Detroit bureau chief
Kevin's Feed
Apr 5, 2015

Japan’s wary manufacturers resist Abe’s urge to splurge

KUSATSU, Japan (Reuters) – Hirotoshi Ogura, a self-described “factory geek”, is Daikin Industries’ (6367.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) master of doing more with less – and part of the reason Japan’s recovery remains stuck in the slow lane.

As Japan heads into the season of peak demand for room air-conditioners, Ogura and other Daikin managers have been tasked with figuring out how to boost output by some 20 percent at a plant in western Japan that six years ago the company had almost given up on as unprofitable.

Mar 19, 2015

Exclusive: Japan tax agency, Hong Kong join FBI in reviewing Universal casino payments – sources

TOKYO/BILOXI, Mississippi (Reuters) – Japan’s tax authorities have begun a review of how slot machine maker and casino developer Universal Entertainment (6425.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) accounted for $40 million in payments made in 2010 to an associate of the Philippines’ top gambling regulator at that time, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Separately, the payments are also a focus of a previously undisclosed criminal investigation by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption, sources said. The ICAC has become involved because the transfers under review passed through bank accounts based in Hong Kong, those people said.

Sep 28, 2014

Japan’s SoftBank in talks to buy DreamWorks: source

TOKYO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Japan’s SoftBank Corp (9984.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is in talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation SKG (DWA.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the Hollywood studio behind the “Shrek” and “Madagascar” movie hits, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

An acquisition of DreamWorks by SoftBank would make it part of a cash-rich Japanese communications and media company that, under founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son, has shown a willingness to take big bets on combining disparate businesses.

Sep 3, 2014

Fukushima workers sue Tepco over unpaid wages, reliance on contractors

IWAKI Japan (Reuters) – A group of Fukushima workers on Wednesday sued Tokyo Electric for unpaid wages in a potentially precedent-setting legal challenge to the utility and its reliance on contractors to shut down a nuclear plant destroyed by the industry’s worst accident since Chernobyl.

The lawsuit, filed by two current and two former Fukushima workers, claims that Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc and its contractors failed to ensure workers are paid promised hazard allowances, a court filing showed.

Feb 28, 2014

Bitcoin true believers unfazed by losses in Mt. Gox collapse

TOKYO, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Like other bitcoin evangelists,
Ken Shishido is ready to write off the money he lost in the
bankruptcy of Tokyo-based virtual currency exchange Mt. Gox as
the price of revolutionising global finance.

“In the early days of the automobile, there were traffic
accidents because you didn’t have traffic lights or pedestrian
crossings,” he said hours after Mt. Gox said on Friday it had
lost up to half a billion dollars of investor funds, including
some of his own. “But we didn’t ban automobiles.”

Sep 13, 2013

Japan must get ready to release Fukushima water into the sea: U.S. adviser

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan should begin preparing to release a massive tide of water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, once it regains public trust and can confirm the water has only low levels of radiation, a U.S. adviser to the plant’s operator said on Friday.

Lake Barrett, a former head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Civilian Nuclear Waste Management, spent nearly a decade at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and led the clean-up operations after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant. He has been brought in by Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) to advise it on the lengthy decommissioning process at Fukushima.

Sep 4, 2013

Japan in touch with U.S., others on Fukushima water crisis

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is in touch with experts in the United States and elsewhere on ways to control the spread of irradiated water at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, trade and economics minister Toshimitsu Motegi told Reuters.

“We will be looking for the best knowledge, technology and information with regard to how to manage the contaminated water at the plant and how to decommission the complex,” Motegi said in an interview on Wednesday.

Dec 31, 2012

Special Report: Japan’s casino tycoon bet big on Philippines fixer

TOKYO/MANILA (Reuters) – Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada was facing a crisis: work on his dream casino by the bay in Manila was going nowhere.

Instead of a world-class resort packed with Chinese high-rollers, Okada, 70, was sitting on a $300-million patchwork of reclaimed and undeveloped land next to the Manila airport that by the middle of 2009 was threatening to become a money pit, according to company records and people involved.

Nov 19, 2012

Manila probes Okada payment, Universal shares drop

TOKYO/MANILA, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Prosecutors in Manila will
investigate whether bribes were paid in relation to the $2
billion Manila Bay casino being developed by Japanese
billionaire Kazuo Okada, a spokesman for Philippine President
Benigno Aquino said on Monday.

Edwin Lacierda, a spokesman for Aquino, told reporters the
country’s Department of Justice had been asked to investigate
whether bribes were paid in relation to the project being
developed by Okada’s Tokyo-based company Universal Entertainment

Nov 19, 2012

Shares at Japan’s Universal hit 9-month low as U.S. probes payments

TOKYO/MANILA (Reuters) – Shares in Universal Entertainment Corp sank to a nine-month low on Monday after Reuters reported U.S. gaming regulators were investigating payments from its affiliates to an associate of the former head of the Philippine gaming regulator.

Shares in the Tokyo-based company closed down 11.04 percent and have lost nearly 30 percent of their value this year. Universal is required to the Nevada Gaming Control Board because it supplies slot machines for casinos in that state in addition to making and marketing “pachinko” machines for the Japanese market.

    • About Kevin

      "Kevin Krolicki is Reuters bureau chief in Detroit where he has been based since 2006. He has also worked as an editor and reporter in Los Angeles and Tokyo."
    • Follow Kevin