Latest articles

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.

Employees of Japanese auto parts makers behind bars in U.S.

Updated : 15.03.2017

In the past six years, 64 employees from 39 Japanese auto parts markers were indicted for suspected violations of U.S. antitrust laws, and many of them remain behind bars across the United States, according to a Sentaku investigation.

These cases received scant media attention because many of the companies, including Denso Corporation, Furukawa Electric Co. and Bridgestone Corporation, generally do not publicize legal cases in the United States.

Ruling coalition reshuffle?

Updated : 13.03.2017 / Category Sentaku in The Japan Times

Four years after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to power, his administration continues to enjoy an unusually high approval ratings of more than 50 percent, and the prime minister's grip on power remains unrivaled. And as if he still isn't satisfied, Abe has begun to take steps to solidify the political foundation of his administration, causing new friction among political circles.

On Dec. 22, Lower House Speaker Tadamori Oshima, who hails from Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, complained about the high-handed manner with which the LDP rammed through the controversial bill to legalize casino resorts. Speaking to his close aides, Abe himself did not hide his displeasure with the way Oshima ran the proceedings during the extraordinary Diet session, notably his decision to delay the vote for ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. Such an open spat between the prime minister and the Lower House speaker, who is customarily chosen from among senior lawmakers from the party in power, is unheard of.


Not all Nissan employees happy with first Japanese president in 17 years

Updated : 10.03.2017

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Nissan Motor recently--and unexpectedly--announced Carlos Ghosn will step down as president and chief executive officer and be replaced by Hiroto Saikawa, the automaker's co-CEO, on April 1. Saikawa will become Nissan's first Japanese president in 17 years, but not all Nissan employees are thrilled about his appointment.

According to a Nissan insider, Saikawa frequently gives excessively detailed instructions, and many employees consider him pedantic.

Is the Kim Jong-un regime rock-solid?

Updated : 07.03.2017

As speculation rages about the brazen killing of Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur airport last month, some South Korean government sources are using this incident to glean insights on the state of the North Korea regime led by his half brother, Kim Jong-un.

They agree that the killing showed how confident Jong-un is about ruling the reclusive state.

"It is true that Jong-un has confidence in his actions," said a high-ranking South Korean official. "Such a [murder] cannot be carried out if his regime is unstable."

A grand plan: Handing the reins of Toyota Motor to Akio Toyoda's son

Updated : 01.03.2017

In an unprecedented move, the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) has picked Toyota Motor Corporation Senior Managing Officer Shigeru Hayakawa to replace one of its vice chairs, Takeshi Uchiyamada, who also concurrently serves as Toyota's chairman of the board, when the latter's tenure expires in June 2017.

Hayakawa would be only the third person to become a Keidanren vice chair without having assumed the presidency of a member company, and the first ever that Toyota has sent to the influential business lobby without having helmed the carmaker.

When this news broke on February 6, Toyota announced Hayakawa would become an executive vice president as of April 1.

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.

Trump's election is bad news for human rights in China

Updated : 20.02.2017 / Category Sentaku in The Japan Times

Leaders of the Chinese Communist Party must be all smiles with the inauguration of Donald Trump as the new president of the United States.

When Trump was reported to be leaning toward strengthening U.S. ties with Taiwan -- defying warnings from Beijing following his telephone conversation last year with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, major Japanese media outlets reported that dark clouds hung over Sino-American relations, expecting that the Communist Party leaders in Beijing would be rattled by that prospect.

Such an anticipation, however, is off the mark. A source well informed of China's internal affairs says that Trump, who is not too keen on protecting human rights, will soft-pedal Washington's interference in China's human rights issues, which in turn would enable the Communist Party leadership to step up its ruthless suppression of pro-democracy forces and those advocating independence for Uyghurs. According to that scenario, Chinese President Xi Jinping will take advantage of Trump's policies of pursuing nothing but economic benefits, and deprive his nation of 1.3 billion citizens of the freedom of speech and thought.

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.

Canon's main business faltering in face of shrinking sales

Updated : 14.02.2017 / Category Corporate Investigations

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As the countdown echoing around the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Japan reached "zero" at 8:33 a.m. on January 15, a rocket blasted off straight and true into the brilliantly clear sky. The takeoff went without a hitch, but just 20 seconds later, success instantly turned into failure.

The telemetry data—including data on such factors as position, altitude and speed—sent from the rocket to the space center suddenly cut out. Ignition of the rocket's second-stage engine was intended to be triggered by transmissions sent from the space center. But with the telemetry disrupted, ground controllers were unable to confirm the condition of the rocket, and pushing ahead with the ignition carried the risk of sending the craft into an unexpected flight path. The ignition was aborted and the entire rocket plunged into the sea where the first stage had been expected to come down.

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