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Posts Tagged ‘Japan’s’

Japan’s lower house approves 60 billion dollar stimulus

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2010 at 8:25 am

Japan’s economy expands in Q3, but risks remain

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2010 at 6:30 am

Russia’s Medvedev to meet Japan’s PM: spokeswoman

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2010 at 5:23 am

Japan’s envoy to Moscow returns home over island row

In Uncategorized on November 3, 2010 at 5:13 am

Japan’s PM to watch closely strength of yen: Jiji

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2010 at 11:22 am

Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on Saturday he would monitor closely the strength of the yen and hinted at holding talks with the central bank chief amid the recent rise of the unit, Jiji Press reported.

“I want to continue to closely watch” currency market moves, Kan was quoted by Jiji as telling reporters after the dollar hit a 15-year low of 84.73 yen before easing earlier this week.

The greenback rose back above the 86-yen level on news that Japanese officials showed concern over the unit’s strength, which poses a threat to the export sector driving Japan’s fragile economic rebound.

A clerk counts bank notes at a lottery booth in Tokyo.

Kan also voiced hope of holding a meeting with Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa on foreign exchange rates, saying: “I have not decided when and how, but want to have necessary forms of communications.”

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda has earlier said he wanted the Bank of Japan to “cooperate” more with the government to tackle the rising yen, in a sign of fresh pressure on the body from officials.

For every one-yen rise in the currency’s value against the dollar, companies can lose tens of billions of yen earned overseas when repatriated, threatening a sector that Japan depends on to offset its weak domestic picture.

Source: SGGP

Nearly 200 of Japan’s oldest citizens ‘missing’

In Uncategorized on August 12, 2010 at 11:23 am

(AFP file) Elderly people take a rest on benches at a temple in Tokyo.

TOKYO (AFP) – Nearly 200 Japanese centenarians are missing, officials said Thursday, with the total likely to rise amid a nationwide search after the discovery of the 30-year-old corpse of a man registered as aged 111.

In the western city of Kobe alone, the whereabouts of 105 out of 847 centenarians were unknown as of the end of July, a city official said.

“The city launched an investigation on the condition of the 105 people,” the Kobe city official said — in addition to 22 others who have not accessed nursing or medical insurance in recent years.

Those unaccounted-for include people who could be older than the current officially recognised oldest woman in Japan, 113-year-old Chiyono Hasegawa, who lives in the southern Saga prefecture.

They include one supposedly 125-year-old woman.

The sheer number of missing has raised fears that Japan’s current welfare system could be easily exploited by relatives, after officials visiting Sogen Kato on his 111th birthday instead found his mummified 30 year-old remains.

Police are investigating the late Kato’s relatives — who claimed he had retreated to his room to become “a living Buddha” — for fraud because the government had kept paying a pension into the man’s bank account.

A total of 9.5 million yen (109,000 dollars) in widower’s pension payments had been deposited since his wife died six years ago, and some of the money had recently been withdrawn, reports said.

Local government officials have fanned out for face-to-face meetings with people registered as aged over 100 — of whom fast-greying Japan, with its world-beating life expectancies, had more than 40,000 at last count.

In city of Osaka, 64 out of 857 centenarians are currently missing. Officials on Thursday confirmed that a man who was registered as being 127 had been dead since 1966.

The southwestern city of Kitakyushu also said it could not confirm the whereabouts of 10 centenarians.

A government report said in July that Japan’s average life expectancy set a world-beating 86.44 years for women while men’s average life expectancy came fifth globally with 79.59 years.

When asked if the revelations of “missing” centenarians could affect the life-expectancy rate, a health ministry official said the rate is calculated using national census data, whereas local communities and healthcare bodies are responsible for maintaining records of centenarians.

Japan has a tradition of giving birthday gifts to centenarians, but often the presents are handed to family members, and workers are unable to confirm whether or not the elderly person has received them.

In another case of a missing centenarian, officials found that Fusa Furuya, who had been listed as Tokyo’s oldest woman at 113, has not been seen for about half a century according to her 79-year-old daughter.

