significant decrease in its unemployment rate, falling to a nine-year low of 3.7 percent in June. Japan is currently undergoing its longest economic recovery since World War II, but analysts believe the tightening job market will help to bring about a solid improvement. Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Hiroko Ota said Monday: "The tone of the economic recovery is firm."

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Sout Korea: Trade Balance with US, China, Japan Declines

The Korean trade balance with the United States, China, and Japan is weakening although its overall trade situation remains strong. The Korea Custom Service has reported the increase in South Korea's trade deficit with Japan, the decrease in nation's trade surplus with China, and also declines in the US bound exporting rate.

The Korean trade balance with the United States, China, and Japan is weakening although its overall trade situation remains strong. The Korea Custom Service has reported the increase in South Korea's trade deficit with Japan, the decrease in nation's trade surplus with China, and also declines in the US bound exporting rate.

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japan

Japan Output Increase May Signify Bank of Japan Rate Hike

Japan saw an increase in industrial output last month at 1.2 percent, marking its first increase in four months. Some economists, including Takehiro Sato at Morgan Stanley, predict this increase may be indicative of a Bank of Japan rate hike.

Japan saw an increase in industrial output last month at 1.2 percent, marking its first increase in four months. Some economists, including Takehiro Sato at Morgan Stanley, predict this increase may be indicative of a Bank of Japan rate hike.

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Asian Stocks Plunge as US Housing Slump Deepens

Asian stocks extended a rout that erased USD 1.3 trillion in global market value yesterday, as the Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slipped 3 percent to hit 154.45 at 7:33 pm in Tokyo. It is the index's largest decline since March 5 and worst weekly performance of the year. All markets in the region declined with the exception of China. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 2.4 percent, while the benchmark indices of South Korea (Kospi) and Taiwan (Taiex) both dropping more than 4 percent.

Asian stocks extended a rout that erased USD 1.3 trillion in global market value yesterday, as the Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slipped 3 percent to hit 154.45 at 7:33 pm in Tokyo. It is the index's largest decline since March 5 and worst weekly performance of the year. All markets in the region declined with the exception of China. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 2.4 percent, while the benchmark indices of South Korea (Kospi) and Taiwan (Taiex) both dropping more than 4 percent.

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japan

Bank of Japan Undecided on Rate Hike Timing

Bank of Japan (BOJ) Policy Board members are undecided on when they will next raise interest rates and are refusing to discuss speculation as to whether it will occur in August or not, as the factors influencing a decision could change as the meeting draws near. Between now and their August 22-23 meeting, the Policy Board will be able to gauge the effects of the July 29 Upper House election, second-quarter GDP data, and additional data concerning production, prices and consumer spending. Japan's key overnight lending rate of 0.5 percent remains the lowest in the industrialized world.

Bank of Japan (BOJ) Policy Board members are undecided on when they will next raise interest rates and are refusing to discuss speculation as to whether it will occur in August or not, as the factors influencing a decision could change as the meeting draws near. Between now and their August 22-23 meeting, the Policy Board will be able to gauge the effects of the July 29 Upper House election, second-quarter GDP data, and additional data concerning production, prices and consumer spending. Japan's key overnight lending rate of 0.5 percent remains the lowest in the industrialized world.

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japan

Promise, Sanyo Shinpan Agree to Merger Terms

Promise Co. and Sanyo Shinpan Finance Co. have reached an agreement on the terms that will create Japan's largest consumer finance firm in terms of outstanding loan balance. A tender offer for Sanyo Shinpan's outstanding shares and equity warrants will be launched on August 1, effectively turning Sanyo Shinpan into a wholly owned subsidiary.

Promise Co. and Sanyo Shinpan Finance Co. have reached an agreement on the terms that will create Japan's largest consumer finance firm in terms of outstanding loan balance. A tender offer for Sanyo Shinpan's outstanding shares and equity warrants will be launched on August 1, effectively turning Sanyo Shinpan into a wholly owned subsidiary.

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japan

Sale of Japanese Rice in China Resumes After 4-year Ban

Following China's lifting of a ban on rice imports from Japan, Koshihikari and Hitomebore rice hit the shelves in this morning in Beijing and Shanghai. It is a truly beneficial development for Japanese rice farmers, as China is the number one rice consumer in the world. Japanese rice tends to be aimed towards China's high-income bracket.

Following China's lifting of a ban on rice imports from Japan, Koshihikari and Hitomebore rice hit the shelves in this morning in Beijing and Shanghai. It is a truly beneficial development for Japanese rice farmers, as China is the number one rice consumer in the world. Japanese rice tends to be aimed towards China's high-income bracket.

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japan

Australia: Demand Starts Groundwork on Natural Gas Project

Woodside Petroleum Ltd., a Perth-based resource company, has announced plans to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project valued at USD 10.5 billion. The project has established a supply deal with the Japanese utility companies Kansai Electric Power Co. and Tokyo Gas Co. Global demand for LNG is expected to triple by the end of next decade, but currently Japan is the world's largest LNG buyer, according to analysts. Woodside, Australia's second largest oil and gas producer, will begin production at 4.3 million metric tons a year and deliveries to Japan by 2010.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd., a Perth-based resource company, has announced plans to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project valued at USD 10.5 billion. The project has established a supply deal with the Japanese utility companies Kansai Electric Power Co. and Tokyo Gas Co. Global demand for LNG is expected to triple by the end of next decade, but currently Japan is the world's largest LNG buyer, according to analysts. Woodside, Australia's second largest oil and gas producer, will begin production at 4.3 million metric tons a year and deliveries to Japan by 2010.

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japan

BHP Billiton, Miners Pace Asia-Pacific Index Losses

Slumping metal prices led Australian mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. to complete its largest 2-day drop in nearly 5 months, joining miners across the region as the industry dragged down the regional benchmark index. Japan's Nippon Electric Glass Co. and Advantest Corp. fell as well, hurt by a downward adjustment in their earnings reports. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index declined by 1.2 percent, hitting 158.64 at 6:04 pm in Tokyo. The key indexes of Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, all posters of record highs earlier in the week, declined on Thursday. Benchmarks in South Korea and Taiwan suffered their largest declines in over 4 months.

Slumping metal prices led Australian mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. to complete its largest 2-day drop in nearly 5 months, joining miners across the region as the industry dragged down the regional benchmark index. Japan's Nippon Electric Glass Co. and Advantest Corp. fell as well, hurt by a downward adjustment in their earnings reports. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index declined by 1.2 percent, hitting 158.64 at 6:04 pm in Tokyo. The key indexes of Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, all posters of record highs earlier in the week, declined on Thursday. Benchmarks in South Korea and Taiwan suffered their largest declines in over 4 months.

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japan

Traders, Metal Producers Fuel Continued Decline in Japanese Shares

A drop in the prices of copper and gold hurt Japanese metal producers across the board, the nation's largest trading house, Mitsubishi Corp., declined at a near month-low rate, and Japanese stocks continued to fall on Thursday. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 156.33 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 17,702.09. The broader Topix index slid 16.85 points, or 1 percent, to close at 1,737.18. Shipping lines and steelmakers also contributed to the market's decline.

A drop in the prices of copper and gold hurt Japanese metal producers across the board, the nation's largest trading house, Mitsubishi Corp., declined at a near month-low rate, and Japanese stocks continued to fall on Thursday. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 156.33 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 17,702.09. The broader Topix index slid 16.85 points, or 1 percent, to close at 1,737.18. Shipping lines and steelmakers also contributed to the market's decline.

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japan

Tokyo Electric May Miss Full-year Profit Forecast

The largest power producer in Asia, Tokyo Electric Power Co., admits that there is a good chance that the effects of last week's earthquake, particularly the ensuing shutdown of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant on Niigata prefecture, may force it to miss its full-year profit forecast for the year ending March 31, 2008. Tokyo Electric is now expecting a pretax profit of JPY 230 billion (USD 1.9 billion), a 43 percent decline from its original forecast of JPY 400 billion. The company's dividend is expected to remain unchanged at JPY 70.

The largest power producer in Asia, Tokyo Electric Power Co., admits that there is a good chance that the effects of last week's earthquake, particularly the ensuing shutdown of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant on Niigata prefecture, may force it to miss its full-year profit forecast for the year ending March 31, 2008. Tokyo Electric is now expecting a pretax profit of JPY 230 billion (USD 1.9 billion), a 43 percent decline from its original forecast of JPY 400 billion. The company's dividend is expected to remain unchanged at JPY 70.

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japan

Japan's Promise Makes Official Offer to Rival Sanyo Shinpan

Promise Co. has made an official offer to purchase consumer finance rival Sanyo Shinpan Finance Co. for as much as JPY 120 billion (USD 1 billion) in cash. Promise would pay JPY 3,623 per share for the 75 percent of the smaller firm's stock traded on the market, purchasing the remainder from chairman Masakazu Shiiki for an undisclosed price. Sanyo Shinpan shares were trading at JPY 3,650 at the market's close today.

Promise Co. has made an official offer to purchase consumer finance rival Sanyo Shinpan Finance Co. for as much as JPY 120 billion (USD 1 billion) in cash. Promise would pay JPY 3,623 per share for the 75 percent of the smaller firm's stock traded on the market, purchasing the remainder from chairman Masakazu Shiiki for an undisclosed price. Sanyo Shinpan shares were trading at JPY 3,650 at the market's close today.

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japan

Japanese Trade Surplus Jumps 59.3 Percent on Weak Yen

The Japanese Finance Ministry reports that exports and imports posted a record high in the first half of 2007, while the weak state of the yen helped boost the customs-cleared trade surplus 59.3 percent to JPY 5.133 trillion. Economists predict that the favorable export conditions of a weak yen and brisk global economic growth will continue in the coming months.

The Japanese Finance Ministry reports that exports and imports posted a record high in the first half of 2007, while the weak state of the yen helped boost the customs-cleared trade surplus 59.3 percent to JPY 5.133 trillion. Economists predict that the favorable export conditions of a weak yen and brisk global economic growth will continue in the coming months.

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japan

US Economic Slowdown Weighs on Asia-Pacific Benchmark Index

Toyota Motor Corp. led the decline in Asian stocks on Wednesday, followed closely by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as a sub-par outlook on the US economy is expected to last into the first half of 2008. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index lost 0.5 percent to hit 160.67 as of 6:09 pm in Tokyo, eroding a 0.9 percent gain that saw the index hit a record high yesterday. Benchmarks in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore all fell from record highs.

Toyota Motor Corp. led the decline in Asian stocks on Wednesday, followed closely by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as a sub-par outlook on the US economy is expected to last into the first half of 2008. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index lost 0.5 percent to hit 160.67 as of 6:09 pm in Tokyo, eroding a 0.9 percent gain that saw the index hit a record high yesterday. Benchmarks in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore all fell from record highs.

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japan

US Housing Slump Continues to Drag on Japanese Stock Market

Continued concern that the US subprime loan problem is slowing growth in the world's biggest economy is prompting investors to avoid riskier assets, leading to another decline on the Japanese stock market. Companies that rely on the US for a large portion of their earnings, most notably Toyota Motor Corp. and Matsuhita Electric Industrial Co., led declines, getting no help from a strengthening yen. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dipped 143.61 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 17,858.42, while the broader Topix index fell 11.96 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 1,754.03.

Continued concern that the US subprime loan problem is slowing growth in the world's biggest economy is prompting investors to avoid riskier assets, leading to another decline on the Japanese stock market. Companies that rely on the US for a large portion of their earnings, most notably Toyota Motor Corp. and Matsuhita Electric Industrial Co., led declines, getting no help from a strengthening yen. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dipped 143.61 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 17,858.42, while the broader Topix index fell 11.96 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 1,754.03.

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Promise, Sanyo Shinpan Merger Close to Completion

The integration deal between consumer finance firms Promise Co., Japan's third-largest, and Sanyo Shinpan Finance Co. is reportedly close to completion, making it all but certain that Aiful Corp. will be replaced as the industry's top-ranking firm in terms of lender balance in Japan. Promise will acquire Asahi Enterprise Co.'s 25 percent stake in Sanyo Shinpan and purchase the remaining 75 percent through the tender office. The tender offer is expected to be launched in early August.

The integration deal between consumer finance firms Promise Co., Japan's third-largest, and Sanyo Shinpan Finance Co. is reportedly close to completion, making it all but certain that Aiful Corp. will be replaced as the industry's top-ranking firm in terms of lender balance in Japan. Promise will acquire Asahi Enterprise Co.'s 25 percent stake in Sanyo Shinpan and purchase the remaining 75 percent through the tender office. The tender offer is expected to be launched in early August.

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Solid Earnings Drive Up Regional Asia-Pacific Benchmark

Better-than-expected earnings forecasts and profit reports at a number of Asia-Pacific's largest companies helped prop up the regional benchmark index on Tuesday. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained 0.9 percent to hit 161.36 points at 6:22 pm in Tokyo, erasing a slide of 0.4 percent yesterday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.2 percent and South Korea's Kospi index hit 2,000.00 points for the first time, while the markets in Pakistan and the Philippines regressed.

Better-than-expected earnings forecasts and profit reports at a number of Asia-Pacific's largest companies helped prop up the regional benchmark index on Tuesday. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained 0.9 percent to hit 161.36 points at 6:22 pm in Tokyo, erasing a slide of 0.4 percent yesterday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.2 percent and South Korea's Kospi index hit 2,000.00 points for the first time, while the markets in Pakistan and the Philippines regressed.

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Idled Auto Assemby Lines Running Again in Japan

Many of the Japanese automobile assembly lines that were shut down following the July 16 earthquake were up and running again on Tuesday as key parts supplier Riken Corp. resumed operations. More than half of Toyota Motor Corp.'s idled lines are running again, and a large number of Mazda Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Corp.'s idled lines have been restarted as well. Though Toyota admits it suffered a domestic setback of 55,000 units, it is confident that the stall will have no impact on sales in the US.

Many of the Japanese automobile assembly lines that were shut down following the July 16 earthquake were up and running again on Tuesday as key parts supplier Riken Corp. resumed operations. More than half of Toyota Motor Corp.'s idled lines are running again, and a large number of Mazda Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Corp.'s idled lines have been restarted as well. Though Toyota admits it suffered a domestic setback of 55,000 units, it is confident that the stall will have no impact on sales in the US.

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Japanese Company to Invest USD 800 Million in Cambodia

Japan's Biwako Bio-Laboratory Co, Ltd is planning on planting castor beans on an area of 48,000 hectares of land in the provinces of Kompong Speu and Kompong Cham. As the second part of the USD 800 million investment, the company plans to establish a factory to refine castor oil to bio-diesel. The expected yield is as large as 100,000 tons of castor oil and, after the process of refining, 40,000 tons of bio-diesel.

Japan's Biwako Bio-Laboratory Co, Ltd is planning on planting castor beans on an area of 48,000 hectares of land in the provinces of Kompong Speu and Kompong Cham. As the second part of the USD 800 million investment, the company plans to establish a factory to refine castor oil to bio-diesel. The expected yield is as large as 100,000 tons of castor oil and, after the process of refining, 40,000 tons of bio-diesel.

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Japanese Bonds Rise for Fifth Day, Hit 6-week High

Speculation that debt and equities in emerging markets is on the decline has led to a 6-week climb in Japanese 10-year bonds, prompted by investors leaning towards the safety of government securities. Benchmark 10-year note yields fell 3.5 basis points, or 0.035 percent, to 1.85 percent as of 6:00 pm at the Japan Bond Trading Co. 10-year bond futures for September delivery rose 0.36 to 132.44 at closing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Speculation that debt and equities in emerging markets is on the decline has led to a 6-week climb in Japanese 10-year bonds, prompted by investors leaning towards the safety of government securities. Benchmark 10-year note yields fell 3.5 basis points, or 0.035 percent, to 1.85 percent as of 6:00 pm at the Japan Bond Trading Co. 10-year bond futures for September delivery rose 0.36 to 132.44 at closing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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Japanese Auto Industry Cooperates to Restore Production

Japan's automakers have joined together to assist the nation's key domestic auto parts supplier, Riken Corp., in resuming production as soon as possible. The supplier, which holds about 50 percent of the domestic market for piston rings and automobile engines and 70 percent of the market for seal rings, has gained the assistance of 650 employees from domestic automakers in restoring its production line. For Toyota Motor Corp., the estimated JPY 14 billion lost from 26,000 unmade vehicles could potentially be offset if the yen strengthens 0.30 against the yen.

Japan's automakers have joined together to assist the nation's key domestic auto parts supplier, Riken Corp., in resuming production as soon as possible. The supplier, which holds about 50 percent of the domestic market for piston rings and automobile engines and 70 percent of the market for seal rings, has gained the assistance of 650 employees from domestic automakers in restoring its production line. For Toyota Motor Corp., the estimated JPY 14 billion lost from 26,000 unmade vehicles could potentially be offset if the yen strengthens 0.30 against the yen.

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Honda Maintains Global Mindset, Will Boost Overseas Output

Growing demand on the international market for Honda vehicles, particularly its energy-efficient cars, has prompted Honda to focus on global growth as it experiences troubling declines in domestic Japanese sales. The second-largest automaker in Japanby sales has plans to invest JPY 23 billion in a factory in Thailand, USD 100 million on its first ever plant in Argentina, and USD 65 million in a second motorcycle plant in Vietnam. Honda also plans to build plants in Indiana and Mexico, boosting annual North American production to 1.62 million units by next fall from its current level of 1.4 million.

Growing demand on the international market for Honda vehicles, particularly its energy-efficient cars, has prompted Honda to focus on global growth as it experiences troubling declines in domestic Japanese sales. The second-largest automaker in Japanby sales has plans to invest JPY 23 billion in a factory in Thailand, USD 100 million on its first ever plant in Argentina, and USD 65 million in a second motorcycle plant in Vietnam. Honda also plans to build plants in Indiana and Mexico, boosting annual North American production to 1.62 million units by next fall from its current level of 1.4 million.

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Dollar Declines Against Yen as Traders Shy Away from Risky Bets

With the US dollar in a bear market due to significant losses on subprime mortgage loans, its value tumbled against both the euro and the yen. Friday's trading saw the dollar fall to JPY 121.29 from 122.01, its lowest since June 8. Analysts maintain their concerns that the credit issue will weigh on the US corporate sector, hurt consumer spending and stunt US growth.

With the US dollar in a bear market due to significant losses on subprime mortgage loans, its value tumbled against both the euro and the yen. Friday's trading saw the dollar fall to JPY 121.29 from 122.01, its lowest since June 8. Analysts maintain their concerns that the credit issue will weigh on the US corporate sector, hurt consumer spending and stunt US growth.

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Merger Would Create Japan's Top-ranking Finance Firm

A proposed merger between Promise Co., Japan's third-largest consumer finance company, and Sanyo Shinpan Finance Co. would create the top-ranking firm in terms of lending balance. The proposal comes in the midst of a major struggle for Japan's consumer lending industry as businesses have become hampered with widespread calls for repayment of excessive interest charges. Promise, which would topple Aiful Corp. in terms of lending balance, would acquire a majority stake in Sanyo Shinpan through a tender office.

A proposed merger between Promise Co., Japan's third-largest consumer finance company, and Sanyo Shinpan Finance Co. would create the top-ranking firm in terms of lending balance. The proposal comes in the midst of a major struggle for Japan's consumer lending industry as businesses have become hampered with widespread calls for repayment of excessive interest charges. Promise, which would topple Aiful Corp. in terms of lending balance, would acquire a majority stake in Sanyo Shinpan through a tender office.

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Global Demand Allows GM to Narrow Sales Gap with Japan's Toyota

Strong sales in China and Latin America allowed US-based General Motors Corp. (GM) to outsell Toyota Motor Corp. in the second quarter of 2007. Total international sales for GM hit 2.405 million in the three months ended June 30, compared to Toyota's mark of 2.367 million. Cumulative since January 1, Toyota has outpaced GM by 42,000 vehicles. Though it has a market value 11 times that of GM's, Toyota's American depository receipts fell 80 cents to USD 122.91 at 4:02 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Strong sales in China and Latin America allowed US-based General Motors Corp. (GM) to outsell Toyota Motor Corp. in the second quarter of 2007. Total international sales for GM hit 2.405 million in the three months ended June 30, compared to Toyota's mark of 2.367 million. Cumulative since January 1, Toyota has outpaced GM by 42,000 vehicles. Though it has a market value 11 times that of GM's, Toyota's American depository receipts fell 80 cents to USD 122.91 at 4:02 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Asia's Regional Benchmark Rises on Metal Prices, Earnings Reports

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained by 0.8 percent on Friday to close at 159.96, which exceeded the previous record close of 159.50 on July 13. China's CSI 300 Index out-performed all other indexes in the region with a 4.3 surge, with all other markets open for trading advancing as well. The region's top performers were paced by LG Electronics Inc., Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., BHP Billiton, and Nippon Steel Corp.

 

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained by 0.8 percent on Friday to close at 159.96, which exceeded the previous record close of 159.50 on July 13. China's CSI 300 Index out-performed all other indexes in the region with a 4.3 surge, with all other markets open for trading advancing as well. The region's top performers were paced by LG Electronics Inc., Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., BHP Billiton, and Nippon Steel Corp.

 

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japan

Japanese Mobile Industry Price War Expected if KDDI Cuts Fees

According to observers, if Japan's KDDI Corp. goes forward with its plans to cut basic monthly mobile fees by 50 percent, an industry price war will be triggered. KDDI has seen a significant rise in profitability since it introduced a portable number feature, but is aiming to "invigorate the market" once more with this move. Though KDDI Associate Senior Vice President Makoto Takahashi revealed that such a fee cut would cut sales revenue by around JPY 20 billion, he would not comment on the company's expectations for new subscribers as a result.

According to observers, if Japan's KDDI Corp. goes forward with its plans to cut basic monthly mobile fees by 50 percent, an industry price war will be triggered. KDDI has seen a significant rise in profitability since it introduced a portable number feature, but is aiming to "invigorate the market" once more with this move. Though KDDI Associate Senior Vice President Makoto Takahashi revealed that such a fee cut would cut sales revenue by around JPY 20 billion, he would not comment on the company's expectations for new subscribers as a result.

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Quake-related Production Halts Continue for Honda and Nissan

Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., Japan's second- and third-largest automakers respectively, have announced that their production halts will continue as key suppliers continue to be unable to supply an adequate amount of parts due to earthquake damages. The situation highlights the risks of a just-in-time (JIT) inventory stocking system, as the companies' primary supplier of piston rings, Riken Corp., had a number of factories damaged during the quake. Honda will reportedly suspend all of its domestic auto production as of July 23.

Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., Japan's second- and third-largest automakers respectively, have announced that their production halts will continue as key suppliers continue to be unable to supply an adequate amount of parts due to earthquake damages. The situation highlights the risks of a just-in-time (JIT) inventory stocking system, as the companies' primary supplier of piston rings, Riken Corp., had a number of factories damaged during the quake. Honda will reportedly suspend all of its domestic auto production as of July 23.

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Pakistan, Japan Continue Economic Policy Talks

Officials from Pakistan and Japan will meet today for a third round of high level economic policy dialog, with the two parties being led by Japan's Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Pakistan's Secretary of Economic Affairs. Paving the way for bilateral trade and investment is the focus of the meeting, as the sides are reported to desire better collaboration and cooperations amongst one another.

Officials from Pakistan and Japan will meet today for a third round of high level economic policy dialog, with the two parties being led by Japan's Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Pakistan's Secretary of Economic Affairs. Paving the way for bilateral trade and investment is the focus of the meeting, as the sides are reported to desire better collaboration and cooperations amongst one another.

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Murakami's Purchase of NBS Shares Ruled as Inside Trade

Yoshiaki Murakami is appealing a 2-year sentence handed down by the Tokyo District Court after his trading of Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. shares was deemed as insider trading. The fund manager's firm MAC Asset Management profited by around JPY 3 billion from the trades, though the sentence only seeks to recover a JPY 3 million fine and an additional JPY 1.5 billion penalty. The disputed trades, spurred by insider information from Livedoor Co. executives, took place in 2004 and 2005.

Yoshiaki Murakami is appealing a 2-year sentence handed down by the Tokyo District Court after his trading of Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. shares was deemed as insider trading. The fund manager's firm MAC Asset Management profited by around JPY 3 billion from the trades, though the sentence only seeks to recover a JPY 3 million fine and an additional JPY 1.5 billion penalty. The disputed trades, spurred by insider information from Livedoor Co. executives, took place in 2004 and 2005.

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US Earnings Reports, Steelmakers Fuel Rise in Japanese Stocks

Strong performance from steelmakers and electronics manufacturers coupled with the dampening effect of US earnings reports on economic erosion concerns led Japanese shares to advance on Friday. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 41.36 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,157.93 at closing, while the broader Topix index climbed 8.17 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,776.17. Investors had been concerned that the US housing slump would erode demand in the world's largest economy and Japan's largest export market.

Strong performance from steelmakers and electronics manufacturers coupled with the dampening effect of US earnings reports on economic erosion concerns led Japanese shares to advance on Friday. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 41.36 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,157.93 at closing, while the broader Topix index climbed 8.17 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,776.17. Investors had been concerned that the US housing slump would erode demand in the world's largest economy and Japan's largest export market.

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Additional Leak at Kashiwazaki Raises Power Shortage Concerns

Tokyo Electric Power Co. is calling upon six other major Japanese power companies to coordinate efforts in order to dispel a potential power shortage during Japan's summer months. The discovery of an additional leak at the Kashiwazaki Atomic Energy Plant has energy analysts all but convinced that the world's largest plant by output capacity could be shut down for as long as a year, and the drop in contribution to the national power grid could be extremely problematic.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. is calling upon six other major Japanese power companies to coordinate efforts in order to dispel a potential power shortage during Japan's summer months. The discovery of an additional leak at the Kashiwazaki Atomic Energy Plant has energy analysts all but convinced that the world's largest plant by output capacity could be shut down for as long as a year, and the drop in contribution to the national power grid could be extremely problematic.

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Asian Stocks Rise for First Time in Four Days

Asian stocks gained for the first time in four days, as price gains in copper, gold and oil helped BHP Billiton Ltd. and Zijin Mining Group Co. pace risers on the day. Growing demand in emerging markets, particularly China, continues to drive the global economy and corporate profits. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index advanced 0.6 percent to close at 158.69, with 9 of 10 industry groups rising. The Jakarta Composite index led all index gains in the region with a jump of 1.7 percent. The Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index (KSE 100) lost 3.4 percent, the sharpest decline in the region.

Asian stocks gained for the first time in four days, as price gains in copper, gold and oil helped BHP Billiton Ltd. and Zijin Mining Group Co. pace risers on the day. Growing demand in emerging markets, particularly China, continues to drive the global economy and corporate profits. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index advanced 0.6 percent to close at 158.69, with 9 of 10 industry groups rising. The Jakarta Composite index led all index gains in the region with a jump of 1.7 percent. The Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index (KSE 100) lost 3.4 percent, the sharpest decline in the region.

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Rising Stocks, Increased Confidence Push Yen Near Record Low

A rise in global stock values has renewed investors' appetites for risky bets, prompting them to buy assets funded by loans in Japan. Such a development has drawn investors back to the carry trade, with the yen dropping to 168.63 against the euro and 122.06 against the dollar.

A rise in global stock values has renewed investors' appetites for risky bets, prompting them to buy assets funded by loans in Japan. Such a development has drawn investors back to the carry trade, with the yen dropping to 168.63 against the euro and 122.06 against the dollar.

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Steelmakers, Shipping Lines Lead Advances in Japanese Stocks

Speculation that global demand for steel and shipping line services will rise on economic expansion fueled Japanese stocks on Thursday, with Japan's second-largest steelmaker, JFE Holdings, hitting a record high. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 100.99 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 18,116.57, while the broader Topix index gained 9.35 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,768. Tight supply and soaring demand is expected to continue flowing money into steelmakers and commodity-related shares.

Speculation that global demand for steel and shipping line services will rise on economic expansion fueled Japanese stocks on Thursday, with Japan's second-largest steelmaker, JFE Holdings, hitting a record high. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 100.99 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 18,116.57, while the broader Topix index gained 9.35 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,768. Tight supply and soaring demand is expected to continue flowing money into steelmakers and commodity-related shares.

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Electric Shares Hit 9-Month Low in Tokyo on Reactor Closure News

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, saw the value of its shares drop to a 9-month low on Thursday upon a report by the Nikkei that government-ordered safety checks may delay the plant's re-opening. The stock dropped 5.6 percent to close at JPY 3,400, and analysts expect the stock to drop continuously into next week as profit falls under extreme pressure.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, saw the value of its shares drop to a 9-month low on Thursday upon a report by the Nikkei that government-ordered safety checks may delay the plant's re-opening. The stock dropped 5.6 percent to close at JPY 3,400, and analysts expect the stock to drop continuously into next week as profit falls under extreme pressure.

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Relaxation in Import Conditions Drops Japanese Beef Prices

Since Japan removed the ban on import of US beef and has begun to relax import conditions, wholesale beef prices in Japan have been on the decline. A sharp increase in beef supplies has been realized, with imports of US beef in June rising to 1.5 times the level of May, about 4,300 tons. Import restrictions had initially been in place due to mad cow concerns.

Since Japan removed the ban on import of US beef and has begun to relax import conditions, wholesale beef prices in Japan have been on the decline. A sharp increase in beef supplies has been realized, with imports of US beef in June rising to 1.5 times the level of May, about 4,300 tons. Import restrictions had initially been in place due to mad cow concerns.

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Nippon Oil to Switch Payment for Iran Crude Oil to Yen

Nippon Oil, Japan's top petroleum wholesaler, is set to become the first Japanese oil wholesaler to begin payment for Iran crude oil in yen over dollars. Iran has asked all Japanese oil wholesalers, as well as other Asian buyers, to make the switch in what appears to be an effort to reduce its dollar holdings. Increased tensions over Iran's nuclear program have the potential to lead to a seizure of Iran's dollar-denominated assets.

Nippon Oil, Japan's top petroleum wholesaler, is set to become the first Japanese oil wholesaler to begin payment for Iran crude oil in yen over dollars. Iran has asked all Japanese oil wholesalers, as well as other Asian buyers, to make the switch in what appears to be an effort to reduce its dollar holdings. Increased tensions over Iran's nuclear program have the potential to lead to a seizure of Iran's dollar-denominated assets.

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Japanese 10-year Bonds Gain for Second Straight Day

Continued losses in Japanese stocks led bonds to a second consecutive rise, the first back-to-back gain in Japanese bonds in three weeks. Risk perception of corporate bonds has hit its highest since March, prompting a growing number of investors to move towards the relative safety of the government debt. Ten-year bond futures for September delivery rose 0.24 to 131.88 upon closing of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Continued losses in Japanese stocks led bonds to a second consecutive rise, the first back-to-back gain in Japanese bonds in three weeks. Risk perception of corporate bonds has hit its highest since March, prompting a growing number of investors to move towards the relative safety of the government debt. Ten-year bond futures for September delivery rose 0.24 to 131.88 upon closing of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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Japanese Quake Closes World's Largest Nuclear Plant

The damages to the nuclear plant in Kashiwazaki caused by Japan's powerful earthquake earlier this week have been learned to be much greater than originally reported, and growing anger over failure to properly report the ensuing radioactive leak into the sea has led to the plant's indefinite closing. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is pressing Japan to allow the case to be used in the study of damage control in international nuclear plants.

The damages to the nuclear plant in Kashiwazaki caused by Japan's powerful earthquake earlier this week have been learned to be much greater than originally reported, and growing anger over failure to properly report the ensuing radioactive leak into the sea has led to the plant's indefinite closing. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is pressing Japan to allow the case to be used in the study of damage control in international nuclear plants.

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Three of Japan's Top 4 Automakers Report Production Cuts

Damages to suppliers' factories as a result of yesterday's earthquakes has prompted Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp. to cut domestic production significantly, though analysts expect that Toyota should have no trouble covering their losses through export demand. Toyota fell USD 2.15 to USD 121.82 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), while Nissan dropped 12 cents to USD 21.46 in NASDAQ composite trading.

Damages to suppliers' factories as a result of yesterday's earthquakes has prompted Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp. to cut domestic production significantly, though analysts expect that Toyota should have no trouble covering their losses through export demand. Toyota fell USD 2.15 to USD 121.82 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), while Nissan dropped 12 cents to USD 21.46 in NASDAQ composite trading.

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Asia-Pacific Index Declines for Third Consecutive Day

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slid 1 percent to close at 175.54 on Wednesday, a cumulative three-day decline of 1.2 percent. Only the markets of China, India, and the Philippines rose, with Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average sliding 1.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi index declining 1 percent. Concerns that losses at Bear Stearns Cos. hedge funds will prompt a shift in favor from equities to government bonds has been a major influence on the longest losing streak in 2 months.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slid 1 percent to close at 175.54 on Wednesday, a cumulative three-day decline of 1.2 percent. Only the markets of China, India, and the Philippines rose, with Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average sliding 1.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi index declining 1 percent. Concerns that losses at Bear Stearns Cos. hedge funds will prompt a shift in favor from equities to government bonds has been a major influence on the longest losing streak in 2 months.

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Stocks Fall as Yen Appreciation Hurts Japanese Exports

The fall in Japanese stocks on Wednesday was paced by exporters, most notably Canon Inc. and Nintendo Co., as concern grows regarding the appreciation of the yen against the dollar. In addition to the fear of an erosion in the value of US sales, the nation's major automakers have suffered production disruptions as a result of yesterday's earthquakes. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 201.69 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 18,015.58, while the broader Topix Index lost 19.46 points, also 1.1 percent, to close at 1,758.65. The yen climbed to 121.78 against the dollar by the market's close.

The fall in Japanese stocks on Wednesday was paced by exporters, most notably Canon Inc. and Nintendo Co., as concern grows regarding the appreciation of the yen against the dollar. In addition to the fear of an erosion in the value of US sales, the nation's major automakers have suffered production disruptions as a result of yesterday's earthquakes. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 201.69 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 18,015.58, while the broader Topix Index lost 19.46 points, also 1.1 percent, to close at 1,758.65. The yen climbed to 121.78 against the dollar by the market's close.

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Rising Bond Yields Concern Japanese Policy Makers

Bank of Japan policy makers are watching the rise in global bond yields closely to determine whether it is based on economic fundamentals or simply above-average expectations. Rising yields mixed with slower growth has the potential to hurt economic expansion by adding to the borrowing costs of companies and consumers and discouraging investment and consumption.

Bank of Japan policy makers are watching the rise in global bond yields closely to determine whether it is based on economic fundamentals or simply above-average expectations. Rising yields mixed with slower growth has the potential to hurt economic expansion by adding to the borrowing costs of companies and consumers and discouraging investment and consumption.

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Japanese Government Maintains Bullish Economic Outlook

A monthly assessment of Japan's economy confirmed that expansion has continued for 66 months, reflecting the government's maintenance of a bullish economic outlook. Cabinet Office members remain confident that, despite weakness in industrial production, the economy will continue to recover.

A monthly assessment of Japan's economy confirmed that expansion has continued for 66 months, reflecting the government's maintenance of a bullish economic outlook. Cabinet Office members remain confident that, despite weakness in industrial production, the economy will continue to recover.

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Booming Russia Attracting Japanese Consumer Goods

A rapidly growing middle class and a 7 percent growth rate are turning the attention of Japanese consumer goods makers to Russia. Energy and manufacturing firms have been tapping Russia's investment potential for years, but consumer goods makers are catching on as well, targeting cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg in particular. Bilateral trade between the two nations grew to a record USD 7.065 billion in 2006.

A rapidly growing middle class and a 7 percent growth rate are turning the attention of Japanese consumer goods makers to Russia. Energy and manufacturing firms have been tapping Russia's investment potential for years, but consumer goods makers are catching on as well, targeting cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg in particular. Bilateral trade between the two nations grew to a record USD 7.065 billion in 2006.

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Japanese Company to Build a Port in Southern Vietnam

Vietnam's SP-PSA International Port Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Saigon Port and Port Singapore Authority Vietnam, has signed a contract with Japan's Penta Ocean Construction Co. Ltd. to build a deep-water port in southern Vietnam. Once the USD 165 million development project is completed, large vessels will have access into the port, and roads and inland waterway networks will link the port to other areas in southern Vietnam. Construction of the port will begin in less than two years.

Vietnam's SP-PSA International Port Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Saigon Port and Port Singapore Authority Vietnam, has signed a contract with Japan's Penta Ocean Construction Co. Ltd. to build a deep-water port in southern Vietnam. Once the USD 165 million development project is completed, large vessels will have access into the port, and roads and inland waterway networks will link the port to other areas in southern Vietnam. Construction of the port will begin in less than two years.

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Stock Decline, US Treasuries Fuel Demand for Japan's 10-year Bonds

Losses on the nation's stock market coupled with a rally in the US treasuries market fueled demand for Japanese government debt on Tuesday, with 10-year bonds halting two consecutive days of drops. The US treasury rally was prompted by sentiment that the housing slump and subprime crisis will lead to a rate cut for the first time since 2003. 10-year bond futures for September gained 0.13 to close at 131.64.

Losses on the nation's stock market coupled with a rally in the US treasuries market fueled demand for Japanese government debt on Tuesday, with 10-year bonds halting two consecutive days of drops. The US treasury rally was prompted by sentiment that the housing slump and subprime crisis will lead to a rate cut for the first time since 2003. 10-year bond futures for September gained 0.13 to close at 131.64.

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Insurance, Power Stocks Feel Effects of Japan's Earthquake

Japan's benchmark indexes felt the effects of yesterday's northwestern earthquake, as insurance and power stocks dropped and both indexes retreated. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 21.68 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 18,217.27 while the Topix index lost 5.09 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 1,778.11. Of the 33 broad measure Topix industry indexes, the Topix Insurance Index suffered the greatest percentage loss.

Japan's benchmark indexes felt the effects of yesterday's northwestern earthquake, as insurance and power stocks dropped and both indexes retreated. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 21.68 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 18,217.27 while the Topix index lost 5.09 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 1,778.11. Of the 33 broad measure Topix industry indexes, the Topix Insurance Index suffered the greatest percentage loss.

