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Who will survive the solar energy shakeout?

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Taking up herewith Japanese Business Trend News by Media of the past week.
Recent Business Trend in Japan will be read via these News.

Aug 01 Mixed fortunes for Japan's top banks (AFP)
 Japan's top two banks saw mixed fortunes in the first quarter as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial's profits soared thanks to stronger global markets, but rival Mizuho suffered a loss, their results showed on Friday. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MUFG) said net profit jumped 48 percent in the fiscal first quarter through June from a year earlier to 75.94 billion yen (800 million dollars).
Aug 01 Mizuho books fourth consecutive quarterly loss (Japan Times)
 Mizuho Financial Group Inc., the nation's third-biggest bank by market value, booked an unexpected fourth straight quarterly loss on bad-loan and credit costs.
Aug 01 ANA flies into red with $300 mln loss (AFP)
 All Nippon Airways, Japan's second-largest carrier, said on Friday it had lost more than 300 million dollars in the fiscal first quarter as the recession and swine flu worries scared away passengers. But it aims to end the year in profit, helped by cost cuts and an expected gradual improvement in passenger numbers.
Aug 01 Trendy Japanese flock to hybrids (AFP)
 Shoppers who stop into Toyota dealerships here and across Japan generally have just one thing on their minds: buying a Prius. After years of indifference toward hybrids - in part because many gas-only models that got excellent mileage were already available in showrooms - drivers in Japan are lining up for the Prius, the Honda Insight and other models powered by gasoline and electricity.
Jul 31 Sumitomo to buy Citi's Nikko Asset (Japan Times)
 Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co. has agreed to pay 120 billion yen for Citigroup Inc.'s Japanese asset management unit to increase the amount of investment trusts it oversees.
Jul 31 Shinsei Bank back in black (Japan Times)
 Shinsei Bank Ltd. returned to profit after three straight quarterly losses as interest income rose and writedowns on investments declined.
Jul 31 Yahoo Japan role in Microsoft search deal 'still unclear' (brandrepublic.asia)
 Following the announced search deal between Microsoft and Yahoo, the future of Yahoo Japan, for which Yahoo is a minority stakeholder, is up in the air as executives have not revealed whether its search will also be run by Microsoft. Microsoft and Yahoo yesterday announced a 10-year revenue-share search pact that will create what they hope will be a more credible search competitor to Google.
Jul 30 Warnings from bellwethers of Japan industry (FT.com)
 Canon and Hitachi, two of Japan's largest electronics companies, yesterday reported weak results and warned that they expected economic recovery to be slow. Hitachi, the electrical conglomerate known as the "GE of Japan", reported a first-quarter net loss of ¥82.7bn ($876m) and said that "extremely low levels of consumption and production meant that the severe conditions continued".
Jul 30 Sony posts $390.5 million loss (New York Times)
 Sony suffered a ¥37.1 billion net loss in the first quarter, the electronics and entertainment giant said Thursday, maintaining its forecast for a second year of losses as the global economic slump continued to weigh on its bottom line. Though the shortfall - the equivalent of $390.2 million - was less than some analysts had expected, the continued losses put mounting pressure on Howard Stringer, the chairman and chief executive who was appointed four years ago to resuscitate the struggling company, to step up his turnaround effort.
Jul 30 Sake returns to its organic roots (Japan Times)
 The sake world is looking greener as an increasing number of producers invest more time and resources in developing organic lines. In 2004, Niigata-based giant Kikusui attracted attention for opening the Sake Culture Institute, an immaculate facility dedicated to organic sake research, and small producers around the country are also doing their bit for the environment and local community.
Jul 30 Upscale Japanese knives cut into market (pressofatlanticcity.com)
 Against the backdrop of an international boom in Japanese cuisine, the export of Japan-made kitchen knives to the United States and European countries, as well as Japan's Asian neighbors, has recently been increasing. Many chefs at overseas Japanese restaurants reportedly like to use authentic equipment to outshine their competitors.
