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Hitachi, NEC, Casio mulling integration of cell phone biz

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Taking up herewith Japanese Business Trend News by Media.
Business Trend in Japan will be read via these News.
Aug 29 Citi sale of Japan's Bellsystem24 heats up (Reuters)
 Global buyout firms including Permira and KKR are set to bid for a core Citigroup (C.N) asset next week in a deal worth more than $1 billion, grabbing a rare opportunity for them to chase big investments in Japan. Around 20 buyout firms have reviewed the books of Bellsystem24, a Japanese telemarketer owned by Nikko Principal Investments, the private-equity arm of Citigroup, but only four or five may submit formal bids next week due to the deal size, said sources familiar with the situation.
Aug 29 Hitachi, NEC, Casio mulling integration of cell phone biz (Japan Times)
 NEC Corp. and Casio Computer Co. are considering integrating their mobile phone businesses to improve profitability in the saturated domestic market, industry sources said Friday. If realized, the three would have a combined share of more than 20 percent in the Japanese market, drawing close to Sharp Corp., the biggest handset maker in terms of market share in fiscal 2008 at 23 percent.
Aug 29 Publishers buy Europe 'anime' pair (Japan Times)
 Shogakukan Inc. and Shueisha Inc. said Friday they have jointly bought out Kaze of France and Anime Virtual S.A. of Germany. The firms have been marketing DVDs derived from original Japanese animations. Kaze and Anime Virtual have added French and German subtitles to the original animations, while also dubbing DVD programs based on the Japanese versions into the European languages.
Aug 29 Doing business with Japan (234next.com)
 You don't need to look far to see that China is doing big business in Nigeria. In October 2006 Chinese firm CCECC won an $8 billion contract to build a 1,315 kilometre railway line between Lagos and Kano. Seven months later, China helped Nigeria manufacture and launch into orbit its first communication satellite. China's business dealings with Nigeria also extend to oil and gas, and the supply of military hardware. The same cannot be said of Nigeria-Japan business relations, however.
Aug 28 Better Place targets Tokyo taxis (Reuters)
 Electric vehicle infrastructure company Better Place chose Yokohama, Japan, to show off its first - and the world's first - battery swapping station. Now the startup is planning to work with the Japanese government to build a pilot project in Tokyo that will create the world's first electric taxi fleet with swappable batteries.
Aug 28 Toyota poised to slash production (CNN)
 Toyota is poised to slash production by as much as 580,000 vehicles -- or almost 6 percent of global capacity -- in an effort to stem losses amid the sharp downturn in car sales. Japan's largest carmaker, which is forecasting its second consecutive net loss this year, said it would shut a production line in western Japan from next spring through to the second half of 2011, reducing output by 220,000 vehicles.
Aug 28 Japan on alert over China's plans to restrict exports of rare earth metals (Times Online)
 Japan is readying itself for a potential showdown with China at the World Trade Organisation as Beijing considers plans to strangle global supplies of rare earth metals - the "green" lanthanide metals used in hundreds of environmental and military technologies. Global supply of the rare-earth metals, which are vital to the mechanisms of hybrid cars, wind turbines, iPods, lasers, super-efficient light bulbs and radar systems, is 95 per cent controlled by China.
Aug 28 Japan Inc faces test of culture gap (FT.com)
 Nippon Sheet Glass has not ruled out appointing another foreigner in its search to replace Stuart Chambers, the British chief executive who unexpectedly resigned on Wednesday, the company said yesterday. While Mr Chambers stepped down for personal reasons, his status as one of the few foreigners at the top of a large Japanese corporation has concentrated attention on the difficulties of combining Japanese and Western business culture.
Aug 28 Japan's toon business in slump (animationmagazine.net)
 A new doom-and-gloom report from The Media Development Research shows that the animation business in Japan only made $2.24 billion in 2008 -- that's a $300 million drop from a record $2.54 billion in 2006. The number reflects both domestic and foreign movies, TV shows and DVDs.
Aug 28 Nissan and Chrysler end OEM accord (Japan Times)
 Nissan Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC have agreed to end an accord reached last year on making vehicles for each other, the companies said Wednesday, citing drastic changes in the business environment. The development follows Chrysler's emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June to pursue reconstruction under Italy's Fiat SpA.
Aug 28 Govt, rail firms aim to cut delays (Yomiuri)
 The Construction and Transport Ministry and railway companies operating in Tokyo and neighboring areas are taking steps to minimize the frequent delays in services along some routes the firms share. There have been frequent delays in services on these routes as a result of an increase in the number of lines jointly used by East Japan Railway Co., Tokyo Metro and other private railway firms in recent years.