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Japan's Economy Still Recovering Despite Weak Production

With corporate profits expected to filter to households in Japan, the government is confident that the economy will continue to expand. Japanese industries, however, have suffered weakness in production, and a number of other indicators have shown lingering weakness in the economy as a whole. GDP growth in Japan is in its 66th consecutive month, the longest such period in 60 years.

With corporate profits expected to filter to households in Japan, the government is confident that the economy will continue to expand. Japanese industries, however, have suffered weakness in production, and a number of other indicators have shown lingering weakness in the economy as a whole. GDP growth in Japan is in its 66th consecutive month, the longest such period in 60 years.

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japan

Japan's Consumer Finance Sector Takes Hit on Interest Claims

A Supreme Court ruling in Japan is forcing consumer finance companies such as Eiwa to set aside tens of billions of dollars against excess interest payment claims, dealing another severe blow to the battered industry. A January ruling invalidated interest rates above 20 percent, but most consumer finance companies in Japan have regularly charged close to 30 percent. On Friday, the Supreme Court ordered Eiwa to add a 5 percent annual payment to the interest it will return to borrowers.

A Supreme Court ruling in Japan is forcing consumer finance companies such as Eiwa to set aside tens of billions of dollars against excess interest payment claims, dealing another severe blow to the battered industry. A January ruling invalidated interest rates above 20 percent, but most consumer finance companies in Japan have regularly charged close to 30 percent. On Friday, the Supreme Court ordered Eiwa to add a 5 percent annual payment to the interest it will return to borrowers.

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Yen Trading Near Record Low Against Euro

Speculation that investors will continue utilizing the yen in carry trade led the Japanese currency to trade near a recently-touched record low against the euro on Monday. With other currencies holding a significant interest rate advantage over the yen, something that is expected to change only gradually at best, the yen is expected to remain soft.

Speculation that investors will continue utilizing the yen in carry trade led the Japanese currency to trade near a recently-touched record low against the euro on Monday. With other currencies holding a significant interest rate advantage over the yen, something that is expected to change only gradually at best, the yen is expected to remain soft.

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Japanese Shareholders Address Greenmailer Concern

The removal of a Japanese ban on triangular mergers was the beginning of a new movement in Japanee business, one that has seen a growing number of corporations move to install defensive measures against short-term profit chasers, known as greenmailers. Among these companies is sauce maker Bull-Dog Sauce Co., which saw the Tokyo High Court reject an anti-poison pill appeal by Steel Partners. Steel Partners launched a hostile takeover bid for Bull-Dog recently.

The removal of a Japanese ban on triangular mergers was the beginning of a new movement in Japanee business, one that has seen a growing number of corporations move to install defensive measures against short-term profit chasers, known as greenmailers. Among these companies is sauce maker Bull-Dog Sauce Co., which saw the Tokyo High Court reject an anti-poison pill appeal by Steel Partners. Steel Partners launched a hostile takeover bid for Bull-Dog recently.

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Japanese Tax on South Korean Chipmaker Ruled Illegal

The duty applied on computer chips from South Korean computer chip giant Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the world's largest memory-chip maker, has been ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Citing illegal export subsidies from the South Korean government, Japan imposed a 27.2 percent duty on the chip maker in January 2006, though Hynix insists there was no proof it was receiving such subsidies. Japan has not been ordered to drop the tax.

The duty applied on computer chips from South Korean computer chip giant Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the world's largest memory-chip maker, has been ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Citing illegal export subsidies from the South Korean government, Japan imposed a 27.2 percent duty on the chip maker in January 2006, though Hynix insists there was no proof it was receiving such subsidies. Japan has not been ordered to drop the tax.

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Japanese Shares Rise on Solid US Retail Sales

US retail sales exceeded expectations and led to strong purchasing of Japanese consumer products, leading to a rise on the Japanese share market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average's biggest advanced since 2003 helped Canon Inc. and Honda Motor Co. pace gainers. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped 254.81 points, or 1.4 percent, to close at 18,238.95. The Topix index advanced 20.14 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 4,590.

US retail sales exceeded expectations and led to strong purchasing of Japanese consumer products, leading to a rise on the Japanese share market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average's biggest advanced since 2003 helped Canon Inc. and Honda Motor Co. pace gainers. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped 254.81 points, or 1.4 percent, to close at 18,238.95. The Topix index advanced 20.14 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 4,590.

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Yen Gains as Iranian Central Bank Cuts US Dollar Holdings

Iran has asked Japanese refiners to make payments in yen, effective immediately, as its central bank has cut its holdings of US dollars. According to National Iranian Oil Co., the move is intended to counter the risk of US dollars being frozen during transaction due to sanctions. The yen advanced to 122.34 against the dollar from 122.42 and 168.53 against the euro from 168.80.

Iran has asked Japanese refiners to make payments in yen, effective immediately, as its central bank has cut its holdings of US dollars. According to National Iranian Oil Co., the move is intended to counter the risk of US dollars being frozen during transaction due to sanctions. The yen advanced to 122.34 against the dollar from 122.42 and 168.53 against the euro from 168.80.

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Japan's Current Account Surplus Expands 31.1 Percent Year-on-Year

Japan's current account surplus hit JPY 2.133 trillion in May, a 31.1 percent year-on-year expansion. The Finance Ministry cites strong exports and growth in the nation's income account as the main driver behind the boost. The current account surplus has now grown for five straight months and far exceeded the average market projection of JPY 1.965 trillion.

Japan's current account surplus hit JPY 2.133 trillion in May, a 31.1 percent year-on-year expansion. The Finance Ministry cites strong exports and growth in the nation's income account as the main driver behind the boost. The current account surplus has now grown for five straight months and far exceeded the average market projection of JPY 1.965 trillion.

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Japanese Consumer Confidence Hits 30-month Low

Despite continuing economic upturn, a government poll showed that consumer confidence in Japan fell to a 30-month low in June, the second straight month of decline. The index reading of 45.0, down 2.3 points from May, is the lowest reading since the index showed 44.0 in December of 2004. Consumers are concerned that the nation's private consumption lacks momentum.

Despite continuing economic upturn, a government poll showed that consumer confidence in Japan fell to a 30-month low in June, the second straight month of decline. The index reading of 45.0, down 2.3 points from May, is the lowest reading since the index showed 44.0 in December of 2004. Consumers are concerned that the nation's private consumption lacks momentum.

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Bull-Dog Exercises Japan's First Poison Pill Plan

Japanese sauce maker Bull-Dog Sauce Co. has initiated the first poison pill defense in Japanese history by beginning the procedure of issuing equity warrants on each Bull-Dog share. US-based investment fund Steel Partners, which tendered an unwelcome bid to take over Bull-Dog, would see its stake reduced from 10.52 percent to 2.86 percent if the dilution is successful. Steel Partners would not be able to convert the equity warrants into new Bull-Dog shares, and would be forced to buy back the warrants in cash.

Japanese sauce maker Bull-Dog Sauce Co. has initiated the first poison pill defense in Japanese history by beginning the procedure of issuing equity warrants on each Bull-Dog share. US-based investment fund Steel Partners, which tendered an unwelcome bid to take over Bull-Dog, would see its stake reduced from 10.52 percent to 2.86 percent if the dilution is successful. Steel Partners would not be able to convert the equity warrants into new Bull-Dog shares, and would be forced to buy back the warrants in cash.

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Japanese Stocks Drop on Continued Subprime Loan Concerns

Despite earlier gains, Japanese stocks slipped on Thursday, led by declines in the brokerage sector following increased concerns about subprime loan-related losses. Investors are trying to steer clear of companies that may be affected by subprime loans, such as Nomura Holdings Inc., prompting sell-offs. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 65.37 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 17,984.14, while the Topix lost 4.66 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 1,763.06. It is the first time since June 28 that the Nikkei 225 has dipped below 18,000 points.

Despite earlier gains, Japanese stocks slipped on Thursday, led by declines in the brokerage sector following increased concerns about subprime loan-related losses. Investors are trying to steer clear of companies that may be affected by subprime loans, such as Nomura Holdings Inc., prompting sell-offs. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 65.37 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 17,984.14, while the Topix lost 4.66 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 1,763.06. It is the first time since June 28 that the Nikkei 225 has dipped below 18,000 points.

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Bank of Japan Holds at 0.5 Percent Rate in Landslide Vote

Board members of the Bank of Japan voted 8-1 on Thursday in favor of holding Japan's benchmark interest rate at 0.5 percent, the lowest rate among major economies. The policy makers insist that they are confident in Japan's economic outlook, and that they simply wish to examine more data before pulling the trigger on a rate hike.

Board members of the Bank of Japan voted 8-1 on Thursday in favor of holding Japan's benchmark interest rate at 0.5 percent, the lowest rate among major economies. The policy makers insist that they are confident in Japan's economic outlook, and that they simply wish to examine more data before pulling the trigger on a rate hike.

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Citigroup to List Shares in Tokyo, Increase Branches

Citigroup plans to list shares on Tokyo Stock Exchange and increase the number of its Japanese branches by 40 percent. Citigroup is attempting to rebrand itself for the Japanese market after Japanese regulators had forced the firm to shut down its private banking business due to rule violations three years ago. Citigroup hopes to attract individuals looking for investment products such as mutual funds and cross-asset portfolios.

Citigroup plans to list shares on Tokyo Stock Exchange and increase the number of its Japanese branches by 40 percent. Citigroup is attempting to rebrand itself for the Japanese market after Japanese regulators had forced the firm to shut down its private banking business due to rule violations three years ago. Citigroup hopes to attract individuals looking for investment products such as mutual funds and cross-asset portfolios.

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Japan’s Foreign, IT Investment Needs Boost

According to trade ministry's annual white paper, Japan needs more foreign and information-technology (IT) investment to enhance its service sector and make it more competitive with U.S. and Europe. The 2007 White Paper on International Economy and Trade urged transportation, telecommunications and real estate industries to enter or expand in foreign markets, particularly in faster-growing regions in Asia. Since the service sector generates 70 percent of Japan's GDP and employment, ensuring its sustainable growth is essential for economic progress.

According to trade ministry's annual white paper, Japan needs more foreign and information-technology (IT) investment to enhance its service sector and make it more competitive with U.S. and Europe. The 2007 White Paper on International Economy and Trade urged transportation, telecommunications and real estate industries to enter or expand in foreign markets, particularly in faster-growing regions in Asia. Since the service sector generates 70 percent of Japan's GDP and employment, ensuring its sustainable growth is essential for economic progress.

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Japan Assists Vietnam in Foreign Direct Investment

Vietnam currently has 7,490 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth a total of USD 67 billion. Japan has agreed to fund a project to help Vietnam manage and advance their FDI projects. The first phase of the project will create an information management system for all relevant government organizations and the second stage will focus on developing human resources.

Vietnam currently has 7,490 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth a total of USD 67 billion. Japan has agreed to fund a project to help Vietnam manage and advance their FDI projects. The first phase of the project will create an information management system for all relevant government organizations and the second stage will focus on developing human resources.

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Japan's Hitachi Forms Nuclear Energy Unit with General Electric

Rising global demand for energy coupled with increased concerns about coal-fired carbon dioxide emissions have led General Electric to join with Hitachi in a joint nuclear business. Customers have shown a recent tendency to desire diversification of fuel, which has helped rebuild a nuclear energy market that was devastated in the 1970s over safety concerns. The alliance would become even more valuable if the US adopts a carbon tax system aimed at reducing emissions. Designs and certification are expected to cost between USD 350 and 400 million.

Rising global demand for energy coupled with increased concerns about coal-fired carbon dioxide emissions have led General Electric to join with Hitachi in a joint nuclear business. Customers have shown a recent tendency to desire diversification of fuel, which has helped rebuild a nuclear energy market that was devastated in the 1970s over safety concerns. The alliance would become even more valuable if the US adopts a carbon tax system aimed at reducing emissions. Designs and certification are expected to cost between USD 350 and 400 million.

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Japan: Strong Capital Spending, Weak Consumer Confidence

Despite a surge in heavy machinery orders that has all but ensured the strength of Japan's capital spending, results of a recent economy watchers survey show that consumer confidence is still worrisome. Affected most heavily by high gasoline prices and an increased tax burden, consumer confidence fell to a 28-month low in June, the third straight month of decline.

Despite a surge in heavy machinery orders that has all but ensured the strength of Japan's capital spending, results of a recent economy watchers survey show that consumer confidence is still worrisome. Affected most heavily by high gasoline prices and an increased tax burden, consumer confidence fell to a 28-month low in June, the third straight month of decline.

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Strong Asia-Pacific Currencies Lead to Slip in Regional Stocks

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slipped 0.1 percent on Tuesday to close at 157.81, as Asia-Pacific currencies such as the yen and Australian dollar traded strong. The Aussie dollar traded near an 18-year high while the yen experienced a pause in its weakening trend as it strengthened against both the US dollar and the euro. Markets dropped across the region except in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand. Thailand's SET index was the region's biggest gainer, jumping 1.7 percent.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slipped 0.1 percent on Tuesday to close at 157.81, as Asia-Pacific currencies such as the yen and Australian dollar traded strong. The Aussie dollar traded near an 18-year high while the yen experienced a pause in its weakening trend as it strengthened against both the US dollar and the euro. Markets dropped across the region except in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand. Thailand's SET index was the region's biggest gainer, jumping 1.7 percent.

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Strengthening Yen Leads to Drop in Japanese Stocks

As the yen strengthened against both the euro and the dollar, rising as high as JPY 123.17 per dollar and JPY 167.72 per euro, both the Nikkei and the Topix indexes dropped on Tuesday. Exporters such as Canon Inc. paced losers, with the Nikkei falling 9.31 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 18,252.67 and the Topix falling 3.03 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,789.20.

As the yen strengthened against both the euro and the dollar, rising as high as JPY 123.17 per dollar and JPY 167.72 per euro, both the Nikkei and the Topix indexes dropped on Tuesday. Exporters such as Canon Inc. paced losers, with the Nikkei falling 9.31 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 18,252.67 and the Topix falling 3.03 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,789.20.

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Bank of Japan Delays Rate Hike, Expects Increase in August

Waiting for evidence that the nation's current economic growth will be sustained and that inflation will take hold, the Bank of Japan decided to remain firm on its long-standing 0.5 percent interest rate, the lowest among major economies. The board is expected to move for an increase in August, as Upper House elections will be complete and a report on Japan's gross domestic product will have been released.

Waiting for evidence that the nation's current economic growth will be sustained and that inflation will take hold, the Bank of Japan decided to remain firm on its long-standing 0.5 percent interest rate, the lowest among major economies. The board is expected to move for an increase in August, as Upper House elections will be complete and a report on Japan's gross domestic product will have been released.

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Toshiba: JPY 2 Trillion in Chip Sales Within Reach

Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. expects the value of its chip sales to increase by 66 percent by the business year ending March 2011, which would mean an increase from JPY 1.2 trillion to JPY 2 trillion. The boost in sales will be driven by NAND flash memory chips, which are used in cell phones, personal computers, digital cameras and MP3 players. Global demand for NAND chips continues to soar.

Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. expects the value of its chip sales to increase by 66 percent by the business year ending March 2011, which would mean an increase from JPY 1.2 trillion to JPY 2 trillion. The boost in sales will be driven by NAND flash memory chips, which are used in cell phones, personal computers, digital cameras and MP3 players. Global demand for NAND chips continues to soar.

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Japan and Thailand Give Bilateral Currency Swap Deal a Boost

According to Japanese officials, Japan will provide USD 3 billion more of its foreign reserves to Thailand in an effort to better shield both economies from future currency upheavals. Under the previous deal, Japan provided USD 6 billion; under the new plan it will provide USD 9 billion. Officials predict the value of the ASEAN currency swap network will rise from USD 80 billion to USD 83 billion.

According to Japanese officials, Japan will provide USD 3 billion more of its foreign reserves to Thailand in an effort to better shield both economies from future currency upheavals. Under the previous deal, Japan provided USD 6 billion; under the new plan it will provide USD 9 billion. Officials predict the value of the ASEAN currency swap network will rise from USD 80 billion to USD 83 billion.

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Japan to Propose GDP-linked Global Energy Index

In hopes of persuading major greenhouse gas emitters such as China, India and the United States to drop their resistance towards emissions reduction targets, Japan will propose a new international framework that would allow countries to increase their energy consumption as their GDP grows. Japan hopes it can get these major emitters on board before next year's G-8 summit in Hokkaido.

In hopes of persuading major greenhouse gas emitters such as China, India and the United States to drop their resistance towards emissions reduction targets, Japan will propose a new international framework that would allow countries to increase their energy consumption as their GDP grows. Japan hopes it can get these major emitters on board before next year's G-8 summit in Hokkaido.

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Morgan Stanley Asia-Pacific Index Recovers on Monday

As a number of Asia-Pacific's exchanges surged on Monday, Morgan Stanley's International Asia-Pacific Index jumped 1.1 percent to 157.95, recovering from a 0.1 percent slip on July 6. Japan's Nikkei 225 hit a seven-year high, South Korea's Kospi hit a fourth straight high, Taiwan's Taiex realized a sixth straight day of gains, and Singapore's Straits Times hit an eleven-week high. Benchmarks climbed everywhere in the region except in the Philippines, where the SET Index fell. China's CSI 300 paced all benchmark gains.

As a number of Asia-Pacific's exchanges surged on Monday, Morgan Stanley's International Asia-Pacific Index jumped 1.1 percent to 157.95, recovering from a 0.1 percent slip on July 6. Japan's Nikkei 225 hit a seven-year high, South Korea's Kospi hit a fourth straight high, Taiwan's Taiex realized a sixth straight day of gains, and Singapore's Straits Times hit an eleven-week high. Benchmarks climbed everywhere in the region except in the Philippines, where the SET Index fell. China's CSI 300 paced all benchmark gains.

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Yen Little Changed as Investors Await Bernanke's Speech

The yen was little changed against the dollar on Monday as investors await a speech by US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke regarding US inflation. Good for JPY 123.32 yen on July 6, the US dollar bought JPY 123.34 on Monday, though expectations are that the yen may decline noticeably this week as the Bank of Japan continues to hold borrowing costs at 0.5 percent.

The yen was little changed against the dollar on Monday as investors await a speech by US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke regarding US inflation. Good for JPY 123.32 yen on July 6, the US dollar bought JPY 123.34 on Monday, though expectations are that the yen may decline noticeably this week as the Bank of Japan continues to hold borrowing costs at 0.5 percent.

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Kazakh Firm Purchases Portion of Toshiba's Westinghouse Stake

Representing another development in Japan's commitment towards cooperation with Kazakhstan, Toshiba Corp. has sold its 10 percent portion of a 77 percent stake in Westinghouse Electric Co. to Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan's state nuclear power firm. For Toshiba, the move is in line with its efforts to adopt a comprehensive approach to the energy business.

Representing another development in Japan's commitment towards cooperation with Kazakhstan, Toshiba Corp. has sold its 10 percent portion of a 77 percent stake in Westinghouse Electric Co. to Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan's state nuclear power firm. For Toshiba, the move is in line with its efforts to adopt a comprehensive approach to the energy business.

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Abe Visit in August to Cement Japanese-Indonesian FTA

Japan and Indonesia have agreed in principle to sign a free trade agreement that will eliminate tariffs on 92 percent of bilateral trade, create an energy security partnership, and immediately remove Indonesian tariffs on high-grade Japanese steel. The deal is expected to be finalized upon Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Jakarta in August.

Japan and Indonesia have agreed in principle to sign a free trade agreement that will eliminate tariffs on 92 percent of bilateral trade, create an energy security partnership, and immediately remove Indonesian tariffs on high-grade Japanese steel. The deal is expected to be finalized upon Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Jakarta in August.

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Japan's Forex Reserves Recover from May Slip

Despite a slip in May, Japan's foreign-exchange reserves grew USD 2.44 billion in June, reaching a total of USD 913.57 billion. It is the second largest forex reserve realized in Japan's history, with the all-time high standing at USD 915.62 billion in April of this year. Economists attribute the rebound to an influx of income from holdings of US treasury bonds combined with rising US interest rates.

Despite a slip in May, Japan's foreign-exchange reserves grew USD 2.44 billion in June, reaching a total of USD 913.57 billion. It is the second largest forex reserve realized in Japan's history, with the all-time high standing at USD 915.62 billion in April of this year. Economists attribute the rebound to an influx of income from holdings of US treasury bonds combined with rising US interest rates.

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Machinery Orders Reinforce Expectations of Japanese Rate Hike

Heavy machinery orders in Japan increased by 5.9 percent in May, far exceeding the median estimate of 1.9 percent expressed by a panel of 32 economists. As heavy machinery orders are a strong indicator of the direction of corporate spending plans, economists are confident that the Bank of Japan will raise interest rates as early as next month.

Heavy machinery orders in Japan increased by 5.9 percent in May, far exceeding the median estimate of 1.9 percent expressed by a panel of 32 economists. As heavy machinery orders are a strong indicator of the direction of corporate spending plans, economists are confident that the Bank of Japan will raise interest rates as early as next month.

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Energy, Heavy Machinery Push Nikkei 225 to Seven-Year High

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average hit a seven-year high on Monday, fueled by heavy machinery- and energy-related shares. The index increased by 121.04 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 18,261.98, while the Topix jumped 12.56 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 1,792.23. A government report showed that orders for heavy machinery exceeded May's forecast and crude oil has surged to its highest in 10 months.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average hit a seven-year high on Monday, fueled by heavy machinery- and energy-related shares. The index increased by 121.04 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 18,261.98, while the Topix jumped 12.56 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 1,792.23. A government report showed that orders for heavy machinery exceeded May's forecast and crude oil has surged to its highest in 10 months.

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First Drop in a Week on International Asia-Pacific Index

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index dropped for the first time in seven days on Friday, fueled by speculation that a rise in bond yields will lure money away from the equity market. Though China's CSI 300 posted its biggest gain in five months, the benchmark indexes of Japan, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka all slipped. South Korea's Kospi Index climbed 6.7 percent this week, and Thailand's SET Index posted its largest weekly gain in four years.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index dropped for the first time in seven days on Friday, fueled by speculation that a rise in bond yields will lure money away from the equity market. Though China's CSI 300 posted its biggest gain in five months, the benchmark indexes of Japan, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka all slipped. South Korea's Kospi Index climbed 6.7 percent this week, and Thailand's SET Index posted its largest weekly gain in four years.

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US, Japanese Bond Yields Lead to Slip in Japanese Stocks

Climbing bond yields in the US and Japan led to the end of a six-day rally on the Tokyo Exchange, with electric power companies and property developers pacing declines. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 80.54 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 18,140.94. The Topix slipped 8.49 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,779.67. The situation was not helped by Prime Minister Abe's announcement that he has not ruled out raising consumption tax.

Climbing bond yields in the US and Japan led to the end of a six-day rally on the Tokyo Exchange, with electric power companies and property developers pacing declines. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 80.54 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 18,140.94. The Topix slipped 8.49 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,779.67. The situation was not helped by Prime Minister Abe's announcement that he has not ruled out raising consumption tax.

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Euro Back to Record High Against the Yen

After falling a bit yesterday, the euro was back to a new all-time high against the yen on Friday, as the yen slipped against all 16 of the most actively-traded currencies. Japanese investors continue to look overseas for better yields, as global interest rates are on the rise in sharp contrast to Japan's minuscule 0.5 percent rate.

After falling a bit yesterday, the euro was back to a new all-time high against the yen on Friday, as the yen slipped against all 16 of the most actively-traded currencies. Japanese investors continue to look overseas for better yields, as global interest rates are on the rise in sharp contrast to Japan's minuscule 0.5 percent rate.

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First Half of '07 Sees Record Foreign M&As in Japan

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) of Japanese firms by foreign investors, measured both by number of cases and amount of money involved, hit record highs in the first half of 2007. Additionally, there was a significant rise in the number of large-scale takeover deals, fueled by Japan's solid economy.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) of Japanese firms by foreign investors, measured both by number of cases and amount of money involved, hit record highs in the first half of 2007. Additionally, there was a significant rise in the number of large-scale takeover deals, fueled by Japan's solid economy.

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Aussie Fund Managers See Great Potential in Japan

Richard Gilbert, chief executive officer of the Investment and Financial Services Association of Australia, believes that there is great potential in the Japan-Australia mutual fund relationship, but that it is not being reached. Japanese retirees and investors have a penchant for putting their money in overseas investments, and Japanese investment in Australian securities by publicly offered investment funds has seen a tenfold increase over the past six years.

Richard Gilbert, chief executive officer of the Investment and Financial Services Association of Australia, believes that there is great potential in the Japan-Australia mutual fund relationship, but that it is not being reached. Japanese retirees and investors have a penchant for putting their money in overseas investments, and Japanese investment in Australian securities by publicly offered investment funds has seen a tenfold increase over the past six years.

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China to Become South Korea's Largest Importer

Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy predict that China will surpass Japan as South Korea's largest importer by the end of this year due to increased demand for steel and electronic parts. In the first half of the year, imports from China increased by 36.3 percent to USD 28.7 billion while imports from Japan amassed to USD 26.5 billion.

Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy predict that China will surpass Japan as South Korea's largest importer by the end of this year due to increased demand for steel and electronic parts. In the first half of the year, imports from China increased by 36.3 percent to USD 28.7 billion while imports from Japan amassed to USD 26.5 billion.

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Fueled by Chipmakers, Asian Securities on Six-day Rise

Samsung Electronics Co. and BHP Billiton Ltd. led the way as Asian stocks rose for a sixth straight day, reflecting the current strength and rising prices of computer chips and metals. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to hit a record of 156.67 at 8:03 PM in Tokyo, and the region's leading benchmark index, the Nikkei 225, rose 0.3 percent. China's CSI 300 Index paced losers as questions swirled concerning the impact of new share sales. The markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand also took losses on the day.

Samsung Electronics Co. and BHP Billiton Ltd. led the way as Asian stocks rose for a sixth straight day, reflecting the current strength and rising prices of computer chips and metals. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to hit a record of 156.67 at 8:03 PM in Tokyo, and the region's leading benchmark index, the Nikkei 225, rose 0.3 percent. China's CSI 300 Index paced losers as questions swirled concerning the impact of new share sales. The markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand also took losses on the day.

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Budget Deficit Should Continue to Shrink in Japan

The Finance Ministry's Director of Debt Management Policy Chikahisa Sumi expects the Japanese government's budget deficit will continue to shrink until a surplus is finally reached in 2011. Japan's public debt currently stands at JPY 834.4 trillion (USD 6.82 trillion), equal to the economic output of Asia-Pacific's next 13 largest economies combined.

The Finance Ministry's Director of Debt Management Policy Chikahisa Sumi expects the Japanese government's budget deficit will continue to shrink until a surplus is finally reached in 2011. Japan's public debt currently stands at JPY 834.4 trillion (USD 6.82 trillion), equal to the economic output of Asia-Pacific's next 13 largest economies combined.

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Euro Falls from Record High Against Yen

The euro fell from its all-time high against the Japanese yen on Thursday, buying JPY 167.02 during mid-day trading in New York. The euro had previously been fetching JPY 167.28, and economists have voiced their disappointment with the European Central Bank (ECB) for not being more aggressive in its attempts to fuel additional euro gains.

The euro fell from its all-time high against the Japanese yen on Thursday, buying JPY 167.02 during mid-day trading in New York. The euro had previously been fetching JPY 167.28, and economists have voiced their disappointment with the European Central Bank (ECB) for not being more aggressive in its attempts to fuel additional euro gains.

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Japan Braces for Economic Slowdown

For the seventh-straight month, Japan's leading indicator of economic growth has signaled that a slowdown is imminent, and the country's longest expansionary period in over 60 years is expected to soon end. A number below 50 on the growth index indicates that the economy is likely to slow in three to six months; the index was 30 percent in May.

For the seventh-straight month, Japan's leading indicator of economic growth has signaled that a slowdown is imminent, and the country's longest expansionary period in over 60 years is expected to soon end. A number below 50 on the growth index indicates that the economy is likely to slow in three to six months; the index was 30 percent in May.

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Toyota Announces Plan for Tenfold Indian Production Increase

Toyota Motor Corp. has announced that it will increase its annual production capacity in India to 600,000 units by 2015, a tenfold increase. Toyota is the world's largest automaker by market value, but will compete heavily with Honda Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. for India's automotive market, which is the fourth-largest in Asia.

Toyota Motor Corp. has announced that it will increase its annual production capacity in India to 600,000 units by 2015, a tenfold increase. Toyota is the world's largest automaker by market value, but will compete heavily with Honda Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. for India's automotive market, which is the fourth-largest in Asia.

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Japan's Tax Revenues to Fall Short of Projections

The Japanese Finance Ministry expected to collect JPY 50.468 trillion in tax revenues in 2006, but sources within the ministry report that the total is expected to be closer to JPY 49.07 trillion due to less-than-expected growth in corporate tax revenue. Nonetheless, the government expects to post a surplus of approximately JPY 800 billion thanks to efficient debt-servicing and low interest rates.

The Japanese Finance Ministry expected to collect JPY 50.468 trillion in tax revenues in 2006, but sources within the ministry report that the total is expected to be closer to JPY 49.07 trillion due to less-than-expected growth in corporate tax revenue. Nonetheless, the government expects to post a surplus of approximately JPY 800 billion thanks to efficient debt-servicing and low interest rates.

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Japan Urged to Diversify Foreign Reserves

Japan's Visiting Financial Services Minister Yuji Yamamoto believes that Japan should address its management of foreign reserves and invest in channels other than US treasury bills. Yamamoto has said that a lot can be learned from Singapore's management of foreign reserves, particularly through their investment in overseas stocks and real estate. Economists interpreted Yamamoto's remarks to mean that Japan should still retain some of its holdings in US t-bills.

Japan's Visiting Financial Services Minister Yuji Yamamoto believes that Japan should address its management of foreign reserves and invest in channels other than US treasury bills. Yamamoto has said that a lot can be learned from Singapore's management of foreign reserves, particularly through their investment in overseas stocks and real estate. Economists interpreted Yamamoto's remarks to mean that Japan should still retain some of its holdings in US t-bills.

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Moody's Considers Upgrading Japanese Bond Rating

Moody's Investor Service has announced that it is considering upgrading its rating on Japanese government bonds issued in Japan. Citing improvements in Japan's debt obligations and macroeconomic performance, Senior Vice President Thomas Byrne said that the yen-denominated bonds might be raised from their current A2 rating soon.

Moody's Investor Service has announced that it is considering upgrading its rating on Japanese government bonds issued in Japan. Citing improvements in Japan's debt obligations and macroeconomic performance, Senior Vice President Thomas Byrne said that the yen-denominated bonds might be raised from their current A2 rating soon.

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Japanese Investors Consider Looking Outside of Thailand

Japanese investors are starting to stray from the Thai market because of its rising stock market and appreciating currency, causing it to be less competitive, according to the Japanese External Trade Organization (Jetro). Jetro President Yoichi Kato said most Japanese companies plan to maintain their position in the Thai market with a "wait-and-see" approach, but will begin looking to invest in countries such as Vietnam, China and India.

Japanese investors are starting to stray from the Thai market because of its rising stock market and appreciating currency, causing it to be less competitive, according to the Japanese External Trade Organization (Jetro). Jetro President Yoichi Kato said most Japanese companies plan to maintain their position in the Thai market with a "wait-and-see" approach, but will begin looking to invest in countries such as Vietnam, China and India.

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Investors Expect Bank of Japan to Raise Key Rate to 0.75 Percent

Central bank board members have repeated their warnings that holding Japan's interest rates unchanged for too long will stunt the nation's economic growth. Japan's largest corporations are expected to increase spending as the economy expands, and the 0.50 percent key rate is expected to be boosted to 0.75 percent in either August or September. Holding rates too low for too long often over-accelerates economic activity and price gains and may lead to a growth-hindering, excessively-large rate increase.

Central bank board members have repeated their warnings that holding Japan's interest rates unchanged for too long will stunt the nation's economic growth. Japan's largest corporations are expected to increase spending as the economy expands, and the 0.50 percent key rate is expected to be boosted to 0.75 percent in either August or September. Holding rates too low for too long often over-accelerates economic activity and price gains and may lead to a growth-hindering, excessively-large rate increase.

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Norway Approves Japan's Idemitsu for North Sea Gas Project

The Norwegian government has approved Idemitsu Kosan Co., Japan's second-largest refiner, to develop a JPY 47 billion gas field in the North Sea. Declining domestic demand for petroleum has seen more Japanese oil refiners expand their overseas oil and gas ventures, and Idemitsu will invest JPY 7 billion to produce gas and light-grade crude oil at the offshore Vega South Gas Field.

The Norwegian government has approved Idemitsu Kosan Co., Japan's second-largest refiner, to develop a JPY 47 billion gas field in the North Sea. Declining domestic demand for petroleum has seen more Japanese oil refiners expand their overseas oil and gas ventures, and Idemitsu will invest JPY 7 billion to produce gas and light-grade crude oil at the offshore Vega South Gas Field.

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Japanese Bond Rates Gain on Issue of New Securities

Yields on Japan's benchmark 10-year bonds closed in on a yearly high last month, and rose again on Tuesday as the Ministry of Finance decided to issue new securities instead of reopening sale of existing debt. The ministry has set a 1.9 percent coupon on the new 10-year bonds.

Yields on Japan's benchmark 10-year bonds closed in on a yearly high last month, and rose again on Tuesday as the Ministry of Finance decided to issue new securities instead of reopening sale of existing debt. The ministry has set a 1.9 percent coupon on the new 10-year bonds.

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Japanese Domestic Car Sales Hit 30-year Low

Domestic sales of new automobiles dropped 10.5 percent in the first half of 2007 to hit a 30-year low of 1.79 million units. Studies have shown that sales are being hurt by high gasoline prices and a shift in buying tendencies amongst the nation's younger buyers. The Japan Automobile Dealers Association is calling for an improved auto-related taxation system to help turn around the industry.

Domestic sales of new automobiles dropped 10.5 percent in the first half of 2007 to hit a 30-year low of 1.79 million units. Studies have shown that sales are being hurt by high gasoline prices and a shift in buying tendencies amongst the nation's younger buyers. The Japan Automobile Dealers Association is calling for an improved auto-related taxation system to help turn around the industry.

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Brokerage, Oil Shares Lift Up Japanese Stocks

Japanese stocks edged up on Tuesday on the backs of brokerage and oil shares, the fourth straight session stocks closed higher. The Nikkei 225 gained 3.6 points, or 0.02 percent, to close at 18,149.90, but strategists suggest that market consolidation will occur within the next couple of days.

Japanese stocks edged up on Tuesday on the backs of brokerage and oil shares, the fourth straight session stocks closed higher. The Nikkei 225 gained 3.6 points, or 0.02 percent, to close at 18,149.90, but strategists suggest that market consolidation will occur within the next couple of days.

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Myanmar to Receive USD 3.8 Million From Japan

Myanmar will receive JPY 468 million (about USD 3.8 million) for aid in afforestation projects and a human resource scholarship program that grants aid to promising Myanmar students at Japanese universities.

Myanmar will receive JPY 468 million (about USD 3.8 million) for aid in afforestation projects and a human resource scholarship program that grants aid to promising Myanmar students at Japanese universities.

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Japan to Invest in India's Development

Japan has agreed to help finance India's USD 90 billion development project to build ports, airports, and roads along the New Delhi - Mumbai railroad. India wants to build infrastructure to attract investment as well as create jobs and promote economic and industrial growth. The first stage of the project which includes improving six airports and building two ports is set to be finished by 2012.

Japan has agreed to help finance India's USD 90 billion development project to build ports, airports, and roads along the New Delhi - Mumbai railroad. India wants to build infrastructure to attract investment as well as create jobs and promote economic and industrial growth. The first stage of the project which includes improving six airports and building two ports is set to be finished by 2012.

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Economic Slowdown Fears Renewed in Japan

An unexpected 0.4 percent dip in May industrial production has Japanese economists worried about an overall slowdown in economic growth. The original production forecast was an increase of 0.7 percent, but the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) revised its outlook based on slowdowns in exports and slower-than-expected inventory adjustments in the IT sector.

An unexpected 0.4 percent dip in May industrial production has Japanese economists worried about an overall slowdown in economic growth. The original production forecast was an increase of 0.7 percent, but the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) revised its outlook based on slowdowns in exports and slower-than-expected inventory adjustments in the IT sector.

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Japanese Retail Sales Grow for First Time in Eight Months

May numbers show that retail sales grew unexpectedly by 0.1 percent from a year earlier, leading economists to believe that consumer spending may lead to second-quarter economic growth. Japan's consumer spending recovery continues to be paced by the travel and entertainment industries, though food and beverage sales have seen noticeable jumps recently.

May numbers show that retail sales grew unexpectedly by 0.1 percent from a year earlier, leading economists to believe that consumer spending may lead to second-quarter economic growth. Japan's consumer spending recovery continues to be paced by the travel and entertainment industries, though food and beverage sales have seen noticeable jumps recently.

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Topix, Nikkei 225 Slide Further on Continued US Housing Concerns

With the US housing market worsening and the yen strengthening, Japanese investors have become alarmingly concerned about a drop in US demand, leading both the Topix and Nikkei 225 to slide again on Wednesday. The Topix fell 24.79 points, or 1.4 percent, to close at 1,741.08, while the Nikkei 225 slid 216.83 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 17,849.28.

With the US housing market worsening and the yen strengthening, Japanese investors have become alarmingly concerned about a drop in US demand, leading both the Topix and Nikkei 225 to slide again on Wednesday. The Topix fell 24.79 points, or 1.4 percent, to close at 1,741.08, while the Nikkei 225 slid 216.83 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 17,849.28.

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Bank of Japan Predicting Massive Capital Outflow

A Bank of Japan official announced on Wednesday that he expects household desires to diversify domestic assets to trigger a massive flow of capital out of Japan. Central bank's minuscule 0.5 percent overnight lending rate has prompted investors to move money overseas in hopes of higher returns, in the process dropping the yen 3 percent against the dollar and 4.7 percent against the euro this year.

