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Toyota City: How it became Japan's Detroit

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Taking up herewith Japanese Business Trend News by Media of last week.
Business Trend in Japan will be read via these News.
Jul 18 Toyota City: How it became Japan's Detroit (Globe & Mail)
 Nowhere is the manufacturing slump - and its impact on the wider economy - more visible and visceral than in Toyota City. Toyota directly accounts for billions of dollars in annual sales and tens of thousands of Japanese jobs. If you include the hundreds of companies across the country that supply it - 400 of them in the Toyota City region alone - the company's importance multiplies.
Jul 18 7-Eleven OK's near-expiry food discounts (Yomiuri)
 Seven-Eleven Japan Co. has decided to allow its franchise stores to sell boxed meals and other food products that are close to their expiry dates at discount prices, sources said Friday. The move is a result of the nation's largest convenience store chain operator accepting the Fair Trade Commission's order that it stop acts violating the Antimonopoly Law and take necessary measures to prevent such practices.
Jul 18 JAL faces more losses as retirees fight cuts (Japan Times)
 Takahiro Fukushima gets a pension of ¥2.7 million a year from Japan Airlines Corp., where he worked for 35 years. Two months ago, the unprofitable airline sent the former cabin attendant a letter asking his permission to cut it by more than 50 percent.
Jul 18 Sekisui House to build Down Under (Japan Times)
 Sekisui House Ltd. said Friday it will start marketing houses and condominiums in Australia, and is looking to post some ¥200 billion in sales during the 10-year period through 2019. Sekisui House said it will build a total of 4,000 homes and condominiums in Sydney and Brisbane via its Australian subsidiary, Sekisui House Australia Holdings Pty Ltd.
Jul 17 NEC eyes $2.1 bln capital raising (Reuters)
 Loss-making telecom equipment maker NEC Corp (6701.T) is considering raising about $2.1 billion, a source familiar with the matter said, joining a rush of Japanese firms tapping a resurgent equity market for funds. Shares of NEC tumbled 8.9 percent to 288 yen as investors worried the capital raising would dilute the value of their holdings. The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 rose 0.5 percent.
Jul 17 'Potter' breaks Japanese record (Variety)
 "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" bowed in Japan on Wednesday with $3.57 million on 840 screens - besting "War of the Worlds" for the biggest-ever Wednesday opening. This number was particularly impressive since Wednesday is Ladies Day at Japanese theaters, meaning women pay 1,000 yen ($10.69) for an adult admission, compared with the standard price of $19.24. Women account for the bulk of the "Potter" aud in Japan.
Jul 17 Japan Airlines teams with Hotels.com (bizjournals.com)
 Hotels.com, the online hotel specialist, and Japan Airlines, Japan's largest airline, on Thursday announced a joint collaboration for online hotel reservations. The tie-up, which was introduced July 1, allows visitors to JAL Web sites to reserve rooms at any of more than 100,000 hotels linked to Hotel.com.
Jul 17 Restaurant chains cutting to the bone (Japan Times)
 With consumers growing more price conscious as the recession wears on, restaurant and "izakaya" pub chains are scrambling to introduce lower-priced menus and increase the number of outlets serving low-budget dishes. Restaurant operator Skylark Co. is planning to increase its Gusto outlets that offer low-priced meals by 15 percent to around 1,300 by the end of this year by opening new outlets or converting existing restaurants of other chains.
Jul 17 Mighty Seven-Eleven racing toward a cliff? (Japan Times)
 Stakeholders are urging Seven-Eleven Japan Co., the nation's largest convenience store chain, to rethink its business model so it can survive the tough retail competition spawned by the global economic slump. Seven-Eleven and its rivals cannot evade the price war among retailers.
Jul 16 Japan Inc: back to basics as U.S. model discredited (Reuters)
 Leaders of Japan Inc. believe they have learnt a lesson from the global economic crisis -- namely that the U.S. business model with its eye on short-term gains has failed and it's time to return to longer-term strategies. Recent remarks by corporate chiefs from companies like Suzuki Motor Corp and Chugai Pharmaceutical Co underscore a desire of Japan's corporate leaders to reject pressure from what they see as short-term interests to concentrate on more sustainable returns.
Jul 16 Investment firm unveils Paramount Resort Osaka plan (AP)
 An Osaka-based investment firm said Thursday it will cooperate with an affiliate of U.S. movie company Paramount Pictures Corp. to develop a theme park named Paramount Resort Osaka in Suita, Osaka Prefecture. The theme park, including entertainment facilities and a five-star hotel, will be built on the site of the failed Expoland amusement park, Sun Capital Management Corp. said.
Jul 16 Editorial: Kirin-Suntory merger (Asahi)
 Kirin Holdings Co. and Suntory Holdings Ltd., Japan's two largest food and beverage makers, are negotiating a possible business merger. If a deal is struck, their combined sales of 3.8 trillion yen would easily create the nation's single largest food and beverage corporation.
Jul 16 Overseas package tours booked for September up 51% on year (AP)
 The number of people who had booked overseas package tours for September as of early July was up 50.9 percent from a year earlier, the Japan Association of Travel Agents said Wednesday. Although people had been refraining from traveling abroad due to the spread of the new strain of influenza, the demand for overseas trips recovered from late June and many people have made reservations to take advantage of a five-day holiday in Japan from Sept. 19, the association said.
