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1+1=3? Not in Japan's 'Galapagos' phone market

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Jun 121+1=3? Not in Japan's 'Galapagos' phone market (Wall Street Journal)
Japan's mobile phones feature breathtakingly sophisticated technology, and the offerings from Toshiba Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. are no exception. But simply combining their handset operations may not be enough to gain a global presence. Toshiba and Fujitsu, industrial electronics conglomerates whose products range from air conditioners to semiconductors, are in talks to merge their mobile phone businesses, according to a person familiar with the matter. The news was splashed on the front page of Japan's Nikkei business daily, with the joint entity expected to be the second biggest player in the country's saturated mobile phone market with a 19% share - trailing only Sharp Corp. But missing is the fact that the two comprise less than 1% of all the handsets sold worldwide - an indication that this deal would create another big fish in a small pond.
Jun 12Tour execs woo Ieyasu's China fans(Japan Times)
The cities of Okazaki, Toyota and Anjo, in the Mikawa region of Aichi Prefecture, are known as the hometown of the Tokugawa clan, which ruled the country for nearly 300 years from 1603 and laid the foundations of modern Japan. The cities are now launching joint tourism campaigns to take advantage of the growing popularity of the clan in China, where a translated novel portraying Tokugawa Ieyasu has become a best-seller, and attract more visitors. Written by Sohachi Yamaokoa and published in China three years ago, 2.2 million copies of the novel have been sold in China.
Jun 12Tokyo police raid Incubator Bank (Japan Times)
Tokyo police raided Incubator Bank of Japan on suspicion of sabotaging an audit by the Financial Services Agency in violation of the Banking Law, sources said Friday. The agency is considering filing an accusation against the bank and some of its officials with the Metropolitan Police Department, after ordering the bank on May 27 to suspend some of its business operations, the sources said.
Jun 11Wife of former Rakuten manager Nomura files defamation suit (AP)
Sachiyo Nomura, the wife of former Rakuten Eagles pro baseball manager Katsuya Nomura, is suing a magazine publisher over an article claiming that she watched a sumo tournament with a woman associated with an organized crime group, her court complaint showed Friday. In the libel suit lodged with the Tokyo District Court, Nomura is demanding that publisher Shinchosha Publishing Co. pay her 33 million yen in compensation for the article that appeared in the June 10 edition of its Shukan Shincho weekly.
Jun 11Mizuho to build retained earnings to 1 tril. yen (Yomiuri)
Mizuho Financial Group Inc. plans to build up about 1 trillion yen of retained earnings over three years to cope with globally strengthened capital adequacy requirements, according to the group's midterm management plan. The group also plans to raise capital by making a public offering of new shares and selling about 1 trillion yen of stock holdings to decimate the assets, sources said. The group hopes the measures will help raise its core Tier 1 capital ratio--comprising only common shares and retained earnings--from the current 3.83 percent to around 7.2 percent at the end of March 2013.
Jun 11MHI to hit the high seas again / Rejoining large cruise ship market, despite looming '2015 problem' (Yomiuri)
After a 10-year hiatus, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. has decided to resume manufacturing large cruise ships. MHI's timing is curious. Although the market for passenger ships is growing, the global shipbuilding industry is facing "the 2015 problem"--in which the world's shipbuilding capacity will be three times higher than the demand five years from now. Nevertheless, the shipbuilder that made the iconic Diamond Princess still hopes to stand apart from Chinese and South Korean shipbuilders locked in a race to lower prices.
Jun 10Japan's beer shipments drop 8.4% to hit record low for May (AP)
Major Japanese brewers said Thursday their domestic shipments of beer and beer-like alcoholic drinks in May fell 8.4 percent from a year earlier to 35.63 million cases, a record low for the month, due to an economic slump and lower-than-usual temperatures. The figure, the lowest for May since 1992 when comparable data became available, also marked the fifth consecutive year-on-year decline. One case of beer holds 20 633-milliliter bottles.
Jun 10Mickey and Minnie help 10,000th couple celebrate wedding at Disney Ambassador Hotel(Mainichi)
Tokyo Disneyland held a special ceremony June 9 honoring the 10,000th couple to have a wedding ceremony at its adjoining Disney Ambassador Hotel. Before the amusement park opened on the day, the bridegroom, 32-year-old Osaka civil servant Tomoya Okitsu, and the bride, 24-year-old company employee Mio Ashida, signed a certificate in the presence of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse for becoming the 10,000th couple to get married at the hotel.
Jun 10JT to double its hit smokeless tobacco (Japan Times)
Japan Tobacco Inc. will double its production capacity of the smokeless tobacco it introduced last month after the product has proved a smash hit amid tougher controls on smoking, the company said. Zerostyle Mint smokeless tobacco, which JT released exclusively in Tokyo, has been scarce in shops recently, the company said Tuesday. It now plans to double its production capacity from the current 500,000 packs a month to 1 million packs by setting up a new manufacturing line at its factory in Iwata, Shizuoka Prefecture.