A Bank of Japan official announced on Wednesday that he expects household desires to diversify domestic assets to trigger a massive flow of capital out of Japan. Central bank's minuscule 0.5 percent overnight lending rate has prompted investors to move money overseas in hopes of higher returns, in the process dropping the yen 3 percent against the dollar and 4.7 percent against the euro this year.

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Japan Fears Economic Impact of Sri Lanka Human Rights Situation

Japan, Sri Lanka's largest source of foreign aid, has expressed its concern that the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka will cause the already fragile economy to further suffer, most notably in the tourism and foreign investment sectors. Japanese officials continue to meet with their counterparts in Sri Lanka to expedite political dialog and anti-terrorism measures.

Japan, Sri Lanka's largest source of foreign aid, has expressed its concern that the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka will cause the already fragile economy to further suffer, most notably in the tourism and foreign investment sectors. Japanese officials continue to meet with their counterparts in Sri Lanka to expedite political dialog and anti-terrorism measures.

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japan

Subprime US Mortgage Concerns Hit Japanese Export Shares

Fear of curbed growth in the US caused exporter shares in Japan to take a hit on the Tokyo Exchange, with US-reliant Komatsu Ltd. and Sony Corp. pacing losers on the day. US stocks declined for a second straight day over concerns of greater than expected hedge fund losses, and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped along with them, falling 21.37 points or 0.1 percent to close at 18,066.11.

Fear of curbed growth in the US caused exporter shares in Japan to take a hit on the Tokyo Exchange, with US-reliant Komatsu Ltd. and Sony Corp. pacing losers on the day. US stocks declined for a second straight day over concerns of greater than expected hedge fund losses, and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped along with them, falling 21.37 points or 0.1 percent to close at 18,066.11.

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Kyoto-based Nintendo Surpasses Sony in Market Value

Riding the popularity of the Wii video game console in comparison to Sony's Playstation 3, shares of Nintendo hit a record JPY 46,350 on Monday, valuing the company at JPY 6.57 trillion. Sony's trade capitalization value is JPY 6.48 trillion. An analysts with Mizuho Securities Co attributes Nintendo's recent success to its strength in creating new markets.

Riding the popularity of the Wii video game console in comparison to Sony's Playstation 3, shares of Nintendo hit a record JPY 46,350 on Monday, valuing the company at JPY 6.57 trillion. Sony's trade capitalization value is JPY 6.48 trillion. An analysts with Mizuho Securities Co attributes Nintendo's recent success to its strength in creating new markets.

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Japan to Support India's Infrastructure Development

At his visit later this month, Japan's Minister on Economy, Trade, and Industry is expected to announce financial support to India's infrastructural development amounting to USD 30 billion. The support shall be provided in loans and investments and be used for India's national project to build a freight rail network, industrial parks, ports and other infrastructure in Delhi and Mumbai.

At his visit later this month, Japan's Minister on Economy, Trade, and Industry is expected to announce financial support to India's infrastructural development amounting to USD 30 billion. The support shall be provided in loans and investments and be used for India's national project to build a freight rail network, industrial parks, ports and other infrastructure in Delhi and Mumbai.

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Brunei, Japan in Economic Partnership Deal

Brunei and Japan signed a wide-ranging agreement of economic partnership, marking a significant milestone in the relationship between the two countries. The Brunei-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, BJEA, will open up greater opportunities to further develop the economic ties between Brunei and Japan and also strengthen the partnership in the fields of energy, trade, human resource, and investment.

Brunei and Japan signed a wide-ranging agreement of economic partnership, marking a significant milestone in the relationship between the two countries. The Brunei-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, BJEA, will open up greater opportunities to further develop the economic ties between Brunei and Japan and also strengthen the partnership in the fields of energy, trade, human resource, and investment.

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Japanese Government to Open Up Trust and Banking Sectors

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) is planning to further deregulate business areas currently handled by trust companies and banks to increase competition. In exchange for the deregulation, the FSA plans to require new trust service providers to build asset reserves and a monitoring framework that would include periodic inspections. In the banking sector, the FSA aims to simplify the process for insurers to oversee syndicated loans.

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) is planning to further deregulate business areas currently handled by trust companies and banks to increase competition. In exchange for the deregulation, the FSA plans to require new trust service providers to build asset reserves and a monitoring framework that would include periodic inspections. In the banking sector, the FSA aims to simplify the process for insurers to oversee syndicated loans.

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Cambodia, Japan Sign Investment Agreement

Cambodian and Japanese Prime Ministers Hun Sen and Shinzo Abe have signed an agreement in Tokyo encouraging Japanese investment in the southeast Asian nation. One stipulation of the agreement is that Japanese firms will receive equal treatment for regulation and taxation as Cambodian firms when they operate in the country. Another is to ban Cambodian companies from requiring Japanese firms in the country to transfer technology or obtain supplies within Cambodia. Abe also said that he wishes to provide Cambodia with JPY 3 billion over the next three years in official development assistance.

Cambodian and Japanese Prime Ministers Hun Sen and Shinzo Abe have signed an agreement in Tokyo encouraging Japanese investment in the southeast Asian nation. One stipulation of the agreement is that Japanese firms will receive equal treatment for regulation and taxation as Cambodian firms when they operate in the country. Another is to ban Cambodian companies from requiring Japanese firms in the country to transfer technology or obtain supplies within Cambodia. Abe also said that he wishes to provide Cambodia with JPY 3 billion over the next three years in official development assistance.

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Yahoo Japan Partners With Apple iTunes

Yahoo Japan replaces a Song Corp. affiliated music download service with Apple Inc.'s iTunes Music Store as the default music store on Yahoo Music Japan. The collaboration means that visitors to the Yahoo Music pages now see a link to iTunes in the menu bar and one-click access to the download service. The change is excellent news for Apple, since Yahoo Japan is by far the most popular portal site in the country. According to NetRatings Japan Inc., the website is accessed by 84 percent of the country's internet users from home each month.

Yahoo Japan replaces a Song Corp. affiliated music download service with Apple Inc.'s iTunes Music Store as the default music store on Yahoo Music Japan. The collaboration means that visitors to the Yahoo Music pages now see a link to iTunes in the menu bar and one-click access to the download service. The change is excellent news for Apple, since Yahoo Japan is by far the most popular portal site in the country. According to NetRatings Japan Inc., the website is accessed by 84 percent of the country's internet users from home each month.

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Japan Stocks Up 6.2 Percent

Japan's stocks rose as investors bought steel, auto and trading company shares. Steel shares advanced after Nippon Steel Corp. and Godo Steel Ltd. said they will strengthen their alliance with increased mutual shareholdings. Auto exporters gained amid the yen's weakness against the dollar, boosting overseas earnings and making exports less expensive.

Japan's stocks rose as investors bought steel, auto and trading company shares. Steel shares advanced after Nippon Steel Corp. and Godo Steel Ltd. said they will strengthen their alliance with increased mutual shareholdings. Auto exporters gained amid the yen's weakness against the dollar, boosting overseas earnings and making exports less expensive.

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Cambodian PM Presses Japan for Investment

On a visit to Japan, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen stressed the growth and potential of Cambodia to Japanese business leaders in an invitation to invest in the country. He told them that Cambodia 'will make a new start' as a natural resource, and that the climate for investment is improving. Cambodia's economy grew by 10.8 percent in 2006 and 13.5 percent in 2005. GDP per capita has almost doubled between 2000 and 2006 from USD 288 to USD 513 and inflation has remained below 3 percent over that period. Hun Sen expects to sign a bilateral investment agreement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, providing further incentive for Japanese investment.

On a visit to Japan, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen stressed the growth and potential of Cambodia to Japanese business leaders in an invitation to invest in the country. He told them that Cambodia 'will make a new start' as a natural resource, and that the climate for investment is improving. Cambodia's economy grew by 10.8 percent in 2006 and 13.5 percent in 2005. GDP per capita has almost doubled between 2000 and 2006 from USD 288 to USD 513 and inflation has remained below 3 percent over that period. Hun Sen expects to sign a bilateral investment agreement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, providing further incentive for Japanese investment.

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BOJ Keeps Rate Low Despite Market Demands for Higher Rate

Regardless of the fast growing economy this year, Bank of Japan (BOJ) remains cautious on rate adjustment. With consumer prices falling for a third month, and upper class elections coming up, BOJ will probably keep rates unchanged at 0.5 percent. Analysts argue that BOJ will eventually have to raise the rate based on market demand, with a hike expected sometime before August 2007.

Regardless of the fast growing economy this year, Bank of Japan (BOJ) remains cautious on rate adjustment. With consumer prices falling for a third month, and upper class elections coming up, BOJ will probably keep rates unchanged at 0.5 percent. Analysts argue that BOJ will eventually have to raise the rate based on market demand, with a hike expected sometime before August 2007.

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Vietnam and Japan Closer to Signing Their EPA

The third round of negotiations to draft the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) ended, bringing the two countries closer to a prosperous trade relationship. Besides opening up the countries' markets, under the agreement, Vietnamese and Japanese businesses could develop relationships in areas including investment, tourism, human resources development, and cultural exchange. The two sides hope to sign the EPA this year.

The third round of negotiations to draft the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) ended, bringing the two countries closer to a prosperous trade relationship. Besides opening up the countries' markets, under the agreement, Vietnamese and Japanese businesses could develop relationships in areas including investment, tourism, human resources development, and cultural exchange. The two sides hope to sign the EPA this year.

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Current Account Surplus in Japan Widens

Driven by the global economy and the continuous decline of the yen, Japanese investment overseas increases as they take advantage of higher interest rates abroad. As Japanese exports increase tremendously under the depreciating currency, Japan's current account surplus further widens. The Bank of Japan is being strongly urged to raise interest rates.

Driven by the global economy and the continuous decline of the yen, Japanese investment overseas increases as they take advantage of higher interest rates abroad. As Japanese exports increase tremendously under the depreciating currency, Japan's current account surplus further widens. The Bank of Japan is being strongly urged to raise interest rates.

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Japan Agrees to Aid Palestinian Authority

Japan has agreed to offer direct aid to the Palestinian Authority. Japan continues to be a major donor to the Middle East peace process but has tried to remain a neutral party in this conflict. Nonetheless, an independent in the Palestinian government called for the lifting of economic sanctions in front of 40 members of the Japanese parliament.

Japan has agreed to offer direct aid to the Palestinian Authority. Japan continues to be a major donor to the Middle East peace process but has tried to remain a neutral party in this conflict. Nonetheless, an independent in the Palestinian government called for the lifting of economic sanctions in front of 40 members of the Japanese parliament.

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Japanese Investors Step Up Buying of New Zealand Dollar

After the NZ Reserve Bank's intervention in the foreign exchange market, Japanese investors took advantage of the NZD's slumping value, getting even more NZD for their JPY. Japanese investors have taken to purchasing the NZD in recent years because of New Zealand's high interest rates. While they may only get a deposit rate of 0.21 percent at Japan's Post Office Bank, investors can find an interest rate of over 7 percent with NZD uridashi bonds. Because of this large difference, the high demand for NZD should continue.

After the NZ Reserve Bank's intervention in the foreign exchange market, Japanese investors took advantage of the NZD's slumping value, getting even more NZD for their JPY. Japanese investors have taken to purchasing the NZD in recent years because of New Zealand's high interest rates. While they may only get a deposit rate of 0.21 percent at Japan's Post Office Bank, investors can find an interest rate of over 7 percent with NZD uridashi bonds. Because of this large difference, the high demand for NZD should continue.

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Consumer Confidence Falls in Japan

Just when Japan, the world's second largest economy, was in the midst its longest economic expansion, wages fell. It appears that corporate profit gains did not get passed on to the employees, and the drop in wages has led to a fall in consumer confidence.

Just when Japan, the world's second largest economy, was in the midst its longest economic expansion, wages fell. It appears that corporate profit gains did not get passed on to the employees, and the drop in wages has led to a fall in consumer confidence.

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Donut Chains Expanding Into Asia

As Western foods are becoming more popular in Asia, donut chains are establishing their presence in China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan among other Asian nations. According to Krispy Kreme's spokesman, the donut market is said to be growing by 20 to 30 percent each year. This increase in donut consumption not only represents an embracing of Western cuisine, but also indicates a higher willingness to pay for "luxury eats."

As Western foods are becoming more popular in Asia, donut chains are establishing their presence in China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan among other Asian nations. According to Krispy Kreme's spokesman, the donut market is said to be growing by 20 to 30 percent each year. This increase in donut consumption not only represents an embracing of Western cuisine, but also indicates a higher willingness to pay for "luxury eats."

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Japan and Italy Discuss Flexibility of Chinese Currency

The finance ministers of Japan and Italy met in Japan today to discuss the relationship between euro and Asian currencies. During the meeting, both ministers agreed that China should have more flexibility in their currency, saying that China should allow the yuan to appreciate to reflect the country's economic strength.

The finance ministers of Japan and Italy met in Japan today to discuss the relationship between euro and Asian currencies. During the meeting, both ministers agreed that China should have more flexibility in their currency, saying that China should allow the yuan to appreciate to reflect the country's economic strength.

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Japan Outshines US in Recent Growth

Japan's economy has outperformed both the United States and European Union during the first quarter of 2007, marking the second straight quarter that the Japanese economy has done so. Due to this expansion, economic analysts estimate that the Bank of Japan now has sufficient justification to raise rates later this year.

Japan's economy has outperformed both the United States and European Union during the first quarter of 2007, marking the second straight quarter that the Japanese economy has done so. Due to this expansion, economic analysts estimate that the Bank of Japan now has sufficient justification to raise rates later this year.

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Japan Will Not Slash Bilateral Aid to Sri Lanka

Following a special 4-day envoy to Sri Lanka, former UN diplomat Yasushi Akashi reports that Japan is confident the island's peace process can be salvaged, and that Japan has no immediate plans to cut financial aid to Sri Lanka or freeze the assets of Tamil rebels. Japan, which accounts for two thirds of bilateral aid to Sri Lanka, feels that aid packages are meant for the victims of conflict and should not be withheld because of the actions or policies of their leaders.

Following a special 4-day envoy to Sri Lanka, former UN diplomat Yasushi Akashi reports that Japan is confident the island's peace process can be salvaged, and that Japan has no immediate plans to cut financial aid to Sri Lanka or freeze the assets of Tamil rebels. Japan, which accounts for two thirds of bilateral aid to Sri Lanka, feels that aid packages are meant for the victims of conflict and should not be withheld because of the actions or policies of their leaders.

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japan

JAL Puts Capital Boost Plan on Hold

Japanese Airlines (JAL) revealed its business plan three months ago and expressed its intention to boost capital. However, JAL's earnings for this business year are running ahead of forecast, and the airline now thinks it can put this plan on hold.

Japanese Airlines (JAL) revealed its business plan three months ago and expressed its intention to boost capital. However, JAL's earnings for this business year are running ahead of forecast, and the airline now thinks it can put this plan on hold.

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Japan's Stock Market Swings Between Gains and Losses

Japanese stocks gained on Thursday, paced by trading companies and oil explorers. However, technology-related companies that rely on US sales, such as Sony Corp, declined after a rise in US labor costs. Forecasters encourage investors to continue to hold trading company shares as they are expected to continue to lead the markets.

Japanese stocks gained on Thursday, paced by trading companies and oil explorers. However, technology-related companies that rely on US sales, such as Sony Corp, declined after a rise in US labor costs. Forecasters encourage investors to continue to hold trading company shares as they are expected to continue to lead the markets.

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Japanese Wages Climb to Six-Year High Following Spring Talks

Strong business performance and the need to hire talented workers has driven salaries in Japan to a six-year high. The weighted average of wage-hike rates came to 1.9 percent per unionized worker at large firms, marking the third-straight year of wage increases.

Strong business performance and the need to hire talented workers has driven salaries in Japan to a six-year high. The weighted average of wage-hike rates came to 1.9 percent per unionized worker at large firms, marking the third-straight year of wage increases.

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China and Japan Face New Era in Hotel Industry

Both China and Japan are expected to lead Asia into a new era for the hotel and service industries, illustrated as Asian hotel transactions accelerated faster than the US and Europe in 2006. Other effects, such as more open government policies and the upcoming Olympic games, will further drive the demand up.

Both China and Japan are expected to lead Asia into a new era for the hotel and service industries, illustrated as Asian hotel transactions accelerated faster than the US and Europe in 2006. Other effects, such as more open government policies and the upcoming Olympic games, will further drive the demand up.

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japan

Japanese Economy May Cool Down

Japan, the world's second-largest economy, may have grown more than the government initially estimated in the first quarter of this year. Nonetheless, Japan's broadest indicator of the outlook for the economy signaled for a sixth month that the longest expansion in more than 60 years may slow. However, analysts also claim Japan will still achieve sustainable growth, as any slowdown is expected to be minor.

Japan, the world's second-largest economy, may have grown more than the government initially estimated in the first quarter of this year. Nonetheless, Japan's broadest indicator of the outlook for the economy signaled for a sixth month that the longest expansion in more than 60 years may slow. However, analysts also claim Japan will still achieve sustainable growth, as any slowdown is expected to be minor.

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Hong Kong Exchange Seeks Commodities Advisors

Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Ltd., manager of Asia's third-biggest stock market, plans to choose advisors as early as this month to study the creation of a commodities derivatives exchange, as confirmed by Chairman Ronald Arculli. Arculli plans to focus on commodities such as precious metals and energy, though he will be pitting himself against Singapore's oil-dominating exchange and the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, which handles the region's largest futures markets for precious metals.

Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Ltd., manager of Asia's third-biggest stock market, plans to choose advisors as early as this month to study the creation of a commodities derivatives exchange, as confirmed by Chairman Ronald Arculli. Arculli plans to focus on commodities such as precious metals and energy, though he will be pitting himself against Singapore's oil-dominating exchange and the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, which handles the region's largest futures markets for precious metals.

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japan

Yen Carry Trade Helps Australian, NZ Dollars Reach 15-Year Highs

After gaining for the fourth successive day, New Zealand's and Australia's Dollars reached a 15 year high against the Yen, as the currencies benefited as carry trades continue to remain in favor. Reacting to a 0.5 rise in Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average and the rebound of Chinese stocks, New Zealand currency rose to 91.73 yen (the highest since August 1990) and the Australia's Dollar traded as high as 101.99 yen, a level unattained since April 1992.

After gaining for the fourth successive day, New Zealand's and Australia's Dollars reached a 15 year high against the Yen, as the currencies benefited as carry trades continue to remain in favor. Reacting to a 0.5 rise in Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average and the rebound of Chinese stocks, New Zealand currency rose to 91.73 yen (the highest since August 1990) and the Australia's Dollar traded as high as 101.99 yen, a level unattained since April 1992.

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Japanese Capital Spending Climbs High

Japanese capital spending in all industries totaled a record JPY 17.729 trillion in the first quarter of 2007, up 13.6 percent from the same period in 2006. Economists suggest that the quarterly survey shows that firms remain proactive about further business investment despite a slowdown in the US economy.

Japanese capital spending in all industries totaled a record JPY 17.729 trillion in the first quarter of 2007, up 13.6 percent from the same period in 2006. Economists suggest that the quarterly survey shows that firms remain proactive about further business investment despite a slowdown in the US economy.

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Tariffs Refund Battle Forces NTT to Sell Stake in Sri Lanka Telecom

A Supreme Court battle in Sri Lanka over the refund of excessive tariffs has forced Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) to sell a controversial portion of its stake in Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), partly exiting the market. Legal action taken by the Consumers' Association of Lanka (CAL) called for a refund of LKR 3-5 billion, prompting a financial crisis for NTT that forced it to sell out of fear of being left in financial ruin. Negotiations over tariff reduction are still ongoing.

A Supreme Court battle in Sri Lanka over the refund of excessive tariffs has forced Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) to sell a controversial portion of its stake in Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), partly exiting the market. Legal action taken by the Consumers' Association of Lanka (CAL) called for a refund of LKR 3-5 billion, prompting a financial crisis for NTT that forced it to sell out of fear of being left in financial ruin. Negotiations over tariff reduction are still ongoing.

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japan

Weak Yen Hurts South Korean-Japanese Trade

The Japanese yen has consistently weakened over the past two years, dropping from 1,059 won to 100 Yen in 2004, to 822 won the the next year, and then to 769 won in May of 2007. This decline has seriously affected the trade balance between Japan and South Korea and is hurting the global competitiveness of local products.

The Japanese yen has consistently weakened over the past two years, dropping from 1,059 won to 100 Yen in 2004, to 822 won the the next year, and then to 769 won in May of 2007. This decline has seriously affected the trade balance between Japan and South Korea and is hurting the global competitiveness of local products.

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japan

Japan's Economy Did Better in First Quarter Than Expected

Japan's economy expanded at an annual 3.2 percent pace in the three months ended March 31, faster than the government's preliminary number of 2.4. Released today, the first quarter report also showed that business investment rose to a record high, as companies are optimistic about both domestic and overseas demand.

Japan's economy expanded at an annual 3.2 percent pace in the three months ended March 31, faster than the government's preliminary number of 2.4. Released today, the first quarter report also showed that business investment rose to a record high, as companies are optimistic about both domestic and overseas demand.

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Japanese Stocks Stay High

Export-sensitive shipping and machinery shares rose on Wall Street overnight, and Japanese stocks rallied to a 3-month high on gains in the shipping and machinery sectors. Experts view this as a positive, sustainable trend, despite Chinese market woes. U.S consumer confidence building up will also benefit Japanese shares.

Export-sensitive shipping and machinery shares rose on Wall Street overnight, and Japanese stocks rallied to a 3-month high on gains in the shipping and machinery sectors. Experts view this as a positive, sustainable trend, despite Chinese market woes. U.S consumer confidence building up will also benefit Japanese shares.

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CPI Expected to Rise in Japan

A member of Bank of Japan's (BOJ) executive board expressed his expectations for the Japanese economy on Thursday. Mr. Nishimura explains that the consumer price index (CPI) will rise over the next six months, though it is not clear when this will happen. Furthermore, the Japanese central bank claims that they will slowly adjust interest rates in accordance with improvement in economic and price conditions.

A member of Bank of Japan's (BOJ) executive board expressed his expectations for the Japanese economy on Thursday. Mr. Nishimura explains that the consumer price index (CPI) will rise over the next six months, though it is not clear when this will happen. Furthermore, the Japanese central bank claims that they will slowly adjust interest rates in accordance with improvement in economic and price conditions.

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Sri Lanka Aid Donors Sign Aid Code

Sri Lanka's primary aid donors have agreed upon and signed an aid code detailing how to provide humanitarian and development assistance to Sri Lanka. Called the "Guiding Principles", a major aspect of the code is the underlining of the conditions required to allow donors and their implementing partners to work. Australia, Japan, and South Korea are among the 14 government bodies to sign the code, which has also been endorsed by such NGOs as the United Nations and World Bank.

Sri Lanka's primary aid donors have agreed upon and signed an aid code detailing how to provide humanitarian and development assistance to Sri Lanka. Called the "Guiding Principles", a major aspect of the code is the underlining of the conditions required to allow donors and their implementing partners to work. Australia, Japan, and South Korea are among the 14 government bodies to sign the code, which has also been endorsed by such NGOs as the United Nations and World Bank.

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APEC to Study State-Owned Oil Firms

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) energy ministers plan to study the impact of state ownership of oil and gas companies among its 21-member body by focusing on their trade and investment. The study expects to form partnerships between state-controlled and private oil companies in order to efficiently develop reserves.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) energy ministers plan to study the impact of state ownership of oil and gas companies among its 21-member body by focusing on their trade and investment. The study expects to form partnerships between state-controlled and private oil companies in order to efficiently develop reserves.

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Korean and Japanese Airlines Form Alliance

Korean airline company Asiana Airlines reached an agreement with Japanese airliner All Nippon Airways (ANA), providing each company with USD12 million worth of stakes in the other. This capital alliance agreement is an effort to increase business ties and mutual interest as the airlines plan to expand the number of routes operated under joint marketing agreements. Currently, Asiana Airlines operates 18 routes and 154 flights with ANA, which makes ANA the largest code-sharing partner with Asiana Airlines.

Korean airline company Asiana Airlines reached an agreement with Japanese airliner All Nippon Airways (ANA), providing each company with USD12 million worth of stakes in the other. This capital alliance agreement is an effort to increase business ties and mutual interest as the airlines plan to expand the number of routes operated under joint marketing agreements. Currently, Asiana Airlines operates 18 routes and 154 flights with ANA, which makes ANA the largest code-sharing partner with Asiana Airlines.

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Bank of Japan Warns of Global Current Account Imbalances

Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Toshihiko Fukui opened his speech at a BOJ conference with a warning on global current account imbalance. He claimed that unwinding of global imbalances are now "disorderly", which is represented by the huge US current account deficit and large surpluses held by East Asian countries such as China.

Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Toshihiko Fukui opened his speech at a BOJ conference with a warning on global current account imbalance. He claimed that unwinding of global imbalances are now "disorderly", which is represented by the huge US current account deficit and large surpluses held by East Asian countries such as China.

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Japan's Industrial Production Declines Again in April

Japanese automobile production declined in April, the second straight month of downturn. A slow down in the US economy has had a strong influence on this decline. Nonetheless, economists remain optimistic about the future of industry, claiming that rising consumer confidence in the US economy during recent months demonstrates a likely increase in demand for Japanese industrial products.

Japanese automobile production declined in April, the second straight month of downturn. A slow down in the US economy has had a strong influence on this decline. Nonetheless, economists remain optimistic about the future of industry, claiming that rising consumer confidence in the US economy during recent months demonstrates a likely increase in demand for Japanese industrial products.

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Sanyo Forecasts First Annual Profit in Four Years

Sanyo Electric Co. is the world's largest maker of rechargeable batteries. After four straight years of loss, they claim that they forecast their first annual profit. The stock has gained USD10 or JPY213 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange close,and analysts are optimistic.

Sanyo Electric Co. is the world's largest maker of rechargeable batteries. After four straight years of loss, they claim that they forecast their first annual profit. The stock has gained USD10 or JPY213 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange close,and analysts are optimistic.

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Japan's Fall in Unemployment Rate

Japan's unemployment rate fell to 3.8% in April, hitting a nine year low. At the same time, consumer spending was up for the fourth straight month. Analysts indicate that the unemployment record reflects widespread hiring practices since the beginning of this fiscal year, which should also lead wages to an accelerated, upward trend. Sustained figures such as these will assist the Japanese economy in recovering from a slowdown.

Japan's unemployment rate fell to 3.8% in April, hitting a nine year low. At the same time, consumer spending was up for the fourth straight month. Analysts indicate that the unemployment record reflects widespread hiring practices since the beginning of this fiscal year, which should also lead wages to an accelerated, upward trend. Sustained figures such as these will assist the Japanese economy in recovering from a slowdown.

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Asian Stocks Fall on US Rate Speculation

Speculation that interest rates will be adjusted downward in the US, Asia's largest export market, has all but dissipated, especially with an unexpected surge in US home sales. The result was the largest drop in Asian stocks in the past five weeks, with only the benchmark indexes of China, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka advancing in the region. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.3 percent, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average took its largest hit of the month at 1.2 percent.

Speculation that interest rates will be adjusted downward in the US, Asia's largest export market, has all but dissipated, especially with an unexpected surge in US home sales. The result was the largest drop in Asian stocks in the past five weeks, with only the benchmark indexes of China, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka advancing in the region. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.3 percent, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average took its largest hit of the month at 1.2 percent.

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Japan World's Largest Creditor Nation

For the 16th straight year, Japan remains to be the world's largest creditor nation, while some countries like China and several Middle East nations do not release comparable data. Government data showed on Friday that Japan's net external assets rose 19.0 percent to 215.081 trillion yen by the end of 2006.

For the 16th straight year, Japan remains to be the world's largest creditor nation, while some countries like China and several Middle East nations do not release comparable data. Government data showed on Friday that Japan's net external assets rose 19.0 percent to 215.081 trillion yen by the end of 2006.

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Japanese Core Consumer Price Decline

Japanese consumer prices declined for a third straight month, as the official figures showed Friday that Japanese core consumer prices fell by 0.1 percent in April from a year earlier. The ministry explains that this drop was mainly due to the decrease in price of digital consumer products and lower fuel prices. Japan's Central Bank insists these issues do not mean that Japan has failed to beat deflation.

Japanese consumer prices declined for a third straight month, as the official figures showed Friday that Japanese core consumer prices fell by 0.1 percent in April from a year earlier. The ministry explains that this drop was mainly due to the decrease in price of digital consumer products and lower fuel prices. Japan's Central Bank insists these issues do not mean that Japan has failed to beat deflation.

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Japan Urged to Hold Off on Rate Hike

Despite forecasts for steady growth by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Japanese Central Bank has been warned to refrain from raising its short-term policy interest rate until positive inflation is assured. According to some measures, the OECD believes prices are still falling in Japan, and it would be a mistake to raise rates until renewed deflation can be ruled out.

Despite forecasts for steady growth by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Japanese Central Bank has been warned to refrain from raising its short-term policy interest rate until positive inflation is assured. According to some measures, the OECD believes prices are still falling in Japan, and it would be a mistake to raise rates until renewed deflation can be ruled out.

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IMF Predicts Little Change in Japan's Growth Rate

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects a Japanese growth rate of 2.3 percent in 2007 and 1.9 percent in 2008, predicting that price stability and increases in consumer spending will offset a drop in demand for exports. While the IMF reports the short-term outlook is favorable, it identifies an excessive slowdown in the US economy and rising oil prices as definite risk factors. The Japanese economy grew 2.2 percent in 2006 and 1.9 percent in 2005.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects a Japanese growth rate of 2.3 percent in 2007 and 1.9 percent in 2008, predicting that price stability and increases in consumer spending will offset a drop in demand for exports. While the IMF reports the short-term outlook is favorable, it identifies an excessive slowdown in the US economy and rising oil prices as definite risk factors. The Japanese economy grew 2.2 percent in 2006 and 1.9 percent in 2005.

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Japan's Top Banks Recovering Well from Consumer-Finance Losses

After 2006 saw them suffer substantial losses through their consumer lending affiliates, Japan's three leading banks, Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui, and Mizuho, have issued favorable rebound forecasts for the year to March 2008. Consumer lending continues to be a struggle for Japanese banks, but the impact should not be as strong as it has been since a January 2006 ruling capped "gray-zone" rates and forced lenders to issue widespread refunds.

After 2006 saw them suffer substantial losses through their consumer lending affiliates, Japan's three leading banks, Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui, and Mizuho, have issued favorable rebound forecasts for the year to March 2008. Consumer lending continues to be a struggle for Japanese banks, but the impact should not be as strong as it has been since a January 2006 ruling capped "gray-zone" rates and forced lenders to issue widespread refunds.

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Yen May Fall to Another Record Low Against Euro

Citing further decline in Japanese prices, analysts expect the yen to fall to a new record low against the euro. Business confidence in Europe is soaring, and as investors take advantage of Japan's ultra-low interest rate to carry yen into higher-yielding overseas markets, analysts are hesitant to put a cap on just how weak the yen can become against the 13-nation currency. The yen reached a record low of 164.02 against the euro on Tuesday, and was trading at 163.74 per euro on Wednesday morning.

Citing further decline in Japanese prices, analysts expect the yen to fall to a new record low against the euro. Business confidence in Europe is soaring, and as investors take advantage of Japan's ultra-low interest rate to carry yen into higher-yielding overseas markets, analysts are hesitant to put a cap on just how weak the yen can become against the 13-nation currency. The yen reached a record low of 164.02 against the euro on Tuesday, and was trading at 163.74 per euro on Wednesday morning.

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Tokyo Stock Exchange Seeks Foreign Exchange Ties

In an attempt to realize Japanese financial regulator's dreams of turning Tokyo into Asia's premier financial center, the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) is in talks with a number of foreign exchanges about the formation of capital ties. Most notable is the prospective cross-shareholding agreement between the TSE and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which could potentially come into effect as early as 2009.

In an attempt to realize Japanese financial regulator's dreams of turning Tokyo into Asia's premier financial center, the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) is in talks with a number of foreign exchanges about the formation of capital ties. Most notable is the prospective cross-shareholding agreement between the TSE and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which could potentially come into effect as early as 2009.

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Japan's Kobe Steel Prepares for Low-Cost Production in India

Racing to match the global expansion pace of the steel industry, Japan's Kobe Steel Ltd. has announced its plans to produce steel in India by 2009, just one of three major expansion projects that may be underway by the year's end. The firm's investment in the Indian mill would be 20 billion yen, with output ability of 500,000 tons of steel per year, with raw materials costs expected to be a third of current levels.

Racing to match the global expansion pace of the steel industry, Japan's Kobe Steel Ltd. has announced its plans to produce steel in India by 2009, just one of three major expansion projects that may be underway by the year's end. The firm's investment in the Indian mill would be 20 billion yen, with output ability of 500,000 tons of steel per year, with raw materials costs expected to be a third of current levels.

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China's New Orders of Shipbuilding Places Top

Based on 8.5 million compensated gross tons (CGT) in orders placed since January, China's new orders have surpassed South Korea and take the first place in the global shipbuilding market. South Korea ranks second with 6.9 million CGT, followed by Japan with 1.2 million CGT from January to April this year. However, South Korea still holds the top spot in terms of ships built with a volume of 3.2 million CGT.

Based on 8.5 million compensated gross tons (CGT) in orders placed since January, China's new orders have surpassed South Korea and take the first place in the global shipbuilding market. South Korea ranks second with 6.9 million CGT, followed by Japan with 1.2 million CGT from January to April this year. However, South Korea still holds the top spot in terms of ships built with a volume of 3.2 million CGT.

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Japan's Major Credit Evaluator Upgrades South Korea's Credit Score

One of Japan's well-known credit rating agencies, Rating and Investment Information (R&I), has raised South Korea's ranking from "A-plus-stable" to "A-plus-positive". The South Korean Finance Ministry believes the upgrade shows confidence in the country's fiscal stability and economic growth rate.

One of Japan's well-known credit rating agencies, Rating and Investment Information (R&I), has raised South Korea's ranking from "A-plus-stable" to "A-plus-positive". The South Korean Finance Ministry believes the upgrade shows confidence in the country's fiscal stability and economic growth rate.

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Tokyo Proposes Special Foreign Banking Zones

Japanese financial services minister Yuji Yamamoto announced that he hopes to convert Tokyo's elite Marunouchi and Nihonbashi districts into special enclaves dedicated to attracting foreign companies. Intent on making Tokyo a more attractive center for global finance, Yamamoto has proposed relaxing the zoning and building laws in those areas to allow for developments that cater directly to foreigners. Yamamoto also addressed the need to slash personal tax rates, which has long deterred foreign bankers from settling in Tokyo.

Japanese financial services minister Yuji Yamamoto announced that he hopes to convert Tokyo's elite Marunouchi and Nihonbashi districts into special enclaves dedicated to attracting foreign companies. Intent on making Tokyo a more attractive center for global finance, Yamamoto has proposed relaxing the zoning and building laws in those areas to allow for developments that cater directly to foreigners. Yamamoto also addressed the need to slash personal tax rates, which has long deterred foreign bankers from settling in Tokyo.

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No Changes in Japan's Monthly Economic Assessment

Japan's economic assessment for the month of May remained virtually unchanged from the previous month, as the government feels the economy is still in a state of recovery despite industrial production being down in a number of sectors. Japanese officials expect the economy's recovery will continue, underpinned by growth in domestic private demand as well as in exports.

Japan's economic assessment for the month of May remained virtually unchanged from the previous month, as the government feels the economy is still in a state of recovery despite industrial production being down in a number of sectors. Japanese officials expect the economy's recovery will continue, underpinned by growth in domestic private demand as well as in exports.

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Mittal Arcelor Eyes Expansion Through Japanese Steelmakers

The world's top steel giant Mittal Arcelor, which was formed after Mittal's hostile takeover of Arcelor last year, has once again considered focusing its bold expansion efforts on the takeover of a major Japanese steel maker. Mittal Arcelor may be setting its sights on Kobe Steel, through which it would have access to Japan's high-end automotive sheets market. Japanese steel makers have an unquestionable edge in the high-end market, especially when it comes to satisfying scrutinous Japanese car makers.

The world's top steel giant Mittal Arcelor, which was formed after Mittal's hostile takeover of Arcelor last year, has once again considered focusing its bold expansion efforts on the takeover of a major Japanese steel maker. Mittal Arcelor may be setting its sights on Kobe Steel, through which it would have access to Japan's high-end automotive sheets market. Japanese steel makers have an unquestionable edge in the high-end market, especially when it comes to satisfying scrutinous Japanese car makers.

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G8 Focus on Yuan Sees Yen Fall to Record Low Against Euro

Investors continuously sold the yen after finance ministers at the weekend's G8 meeting focused on how to control China's vigorous economic growth rather than the weakening state of the Japanese currency. The euro strengthened to 163.91 yen from 163.56, a record-high, while the dollar rose to 121.27 yen from 121.10.

Investors continuously sold the yen after finance ministers at the weekend's G8 meeting focused on how to control China's vigorous economic growth rather than the weakening state of the Japanese currency. The euro strengthened to 163.91 yen from 163.56, a record-high, while the dollar rose to 121.27 yen from 121.10.

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Tokyo Shares Drop at Week's End

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped by 0.57 percent and the Topix index fell by 0.68 percent on Friday, driven down by a wave of investor selling and reports by major companies of falling profits. Steelmakers were hit particularly hard by reports of profit loss, with consumer lending falling hard as well. The Nikkei averaged a fall of 0.9 percent for the week, while the Topix fell by 1.6 percent.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped by 0.57 percent and the Topix index fell by 0.68 percent on Friday, driven down by a wave of investor selling and reports by major companies of falling profits. Steelmakers were hit particularly hard by reports of profit loss, with consumer lending falling hard as well. The Nikkei averaged a fall of 0.9 percent for the week, while the Topix fell by 1.6 percent.

