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Japanese Business News

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Taking up herewith Business News regarding Japan by Media
Toyota matter has been taken up often.
Interested in "Toyota quality control to tap foreign specialists", "H.I.S. to take over troubled Huis Ten Bosch park", "Rakuten moves back to black with record group net profit in FY 2009" and etc. 

Feb 14 Shinsei, Aozora drop merger deal (Yomiuri)
 Shinsei and Aozora banks have abandoned their plan to merge due to a failure to iron out differences over postintegration management policy, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Saturday. The two banks intend to report their decision to scrap the deal, which was slated for October, to the Financial Services Agency this week, according to sources close to the talks.
Feb 14 Toyota quality control to tap foreign specialists (Yomiuri)
 About 10 foreign specialists will join an ad-hoc panel to be set up soon by Toyota Motor Corp. with the aim of maintaining the quality of parts and equipment used to build Toyota cars overseas, company officials said. The committee will comprise specialists from Japan, the United States, Europe and other parts of the world, with Toyota President Akio Toyoda as panel chief.
Feb 13 13 radio stations in Tokyo, Osaka to begin simultaneous webcasting (AP)
 Thirteen commercial radio stations in Tokyo and Osaka will start simultaneous broadcasting on the Internet in March on a trial basis, sources close to the radio stations said Saturday. If the attempt to increase listeners and help shore up falling advertising revenues succeeds, the stations will shift to full-scale online broadcasting in the fall, according to the sources. The stations will set up a dedicated website where listeners will be able to pick a station, they said.
Feb 13 H.I.S. to take over troubled Huis Ten Bosch park (Asahi)
 Travel agency H.I.S. Co. is poised to take over management of troubled theme park Huis Ten Bosch. Built on 800,000 square meters, or about 1.5 times the size of Tokyo Disneyland, Huis Ten Bosch began operations in 1992 after taking over the Dutch-themed Nagasaki Holland Village park, which first opened in 1983.
Feb 13 Toyota suspends production of Lexus, Sai hybrids (AFP)
  Toyota suspended production of two hybrid models on Saturday as it develops a fix for those vehicles' faulty brakes amid massive recalls, a company spokeswoman said. The world's biggest automaker has stopped producing the Sai sedan and the Lexus HS250h in Japan at least through February 20, Toyota spokeswoman Mieko Iwasaki said. It had yet to be decided whether production would resume on February 21. The company did not say how much the suspension would dent its production. Local media reports have said it would reduce the company's output by more than 2,000 vehicles.
Feb 13 Rakuten moves back to black with record group net profit in FY 2009 (AP)
 Rakuten Inc. said Friday it saw record consolidated net profit of 53.56 billion yen in the year ended December, in a turnaround from a loss of 54.98 billion yen in the preceding year, thanks to strong online retail business. Sales also jumped 19.4 percent to an all-time high of 298.25 billion yen as many consumers chose to shop online at their homes due to the recession instead of going outside to visit retail stores, the major Internet portal operator said.
Feb 12 Outsiders find success in Japanese biz (Variety)
 The Japanese film and TV biz has long been insular, even xenophobic, with local pics often showing outlanders in a negative light as loutish soldiers or brutish gangsters. Over the past decade, however, more gaijin (foreigners) have been making inroads in the local biz in a variety of capacities, from subtitlers, interpreters and sales agents to helmers, scripters and producers. In the process, they've made the Japanese entertainment market easier for outsiders to deal with -- and profit from.
Feb 12 Chinese snapping up real estate in Japan (AsiaOne)
 Japan's real estate market may be in a slump, but that is not deterring the Chinese from scooping up properties. Chinese money - that is, from ethnic Chinese living in Japan - is making its presence felt in a big way. A growing number of Chinese residents are turning to real estate investments in major cities as well as rural areas.
Feb 12 Japan's SaaS market dwarfs Asia (ZDNet)
 Japan's lucrative US$1 billion SaaS (software-as-a-service) market last year dwarfed the rest of Asia's markets combined, according to Springboard Research. In a report Thursday, the research house said the adoption of SaaS in Japan spread across all major industries in the country and is set to continue growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24 percent between 2009 and 2013. This also makes SaaS one of the fastest-growing segments of the Japanese IT industry, according to the report.
