Yoko's Feed
Jun 4, 2014

In Japan, labour crunch pushes businesses to reform

TOKYO, June 5 (Reuters) – Don Quijote and Uniqlo, two of
Japan’s best-known mass-market retailers, aren’t waiting for the
government’s new growth policies due later this month before
implementing their own labour reforms.

While many labour-intensive businesses face a shortage of
low-wage workers as Japan’s economy perks up, discount chain Don
Quijote Holdings is drawing five times more job seekers
since it bucked tradition and eased application requirements.

May 27, 2014

Thai coup unlikely to pose big risks for Japan automakers-auto lobby head

TOKYO, May 27 (Reuters) – Thailand’s military coup is
unlikely to pose major risks for Japanese car makers, the head
of Japan’s auto lobby said on Tuesday, as companies say they
have so far seen almost no impact on their operations in the
country.

Fumihiko Ike, chairman of Honda Motor Co and the
head of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, also
said that even though auto sales have plunged over the last year
after a subsidy programme ended, appetite for investment into
Thailand, an export hub for Japanese automakers, remains strong.

May 25, 2014

Infiniti and beyond: a less Japanese, more Latin look for premium automaker

BEIJING/ATSUGI, Japan, May 25 (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co
is looking to give its Infiniti premium brand a design
makeover that will dilute its Japanese roots and flaunt a more
“passionate” Latin feel.

The bold initiative aims to rev up an upscale brand that has
struggled to establish itself in a competitive global market for
premium autos. Launched a quarter of a century ago in the United
States with an emphasis on its Japanese aesthetics, Infiniti
sold about 180,000 cars globally in the year to end-March -
about a tenth of rival Audi’s sales.

May 19, 2014

Japan automakers team up in engine research

TOKYO, May 19 (Reuters) – Japanese car makers including
Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co are
collaborating to develop new technologies for internal
combustion engines, aiming to better compete against European
rivals, the companies said on Monday.

The eight manufacturers who also include Nissan Motor Co
are investing a total of about 500 million yen ($4.9
million), in addition to receiving a 500 million yen government
subsidy, to set up an internal combustion engine research
association, they said.

May 14, 2014

Kennedy vows U.S. help to Japan for Fukushima nuclear clean-up

OKUMA, Japan, May 14 (Reuters) – U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Caroline Kennedy pledged U.S. support for the clean-up at
Japan’s tsunami-wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on
Wednesday after her first visit to the site.

Kennedy, dressed in a white radiation protective suit with
her name taped on the back and a mask covering her face, went
inside a damaged reactor building where she saw how Tokyo
Electric Power Co (Tepco) is removing fuel rod
assemblies from a cooling pool.

May 12, 2014

Nissan forecasts profit growth but margins remain weak

YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) expects profit to grow at a slower rate than analysts forecast this year and an operating margin that would be the lowest of its compatriots, weighed down by the costs of aggressive expansion.

Japan’s second-largest automaker expects a 4.1 percent rise in net profit for the year to next March, boosted by sales of low-priced Datsun cars in emerging markets and growth in China, the world’s largest auto market.

May 9, 2014

Subaru maker Fuji Heavy aims to sustain 10 pct profit margin over six years

TOKYO, May 9 (Reuters) – Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries
aims to sustain an operating profit margin of 10
percent or more over the next six years by staying small and
developing niche and profitable cars, its chief executive said.

Japan’s smallest car maker likely enjoyed the highest
operating profit margin among its seven domestic peers in the
year ended March, when it booked record profit for the second
year in a row. On Friday, Fuji Heavy projected another record
for the current year on strong demand in the United States.

May 8, 2014

Toyota braces for stalling profit after last year’s bonanza

TOKYO, May 8 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp warned
earnings may fall this fiscal year as the export-boosting
tailwind that it and other Japanese carmakers have received from
the yen’s sharp depreciation over the past 18 months runs out of
steam.

For President Akio Toyoda, the “lull” in prospect offers a
different challenge to the major events that have marked his
five years in charge, like the massive recalls of 2010, Japan’s
2011 tsunami and the boycott of Japanese products by Chinese
consumers following a territorial dispute in late 2012.

May 7, 2014

Toyota heads into lower-growth curve after profit bonanza

TOKYO, May 8 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp faces
stalling growth this fiscal year as the export-boosting tailwind
that it and other Japanese carmakers have received from the
yen’s sharp depreciation over the past 18 months gradually blows
itself out.

For President Akio Toyoda, the quieter year in prospect
offers a different challenge to the major events that have
marked his five years in charge, like the massive recalls of
2010, Japan’s 2011 tsunami and the boycott of Japanese products
by Chinese consumers following a territorial dispute in late
2012.

Apr 25, 2014

Honda Motor forecasts sharp slowdown in profit growth

TOKYO, April 25 (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co on
Friday forecast a 3.6 percent rise in net profit for the year to
next March, below analyst estimates and a sharp slowdown from
last year, as foreign exchange rates stabilise after a steep
decline in the yen boosted earnings.

The company also said that its high level of capital
spending will decline slightly this year as it continues an
ambitious expansion plan, and that the start of operations could
be delayed at a plant in Thailand, a key market that has been
hit by political uncertainty.

    • About Yoko

      "Based in Tokyo since 2007, I have been covering politics in the world's third-biggest economy, as well as Japan's nuclear disaster, energy issues and diplomacy."
    • Follow Yoko