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Japan Urged to Join Microfinance Revolution

Japan, one of the world's top three providers of official development assistance (ODA), has been called upon by a number of economists to utilize the ever-growing tool of microfinance. Despite its growth of 30 percent a year, French economist Jacques Attali says microfinance can do little to reverse the world's surging poverty trend without the assistance of major democratic powers such as Japan. Attali will push the matter at PlaNet Finance Japan's microfinance symposium.

Japan, one of the world's top three providers of official development assistance (ODA), has been called upon by a number of economists to utilize the ever-growing tool of microfinance. Despite its growth of 30 percent a year, French economist Jacques Attali says microfinance can do little to reverse the world's surging poverty trend without the assistance of major democratic powers such as Japan. Attali will push the matter at PlaNet Finance Japan's microfinance symposium.

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Japan: Sony Corp with Biggest Loss since 4 Years

Japan's electronics icon Sony Corp reported a net loss of US$562 million in the first quarter of this year. However, supported by strong sales of flat-screen televisions, other electronic products, and reduced losses at their video game division, the company predicts a strong rebound in the year until next March.

Japan's electronics icon Sony Corp reported a net loss of US$562 million in the first quarter of this year. However, supported by strong sales of flat-screen televisions, other electronic products, and reduced losses at their video game division, the company predicts a strong rebound in the year until next March.

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Decreased Firm Spending Sees Japanese Economy Cool

With a lofty pace to match from the previous year, Japan's economy grew by an annualized pace of only 2.4% in the first quarter of fiscal year 2007, well short of 2006's annualized pace of 5.0%. Supported by private consumption, the economy remains in the midst of its longest sustained expansion since World War II despite a sharp decrease in capital expenditures by firms and persistent deflationary pressure.

With a lofty pace to match from the previous year, Japan's economy grew by an annualized pace of only 2.4% in the first quarter of fiscal year 2007, well short of 2006's annualized pace of 5.0%. Supported by private consumption, the economy remains in the midst of its longest sustained expansion since World War II despite a sharp decrease in capital expenditures by firms and persistent deflationary pressure.

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Bank of Japan Starts Policy Meeting to Keep Interest Rate at 0.5%

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) is holding a two-day meeting with expectations of keeping its benchmark short-term interest rate unchanged at 0.5 percent. During the meeting, BOJ Police Board members will examine Japan's current economic and price conditions and then release a monthly report about Japan's economy. Additionally, many economists predict BOJ will increase its interest rate after the House of Councilors election in July.

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) is holding a two-day meeting with expectations of keeping its benchmark short-term interest rate unchanged at 0.5 percent. During the meeting, BOJ Police Board members will examine Japan's current economic and price conditions and then release a monthly report about Japan's economy. Additionally, many economists predict BOJ will increase its interest rate after the House of Councilors election in July.

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Japan's Central Bank to Keep Interest Rate

Although Japan's interest is the lowest among industrialized nations, which might cause excessive investment, the central bank has decided to keep interest rates unchanged this week due to declining consumer prices. According to the statistics, consumer prices except fresh goods dropped 0.3 percent in March from the year before. However, one expert predicts that the central bank will probably raise interest rates in August following the July upper house election.

Although Japan's interest is the lowest among industrialized nations, which might cause excessive investment, the central bank has decided to keep interest rates unchanged this week due to declining consumer prices. According to the statistics, consumer prices except fresh goods dropped 0.3 percent in March from the year before. However, one expert predicts that the central bank will probably raise interest rates in August following the July upper house election.

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Overseas Investment Fuels Record Japanese Account Surplus

For the fifth year in a row, Japan's current account surplus reached a record high, currently standing at 21.3 trillion yen. The merchandise trade surplus increased by 9.9% to 10.5 trillion yen, while the nation's net income from investments overseas hit its own record high, growing to 14.24 trillion yen. Japanese economists expect that the economy will continue to become more reliant on overseas investment returns, as investment opportunities in emerging foreign markets are surging.

For the fifth year in a row, Japan's current account surplus reached a record high, currently standing at 21.3 trillion yen. The merchandise trade surplus increased by 9.9% to 10.5 trillion yen, while the nation's net income from investments overseas hit its own record high, growing to 14.24 trillion yen. Japanese economists expect that the economy will continue to become more reliant on overseas investment returns, as investment opportunities in emerging foreign markets are surging.

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Asian Naval Industries Benefit from Maritime Security Enhancements

In an effort to enhance their regional maritime security, Asian nations will spend an estimated $108 billion on naval vessels, which industry watchers insist will not go towards a naval arms race. Japan, China, and India are expected to lead the buying spree, and naval industry leaders such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are set to reap the benefits with over half the contracts still available.

In an effort to enhance their regional maritime security, Asian nations will spend an estimated $108 billion on naval vessels, which industry watchers insist will not go towards a naval arms race. Japan, China, and India are expected to lead the buying spree, and naval industry leaders such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are set to reap the benefits with over half the contracts still available.

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Laos to Join IWC, Accelerates Investment Treaty with Japan

Meeting to discuss a number of issues, the Prime Ministers of Japan and Laos concluded a successful round of talks on Monday. Laos will join the International Whaling Commission (IWC), of which Japan leads the pro-whaling camp, and will use its diplomatic ties with North Korea to urge their compliance with a six-party denuclearization deal. Japan will speed up its bilateral investment treaty with Laos, encouraging Japanese investment in Laos' developing economy as well as supporting Laotian socio-economic improvement.

Meeting to discuss a number of issues, the Prime Ministers of Japan and Laos concluded a successful round of talks on Monday. Laos will join the International Whaling Commission (IWC), of which Japan leads the pro-whaling camp, and will use its diplomatic ties with North Korea to urge their compliance with a six-party denuclearization deal. Japan will speed up its bilateral investment treaty with Laos, encouraging Japanese investment in Laos' developing economy as well as supporting Laotian socio-economic improvement.

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Soft Yen Raises Questions About Interest Rates, National Security

As the yen falls to 120 against the US dollar, analysts are concerned that the yen is in fact becoming weaker, as opposed to the dollar becoming stronger, pointing to a fall to 163 yen against the euro as an indicator. Regarding the softening yen, issues have been raised over yields on government bonds and the country's overall safety. Ten-year Japanese bonds currently yield 1.6% on average, compared with 4.6% in the US and 4.2% in Europe, with no hikes expected in the near future.

As the yen falls to 120 against the US dollar, analysts are concerned that the yen is in fact becoming weaker, as opposed to the dollar becoming stronger, pointing to a fall to 163 yen against the euro as an indicator. Regarding the softening yen, issues have been raised over yields on government bonds and the country's overall safety. Ten-year Japanese bonds currently yield 1.6% on average, compared with 4.6% in the US and 4.2% in Europe, with no hikes expected in the near future.

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Mainland China Surpasses Japan and Taiwan in Competitive World Rankings

For the first time since the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD) has launched its annual list in 1989, China has moved ahead of Japan and Taiwan in this year's world competitiveness rankings. Mainland China has moved from 15th place from last year's 18th place, while Japan and Taiwan fell behind. Competitiveness of the 55 economies is measured in four areas: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

For the first time since the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD) has launched its annual list in 1989, China has moved ahead of Japan and Taiwan in this year's world competitiveness rankings. Mainland China has moved from 15th place from last year's 18th place, while Japan and Taiwan fell behind. Competitiveness of the 55 economies is measured in four areas: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

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Japan's Bank Lending Declines for Third Consecutive Month

Despite the low interest rate, Japan's major banks still worry about the stalled growth in loans, because Japan's mega companies prefer to use money generated by the longest stretch of profits growth rather than borrow money from banks. Experts assume that a lack of demand for loans from banks by Japan's companies and thus the use of their own money to invest, bears the risk of causing overinvestment.

Despite the low interest rate, Japan's major banks still worry about the stalled growth in loans, because Japan's mega companies prefer to use money generated by the longest stretch of profits growth rather than borrow money from banks. Experts assume that a lack of demand for loans from banks by Japan's companies and thus the use of their own money to invest, bears the risk of causing overinvestment.

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Thai Finance Ministry Approves JBIC Loan

The Thai Finance Ministry has finally decided to secure an Bt84-billion mass transit loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). A team of officials representing Japan's Finance, Foreign and Economy ministries is expected to arrive in Thailand on May 28 to gain information about the mass-transit investment project. Thailand's government plans to borrow 300 billion yen (Bt86.75 billion) from the JBIC to cover approximately 75 per cent of the total Bt120 billion expected budget needed to complete the project.

The Thai Finance Ministry has finally decided to secure an Bt84-billion mass transit loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). A team of officials representing Japan's Finance, Foreign and Economy ministries is expected to arrive in Thailand on May 28 to gain information about the mass-transit investment project. Thailand's government plans to borrow 300 billion yen (Bt86.75 billion) from the JBIC to cover approximately 75 per cent of the total Bt120 billion expected budget needed to complete the project.

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Vietnam's Nascent Stock Market Attracts Japanese Investors

Due to domestic low interest rates, more and more Japanese investors regard Vietnam as an alternative investing target to China and India. Unlike some countries, Vietnam's stock market is small, premature and unregulated, but the low cost, friendly policies and shares' sharp jumps still attract Japanese investors to take risks. By now, Japanese investors are estimated to take about 5 percent of Vietnam's $20 billion stock market.

Due to domestic low interest rates, more and more Japanese investors regard Vietnam as an alternative investing target to China and India. Unlike some countries, Vietnam's stock market is small, premature and unregulated, but the low cost, friendly policies and shares' sharp jumps still attract Japanese investors to take risks. By now, Japanese investors are estimated to take about 5 percent of Vietnam's $20 billion stock market.

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Japanese Supermarket Chain Expected to Sell Shares to Relieve Debt

Daiei Inc, a major Japanese supermarket chain, has decided to sell its shares to Maruetsu supermarket chain by August. Daiei sales are expected to be 13 billion yen (US$108.6m) and plans to use the revenue to reduce its interest-bearing debts. Daiei group's interest-bearing debt is totaled to be 219.1 billion yen (US$1.83b) and plans to reduce debts by 150 billion yen (US$1.25b).

Daiei Inc, a major Japanese supermarket chain, has decided to sell its shares to Maruetsu supermarket chain by August. Daiei sales are expected to be 13 billion yen (US$108.6m) and plans to use the revenue to reduce its interest-bearing debts. Daiei group's interest-bearing debt is totaled to be 219.1 billion yen (US$1.83b) and plans to reduce debts by 150 billion yen (US$1.25b).

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ASEAN+3 Agree to Establish Foreign Reserves Pool

The finance ministers of ASEAN plus Japan, China and the Republic of Korea have agreed on setting up a pooling fund from their foreign reserves. This self-managed reserve pooling will be conducted by a single contractual agreement with a gradual approach to ensure the liquidity for currencies and protect the Asian economy against a possible future crisis. Additionally, all ministers announced to accelerate and deepen structural reforms and implement macro-economic policies in order to strengthen cooperation and to support sustainable economic growth.

The finance ministers of ASEAN plus Japan, China and the Republic of Korea have agreed on setting up a pooling fund from their foreign reserves. This self-managed reserve pooling will be conducted by a single contractual agreement with a gradual approach to ensure the liquidity for currencies and protect the Asian economy against a possible future crisis. Additionally, all ministers announced to accelerate and deepen structural reforms and implement macro-economic policies in order to strengthen cooperation and to support sustainable economic growth.

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Japan's Economic Growth Probable to Decline

According to Bloomberg News' survey, Japan's expansion will probably decline in the first quarter due to slowing exports and less spending consumers with wages stagnant. Experts believe the U.S. economy's slowdown influences Japan's demand and capital spending.

According to Bloomberg News' survey, Japan's expansion will probably decline in the first quarter due to slowing exports and less spending consumers with wages stagnant. Experts believe the U.S. economy's slowdown influences Japan's demand and capital spending.

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japan

Asian Pool of Foreign Reserves Shall Support in Case of Financial Crisis

China, Japan and South Korea consider the establishment of a pan-Asian pool of foreign reserves as opportunity to counteract a possible financial crisis in the future. In case of a crisis, this might be a chance to face this threat on a regional level first before turning to cross-regional institutions.

China, Japan and South Korea consider the establishment of a pan-Asian pool of foreign reserves as opportunity to counteract a possible financial crisis in the future. In case of a crisis, this might be a chance to face this threat on a regional level first before turning to cross-regional institutions.

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Japanese Bike Makers compete for Harley Bikes in India

The Harley-Davidson Company, America's major bike maker, is reconsidering its strategy with India's government in regards to the high import duty structure. On the other hand, Japanese bike makers, such as Honda and Suzuki, are already moving ahead with plans to manufacture and import super luxury bikes to India, irrespective to the duty structure and other impediments.

The Harley-Davidson Company, America's major bike maker, is reconsidering its strategy with India's government in regards to the high import duty structure. On the other hand, Japanese bike makers, such as Honda and Suzuki, are already moving ahead with plans to manufacture and import super luxury bikes to India, irrespective to the duty structure and other impediments.

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japan

Japan is Warned of a Consumer Loan Crisis

Takefuji, one of Japan's largest consumer finance companies, will report its 481 billion yen net loss following the crackdown on high interest loans in full-year results for the fiscal year of 2006 next Tuesday. The combination of Japan having an aging population, along with the government's strict regulation on the size of loans, could increase the risk of illegal lending activities in the country. Japan could be on the edge of becoming a loan shark's paradise.

Takefuji, one of Japan's largest consumer finance companies, will report its 481 billion yen net loss following the crackdown on high interest loans in full-year results for the fiscal year of 2006 next Tuesday. The combination of Japan having an aging population, along with the government's strict regulation on the size of loans, could increase the risk of illegal lending activities in the country. Japan could be on the edge of becoming a loan shark's paradise.

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japan

Japan's Major Motor Firms Face Sales Drop in U.S.

Due to low consumer confidence and high gasoline prices in U.S., Japan's major motor corporations, Toyota, Honda and Nissan, post the declining sales for April in the United States. The sales drop also caused the Asia-based automaker's market share to fall 0.1 percent point to 39.6 percent in the first time since October.

Due to low consumer confidence and high gasoline prices in U.S., Japan's major motor corporations, Toyota, Honda and Nissan, post the declining sales for April in the United States. The sales drop also caused the Asia-based automaker's market share to fall 0.1 percent point to 39.6 percent in the first time since October.

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Japanese Bank Extends Loans for Oil

The government-controlled Japan Bank for International Cooperation hopes to invest $1 billion in low-interest loans to Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. by the end of this year in exchange for a stable supply of oil. Furthermore, the arrangement contains promises of more billions to come within the next few years. Loans will be directed toward infrastructure construction for electric power and gas, in addition to bolstering crude oil production capacity in the country.

The government-controlled Japan Bank for International Cooperation hopes to invest $1 billion in low-interest loans to Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. by the end of this year in exchange for a stable supply of oil. Furthermore, the arrangement contains promises of more billions to come within the next few years. Loans will be directed toward infrastructure construction for electric power and gas, in addition to bolstering crude oil production capacity in the country.

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japan

Philippine Software Companies Watch Japanese IT Market

Due to a projected growth of up to eight percent in Japan's outsourced software development market, Philippine software companies would rely on their proven track record, adaptability and ability to impress the Japanese and try to win over the competition with China's and India's companies.

Due to a projected growth of up to eight percent in Japan's outsourced software development market, Philippine software companies would rely on their proven track record, adaptability and ability to impress the Japanese and try to win over the competition with China's and India's companies.

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japan

Japan's Economy Increases by 2.6% in the First Quarter

Based on the average estimate of nine private think tanks' reports, Japan's economy has grown an annualized real 2.6 percent from January to March. Boosted by strong consumer spending and exports, Japan has experienced a ninth consecutive quarter of economic growth. But think tanks expect economic growth to decline from April to June due to a slowdown in corporate capital investment and weakness in U.S. economy.

Based on the average estimate of nine private think tanks' reports, Japan's economy has grown an annualized real 2.6 percent from January to March. Boosted by strong consumer spending and exports, Japan has experienced a ninth consecutive quarter of economic growth. But think tanks expect economic growth to decline from April to June due to a slowdown in corporate capital investment and weakness in U.S. economy.

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Asian Financial Chiefs Meet to Discuss Financial Cooperation

The Finance ministers from ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea will hold a conference on Saturday in Kyoto to discuss ways to improve financial cooperation, including a deal on multilateral currency swaps. During the meeting, all the issues being discussed are ways to ensure necessary liquidity in a prompt manner in the event of a crisis and to enhance the capabilities of local rating organizations and securitization.

The Finance ministers from ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea will hold a conference on Saturday in Kyoto to discuss ways to improve financial cooperation, including a deal on multilateral currency swaps. During the meeting, all the issues being discussed are ways to ensure necessary liquidity in a prompt manner in the event of a crisis and to enhance the capabilities of local rating organizations and securitization.

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Japan Tobacco Raises Net Profits

Although the sales in domestic market shrank, after having bought British rival Gallaher Group for 2.25 trillion yen, Japan Tobacco Inc. has reached record profits for the fiscal year to March. Besides the good marks in oversea market, the cost cut also helped to make up for the declining cigarette sales in Japan due to the higher excise tax.

Although the sales in domestic market shrank, after having bought British rival Gallaher Group for 2.25 trillion yen, Japan Tobacco Inc. has reached record profits for the fiscal year to March. Besides the good marks in oversea market, the cost cut also helped to make up for the declining cigarette sales in Japan due to the higher excise tax.

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Japanese Stocks Slipped to Three Week Low on U.S. Slowdown Concern

Japanese stocks fell to the lowest in three weeks after the Federal Reserve Bank kept its key interest rate high to control inflation and slow down economy. Although Japan's exports to Europe and Asia are doing well, the stagnant exports to U.S. and the respite of domestic economic growth cause falling stocks of Japanese automakers and electronics companies.

Japanese stocks fell to the lowest in three weeks after the Federal Reserve Bank kept its key interest rate high to control inflation and slow down economy. Although Japan's exports to Europe and Asia are doing well, the stagnant exports to U.S. and the respite of domestic economic growth cause falling stocks of Japanese automakers and electronics companies.

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Chinese Mainland has Become Japan's Top Trade Partner

By the end of March, Japan's total trade with the Chinese mainland has reached 25.43 trillion yen (US$214.8 billion), surpassing Japan's 25.16 trillion yen trade with the United States and the growth of trade with Chinese mainland will continue. As a fast-developing country, Chinese mainland provides cheap labour costs for Japan's imports and a large market for Japan's exports.

By the end of March, Japan's total trade with the Chinese mainland has reached 25.43 trillion yen (US$214.8 billion), surpassing Japan's 25.16 trillion yen trade with the United States and the growth of trade with Chinese mainland will continue. As a fast-developing country, Chinese mainland provides cheap labour costs for Japan's imports and a large market for Japan's exports.

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japan

Japanese Companies Boost New Hiring

According to data released by Works Institute, Japanese private firms will hire 933,000 new recruits from young well-educated people next spring. This amount exceeds the peak during the late 1980s when bubble economy occurred. The reasons for the great demand for graduates are improving economy and baby boomers' retirement.

According to data released by Works Institute, Japanese private firms will hire 933,000 new recruits from young well-educated people next spring. This amount exceeds the peak during the late 1980s when bubble economy occurred. The reasons for the great demand for graduates are improving economy and baby boomers' retirement.

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japan

Japanese Yen Appreciates for the Second Day

Because traders believe that the Bank of Japan will raise interest rates, the Japanese yen showed strong value against the euro and dollar for the second day. Another main factor is the slowing growth for the U.S. on manufacturing, home sales and low consumer confidence, causing a weak U.S.dollar.

Because traders believe that the Bank of Japan will raise interest rates, the Japanese yen showed strong value against the euro and dollar for the second day. Another main factor is the slowing growth for the U.S. on manufacturing, home sales and low consumer confidence, causing a weak U.S.dollar.

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Japan's Inflation Will Accelerate

According to the predictions of Japan's faster inflation, the central bank is considering changing the interest rates to reflect the economy. Some economists expect the central bank to keep the key interest rate at 0.5 percent. If the central banks of Japan take a forward-leaning policy, benchmark rates may rise slowly even before inflation sustains to a desirable level.

According to the predictions of Japan's faster inflation, the central bank is considering changing the interest rates to reflect the economy. Some economists expect the central bank to keep the key interest rate at 0.5 percent. If the central banks of Japan take a forward-leaning policy, benchmark rates may rise slowly even before inflation sustains to a desirable level.

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japan

Japan Thinking About How to Manage Foreign Reserves

As the world's second largest foreign reserves country, Japan is considering an idea of setting up a special state investment fund to manage its foreign reserves. Because of ageing population and falling birth rates, the Japanese government hopes to find a way to secure more returns on Japanese savings.

As the world's second largest foreign reserves country, Japan is considering an idea of setting up a special state investment fund to manage its foreign reserves. Because of ageing population and falling birth rates, the Japanese government hopes to find a way to secure more returns on Japanese savings.

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japan

India to Build US$50 Billion Industrial Corrridor with Japan As Partner

India is partnering with Japan in the construction of a US$50 billion industrial corridor in Mumbai-Delhi. The corridor is based on the Tokyo-Osaka industrial corridor. India's Commerce Ministry expects the corridor to deliver within 5 years of its completion a 15% increase in employment, 28% increase in industrial output, and a 38% increase in exports.

India is partnering with Japan in the construction of a US$50 billion industrial corridor in Mumbai-Delhi. The corridor is based on the Tokyo-Osaka industrial corridor. India's Commerce Ministry expects the corridor to deliver within 5 years of its completion a 15% increase in employment, 28% increase in industrial output, and a 38% increase in exports.

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japan

More Demand for Japanese Long Bond

Long Bonds appeal to Japanese life assurers because of Japan's fast-ageing society problems. But the country's institutional investors seem to be conservative about new investment ideas. Japan's highways agency's selling its sixth 40-year bond issue in 18 months might encourage the government to enter and boost the long bond market.

Long Bonds appeal to Japanese life assurers because of Japan's fast-ageing society problems. But the country's institutional investors seem to be conservative about new investment ideas. Japan's highways agency's selling its sixth 40-year bond issue in 18 months might encourage the government to enter and boost the long bond market.

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japan

Japanese Yen Heads for Seventh Weekly Loss Against Euro on Carry Trades

When investors resumed buying higher-yielding assets which funded by borrowing Japan's currency, the yen headed for a seventh weekly loss against the euro. Because of the rebound in Asian and European stocks, the investors showed confidence to carry trades and traders bought back yen.

When investors resumed buying higher-yielding assets which funded by borrowing Japan's currency, the yen headed for a seventh weekly loss against the euro. Because of the rebound in Asian and European stocks, the investors showed confidence to carry trades and traders bought back yen.

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japan

U.S. Treasury Urges Japan to Open its Markets

U.S. Treasury urges Japan to open its markets to help productivity. U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt believes that Japan should focus more on open markets rather than protectionism to help stimulate their economy.

U.S. Treasury urges Japan to open its markets to help productivity. U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt believes that Japan should focus more on open markets rather than protectionism to help stimulate their economy.

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japan

South Korea and U.S. Trade Agreement Affects Japan

South Korea and the U.S. have agreed to open a free trade agreement. The opening of South Korea's agricultural market has opposition from some groups and may have a huge impact on Japan both internationally and economically. Moreover, industries, such the automobile industry, are expected to be affected by the agreement.

South Korea and the U.S. have agreed to open a free trade agreement. The opening of South Korea's agricultural market has opposition from some groups and may have a huge impact on Japan both internationally and economically. Moreover, industries, such the automobile industry, are expected to be affected by the agreement.

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Citigroup's Bid for Nikko Cordial

AMID A VOLATILE market burdened with concerns over sub prime mortgages in the United States and regulation burdens in China's booming markets, Citigroup has quietly launched a bid to enter the lucrative Japanese retail brokerage market.

Scandal Rocks Japanese Broker

Citigroup, the United States' largest commercial bank, offered a bid of Y1350 per share for Nikko Cordial, a firm mired in scandal. The takeover bid is a low-ball offer, as Y1350 is below the share price of December 15, the day before the scandal broke.

Nikko Cordial finds itself the target of the takeover bid after an accounting scandal shook the firm late in 2006. In a series of errors reminiscent of accounting scandals in the United States involving Arthur Andersen, approximately USD 300 million were padded to Nikko Cordial's books. Once the scandal was uncovered, firm management was immediately replaced, and the new management has launched a lawsuit against former president Junichi Arimura, and several other executives, seeking substantial damages.

De-listing - A Narrow Escape

On March 13, in a most interesting twist, the Tokyo Stock Exchange opted not to de-list Nikko Cordial from the exchange. Reasons for this are as of yet unclear, as the Tokyo Stock Exchange has not shied away from delisting due to accounting scandals in the past. Traders continued to trade the battered stock as usual today. The decision not to de-list Nikko Cordial, according to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, had nothing to do with Citigroup's takeover bid, but given the exchange's dealings with other firms enveloped in scandal, this remains questionable.

Citigroup Offers Way Out

Citigroup and Nikko Cordial have a long history of cooperation that makes this opportunity especially sweet for Citigroup. The two firms operate a joint investment bank out of Tokyo. When the scandal initially broke, Citigroup considered merely buying out Nikko Cordial's investment in the joint project, but has since decided to make a bid for the crippled firm.

Citigroup has made no secret of its plans for the expansion into Japan, as executives have been quoted projecting a doubling of Citigroup retail outlets in Japan over the course of the next year. Acquisition of Nikko Cordial's client network would give Citigroup an important foothold in the region and certainly would give it an advantage over other domestic firms eyeing a similar move overseas.

On March 6, as news of the takeover bid was made public, the share price of both firms jumped. Nikko shares gained 14%, despite being down 26% in the last year.

Recent news, however, has put the deal in doubt, as key shareholders have rejected the bid, claiming the bid price per share was too low. The first to reject was Harris Associates, an investment bank based in Chicago, and Nikko Cordial's largest shareholder. The second and third largest shareholders have both recently voiced similar concerns.

Despite this tough talk, the wisdom of this strategy should be examined. It would seem that Nikko Cordial's major stockholders are in no position to argue with Citigroup's offer, which offers a fair price for their shares. Having recently avoided de-listing, these shareholders would be best served by examining all options on the table. In addition to their gain, Citigroup stands to benefit greatly from this deal, as they gain a foothold in Japan and further diversify their earnings source.

AMID A VOLATILE market burdened with concerns over sub prime mortgages in the United States and regulation burdens in China's booming markets, Citigroup has quietly launched a bid to enter the lucrative Japanese retail brokerage market.

Scandal Rocks Japanese Broker

Citigroup, the United States' largest commercial bank, offered a bid of Y1350 per share for Nikko Cordial, a firm mired in scandal. The takeover bid is a low-ball offer, as Y1350 is below the share price of December 15, the day before the scandal broke.

Nikko Cordial finds itself the target of the takeover bid after an accounting scandal shook the firm late in 2006. In a series of errors reminiscent of accounting scandals in the United States involving Arthur Andersen, approximately USD 300 million were padded to Nikko Cordial's books. Once the scandal was uncovered, firm management was immediately replaced, and the new management has launched a lawsuit against former president Junichi Arimura, and several other executives, seeking substantial damages.

De-listing - A Narrow Escape

On March 13, in a most interesting twist, the Tokyo Stock Exchange opted not to de-list Nikko Cordial from the exchange. Reasons for this are as of yet unclear, as the Tokyo Stock Exchange has not shied away from delisting due to accounting scandals in the past. Traders continued to trade the battered stock as usual today. The decision not to de-list Nikko Cordial, according to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, had nothing to do with Citigroup's takeover bid, but given the exchange's dealings with other firms enveloped in scandal, this remains questionable.

Citigroup Offers Way Out

Citigroup and Nikko Cordial have a long history of cooperation that makes this opportunity especially sweet for Citigroup. The two firms operate a joint investment bank out of Tokyo. When the scandal initially broke, Citigroup considered merely buying out Nikko Cordial's investment in the joint project, but has since decided to make a bid for the crippled firm.

Citigroup has made no secret of its plans for the expansion into Japan, as executives have been quoted projecting a doubling of Citigroup retail outlets in Japan over the course of the next year. Acquisition of Nikko Cordial's client network would give Citigroup an important foothold in the region and certainly would give it an advantage over other domestic firms eyeing a similar move overseas.

On March 6, as news of the takeover bid was made public, the share price of both firms jumped. Nikko shares gained 14%, despite being down 26% in the last year.

Recent news, however, has put the deal in doubt, as key shareholders have rejected the bid, claiming the bid price per share was too low. The first to reject was Harris Associates, an investment bank based in Chicago, and Nikko Cordial's largest shareholder. The second and third largest shareholders have both recently voiced similar concerns.

Despite this tough talk, the wisdom of this strategy should be examined. It would seem that Nikko Cordial's major stockholders are in no position to argue with Citigroup's offer, which offers a fair price for their shares. Having recently avoided de-listing, these shareholders would be best served by examining all options on the table. In addition to their gain, Citigroup stands to benefit greatly from this deal, as they gain a foothold in Japan and further diversify their earnings source.

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japan

Japan: Economic Growth as Consumer Spending is on the Rise

The World Bank predicts Japan's economy to grow with a rate of 2.3 percent this year due to increased consumer spending. Accelerated interest rates on savings and retirement windfalls are seen as main triggers for this possible development.

The World Bank predicts Japan's economy to grow with a rate of 2.3 percent this year due to increased consumer spending. Accelerated interest rates on savings and retirement windfalls are seen as main triggers for this possible development.

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japan

Asian Stocks Decline In Response To U.S. Federal Reserve Board Minutes Indicating Interest Rate Hike

Ending a 6-week high, Asian stocks fell Thursday based on comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board that it may raise interest rates to curb inflation. The comments were contained in the minutes of a Federal Reserve Board meeting. The countries most affected were Japan, Australia, and Taiwan

Ending a 6-week high, Asian stocks fell Thursday based on comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board that it may raise interest rates to curb inflation. The comments were contained in the minutes of a Federal Reserve Board meeting. The countries most affected were Japan, Australia, and Taiwan

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China and Japan Pledge for Better Relationship

Japanese and Chinese leaders met in Tokyo, pledging to work together and rebuild a relationship that has been marred by disputes over World War II and territory. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is the first Chinese leader to visit Japan in seven years, taking a big step in attempting to salvage a fragile relationship. The two countries mutually agreed to aid each other on various topics including energy and the environment.

Japanese and Chinese leaders met in Tokyo, pledging to work together and rebuild a relationship that has been marred by disputes over World War II and territory. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is the first Chinese leader to visit Japan in seven years, taking a big step in attempting to salvage a fragile relationship. The two countries mutually agreed to aid each other on various topics including energy and the environment.

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Japan Continues Committment To Rebuild Iraq With 57.72 Billion Yen New Loans

On Monday, during the second day of a four-day visit by Iraqi Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki to Japan, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an additional 57.72 biilion yen loans to Iraq. These recent loans demonstrate Japan's continuing commitment to rebuilding Iraq and supporting al-Maliki's administration.

On Monday, during the second day of a four-day visit by Iraqi Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki to Japan, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an additional 57.72 biilion yen loans to Iraq. These recent loans demonstrate Japan's continuing commitment to rebuilding Iraq and supporting al-Maliki's administration.

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Japan's New Free Trade Agreements

Japan has formed new free-trade agreements with Southeast Asian countries, symbolizing a change from its original protectionist reputation. Experts say that these agreements not only create trade, but also benefit Japan's personnel, technology, and natural resource sectors. These new economic ties with other countries represent a big step in creating a single Asian market.

Japan has formed new free-trade agreements with Southeast Asian countries, symbolizing a change from its original protectionist reputation. Experts say that these agreements not only create trade, but also benefit Japan's personnel, technology, and natural resource sectors. These new economic ties with other countries represent a big step in creating a single Asian market.

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japan

Japan Loans Vietnam $590 Million USD

Japan has offered Vietnam $590 million USD for infrastructure development and various projects to improve Vietnam's investment environment. Some projects of note include the construction of a subway in Ho Chi Minh City, and the construction of two thermo-power plants. Over the years Japan has provided Vietnam over 1.1 billion yen in soft loans.

Japan has offered Vietnam $590 million USD for infrastructure development and various projects to improve Vietnam's investment environment. Some projects of note include the construction of a subway in Ho Chi Minh City, and the construction of two thermo-power plants. Over the years Japan has provided Vietnam over 1.1 billion yen in soft loans.

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japan

Japan's Growth Rate Exceeding Expectations

Japan's economy, the world's second largest, exceeded growth expectations after years of stagnation. The economy turned up due to an increased amount of spending by consumers and companies. Cabinet Office reports showed that there is more confidence in the outlook for incomes and jobs.

Japan's economy, the world's second largest, exceeded growth expectations after years of stagnation. The economy turned up due to an increased amount of spending by consumers and companies. Cabinet Office reports showed that there is more confidence in the outlook for incomes and jobs.

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japan

Citigroup Plans Buyout of Nikko Cordial

Nikko Cordial, a Japanese brokerage, had its shares jump 6% after the US banking giant Citigroup raised its takeover offer for the firm to $13 billion. The new offer was 26% than previously reported. This helped stop the slide that has been going on in the Japanese market in the past week. Citigroup is also expressing interest in wanting to take a majority stake in the firm and maybe even a complete buyout.

Nikko Cordial, a Japanese brokerage, had its shares jump 6% after the US banking giant Citigroup raised its takeover offer for the firm to $13 billion. The new offer was 26% than previously reported. This helped stop the slide that has been going on in the Japanese market in the past week. Citigroup is also expressing interest in wanting to take a majority stake in the firm and maybe even a complete buyout.

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japan

Indonesia and Japan Partner on Ethanol Plants

A Japanese and Indonesian firm are partnering to build two ethanol plants in Indonesia next year. Each $25 million plant will be capable of producing 50,000 kilolitres of ethanol a year. The move is part of Indonesia's larger plan to attract investment to industries producing fuel from palm oil, cassava, and other crops. The country hopes to create 5 million new jobs in the alternative energy sector. Japan hopes to increase its ethanol usage in order to meet Kyoto Protocol emmissions targets.

A Japanese and Indonesian firm are partnering to build two ethanol plants in Indonesia next year. Each $25 million plant will be capable of producing 50,000 kilolitres of ethanol a year. The move is part of Indonesia's larger plan to attract investment to industries producing fuel from palm oil, cassava, and other crops. The country hopes to create 5 million new jobs in the alternative energy sector. Japan hopes to increase its ethanol usage in order to meet Kyoto Protocol emmissions targets.

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Bank of Japan and the Carry Trade Bubble

ON FEBRUARY 21, the Bank of Japan voted to raise the unsecured overnight call rate, used as a benchmark for the short-term money market, by a quarter of a percentage point to .5 percent. The move came as part of an attempt to address the country's overly cheap credit. Japan has used extremely low rates as a method of economic recovery after the 1990s recession. The problem with this approach is that it has led to the development of a yen carry trade whereby speculators use cheaply bought yen to invest in high-risk overseas markets. The Bank's recent moves have not always been popular, especially in Japan. Opponents to the rate increase say Japan's recovery is still in its early stages and ending the availability of cheap credit could jeopardize future growth. The Bank is therefore caught in a balancing act. It needs to move away from low call rates but also has to be careful not to prevent growth altogether.

Rate Change

Japan has had an ultra-loose monetary policy since the late 1990s and has not had a benchmark rate of over .5 percent since September 1998. These near-zero rates were supposed to encourage borrowing and stimulate consumer demand, usually taken as the best ways to recover from a recession. Bank governor Toshihiko Fukui now wants to repeal these emergency measures. Last July, the Bank ended the unusual policy of free credit and set the overnight call rate to .25 percent. Japan had posted 1.2 percent GDP growth in the last quarter of 2006, and proponents of the Bank's move say that the country's stronger-than expected growth shows that Japan no longer needs such extremely low rates. Fukui foresees more moderate growth for the Japanese economy and says artificially low rates can hurt prospects for a long-term recovery.

The Yen Carry Trade

The other reason for the rate change has to do with the yen-carry trade and the consequences of cheap credit for the global economy. There's a huge gap between Japan's benchmark rate and the rates of other countries. The United States and Europe have an average call rate of about 5.25 percent. The large gap has meant international investors borrow from Japan to invest in risky overseas markets. Japan's cheap credit has therefore helped prop up the global economy, and economists fear the sudden end of low rates could lead to a global recession. At the same time, there is a need to gradually undo the carry trade. The cheap yen has led to a form of moral hazard whereby speculators are less concerned about loss and tend to make rash investment decisions. Japan's easy money has led to large real estate and stock market bubbles, the collapse of which would lead to recession in the United States, India, South Korea, and Eastern Europe.

The carry trade has also had consequences for Japan's domestic economy. The yen has the lowest value of major currencies, valued at roughly 120 yen to 1 USD, and its depreciation can be directly tied to the carry-trade. International investors have begun to sell yen to buy more high-yielding currencies like the euro and dollar and have therefore contributed to the yen's depreciation. The Bank of Japan wants to eventually address the artificially low value of the yen and sees the end of the carry trade as necessary for a more balanced exchange rate.

Many Oppose the Recent Moves

Many Japanese, however, oppose the Bank's recent moves. Japanese exporters, on which the country's recovery greatly depends, have benefited from the undervalued yen and are reluctant to see any appreciation of the currency.5 What's more, much of the carry trade has been due to individual Japanese investors. Investors look to overseas markets to increase their rate of return and more expensive credit would hurt domestic incomes. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been another opponent of the Bank's reforms. Although he understands the need for an eventual move away from free credit, Abe has emphasized the need for economic recovery and employment. Abe and his supporters say that consumer prices have not grown as expected showing that deflation remains a big problem for the economy.6 The difference in opinion between Abe and the BOJ raises the question of whether the Bank will fall in line with government policy or take a more independent course.