Aug 27 Environment Ministry plans regulations on noise from tires (Asahi)
 The Environment Ministry will set up a committee in autumn to discuss regulations on noise from automobile tires, now the noisiest component of vehicles. The ministry plans to impose the regulations possibly in fiscal 2011. Research will be conducted on the noise levels of passenger cars, buses and trucks, as well as on the various tires in the market and their treads.
Aug 27 Fujitsu to cut up to 1,200 jobs in the UK (Reuters)
 Japanese IT firm Fujitsu Ltd said on Wednesday it was cutting up to 1,200 jobs in the UK in response to lower-than-anticipated revenues. The company, which employs 12,500 people in the UK, said the action was necessary to remain competitive in the current difficult economic climate.
Aug 27 Mixi aims to nearly double its users in 4 yrs (Reuters)
 Mixi Inc, Japan's biggest social networking site, plans to nearly double its number of users to 30 million within four years, its chief executive said on Wednesday. Mixi aims to attract more users by adding content to its sites and by opening up registration.
Aug 27 Orders for Lexus HS 250h 20 times higher than Toyota expected (allcarselectric.com)
 Perhaps it's the gas mileage rating of 35 mpg city, 34 mpg highway. Perhaps it's the tax breaks offered in Japan for hybrid vehicles, or perhaps it's because it's Lexus' only dedicated hybrid model, but whatever the cause is, Lexus surely isn't complaining that pre-orders for the Lexus HS 250h have exceeded their expectations by a factor of twenty.
Aug 27 Battle for Brazilian railway contract gathers steam (Yomiuri)
 As Brazil gears up to host the FIFA soccer World Cup finals in 2014, many nations are hotly pursuing the contract to build a high-speed railway the Brazilian government plans to open in time for the competition. Aiming to secure the contract for a long-awaited major project, Japanese companies are eager to promote their proposals ahead of the announcement of bidding conditions in October.
Aug 27 Skymark mulls Okinawa-Taiwan service starting in 2010: chief (Japan Times)
 Skymark Airlines Inc., Japan's largest discount carrier, may start its first regular overseas flights in the first half of next year as the company seeks to broaden its customer base. The Tokyo-based airline plans to fly between Taipei and Okinawa, President Shinichi Nishikubo said in an interview Tuesday.
Aug 27 McDonald's, 'managers in name only' reach deal on overtime (AP)
 McDonald's Co. (Japan) Ltd. and four of its former "managers in name only" reached a deal Wednesday on a lawsuit over their overtime and other pay, sources in the litigation said. The hamburger chain operator apparently agreed to pay some money to the plaintiffs who say they did not have any authority as managers, according to the sources, but details of the deal reached at the Tokyo District Court were not disclosed.
Aug 26 New company aims to have cheap and efficient electric vehicles on road in 2013 (Mainichi)
 Major correspondence education firm Benesse Corp. and used car giant Gulliver International Co. are teaming up with a Keio University professor to put affordable electric vehicles on the road in 2013, it has been announced. The firms and Keio University professor Hiroshi Shimizu have established a new company, named SIM-Drive, to propagate electric vehicle technology pioneered by Shimizu.
Aug 26 Toyota will cut domestic production as sales plummet (Bloomberg)
 Toyota Motor Corp., Japan's biggest automaker, plans its first long-term closure of a domestic assembly line as car sales in the country fall to the lowest in more than 30 years. Toyota, which cut domestic production 49 percent through June, will reduce output by about 220,000 vehicles by shutting down a line at its Takaoka plant from the fiscal first quarter of next year through the second half of calendar year 2011.
Aug 26 Subsidies for home solar panels drying up fast (Asahi)
 Subsidy programs offered by local governments for home-use solar power generation systems have proved so popular that some prefectures have been forced to dip into additional funding. Of the 24 prefectures that offer subsidies, Okayama and Okinawa have already used up the amounts earmarked in their initial budgets for the current fiscal year.
Aug 25 Chinese tourists to Japan spend 14,000 yuan per person (People's Daily)
 Chinese tourists to Japan spend 160,000 Japanese yen (14,000 yuan) per person, making China top among Japan's "important tourism promotion countries", according to Japan's Tourism Department. Per capita consumption of tourists from other countries to Japan is 80,000 Japanese yen, while the spending of Chinese tourists is twice that amount.
