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Yamato Transport faces uphill battle in Thai market

Updated : 29.05.2017 / Category Capsule

Japanese delivery service company Yamato Transport Co., Ltd. is struggling to establish a foothold in the Thai market it entered this year.

The Thai market for "refrigerated delivery services was already saturated and Yamato arrived too late," according to a source at a rival firm. Yamato likely will have a hard time achieving its annual sales target of 1 billion baht (about ¥3.2 billion) within five years.

Concerns rife over information leaks from Honda Motor

Updated : 23.05.2017 / Category Capsule

There is rising concern within Honda Motor Co., Ltd. over the possibility of information leaks as a result of the Japanese automaker's joint development of driverless car technology with Google subsidiary Waymo LLC.

Honda announced its tie-up with Google in December with an eye on joint autonomous car development that would use Honda's vehicles and Waymo's software. The deal left many people at Honda--and outside the company--scratching their heads, as Honda has been developing driverless technologies on its own. Honda R&D Co., Ltd., a subsidiary tasked with developing all Honda vehicles, is especially alarmed by the tie-up.

Sumitomo at odds with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal over Brazilian ore firm

Updated : 12.05.2017 / Category Capsule

A schism between Sumitomo Corporation's metal business department and its major trading partner, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, has emerged over the former's handling of a Brazilian iron ore company.

In January, Sumitomo rejected a 1 billion real (about ¥36 billion) capital reduction plan for Mineração Usiminas S.A. (MUSA), in which it holds a 30 percent stake. MUSA's parent company and Brazil's largest steelmaker Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA (Usiminas) had proposed the capital reduction.

Marubeni's chairman not awarded Russia decoration

Updated : 13.04.2017 / Category Capsule

Russia recently conferred the order of friendship to Masami Iijima, chairman of Mitsui & Co., and Yoshihiro Shigehisa, honorary advisor of JGC Corporation, for their contributions to economic exchanges between Japan and Russia. But Teruo Asada, chairman of Marubeni Corporation, which prides itself as Japan's trading house that contributes the most to economic cooperation between the two nations, was not selected to receive a decoration.

This omission has raised eyebrows because Marubeni has been more committed than Mitsui to forging cooperative economic ties with Russia. Marubeni has worked in tandem with Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on this issue, and Asada reportedly spearheaded a business strategy to jointly develop energy resources with Russian firms, culminating in the signing of memorandums of understanding over liquefied natural gas development in the Arctic region with Novatek and oil development off Sakhalin Island with Rosneft.

Yamato Transport's price hikes to sting consumers, not Amazon?

Updated : 07.04.2017 / Category Capsule

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Yamato Transport Co., Ltd., is set to start price hike negotiations with its major clients, but Amazon Japan G.K., which is believed to be Yamato's largest customer, reportedly has no intention to enter such talks.

Yamato persistently prodded Amazon, which had contracted Sagawa Express Co., Ltd., to deliver goods sold online until the spring of 2013, to switch to Japan's largest door-to-door delivery company, according to an Amazon insider. "It is very arrogant" for Yamato to suddenly demand price hikes or threaten to stop doing business with Amazon, he said.


Bomb ticking under North American project of JR Tokai subsidiary

Updated : 27.03.2017 / Category Capsule

The stock price of Nippon Sharyo, Ltd., a subsidiary of Central Japan Railway Co., has surged since the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has touted a massive investment in the U.S. railway network.

But industry sources say Nippon Sharyo has a ticking bomb sitting under its U.S. project, which could make it difficult to receive new orders.

Hon Hai pushing Sharp to set up LCD factory in North America

Updated : 21.03.2017 / Category Capsule

Dark clouds are looming over a plan by Taiwan's Hon Hai group to construct a large liquid crystal display factory in North America with its Japanese subsidiary, Sharp Corporation, playing a central role.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Chairman Terry Gou announced the \800 billion plant construction plan in late January, but the group has not yet established a supply chain to procure equipment and components necessary to manufacture LCDs, informed sources said.

Resentment simmers over JR Tokai loan deal

Updated : 22.02.2017 / Category Capsule

People within the rail industry are reportedly fuming over the "cozy ties" that exist between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) Chairman Emeritus Yoshiyuki Kasai in connection with the Linear Chuo Shinkansen project, according to a JR employee. This dissatisfaction stems from the government providing JR Tokai with long-term, low interest, fixed-rate, no-collateral loans to the tune of ¥3 trillion through its Fiscal Investment and Loan Program.

The first payment of ¥500 billion was parceled out in November 2016. An LDP Diet member said of the loan: "A low fixed interest rate of 0.6 percent, with repayment deferred for 30 years! Those are unbelievable conditions in light of the global trend of rising interest rates." Plans to disburse loans—on the same terms—to JR Tokai are proceeding as planned (starting from January), up to a total of ¥3 trillion.

DP and Hakuhodo step up fight against Dentsu

Updated : 17.02.2017 / Category Capsule

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The main opposition Democratic Party is pressing ahead with a relentless assault on major advertising agency Dentsu Inc., which has come under intense scrutiny following the 2015 suicide of an employee who had worked excessively long hours. DP leader Renho "is especially fixated on this issue," according to a DP executive.

On January 24, Renho very publicly hounded Dentsu during a representative interpellation at a plenary session of the House of Councillors. Renho also has instructed Kazunori Yamanoi, chairman of the DP's Diet Affairs Committee, to keep pressing on this issue, including maneuvering to summon Dentsu officials as unsworn witnesses before the National Diet.

JAL's spending tactics raising eyebrows

Updated : 24.01.2017 / Category Capsule

After having pulled free of its bankruptcy crisis, Japan Airlines (JAL) continues to pursue its "athlete-chasing" program, among other eyebrow-raising spending.

In November 2015, the company entered into an agreement with professional tennis player Kei Nishikori—who had been contracted with Delta Airlines—in a five-year deal reportedly worth ¥1.5 billion, attracting intense public attention. Then, in November 2016, the firm agreed to sponsor figure skater Marin Honda, after the skater had initially approached rival firm All Nippon Airways (ANA) to ask for support, only to be turned down due to concerns over her potential and the cost-effectiveness of inking such a deal.

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