Experts debate whether all the hype over Japan's rate change is really warranted. The recent rate hikes have been extremely modest. Economists say the Bank of Japan must be prepared to take more aggressive measures and raise the call rate to 1 or 2 percent before the reforms can have any effect on the carry trade. Regardless of the actual effect of the new benchmark rate, the Bank of Japan's moves speak to challenges ahead for the Japanese economy. The economy seems to have recovered from the 1990s, but the heavy use of free credit raises the question of whether the recovery can be sustained without these measures. The international element has been another important variable. Any abrupt change in Japan's benchmark rate will have a knock-on effect for global stock markets.

ON FEBRUARY 21, the Bank of Japan voted to raise the unsecured overnight call rate, used as a benchmark for the short-term money market, by a quarter of a percentage point to .5 percent. The move came as part of an attempt to address the country's overly cheap credit. Japan has used extremely low rates as a method of economic recovery after the 1990s recession. The problem with this approach is that it has led to the development of a yen carry trade whereby speculators use cheaply bought yen to invest in high-risk overseas markets. The Bank's recent moves have not always been popular, especially in Japan. Opponents to the rate increase say Japan's recovery is still in its early stages and ending the availability of cheap credit could jeopardize future growth. The Bank is therefore caught in a balancing act. It needs to move away from low call rates but also has to be careful not to prevent growth altogether.

Rate Change

Japan has had an ultra-loose monetary policy since the late 1990s and has not had a benchmark rate of over .5 percent since September 1998. These near-zero rates were supposed to encourage borrowing and stimulate consumer demand, usually taken as the best ways to recover from a recession. Bank governor Toshihiko Fukui now wants to repeal these emergency measures. Last July, the Bank ended the unusual policy of free credit and set the overnight call rate to .25 percent. Japan had posted 1.2 percent GDP growth in the last quarter of 2006, and proponents of the Bank's move say that the country's stronger-than expected growth shows that Japan no longer needs such extremely low rates. Fukui foresees more moderate growth for the Japanese economy and says artificially low rates can hurt prospects for a long-term recovery.

The Yen Carry Trade

The other reason for the rate change has to do with the yen-carry trade and the consequences of cheap credit for the global economy. There's a huge gap between Japan's benchmark rate and the rates of other countries. The United States and Europe have an average call rate of about 5.25 percent. The large gap has meant international investors borrow from Japan to invest in risky overseas markets. Japan's cheap credit has therefore helped prop up the global economy, and economists fear the sudden end of low rates could lead to a global recession. At the same time, there is a need to gradually undo the carry trade. The cheap yen has led to a form of moral hazard whereby speculators are less concerned about loss and tend to make rash investment decisions. Japan's easy money has led to large real estate and stock market bubbles, the collapse of which would lead to recession in the United States, India, South Korea, and Eastern Europe.

The carry trade has also had consequences for Japan's domestic economy. The yen has the lowest value of major currencies, valued at roughly 120 yen to 1 USD, and its depreciation can be directly tied to the carry-trade. International investors have begun to sell yen to buy more high-yielding currencies like the euro and dollar and have therefore contributed to the yen's depreciation. The Bank of Japan wants to eventually address the artificially low value of the yen and sees the end of the carry trade as necessary for a more balanced exchange rate.

Many Oppose the Recent Moves

Many Japanese, however, oppose the Bank's recent moves. Japanese exporters, on which the country's recovery greatly depends, have benefited from the undervalued yen and are reluctant to see any appreciation of the currency.5 What's more, much of the carry trade has been due to individual Japanese investors. Investors look to overseas markets to increase their rate of return and more expensive credit would hurt domestic incomes. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been another opponent of the Bank's reforms. Although he understands the need for an eventual move away from free credit, Abe has emphasized the need for economic recovery and employment. Abe and his supporters say that consumer prices have not grown as expected showing that deflation remains a big problem for the economy.6 The difference in opinion between Abe and the BOJ raises the question of whether the Bank will fall in line with government policy or take a more independent course.

Experts debate whether all the hype over Japan's rate change is really warranted. The recent rate hikes have been extremely modest. Economists say the Bank of Japan must be prepared to take more aggressive measures and raise the call rate to 1 or 2 percent before the reforms can have any effect on the carry trade. Regardless of the actual effect of the new benchmark rate, the Bank of Japan's moves speak to challenges ahead for the Japanese economy. The economy seems to have recovered from the 1990s, but the heavy use of free credit raises the question of whether the recovery can be sustained without these measures. The international element has been another important variable. Any abrupt change in Japan's benchmark rate will have a knock-on effect for global stock markets.

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China-Japan Trade Increases

Trade between China and Japan increased to US$211 billion in 2006, a government-affiliated trade organization announced today. China is currently Japan's 2nd largest trading partner, accounting for 17.2% of total trade, though it is expected to pass the US for the number one trading partner position in 2007. Japan's trade deficit with China shrank to US$25.5 billion, down from US$28.7 billion in 2005.

Trade between China and Japan increased to US$211 billion in 2006, a government-affiliated trade organization announced today. China is currently Japan's 2nd largest trading partner, accounting for 17.2% of total trade, though it is expected to pass the US for the number one trading partner position in 2007. Japan's trade deficit with China shrank to US$25.5 billion, down from US$28.7 billion in 2005.

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Japan and India Plan Energy Deal

Japanese and Indian trade officials will meet in April to discuss joint investment in oil and gas projects as well as the sale of Japanese power plant technology. The countries are the 4th and 5th largest energy users respectively and India needs much investment in energy production to keep pace with its projected 9% annual economic growth rate. Most attractive to India, is the use of Japanese clean-burning coal technology.

Japanese and Indian trade officials will meet in April to discuss joint investment in oil and gas projects as well as the sale of Japanese power plant technology. The countries are the 4th and 5th largest energy users respectively and India needs much investment in energy production to keep pace with its projected 9% annual economic growth rate. Most attractive to India, is the use of Japanese clean-burning coal technology.

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Japan's Green Ideas

Faced with rising oil prices and global warming, many nations are showing greater interest in alternative energy sources. Japan is no exception. Koichi Kato, former Secretary-General of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has proposed reforms to restore the environment. He argues that increasing exports of environmentally friendly technologies will positively impact Japan's economy. While politicians from both sides have differing opinions on the chosen methods, they tend to agree that reform is imperative. Ultimately, Japan is responding to various political challenges, shortage of resources, and other obstacles with innovative developments in solar power and nuclear fusion technologies.

Solar Power

Japan is currently a leader in solar technologies. Due to a severe shortage of resources such as poly-crystalline silicon, the production of solar cells is in limbo. The price of poly-silicon is estimated to be $200 per kilogram; a 500 percent increase since 2004. In fact, the average price has doubled in the past 20 months and is expected to increase by 30 percent each year for the next three years. A further shortage will likely continue for another five years.

Increases in price translate into higher costs for the production and installation of solar technologies. This means many solar projects will require government subsidies of billions of dollars to cover the high start-up costs. This may further discourage the use of solar energy in favor of cheaper alternatives. However, the long term costs will be substantially lower than gas- or electric-powered technologies. Leaders in the solar energy production seek to ensure that the former scenario doesn't occur while making solar power's lower costs even more attractive.

Sharp Corporation—one of the largest manufacturers of solar silicon panels—is developing a new system that will replace silicon-based cells. Sharp's prototype is able to convert 36 percent more of the sunlight that hits its panels into energy compared to the 13 to 22 percent produced by conventional silicon panels. Their prototype was displayed at the Solar Power 2006 Conference and Expo in San Jose, California. The prototype actually moves in the same direction as the sun, improving its efficiency. This development should help in making future solar energy projects more viable.

Nuclear Fusion

Japan is also involved in an international initiative to develop an alternative energy source such as nuclear fusion. On 23 November 2006, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed an agreement with the US, the EU, China, India, South Korea, and Russia to build a nuclear fusion reactor. Nuclear fusion reactors harness energy from the collision of hydrogen atoms at extreme pressures and temperatures. This reaction produces no harmful waste and its base materials are small quantities of sea water and lithium.. The project will cost $13.13bn and will take eight years to construct. The first reactor will be situated in Paris and will serve as a model for reactors around the world. However, while Japanese companies are at the forefront of this cutting edge area of development, a major drawback is that it could take half a century for nuclear fusion to become a widely used energy source.

Shinzo Abe may be the answer to Japan's stagnating economy. The prime minister has been instituting structural changes and setting the stage for more vibrant economic policy-making. While he has been critiqued for being overly concerned with foreign affairs, his involvement with the project serves as a great example of how international environmental initiatives have the ability to promote growth.

Conclusion

Environmentally friendly reforms face many challenges. Political support is necessary for the success of these new technologies. For example, Japan's construction industry has a great deal of political clout, and will hastily fight any reforms that damage their interests. Another obstacle to such measures is Japan's vast national debt. Japan's national debt is reaching 130 percent of its GDP; the government is not likely to approve costly initiatives.8 There is still much uncertainty as to what measures will be taken in the future. What is known, however, is that in addition to the environmental benefits these innovations may have they will also bolster Japan's economic growth.

Faced with rising oil prices and global warming, many nations are showing greater interest in alternative energy sources. Japan is no exception. Koichi Kato, former Secretary-General of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has proposed reforms to restore the environment. He argues that increasing exports of environmentally friendly technologies will positively impact Japan's economy. While politicians from both sides have differing opinions on the chosen methods, they tend to agree that reform is imperative. Ultimately, Japan is responding to various political challenges, shortage of resources, and other obstacles with innovative developments in solar power and nuclear fusion technologies.

Solar Power

Japan is currently a leader in solar technologies. Due to a severe shortage of resources such as poly-crystalline silicon, the production of solar cells is in limbo. The price of poly-silicon is estimated to be $200 per kilogram; a 500 percent increase since 2004. In fact, the average price has doubled in the past 20 months and is expected to increase by 30 percent each year for the next three years. A further shortage will likely continue for another five years.

Increases in price translate into higher costs for the production and installation of solar technologies. This means many solar projects will require government subsidies of billions of dollars to cover the high start-up costs. This may further discourage the use of solar energy in favor of cheaper alternatives. However, the long term costs will be substantially lower than gas- or electric-powered technologies. Leaders in the solar energy production seek to ensure that the former scenario doesn't occur while making solar power's lower costs even more attractive.

Sharp Corporation—one of the largest manufacturers of solar silicon panels—is developing a new system that will replace silicon-based cells. Sharp's prototype is able to convert 36 percent more of the sunlight that hits its panels into energy compared to the 13 to 22 percent produced by conventional silicon panels. Their prototype was displayed at the Solar Power 2006 Conference and Expo in San Jose, California. The prototype actually moves in the same direction as the sun, improving its efficiency. This development should help in making future solar energy projects more viable.

Nuclear Fusion

Japan is also involved in an international initiative to develop an alternative energy source such as nuclear fusion. On 23 November 2006, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed an agreement with the US, the EU, China, India, South Korea, and Russia to build a nuclear fusion reactor. Nuclear fusion reactors harness energy from the collision of hydrogen atoms at extreme pressures and temperatures. This reaction produces no harmful waste and its base materials are small quantities of sea water and lithium.. The project will cost $13.13bn and will take eight years to construct. The first reactor will be situated in Paris and will serve as a model for reactors around the world. However, while Japanese companies are at the forefront of this cutting edge area of development, a major drawback is that it could take half a century for nuclear fusion to become a widely used energy source.

Shinzo Abe may be the answer to Japan's stagnating economy. The prime minister has been instituting structural changes and setting the stage for more vibrant economic policy-making. While he has been critiqued for being overly concerned with foreign affairs, his involvement with the project serves as a great example of how international environmental initiatives have the ability to promote growth.

Conclusion

Environmentally friendly reforms face many challenges. Political support is necessary for the success of these new technologies. For example, Japan's construction industry has a great deal of political clout, and will hastily fight any reforms that damage their interests. Another obstacle to such measures is Japan's vast national debt. Japan's national debt is reaching 130 percent of its GDP; the government is not likely to approve costly initiatives.8 There is still much uncertainty as to what measures will be taken in the future. What is known, however, is that in addition to the environmental benefits these innovations may have they will also bolster Japan's economic growth.

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APEC's Free Trade Area Woes

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan. The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.

The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain. With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product. WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies. In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow. The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties. It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth. The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern. The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.

The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations. APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground. The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued. APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

 

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan. The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.

The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain. With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product. WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies. In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow. The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties. It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth. The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern. The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.

The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations. APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground. The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued. APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

 

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japan

Russian Foreign Reserves Revealed

The Russian Central Bank disclosed the exact structure of its foreign currency reserves on its website on Tuesday. It keeps 51.5% of its reserves in US dollars, 38.6% in Euros, and the rest in a combination of pounds, yen, and francs. The bank is interested in further diversifying its reserves, which hit $311.2 billion in February, into the Swiss franc and Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand dollars.

The Russian Central Bank disclosed the exact structure of its foreign currency reserves on its website on Tuesday. It keeps 51.5% of its reserves in US dollars, 38.6% in Euros, and the rest in a combination of pounds, yen, and francs. The bank is interested in further diversifying its reserves, which hit $311.2 billion in February, into the Swiss franc and Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand dollars.

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Asian Markets Fall Again After Rebound

Chinese stocks fell again after rebounding Wednesday from their biggest drop in a decade. Elsewhere, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand markets were all down. The Philippines, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia indices were up, with the Philippines' rise as the region's biggest gain of the day after seeing Asia's biggest drop Wednesday at 7.9 percent.

Chinese stocks fell again after rebounding Wednesday from their biggest drop in a decade. Elsewhere, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand markets were all down. The Philippines, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia indices were up, with the Philippines' rise as the region's biggest gain of the day after seeing Asia's biggest drop Wednesday at 7.9 percent.

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Japan and Russia Work to Settle Dispute

Russia and Japan have agreed to bolster economic ties and settle a decades-long territory dispute, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov announced Wednesday. The two countries are currently working on trade agreements as well as a settlement for the Kuril Islands, which has been disputed since WWII. Russia is seeking to develop its Eastern regions while Japan is looking to tap into Russia's natural resources. Japan has less than 6% of the amount of trade with Russia that it has with China.

Russia and Japan have agreed to bolster economic ties and settle a decades-long territory dispute, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov announced Wednesday. The two countries are currently working on trade agreements as well as a settlement for the Kuril Islands, which has been disputed since WWII. Russia is seeking to develop its Eastern regions while Japan is looking to tap into Russia's natural resources. Japan has less than 6% of the amount of trade with Russia that it has with China.

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W. Edwards Deming and Japanese Auto Domination

In recent forecasts, Toyota Motor Corporation has taken the crown as the world's largest auto manufacturer. Toyota's meteoric rise has not been without setbacks, however, as the company was forced to recall nearly one million automobiles in 2006, a significant lapse of quality control. The Toyota reputation is one built on quality and durability.1 These recent aberrations suggest that if the firm that has an uncanny ability to produce bulletproof transmissions wishes to retain its startling growth rate, it will have to return to basics.

In December 2006 Toyota Motor Corporation announced plans to sell 9.34 million automobiles worldwide in 2007, a projection that would make Toyota the world's largest auto manufacturer. This news, while not unanticipated, brought home the reality of continuing troubles for GM and Ford. Recent internal Ford Motor Company documents also suggest that Toyota will sell more cars than Ford in the United States next year, a sign of significant momentum1.

Stateside Dominance?

The United States is Toyota's largest market, with 2.68 million projected vehicle sales stateside in 2007. The United States is also the largest automobile sales market in the world, and an essential territory, with huge growth potential for Toyota's market share. In the battle for American dollars, Toyota has wasted little time moving the battle to GM and Ford's home turf. A large percentage of Toyota autos sold in the United States are built in Kentucky, and a new Toyota full size truck plant just opened in Texas, in the heart of what was once a region where the only real question was, "Chevy or Ford?"1


Can a Japanese auto manufacturer successfully build cars in the heart of the Midwest, and at the same time address embarrassing quality control problems? Toyota would be well served to examine its roots, and look to an unlikely source for guidance: a man from Iowa.


W. Edwards Deming and Statistical Control


The basics of Japanese Auto Manufacturing start in an unlikely place: Iowa. A native of Iowa, educated at Yale, W. Edwards Deming introduced statistical process control to Japanese firms some 60 years ago2. His teachings helped revolutionize Japanese industry at a time when American firms were engaged in top-down corporate structures that had little use for Mr. Deming's new ideas. It would not be until 1981 that Ford would seek Deming's advice to start its quality initiative3.


Deming's 14 Points revolutionized Japanese management in the post World War II period, when Japanese firms were struggling and anxious for fresh ideas
2. Now that relative success has been achieved, Toyota would do well to examine Deming's Seven Deadly Diseases in order to ensure continued growth.

The first of these deadly diseases is a lack of constancy of purpose, something that Toyota has avoided. Toyota has long focused on quality and value. Rather than trying to create the perfect car for each person, Toyota produces autos that are dependable and affordable. It is an adherence to this principle that has made the Camry the best selling car in America.

W. Edwards Deming also emphasized the dangers of relying solely on technology to solve problems, an idea that has become a cornerstone principle at Toyota. The Toyota Production System (TPS) is the most advanced in the business, succeeding where many others have failed. Yet, this innovation does not overshadow an emphasis on effective management. Technology is viewed merely as an underpinning of the larger machinery of the firm3.

 

Another of the deadly diseases specified by Deming is an emphasis on short-term profits. Toyota has most clearly avoided this pitfall by focusing research and development efforts on hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. This has paid significant dividends for the firm, in the form of the Prius and Camry hybrid models, both of which are wildly popular3. The innovative Hybrid Synergy Drive featured in Toyota's hybrid models is a practical and efficient technology, while American firms have had trouble bringing a functional system to market. Toyota has helped to ensure rocketing sales, outpacing GM and Ford in the lucrative hybrid market.

Deming's model emphasized stability above all, a quality that Toyota has in spades. In an industry confronted with rising fuel costs and a demand for alternative transportation, Toyota must use its mobility and free thinking to produce products that will capture the imagination and dollars of the public. The easiest way for Toyota to move forward is to look backwards, to place an emphasis on quality control, and to invest in meaningful technologies with an eye towards long-term growth.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

In recent forecasts, Toyota Motor Corporation has taken the crown as the world's largest auto manufacturer. Toyota's meteoric rise has not been without setbacks, however, as the company was forced to recall nearly one million automobiles in 2006, a significant lapse of quality control. The Toyota reputation is one built on quality and durability.1 These recent aberrations suggest that if the firm that has an uncanny ability to produce bulletproof transmissions wishes to retain its startling growth rate, it will have to return to basics.

In December 2006 Toyota Motor Corporation announced plans to sell 9.34 million automobiles worldwide in 2007, a projection that would make Toyota the world's largest auto manufacturer. This news, while not unanticipated, brought home the reality of continuing troubles for GM and Ford. Recent internal Ford Motor Company documents also suggest that Toyota will sell more cars than Ford in the United States next year, a sign of significant momentum1.

Stateside Dominance?

The United States is Toyota's largest market, with 2.68 million projected vehicle sales stateside in 2007. The United States is also the largest automobile sales market in the world, and an essential territory, with huge growth potential for Toyota's market share. In the battle for American dollars, Toyota has wasted little time moving the battle to GM and Ford's home turf. A large percentage of Toyota autos sold in the United States are built in Kentucky, and a new Toyota full size truck plant just opened in Texas, in the heart of what was once a region where the only real question was, "Chevy or Ford?"1


Can a Japanese auto manufacturer successfully build cars in the heart of the Midwest, and at the same time address embarrassing quality control problems? Toyota would be well served to examine its roots, and look to an unlikely source for guidance: a man from Iowa.


W. Edwards Deming and Statistical Control


The basics of Japanese Auto Manufacturing start in an unlikely place: Iowa. A native of Iowa, educated at Yale, W. Edwards Deming introduced statistical process control to Japanese firms some 60 years ago2. His teachings helped revolutionize Japanese industry at a time when American firms were engaged in top-down corporate structures that had little use for Mr. Deming's new ideas. It would not be until 1981 that Ford would seek Deming's advice to start its quality initiative3.


Deming's 14 Points revolutionized Japanese management in the post World War II period, when Japanese firms were struggling and anxious for fresh ideas
2. Now that relative success has been achieved, Toyota would do well to examine Deming's Seven Deadly Diseases in order to ensure continued growth.

The first of these deadly diseases is a lack of constancy of purpose, something that Toyota has avoided. Toyota has long focused on quality and value. Rather than trying to create the perfect car for each person, Toyota produces autos that are dependable and affordable. It is an adherence to this principle that has made the Camry the best selling car in America.

W. Edwards Deming also emphasized the dangers of relying solely on technology to solve problems, an idea that has become a cornerstone principle at Toyota. The Toyota Production System (TPS) is the most advanced in the business, succeeding where many others have failed. Yet, this innovation does not overshadow an emphasis on effective management. Technology is viewed merely as an underpinning of the larger machinery of the firm3.

 

Another of the deadly diseases specified by Deming is an emphasis on short-term profits. Toyota has most clearly avoided this pitfall by focusing research and development efforts on hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. This has paid significant dividends for the firm, in the form of the Prius and Camry hybrid models, both of which are wildly popular3. The innovative Hybrid Synergy Drive featured in Toyota's hybrid models is a practical and efficient technology, while American firms have had trouble bringing a functional system to market. Toyota has helped to ensure rocketing sales, outpacing GM and Ford in the lucrative hybrid market.

Deming's model emphasized stability above all, a quality that Toyota has in spades. In an industry confronted with rising fuel costs and a demand for alternative transportation, Toyota must use its mobility and free thinking to produce products that will capture the imagination and dollars of the public. The easiest way for Toyota to move forward is to look backwards, to place an emphasis on quality control, and to invest in meaningful technologies with an eye towards long-term growth.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

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Uncertain Future for Japan-Russia Relations

Over the past few years, Japan and Russia have made several attempts to strengthen bilateral relations, culminating in high-level talks in late January. The reasons for these talks seem straightforward. Russia sees Japan as a source of capital and a development partner for the country's Far Eastern energy resources. Tokyo wants to be less dependent on Middle Eastern oil and has looked to Russia as an alternative energy source. A shared fear of China's rapid rise has been another important motive. But although Japan and Russia have many of the same concerns, there are several obstacles that could prevent a stable, long-term alliance. The two have a long-running dispute over the Kurile Islands, and failure to reach an agreement over the Islands could hurt prospects for future energy deals. Another serious challenge is the corrupt Russian legal system. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made repeated efforts to renationalize the nation's energy sector. These moves run counter to Japan's attempts to penetrate the Far Eastern energy market. Russia has also made overtures to China in the form of arms sales and energy deals. These overtures challenge the basis for Russian-Japanese cooperation and may jeopardize future relations between the two countries.

Efforts to Improve Relations

There have been several indications of improving relations between Russia and Japan. High-level meetings have become common, and talks have yielded tangible results. In 2006, Russia agreed to construct an 850 kilometer LNG pipeline to northwest Japan through the Sea of Japan. Japan and China hotly contested the proposed route which would bypass China. Japanese companies have also become prominent investors in the Russian oil industry. Until recently, Mitsui Corporation had a 25 percent stake in the Sakhalin energy company. Mitsubishi controlled another 20 percent. These efforts are part of a broader national strategy to source up to 40 percent of its oil and gas imports from Japanese-owned concessions.1

Challenges Ahead

But there has been some bad blood between Russian and Japanese business parties. The most common complaint has to do with differences in the respective legal systems. Japan says Russia's legal system is corrupt and that Japanese businessmen are often mistreated by their Russian counterparts. Russians accuse Japan's legal system of being impenetrable and hostile to outside investment. To address these concerns, Moscow and Tokyo have established an arbitration board to mediate trade and private business disputes to create a more open, business-friendly environment.2

Another, more serious problem has to do with the long history of animosity between the two countries. Russia and Japan have several unresolved territorial disputes, and the question of borders has become linked to nationalism. The dispute centers on Kurile Islands, the four small islands that Russia has controlled since the end of World War II. Most Japanese see the problem of the islands as an obstacle to the development of a long-term alliance. Recently elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken a firm stance on the issue and said he considers the return of the Islands necessary for future cooperation.3 The border problems mean that sensitive matters involving national pride have become entangled in issues of trade and business.

Despite these challenges, the Russians' expropriation of Japanese assets represents the greatest challenge to future Russo-Japanese relations. Russia's state policy requires that the majority of ownership for all energy concessions goes to the local investors. This new regulation has led to the forced reduction of Mitsubishi and Mitsui shares in the Sakhalin oil project. This represents a major weakness in Japan's energy policy. Japan does not have a state-owned energy company or large, powerful private company and has relied on the concessions granted to smaller, privately owned companies like Mitsubishi and Mitsui.4 These smaller companies are less able to negotiate and are more vulnerable to the capricious state policy of host governments. Many Japanese firms are now more hesitant to invest in the Russian energy sector. Their reluctance undermines the basis of the Russian-Japanese relationship. Without the cooperation of private businesses, Japan's energy policy falls apart and Russia does not benefit from Japanese technology and know-how.

Moving Forward

Russia seems to have already begun a search for other energy partners. Last October, Russia agreed to sell oil from the Sakhalin energy project to China instead of to Japan as originally planned. Russia has also continued to sell military equipment to China. In February, Russia, China, and India held a conference to promote trilateral trade.5 Taken together, these events suggest that Russia may move closer to China at the expense of its relationship with Japan.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

Over the past few years, Japan and Russia have made several attempts to strengthen bilateral relations, culminating in high-level talks in late January. The reasons for these talks seem straightforward. Russia sees Japan as a source of capital and a development partner for the country's Far Eastern energy resources. Tokyo wants to be less dependent on Middle Eastern oil and has looked to Russia as an alternative energy source. A shared fear of China's rapid rise has been another important motive. But although Japan and Russia have many of the same concerns, there are several obstacles that could prevent a stable, long-term alliance. The two have a long-running dispute over the Kurile Islands, and failure to reach an agreement over the Islands could hurt prospects for future energy deals. Another serious challenge is the corrupt Russian legal system. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made repeated efforts to renationalize the nation's energy sector. These moves run counter to Japan's attempts to penetrate the Far Eastern energy market. Russia has also made overtures to China in the form of arms sales and energy deals. These overtures challenge the basis for Russian-Japanese cooperation and may jeopardize future relations between the two countries.

Efforts to Improve Relations

There have been several indications of improving relations between Russia and Japan. High-level meetings have become common, and talks have yielded tangible results. In 2006, Russia agreed to construct an 850 kilometer LNG pipeline to northwest Japan through the Sea of Japan. Japan and China hotly contested the proposed route which would bypass China. Japanese companies have also become prominent investors in the Russian oil industry. Until recently, Mitsui Corporation had a 25 percent stake in the Sakhalin energy company. Mitsubishi controlled another 20 percent. These efforts are part of a broader national strategy to source up to 40 percent of its oil and gas imports from Japanese-owned concessions.1

Challenges Ahead

But there has been some bad blood between Russian and Japanese business parties. The most common complaint has to do with differences in the respective legal systems. Japan says Russia's legal system is corrupt and that Japanese businessmen are often mistreated by their Russian counterparts. Russians accuse Japan's legal system of being impenetrable and hostile to outside investment. To address these concerns, Moscow and Tokyo have established an arbitration board to mediate trade and private business disputes to create a more open, business-friendly environment.2

Another, more serious problem has to do with the long history of animosity between the two countries. Russia and Japan have several unresolved territorial disputes, and the question of borders has become linked to nationalism. The dispute centers on Kurile Islands, the four small islands that Russia has controlled since the end of World War II. Most Japanese see the problem of the islands as an obstacle to the development of a long-term alliance. Recently elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken a firm stance on the issue and said he considers the return of the Islands necessary for future cooperation.3 The border problems mean that sensitive matters involving national pride have become entangled in issues of trade and business.

Despite these challenges, the Russians' expropriation of Japanese assets represents the greatest challenge to future Russo-Japanese relations. Russia's state policy requires that the majority of ownership for all energy concessions goes to the local investors. This new regulation has led to the forced reduction of Mitsubishi and Mitsui shares in the Sakhalin oil project. This represents a major weakness in Japan's energy policy. Japan does not have a state-owned energy company or large, powerful private company and has relied on the concessions granted to smaller, privately owned companies like Mitsubishi and Mitsui.4 These smaller companies are less able to negotiate and are more vulnerable to the capricious state policy of host governments. Many Japanese firms are now more hesitant to invest in the Russian energy sector. Their reluctance undermines the basis of the Russian-Japanese relationship. Without the cooperation of private businesses, Japan's energy policy falls apart and Russia does not benefit from Japanese technology and know-how.

Moving Forward

Russia seems to have already begun a search for other energy partners. Last October, Russia agreed to sell oil from the Sakhalin energy project to China instead of to Japan as originally planned. Russia has also continued to sell military equipment to China. In February, Russia, China, and India held a conference to promote trilateral trade.5 Taken together, these events suggest that Russia may move closer to China at the expense of its relationship with Japan.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

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The Asian Stock Markets: Boom or Bust?

The year 2006 for the Asian stock markets saw unprecedented gains of the kind rarely witnessed. The stock markets of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam hit record highs while Japan, South Korea and Taiwan also posted muted though respectable gains. With this state of affairs, it was perhaps unsurprising that global investors flocked to the Asian markets just hoping to reap some of the big rewards. However, some people feel that the amazing growth of these stock markets needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of caution since the nightmarish memories of the 1997-meltdown in the region's equity markets just refuse to die out. This has raised a few doubts among analysts studying the region and has prompted many to be skeptical about the potential growth prospects of these markets in the future.

A Year of Skyrocketing Growth

During the last few years, many stock markets in Asia have been rising rapidly. In China, during 2006, stocks in the home market sizzled, at long last reflecting the country's gathering economic might after years of paltry returns. The MSCI China A, an index of domestically listed stocks, soared 128 percent.1 The scenario was also quite rosy in India when the Bombay stock exchange rocketed another 46.7 percent in 2006.2 Elsewhere in the region, markets bolted ahead on sound economic fundamentals, with markets in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore returning 55.3 percent, 42.3 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively.3 Even the so-called stragglers, Taiwan and Malaysia, clocked returns of 19.5 percent and 21.8 percent in 2006, a reflection of just how turbo-charged the growth trend has been. The only disappointments were South Korea which rose by a modest 4 percent last year and Japan, which, contrary to expectations, managed to end the year up only 6.9 percent. This is creditable given that these enormous returns occurred despite a plunge in the region's stock markets during May and June, when foreign investors were spooked by the prospect of rising interest rates and fled riskier assets.4 With massive investor confidence and a huge amount of global liquidity, it is no wonder that there has been a mad rush by global investors to invest in the region.

Factors Driving the Growth

Many changes have transformed the domestic economies of the Asian region radically over the last decade. Many market watchers believe that these emerging economies are on a much surer financial footing than in the past. Many have pared their deficits, increased their reserves and reduced their dependence on exports to the US, thereby decreasing their vulnerability to a potential US economic slowdown.5 Some investors believe that these countries are finally beginning to decouple from the US economy either by trading more among themselves or relying more on local consumer demand.6 Skeptics discount this hypothesis and consider it too early to draw conclusions. A slow US economy could still trigger a region-wide recession in the near future.

Impediments to Sustainable Growth

Despite all the hype and hoopla surrounding the Asian economies and their booming stock markets, the future growth outlook for these economies is strangely benign. Experts believe that even though Asia is presently more resilient to a US slowdown than in the past, a drastic slowdown to the US economy might seriously upset the status quo. Currently, investor sentiment remains strong as evidenced by several positive factors like lower international oil prices and a recovery staged by Wall Street after the mid-year slump in 2006. However, financial markets might feel the impact if institutional investors in the US and Europe become more risk-averse, or if the global liquidity that has been funding portfolio investment in Asia dries up.7 The region is still highly export-dependent and vulnerable to developments in the US. In fact, many of the goods traded within Asia are still used as inputs for products that are ultimately sold to the US and other OECD economies.8 These emerging economies are currently characterized by weak inflation levels, strong growth, solvent governments and a lesser degree of dependence on foreign money to finance their investment requirements.9 Although the domestic economies in Asia seem to be in impressive shape, they remain vulnerable to disruption if investment-positive factors begin to wane. Potential investors should exercise a significant degree of caution and restraint while deciding whether or not to invest their money in Asia's growing bourses.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

The year 2006 for the Asian stock markets saw unprecedented gains of the kind rarely witnessed. The stock markets of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam hit record highs while Japan, South Korea and Taiwan also posted muted though respectable gains. With this state of affairs, it was perhaps unsurprising that global investors flocked to the Asian markets just hoping to reap some of the big rewards. However, some people feel that the amazing growth of these stock markets needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of caution since the nightmarish memories of the 1997-meltdown in the region's equity markets just refuse to die out. This has raised a few doubts among analysts studying the region and has prompted many to be skeptical about the potential growth prospects of these markets in the future.

A Year of Skyrocketing Growth

During the last few years, many stock markets in Asia have been rising rapidly. In China, during 2006, stocks in the home market sizzled, at long last reflecting the country's gathering economic might after years of paltry returns. The MSCI China A, an index of domestically listed stocks, soared 128 percent.1 The scenario was also quite rosy in India when the Bombay stock exchange rocketed another 46.7 percent in 2006.2 Elsewhere in the region, markets bolted ahead on sound economic fundamentals, with markets in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore returning 55.3 percent, 42.3 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively.3 Even the so-called stragglers, Taiwan and Malaysia, clocked returns of 19.5 percent and 21.8 percent in 2006, a reflection of just how turbo-charged the growth trend has been. The only disappointments were South Korea which rose by a modest 4 percent last year and Japan, which, contrary to expectations, managed to end the year up only 6.9 percent. This is creditable given that these enormous returns occurred despite a plunge in the region's stock markets during May and June, when foreign investors were spooked by the prospect of rising interest rates and fled riskier assets.4 With massive investor confidence and a huge amount of global liquidity, it is no wonder that there has been a mad rush by global investors to invest in the region.

Factors Driving the Growth

Many changes have transformed the domestic economies of the Asian region radically over the last decade. Many market watchers believe that these emerging economies are on a much surer financial footing than in the past. Many have pared their deficits, increased their reserves and reduced their dependence on exports to the US, thereby decreasing their vulnerability to a potential US economic slowdown.5 Some investors believe that these countries are finally beginning to decouple from the US economy either by trading more among themselves or relying more on local consumer demand.6 Skeptics discount this hypothesis and consider it too early to draw conclusions. A slow US economy could still trigger a region-wide recession in the near future.

Impediments to Sustainable Growth

Despite all the hype and hoopla surrounding the Asian economies and their booming stock markets, the future growth outlook for these economies is strangely benign. Experts believe that even though Asia is presently more resilient to a US slowdown than in the past, a drastic slowdown to the US economy might seriously upset the status quo. Currently, investor sentiment remains strong as evidenced by several positive factors like lower international oil prices and a recovery staged by Wall Street after the mid-year slump in 2006. However, financial markets might feel the impact if institutional investors in the US and Europe become more risk-averse, or if the global liquidity that has been funding portfolio investment in Asia dries up.7 The region is still highly export-dependent and vulnerable to developments in the US. In fact, many of the goods traded within Asia are still used as inputs for products that are ultimately sold to the US and other OECD economies.8 These emerging economies are currently characterized by weak inflation levels, strong growth, solvent governments and a lesser degree of dependence on foreign money to finance their investment requirements.9 Although the domestic economies in Asia seem to be in impressive shape, they remain vulnerable to disruption if investment-positive factors begin to wane. Potential investors should exercise a significant degree of caution and restraint while deciding whether or not to invest their money in Asia's growing bourses.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

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Russia, Japan Talk About Cooperation in Energy Sector

Ministers from Russia and Japan met recently to discuss the possibilities of working together in the energy sector. Russia is looking for foreign investors interested in extracting oil from eastern Siberia and for a partner in the construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline, which would pump oil from Siberia to Russia's far east, for distribution to other Asian countries. Russia feels that Japan is a good fit for its market strategy, and Japanese companies are said to be interested in the proposed projects.

Ministers from Russia and Japan met recently to discuss the possibilities of working together in the energy sector. Russia is looking for foreign investors interested in extracting oil from eastern Siberia and for a partner in the construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline, which would pump oil from Siberia to Russia's far east, for distribution to other Asian countries. Russia feels that Japan is a good fit for its market strategy, and Japanese companies are said to be interested in the proposed projects.

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Nissan Plans to Build Cars in India

Japanese auto firm Nissan has plans to begin building cars in India. The firm will partner with Renault and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. to build a factory in the southern city of Chennai. Automotive manufacturing investment in India is predicted to total $5 billion by 2012.

Japanese auto firm Nissan has plans to begin building cars in India. The firm will partner with Renault and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. to build a factory in the southern city of Chennai. Automotive manufacturing investment in India is predicted to total $5 billion by 2012.

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Japan Sees Narrow Trade Surplus

Japan had a trade surplus of $36 million in January, the Bank of Japan announced. This countered a deficit of almost $2.9 billion last year. A weak yen helped to increase exports while cheap oil dampened imports. Much of the decrease in the value of the yen was because of the Central Bank's announcement that it would only gradually increase the interest rate.

Japan had a trade surplus of $36 million in January, the Bank of Japan announced. This countered a deficit of almost $2.9 billion last year. A weak yen helped to increase exports while cheap oil dampened imports. Much of the decrease in the value of the yen was because of the Central Bank's announcement that it would only gradually increase the interest rate.

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Japan Raises Interest Rates to 0.5%

Japan's central bank raised its interest rates to 0.5% yesterday due to a steady economic growth. This was only the second interest rate hike in the last 6 years, with the last raise coming in July of 2006. Due to the recent hike, another raise was not expected, leading to the drop in yen against the dollar and euro.