Jul 16 Lotteria to give refunds if customers do not like new hamburger (AP)
 Hamburger chain Lotteria Co. said Wednesday it will give refunds to customers who are not satisfied with the taste of its new "zetsumyo" hamburger to be sold starting Thursday. Under the campaign, set to last until the end of July, a customer who buys the new hamburger, priced at 360 yen, will receive a refund if at least half of the hamburger is left uneaten and returned to the store it was purchased from on the same day along with the receipt.
Jul 16 Honda CR-Z and Fit hybrid planned for 2010 (New York Times)
 The Honda CR-Z, when it first appeared at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007 as a concept car, caused quite a stir, both good and bad. On Monday, Honda announced that the CR-Z would move from concept to reality and that it would go on sale in the United States next year.
Jul 16 Condo industry crisis a chance for buyers? (Yomiuri)
 While the financial crisis and the prolonged recession have plunged the nation's condominium market into a deep slump, this situation could be a great opportunity for condo buyers looking for a good deal. The number of new condominium units offered for sale in the first half of 2009 fell 26 percent from the same period a year earlier in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Jul 15 Japanese banana boom is boon to Dole as imports surge to record (Bloomberg)
 Japanese banana imports are headed for a second straight record gain this year, fueled by fad diets and households looking for cheap food amid the recession. Imports of the fruit, mostly of the Cavendish or Senorita varieties, rose 34 percent from a year earlier to 540,000 tons in the five months to May, after totaling a record 1.09 million tons in 2008.
Jul 15 Citibank Japan to suspend retail sales after FSA order (AP)
 Citibank Japan Ltd. will suspend sales activities at its retail banking division for one month from Wednesday in line with an order from the Financial Services Agency over its slack money laundering controls that allowed the opening of several hundred accounts for crime syndicates and other "antisocial" bodies.
Jul 15 Toyota widens hybrid lineup with new Lexus (Japan Times)
 Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday launched its first Lexus built as a hybrid from the ground up, widening its gasoline-electric lineup amid the recent spike in demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.
Jul 15 JAL darkens planes on ground to keep them cool (Japan Times)
 Japan Airlines Corp. started an experiment Tuesday aimed at reducing the use of energy for air conditioners inside aircraft, hoping to curb carbon dioxide emissions and lower operational costs.
Jul 15 Haneda flights to Beijing start in late October (Japan Times)
 Japan and China have agreed to launch regular flights between Tokyo's Haneda airport and Beijing Capital International Airport on Oct. 25, transport minister Kazuyoshi Kaneko said Tuesday. Kaneko said four round-trip flights - two each by Japanese and Chinese airlines - will be offered on a daily basis.
Jul 14 DreamWorks looks for 'Monsters' to be big in Japan (Reuters)
 Like a creature rising from oceans deep, the DreamWorks Animation SKG film "Monsters vs. Aliens" hit Japan on Saturday, where the 3-D animated comedy reportedly had a sizable opening of $1.2 million in only 390 theaters over the weekend, and where box office watchers say it stands to perform strongly by tipping its hat to Japanese-born giants like Godzilla and Mothra.
Jul 14 Kirin, Suntory hold merger talks (Japan Times)
 Kirin Holdings Co. and Suntory Holdings Ltd. have begun negotiating a merger aimed at surviving the shrinking beverage market amid the low birthrate and aging population, sources said Monday. The merged entity would be Japan's top firm in both the beer and soft drink markets and one of the world's largest beverage companies. Combined, the two firms had consolidated sales of around ¥3.82 trillion in the business year that ended in December 2008.
Jul 14 Finally, no-alcohol beer that packs taste (Japan Times)
 For decades, low-alcohol beer has taken a back seat in the Japanese brewing industry, the victim of complaints about taste and fears that drinkers were still prone to the risks of drunken driving. But a new product by Japan's second-biggest brewer, Kirin Brewery Co., appear to be beating the odds with the rollout of what it claims is the world's first truly alcohol-free beer - Kirin Free.
Jul 14 Japan's 'Love Hotels' (BBC)
 Here's one business sector that's proving resilient in the current economic downturn - the 25,000 love hotels in Japan. Charging around $30 for a short rest, the hotels are attracting interest beyond the obvious market of couples looking for a place to spend a few private hours.
Jul 13 Rail staff face 'smile police' (BBC)
 A Japanese rail firm has introduced a system to check that staff are smiling enough at all times. Computerised scanners around 15 Tokyo stations will measure the smile's curvature to ensure it is broad enough. Those failing to measure up - literally - will be advised to look less serious and more cheerful.
Jul 13 Yamanashi firm brings color to dining tables (Yomiuri)
 Hakubaku Co., a manufacturer of cereal grain foodstuffs based in Masuhocho, Yamanashi Prefecture, has scored a massive hit with its Jurokkoku Gohan (16-grain meal). Customers mix it with rice and boil to easily make zakkoku gohan, a rice dish of combined with various grains. Jurokkoku Gohan has seized more than 50 percent of the market for multigrain products.
Jul 13 Game makers target Nintendo DS (Yomiuri)
 The latest edition of the 'Dragon Quest' role-playing game series released Saturday was specifically designed for the Nintendo DS portable game device, a move that reflects game creators' increasing awareness of the importance of the portable gaming market.
By J.S. on Jul 21, 2009



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