Feb 12 Toyota hopes to repair most recalled cars within 3 months (Yomiuri)
 Toyota Motor Corp. is seeking to repair within three months 90 percent of about 200,000 Prius hybrid cars recalled over a flawed electronic braking system, company officials said. On Wednesday, Toyota started the repair of Prius vehicles at about 4,800 Toyota dealerships nationwide. The move came after the carmaker had filed a recall for the latest Prius model and three other gas-electric hybrids with the transport ministry a day earlier.
Feb 12 Pressure builds on Toyota chief to face US Congress (Reuters)
 Toyota will suspend production from this weekend of two hybrid vehicles in Japan, as the chief of the beleaguered auto maker faces further pressure to explain its mass safety recalls to the US Congress. The world's biggest auto company has recalled more than eight million vehicles worldwide over faulty accelerator and brake systems in a spiralling public relations nightmare for one of Japan's greatest corporate icons.
Feb 12 Qualcomm says court orders stay in Japan case (Reuters)
 Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) said on Thursday that the Tokyo High court put on hold, potentially for years, a cease-and-desist order against the chip maker in a case fighting its license pacts with Japanese manufacturers. The court stay was for enforcement of the Japan Fair Trade Commission's Sept. 30 order that Qualcomm should remove certain provisions from its license agreements.
Feb 11 Japan's biggest brewer to pour overseas (Sydney Morning Herald)
 Kirin Holdings, Japan's biggest brewer, plans to accelerate overseas expansion after talks to take over Suntory Holdings failed over the merger ratio. Kirin has spent about $US7 billion on overseas acquisitions such as Lion Nathan of Australia in the past three years to offset sagging domestic sales. The abandoned bid for Suntory may spur Kirin to find partners to help it compete globally and to lower costs in Japan, where a shrinking population is sapping demand.
Feb 11 Daiwa's Smart House to go on sale (Yomiuri)
 Daiwa House Industry Co. will begin selling solar-powered homes with highly advanced automatic systems for lighting and other functions in the second half of fiscal 2010. The firm's Smart House can automatically turn off a TV in an empty room using a computer and a sensor, and it also charges batteries with solar power. Other functions include turning air-conditioning on or off and filling the bath from a remote location via a mobile phone.
Feb 11 Bidder bought islet to keep others from rocking biz boat (Japan Times)
 The successful bidder of a state-owned uninhabited islet off Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, identified itself Wednesday as port transportation company Mitsukojima Futo, which operates a depository for industrial salt on a neighboring island. One of the two islets collectively called Mitsugo Island went under the hammer for around ¥100 million in Tuesday's public bidding, but the winning bidder was not immediately known.
Feb 10 Nuclear battle: Japan vs. South Korea (uraniuminvestingnews.com)
 As the world looks to alternative energy supplies, the nuclear energy sector is getting a lot of attention. The "nuclear renaissance" as some in the industry call it has sparked a race amongst energy-hungry Asian nations to procure reliable uranium fuel supplies around the globe. Japan, which obtains 65 per cent of its energy from nuclear power, has found itself competing with its neighbours not only for uranium deposits but also for international nuclear power plant contracts.
Feb 10 Inside Toyota's epic breakdown (Reuters)
 Toyota Motor Corp, the world's most dominant and profitable automaker, was not accustomed to outsiders telling it what to do, let alone some obscure bureaucrat from the United States, whose own car industry was on taxpayer-funded life support. But in the middle of December, on a cloudy day in the middle of the Japanese archipelago's main island, Ron Medford, the acting head of the U.S. agency that regulates auto safety, was reading Toyota executives the riot act.
Feb 10 Honda to recall 378,758 cars in U.S. over airbag inflators (AP)
 The U.S. arm of Japan's Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday it will recall 378,758 vehicles in the United States, including Accords and Civics, to replace the driver's airbag inflator. American Honda Motor Co. said the driver's airbag inflators in these vehicles may deploy with too much pressure, which could cause the inflator casing to rupture, possibly resulting in injury or death, the company said.
Feb 10 McDonald's to close hundreds of outlets in Japan (Daily Finance)
 McDonald's Corp. is closing 430 restaurants in Japan, the latest sign of the faltering economy in the Asian country. A 50% owned affiliate will shutter the locations over the next 12 to 18 months in conjunction with the strategic review of the company's real estate portfolio. The world's largest restaurant chain plans to take charges of $40 million to $50 million in the first half of the year. McDonald's Holdings Co. (Japan) has 3,700 stores. McDonald's also is opening 90 new restaurants and refurbishing 200 in Japan.