Aug 25 Turning Japanese: Tokyo's promotional powerhouse (guardian.co.uk)
 Responsible for introducing Radiohead, Green Day and Beastie Boys to Japan, Creativeman Productions is one of the country's biggest players in live music promotion. The independent company established itself in 1990 by current CEO Naoki Shimizu, bringing over artists that it deemed worthy. Today, Shimizu's office is littered with so many posters and record covers it looks more like a teenager's bedroom than a typical workplace.
Aug 25 Japan close to oil deal in Iraq (AFP)
 Resource-poor Japan is close to signing a deal with Iraq on the right to develop a huge oil field in the Middle Eastern country, corporate officials said Tuesday. If the deal is reached, the Nasiriyah oil field will be the biggest in production volume that Japanese companies have developed.
Aug 25 Not everyone is lovin' Japan's new McDonald's mascot (Time)
 Mr. James is lovin' being back in Japan. The exuberantly geeky American mascot of McDonald's Japan latest ad campaign oohs and aahs over fireworks. His smile beams from his cardboard cutouts outside McDonald's establishments across the country. But a growing number of non-Japanese who live in Japan are decidedly not lovin' Mr. James.
Aug 25 Japan Airlines mulls cutting 5,000 jobs (AP)
 Struggling Japan Airlines Corp., which is in the midst of major restructuring, is considering slashing 5,000 jobs in three years, a news report said Monday. The planned job cuts would be equal to about 10 percent of the company's work force. The number of workers at Japan Airlines, Asia's biggest airline group, stood at 48,930 at the end of April.
Aug 25 Deregulation drives Sendai cabbies into corner (Yomiuri)
 Taxis waiting for customers can form up to 12 long neat lines in front of the west exit of JR Sendai Station. The sight of the army of cabs forming an orderly queue symbolizes the extremely fierce competition among taxi drivers that can be seen in few other major cites in the nation.
Aug 25 Web comics no laughing matter / Shoddily scanned, translated manga causing headache for publishers (Yomiuri)
 "Scanlation"--or the unauthorized translation and distribution of comics online--is proving a headache for domestic publishing houses. Foreign enthusiasts of Japanese manga are increasingly scanning copies of the comics onto free fan Web sites, often with poor images and translations of dubious accuracy. While such scanlations are in effect online pirated versions of the works, the Internet is a highly anonymous world without borders. This makes it difficult for the publishers to keep such manga highwaymen off the information superhighway.
Aug 25 Person-to-person online lending starts to pick up (Japan Times)
 Online person-to-person money-lending, a growing business in the United States, is showing signs of catching on in Japan despite its potential risks. An emerging Tokyo venture called maneo Inc. has become a pioneer in the field, bringing together prospective lenders and borrowers over the Internet.
Aug 25 All hail: Japan turns to taxis to help bond sales (The Age)
 Japan is expanding efforts to attract buyers to the nation's growing debt load, flooding the backs of taxi cabs for the first time with pamphlets in the hopes of getting retirees to invest more money in bonds. "Government bonds are worth another look," the Ministry of Finance says in its latest advertisement, which features a picture of 37-year-old Junko Kubo, a former anchor on Japan's public broadcaster NHK.
Aug 24 Sales of luxury 'eco-goods' booming (Yomiuri)
 Sales of eco-friendly products, including luxury cars that cost nearly 4 million yen apiece, are booming despite the continuing economic slump. According to experts, the phenomenon is attributable to consumer desire to play a role in the fight against environmental problems, despite the slightly higher cost to the pocketbook. The boom in sales also has been attributed to the fact that eco-friendly products are now seen as stylish.
Aug 23 Aeon to start funeral business in Japan (Bloomberg)
 Aeon Co. will begin offering funeral services next month in Japan and expects 20,000 clients in the first year, Nikkei reported. The retailer will partner with 400 funeral companies and provide services through them. The company aims to reduce funeral costs by about 40 percent by making bulk purchases of funeral-related items, the paper said.
Aug 23 More aid for Kansai airport? (Japan Times)
 The transport ministry plans to insert a bailout plan for loss-making Kansai International Airport into its budget request for fiscal 2010. The costly international airport, built in 1994 on reclaimed land, is still struggling from its heavy debts and a decline in traffic, ministry sources said.
Aug 23 Mask sales jump over new-flu fears (Yomiuri)
 Face masks and other hygiene products are flying off the shelves as people anxious about the new-flu epidemic rush to stock up ahead of the main influenza season of autumn through winter. The buying spree, which was triggered by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry's declaration Friday that the new flu had reached the epidemic stage, has forced some manufacturers to increase production.
By J.S. on Sep 1, 2009



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