Junko's Feed
Jul 4, 2014

Cuba opens pipeline of baseball talent to Japan, U.S. left out

HAVANA/TOKYO (Reuters) – Cuba is allowing some of its best baseball players to take their skills to Japan and make good money instead of risking their lives at sea with human traffickers in pursuit of Major League Baseball dreams.

The bright lights of the U.S. big leagues do still draw Cuban prospects to speedboats in order to escape the communist-run island – one player just left the island and six others were excluded from the national team for trying.

Jul 1, 2014

Japan opens bidding for Sendai Airport rights in privatisation drive

TOKYO, July 1 (Reuters) – Japan has opened the bidding for
rights to operate facilities at Sendai Airport, the nation’s
10th busiest, the first step of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s
drive to increase private investment in public infrastructure as
he tackles bloated government debt.

Both foreign and domestic bidders will be eligible to vie
for rights to operate the airport’s runways and hangar
facilities for up to 65 years, Japan’s Ministry of Land,
Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said in a website posting
dated June 27.

Jul 1, 2014

Japan land prices in three largest cities rise in 2013 -govt survey

TOKYO, July 1 (Reuters) – Land prices in Japan’s three
largest metropolitan areas rose in 2013, spurred by property
investments, while prices in smaller cities kept declining,
highlighting a widening divide between the biggest urban centres
and more remote areas, a government survey showed.

Land prices in Tokyo rose 1.8 percent last year while Osaka
posted a 0.3 percent rise, both climbing for the first time in
six years.

Jun 27, 2014

Japan’s state bank JBIC seeks more deals with private equity firms

TOKYO (Reuters) – State-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), which provides financial resources to domestic firms expanding abroad, is looking to boost its support for Japanese private equity-owned firms in overseas M&A deals, a JBIC executive said.

JBIC is also keen to jointly invest in domestic companies with global private equity firms, Shigeki Kimura, global head for JBIC’s industry finance group, told the AVCJ Japan Private Equity and Venture Forum on Thursday.

Jun 26, 2014

Some Japan lawmakers seek U-turn in regulation of moneylenders

TOKYO, June 27 (Reuters) – Four years after Japan tightened
rules on the consumer finance industry – and wiped out thousands
of non-bank moneylenders – some lawmakers in the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party want to shift back to deregulation, arguing
this would help small businesses access the cash they need and
fuel economic growth.

The LDP-led government began tightening regulations in
consumer lending in 2006, as millions of individuals and small
firms took on debts they couldn’t repay and as criticism grew
over the menacing methods used by some to collect debts.

May 23, 2014

KKR urges Japan’s pension fund to invest in private equity as reforms loom

TOKYO, May 23 (Reuters) – KKR & Co is calling on
Japan’s public pension fund, the world’s largest, to start
investing in private equity funds to boost returns and encourage
other institutional investors to seek higher-yielding
alternative investments.

KKR Japan CEO Hirofumi Hirano said on Friday he would like
to team up with the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) to
invest in Japanese companies directly, something that the $1.26
trillion fund has never attempted.

May 22, 2014

PAG unit puts Tokyo office up for sale for $1.8 bln -sources

May 22 (Reuters) – Property investor Secured Capital
Investment Management Co has put an office tower in central
Tokyo’s Marunouchi district up for sale for more than $1.8
billion, a bet that investors are confident in a continued
recovery in Tokyo real estate, according to four people with
knowledge of the process.

Secured Capital, part of Asian private equity firm PAG,
wants to sell the 32-storey Pacific Century Place Marunouchi,
near the Tokyo railway station, which it bought for about 144
billion yen ($1.42 billion) in 2009. It is seeking more than 180
billion yen ($1.77 billion), the people said. They asked not to
be named because the sale preparations remain confidential.

May 20, 2014

Japan’s new plan to beat deflation: more baseball

TOKYO (Reuters) – Can more baseball save Japan — or at least Abenomics?

A set of recommendations to lift growth in Japan’s economy drafted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party seen by Reuters calls for slashing corporate taxes, reforming public pensions, and — in a curve ball — increasing the number of professional baseball teams to 16 from 12.

May 19, 2014

KKR seeks investment opportunities with Japan’s state-backed funds

TOKYO (Reuters) – KKR & Co LP (KKR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) may team up with a Japanese state-backed fund to find buyout targets for its $6 billion Asian fund, a year after the U.S. private equity firm and some rivals complained that state funds could impinge on their investment opportunities.

KKR has been in talks with the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) for possible joint investment, Hirofumi Hirano, chief executive of KKR Japan, said at the Reuters Japan Investment Summit on Monday.

May 13, 2014

Michelin-starred Japanese chef fears loss of simple, traditional food

TOKYO (Reuters) – At his three-star Michelin restaurant in Tokyo, Yoshihiro Murata serves elaborate 12-course meals of delicate Japanese food. But his real passion is to make sure simple, traditional food is passed on to the next generation.

Japanese food is now widely available around the world, and “washoku” – traditional cooking – was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO last year. But Murata fears that even though sushi has become universal, appreciation for Japanese food is declining in its homeland.