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Mar 2, 2012

Daiichi, Glaxo set up Japan venture in vaccine push

TOKYO, March 2 (Reuters) – Japanese drugmaker Daiichi
Sankyo and British peer GlaxoSmithKline are to
form a 50-50 joint venture to bring new vaccines to Japan,
targeting an underdeveloped segment of the world’s
second-biggest prescription drug market.

News of the venture, which will likely create the top player
in the Japanese vaccine market, sent shares of Japan’s No.3
drugmaker to a four-month closing high on Friday.

Feb 27, 2012

Olympus risks foreign backlash with new board line-up

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Olympus Corp proposed a new board of directors on Monday in an effort to recover from a $1.7 billion accounting fraud, but the line-up could face a hostile reception from foreign investors when it goes to a shareholder vote.

The maker of cameras and medical equipment said it had nominated an insider, executive officer Hiroyuki Sasa, to become president and former banker Yasuyuki Kimoto as chairman, subject to approval at its April 20 shareholders’ meeting.

Feb 14, 2012

As debt deadlines loom, Elpida flags ‘going concern’ doubts

TOKYO, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Japan’s Elpida Memory
flagged doubts over its ability to continue as a going
concern, as the world’s third-largest maker of DRAM chips has
not yet been able to agree on support from banks and the
government ahead of debt repayment deadlines.

Valued at $1.3 billion, Elpida is scrambling to meet
deadlines in the next two months to repay 92 billion yen ($1.2
billion) in bonds and loans, and has been battered by a slump in
prices for its dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips, which
are used mostly in personal computers.

Feb 13, 2012

Olympus expects net loss, but core business seen unscathed

TOKYO, Feb 13 (Reuters) – Japan’s scandal-hit Olympus
Corp on Monday forecast a $410 million full-year net loss due to
its ailing camera business and tax asset writedowns, but
strength in its core endoscope business highlighted its
attractiveness to potential investors.

The maker of cameras and medical equipment has been
considering alliance offers to shore up its finances after a
$1.7 billion accounting scandal severely depleted its assets,
with Sony, Fujifilm, Terumo and South
Korea’s Samsung Electronics believed to be among
possible suitors.

Nov 1, 2011

“Street Arm” pumps up quake-hit Japan city

SENDAI, Japan (Reuters) – By day, Kenichi Watanabe runs an insurance agency. By night, he’s an arm wrestler — and on a recent Saturday, he’s preparing to do battle.

Under a moonlit sky, Watanabe and his opponent face off across an arm wrestling table in a bustling pedestrian street in Sendai, a northern Japanese city hit hard by the March quake. Watanabe is lean and cut, like a lightweight boxer, but his rival looks a couple of weight classes bigger.

Oct 28, 2011

Chernobyl film hits home in post-Fukushima Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) – The film “Land of Oblivion” may revolve around victims of the Chernobyl disaster a quarter of a century ago, but Japanese audiences will see striking parallels with current-day headlines following the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Environmental damage, exclusion zones and radiation testing are just some of the images in the film that are redolent of the Fukushima catastrophe, which developed after a series of explosions was set off by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Oct 24, 2011

“Magic Tree House” film premieres in Japan

TOKYO, Oct 24 (Reuters) – The “Magic Tree House” books have
whisked millions of readers on adventures to everywhere from
ancient Egypt to feudal Japan. Now, the children’s time-travel
series is embarking on a new destination: the movie theatre.

The Japanese animated adaptation, which premiered at the
Tokyo International Film Festival, comes to the cinema about two
decades after author Mary Pope Osborne was walking past an old
tree house and got the idea for the series that has sold nearly
100 million books worldwide.

Oct 20, 2011

Tokyo film fest hopes to cheer disaster-hit Japan

TOKYO, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The 24th Tokyo International Film
Festival kicks off on Saturday with a diverse slate of art house
and mainstream fare, but the biggest theme at the annual event
may be the country’s real-life struggle to recover from the
massive March earthquake and tsunami.

Organizers at one stage even pondered whether the Oct 22-30
show could go on after the devastating disaster threw the nation
into a period of “jishuku,” or self-restraint, which resulted in
many events being cancelled. In addition, the Fukushima nuclear
crisis scared away many foreign tourists.

Jun 22, 2011
via Summit Notebook

Short-term hopes, long-term gloom


By Tomasz Janowski

Optimism that Japan’s economy will bounce back from a post-quake slump and pessimism about its long-term prospects is the prevailing message of economists addressing the Reuters Rebuilding Japan Summit.

The reasons for the near-term optimism are well known: strides made by Japanese manufacturers in restoring production and supply networks ripped apart by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and expectations that sooner or later hundreds of billions of dollars spent on rebuilding the ravaged northeast coast will grease the wheels of the stuttering economy.

Jun 22, 2011
via Summit Notebook

Looking forward to inflation


By Tim Kelly

Yoshiharu Hoshino, the president of Hoshino Resort, one of Japan’s leading resort operators, is looking forward to a dose of inflation after years of sliding prices.

By engineering a rise in rates by printing money, he reckons Japan can make a big chunk of its burgeoning national debt disappear, which along with tax hikes is, he predicts, likely the way Japan is going to exit a potential crisis as debt soars to more than twice its gross domestic product.