Jun 10Fierce competition for rare metals a challenge to Japan's 'resource diplomacy'(Mainichi)
"Japan shouldn't just buy lithium. Instead, I want Japan to be a partner in overall economic areas," said Parliamentary Secretary for Economy, Trade and Industry Chiaki Takahashi to Bolivian Minister of the Presidency Oscar Coca on a visit to the country last February. Bolivia holds the world's largest deposits of lithium, which is an essential ingredient in cutting-edge battery technology and indispensable to Japan's eco-friendly car industry. It is just one of many rare metals and earths that has become the object of increasingly fierce global competition. As Japan has made its environmental technology sector a pillar of its growth strategy, the country cannot afford to lose the initiative.
Jun 09New terminal for low-cost carriers considered for Narita airport(AP)
The operator of Narita airport near Tokyo is considering building a terminal aimed exclusively at serving low-cost carriers to spur flights in the growing market, airport officials said Wednesday. Narita International Airport Corp. has been assessing demand for such a terminal, which could be used at rates lower than those for the existing terminals at the country's main gateway from overseas, and plans to see what executives of low-cost carriers have to say at a conference in London in September, the officials said.
Jun 09Japan ex-whalers tell Aussie TV of rampant meat embezzlement (Japan Times)
Two Japanese former whalers allege that crew members and the semiofficial Institute of Cetacean Research engage in large-scale whale meat theft and that whistle-blowers face deadly retaliation, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday. The two whistle-blowers spoke on the ABC program "Foreign Correspondent" about hundreds of kilograms of whale meat being stolen for either personal consumption or to sell to restaurants.
Jun 09Another Honda-linked China plant on strike (Japan Times)
Honda Motor Co. affiliate Yutaka Giken Co. closed a factory in China after workers went on strike demanding higher pay, the second walkout to affect the automaker in less than a month. Employees at Foshan Fengfu Autoparts Co., a venture operated by Yutaka Giken and Taiwan's Full Wei Industrial Co. in Foshan, Guangdong Province, began the strike Monday, said Kazuhito Anma, a spokesman for Yutaka Giken in Tokyo.
Jun 08FY 2010 net balance of 83 major auto parts makers returns to black (AP)
Japan's 83 listed auto parts makers posted a combined group net profit of 209.1 billion yen in fiscal 2009, a turnaround from a combined net loss in the previous year, due to cost-cutting efforts, an industry body said Monday. The number compares with the preceding fiscal year's net loss of 476.8 billion yen, the Japan Auto Parts Industries Association said. But the combined sales of the 83 dived 11.5 percent to 16.90 trillion yen as the global economic downturn crimped auto demand, the association said.
Jun 07High steaks (Sydney Morning Herald)
Wagyu has been the meat of the moment for several years. A Japanese breed ("wa" means Japanese, "gyu" means cow) traditionally used as draught animals, Wagyu cattle have more intramuscular fat cells than other breeds. When the beef is cooked the fat is absorbed into the muscle, resulting in a buttery, almost sweet meat that is full of flavour, exceptionally juicy and so tender you can virtually cut it with a harsh word. But is it really worth the price?
Jun 07Japan Airlines says not interested in buying Airbus A380 model(BusinessWeek)
Japan Airlines Corp. isn't interested in buying Airbus SAS's A380 superjumbo model as the carrier prepares to retire its fleet of Boeing Co. 747s, President Masaru Onishi said today in an interview. The Tokyo-based company has cut 84 weekly international flights after entering bankruptcy and will ground all of its 747s by next March, leaving no call for the 525-seat A380, Onishi said in Berlin at the annual gathering of the International Air Transport Association.
Jun 07Japanese firms tap into China's massive online shopping market (Mainichi)
Japanese Internet firms have started to make major moves into the rapidly expanding Chinese online retail market, teaming up with Chinese companies to lure customers. The number of Internet users is China has been increasing at a pace of about 90 million a year since 2007, and as of the end of 2009, the total number of users had reached 384 million, figures from the China Internet Network Information Center show. On Tuesday Yahoo Japan joined forces with China's Taobao online marketplace, which is part of the Alibaba Group.
Jun 07China's Spring Airlines to begin service to Ibarki Airport in July(Japan Times)
Discount carrier Spring Airlines has decided to operate flights for two months from late July linking its home city of Shanghai and Ibaraki Airport, about 80 km northeast of Tokyo, the Ibaraki prefectural government announced Sunday. The airline plans to consider whether to continue serving the airport in Omitama city after examining passenger traffic on its services that will likely be two to three flights per week, the local government said.
By J.S. on June 17, 2010



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