Japan's central bank raised its interest rates to 0.5% yesterday due to a steady economic growth. This was only the second interest rate hike in the last 6 years, with the last raise coming in July of 2006. Due to the recent hike, another raise was not expected, leading to the drop in yen against the dollar and euro.

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Japan and Pakistan Strive for Closer Relations

Japan and Pakistan have recently begun steps to improve relations. Ever since Shinzo Abe replaced Junichiro Koizumi as prime minister last September, Japan has offered to work with Pakistan on energy cooperation. Currently, they are negotiating the Japan-Pakistan free-trade agreement in order to extend economic cooperation between the two countries. This, ultimately, could increase stability and prosperity for Japan, South Asia, and the rest of the international world.

Japan and Pakistan have recently begun steps to improve relations. Ever since Shinzo Abe replaced Junichiro Koizumi as prime minister last September, Japan has offered to work with Pakistan on energy cooperation. Currently, they are negotiating the Japan-Pakistan free-trade agreement in order to extend economic cooperation between the two countries. This, ultimately, could increase stability and prosperity for Japan, South Asia, and the rest of the international world.

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Japan, Thailand FTA Hits Snag

A proposed free trade agreement between Japan and Thailand hit a snag over provisions that would allow Japan to dump toxic waste in Thailand. The measure was met with widespread protest throughout the country. The embattled Thai government was pushing hard for the FTA in hopes of increasing Japanese FDI and improving the Thai trade reputation which has been soured by recent policy moves.

A proposed free trade agreement between Japan and Thailand hit a snag over provisions that would allow Japan to dump toxic waste in Thailand. The measure was met with widespread protest throughout the country. The embattled Thai government was pushing hard for the FTA in hopes of increasing Japanese FDI and improving the Thai trade reputation which has been soured by recent policy moves.

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NZ's Interest Rate Gap May Fall

New Zealand's dollar may fall soon if Japan's Central Bank does as expected and raises its benchmark interest rate. The increase would lessen the gap between the interest rates of the two countries, making investment in New Zealand less attractive and thus lowering the value of its currency, the kiwi. It is not yet a foregone conclusion, with 52% of analysts believing that Japan will not raise its rates.

New Zealand's dollar may fall soon if Japan's Central Bank does as expected and raises its benchmark interest rate. The increase would lessen the gap between the interest rates of the two countries, making investment in New Zealand less attractive and thus lowering the value of its currency, the kiwi. It is not yet a foregone conclusion, with 52% of analysts believing that Japan will not raise its rates.

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Asian Markets Close with Mixed Results

Asian stock markets closed with mixed results Friday. Japanese shares fell after a five-session winning streak. Thailand's shares suffered the same fate, slipping 0.8 percent. The Philippines' shares also declined as investors cashed in gains during the last two sessions. The big winners were Malaysia, where stocks surged to the highest mark this year and Hong Kong, with shares edging up ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Asian stock markets closed with mixed results Friday. Japanese shares fell after a five-session winning streak. Thailand's shares suffered the same fate, slipping 0.8 percent. The Philippines' shares also declined as investors cashed in gains during the last two sessions. The big winners were Malaysia, where stocks surged to the highest mark this year and Hong Kong, with shares edging up ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

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Vietnam Can't Meet Japanese Production Demand

Japanese firms operating in Vietnam are having problems meeting their local input needs, a recent government study reported. Because of a scarcity of high-quality inputs, Japanese firms are turning to suppliers from neighboring Malaysia and Thailand for up to 45% of their total inputs. Vietnamese suppliers complain that the Japanese producers are too demanding but both sides agree that the local market must improve for Vietnam to continue to grow.

Japanese firms operating in Vietnam are having problems meeting their local input needs, a recent government study reported. Because of a scarcity of high-quality inputs, Japanese firms are turning to suppliers from neighboring Malaysia and Thailand for up to 45% of their total inputs. Vietnamese suppliers complain that the Japanese producers are too demanding but both sides agree that the local market must improve for Vietnam to continue to grow.

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China and Japan in Top 8 for Patents

Both China and Japan were among the top 8 nations in the filing of international patents in 2006, with China filing 57% more than in 2005. Japan was 2nd on the list and China was 8th, up two spots from the year before. The bulk of China's patent growth came from its telecommunication, pharmaceutical, and information technology industries. Worldwide, patents increased 6%.

Both China and Japan were among the top 8 nations in the filing of international patents in 2006, with China filing 57% more than in 2005. Japan was 2nd on the list and China was 8th, up two spots from the year before. The bulk of China's patent growth came from its telecommunication, pharmaceutical, and information technology industries. Worldwide, patents increased 6%.

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Japan's Machine Orders Down in December

Orders for machinery at Japanese firms fell 0.8% in December, an expected decline that may point to a slight slowdown in Japan's economy. Orders grew 4% in 2006, the fourth straight year of growth. Government officials and economists warned to not put too much weight into the machinery orders as they expect other economic indicators to be more positive.

Orders for machinery at Japanese firms fell 0.8% in December, an expected decline that may point to a slight slowdown in Japan's economy. Orders grew 4% in 2006, the fourth straight year of growth. Government officials and economists warned to not put too much weight into the machinery orders as they expect other economic indicators to be more positive.

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Toyota's Indian Aspiration: Build Cars, Profits in India

Toyota announces plans for a new factory in Bangalore India. Toyota began Indian manufacturing efforts in 1999, producing the Toyota Corolla and Innova Minivan, each model costing consumers more than US$20,000. The next plant hopes to produce 100,000 cars per year at an average cost of less than US$8,500, keying in on the largest consumer market in India.

Toyota announces plans for a new factory in Bangalore India. Toyota began Indian manufacturing efforts in 1999, producing the Toyota Corolla and Innova Minivan, each model costing consumers more than US$20,000. The next plant hopes to produce 100,000 cars per year at an average cost of less than US$8,500, keying in on the largest consumer market in India.

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Japan Bans Export of Pirated Material

Japan's government has moved to ban the export of products that infringe upon copyrights. These materials include CDs, DVDs, and software and, it is estimated, their illegal sale cause Japanese firms to suffer severe losses. Japan took the initiative on the subject in order to pursuade other Asian nations to strengthen their intellectual property laws.

Japan's government has moved to ban the export of products that infringe upon copyrights. These materials include CDs, DVDs, and software and, it is estimated, their illegal sale cause Japanese firms to suffer severe losses. Japan took the initiative on the subject in order to pursuade other Asian nations to strengthen their intellectual property laws.

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Japan's Economic Growth May Cool

Japan's broadest index of future economic activity signaled for a second month that growth may slow in the world's second-largest economy. The leading index was at 25 percent in December, below 50 percent for a second month, the Cabinet Office said today in Tokyo. A number below 50 indicates the economy will cool in three to six months. The result matched the median estimate of 27 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Japan's broadest index of future economic activity signaled for a second month that growth may slow in the world's second-largest economy. The leading index was at 25 percent in December, below 50 percent for a second month, the Cabinet Office said today in Tokyo. A number below 50 indicates the economy will cool in three to six months. The result matched the median estimate of 27 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

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Farm Subsidies the Focus of Aussie-Japan FTA Talks

During a meeting with members of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, Fujio Mitarai, head of the Nippon Keidanren, continued to support the need for special consideration for Japan's farmers. This is in light of increasing concerns that a free-trade agreement between the two nations would hurt Japanese agriculture, a sector supported byheavy protectionist subsidies from the Japanese government. However, Mitarai also called for the establishment of a FTA as soon as possible, showing Japan's commitment to trade liberalization.

During a meeting with members of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, Fujio Mitarai, head of the Nippon Keidanren, continued to support the need for special consideration for Japan's farmers. This is in light of increasing concerns that a free-trade agreement between the two nations would hurt Japanese agriculture, a sector supported byheavy protectionist subsidies from the Japanese government. However, Mitarai also called for the establishment of a FTA as soon as possible, showing Japan's commitment to trade liberalization.

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Overseas Projects Increase in Importance for Japanese Contractors

Japanese construction contractors are becoming more and more dependent on projects from abroad, rather than from within Japan, as the domestic market for construction projects continues to dry up. Major construction firms are picking up more business from contracts in the Middle East, creating disparity between them and the smaller Japanese firms who continue to rely on the domestic market for revenue.

Japanese construction contractors are becoming more and more dependent on projects from abroad, rather than from within Japan, as the domestic market for construction projects continues to dry up. Major construction firms are picking up more business from contracts in the Middle East, creating disparity between them and the smaller Japanese firms who continue to rely on the domestic market for revenue.

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The Industrial Organization of the Japanese Bar: Levels and Determinants of Attorney Income

Using micro-level data on attorney incomes in 2004, we reconstruct the industrial organization of the Japanese legal services industry. These data suggest a somewhat bifurcated bar, with two sources of unusually high income: talent in Tokyo, and scarcity elsewhere. The most talented would-be lawyers (those with the highest opportunity costs) pass the bar-exam equivalent on one of their first tries or abandon the effort. If they pass, they tend to opt for careers in Tokyo that involve complex litigation and business transactions. This work places a premium on their talent, and from it they earn appropriately high incomes. The less talented face lower opportunity costs, and willingly spend many years studying for the exam. If they eventually pass, they disproportionately forego the many amenities available to professional families in Tokyo and opt instead for careers in the under-lawyered provinces. There, they earn scarcity and monopoly rents not available in the far more competitive Tokyo market.

Using micro-level data on attorney incomes in 2004, we reconstruct the industrial organization of the Japanese legal services industry. These data suggest a somewhat bifurcated bar, with two sources of unusually high income: talent in Tokyo, and scarcity elsewhere. The most talented would-be lawyers (those with the highest opportunity costs) pass the bar-exam equivalent on one of their first tries or abandon the effort. If they pass, they tend to opt for careers in Tokyo that involve complex litigation and business transactions. This work places a premium on their talent, and from it they earn appropriately high incomes. The less talented face lower opportunity costs, and willingly spend many years studying for the exam. If they eventually pass, they disproportionately forego the many amenities available to professional families in Tokyo and opt instead for careers in the under-lawyered provinces. There, they earn scarcity and monopoly rents not available in the far more competitive Tokyo market.

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japan

Emerging Asia’s Growth and Integration - How Autonomous are Business Cycles?

Against the background of the rapid integration of emerging Asia into the global economy, this paper investigates the role of domestic and external factors in driving individual emerging economies in Asia. We estimate VAR models for ten countries over the period 1979Q1-2003Q4, controlling for external factors, and use sign restrictions to identify structural domestic shocks. Variance decompositions indicate that Asian emerging economies are to a large part driven by external developments, and even more so employing a more recent sample. We analyse to what extent structural domestic shocks exhibit a regional dimension by comparing shocks across countries using correlation and principal component analysis. The extent of regional co-movement between structural shocks is relatively limited. While the principal components analysis indicates a moderate increase in co-movement over time, the correlation analysis finds a decline. This may reflect a broadening of regional integration at the expense of bilateral economic ties.

Against the background of the rapid integration of emerging Asia into the global economy, this paper investigates the role of domestic and external factors in driving individual emerging economies in Asia. We estimate VAR models for ten countries over the period 1979Q1-2003Q4, controlling for external factors, and use sign restrictions to identify structural domestic shocks. Variance decompositions indicate that Asian emerging economies are to a large part driven by external developments, and even more so employing a more recent sample. We analyse to what extent structural domestic shocks exhibit a regional dimension by comparing shocks across countries using correlation and principal component analysis. The extent of regional co-movement between structural shocks is relatively limited. While the principal components analysis indicates a moderate increase in co-movement over time, the correlation analysis finds a decline. This may reflect a broadening of regional integration at the expense of bilateral economic ties.

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The Impact of Production Fragmentation on Industry Skill Upgrading: New Evidence from Japanese Manufacturing

This paper examines the hypothesis that industries engaged in international fragmentation of production experience greater skill upgrading using a panel dataset of Japanese manufacturing over the period 1980-2000. The novelty of the study comes from the use of an index newly constructed using data on trade in parts and components to measure inter-industry variations in the degree of international vertical specialization (fragmentation intensity of trade). It also employs a methodology designed to embody peculiarities of Japan's fragmentation trade pattern. While the findings of existing studies are inconclusive, we find that the expansion of fragmentation trade with developing East Asian countries has had a significant impact on the skills composition of Japanese manufacturing employment. By contrast, trade with high income countries seems to have had a skill downgrading effect.

This paper examines the hypothesis that industries engaged in international fragmentation of production experience greater skill upgrading using a panel dataset of Japanese manufacturing over the period 1980-2000. The novelty of the study comes from the use of an index newly constructed using data on trade in parts and components to measure inter-industry variations in the degree of international vertical specialization (fragmentation intensity of trade). It also employs a methodology designed to embody peculiarities of Japan's fragmentation trade pattern. While the findings of existing studies are inconclusive, we find that the expansion of fragmentation trade with developing East Asian countries has had a significant impact on the skills composition of Japanese manufacturing employment. By contrast, trade with high income countries seems to have had a skill downgrading effect.

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japan

Progress toward a Common Currency Basket System in East Asia

Ogawa and Shimizu (2005, 2006a) have proposed a possible way to create an Asian Monetary Unit (AMU) as a weighted average of the thirteen East Asian currencies (ASEAN + China, Japan, and Korea) and developed AMU Deviation Indicators for a surveillance process under the Chiang Mai Initiative. Both the AMU and the AMU Deviation Indicators are important in helping the countries in the region to recognize the necessity of moving toward a common currency basket system. However, there remains an open question about how to implement this system in East Asian countries. The purpose of this paper is to compile the latest issues of currency basket itself and to develop concrete steps toward a common currency basket system in East Asia. Particularly, we simulate possible individual currency basket weights based on trade shares of each East Asian country and convert them to G3 currency (the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen) basket weights. We also investigate the discrepancies between the converted G3 currency basket weight of the AMU and the weights of the common G3 currency basket, which is to illustrate the reality of implementing a common currency basket system. We propose a possible way to shift from an individual G3 currency basket system to the AMU currency basket system. In this process, we expect that the Japanese yen would play a varying role at each stage toward monetary coordination in East Asia.

Ogawa and Shimizu (2005, 2006a) have proposed a possible way to create an Asian Monetary Unit (AMU) as a weighted average of the thirteen East Asian currencies (ASEAN + China, Japan, and Korea) and developed AMU Deviation Indicators for a surveillance process under the Chiang Mai Initiative. Both the AMU and the AMU Deviation Indicators are important in helping the countries in the region to recognize the necessity of moving toward a common currency basket system. However, there remains an open question about how to implement this system in East Asian countries. The purpose of this paper is to compile the latest issues of currency basket itself and to develop concrete steps toward a common currency basket system in East Asia. Particularly, we simulate possible individual currency basket weights based on trade shares of each East Asian country and convert them to G3 currency (the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen) basket weights. We also investigate the discrepancies between the converted G3 currency basket weight of the AMU and the weights of the common G3 currency basket, which is to illustrate the reality of implementing a common currency basket system. We propose a possible way to shift from an individual G3 currency basket system to the AMU currency basket system. In this process, we expect that the Japanese yen would play a varying role at each stage toward monetary coordination in East Asia.

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japan

Determinants of the Profitability of Japanese Manufacturing Affiliates in China and Other Regions

Does localization of procurements, sales, and management contribute to the profitability of overseas affiliates? This study examines this question by analyzing the performance of Japanese multinationals' manufacturing affiliates in China using a comprehensive affiliate-level dataset for the period from 1989 to 2002 collected by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). We find that even though foreign multinationals often seem to enter China for the local market potential, affiliates with a higher local sales ratio tend to be less profitable - a pattern that is conspicuously different from that observed for Japanese affiliates in other regions such as the USA or the ASEAN-4, where local sales orientation has a positive impact on profitability. On the other hand, we find that Japanese affiliates' profitability was positively associated with their local procurement ratio. Using the coefficients of the profit function estimated from data on all Japanese manufacturing affiliates around the world, we can calculate the effect of localization (local sales and local procurements) on profitability by country, controlling for the level of GDP and per-capita GDP. In the case of China, the localization effects are positive following the country's accession to the WTO, suggesting that both local procurement and sales expansion contribute to higher profitability in China.

Does localization of procurements, sales, and management contribute to the profitability of overseas affiliates? This study examines this question by analyzing the performance of Japanese multinationals' manufacturing affiliates in China using a comprehensive affiliate-level dataset for the period from 1989 to 2002 collected by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). We find that even though foreign multinationals often seem to enter China for the local market potential, affiliates with a higher local sales ratio tend to be less profitable - a pattern that is conspicuously different from that observed for Japanese affiliates in other regions such as the USA or the ASEAN-4, where local sales orientation has a positive impact on profitability. On the other hand, we find that Japanese affiliates' profitability was positively associated with their local procurement ratio. Using the coefficients of the profit function estimated from data on all Japanese manufacturing affiliates around the world, we can calculate the effect of localization (local sales and local procurements) on profitability by country, controlling for the level of GDP and per-capita GDP. In the case of China, the localization effects are positive following the country's accession to the WTO, suggesting that both local procurement and sales expansion contribute to higher profitability in China.

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japan

Japanese FDI into Malaysia Stages Strong Comeback

Japanese foreign direct investments (FDIs) into Malaysia staged a strong comeback during the second half of 2006, following the Japanese-Malaysia Economic Partnership Agreement (JMEPA), a Free Trade Agreement which took effect in July. FDIs between July and October jumped to 203 billion yen (RM58.5 billion), five times more than the six months of investments in the previous year. Currently, Japan is Malaysia's third-largest trading partner and export market, with trade totaling RM112.9 billion in 2005.

Japanese foreign direct investments (FDIs) into Malaysia staged a strong comeback during the second half of 2006, following the Japanese-Malaysia Economic Partnership Agreement (JMEPA), a Free Trade Agreement which took effect in July. FDIs between July and October jumped to 203 billion yen (RM58.5 billion), five times more than the six months of investments in the previous year. Currently, Japan is Malaysia's third-largest trading partner and export market, with trade totaling RM112.9 billion in 2005.

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japan

Thailand Seen as Unfavorable Investment to Japanese

In a recent poll of Japanese businessmen, Thailand was viewed as the least favorable of five ASEAN nations (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines) for investment. This negative perception has been attributed to political instability, Baht appreciation, rising prices, inflation and interest rates. According to the survey, Japanese investment in the Thai manufacturing sector is expected to drop 26.5% from last year. Despite this, Thailand remains optomistic that compatible cultures and Thai hospitality will continue to attract Japanese investors.

In a recent poll of Japanese businessmen, Thailand was viewed as the least favorable of five ASEAN nations (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines) for investment. This negative perception has been attributed to political instability, Baht appreciation, rising prices, inflation and interest rates. According to the survey, Japanese investment in the Thai manufacturing sector is expected to drop 26.5% from last year. Despite this, Thailand remains optomistic that compatible cultures and Thai hospitality will continue to attract Japanese investors.

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japan

Japan to Create Online System to Simplify Customs

As part of PM Abe's attempts to reform Japanese customs and quarantine procedures, the Japanese government announced that they plan on introducing a new online portal that all relevant import-export organizations will use to submit documents needing processing, in order to increase the efficiency of Japan's import-export process. This is a major part of Abe's plans at introducing a new Asia Gateway, meant to increase exchange of information and goods between Japan and the rest of Asia. Abe hopes to increase Japan's competitiveness during a time at which Japan sees its Asian neighbors becoming more and more popular among manufacturers.

As part of PM Abe's attempts to reform Japanese customs and quarantine procedures, the Japanese government announced that they plan on introducing a new online portal that all relevant import-export organizations will use to submit documents needing processing, in order to increase the efficiency of Japan's import-export process. This is a major part of Abe's plans at introducing a new Asia Gateway, meant to increase exchange of information and goods between Japan and the rest of Asia. Abe hopes to increase Japan's competitiveness during a time at which Japan sees its Asian neighbors becoming more and more popular among manufacturers.

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The Effect of Financial Repression & Enforcement on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

This paper studies the effect of financial repression and contract enforcement on entrepreneurship and economic development. We construct and solve a general equilibrium model with heterogeneous agents, occupational choice and two Financial frictions: intermediation costs and financial contract enforcement. Occupational choice and firm size are determined endogenously, and depend on agent type (wealth and ability) and the credit market frictions. The model shows that differences across countries in intermediation costs and enforcement generate differences in occupational choice, firm size, credit, output and inequality. Counterfactual experiments are performed for Latin American, European, transition and high growth Asian countries. We use empirical estimates of each country's financial frictions, and United States values for all other parameters. The results allow us to isolate the quantitative effect of these financial frictions in explaining the performance gap between each country and the United States. The results depend critically on whether a general equilibrium factor price effect is operative, which in turn depends on whether financial markets are open or closed. This yields a positive policy prescription: If the goal is to maximize steady-state efficiency, financial reforms should be accompanied by measures to increase financial capital mobility.

This paper studies the effect of financial repression and contract enforcement on entrepreneurship and economic development. We construct and solve a general equilibrium model with heterogeneous agents, occupational choice and two Financial frictions: intermediation costs and financial contract enforcement. Occupational choice and firm size are determined endogenously, and depend on agent type (wealth and ability) and the credit market frictions. The model shows that differences across countries in intermediation costs and enforcement generate differences in occupational choice, firm size, credit, output and inequality. Counterfactual experiments are performed for Latin American, European, transition and high growth Asian countries. We use empirical estimates of each country's financial frictions, and United States values for all other parameters. The results allow us to isolate the quantitative effect of these financial frictions in explaining the performance gap between each country and the United States. The results depend critically on whether a general equilibrium factor price effect is operative, which in turn depends on whether financial markets are open or closed. This yields a positive policy prescription: If the goal is to maximize steady-state efficiency, financial reforms should be accompanied by measures to increase financial capital mobility.

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Tokyo Stock Exchange in Talks with NYSE

The Tokyo Stock Exchange is in the final stages of alliance talks with the New York Stock Exchange. The two sides would like to cooperate in many areas and they are hopeful that an agreement can be reached by the end of the month.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange is in the final stages of alliance talks with the New York Stock Exchange. The two sides would like to cooperate in many areas and they are hopeful that an agreement can be reached by the end of the month.

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An Empirical Study of Asian Stock Volatility Using Stochastic Volatility Factor Model: Factor Analysis and Forecasting

This paper is an empirical study of Asian stock volatility using stochastic volatility factor (SVF) model of Cipollini and Kapetanios (2005). We adopt their approach to carry out factor analysis and to forecast volatility. Our results show some Asian factors exhibit long memory that is in line with existing empirical findings in financial volatility. However, their local-factor SVF model is not powerful enough in forecasting Asian volatility. This has led us to propose an extension to a multi-factor SVF model. We also discuss how to produce forecast using this multi-factor model.

This paper is an empirical study of Asian stock volatility using stochastic volatility factor (SVF) model of Cipollini and Kapetanios (2005). We adopt their approach to carry out factor analysis and to forecast volatility. Our results show some Asian factors exhibit long memory that is in line with existing empirical findings in financial volatility. However, their local-factor SVF model is not powerful enough in forecasting Asian volatility. This has led us to propose an extension to a multi-factor SVF model. We also discuss how to produce forecast using this multi-factor model.

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Real Estate and the Asian Crisis

This paper suggests that activities in the real estate markets in Southeast and East Asian economies were an important contributing force to the financial crises of 1997 in the Asian economies. The analysis relies upon unpublished data reported contemporaneously by financial institutions and market watchers to document the extent of the imbalances in the real property market that were evident to informed observers at the time of the financial collapse. The analysis argues that a series of reforms in the regulation of the property market and the treatment of real property loans by financial institutions are necessary to prevent the recurrence of the kind of speculative bubble that contributed to the financial crises in Asia. Given the recentness of the crisis, the nature of the data and the absence of definitive statistical sources, the results are tentative, but they are certainly consistent with a financial collapse whose proximate cause was unchecked activity in the property market.

This paper suggests that activities in the real estate markets in Southeast and East Asian economies were an important contributing force to the financial crises of 1997 in the Asian economies. The analysis relies upon unpublished data reported contemporaneously by financial institutions and market watchers to document the extent of the imbalances in the real property market that were evident to informed observers at the time of the financial collapse. The analysis argues that a series of reforms in the regulation of the property market and the treatment of real property loans by financial institutions are necessary to prevent the recurrence of the kind of speculative bubble that contributed to the financial crises in Asia. Given the recentness of the crisis, the nature of the data and the absence of definitive statistical sources, the results are tentative, but they are certainly consistent with a financial collapse whose proximate cause was unchecked activity in the property market.

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Monetary and Exchange Rate Stability in South East Asia

Regaining exchange rate stability has been a major monetary policy goal of East Asian countries in the aftermath of the 1997/98 currency crisis. While most countries have abstained from re-establishing a formal US Dollar peg, they have typically managed the US Dollar exchange rate de facto. We show that most of these countries were able to regain their monetary credibility within a relatively short time period. The Argentine crisis in 2001 caused a minor setback in this process for some countries. We measure the credibility of monetary policy by separating the fundamental and excess volatility of the exchange rate on the basis of a chartist fundamentalist model. The degree of excess volatility is interpreted as the ability of the central bank to manage the exchange rate via the coordination channel.

Regaining exchange rate stability has been a major monetary policy goal of East Asian countries in the aftermath of the 1997/98 currency crisis. While most countries have abstained from re-establishing a formal US Dollar peg, they have typically managed the US Dollar exchange rate de facto. We show that most of these countries were able to regain their monetary credibility within a relatively short time period. The Argentine crisis in 2001 caused a minor setback in this process for some countries. We measure the credibility of monetary policy by separating the fundamental and excess volatility of the exchange rate on the basis of a chartist fundamentalist model. The degree of excess volatility is interpreted as the ability of the central bank to manage the exchange rate via the coordination channel.

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Regional Vulnerability: The Case of East Asia

In a case study of six East Asian economies, we use dynamic factor analysis to estimate a regional component of the exchange market pressure index (EMPI) as a measure of regional financial stress. The extent to which this indicator is explained by regional economic and financial factors is interpreted as regional vulnerability to crisis. We find that regional external liabilities and exuberance in domestic stock and credit markets, as well as the US high yield spread, were positively correlated with regional vulnerability. Individual country EMPIs are also explained by regional factors, with country-specific factors and trade linkages playing little role.

In a case study of six East Asian economies, we use dynamic factor analysis to estimate a regional component of the exchange market pressure index (EMPI) as a measure of regional financial stress. The extent to which this indicator is explained by regional economic and financial factors is interpreted as regional vulnerability to crisis. We find that regional external liabilities and exuberance in domestic stock and credit markets, as well as the US high yield spread, were positively correlated with regional vulnerability. Individual country EMPIs are also explained by regional factors, with country-specific factors and trade linkages playing little role.

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Proposed Rules of Origin in Emerging Asia-Pacific Preferential Trade Agreements: Will PTAs Promote Trade and Development?

World trade is increasingly being dominated by preferential trade agreements that have taken precedence over multilateral trade negotiations. Within Asia and the Pacific an explosion of bilateral deals is taking place that seems likely to produce a tangle of hub-spoke trade blocs centered on major Asian or Pacific countries.

World trade is increasingly being dominated by preferential trade agreements that have taken precedence over multilateral trade negotiations. Within Asia and the Pacific an explosion of bilateral deals is taking place that seems likely to produce a tangle of hub-spoke trade blocs centered on major Asian or Pacific countries.

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Taiwanese Chipmaker Partners with Japanese Firm to Build in China

Despite historically constrained relations, Taiwan's leading DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chip maker, has reportedly decided to join hands with Japanese firm Renesas to set up an eight-inch wafer factory in China. This could be an signal that Taiwan's government is willing to ease the few remaining mainland investment restrictions.

Despite historically constrained relations, Taiwan's leading DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chip maker, has reportedly decided to join hands with Japanese firm Renesas to set up an eight-inch wafer factory in China. This could be an signal that Taiwan's government is willing to ease the few remaining mainland investment restrictions.

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Japan's Slows Interest Rate Hikes

In an attempt to maintain stock investors' confidence and raise Japan's weak household consumption, Japan's central bank made a decision to retard the policy of raising interest rates, in contrast to the preliminary policy of continous raising interest rate.

In an attempt to maintain stock investors' confidence and raise Japan's weak household consumption, Japan's central bank made a decision to retard the policy of raising interest rates, in contrast to the preliminary policy of continous raising interest rate.

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Small Firms Continue to Struggle in Japan

According to a private credit research agency the number of corporate failures in the month of December was 896, the most in one month since April of 2005. This marked an 18.2 percent increase in bankruptcies from December 2006, a continuing trend from previous months.

According to a private credit research agency the number of corporate failures in the month of December was 896, the most in one month since April of 2005. This marked an 18.2 percent increase in bankruptcies from December 2006, a continuing trend from previous months.

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After Violations, Vietnam Fisheries to Improve Quatity of Exports to Japan

Recent shipment to Japan from Vietnamese fisheries have violated quality standards. The Vietnamese Minister of Fisheries plans on fixing this problem, beginning Jan. 15, by requesting that fisheries authorities and export businesses critically examine the production processes. Fisheries have begun undergoing inpesctions of their raw materials. A delegation has also been sent to Japan to work on finding a solution.

Recent shipment to Japan from Vietnamese fisheries have violated quality standards. The Vietnamese Minister of Fisheries plans on fixing this problem, beginning Jan. 15, by requesting that fisheries authorities and export businesses critically examine the production processes. Fisheries have begun undergoing inpesctions of their raw materials. A delegation has also been sent to Japan to work on finding a solution.

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Hot Trade and Cold Politics Characterize Sino-Japanese Relations

Trade between China and Japan reached $ 207.36 billion in 2006, up 12.5 percent from a year earlier and topping the $ 200 billion mark for the first time despite the freezing political climate. Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited China shortly after taking office in September, and the two countries agreed to try to overcome their different views on the issue of visiting Yasukuni Shrine which was eracted to commemorate those who died for Japan in wars, including several war criminals during the World War Two.

Trade between China and Japan reached $ 207.36 billion in 2006, up 12.5 percent from a year earlier and topping the $ 200 billion mark for the first time despite the freezing political climate. Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited China shortly after taking office in September, and the two countries agreed to try to overcome their different views on the issue of visiting Yasukuni Shrine which was eracted to commemorate those who died for Japan in wars, including several war criminals during the World War Two.

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Trade Between China and Japan Hit $ 207.36 Billion

Trade between China and Japan reached $ 207.36 billion in 2006, up 12.5 percent from a year earlier and topping the $ 200 billion mark for the first time despite the freezing political climate. But Japan's new prime minister, Shino Abe, visited China shortly after taking office in September, and the two countries agreed to try to overcome their different views on visiting Yasukuni Shrine which was built to commemorate those who died for Japan in wars, including several war criminals during the World War Two.

Trade between China and Japan reached $ 207.36 billion in 2006, up 12.5 percent from a year earlier and topping the $ 200 billion mark for the first time despite the freezing political climate. But Japan's new prime minister, Shino Abe, visited China shortly after taking office in September, and the two countries agreed to try to overcome their different views on visiting Yasukuni Shrine which was built to commemorate those who died for Japan in wars, including several war criminals during the World War Two.

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Asian Stock Markets Fell

Asian stocks and regional currencies declined due to the proposed nationalization of Venezuela's utilities and the fall of oil prices to a 15-month low. Among the Asian stock markets, Jakarta was hard-hit losing 3.96% or 70.51 points to 1710.36. In addition, the country's currency also fell 0.55 percent to a two-week low. Other bursars in the region also did not perform well.

Asian stocks and regional currencies declined due to the proposed nationalization of Venezuela's utilities and the fall of oil prices to a 15-month low. Among the Asian stock markets, Jakarta was hard-hit losing 3.96% or 70.51 points to 1710.36. In addition, the country's currency also fell 0.55 percent to a two-week low. Other bursars in the region also did not perform well.

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Understanding the Latest Wave and Future Shape of Regional Trade and Cooperation Agreements in Asia

Asia accounts for more than 30% of world GDP and contributes half of the global growth in recent years. Despite high growth rates, Asia is still facing considerable socio-economic challenges. If Asia is to reemerge as a major power in the global economy and in order for the region to successfully address its own challenges and issues there is a need to make the region's economies more integrated regionally and internationally. Following the recent global trend, Asia witnessed a wave of subregional and bilateral trade agreements. This paper analyzes the recent trends and patterns and nature of regional trade and cooperation agreements (RTCAs) in Asia and associated problems and prospects. It also attempts to understand the latest wave and the future shape of RTCAs and examines if these RTCAs provide the basis for a new Asia-wide cooperation or for the emergence of new regional trade in blocs of several subregional groupings.

Asia accounts for more than 30% of world GDP and contributes half of the global growth in recent years. Despite high growth rates, Asia is still facing considerable socio-economic challenges. If Asia is to reemerge as a major power in the global economy and in order for the region to successfully address its own challenges and issues there is a need to make the region's economies more integrated regionally and internationally. Following the recent global trend, Asia witnessed a wave of subregional and bilateral trade agreements. This paper analyzes the recent trends and patterns and nature of regional trade and cooperation agreements (RTCAs) in Asia and associated problems and prospects. It also attempts to understand the latest wave and the future shape of RTCAs and examines if these RTCAs provide the basis for a new Asia-wide cooperation or for the emergence of new regional trade in blocs of several subregional groupings.

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Asian Economic Integration: ASEAN+3+1 or ASEAN+1s?

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

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The Evolution of the East Asian Currency Baskets – Still Undisclosed and Changing

Both before and after the Asian crisis, the dollar has been the dominant anchor and reserve currency in East Asia. Due to underdeveloped capital markets and the limited international role of their domestic currencies, the East Asian countries (except Japan) are likely to continue to stabilize exchange rates and to accumulate international reserves. Yet expectations of further dollar depreciation may trigger a re-orientation of exchange rate policies based on basket strategies. Rolling econometric estimations of the basket structures in East Asia suggest growing weights for the Japanese yen in most East Asian currency baskets. The role of the euro as a reserve currency in East Asia remains uncertain.

Both before and after the Asian crisis, the dollar has been the dominant anchor and reserve currency in East Asia. Due to underdeveloped capital markets and the limited international role of their domestic currencies, the East Asian countries (except Japan) are likely to continue to stabilize exchange rates and to accumulate international reserves. Yet expectations of further dollar depreciation may trigger a re-orientation of exchange rate policies based on basket strategies. Rolling econometric estimations of the basket structures in East Asia suggest growing weights for the Japanese yen in most East Asian currency baskets. The role of the euro as a reserve currency in East Asia remains uncertain.

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Asian Equity Markets: Growth,Opportunities, and Challenges

Asian equity markets have grown significantly in size since the early 1990s, driven by strong international investor inflows, growing regional financial integration, capital account liberalization, and structural improvements to markets. The development of equity markets provides a more diversified set of channels for financial intermediation to support growth, thus bolstering medium-term financial stability. At the same time, as highlighted by the May-June 2006 market corrections, the increasing role of stock markets potentially changes the nature of macroeconomic and financial stability risks, as well as the policy requirements for dealing with these risks.

Asian equity markets have grown significantly in size since the early 1990s, driven by strong international investor inflows, growing regional financial integration, capital account liberalization, and structural improvements to markets. The development of equity markets provides a more diversified set of channels for financial intermediation to support growth, thus bolstering medium-term financial stability. At the same time, as highlighted by the May-June 2006 market corrections, the increasing role of stock markets potentially changes the nature of macroeconomic and financial stability risks, as well as the policy requirements for dealing with these risks.

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Is Asia Prepared for an Aging Population?

Many Asian countries (such as China, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines) will experience a significant aging of their populations during the next several decades. This paper explores how these aging Asian countries are addressing and anticipating the challenges of an aging society. It suggests that Asia's preparedness for an aging population is decidedly mixed. While growth policies have been successful, much work is still needed in many countries to establish an adequate and farsighted policy framework in the areas of pensions, health insurance, and labor market policies.

Many Asian countries (such as China, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines) will experience a significant aging of their populations during the next several decades. This paper explores how these aging Asian countries are addressing and anticipating the challenges of an aging society. It suggests that Asia's preparedness for an aging population is decidedly mixed. While growth policies have been successful, much work is still needed in many countries to establish an adequate and farsighted policy framework in the areas of pensions, health insurance, and labor market policies.

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Vietnam's Membership in WTO to Increase Investment Competition

Taiwan currently leads all foreign investments in Vietnam at US$7.9 billion. However, with Vietnam's recent acceptance to the WTO, Taiwan will be facing tough competition from the US, Europe, Japan, and Korea. If three major projects are approved by the Vietnamese government, US investment will double to $8 billion, possibly eclipsing Taiwan's total. Taiwanese investors need to adjust their investment strategies in line with Vietnam's shift from labor intensive industries to IT and hi-tech manufacturing. According to figures from the Taiwans Bureau of Foreign Trade, two-way trade between Vietnam and Taiwan amounted to $4 billion last year, with Taiwans export of $3.4 billion from Taiwan.

Taiwan currently leads all foreign investments in Vietnam at US$7.9 billion. However, with Vietnam's recent acceptance to the WTO, Taiwan will be facing tough competition from the US, Europe, Japan, and Korea. If three major projects are approved by the Vietnamese government, US investment will double to $8 billion, possibly eclipsing Taiwan's total. Taiwanese investors need to adjust their investment strategies in line with Vietnam's shift from labor intensive industries to IT and hi-tech manufacturing. According to figures from the Taiwans Bureau of Foreign Trade, two-way trade between Vietnam and Taiwan amounted to $4 billion last year, with Taiwans export of $3.4 billion from Taiwan.

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IBOR Rates in Asia

Inter Bank Offered Rates (Ibor Rates), Benchmark Rates, and Date Last Changed.

Inter Bank Offered Rates (Ibor Rates), Benchmark Rates, and Date Last Changed.

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Ministry of Finance, Japan's Statistics & Indicators

Trade Statistics, Receipts and Payments of Tresury Funds with the Private Sector, Central Government Debt, Fiscal Loan Load, Balance of Payments, International Investment Position of Japan, International Reserves/Foreign Currency Liquidity, Foreign Exchange intervention Operations, Balance of Offshore Accounts, FDI, International Transactions and Securities, Financial Flow to Developing Countries, Financial Statements of Japanese Corporations, and Business Outlook Survey.