Source: SGGP

Sony leads Japan’s electronics makers back to black

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 at 11:19 am

TOKYO, July 29, 2010 (AFP) – Japanese electronics giant Sony on Thursday said it returned to the black in the fiscal first quarter thanks to strong sales in televisions, its PlayStation 3 console and computers.

The maker of Bravia televisions and Cyber-shot cameras reported a profit of 25.7 billion yen (293 million dollars) compared with a 37.1 billion yen loss a year ago.

Under chief executive and president Howard Stringer, the Japanese company has been streamlining operations and cutting costs to trim back the sprawling group, which was battered by the global downturn.

The electronics giant has been forced to undergo major restructuring — slashing thousands of jobs, selling facilities and turning to suppliers for parts — after seeing losses pile up as the financial crisis hit demand.

On Thursday Sony also upwardly revised its annual profit forecast by 20 percent to 60 billion yen in the year ending March 2011 despite worries over the yen’s strength versus other major currencies, which could erode profits.

The company warned that “further appreciation of the yen against the euro is expected for the remainder of the year” and revised its exchange forecast to 110 yen versus the euro, compared with 125 forecast in May.

It maintained its previous forecast of 90 yen to the dollar.

Japanese exporters remain anxious about the recent strength of the safe-haven yen versus the euro and the dollar amid ongoing uncertainty over the eurozone economy and doubts over the durability of a US recovery.

If sustained, a stronger yen could erode repatriated overseas profits and make goods more expensive overseas.

In the quarter ended June, Sony posted an operating profit of 67 billion yen compared to a loss in the same period a year ago.

The company is also banking on the mounting popularity of products that enable three-dimensional viewing.

In April it released a software update enabling the PS3 to support 3D games. Televisions showing 3D images went on sale in Japan last month.

Shares in Sony closed 0.03 percent lower in Tokyo Thursday before the earnings announcement.

Separately Toshiba Corp. said Thursday that it barely returned to the black for the first quarter on strong demand for flash memory chips used in laptops, smartphones and other gadgets.

Toshiba reported a net profit of 466 million yen, reversing a net loss of 57.8 billion yen a year earlier. Its sales for the three months rose 9.7 percent to 1.47 trillion yen.

Toshiba, whose business spans across consumer electronics, industrial components and nuclear power plants, maintained its forecast for a net profit of 70 billion yen on sales of 7.0 trillion yen for the current financial year.

Rival Sharp Corp. also said it returned to the black in the first quarter to June with a net profit of 10.7 billion yen (123 million dollars) on strong sales of liquid crystal display screens and mobile phone handsets.

It had posted a net loss of 25.2 billion yen a year earlier.

Japan’s top manufacturer of liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs, marketed under the AQUOS brand, said it expected a net profit of 50 billion yen for the current financial year to March 2011, unchanged from its previous forecast.

Source: SGGP

Japan’s PM stresses US ties, need to restore fiscal health

In Uncategorized on June 8, 2010 at 10:31 am

TOKYO, June 8, 2010 (AFP) – Japan’s new Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Tuesday vowed to make Japan a “more vigorous country,” restore its public finances and maintain the US alliance as the “cornerstone” of its diplomacy.

The new centre-left premier, set to be sworn in later in the day, signalled he wants to rebuild US ties strained by a damaging row over a US airbase that cost his predecessor Yukio Hatoyama his job last week.

Japan’s new Prime Minister Naoto Kan speaks during a news conference at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo on June 8, 2010. AFP photo

“I think it is necessary to firmly continue the principle that the Japan-US security alliance is the cornerstone” of Tokyo’s diplomacy, Kan said, after speaking with President Barack Obama in a weekend telephone call.

Hatoyama stepped down after reneging on an election pledge to move the unpopular Futenma marine airbase off southern Okinawa island, giving in to Washington’s demands while enraging locals and splitting his ruling coalition.