Jul 30 Toshiba still in red (thefastertimes.com)
 Japanese high-tech giant Toshiba said Wednesday it had lost more than 600 million dollars in the fiscal first quarter as the economic downturn hit sales of televisions and other electronics. Toshiba, whose businesses span nuclear power plants and memory chips for iPods, posted a net loss of 57.8 billion yen (610 million dollars) for the three months to June, against a year-earlier loss of 11.6 billion yen.
Jul 30 Who will survive the solar energy shakeout? (thefastertimes.com)
 Until the big chill, the solar energy was red-hot, tearing along with a decade-long growth rate that averaged 50 percent a year. Then the global recession hit - and the fizzling of subsidies in Spain and a credit crunch - which squeezed financing for many solar projects. Production slowed at plants making panels that turned sun into electricity. Prices fell sharply.
Jul 30 Nomura posts first quarterly profit since '07 (Japan Times)
 Nomura Holdings Inc. posted on Wednesday its first quarterly profit since 2007 as a stock market revival boosted trading and investment banking.
Jul 30 Japan, Germany Stake Claims in U.S. Renewable Energy Market (Environmental Leader)
 Japanese and German companies - already well-entrenched in global solar and wind energy markets - are starting to stake claims in the emerging U.S. renewable energy market thanks to the Obama administration's support for renewable energy initiatives and investments, but analysts say it's too early to count out U.S.-based businesses.
Jul 30 Nippon Steel Reports a Loss as High-End Demand Softens (Wall Street Journal)
  Nippon Steel Corp., Japan's biggest steel maker by output, reported its second consecutive quarterly net loss amid weaker domestic demand for high-end steel products and the increased cost of raw materials. The world's second-largest steelmaker after ArcelorMittal said it incurred a net loss of 42.25 billion yen ($446.8 million) in the fiscal first quarter ended June 30, compared with a year-earlier net profit of 82.76 billion yen.
Jul 30 Nissan Posts Loss on U.S., Japan Car Sales Plunge (Bloomberg)
  Nissan Motor Co., Japan's third-largest carmaker, posted a third straight quarterly loss as the global recession cut demand for new vehicles and a stronger yen hurt earnings from exports. The company had a first-quarter loss of 16.5 billion yen ($175 million), compared with a net profit of 52.8 billion yen a year earlier, Tokyo-based Nissan said in a statement today.
Jul 29 Govt 'plans firm to sell water overseas' (Yomiuri)
 The government has drafted a plan to create a corporation to sell clean water to other countries using technologies drawn from both the public and private sectors, according to government sources. The government aims to establish the corporation in fiscal 2010 using funds from Sangyo Kakushin Kiko, a company established Monday by the public and private sectors.
Jul 29 Lotte finds Fit's what kids choose to chew (Japan Times)
 Fit's, a new gum on the market, is selling like hot cakes and beyond the expectations of manufacturer Lotte Co. and its rivals in the industry. The key to its success is probably the weaker build of young generations, industry sources say. Young people don't like food with a tough texture and the new gum is softer than conventional varieties.
Jul 29 Worldwide public aid will make electric vehicles profitable: Nissan (Japan Times)
 Nissan Motor Co. said the financial support it has received from governments worldwide will ensure the profitability of its electric vehicle program. Development costs for electric cars "significantly" exceed the $300 million to $500 million Nissan normally spends on a new model because of the expense of the batteries.
Jul 28 Toyota to launch hybrid compact in Japan (Reuters)
 Japan's Toyota Motor Corp plans to launch a hybrid compact for around 1.5 million yen ($15,760) in Japan in late 2011, broadening its hybrid car line-up. Demand for gasoline-electric vehicles has jumped in Japan, helped by government tax breaks and subsidies on cleaner cars, and as Toyota and rival Honda Motor Co have lowered prices on their flagship hybrids -- to as low as 2.05 million yen for Toyota's Prius and 1.89 million yen for Honda's Insight.
Jul 28 Prince Hotel ordered to pay 290 mil. yen for refusing teacher union (AP)
 The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday ordered Prince Hotels Inc. to pay about 290 million yen in compensation to the Japan Teachers Union and its members, as sought by the plaintiffs, for canceling reservations the union made for its annual meeting in 2007.