Feb 10 Toyota problems with recalls can lead to a new Japan (csmonitor.com)
 For the Japanese, the Toyota recalls have reinforced their worries about the long-term decline of Japan's leadership in making things for the world - especially innovative products, like the Prius. Yet, the Toyota problems could finally force all of "Japan Inc." to make the necessary shift to a new economic strategy - one that relies less on manufacturing and export giants like Toyota. Whether Japan likes it or not, that shift is already under way. The share of manufacturing in its economy has dropped from 28 percent to nearly 20 percent over the last two decades, which follows a similar decline in America.
Feb 10 Why beer firms' merger fell flat (Yomiuri)
 Prolonged merger talks between Kirin Holdings Co. and Suntory Holdings Ltd. broke up after the two sides failed to resolve an issue concerning shares held by Suntory's founding families. The two firms announced Monday they would terminate their business integration negotiations owing to differences in their corporate cultures. Suntory is an unlisted company that effectively is under the control of its founding families, whereas Kirin, which is listed on the First Section of Tokyo Stock Exchange, pays great attention to short-term profits and management transparency in consideration to its shareholders.
Feb 10 Sumitomo tries to foil KDDI bid for J:COM (Yomiuri)
 Sumitomo Corp. has entered the final phase for its launching of a takeover bid for Jupiter Telecommunications Co. (J:COM)--the nation's largest cable TV provider--in a bid to counter the planned public tender offer by KDDI Corp., according to sources. Sumitomo effectively holds a 27.7 percent stake in the cable giant, making it the second-largest shareholder. Sources said the company was planning to raise its stake to more than a third.
Feb 09 Toyota recalling Prius in Japan for brakes (AP)
 Toyota is recalling nearly 200,000 of its signature Prius green cars in Japan for braking problems, the latest in a string of embarrassing safety problems at the world's largest automaker. Toyota Motor Corp. president Akio Toyoda will hold a news conference at the automaker's Tokyo office later Tuesday to outline details of the braking problem, including plans for a possible recall in the U.S., a company official told The Associated Press. The number of Prius gas-electric hybrids being recalled would swell to about 300,000 if there is a recall in the U.S. and other regions.
Feb 09 In Toyota mess, lesson for Japan (New York Times)
 Once a leading symbol of Japan's rise to global economic might, Toyota has become one of the most visible signs of its decline. And even before the recalls, Japan's rivals from South Korea and China had started overtaking Japan in key industries from semiconductors to flat-panel televisions. And Toyota on Tuesday issued another damaging recall, this time of its popular Prius hybrid.
Feb 09 100 mil. yen offered in successful bid for uninhabited island (AP)
 An unidentified organization won a contract to purchase a state-owned uninhabited islet in the Seto Inland Sea off Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, for 100,010,000 yen (about $1.12 million) in public bidding Tuesday, bidding participants said. The island up for bids was one of two islets collectively called Mitsugo Island, located about 1 kilometer off Kure. It measures about 580 meters around and 7,600 square meters in acreage. The Finance Ministry held the bidding as part of efforts to sell idle state properties, ministry officials said.
Feb 09 Japan Airlines rejects Delta, stays with American (CNBC)
 Japan Airlines, wooed for months by Delta Air Lines with promises of cash and a broad global network, is spurning the world's biggest carrier and opting to keep its alliance with American Airlines. Japan's flagship carrier says it will strengthen its partnership with American and apply to the U.S. government for antitrust immunity on trans-Pacific flights.
Feb 09 Govt looks to block ban on trade in bluefin tuna (Yomiuri)
 The government is increasingly concerned about a recommendation issued by the Washington Convention's secretariat Friday that urged the treaty's signatories to adopt a proposal by Monaco to ban trade in bluefin tuna in the Atlantic, according to sources. Japan is the world's largest consumer of bluefin tuna and is set to boost diplomatic efforts to urge signatories to the treaty, formally called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, to reject the proposal at the March 13-25 meeting in Qatar, the sources said.
Feb 09 Deregulation crucial to JAL resuscitation (Yomiuri)
 Deregulation of the airline industry will be crucial for getting Japan Airlines back on its feet, but the nation should be prepared to accept the ailing airline could be sold to a local rival, according to a former deputy chief of a task force appointed by the government to draw up a plan to rehabilitate the airline. In a recent interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun, Kazuhiko Toyama, who has played a key role in the attempt to revive JAL, also said the clock is against the carrier as it tries to streamline itself under the state-backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation of Japan.
By J.S. on Feb 16, 2010



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