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Japan's king of couture slides into bankruptcy

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Taking up herewith Japanese Business News by Media.
Japanese Business Trend will be read via these News.
Oct 10 Japan's king of couture slides into bankruptcy (Times Online)
 Yohji Yamamoto, the haute couture house that thrust the minimalist style on to an unsuspecting fashion scene in the 1980s, has become the latest victim of a seismic shift among Japanese shoppers and their new-found respect for "cheap and cheerful". As wages continue to slide and with the high-end Japanese retail world still counting the painful cost of a prolonged downturn, Yamamoto filed for bankruptcy yesterday, struggling under six billion yen of debt.
Oct 10 Japan to obtain rights to platinum in Africa (AFP)
 Resource-poor Japan has obtained rights to develop platinum mines in South Africa and Botswana in a bid to ensure a stable supply of the metal, officials said on Friday. The government-backed Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC) has signed a contract with Discovery Metals in Australia to jointly develop nickel and platinum mines in northeast Botswana, it said in a statement.
Oct 10 The leaning car of Tokyo (Sydney Morning Herald)
 This zero-emissions car can lean into corners like a motorbike. Nissan's Land Glider will be one of the stars at this month's Tokyo motor show. It looks like a car but drives like a motorbike. This is the Nissan Land Glider and the Japanese car maker will reveal it in the metal at the Tokyo motor show next week.
Oct 10 Networking, not gender law, gives businesswomen needed leg up (Japan Times)
 A decade after a law was passed aimed at ensuring equality of the sexes, women are still a small minority among Japan's top business executives, prompting some to turn to networking. Around 300 female company presidents gathered in May at Tokyo's Omotesando Hills retail complex to hear uplifting talk on weathering the recession.
Oct 10 Kao withdraws 'healthy' food labeling from Econa products (Japan Times)
 Kao Corp. has stopped labeling its Econa line of cooking oils and dressings as "healthy" and "functional" due to concerns that an ingredient could metabolize into a carcinogen, according to company officials. Econa cooking oils have been found to contain glycidol fatty acid esters, which could be converted into the carcinogenic compound glycidol in the human body, prompting the Food Safety Commission to conduct assessments of the product.
Oct 09 Google wins business customers in Japan (MarketWatch)
 Google Inc.'s increasing effort to appeal to businesses has found success in Japan, with the acquisition of new corporate customers of the Internet giant's Apps productivity tools, according to a report published Friday. Google, which predominantly relies upon consumers' use of is search service, has in recent years expanded its focus to businesses and government agencies.
Oct 09 Murdoch in Asia, checking out e-reader partners? (Reuters)
 News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch has held talks with Japanese and South Korean firms, possibly sounding out potential partners to rival Amazon.com Inc's Kindle electronic reader, sources said on Wednesday. Murdoch, whose media empire straddles the Wall Street Journal to Fox TV, said in August he was unhappy with Amazon's control of relationships with newspaper subscribers for Kindle, and might seek a better deal with rival e-reader maker Sony Corp.
Oct 09 Poupeegirl brings chic twist to business of social networking (Japan Times)
 Popular social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Mixi face a young, chic challenger. Poupeegirl is trying to steal the hearts of fashion-conscious young women, both in Japan and abroad. Poupeegirl has drawn about 500,000 registered users since its launch in February 2007, 98 percent of whom are women.
Oct 09 From on the rocks to on the awards tables, Saitama whiskey has winning hand (Japan Times)
 Ichiro's Malt, a series of products named after Ichiro Akuto, the 44-year-old president of Venture Whisky, has earned top ratings from Whisky Magazine, a prestigious British publication, and has also grabbed top prize for Japanese whiskey at the World Whisky Award hosted by the magazine for three straight years from 2007.
Oct 08 Japanese fall for alcohol-free beer (independent.co.uk)
 Sales of the world's first beer that is completely alcohol free have rocketed in Japan, with Kirin Brewery Co. forced to ramp up production to meet demand for its "Kirin Free." Launched in April, when it was described as the only beer in the world with 0.00 percent alcohol, expectations were initially modest for a brew in a nation which famously enjoys a drink or two.
Oct 08 Uniqlo booms despite recession (AFP)
 The operator of Japan's Uniqlo on Thursday announced record annual profits, boosting its ambitious drive to become the world's top retailer of cheap-chic clothing. The company, which aims to be bigger than foreign rivals Gap, Zara and H&M, predicted another strong year as it lures cost-conscious shoppers during the economic slump.
Oct 08 Versace to close Japan stores, will review strategy (Bloomberg)
 Gianni Versace SpA will close its Japanese stores and review its entire business strategy, as demand for luxury goods declines in the world's second-largest economy. "The Versace boutiques in Japan no longer represented the brand image and it was felt to be more advantageous for the company to close them and start with a clean slate," Milan-based Versace said yesterday in a statement.
Oct 08 Fashion rethinks, rebrands and reasserts itself in the recession (Japan Times)
 Uniqlo gets an A+ for +J. There may be a recession, but that doesn't mean that we can't afford style, thanks to the new maestro of cool, Mr. Tadashi Yanai. Wait, who? Yanai, or Mr. Uniqlo, is the president of the ubiquitous clothing chain, which only a few years ago was more synonymous with fleece than fashion. But by hiring famed German designer Jil Sander as creative director earlier this year, he has now succeeded in finding the middle ground between discerning bargain hunters and fashion fanatics.