Jul 28 Australia's Gold Coast on Universal Studios Japan auditions tour (Xinhua)
 The Gold Coast and Melbourne will be the only Australian venues on Universal Studios Japan's worldwide audition tour for performers this year, according to a report by Australian Associated Press on Tuesday. More than 150 performers are expected to show their talents over three days on the Gold Coast, competing with 3,500 hopefuls for just 220 jobs in Japan.
Jul 28 Over-60s face premium hikes / Car insurers set to revamp fee structure with new age categories (Yomiuri)
 Nonlife insurance companies are considering significant increases in the car insurance premiums paid by elderly drivers from next spring, according to sources. The move comes in response to the establishment this month of new categories for elderly drivers by the Non-Life Insurance Rating Organization of Japan, which sets reference premium rates for the industry.
Jul 28 Uniqlo operator wins PR awards (Japan Times)
 Fast Retailing Co., operator of the popular Uniqlo casual clothing retail chain, has been awarded this year's best corporate communications prize by the public relations arm of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren).
Jul 28 Hitachi firms to become subsidiaries (Japan Times)
 Hitachi Ltd. is in the final stage of turning five listed group firms, including Hitachi Maxell Ltd., into wholly owned subsidiaries through tender offers scheduled for next month at the earliest, sources said Monday. The tender offers are expected to be worth as much as ¥300 billion.
Jul 27 Japan wants to build medical tourism market (BusinessWeek)
 Japan's government has come up with a not-so-new idea for creating jobs in its healthcare sector: attracting medical tourists. For months, a panel of experts has been meeting at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) behind closed doors to discuss the merits of luring wealthy patients from Asia and Russia to Japan for top-notch medical treatment.
Jul 27 Toyota, Honda target Japan's women to revive interest in cars (Bloomberg)
 Cars have lost their "cool factor" in Japan among young people, contributing to a decades-long decline in sales. To attract women into showrooms, Toyota came up with the "DecoPrius," inspired by the jewel-covered "DecoDen" mobile phones. Honda Motor Co. has enlisted the help of Cozy Tomato, a book and magazine illustrator, for story-telling events centered around cars for young mothers and their children.
Jul 27 Japan launches new investment fund to help businesses innovate (AP)
 The government has invested 82 billion yen in a new state- backed fund set up Monday with the aim of boosting the competitiveness of Japanese firms through the sharing of technologies and personnel among businesses and universities. Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, in which the government holds a nearly 90 percent stake, will allow the state to provide risk money and revitalize industries amid the credit crunch following the global financial turmoil since last year.
Jul 27 Upscale knives cut into market / High-grade kitchen implements proving hit with overseas chefs (Yomiuri)
 Against the backdrop of an international boom in Japanese cuisine, the export of Japan-made kitchen knives to the United States and European countries, as well as Japan's Asian neighbors, has recently been increasing. Many chefs at overseas Japanese restaurants reportedly like to use authentic equipment to outshine their competitors.
Jul 26 Japan carmakers in Europe in high-, low-end squeeze (Japan Times)
 Battered by the global economic downturn, Japan's automakers are finding life difficult in the European market as competitors old and new pile on the pressure, according to industry analysts. While at the lower end of the market, they are being undercut by the likes of the South Korean maker Kia, the manufacturers are facing formidable marques such as Ford and Volkswagen, which are working hard to woo European consumers with good design and technology, the experts said.
Jul 26 Itochu eyes REIT Nippon Residential (Japan Times)
 Itochu Corp. is seeking to acquire a real estate investment trust under the wing of failed real estate fund operator Pacific Holdings Inc., sources said Saturday.
Jul 26 Consolidated insurer to be named NKSJ (Yomiuri)
 A holding company formed by the integration of major nonlife insurers Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. and Nipponkoa Insurance Co. will be named NKSJ Holdings Co., The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
By J.S. on Aug 4, 2009



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