Asia autos correspondent, Tokyo
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Aug 5, 2014

Japanese drugmaker Takeda to raise the bar on research projects

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s biggest drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co will become more stringent in research and development projects, its newly appointed president said on Tuesday, as the company struggles with shrinking margins due to a dearth of new products.

Christophe Weber, a Frenchman poached from GlaxoSmithKline in April, said Takeda was still reviewing which, if any, of its six major fields of therapy it would exit, but added that it would only now invest in areas where it would “be the best”.

Jul 16, 2014

Japan’s Kirin pushes into craft beer to halt market share slide

TOKYO, July 16 (Reuters) – Kirin Holdings Co plans
to be the first of Japan’s biggest brewers to embark on a major
push into craft beer, in the company’s latest effort to stem a
long-term decline in market share.

The country’s No.2 beer maker will open microbreweries in
Tokyo and nearby Yokohama in March, with on-site pubs each year
offering nearly 20 types of beer made with traditional
ingredients and methods.

Jul 2, 2014

Japan’s brewers quench summer thirst with canned cocktails as beer sales slide

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese brewers will release their longest-ever line-up of canned cocktails this summer as fizzy concoctions come to the fore in efforts to offset a decade of declining beer sales.

Brewers such as Kirin Holdings Co Ltd have long tried to retain drinkers by making ever-cheaper, beer-like beverages. But changing tastes among Japan’s youth have seen beer drinks giving up fridge space to highballs, white-wine spritzers and pineapple-flavored rum cocktails.

Jun 10, 2014

Uniqlo to hike prices in sign Japan winning fight against deflation

TOKYO, June 10 (Reuters) – Fast Retailing Co’s
Uniqlo, Japan’s biggest clothing store chain, will lift prices
in its home market from next month – one of the most symbolic
signs yet that the country is making strides in its battle to
end 15 years of chronic deflation.

The price hikes of around 5 percent, which come on top of an
increase in Japan’s sales tax in April, are aimed at shoring up
profit margins amid a weaker yen and a global rise in cotton and
wool prices.

May 20, 2014

Japan retailers target new big spenders: tourists

TOKYO (Reuters) – In ageing Japan, retailers are waking up to a hot new demographic: foreign visitors.

Driven by government tourism promotions and lately a weaker yen, the number of inbound travelers has quietly doubled in the past decade to top 10 million for the first time last year. In 2013, they spent $14 billion on everything from powdered green tea to Prada handbags, to rare, red-coral rings.

May 14, 2014

Japan’s working poor left behind by Abenomics

TOKYO (Reuters) – Last Christmas Eve, Ririko Saito and her 11-year-old daughter gathered some plastic bottles, pots and a kettle and made several trips to a nearby park to get water. Their utility had just turned off the tap after months of unpaid bills.

“I was going to take care of it as soon as I got my paycheck in a few days,” the 49-year-old single mother said. “I figured they wouldn’t be so callous to cut us off at that time of year. I figured wrong.”

May 14, 2014

Uniqlo wants 15 “brands” to emulate success of Heattech line

TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) – Ask Yukihiro Katsuta what anyone
could possibly need for sartorial comfort beyond heat-generating
innerwear in winter and a breezy, cooling undershirt in summer
and he’ll tell you that Uniqlo, the Japanese casual-wear brand,
is just getting started.

“I want about 15 ‘brands’ like that,” the head of research
and design at Uniqlo said, referring to the hot-selling Heattech
thermal line and the silky, feather-weight Airism series, the
latter of which earned the status last year as a strategic
stand-alone brand within the Uniqlo universe.

Apr 10, 2014

Toyota to recall 6.4 million vehicles for steering, other faults

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), in its second-largest recall announcement, said on Wednesday that it would call back 6.39 million vehicles globally, and analysts saw automakers increasingly turning to recalls rather than risk bad publicity or legal costs.

Rival General Motors Co is in the midst of its own recall of 2.6 million cars related to an ignition switch problem, which has been linked to at least 13 deaths.

Apr 9, 2014

Toyota to recall nearly 6.5 million vehicles for steering, other faults

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp, in its second-largest recall announcement, said on Wednesday that it would call back 6.39 million vehicles globally after uncovering five different faults involving parts ranging from steering to seats.

The world’s biggest automaker said it was not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the glitches, which were found in 27 Toyota models including the RAV4 and Yaris subcompact.

Apr 8, 2014

Japan tax hike splits retailers, luxury hit hardest

TOKYO, April 8 (Reuters) – The rise in Japan’s sales tax to
8 percent that took effect last week has driven a boom-and-bust
in sales of high-priced items like jewellery but passed with
little impact on sales of daily necessities, two leading
Japanese retailers said on Tuesday.

Takashimaya Co, Japan’s third-biggest department
store operator, said the last-minute rush of demand in March had
been stronger than the company anticipated, especially for items
like watches, jewellery and luxury brands. As a result,
Takashima sees a pullback in sales starting this month that will
continue through summer, the company’s president said.

    • About Chang-Ran

      "I have been covering the Japanese auto industry since 2002, broadening coverage to the Asian region in 2003."
      Joined Reuters:
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