Bureau Chief, Helsinki
Ritsuko's Feed
Jun 18, 2014

After years of pressure, Japan bans possession of child porn

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s parliament voted on Wednesday to outlaw possession of child pornography after years of international calls for a crackdown, but avoided a clampdown on sexually explicit manga comics and animation depicting young children.

Japan is the last OECD nation to criminalize possession of child pornography, although it outlawed production and distribution in 1999, and has long been considered a safe haven for those buying child pornography.

Jun 6, 2014

Japan experts, not government, to set rules on outside directors

TOKYO, June 6 (Reuters) – Japan’s government sees better
corporate governance as crucial to boosting the competitiveness
of its business sector, but will leave new rules such as the
number of independent directors up to an expert panel to decide,
a senior Japanese lawmaker said.

The country’s listed companies are currently not required to
appoint independent directors, but a new corporate law revision
due to be adopted soon will encourage listed companies to hire
at least one outside director.

May 30, 2014

Japan’s Abe visits Singapore casinos as Tokyo considers following suit

TOKYO/SINGAPORE May 30 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe toured Singapore’s two lavish casino resorts on
Friday as his country considers allowing casino gambling to
boost tourism and attract investment.

Abe, in the city-state to deliver a speech at a regional
defence and security conference, spent 40 minutes visiting
Marina Bay Sands, the three pronged waterfront resort built by
U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands, and
then headed over to Resorts World on Sentosa island, owned by
Genting Singapore.

May 26, 2014

New Japan activist fund to join ‘friendly’ camp, seek higher ROE

TOKYO, May 26 (Reuters) – A new Japanese investment fund is
set to join a small but growing band of “friendly” activists,
shunning hostile tactics that have previously failed to generate
change and instead working with management to improve
shareholder returns.

Yasunori Nakagami, chief executive and co-founder of newly
established Misaki Capital, said he plans to launch an
open-ended fund in July with a brief to invest in around 15
Japanese companies where he sees capacity for growth – with
advice from shareholders such as himself.

May 16, 2014

‘Friendly’ activist wins Japan’s trust as hostile funds struggle

TOKYO, May 16 (Reuters) – When activist investor Brian
Heywood first met the newly appointed CEO of Japanese musical
instruments maker Roland Corp over a year ago, he
launched into a passionate discussion about music rather than
the company’s weak finances.

That friendly approach led to a series of conversations on
how to improve its business and culminated in an announcement
this week of a joint 42.6 billion yen ($419.4 million)
management buyout (MBO) by CEO Junichi Miki and Heywood’s Taiyo
Pacific Partners, a fund based in the United States but focused
on Japan.

May 14, 2014

Japan PM to urge company boards to open up in governance push as resolve tested

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to outline plans to improve corporate governance as part of an updated economic strategy next month, aiming to overturn Japan’s reputation for neglecting shareholders and salvage his reform credentials.

The draft plans, which face resistance from Japan’s largest business lobby, would push companies to appoint more outside directors as part of a package aimed in part at winning back overseas investors who have turned skeptical of Abe’s ability to push through politically sensitive reforms on labor and trade.

Apr 23, 2014

Seibu shares rise in Tokyo relisting after IPO price cut

TOKYO, April 23 (Reuters) – Seibu Holdings Inc rose
almost 11 percent on its first day of relisting on the Tokyo
stock market, after its IPO price was slashed due to growing
doubts over the strength of Japan’s economic recovery.

The railway and property company was delisted a decade ago
after a scandal involving falsified shareholder records. Its
shares opened at 1,600 yen on Wednesday, in line with its
initial public offering price, and then closed 10.6 percent
higher at 1,770 yen, outperforming the Nikkei 225 average
which finished up 1.1 percent.

Apr 16, 2014

Mt Gox set to liquidate as court denies rehabilitation

By Ritsuko Ando

(Reuters) – Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, is likely to be liquidated after a Tokyo court dismissed the company’s bid to resuscitate its business, the court-appointed administrator said on Wednesday.

CEO Mark Karpeles is also likely to be investigated for liability in the collapse of the Tokyo-based firm, the provisional administrator, lawyer Nobuaki Kobayashi, said in a statement published on the Mt. Gox website.

Apr 9, 2014

Cerberus pulls out of Seibu IPO as pricing slashed

TOKYO, April 9 (Reuters) – Japanese railway and property
conglomerate Seibu Holdings on Wednesday slashed the price of
its initial public offering and said its largest shareholder,
U.S. private equity firm Cerberus, would not participate in one
of Japan’s biggest IPOs this year.

Seibu dropped the tentative price of its IPO by as much as
30 percent to 1,600 to 1,800 yen per share from the initial
estimate of 2,300 it had announced in March.

Apr 9, 2014

Melco Crown’s Packer sees minimum $5 bln investment for Japan casino

TOKYO, April 9 (Reuters) – Australian gambling tycoon and
Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd co-chairman James Packer
said it would cost a minimum of $5 billion to develop a casino
and resort complex in Japan should the government legalise
casino gambling.

One of Australia’s richest men, Packer is visiting Japan as
the country’s parliament is preparing to debate legalising
casino gambling, a move that could create a prize market with a
wealthy population and proximity to China.