Beat Takeshi to teach film at Tokyo National University

Takeshi to teach filmmaking at university TOKYO—Award-winning director Takeshi Kitano will teach filmmaking at a graduate school of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music starting next April…m Festival with his first historical film, “Zatoichi”….

Ai-chan defeated by China’s Junior Girls

Ai FUKUHARASheer Class
China won the Junior Girls Team title at the 2nd ITTF World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Kobe, Japan on Monday 1 December 2004 …
In the final they beat the host nation, Japan, by three matches to nil…. Japan has a splendid team, Ai FUKUHARA, Nozomi HASAMA and Yuka ISHIGAKI are players of high calibre but in the Kobe World Memorial Hall they were given a lesson, a severe lesson…..

Thousands Japanese public TV views refuse to pay fees in protest

Not to NHK
Thousands boycott TV fees to protest scandal
Thousands of viewers enflamed by a producer sacked for pocketing production fees are refusing to pay viewing fees to public broadcaster NHK, the Mainichi has learned.
By the end of October, some 66,000 viewers were holding back on the payments in protest, more than double the 31,000 recorded just one month earlier.

The producer’s scandal came to light in late July and by Sept. 15, the number of viewers refusing to pay had reached some 17,000.
Viewers got angrier as a series of other scandals broke involving the broadcaster. NHK has treated the boycott seriously and is sending management-level employees to individually ask boycotters for payment….

Japan works harder to expel evil barbarians

For visa violators, it pays to come clean

….The penalties for overstaying will stiffen with the revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law that takes effect Thursday. The upper limit of fines will go up drastically. For visa violations or illegal entry, the fine can reach 3 million yen, up 10-fold….

How-to book for doing Neo Tokyo for “Otaku” freaks

robot welcome girl for the 2005 Expo
The Dark Side of the Cool Stuff
Cruising the Anime City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo, published this month by Stone Bridge Press.
“One (purpose of the book) is to give you something to do once you get here,” Macias says. “If you go to every place mentioned in this book you’re going to have a pretty great trip. It’ll be pretty shocking, it’ll be pretty twisted, but it’s definitely off the beaten path…..

Chanel flaunts “absolute luxury” in new Tokyo store

Chanel's toyo store TOKYO, Dec 1 (AFP) – With a 10-floor palace of glass at the ritziest of all Tokyo addresses, Chanel is launching its biggest boutique in the world, banking that Japan’s famous appetite for luxury is alive and well….
…”We decided on absolute luxury. The future of luxury in Japan is a lot more luxury,” said Richard Collasse, the head of the French company’s Japan branch. “We’re betting on the high end, and that runs against what everyone is doing,” ….

Japan plans to woo foreign investment– Japan outlines plans to woo foreign investment
….officials are planning seminars in London and New York at a time when the country’s economy is faltering, keeping JGB yields low by international standards and calling the Japanese revival story into question.
“Foreign investors can be quite sharp with their tongues,” said a senior debt management official.”We are going to get tough questions, but there is no easy way to do this.”

Yellow Rice Wine Becoming Preferred Poison

Yellow rice wine becoming preferred poison
Yellow rice wine, a rich-flavoured liquor with a relatively low alcohol content, is made from either fermented glutinous rice or millet…..China produces 1.6 million tons of yellow rice wine annually….”The yellow rice wine sector has been the fastest-growing sector in China’s brewery industry in recent years,” said Shen Zhenchang, secretary-general of CADIA’s yellow rice wine branch….
…Japan is the largest export destination, consuming about 50 per cent of China’s total yellow rice wine exports….

Swallow this capsule camera

Swallow this, it wont hurt a bit
Swallow this, it won’t hurt a bit
Tokyo 01 December 2004 10:30–The world’s top endoscope maker Olympus has joined the race to develop a capsule camera, a disposable device the size of a fingertip that can be easily swallowed to scan the body from the inside.
The Olympus group’s medical products arm said it had developed key technologies for the capsule endoscope, which would navigate through the body without batteries to take images and directly administer drugs.

Japan is a knife’s edge away from recession

Email message — 12/1/2004 1:20:00 PM, Richard Katz, NBR’S JAPAN FORUM (ECON)
Recent economic indicators have raised concerns about the strength and durability of Japan’s recovery. I’ve written an oped on this topic that was published in today’s (Wednesday) edition of the London Financial Times. For those who subscribe, :the URL.
Here’s the gist of my view:
Believe it or not, newly released figures suggest that Japan is a knife’s edge away from a technical recession, i.e. two consecutive quarters of negative growth. According to a new revision of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures, Japan suffered zero growth in April-June, and slightly negative (-.03%) growth in July-September. Early indicators for October-December are not encouraging.
Moreover, a third of the much-vaunted “boom” of the last two years turns out to have been a statistical chimera. Japan didn’t really grow at a remarkable 3.8% annualized pace from early 2002 through early 2004, just an ordinary 2.6%–slower than what we saw in the abortive recovery of 1995-96. In fact, when we include the last two quarters, Japan’s annualized growth rate since Jan-March 2002 is 2.1%. That’s better than not growing at all, but it’s hardly a boom.
(A more complete revision will be out Dec. 8 when the numbers could go up or down somewhat).
What a reversal of fortune. Only a few short months ago, some economists boldly predicted that Japan could grow 3-4% annually for several years to come. How quickly such hopes have been dashed. On the contrary, one major investment bank says Japan will grow only 0.5% in 2005. The next few weeks should see a flurry of forecast downgrades.
The debate now is what this means. Some argue that this is just a “pause” before Japan resumes its growth at a “cruising speed” of 2-3% a year. Others, think the troubles will last longer and growth will be more limited.
Here’s my view. I’ve been skeptical all along of claims that Japan had achieved a “fundamental turnaround.” Yet, there is one thing that makes the current recovery different from those of 1995-96 and 1999-2000. There is a degree of financial stabilization. Thanks to a stock market boom and more aggressive regulators, the big banks, at least, have removed a large part of their nonperforming loans. The de facto failures of Resona and UFJ did not create systemic ripple effects. Many firms have improved their balance sheets, or at least made them less bad. I’m skeptical that things are quite as good on the NPL front as the official numbers say, but there is improvement.
Hence, there is less risk that a setback to growth becomes self-exacerbating due to financial turbulence. This is what happened in 1997-2000 when GDP actually fell by 0.1% a year (between Jan-March 1997 and Jan-March 2002). But rather that see a return to healthy growth, we’re more likely to see a return to something like the low growth of the early 1990s. Back in June, the OECD forecast that Japanese growth would average only 0.9% between 2006 and 2009.
The reason, in my view, is that financial stabilization is not enough. The basic structural defects on both the demand and supply sides still remain: e.g. a low household share of national income which limits consumer demand; and anticompetitive practices that hurt efficiency.
Richard Katz, The Oriental Economist Report