Kan said: “About the Futenma issue .. Japan and the United States have reached an agreement and we have to work based on that, but I will do my best to ease the burden for the people of Okinawa.”

Kan in his inaugural address also said Japan’s economic bubble had burst 20 years ago and the country now suffers 30,000 suicides a year, and pledged: “I want to rehabilitate Japan drastically and create a vigorous country.”

With public debt nearing twice the size of gross domestic product, he pledged that “rebuilding financial health is essential for Japan’s economy”.

With the government issuing record bonds to cover its outlays, Kan said: “We are continuing to gather debt. This problem should be handled as the country’s biggest topic. This kind of problem goes beyond party politics.”

Source: SGGP

Japan’s new PM to curb power of kingmaker Ozawa

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2010 at 6:20 pm

TOKYO, June 6, 2010 (AFP) – Japan’s new premier Naoto Kan will likely take on his predecessor’s cabinet with only minor changes but is moving to curb the influence of powerful backroom fixer Ichiro Ozawa, media reports said Sunday.

(AFP files) In a file picture taken on April 26, 2010 then-Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa speaks at a press conference at the party headquarters in Tokyo.

The former finance minister has announced the appointment of two critics of Ozawa — dubbed the “Shadow Shogun” — to key political posts ahead of the formal unveiling of his new government line-up expected on Tuesday.

Kan will likely name his former deputy Yoshihiko Noda, a 52-year-old fiscal hawk, as successor at the finance ministry amid growing pressure to revive the world’s number two economy and slash mounting public debt, media reported.

He also plans to retain most of the key cabinet members, including Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa and Transport Minister Seiji Maehara.

Kan, who was voted prime minister Friday, told reporters late Saturday he will appoint Yukio Edano, 46, a known Ozawa critic, as secretary general of his ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the top post after party leader.

Yoshito Sengoku, 64, will take the position of chief cabinet secretary, the prime minister’s right-hand man and top government spokesman.

Ozawa was seen as the real power behind outgoing prime minister Yukio Hatoyama, who announced last week he was stepping down after less than nine months in office amid a row about a US airbase and political funding scandals.

“I would like to maintain transparency and fairness to lead the party,” Edano told reporters.

Ozawa, 68, was the architect of the August electoral earthquake that swept the conservative Liberal Democratic Party from power after more than half a century of almost unbroken rule.

But pressure piled on the DPJ government as Ozawa, the former DPJ secretary general, was accused of taking bribes from a construction company and Hatoyama also faced criticism over a political donations scandal.

Both men escaped indictment.

Hatoyama resigned in the face of plunging popularity ratings after he broke a campaign promise to relocate a controversial US air base on the southern island of Okinawa.

When Hatoyama resigned he took Ozawa down with him, saying they both had to go as they had become mired in funding scandals that had resulted in the arrests of close aides.

Kan, a 63-year-old one-time leftist activist and the first prime minister in more than a decade who does not hail from one of Japan’s political dynasties, publicly criticised Ozawa last week, urging him to “stay quiet”.

US President Barack Obama congratulated Kan in a phone call on Saturday and the two leaders pledged to work together on “the many issues facing both nations” and the Japan-US alliance, the White House said.

Kan’s diplomatic debut as prime minister may begin with China as Hatoyama was already scheduled to visit the World Expo in Shanghai next Saturday, the Yomiuri said.

The new economic powerhouses, which have had difficult relations for decades, are rivals for resources but ties have improved in recent years.

Opinion polls published Sunday, the first since Kan replaced Hatoyama, showed that around 60 percent of the Japanese public have high expectations for the new leader of the world’s second biggest economy.

The Asahi newspaper said 82 percent of respondents approved of Kan’s critical approach to Ozawa while a survey in the Mainichi daily found 81 percent of nearly 1,000 voters welcomed Ozawa’s resignation from the DPJ post.

Public support for the ruling party jumped 15 points to 36 percent in the latest Kyodo News poll, conducted Friday and Saturday.

For the post of head of the consumer affairs agency, Kan is expected to name TV presenter-turned-politician Renho, who only goes by her first name, after Mizuho Fukushima was dismissed by Hatoyama over the US base.