Oct 07 McDonald's to put Tamagotchi DVD in Japanese happy sets (animenewsnetwork.com)
 The Japanese entertainment conglomerate Bandai has announced on Tuesday that the McDonald's Japan restaurant chain will include a DVD with exclusive Tamagotchi! anime in each Happy Set meal during the November 7-8 weekend. (Happy Sets are the Japanese equivalent of Happy Meals in North America.) As part of the limited-time promotion, the Tamagotchi! Special DVD will include exclusive animation and the music video of the hit song 'Every Lovely' by the Tamagotchi Planet idol, Lovelyn.
Oct 07 Strange forces at work in Japan: market forces (Times Online)
 It is hard to guess whether Japanese marketing meetings are long and logical, or short and slapstick. Culturally, you would expect them to be interminable - a grim trudge towards consensus and universal nodding. The products, though, suggest that it all takes only a few madcap seconds. Many Japanese advertising campaigns appear to pivot on the simple question: "Has Richard Gere had any work recently?"
Oct 07 2009 Tokyo Auto Show Preview: Toyota's Toyobaru, FT-86 Concept (edmunds.com)
 For years, Toyota has yearned to build a fun new lightweight rear-wheel-drive sports coupe in the mold of the cult Corolla Sport from the '80s. Now, at last, it's on the way with this fascinating FT-86 concept, which will bow at the 2009 Tokyo Auto Show later this month. The FT-86, of course, is the sportster that the world has half-jokingly referred to as the "Toyobaru." It was developed with Subaru and has a 2.0-liter normally aspirated Subaru flat-4 engine and a six-speed manual transmission.
Oct 07 Flights on 52 JAL routes half-empty or worse (Yomiuri)
 The average passenger load factor on more than one third of Japan Airlines' 151 domestic routes was less than 50 percent between April and July, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Tuesday. According to sources, the average passenger load on 52 of the airline's domestic routes fell below 50 percent during the period, and only 11 of the routes reached 70 percent, which is supposed to be the break-even point.
Oct 06 Green cars continue rise in Japanese auto market (Xinhua)
 Hybrid cars, which use both gasoline and electricity, continued to dominate Japan's auto making sector, according to statistics released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA) on Tuesday. For a third consecutive month, the Toyota Prius was the most popular car in the country, selling 31,758 units in September and 116,298 units in the first half of the year.
Oct 06 French Connection fades after Japanese closures (guardian.co.uk)
 French Connection has fallen back following Friday's late news it plans to close all of its 21 stores in Japan. The move - which will take place over the next six to nine months - follows continuing hefty losses in the country. The company plans to seek a licensee to keep the brand going in Japan.
Oct 06 Japan bank to hire 600 in US: report (philly.com)
 Nomura, the big Japanese investment bank, sees the U.S. as bargain territory, with lots of companies getting sold and capital raised in the next couple of years. The Nomura group "is aiming to increase headcount in the US to 1,200 by the end of next March, or twice the number of employees on its US payroll, compared with January this year," after hiring 300 in New York and other offices year to date.
Oct 06 JAL to shelve foreign capital tieup talks, focus on rehab (Japan Times)
 Japan Airlines is planning to temporarily shelve capital tieup talks with Delta Air Lines and American Airlines to focus on compiling its new turnaround plan, sources said Monday. Japan's top airline decided to prioritize other restructuring measures like job cuts and scrapping unprofitable routes because a capital alliance would take longer to bear fruit, the sources said.
Oct 05 U.S. flights likely to Japan's Haneda (Washington Times)
 Here is some good news for those of you seeking an alternative to Tokyo's vast and faraway Narita International Airport: The Japanese government will likely soon allow nonstop flights between the United States and the city's much smaller and nearby Haneda Airport. There is, of course, some not-so-good news. Unless U.S. negotiators manage to pull a rabbit out of a hat, those flights will arrive and depart only between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. - which means that takeoffs and landings at U.S. airports may have to occur in the middle of the night, too.
Oct 05 Landlords coin it with vending-machine tax ruse (Yomiuri)
 Landlords across the nation are raking in an estimated total of 9 billion yen a year in consumption tax refunds by exploiting a loophole in the Consumption Tax Law, according to the Board of Audit. By setting up a single soft-drink vending machine, landlords are able to receive refunds for taxes paid when their apartments and condominiums were built. The practice is rife across the nation, the board said.
Oct 05 Murdoch: Japan newspapers will have to charge for online content (Japan Times)
 Japanese newspapers are eventually going to have to charge users to read general news stories online, media mogul Rupert Murdoch said Sunday at a conference here of scientists and engineers. Murdoch announced in August that his News Corp., the largest producer of English-language news in the world, plans to start charging for online news content by next July.
Oct 04 Japanese fear Hyundai most (journalgazette.net)
 Hyundai Motor Co. - not the up-and-coming Chinese, not the leaner, meaner Americans - is the automaker that has the Japanese seriously worried. Talk to any Japanese auto executive, and the official is likely to say the South Korean automaker is rapidly emerging as the most-feared competitor to Japan's world-leading car companies.
By J.S. on Oct 12, 2009



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