Trade Statistics, Receipts and Payments of Tresury Funds with the Private Sector, Central Government Debt, Fiscal Loan Load, Balance of Payments, International Investment Position of Japan, International Reserves/Foreign Currency Liquidity, Foreign Exchange intervention Operations, Balance of Offshore Accounts, FDI, International Transactions and Securities, Financial Flow to Developing Countries, Financial Statements of Japanese Corporations, and Business Outlook Survey.

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Myanmar Commits Its Gas to Japan and South Korea, Leaving India in the Cold

This may be the biggest set back for Indian growth. The Myanmar-India gas pipeline deal has been placed on the back burner. Myanmar has decided to set up LNG projects with Japan and South Korea instead.

This may be the biggest set back for Indian growth. The Myanmar-India gas pipeline deal has been placed on the back burner. Myanmar has decided to set up LNG projects with Japan and South Korea instead.

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Japan Business Lobby Calls for Consumption Tax Hike, Forecasts Steady Economic Growth

Japan's Big Business Lobby called for higher taxes on comsumption goods while lowering corporate tariffs as ameans to "restore fiscal health". The comsumption hike is seen as a way to deflate Japan's growing national debt. The cut in corporate taxes is seen as a way to increase productivity and competitiveness.

Japan's Big Business Lobby called for higher taxes on comsumption goods while lowering corporate tariffs as ameans to "restore fiscal health". The comsumption hike is seen as a way to deflate Japan's growing national debt. The cut in corporate taxes is seen as a way to increase productivity and competitiveness.

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Japan: Economy Recovering but Weak Consumption

Japan government maintains its evaluation on its overall economy that this world's second-largest economy is recovering in spite of weak consumption, according to the Cabinet Office. The corporate profits in Japan rose at the fastest pace in two years but failed to translate into wage gains and higher consumer spending.

Japan government maintains its evaluation on its overall economy that this world's second-largest economy is recovering in spite of weak consumption, according to the Cabinet Office. The corporate profits in Japan rose at the fastest pace in two years but failed to translate into wage gains and higher consumer spending.

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Financial Versus Monetary Mercantilism-Long-run View of Large International Reserves Hoarding

The sizable hoarding of international reserves by several East Asian countries has been frequently attributed to a modern version of monetary mercantilism -- hoarding international reserves in order to improve competitiveness. Taking a long-run perspective, we point out that manufacturing exporters in East Asia frequently used financial mercantilism -- subsidizing the cost of capital -- during decades of high growth. The switches to sizable hoarding of international reserves happened when growth floundered or deep crises erupted, exacerbating financial fragility as the legacy of past financial mercantilism. As financial fragility may lead to currency crises, the rise of non-performing loans provides impetus for the precautionary hoarding of international reserves, making it harder to disentangle the monetary mercantilism from precautionary response to the heritage of past financial mercantilism. Monetary mercantilism also raises the prospects of competitive hoarding -- exporters of competing manufacturing goods to third markets would adopt a similar hoarding policy, in order to mitigate their deteriorating competitiveness following the adoption of monetary mercantilism by a competitor. Competitive hoarding, owing to the negative externalities associated with it, can dissipate competitiveness gains and result in excess reserves. It may also encourage the formation of institutions like regional funds, in an attempt to curb these adverse externalities.

The sizable hoarding of international reserves by several East Asian countries has been frequently attributed to a modern version of monetary mercantilism -- hoarding international reserves in order to improve competitiveness. Taking a long-run perspective, we point out that manufacturing exporters in East Asia frequently used financial mercantilism -- subsidizing the cost of capital -- during decades of high growth. The switches to sizable hoarding of international reserves happened when growth floundered or deep crises erupted, exacerbating financial fragility as the legacy of past financial mercantilism. As financial fragility may lead to currency crises, the rise of non-performing loans provides impetus for the precautionary hoarding of international reserves, making it harder to disentangle the monetary mercantilism from precautionary response to the heritage of past financial mercantilism. Monetary mercantilism also raises the prospects of competitive hoarding -- exporters of competing manufacturing goods to third markets would adopt a similar hoarding policy, in order to mitigate their deteriorating competitiveness following the adoption of monetary mercantilism by a competitor. Competitive hoarding, owing to the negative externalities associated with it, can dissipate competitiveness gains and result in excess reserves. It may also encourage the formation of institutions like regional funds, in an attempt to curb these adverse externalities.

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Consolidation of Cooperative Banks (Shinkin) in Japan: Motives and Consequences

We investigate the motives and consequences of the consolidation of cooperative banks (Shinkin) in Japan during the period 1984-2002. Our major findings are as follows. First, less profitable and less cost efficient banks are more likely to be an acquirer and a target, though even less profitable and less cost efficient banks are more likely to be a target rather than an acquirer. In addition, a larger bank is more likely to be an acquirer and smaller one a target. These results are consistent with the regulators' motive for stabilizing the local banking system. Second, acquiring banks improved cost efficiency after the consolidation. M&As also raised the loan interest rate and improved profitability and X-efficiency particularly since the latter half of the 1990s. Nonetheless, the improvement of ROA after the merger was not sufficient to fill in the initial gap of the capital ratio between merging banks and peers, resulting in the deterioration of the capital ratio of consolidated banks relative to peers. M&As did not contribute to sufficiently stabilize the local banking system despite the regulators' motive. Third, the consolidation tended to improve the profitability of merging banks when the difference in profitability and healthiness between acquiring banks and target banks were large, which is consistent with the relative efficiency hypothesis (e.g., Akhavein, Berger, and Humphrey, 1997).

We investigate the motives and consequences of the consolidation of cooperative banks (Shinkin) in Japan during the period 1984-2002. Our major findings are as follows. First, less profitable and less cost efficient banks are more likely to be an acquirer and a target, though even less profitable and less cost efficient banks are more likely to be a target rather than an acquirer. In addition, a larger bank is more likely to be an acquirer and smaller one a target. These results are consistent with the regulators' motive for stabilizing the local banking system. Second, acquiring banks improved cost efficiency after the consolidation. M&As also raised the loan interest rate and improved profitability and X-efficiency particularly since the latter half of the 1990s. Nonetheless, the improvement of ROA after the merger was not sufficient to fill in the initial gap of the capital ratio between merging banks and peers, resulting in the deterioration of the capital ratio of consolidated banks relative to peers. M&As did not contribute to sufficiently stabilize the local banking system despite the regulators' motive. Third, the consolidation tended to improve the profitability of merging banks when the difference in profitability and healthiness between acquiring banks and target banks were large, which is consistent with the relative efficiency hypothesis (e.g., Akhavein, Berger, and Humphrey, 1997).

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An Optimal Rate of the National Burden in an Aging Japan

This paper examines an optimal rate of the national burden to establish guidelines for fiscal reform in Japan's graying society. The paper looks at Japanese tax and social security systems through an extended life-cycle general equilibrium simulation model. It explicitly considers the benefits that the government provides to households, which enables us to comprehensively evaluate the balance between benefits and burdens. Simulation results show that an optimal rate of the national burden is high when households put a great utility weight on the benefits coming from public services, and that it is low when the degree of publicness of government expenditure is high. The results also suggest that an optimal rate of the national burden would rise as Japan ages and may exceed 50% during the rapid aging of its population.

This paper examines an optimal rate of the national burden to establish guidelines for fiscal reform in Japan's graying society. The paper looks at Japanese tax and social security systems through an extended life-cycle general equilibrium simulation model. It explicitly considers the benefits that the government provides to households, which enables us to comprehensively evaluate the balance between benefits and burdens. Simulation results show that an optimal rate of the national burden is high when households put a great utility weight on the benefits coming from public services, and that it is low when the degree of publicness of government expenditure is high. The results also suggest that an optimal rate of the national burden would rise as Japan ages and may exceed 50% during the rapid aging of its population.

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Japan’s Alternating Phases of Growth and Outlook for the Future

Japan's economic history since the Meiji Restoration of 1868 is characterised by alternating phases of less conspicuous growth performance in pre-war times, phenomenal growth of the 1955-73 period, and marked deceleration thereafter. The first two phases are the period of industrialisation and the third was that of rapid de-industrialisation and a rise of the service economy. This paper reviews issues and evidence concerning her growth performance in the century-long period of industrialisation, and places the recent decades of slowdown and the prospect for the future in the long-term historical context. The issues to be examined may be grouped under the following five headings: the Gerschenkronian effects (which include not only the transplanting of the factory and other western systems in early stages but also technology transfer through FDI and licensing in later periods), changing international environments (in both commodity and capital markets, which in turn were influenced by changing global power balances), the role of industrial and economic policies, investment in infrastructure and human capital, and the distinct mode of skill formation. The paper identifies a set of factors that contributed to enhancing productivity of the manufacturing sector in the industrialisation period (placing greater emphasis on saving ratios, human capital investment and a distinct mode of skill formation within the firm, than on government policies), and then asks if a new regime of productivity growth has emerged in the rapidly expanding service economy.

Japan's economic history since the Meiji Restoration of 1868 is characterised by alternating phases of less conspicuous growth performance in pre-war times, phenomenal growth of the 1955-73 period, and marked deceleration thereafter. The first two phases are the period of industrialisation and the third was that of rapid de-industrialisation and a rise of the service economy. This paper reviews issues and evidence concerning her growth performance in the century-long period of industrialisation, and places the recent decades of slowdown and the prospect for the future in the long-term historical context. The issues to be examined may be grouped under the following five headings: the Gerschenkronian effects (which include not only the transplanting of the factory and other western systems in early stages but also technology transfer through FDI and licensing in later periods), changing international environments (in both commodity and capital markets, which in turn were influenced by changing global power balances), the role of industrial and economic policies, investment in infrastructure and human capital, and the distinct mode of skill formation. The paper identifies a set of factors that contributed to enhancing productivity of the manufacturing sector in the industrialisation period (placing greater emphasis on saving ratios, human capital investment and a distinct mode of skill formation within the firm, than on government policies), and then asks if a new regime of productivity growth has emerged in the rapidly expanding service economy.

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japan

Foreign Bank Lending and Bond Underwriting in Japan During the Lost Decade

We examine foreign intermediation activity in Japan during the so-called "lost decade" of the 1990s, contrasting the behavior of lending by foreign commercial banks and underwriting activity by foreign investment banks over that period. Foreign bank lending is shown to be sensitive to domestic Japanese conditions, particularly Japanese interest rates, more so than their domestic Japanese bank counterparts. During the 1990s, foreign bank lending in Japan fell, both in overall numbers and as a share of total lending. However, there was marked growth in foreign underwriting activity in the international yen-denominated bond sector. A key factor in the disparity between these activities is their different clienteles: While foreign banks in Japan lent primarily to domestic borrowers, international yen-denominated bond issuers were primarily foreign entities with yen funding needs or opportunities for profitable swaps. Indeed, low interest rates that discouraged lending activity in Japan by foreign banks directly encouraged foreign underwriting activity tied to the so-called "carry trades." Regulatory reforms, particularly the "Big Bang" reforms of the 1990s, also play a large role in the growth of foreign underwriting activity over our sample period.

We examine foreign intermediation activity in Japan during the so-called "lost decade" of the 1990s, contrasting the behavior of lending by foreign commercial banks and underwriting activity by foreign investment banks over that period. Foreign bank lending is shown to be sensitive to domestic Japanese conditions, particularly Japanese interest rates, more so than their domestic Japanese bank counterparts. During the 1990s, foreign bank lending in Japan fell, both in overall numbers and as a share of total lending. However, there was marked growth in foreign underwriting activity in the international yen-denominated bond sector. A key factor in the disparity between these activities is their different clienteles: While foreign banks in Japan lent primarily to domestic borrowers, international yen-denominated bond issuers were primarily foreign entities with yen funding needs or opportunities for profitable swaps. Indeed, low interest rates that discouraged lending activity in Japan by foreign banks directly encouraged foreign underwriting activity tied to the so-called "carry trades." Regulatory reforms, particularly the "Big Bang" reforms of the 1990s, also play a large role in the growth of foreign underwriting activity over our sample period.

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japan

Economic Integration in Asia: Bilateral Free Trade Agreements Versus Asian Single Market

Institutional regionalisation has come late to East Asia compared to Europe, but its pace has accelerated since the mid-1990s. Many agreements, including bilateral ones such as those signed between Singapore and Japan, and plurilateral ones such as those between ASEAN countries (e.g. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA below)), cover an ever-increasing portion of the East Asian region, including China. We first analyse regional economic integration in East Asia, questioning the notion of open regionalism. In a second part we explore the possible consequences of different kind of agreements. We rely on the CEPII's CGE model (MIRAGE), adapted to the specificity of Asia's economic integration. As regards the geometry of the agreement(s), two sets of scenarios are considered, following a Hub-and-Spoke versus a Full-FTA assumption, with or without sensitive products inclusion.
Among the main results, we find that Asian countries do have diverging interests. While ASEAN maximises its benefit in the bilateral scenario including agricultural liberalisation (SC1); Japan and Korea are the best in the Asia global agreement scenario, including sensitive products for Japan (SC2) but excluding these products for Korea (SC 4). For EU- 25, it appears that increased competition within Asia has a negative impact on its goods exports but positive impact on its service exportations. The main losers are the close countries and primary goods producers such as Taiwan, South Asia (excluding India), North of Africa, South America.

Institutional regionalisation has come late to East Asia compared to Europe, but its pace has accelerated since the mid-1990s. Many agreements, including bilateral ones such as those signed between Singapore and Japan, and plurilateral ones such as those between ASEAN countries (e.g. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA below)), cover an ever-increasing portion of the East Asian region, including China. We first analyse regional economic integration in East Asia, questioning the notion of open regionalism. In a second part we explore the possible consequences of different kind of agreements. We rely on the CEPII's CGE model (MIRAGE), adapted to the specificity of Asia's economic integration. As regards the geometry of the agreement(s), two sets of scenarios are considered, following a Hub-and-Spoke versus a Full-FTA assumption, with or without sensitive products inclusion.
Among the main results, we find that Asian countries do have diverging interests. While ASEAN maximises its benefit in the bilateral scenario including agricultural liberalisation (SC1); Japan and Korea are the best in the Asia global agreement scenario, including sensitive products for Japan (SC2) but excluding these products for Korea (SC 4). For EU- 25, it appears that increased competition within Asia has a negative impact on its goods exports but positive impact on its service exportations. The main losers are the close countries and primary goods producers such as Taiwan, South Asia (excluding India), North of Africa, South America.

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japan

China and Japan Strengthen Economic Co-operation

China and Japan agreed to promote the slowing bilateral economic cooperation. The programs initiated by the government of two countries include energy-saving, environmental protection, small and medium-sized businesses and multilateral affairs, according to the briefing of China's Ministry of Commerce during the fifth negotiation of the Sino-Japanese economic partnership yesterday in Beijing.

China and Japan agreed to promote the slowing bilateral economic cooperation. The programs initiated by the government of two countries include energy-saving, environmental protection, small and medium-sized businesses and multilateral affairs, according to the briefing of China's Ministry of Commerce during the fifth negotiation of the Sino-Japanese economic partnership yesterday in Beijing.

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japan

Japan, Brunei Reached Basic Agreement on Free Trade Pact

Japan and Brunei reached a basic pact on their free trade agreement that would curtail tariffs and expand collaboration in the energy sector, according to a Japanese official. The agreement includes eliminating tariffs on seafood, agriculture, forestry products, steel, and industrial goods.

Japan and Brunei reached a basic pact on their free trade agreement that would curtail tariffs and expand collaboration in the energy sector, according to a Japanese official. The agreement includes eliminating tariffs on seafood, agriculture, forestry products, steel, and industrial goods.

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Joint Study for Enhancing Economic Relations between Japan and Australia, including the Feasibility or Pros and Cons of a FTA

The study was overseen by the Joint Consultative Committee, co-chaired by Dr Geoff Raby, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Mr Mitoji Yabunaka, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The study was overseen by the Joint Consultative Committee, co-chaired by Dr Geoff Raby, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Mr Mitoji Yabunaka, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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japan

Japan Lowered GDP Growth This Year

The government of Japan downgraded its economic growth this year due to slow consumer spending on Tuesday. However, the government predicted that next year, the country will grow 2 percent. The Japanese cabinet office said that the country's GDP is expected to expand only by 1.9 percent this fiscal year, down from an earlier speculation of 2.1 percent.

The government of Japan downgraded its economic growth this year due to slow consumer spending on Tuesday. However, the government predicted that next year, the country will grow 2 percent. The Japanese cabinet office said that the country's GDP is expected to expand only by 1.9 percent this fiscal year, down from an earlier speculation of 2.1 percent.

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japan

Australia and Japan's Economic Partnership Agreement Will Hurt Local Economy

Farmers in Hakkaido fear a loss of 4.2 % in GDP if Japan removes tariffs on Australian products. The EPA between Australia and Japan would increase agricultural imports from Australia.

Farmers in Hakkaido fear a loss of 4.2 % in GDP if Japan removes tariffs on Australian products. The EPA between Australia and Japan would increase agricultural imports from Australia.

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japan

The Japan-Singapore “New Age” Economic Partnership Agreement: Background, Motivation And Implications

Free Trade Pacts have become an integral part of Singapore's new commercial trade strategy which in turn is the cornerstone of the citystate's larger international economic policy. Such trade pacts appear to be increasingly regarded by policymakers as effective and expeditious instruments for achieving trade liberalization among "like minded" trading partners. Of particular relevance is the Japan-Singapore pact which has recently been agreed to and is in the process of being implemented. The
trade pact has been termed the Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement (JSEPA). This paper discusses the extent of the two countries' bilateral economic linkages in terms of merchandise trade and trade in services and investments and examines available details of the JSEPA.

Free Trade Pacts have become an integral part of Singapore's new commercial trade strategy which in turn is the cornerstone of the citystate's larger international economic policy. Such trade pacts appear to be increasingly regarded by policymakers as effective and expeditious instruments for achieving trade liberalization among "like minded" trading partners. Of particular relevance is the Japan-Singapore pact which has recently been agreed to and is in the process of being implemented. The
trade pact has been termed the Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement (JSEPA). This paper discusses the extent of the two countries' bilateral economic linkages in terms of merchandise trade and trade in services and investments and examines available details of the JSEPA.

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japan

Global Imbalances and Emerging Markets

There has been a massive increase in foreign currency reserves held by a group of ten East Asian economies since the 1997-98 crises. At the end of March 2006, the reserves of this group stood at $2.6 trillion, accounting for 57 percent of total global reserves.

There has been a massive increase in foreign currency reserves held by a group of ten East Asian economies since the 1997-98 crises. At the end of March 2006, the reserves of this group stood at $2.6 trillion, accounting for 57 percent of total global reserves.

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japan

Monetary Cooperation in East Asia: How Far Can East Asian Countries Go?

The paper intends to discuss monetary cooperation in East Asia by answering the following three questions: (1) Do the member countries of the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) have potentials to form an Optimal Currency Area (OCA)? (2) What are the obstacles for establishing an institutionalized monetary regime from practical point of view? (3) What is the timeline for forming a monetary union in the region?

The paper intends to discuss monetary cooperation in East Asia by answering the following three questions: (1) Do the member countries of the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI) have potentials to form an Optimal Currency Area (OCA)? (2) What are the obstacles for establishing an institutionalized monetary regime from practical point of view? (3) What is the timeline for forming a monetary union in the region?

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japan

India Pushes for Stable Oil Prices

Major energy consuming countries meet in Beijing to encourage oil producing countires to increase investment in supply capacities. India hopes the international community will communicate the need for resource transparency. The other countries include the US, China, Japan, and South Korea.

Major energy consuming countries meet in Beijing to encourage oil producing countires to increase investment in supply capacities. India hopes the international community will communicate the need for resource transparency. The other countries include the US, China, Japan, and South Korea.

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japan

Asian Economic Integration: ASEAN +3+1 or ASEAN +1s?

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

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japan

India Requires More than $500 Billion in Investment in the next 10 Years

PM Singh invited continued investment from Japan as a means to strengthen the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between these two nations. Investment in infrastructure is the biggest challenge and opportunity in India. Both countries are pushing for increased trade in services.

PM Singh invited continued investment from Japan as a means to strengthen the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between these two nations. Investment in infrastructure is the biggest challenge and opportunity in India. Both countries are pushing for increased trade in services.

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japan

Japan Recovery Will Boost RP Economy and Exports---UN

According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) report, Japan's economic recovery will further improve the Philippines' economy and exports of goods and services. The report also showed that the Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) would be up by 0.17 percent, if the Japanese consumption were to increase at the annual rate of 4.4 percent. Furthermore, UN's study said that Japan's revival of its economy will help, not only the Philippines but the rest of Asia-Pacific region to offset the effects of US economic slowdown.

According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) report, Japan's economic recovery will further improve the Philippines' economy and exports of goods and services. The report also showed that the Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) would be up by 0.17 percent, if the Japanese consumption were to increase at the annual rate of 4.4 percent. Furthermore, UN's study said that Japan's revival of its economy will help, not only the Philippines but the rest of Asia-Pacific region to offset the effects of US economic slowdown.

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japan

Japan to Extend Tax Breaks

Japan's ruling parties are poised to extend the tax breaks on capital gains and dividends into fiscal year 2008 after concluding that ending the measures could disrupt the stock market. Individual investors now enjoy a reduced tax rate of 10 percent on capital gains and dividends, compared with the usual 20 percent.

Japan's ruling parties are poised to extend the tax breaks on capital gains and dividends into fiscal year 2008 after concluding that ending the measures could disrupt the stock market. Individual investors now enjoy a reduced tax rate of 10 percent on capital gains and dividends, compared with the usual 20 percent.

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Celebrating Brunei-Japan Ties

Brunei and Japan have long established diplomatic ties. After 22 years, Japan is the largest export market for Brunei. Japan and Brunei will enter an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Brunei and Japan have long established diplomatic ties. After 22 years, Japan is the largest export market for Brunei. Japan and Brunei will enter an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

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japan

Japan Guesstimates Economic Data

Japan has lowered its expected GDP growth estimate to 0.8 per cent. Yet, one chief economist believes the data is incomplete. Japan's economy may actually be growing at 2 per cent.

Japan has lowered its expected GDP growth estimate to 0.8 per cent. Yet, one chief economist believes the data is incomplete. Japan's economy may actually be growing at 2 per cent.

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japan

Manila Postpones ASEAN Summit to January

An official announcement released by Ambassador Marciano Paynor, head of the Philippine organizing committee, said that the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, scheduled next week in Cebu, has been postponed to January due to a strong storm heading the island. The ambassador also denied reports that the postponement was made due to possible terrorist attacks at the site of the summit.

An official announcement released by Ambassador Marciano Paynor, head of the Philippine organizing committee, said that the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, scheduled next week in Cebu, has been postponed to January due to a strong storm heading the island. The ambassador also denied reports that the postponement was made due to possible terrorist attacks at the site of the summit.

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japan

Japanese Economy Grew Less Than Previously Thought in 3rd Quarter

Japan's economic growth fell for the third quarter. The weakening of the economy was attributed to the country's downward revisions in consumer spending and capital investment, the Japanese government said. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 0.8 percent, way below the projected 2.0 percent announced last month. Domestic demand had contracted 2.0 percent from the previous quarter instead of inching up 0.1 percent. In addition, corporate capital investment was weaker than initially estimated, while consumption fell more than the first reading.

Japan's economic growth fell for the third quarter. The weakening of the economy was attributed to the country's downward revisions in consumer spending and capital investment, the Japanese government said. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 0.8 percent, way below the projected 2.0 percent announced last month. Domestic demand had contracted 2.0 percent from the previous quarter instead of inching up 0.1 percent. In addition, corporate capital investment was weaker than initially estimated, while consumption fell more than the first reading.

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ADB: Economic Growth in East Asia to Remain Strong in 2007

Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted that East Asia's economic growth will continue to be strong next year after the expected robust performance of East Asian economies this year. However, the bank warned that the danger of financial market turbulence which could affect Asia is also increasing. Also, ADB suggested that there could be a slight decrease on the demand for East Asia's exports, due to an expected slowdown in growth in the US and euro area. Coupled with strong domestic consumption, this should maintain economic expansion across the East Asian region, the lender bank argued.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted that East Asia's economic growth will continue to be strong next year after the expected robust performance of East Asian economies this year. However, the bank warned that the danger of financial market turbulence which could affect Asia is also increasing. Also, ADB suggested that there could be a slight decrease on the demand for East Asia's exports, due to an expected slowdown in growth in the US and euro area. Coupled with strong domestic consumption, this should maintain economic expansion across the East Asian region, the lender bank argued.

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japan

Indian PM Unhappy with Level of Japan Trade

Indian Prime Minister Singh showed his country's dissatisfaction with the current status of trade and investment relations between India and Japan. He stated in his statement that the two countries' trade and investment were disproportionately small given the size of the Japanese economy and India's potential for growth. He also stated that the volume of trade and investment between the two countries compares poorly with the trade between Japan and China. Furthermore, Singh mentioned that Japan in its trade policy had been more interested with other Asian countries than with India.

Indian Prime Minister Singh showed his country's dissatisfaction with the current status of trade and investment relations between India and Japan. He stated in his statement that the two countries' trade and investment were disproportionately small given the size of the Japanese economy and India's potential for growth. He also stated that the volume of trade and investment between the two countries compares poorly with the trade between Japan and China. Furthermore, Singh mentioned that Japan in its trade policy had been more interested with other Asian countries than with India.

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japan

Japan to Raise FTA delay with the Philippines

Japanese Prime Minister Abe is expected to raise his concern over the delay in the ratification of the free trade agreement signed between Japan and the Philippines when he meets with Philippine President Arroyo. The Philippine government is ready to respond to the issue concerning the trade pact. Japan has reportedly expressed impatience over the delay in the ratification of the agreement. Also officials are said to be unhappy with the status of the Jpepa. Japanese officials have every reason to be agitated because if the free trade pact will not be ratified by the Philippine Senate, it cannot be enforced.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe is expected to raise his concern over the delay in the ratification of the free trade agreement signed between Japan and the Philippines when he meets with Philippine President Arroyo. The Philippine government is ready to respond to the issue concerning the trade pact. Japan has reportedly expressed impatience over the delay in the ratification of the agreement. Also officials are said to be unhappy with the status of the Jpepa. Japanese officials have every reason to be agitated because if the free trade pact will not be ratified by the Philippine Senate, it cannot be enforced.

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japan

Japan Set to Begin FTA Talks with Australia

Japanese Ministers gave the go signal to enter full-fledged talks with Australia regarding the free trade agreement. This will be the country's first FTA talks with a major exporter of farm products, a sensitive area Japan has avoided in other free trade pacts with other nations. The approval to enter talks with Australia will include cutting tariffs and other trade barriers. The final agreement to launch FTA talks is expected when the Japanese Prime Minister Abe meets with his Australian counterpart, Prime Minister Howard at the East Asia summit in the Philippines.

Japanese Ministers gave the go signal to enter full-fledged talks with Australia regarding the free trade agreement. This will be the country's first FTA talks with a major exporter of farm products, a sensitive area Japan has avoided in other free trade pacts with other nations. The approval to enter talks with Australia will include cutting tariffs and other trade barriers. The final agreement to launch FTA talks is expected when the Japanese Prime Minister Abe meets with his Australian counterpart, Prime Minister Howard at the East Asia summit in the Philippines.

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japan

Japan's FM: Tax System is Key to Competitiveness

Finance Minister Omi stated on his speech at the Yomiuri International Economic Society, that in this age, companies choose countries as their base for business. If Japan doesn't measure up with the tax system of other nations, it won't be chosen as a base for business. So, he stated that reviewing current system for asset-depreciation and pouring more money into tackling the declining birthrate are the keys to maintaining Japan's international competitiveness.

Finance Minister Omi stated on his speech at the Yomiuri International Economic Society, that in this age, companies choose countries as their base for business. If Japan doesn't measure up with the tax system of other nations, it won't be chosen as a base for business. So, he stated that reviewing current system for asset-depreciation and pouring more money into tackling the declining birthrate are the keys to maintaining Japan's international competitiveness.

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japan

Japan's Consumer Prices Rise while Jobless Rate Drops

Japan's economy got good news Friday as the government stated that consumer price rose for the fifth straight month and jobless rate declined in October. Japan has been struggling to come out from years of deflation. Hence, signs of recovering prices signal that the country's economy is gaining strength.

Japan's economy got good news Friday as the government stated that consumer price rose for the fifth straight month and jobless rate declined in October. Japan has been struggling to come out from years of deflation. Hence, signs of recovering prices signal that the country's economy is gaining strength.

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japan

US and Asian Economies Differ Over Free Trade Bloc Process

The United States and Asian economies are at odds on how to implement a plan to set up a Asia-Pacific free trade area. The Asian economies want to start a free trade area among themselves before considering a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific. However, the US government wants to implement these plans simulataneously. Washington is pushing a prompt implementation of the Asia-Pacific plan because it would jolt non-Apec members, such as Brazil and India, to restart talks for a new global trace pact.

The United States and Asian economies are at odds on how to implement a plan to set up a Asia-Pacific free trade area. The Asian economies want to start a free trade area among themselves before considering a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific. However, the US government wants to implement these plans simulataneously. Washington is pushing a prompt implementation of the Asia-Pacific plan because it would jolt non-Apec members, such as Brazil and India, to restart talks for a new global trace pact.

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Former Japanese Trade Ministry Bureaucrat Pleads Innocent to Insider Trading Charges

Yoshiaki Murakami, former investment fund manager and trade ministry bureaucrat pleaded not guilty to insider trading charges relating to a 3.04 billion Yen profit he acquired over a takeover for Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. He also stated that his earlier admission of guilt was simply his way of protecting his company and investors. He explained that he admitted to the allegations and have himself arrested to end the investigation on the case. To spare other executives, he "confessed" to the allegations so the management of the fund would not be thrown into chaos.

Yoshiaki Murakami, former investment fund manager and trade ministry bureaucrat pleaded not guilty to insider trading charges relating to a 3.04 billion Yen profit he acquired over a takeover for Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. He also stated that his earlier admission of guilt was simply his way of protecting his company and investors. He explained that he admitted to the allegations and have himself arrested to end the investigation on the case. To spare other executives, he "confessed" to the allegations so the management of the fund would not be thrown into chaos.

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japan

Japan's Nuclear Plant's Shrinking Property Taxes Decrease Revenues

In many of Japan's localities nuclear power plant's property taxes account for nearly 80% of tax revenue for the local government, but a decline in the value of existing plants may dent the pockets of these local governments. Taxes on nuclear power plants continue to decrease according to reassessments of their taxable value. These decreases are apart of the "depreciation rules", which were meant to enhance competitiveness in global markets.

In many of Japan's localities nuclear power plant's property taxes account for nearly 80% of tax revenue for the local government, but a decline in the value of existing plants may dent the pockets of these local governments. Taxes on nuclear power plants continue to decrease according to reassessments of their taxable value. These decreases are apart of the "depreciation rules", which were meant to enhance competitiveness in global markets.

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japan

Japan and Indonesia Okay Bilateral FTA

Japan and Indonesia agreed to terms of a free trade pact that would lessen Indonesian tariffs on Japanese cars and auto parts and permit Indonesian nurses and care workers to work in Japan. Furthermore, the trade agreement will also remove Tokyo's tarriffs on almost all Indonesian industrial and forestry products, and reduce Jakarta's duties for some Japanese steel exports and all electronic products. The leaders of both countries have yet to formalize the trade agreement and haven't given the expected date to formalize the trade pact.

Japan and Indonesia agreed to terms of a free trade pact that would lessen Indonesian tariffs on Japanese cars and auto parts and permit Indonesian nurses and care workers to work in Japan. Furthermore, the trade agreement will also remove Tokyo's tarriffs on almost all Indonesian industrial and forestry products, and reduce Jakarta's duties for some Japanese steel exports and all electronic products. The leaders of both countries have yet to formalize the trade agreement and haven't given the expected date to formalize the trade pact.

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Japan to Pour Millions into Indonesia's South Sulawesi Development

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is preparing numerous development projects valued at US$15 million in the province of South Sulawesi. The project will start next year with human resource and infrastructure development as the main focus. The province of South Sulawesi was chosen as the first recipient of JICA's development efforts since it was considered the hub and driving force of the development in the eastern Indonesia.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is preparing numerous development projects valued at US$15 million in the province of South Sulawesi. The project will start next year with human resource and infrastructure development as the main focus. The province of South Sulawesi was chosen as the first recipient of JICA's development efforts since it was considered the hub and driving force of the development in the eastern Indonesia.

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japan

The Philippines 'Committed' to Push Ahead with Trade Agreement with Japan

Despite environmental concerns, the Philippines is committed to pushing ahead with a trade pact with Japan. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has endorsed the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) for ratification in the Senate. The trade pact between the two countries is seen as "mutually rewarding" and could provide opportunities for Filipino nurses and health workers seeking high-paying jobs in Japan. However, environmentalists led by Greenpeace argues that the deal includes provision for the shipment of wastes which will be allowed to move across the two counties untaxed. With this, the trade agreement between the two countries remains very controversial.

Despite environmental concerns, the Philippines is committed to pushing ahead with a trade pact with Japan. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has endorsed the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) for ratification in the Senate. The trade pact between the two countries is seen as "mutually rewarding" and could provide opportunities for Filipino nurses and health workers seeking high-paying jobs in Japan. However, environmentalists led by Greenpeace argues that the deal includes provision for the shipment of wastes which will be allowed to move across the two counties untaxed. With this, the trade agreement between the two countries remains very controversial.

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japan

Japan's October Trade Surplus Fell 24.8 Percent

Japan's trade surplus in October was down 24.8 percent from the previous year to 614.7 billion yen. The decline was larger than the 5.4 percent slip to 773.9 billion yen estimated by economists surveyed by Dow Jones and Nikkei News and breaks the two previous months of growth.

Japan's trade surplus in October was down 24.8 percent from the previous year to 614.7 billion yen. The decline was larger than the 5.4 percent slip to 773.9 billion yen estimated by economists surveyed by Dow Jones and Nikkei News and breaks the two previous months of growth.

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japan

Japan's Two Biggest Bank's Report Mixed Results, But Make Progress on Bad Loans

Mitsubishi UFJ Finacial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. both report positive earnings largely due to the trimming of non-performing loans from their books and more profitable lending.

Mitsubishi UFJ Finacial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. both report positive earnings largely due to the trimming of non-performing loans from their books and more profitable lending.

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Central Bankers Upbeat Over Global Growth Next Year

The world's top central bankers discussed the future of global growth. There seems to be a consensus that the global economy was strong and sustainable, but in order to mitigate risks banks would have to fix their attention on inflation. Some hint to continued raises in interest rates to offset "overly optimistic investment".

The world's top central bankers discussed the future of global growth. There seems to be a consensus that the global economy was strong and sustainable, but in order to mitigate risks banks would have to fix their attention on inflation. Some hint to continued raises in interest rates to offset "overly optimistic investment".

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japan

Japanese Stocks Dropped; Yen Tumbled

Japanese stocks dropped friday, while the dollar gained strength against the yen. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 72.14 points, or 0.45 percent to close at 16,091.73 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Trading house Mitsui & Co. fell 3.80 percent to 1,520 yen and oil company Inpex Holdings Inc. dropped by 3.51 percent to 934,000 yen. Construction and brokerage stocks also fell friday.

Japanese stocks dropped friday, while the dollar gained strength against the yen. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 72.14 points, or 0.45 percent to close at 16,091.73 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Trading house Mitsui & Co. fell 3.80 percent to 1,520 yen and oil company Inpex Holdings Inc. dropped by 3.51 percent to 934,000 yen. Construction and brokerage stocks also fell friday.

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japan

Japan's Corporate Bankruptcies up by 7.8 Percent in October

Corporate bankruptcies increased by 7.8 percent from a year ago. However, debts left behind by insolvent companies was down by 14.3 percent. October's rise in bankruptcy cases is the largest this year, which totaled 889 cases exceeding 848 cases reported in March. The rise in last month's bankruptcy cases was attributed to failures of small and medium-sized firms, as well as very small companies and local businesses.

Corporate bankruptcies increased by 7.8 percent from a year ago. However, debts left behind by insolvent companies was down by 14.3 percent. October's rise in bankruptcy cases is the largest this year, which totaled 889 cases exceeding 848 cases reported in March. The rise in last month's bankruptcy cases was attributed to failures of small and medium-sized firms, as well as very small companies and local businesses.

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japan

Thailand to Decide on FTA with Japan After Public Review

Commerce Minister Krikkrai Jirapaet said that Thailand's new government will begin public hearing on proposed free trade agreement with Japan. The country is expected to decide early next year whether to go ahead with the agreement.

The proposed free trade agreement was originally due to be signed early this year but was put off because of Thailand's political turmoil. The new government decided to review the proposed pact with Japan since farmers and other parties complained that the free trade pact did not take into account their concerns and had not been approved by a legislative body.

Commerce Minister Krikkrai Jirapaet said that Thailand's new government will begin public hearing on proposed free trade agreement with Japan. The country is expected to decide early next year whether to go ahead with the agreement.

The proposed free trade agreement was originally due to be signed early this year but was put off because of Thailand's political turmoil. The new government decided to review the proposed pact with Japan since farmers and other parties complained that the free trade pact did not take into account their concerns and had not been approved by a legislative body.

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japan

APEC Shelves Free Trade Zone Plans

The Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation forum has shelved plans to create a "vast free trade area" that would aggregate the numerous bi-lateral and regional tarde agreements in the region. The ambitious proposal lost mometum to various side deals at the forum. APEC has shifted its focus to resurrecting talks on the Doha round of the WTO.

The Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation forum has shelved plans to create a "vast free trade area" that would aggregate the numerous bi-lateral and regional tarde agreements in the region. The ambitious proposal lost mometum to various side deals at the forum. APEC has shifted its focus to resurrecting talks on the Doha round of the WTO.