Fukushima, leader of the Social Democrats — then a partner in the ruling coalition — was dismissed after she refused to sign an agreement keeping the disputed Futenma airbase on Okinawa.

The Social Democrats then quit the ruling coalition, which Hatoyama cited as one of the reasons for his abrupt resignation.

Source: SGGP

Japan’s new PM takes power

In Uncategorized on June 4, 2010 at 10:13 am

TOKYO (AFP) – Former finance minister Naoto Kan became Japan’s new leader Friday, pledging economic recovery and close ties with Washington after his predecessor quit over a festering dispute about a US air base.

A parliamentary vote confirmed Kan as the successor to Yukio Hatoyama, who tearfully resigned as prime minister Wednesday, citing the row over the base on Okinawa island and money scandals that sullied his government.

Former finance minister Naoto Kan has become Japan’s new prime minister (AFP photo)

Kan, a 63-year-old former civic activist, was also deputy prime minister in Hatoyama’s centre-left government that came to power last year in a landslide election, ending half a century of almost non-stop conservative rule.

“My first job is to rebuild the country, and to create a party in which all members can stand up together and say with confidence, ‘we can do it!'” a smiling Kan said after his party earlier installed him as its new leader.

Kan vowed to revitalise Asia’s biggest economy, which has been in the doldrums since an investment bubble collapsed in the early 1990s.

“For the past 20 years, the Japanese economy has been at a standstill,” said Kan. “Growth has stopped. Young people can’t find jobs. This is not a natural phenomenon. It resulted from policy mistakes.

“I believe we can achieve a strong economy, strong finances and strong social welfare all at the same time,” he said, pledging to reduce Japan’s huge public debt which is nearing 200 percent of gross domestic product.

On foreign policy, Kan pointed at the threat posed by communist North Korea, the isolated and nuclear-armed regime that has been blamed for the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

“Japan has a lot of problems, including the North Korean issue,” said Kan, stressing that US-Japanese ties remain the “cornerstone” of foreign policy.

He also said he would maintain Japan’s goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, one of the most ambitious targets of any country, and to seek an EU-style Asian community in future.

It was not immediately clear whether Kan would stick with the expected July 11 date of upper house elections or delay the vote, in which his coalition will fight to keep its majority to avoid policy gridlock.

In one of his first meetings after the party vote, Kan met Shizuka Kamei, head of the tiny People’s New Party, and agreed to maintain their coalition, which together gives them a paper-thin majority in the upper house.

But Kan faces an uphill battle to win back voters after the government’s approval ratings under Hatoyama slumped below 20 percent this week.

Hatoyama’s support plummeted after he backtracked on an election promise to move the unpopular US base off the island of Okinawa, enraging locals as well as the pacifist Social Democrats, who quit the ruling coalition.

The row badly damaged Tokyo’s relations with Washington, which has been Japan’s bedrock security ally since World War II and has almost 50,000 troops based in Japan, most of them in Okinawa.

Kan, the son of a factory manager and a graduate of applied sciences from a top university in Tokyo, campaigned in the 1970s for pacifist and environmental causes and entered parliament with a leftist party in 1980.

He achieved popularity in the mid-1990s when as health minister he admitted government culpability in a scandal over HIV-tainted blood products.

When the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) took power last September he became deputy premier and headed a new National Strategy Bureau, tasked with wresting power from Japan’s entrenched and secretive state bureaucracy.

In January Kan, although not a trained economist, took over as finance minister. In that post, he advocated a weaker yen and badgered the central bank to do more to help Japan recover from its worst post-war recession.

The yen had fallen on currency markets in anticipation of Kan’s ascent to the top job, but was little changed Friday.

Sadakazu Tanigaki, leader of the conservative opposition Liberal Democratic Party, dismissed the DPJ’s top-level reshuffle.

“It’s an old-fashioned practice to change the cover page ahead of elections,” he said.

Source: SGGP