Capsule

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.

Shochiku planning kabuki theater following passing of 'casino bill'

Updated : 12.01.2017 / Category Capsule

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Shochiku, a major Japanese film and theater company, is welcoming the December 15 enactment of the integrated resort (IR) promotion bill, which was passed just in time for the end of an extraordinary Diet session, despite strong opposition.

Indeed, the firm has long hoped for the establishment of the so-called "casino law," which will legalize casino gambling in Japan.

Japanese Defense Ministry silent over atrocity near South Sudan encampment

Updated : 04.01.2017 / Category Capsule

Japan's Defense Ministry did not publicly reveal a report on an atrocity that took place near an encampment of a Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) unit dispatched last year to participate in U.N. peacekeeping operations in South Sudan, just as the government was debating whether to give the GSDF fresh roles in line with controversial security laws, it was learned recently.

The event was reportedly witnessed by members of the 10th unit during their operational duties as part of a U.N. mission called UNMISS, following their dispatch to South Sudan in June last year. "A terrible atrocity was carried out against citizens on the outskirts of the capital city of Juba, close to the SDF encampment" a Defense Ministry source said.

Doubts swirl around Toyota Prius after fatal accident in Japan

Updated : 02.01.2017 / Category Capsule

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Last month, a Toyota Motor Corp. Prius model taxi cab crashed into a hospital in Fukuoka City, southern Japan, killing three people and injuring several others. The police investigation concluded the taxi driver had mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake, based on an analysis of the information contained in the vehicle's event data recorder (EDR).

"There are continual rumors about Prius cars going out of control at convenience store parking lots and other facilities," said an automobile journalist who covers users' car-related comments. "In most cases, police have pointed to driver carelessness as the cause of such accidents."

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