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japan

Japan's Economy Grows 2 Percent for the Third Quarter

Japan's economy grew by 2 percent in the July-September quarter which was attributed to the robust corporate investment in factories and equipment. The country's GDP grew for the seventh straight quarter, which expanded by 0.5 percent, as compared to economists' forecast of 0.3 percent.Furthermore, the government said that the economy has expanded for 57 months now, which matches a similar period of growth in the 1960s.

Japan's economy grew by 2 percent in the July-September quarter which was attributed to the robust corporate investment in factories and equipment. The country's GDP grew for the seventh straight quarter, which expanded by 0.5 percent, as compared to economists' forecast of 0.3 percent.Furthermore, the government said that the economy has expanded for 57 months now, which matches a similar period of growth in the 1960s.

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US Envoy to Japan: Agriculture must be Included in any Bilateral FTA between Japan and the US

The US ambassador to Japan said that agriculture must be included in its bilateral free trade agreement. He further stated that Washington is not ready to have talks with the country if it continues to treat agriculture sector in a "different way". Furthermore, US lawmakers and businessmen have denounced Japan for having biased and arbitrary government policies that threaten free trade between the two nations. However, Japan also accused the US of employing trade remedies that are not consistent with commitments made under the WTO and bilateral trade agreements.

The US ambassador to Japan said that agriculture must be included in its bilateral free trade agreement. He further stated that Washington is not ready to have talks with the country if it continues to treat agriculture sector in a "different way". Furthermore, US lawmakers and businessmen have denounced Japan for having biased and arbitrary government policies that threaten free trade between the two nations. However, Japan also accused the US of employing trade remedies that are not consistent with commitments made under the WTO and bilateral trade agreements.

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Japanese Stocks Fall to 6-Week Low on Weaker-Than-Expected Machinery Orders

Stocks fell in Japan. A decline in bank issues prompted traders to sell shares. Corporate machinery orders were low. This also prompted the lull in trading because these orders are viewed as a leading indicator of corporate capital investment.

Stocks fell in Japan. A decline in bank issues prompted traders to sell shares. Corporate machinery orders were low. This also prompted the lull in trading because these orders are viewed as a leading indicator of corporate capital investment.

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japan

Japan to enter FTA with Australia

Japan and Australia are very close to approving a free trade agreement that some say could be worth $40 billion. Australia's Prime Minister John Howard and Japan's Prime Minster Shinzo Abe will meet later next week to possibly seal the deal. FTA talks between the two countries have been going on for nearly two years and were thought to have been spurred by Japan's worry over China's growing economic power.

Japan and Australia are very close to approving a free trade agreement that some say could be worth $40 billion. Australia's Prime Minister John Howard and Japan's Prime Minster Shinzo Abe will meet later next week to possibly seal the deal. FTA talks between the two countries have been going on for nearly two years and were thought to have been spurred by Japan's worry over China's growing economic power.

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japan

Regional Banks Plan 400 Billion Yen Bid for Ashikaga Bank

Eight regional lending banks have joined forces in an attempt to accquire state controlled Ashikaga Bank. The consortium of banks seems to be the leading contenders. The bids will close at the end of this year.

Eight regional lending banks have joined forces in an attempt to accquire state controlled Ashikaga Bank. The consortium of banks seems to be the leading contenders. The bids will close at the end of this year.

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japan

Asian Market: Potential Risks Ahead

Although Asian stock markets have performed very well this past year, analysts foresee a risk ahead. The next 12 months are said to prove extremely volatile for equity markets in Asia, as regional instability increases.

Although Asian stock markets have performed very well this past year, analysts foresee a risk ahead. The next 12 months are said to prove extremely volatile for equity markets in Asia, as regional instability increases.

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japan

PPR Opens Store in Tokyo

The owner of the world's third- largest luxury-goods business is scheduled to open a 35,338-square-foot flagship store in the fashionable Ginza district on Friday. This will be the first building devoted entirely to Gucci goods in Tokyo.

The owner of the world's third- largest luxury-goods business is scheduled to open a 35,338-square-foot flagship store in the fashionable Ginza district on Friday. This will be the first building devoted entirely to Gucci goods in Tokyo.

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japan

Asian Markets End Broadly Higher

Most Asian markets ended slightly higher Wednesday, particularly in Singapore and Shanghai's exchanges. Unfortunately the same news can not be shared for Japan's Nikkei, which edged 0.2% lower to 16,375.26.

Most Asian markets ended slightly higher Wednesday, particularly in Singapore and Shanghai's exchanges. Unfortunately the same news can not be shared for Japan's Nikkei, which edged 0.2% lower to 16,375.26.

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japan

Japan Auto Sales Down Again

Japan's vehicle market is suffering from the longest sales slump since 1999. Auto sales have declined for a 16th consecutive month. Nissan and Mazda Motor companies have been blamed for deterring customers by not providing new models.

Japan's vehicle market is suffering from the longest sales slump since 1999. Auto sales have declined for a 16th consecutive month. Nissan and Mazda Motor companies have been blamed for deterring customers by not providing new models.

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japan

Sony Under Investigation for Possible Antitrust Violations

Sony is under investigation for possible antitrust violations related to its memory-chip business. They received a subpoena from the Justice Department that appeared to be part of a broader investigation into the market for static random access memory chips. The chips are used in computers, disk drives, cell phones and other devices. The Justice Department is also investigating Matsushita Electric, Toshiba and Samsung Electronics.

Sony is under investigation for possible antitrust violations related to its memory-chip business. They received a subpoena from the Justice Department that appeared to be part of a broader investigation into the market for static random access memory chips. The chips are used in computers, disk drives, cell phones and other devices. The Justice Department is also investigating Matsushita Electric, Toshiba and Samsung Electronics.

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japan

New Report Indicates Unstable Economy

A recent report showed that Japan's economy may be unstable. The data indicated a rise in unemployment and a decline in household spending compared to a year ago. It also follows one day after reports that industrial output fell almost 1 percent last month. The findings also seem to be at odds with other recent indicators such as record levels of firm income and a rise in corporate recruitment. In the context of the instability report, such gains can only be read as boom cycle fluctuations and may not mean recovery towards long term growth as previously assumed.

A recent report showed that Japan's economy may be unstable. The data indicated a rise in unemployment and a decline in household spending compared to a year ago. It also follows one day after reports that industrial output fell almost 1 percent last month. The findings also seem to be at odds with other recent indicators such as record levels of firm income and a rise in corporate recruitment. In the context of the instability report, such gains can only be read as boom cycle fluctuations and may not mean recovery towards long term growth as previously assumed.

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japan

Strike Costs Hyundai and Kia Motors Billions

A strike by Hyundai Motor workers earlier this year costs the company 1.3 trillion won, marking it the second worst strike in history. Kia Motors reported its first loss since 1998 because of the strike. Kia had a third-quarter loss of 43.9 billion won compared with a profit of 75.9 billion won a year ago.

A strike by Hyundai Motor workers earlier this year costs the company 1.3 trillion won, marking it the second worst strike in history. Kia Motors reported its first loss since 1998 because of the strike. Kia had a third-quarter loss of 43.9 billion won compared with a profit of 75.9 billion won a year ago.

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japan

A TSE Slip-up May Cost Millions

A Mizuho Securities trader mistyped an order and sold 610,000 shares for one yen instead of one share for 610,000 yen. The trade could not be cancelled due to a fault in the Tokyo Stock Exchange computer system. Mizuho has filed a lawsuit against the TSE. The TSE has acknowledged some responsibility for their inability to recall a sales order. The head of the TSE has resigned over the calamity.

A Mizuho Securities trader mistyped an order and sold 610,000 shares for one yen instead of one share for 610,000 yen. The trade could not be cancelled due to a fault in the Tokyo Stock Exchange computer system. Mizuho has filed a lawsuit against the TSE. The TSE has acknowledged some responsibility for their inability to recall a sales order. The head of the TSE has resigned over the calamity.

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japan

Japanese Firm Income Hits 14 Year High

The combined income of Japanese firms hit 50 trillion yen for the first time in 14 years. This is just another sign showing that the Japanese market is recovering from its hit in the early 90's.This is a 15 percent increase from last year says the Japan National Tax Agency.

The combined income of Japanese firms hit 50 trillion yen for the first time in 14 years. This is just another sign showing that the Japanese market is recovering from its hit in the early 90's.This is a 15 percent increase from last year says the Japan National Tax Agency.

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japan

Corporate Hiring Looks Good for Japan

Corporate hiring is falling in all Asian markets except Japan. A recruitment company reported 63 per cent of companies surveyed in Japan planned to increase full-time staff over the coming three months. This marks the highest level recorded for the country since 1998. Whereas, China's hiring expectations have fallen for the fourth straight quarter.

Corporate hiring is falling in all Asian markets except Japan. A recruitment company reported 63 per cent of companies surveyed in Japan planned to increase full-time staff over the coming three months. This marks the highest level recorded for the country since 1998. Whereas, China's hiring expectations have fallen for the fourth straight quarter.

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japan

Honda's Profit Slips 4%

Honda's profit slipped 4% in the third quarter. Japan's third biggest carmaker blames the 50 billion yen they lost during the revaluation of the yen. Sales are still strong in Asia and the US due to the popularity of its fuel efficient cars, which ultimately means the fiscal result is little to worry about.

Honda's profit slipped 4% in the third quarter. Japan's third biggest carmaker blames the 50 billion yen they lost during the revaluation of the yen. Sales are still strong in Asia and the US due to the popularity of its fuel efficient cars, which ultimately means the fiscal result is little to worry about.

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japan

Japan on Stable Path to Recovery

Japan's Ministry of Finance has announced that they are on a steady path to economic recovery. The ministry also said that Japan will be able to maintain this state but they need to be cautious of oil prices. Furthermore, they observed only a minor impact on the economy when the Bank of Japan raised its interest rates from zero.

Japan's Ministry of Finance has announced that they are on a steady path to economic recovery. The ministry also said that Japan will be able to maintain this state but they need to be cautious of oil prices. Furthermore, they observed only a minor impact on the economy when the Bank of Japan raised its interest rates from zero.

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japan

Asia: Stocks at a Five-Month High

Asian stocks were at a five-month high Monday as word spread that strong earnings would be reported for Toyota Motor and Hyundai Motor companies. Toyota advanced ¥80 to ¥6,960. Hyundai Motor climbed 1,300 won to 77,800 won.

Asian stocks were at a five-month high Monday as word spread that strong earnings would be reported for Toyota Motor and Hyundai Motor companies. Toyota advanced ¥80 to ¥6,960. Hyundai Motor climbed 1,300 won to 77,800 won.

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japan

Japanese Media Demands YouTube Delete Clips

Twenty-three Japanese media companies demanded Google's YouTube.com remove nearly 30,000 video files stating copyright infringement. TV networks and movie distributors insisted YouTube set up a stringent screening system to block unauthorized files that are in violation of copyright laws. YouTube currently serves more than 100 million videos on its free Web site.

Twenty-three Japanese media companies demanded Google's YouTube.com remove nearly 30,000 video files stating copyright infringement. TV networks and movie distributors insisted YouTube set up a stringent screening system to block unauthorized files that are in violation of copyright laws. YouTube currently serves more than 100 million videos on its free Web site.

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japan

Morgan Stanley Looks to Expand in Japan

U.S. Morgan Stanley has recently hired six investment bankers from Japan in an effort to win advisory work. This is their attempt to stay on top of rivals Goldman Sachs Group and the Nikko Citigroup. Currently, Morgan Stanley has fallen to 10th among Japan advisors on mergers and acquisitions this year.

U.S. Morgan Stanley has recently hired six investment bankers from Japan in an effort to win advisory work. This is their attempt to stay on top of rivals Goldman Sachs Group and the Nikko Citigroup. Currently, Morgan Stanley has fallen to 10th among Japan advisors on mergers and acquisitions this year.

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japan

Japan's Suzuki Sales Increase in Europe and Asia

Suzuki Motor will focus on selling more profitable compact vehicles in Asia and Europe. This decision has surged shares 48 percent this year to become the fifth-best performer in the Nikkei. Analysts agree this is a smart decision as demand for vehicles is on the rise in India and China.

Suzuki Motor will focus on selling more profitable compact vehicles in Asia and Europe. This decision has surged shares 48 percent this year to become the fifth-best performer in the Nikkei. Analysts agree this is a smart decision as demand for vehicles is on the rise in India and China.

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japan

Aeon May Sell Shares

The largest Japanese supermarket said Friday that it was in exclusive talks to sell shares of its stock in order to buy stakes of two smaller rivals. Experts believe that Aeon is attempting to thwart a rival bid by Wal-Mart Corporation, which owns Seiyu in Japan. The acquisition is said to be about $627 million.

The largest Japanese supermarket said Friday that it was in exclusive talks to sell shares of its stock in order to buy stakes of two smaller rivals. Experts believe that Aeon is attempting to thwart a rival bid by Wal-Mart Corporation, which owns Seiyu in Japan. The acquisition is said to be about $627 million.

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japan

Japan Cuts off Trade with North Korea

At 12 P.M, Thursday, all imports coming into Japan from North Korea will no longer be accepted. Prime Minster Shinzo Abe is also forbidding any exports to North Korea, and prohibiting any Japanese citizen from travelling in North Korea.

At 12 P.M, Thursday, all imports coming into Japan from North Korea will no longer be accepted. Prime Minster Shinzo Abe is also forbidding any exports to North Korea, and prohibiting any Japanese citizen from travelling in North Korea.

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japan

REITs in Japan on Rise

Commercial land prices in central Tokyo rose 14 percent this year, five times the pace of the previous 12 months. Climbing land values have attracted investors to Japan's REIT market quickly. While some investors say REIT prices may have already risen too fast, and that future returns are not attractive.

Commercial land prices in central Tokyo rose 14 percent this year, five times the pace of the previous 12 months. Climbing land values have attracted investors to Japan's REIT market quickly. While some investors say REIT prices may have already risen too fast, and that future returns are not attractive.

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japan

China Unlikely to Back Sanctions Move

The United Nations asked the Chinese for their support to impose a travel ban and financial sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear device. Beijing is believed to have the most leverage on North Korea, as they desperately depend on China for energy and economic aid. But China remains reluctant to take action at this time.

The United Nations asked the Chinese for their support to impose a travel ban and financial sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear device. Beijing is believed to have the most leverage on North Korea, as they desperately depend on China for energy and economic aid. But China remains reluctant to take action at this time.

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japan

Profit-taking Weighs on Nikkei; South Korea Lower

Asian stocks finished mixed Wednesday, with Japan's Nikkei sinking to a multi-month low.

Asian stocks finished mixed Wednesday, with Japan's Nikkei sinking to a multi-month low.

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japan

Hard-line Action Against North Korea

Leaders from many countries are in agreement that North Korea should not have tested its nuclear bomb and now are looking to take a hard-line stance that so that North Korea will not test another atomic bomb. Japan, China, South Korea, the US and other UN nations are deep in discussion on this delicate topic.

Leaders from many countries are in agreement that North Korea should not have tested its nuclear bomb and now are looking to take a hard-line stance that so that North Korea will not test another atomic bomb. Japan, China, South Korea, the US and other UN nations are deep in discussion on this delicate topic.

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japan

Sony Ex-Chairman Warns on Future

Japan's consumer electronics industry is dying as Sony suffers from high costs during a period of global competition.

Japan's consumer electronics industry is dying as Sony suffers from high costs during a period of global competition.

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japan

Chevron to Invest $6 billion in Indonesia Gas Fields

Chevron Corp. plans to invest $6 billion to develop gas fields off the coast of Borneo.  Indonesia is the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter but has recently encountered problems in fulfilling contractual commitments to traditional buyers such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.  Chevron hopes to alleviate the production issues by boosting its output from the Gehem and Gendalo fields,  which they believe will offset the slowdown of other gas fields in the region.

Chevron Corp. plans to invest $6 billion to develop gas fields off the coast of Borneo.  Indonesia is the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter but has recently encountered problems in fulfilling contractual commitments to traditional buyers such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.  Chevron hopes to alleviate the production issues by boosting its output from the Gehem and Gendalo fields,  which they believe will offset the slowdown of other gas fields in the region.

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japan

Japan's New PM Eagerly Looks to Better Ties with China and South Korea

Japan’s newly appointed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to travel to China and South Korea in hopes to mend relations with these two countries. After just taking office late last month, the Prime Minister is working fast to see that Japan can get on better terms with South Korea and China. Japan’s relationship with these two countries has hit rock bottom over the last decade due to the last Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, and his visit to the Yasukuni WWII shrine, which honors Class A criminals. PM Abe, Japan’s first Prime Minister who was born post WWII, is hoping that China and South Korea can look past this now and can cooperate on economic and political issues.

Japan’s newly appointed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to travel to China and South Korea in hopes to mend relations with these two countries. After just taking office late last month, the Prime Minister is working fast to see that Japan can get on better terms with South Korea and China. Japan’s relationship with these two countries has hit rock bottom over the last decade due to the last Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, and his visit to the Yasukuni WWII shrine, which honors Class A criminals. PM Abe, Japan’s first Prime Minister who was born post WWII, is hoping that China and South Korea can look past this now and can cooperate on economic and political issues.

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Japan's Auto Exports up 23.9% in August

Japan's automotive exports have increased by 23.9% since August of last year, shipping out 450,255 vehicles this past month.  According to Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, this is the highest number posted in the last 19 years, greatly attributed to the popularity of fuel efficient cars amid rising oil prices.

Japan's automotive exports have increased by 23.9% since August of last year, shipping out 450,255 vehicles this past month.  According to Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, this is the highest number posted in the last 19 years, greatly attributed to the popularity of fuel efficient cars amid rising oil prices.

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Japan Call Rate Rises Above Policy Target

Strong cash demand from foreign players has raised Japan's overnight money call rate, despite the central bank having injected 1 trillion yen ($8.5 billion) into the banking system. On Friday, the overnight call rate's weighted average soared to 0.339%, which is significantly higher than the central bank's 0.25% target.

Strong cash demand from foreign players has raised Japan's overnight money call rate, despite the central bank having injected 1 trillion yen ($8.5 billion) into the banking system. On Friday, the overnight call rate's weighted average soared to 0.339%, which is significantly higher than the central bank's 0.25% target.

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Japan's New Prime Minister Looks to Strengthen Asia Ties

Japan's new Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, took office Tuesday.  In doing so he announced that he is looking to strengthen ties with other Asian countries, in particular China and South Korea, who had concerns with the last PM due to his ties with WWII shrines.  Abe also stated that his primary focus is economic growth in Japan.

Japan's new Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, took office Tuesday.  In doing so he announced that he is looking to strengthen ties with other Asian countries, in particular China and South Korea, who had concerns with the last PM due to his ties with WWII shrines.  Abe also stated that his primary focus is economic growth in Japan.

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japan

Oil Prices Fall Below $60 in Asia

Crude oil fell to below $60 a barrel this morning in the Asian markets. Oil prices have dropped nearly 25% since mid July. Experts say this is still a strong price, but some say its expected to rise before the end of the year.

Crude oil fell to below $60 a barrel this morning in the Asian markets. Oil prices have dropped nearly 25% since mid July. Experts say this is still a strong price, but some say its expected to rise before the end of the year.

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japan

Japan to Invest into High-Speed Magnetic Trains

Despite the deadly German railroad crash, Japan has decided to go ahead and expand its levitating, high speed train system. Germany first introduced the sleek, efficient train, but after a fatal crash (due to human error) the train's future has not been decided yet in Germany. However, despite any concerns, Japan will invest nearly 3 billion dollars into a new railway system.

Despite the deadly German railroad crash, Japan has decided to go ahead and expand its levitating, high speed train system. Germany first introduced the sleek, efficient train, but after a fatal crash (due to human error) the train's future has not been decided yet in Germany. However, despite any concerns, Japan will invest nearly 3 billion dollars into a new railway system.

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japan

Asia Exports Hurting Due to Slow U.S. Growth

Asia exporters took a hit last week and are still worried about declining profits due to a slow down in the U.S. economy. The U.S. is Asia's largest exporting market and many companies are feeling the heat because of this. Companies like Komatsu LTD, LG Philips, and Japan's largest chipmaker, Elpid, are all takes losses because of the slow down in the U.S. economy.

Asia exporters took a hit last week and are still worried about declining profits due to a slow down in the U.S. economy. The U.S. is Asia's largest exporting market and many companies are feeling the heat because of this. Companies like Komatsu LTD, LG Philips, and Japan's largest chipmaker, Elpid, are all takes losses because of the slow down in the U.S. economy.

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japan

Asia Stocks Strong, Thailand Takes a Hit

Following the military coup in Thailand, the Thai stock market fell today with some shares falling as much as 4.2%. However most of Asia seemed unaffected by the trouble in Thailand. With the Japanese automaker Toyota and Taiwan Semiconductor leading the way, the Asia stock market rose today. Also contributing to the Asia market success is the declining cost of oil, which dropped to below $60 a barrel.

Following the military coup in Thailand, the Thai stock market fell today with some shares falling as much as 4.2%. However most of Asia seemed unaffected by the trouble in Thailand. With the Japanese automaker Toyota and Taiwan Semiconductor leading the way, the Asia stock market rose today. Also contributing to the Asia market success is the declining cost of oil, which dropped to below $60 a barrel.

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Japanese Anger at Threat to Sakhalin

The Japanese government has joined Britain's Foreign Office and the European Commission in outrage over Russia's threats to cancel Shell's permit for the $20 billion Sakhalin II gas project (see the Sept. 18th article in "Russia").  Since the the Kremlin's announcement that it will cancel crucial environmental permits for the Shell project, Mitsui & Co. shares have fallen 3.6% while Mitsubishi dropped 2.5%.  The two Japanese trading companies own 45% of the Shell project in Sakhalin, which is slated to provide vast quantities of liquid natural gas to Japan.

The Japanese government has joined Britain's Foreign Office and the European Commission in outrage over Russia's threats to cancel Shell's permit for the $20 billion Sakhalin II gas project (see the Sept. 18th article in "Russia").  Since the the Kremlin's announcement that it will cancel crucial environmental permits for the Shell project, Mitsui & Co. shares have fallen 3.6% while Mitsubishi dropped 2.5%.  The two Japanese trading companies own 45% of the Shell project in Sakhalin, which is slated to provide vast quantities of liquid natural gas to Japan.

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japan

Japan and Australia Impose Sanctions on DPRK

In compliance with a UN Security Council resolution denouncing North Korea's test firing of long-range missles, Japan and Australia have imposed sanctions that ban fund transfers and remittances to 11 Pyongyang-based trading companies.  The companies have been accused of bankrolling DPRK's weapons arsenal, and are being immediately affected by the sanctions.

In compliance with a UN Security Council resolution denouncing North Korea's test firing of long-range missles, Japan and Australia have imposed sanctions that ban fund transfers and remittances to 11 Pyongyang-based trading companies.  The companies have been accused of bankrolling DPRK's weapons arsenal, and are being immediately affected by the sanctions.

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japan

Exxon Mobil and Japan Energy Enter Price War

With gas prices hovering at the highest level in 15 years, Exxon Mobil Corp and Japan Energy Corp. have began lowering their wholesale gasoline prices hoping to attract price-sensative consumers.  This marks the revival of "price battle" competition that has  been dormant in recent years due to skyrocketing crude oil prices. 

With gas prices hovering at the highest level in 15 years, Exxon Mobil Corp and Japan Energy Corp. have began lowering their wholesale gasoline prices hoping to attract price-sensative consumers.  This marks the revival of "price battle" competition that has  been dormant in recent years due to skyrocketing crude oil prices. 

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japan

Most Asian Markets Rise as Lower Oil Prices Boost Shares in Tokyo

Indices in Hong Kong and Japan rebounded from recent loss-streaks as a fall in crude oil prices has alleviated market tension, boosting investor confidence and increasing activity.  Most east-Asian exchanges shared similar change of pace while trade in Southeast Asia remained relatively flat or declined slightly.

Indices in Hong Kong and Japan rebounded from recent loss-streaks as a fall in crude oil prices has alleviated market tension, boosting investor confidence and increasing activity.  Most east-Asian exchanges shared similar change of pace while trade in Southeast Asia remained relatively flat or declined slightly.

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japan

ASIA DEVELOPMENT OUTLOOK 2007

Despite challenges from rising oil costs, commodity costs, and interest rates, the Asia Development Bank expects 7.7% growth for 2007.

Despite challenges from rising oil costs, commodity costs, and interest rates, the Asia Development Bank expects 7.7% growth for 2007.

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japan

Kazakh Firm to Supply Japan with Uranium

Kazakhstan is aiming to supply up to 1/4 of Japan's uranium demands in the coming years.  Japan is reliant on nuclear power generation, and due to poor domestic resources, has been active in securing uranium deals with ex-Soviet nations.  Kazakhstan has the world's second largest reserves, behind Australia, and it's national company KazAtomProm is the 3rd largest producer in the world.  It mainly supplies China, Japan, South Korea, and the US.  In January, KazAtomProm signed a contract with Sumitomo Corp. and the Kansai Electric Power Co. in a joint venture to operate a new mine in southern Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is aiming to supply up to 1/4 of Japan's uranium demands in the coming years.  Japan is reliant on nuclear power generation, and due to poor domestic resources, has been active in securing uranium deals with ex-Soviet nations.  Kazakhstan has the world's second largest reserves, behind Australia, and it's national company KazAtomProm is the 3rd largest producer in the world.  It mainly supplies China, Japan, South Korea, and the US.  In January, KazAtomProm signed a contract with Sumitomo Corp. and the Kansai Electric Power Co. in a joint venture to operate a new mine in southern Kazakhstan.

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japan

Japan to Potentially Invest $50 billion in Russia

At the first Russia-Japanese investment forum, which was being held in St. Petersburg this week, hundreds of business and government representatives gathered to discuss future joint-ventures between the two countries.  According to a "modest estimate" by Kirill Androsov, the potentional investment lies at $50 billion or more.  Both the Japanese and Russian economies have been in an upswing as of late, and they are prepared to participate in such direct investment opportunities with each other.  Since 2002, trade in the countries have increased from $4.2 billion to over $10 billion.

At the first Russia-Japanese investment forum, which was being held in St. Petersburg this week, hundreds of business and government representatives gathered to discuss future joint-ventures between the two countries.  According to a "modest estimate" by Kirill Androsov, the potentional investment lies at $50 billion or more.  Both the Japanese and Russian economies have been in an upswing as of late, and they are prepared to participate in such direct investment opportunities with each other.  Since 2002, trade in the countries have increased from $4.2 billion to over $10 billion.

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japan

Japanese Expect Stock Market Slow-Down After Yen Climbs Against Dollar and Euro

With the Yen climbing against both the U.S. Dollar and Euro, Japanese companies can expect less revenue from exports to Europe and USA.  Stocks are epected to start slow tomarrow morning.

With the Yen climbing against both the U.S. Dollar and Euro, Japanese companies can expect less revenue from exports to Europe and USA.  Stocks are epected to start slow tomarrow morning.

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japan

Singapore's Tamasek Holdings To Increase Holdings Throughout Asia

Tamasek's Chief Financial Officer is quoted by Bloomberg Saying "We've got all three engines of growth in Asia firing all at the same time. In the next 10 years, we believe in the Asian Story." The same report cited Asia Development Bank's expectations that Asian economies will expand 7.7% this year.

Tamasek's Chief Financial Officer is quoted by Bloomberg Saying "We've got all three engines of growth in Asia firing all at the same time. In the next 10 years, we believe in the Asian Story." The same report cited Asia Development Bank's expectations that Asian economies will expand 7.7% this year.

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japan

Capital Spending Up 16.6% in April-June Quarter

Companies' capital spending rose 16.6 percent in the April-June quarter on an all-industry basis from a year earlier, marking the sharpest expansion since comparative data became available in July-September 2002, according to a Finance Ministry survey released Monday.

Companies' capital spending rose 16.6 percent in the April-June quarter on an all-industry basis from a year earlier, marking the sharpest expansion since comparative data became available in July-September 2002, according to a Finance Ministry survey released Monday.

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japan

2,000 Yen Bills Find Few Fans

The 2,000 yen bill seems to be missing from the money circulation. A BOJ spokeswoman attributed the lower demand to the debut of new 1,000 yen, 5,000 yen, and 10,000 yen notes, while economists say it is the incovenience that causes the notes to be unwanted.

The 2,000 yen bill seems to be missing from the money circulation. A BOJ spokeswoman attributed the lower demand to the debut of new 1,000 yen, 5,000 yen, and 10,000 yen notes, while economists say it is the incovenience that causes the notes to be unwanted.

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japan

Tax Panel Scraps Report That Takes Tanigaki's Tack

The government's Tax Commission cancelled publication of a midterm report on tax issues for the first time since the tax panel was launched in the late 1950s, admitting Tuesday the decision was influenced by political considerations. If released as scheduled, the midterm report would have highlighted the need to raise the consumption tax, which has been Tanigaki's position.

The government's Tax Commission cancelled publication of a midterm report on tax issues for the first time since the tax panel was launched in the late 1950s, admitting Tuesday the decision was influenced by political considerations. If released as scheduled, the midterm report would have highlighted the need to raise the consumption tax, which has been Tanigaki's position.

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japan

Mainmark Offers TLC for Concrete Floors

Mainmark Japan's technique, which goes by the trade name Uretek, can be used to fix concrete floors and airport runways left askew by earthquakes and more gradual, non-earthquake-related soil subsidence. The one-night process has the same results as putting in a new floor which usually takes about two weeks.

Mainmark Japan's technique, which goes by the trade name Uretek, can be used to fix concrete floors and airport runways left askew by earthquakes and more gradual, non-earthquake-related soil subsidence. The one-night process has the same results as putting in a new floor which usually takes about two weeks.

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Asian Stocks Up During U.S. Trading

Asian stocks rose due to heavy US trading for third day in a row.  Precious Metals also rallied.

Asian stocks rose due to heavy US trading for third day in a row.  Precious Metals also rallied.

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Other Important News In Japan


Japan's Economic Forecast Downgraded but Remains Positive

The Bank of Japan is now expecting its economy to shrink 3.4 percent, higher than its previous forecast of 3.1 percent, "in the 12 months to 31 March 2010".

This is a tremendous improvement from the contraction of 12.7 percent during the October to December 2008 period. The central bank affirms that "Japan's economic conditions have stopped worsening". The Japanese economy, whose growth heavily relies on exports of automobiles and electronics, has suffered in the past year. The falling global demand for the products has caused the economy to weaken. However, second quarter reports show that both exports and industrial production, which increased by 5.7 percent in this past May, have started to improve. They expect a recovery in the third and fourth quarter of 2009. Analysts agree with the expectation of the country's recovery: "They are definitely correct when they say the economy overall has stopped worsening," said Nikhilesh Bhattacharyya of Moody's Economy.

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Japan Tankan Signals Business Spending Cuts May Impede Recovery

The Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan report reflected businesses plans to further reduce spending, since it is estimated that profits will fall 20 percent this year, which is almost twice the March forecast.

Hiroshi Shiraishi, an economist at BNP Paribas in Tokyo said, "Companies have started to realize that sales aren't really going to come back, companies are faced with massive excesses in capacity." Hiromichi Shirakawa, chief economist at Credit Suisse Group AG in Tokyo said, "It could be two or three years before companies are using even three quarters of their production capacity." Aware of this, managers are cutting investment, jobs and wages. Toyota, for instance, is cutting spending 36 percent and is simultaneously cutting wages for factory workers by 15 percent. As profits continue falling, companies will continue to hire less workers (and lay some off) and invest less.

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Bank of Japan's Tankan Survey Looks Better

It is predicted that the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey on June 1st will show that important manufacturing companies believe the "worst of the recession" is over.

It is predicted that the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey on June 1st will show that important manufacturing companies believe the "worst of the recession" is over on July 1, 2009. Evidence of the new outlook among large makers of electronics and cars is expected to rise from minus 58 in March to minus 43. Although the minus shows that pessimists outnumber optimists, the decrease in number of pessimists is important, especially in the manufacturing industry. As Jan Lambregts, head of financial markets research at Rabobank International in Hong Kong said, "we're seeing a rebound from rock bottom." A large increase in Chinese demand has helped Japan. Thanks to China's government spending, Japan's "heavy equipment" autos and materials have increased in sales. For instance, in China, Nissan sales rose 37 percent in April 20009, due to a subsidy that cut the consumption tax in half on small cars. In the U.S, Mazda Motor Corporations are also predicted to increase because of the Obama administration's "cash for clunkers" which would give consumers some money for trading in their old vehicles. (As much as $4,500 according to Bloomberg.) In Japan, electronics sales have increased 18 percent in the past month, due to the government's introduction of a program to advocate consumers to purchase eco-friendly products.

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Goldman Sachs recommends Japanese Banks

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it recommends buying Japanese banks and shorting the nation's steelmakers, citing valuations. Japanese bank stocks are relatively cheap as they trade at about 70 percent of their average price-to-book ratio, compared with up to 120 percent for banks across Asia, Kathy Matsui, the Tokyo-based chief strategist at the brokerage, said in a report dated yesterday. The country's steel shares are at or above their midpoint price-to-book levels, the report said.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it recommends buying Japanese banks and shorting the nation's steelmakers, citing valuations. Japanese bank stocks are relatively cheap as they trade at about 70 percent of their average price-to-book ratio, compared with up to 120 percent for banks across Asia, Kathy Matsui, the Tokyo-based chief strategist at the brokerage, said in a report dated yesterday. The country's steel shares are at or above their midpoint price-to-book levels, the report said. "Japanese banks should enjoy an outsized earnings impact from lower credit costs as the economy stabilizes," Matsui wrote. "The recovery in stock prices should also help alleviate capital concerns." While many investors have bought into steel stocks that are sensitive to global economic trends, most are still "extremely underweight" in domestic cyclical shares like banks, Matsui said in the report. The brokerage boosted Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. to "buy" from "sell" and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. to "neutral" from "sell," the report showed. Mitsubishi UFJ rallied 2.2 percent to 605 yen while Mizuho gained 2.1 percent to 246 yen as of the 11 a.m. trading break on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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Japan Limits Exports to North Korea while China Prepares to Act

Japan has banned exports to North Korea in response to their nuclear and missile tests in May, with the purpose of sending a "strong message".

Japan has banned exports to North Korea in response to their nuclear and missile tests in May, with the purpose of sending a "strong message". "What's most important is that North Korea make the right response... to Japan's strong message, even though there are people who point out the volume of exports is small," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura. The Japanese concern arises from the proximity of the country, since much of its territory could be hit by North Korean mid-range missiles, according to the BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo. North Korea's key trading partner is China. China "has pledged to implement tougher sanctions against North Korea, which were approved by the UN last week." These sanctions include careful inspection of ships suspected of taking banned cargo to and from North Korea, and increased ban on arms sales.

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Japan Stocks Shows Optimism

Japan's stock index closed Friday above the important 10,000-point level since October 7, 2008.

Japan's stock index closed Friday above the important 10,000-point level since October 7, 2008. "Investors are upbeat over the direction of the economy with recent indicators suggesting the global economy is heading toward a recovery," said Yutaka Miura, senior strategist at Mizuho Securities Co. Ltd.

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Distressed Japanese Work to Death

Analysts say that people facing an unpredictable economic future usually feel compelled to work longer hours, even if it is hazardous to their health. Although the Japanese culture of hard work is widely praised, it also poses a threat to those that overwork.

Analysts say that people facing an unpredictable economic future usually feel compelled to work longer hours, even if it is hazardous to their health. Although the Japanese culture of hard work is widely praised, it also poses a threat to those that overwork. According to a report released by the Health, Labor & Health Ministry on June 8, "a record number of workers suffering from job-induced mental disorders successfully filed for compensation". About 269 of 927 of applicants won compensation and among those 269 applicants, 66 had sought suicide, which is the second-highest number on record. In addition, about 158 deaths of workers were linked to karoshi, or working to death, which was an increase of 16 in just one year. Companies like Toyota are working to improve conditions by encouraging workers to rest and take vacations. During Golden Week holidays in May, for example, some manufacturers closed plants for longer and advocated the holidays. However, the economic hardships are still persistent. Many manufacturing workers have had to surrender to wage cuts, bonuses and overtime, which one worker said takes about $1,000 a month out of his pocket. Japan's positive second quarter forecast of growth in GDP might lessen the stress Japanese workers are currently facing.

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Yen Rose Against 14 of 16 Currencies

The yen rose against euro and dollar and showed signs of strength, also the yen grew on top of 14 of 16 currencies.

The dollar earlier approached a one-week high against the euro as traders added to bets the Federal Reserve will increase its target lending rate this year as the world's largest economy recovers. Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, said that American economy will recover from the crisis by September. "I would not be surprised if the official end of the U.S. recession ends up being, in retrospect, dated sometime this summer," Krugman added "Things seem to be getting worse more slowly. There's some reason to think that we're stabilizing."

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Japan's current account drops but maintains its balance

Japan continues to suffer amid the global downturn.

Its current account surplus fell in April by 55% compared to the same month in 2008. However, the rate of decline in exports has been slowing and according to Norio Miyagawa, an economist at Shinko Research Institute, it is likely that Japan may be able to maintain a positive trade balance for the time being.

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Japan Suffers First Trade Deficit Since 1980

apan's trade balance for fiscal 2008 suffered its first annual deficit in nearly three decades, data released Wednesday showed, underscoring the difficulty facing the export-reliant country in its attempt to get out of recession. The result also highlights how vulnerable the world's second largest economy is to the sharp slowdown in global trade triggered by the U.S.-originated financial crisis.

apan's trade balance for fiscal 2008 suffered its first annual deficit in nearly three decades, data released Wednesday showed, underscoring the difficulty facing the export-reliant country in its attempt to get out of recession. The result also highlights how vulnerable the world's second largest economy is to the sharp slowdown in global trade triggered by the U.S.-originated financial crisis.

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