Junko's Feed
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.

“Prosperous baseball teams could strengthen attachment to regional cities and help local economies thrive,” said the report, which cited the success of U.S. Major League Baseball in nearly doubling from 16 teams to 30 since the 1960s.

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.

Apr 9, 2014

GIC to buy Tokyo property for $1.3 bln from Lone Star-sources

TOKYO/SINGAPORE, April 9 (Reuters) – Singapore state
investment firm GIC Pte Ltd will buy a Tokyo property
from U.S. investment fund Lone Star Funds for some 134 billion
yen ($1.3 billion), the highest price since Japan’s real estate
market recovery accelerated last year, three people with direct
knowledge of the sale told Reuters.

Lone Star had put up the property, called Meguro Gajoen, for
auction late last year for at least 96 billion yen. The property
comprises a complex of office towers, with the Japanese unit of
Amazon.com Inc its main tenant.

Mar 28, 2014

Sekisui House agrees to buy Tokyo property for $720 million: sources

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Sekisui House Ltd (1928.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is buying an office tower in central Tokyo for 74 billion yen ($720 million), as property prices rise to levels that allow lenders to recoup losses from a bust that followed the global financial crisis.

The Osaka-based home builder has agreed to buy the 20-storey, 41-year-old Kokusai Akasaka Building in an upscale commercial and business district, according to four people briefed on the deal. The tower is largely occupied by affiliates of NTT DoCoMo Inc (9437.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Japan’s largest mobile phone operator.

Mar 18, 2014

Land prices in Japan’s big cities rise for the first time in 6 years

TOKYO, March 18 (Reuters) – Land prices in Japan’s largest
cities rose for the first time in six years in 2013 while
declines slowed in the rest of the country, data showed on
Tuesday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s loose-money policies
spurred asset purchases.

Commercial land prices in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya rose 1.6
percent on average, reversing a 2012 fall of 0.5 percent, while
residential land was up 0.5 percent, compared with the previous
year’s 0.6 percent decline, according to a survey released by
the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Mar 14, 2014

Yoshinori Sato: the man behind the Japanese arms race

KURASHIKI, Japan (Reuters) – Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka, the New York Yankees’ latest big-money signing, have much in common.

They enjoyed hugely successful high school and professional careers in Japan, both winning the Eiji Sawamura Award for the top starting pitcher and earning multiple All Star call-ups before signing mega-deals in Major League Baseball.

Mar 2, 2014

Insight – Abenomics struggles to deliver Japan public works boom

TOKYO (Reuters) – When Tokyo asked for bidders to build what is expected to be the world’s largest fish market on the city’s vacant eastern edge there were no takers.

In a graphic illustration of how the hopes for “Abenomics” are falling short, the city was forced to raise by two-thirds its budget for the project to more than $1 billion (597 million pounds) before some of Japan’s top construction companies stepped forward.