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

FT.com– 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

- 50 Former ‘comfort Women’ Demonstrate In Seoul – Japan’s Leading International News Network

- 50 former ‘comfort women’ demonstrate in Seoul
SEOUL == Some 50 people, including former “comfort women,” demonstrated Wednesday in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to protest against remarks by Japanese education minister Nariaki Nakayama on Japanese history textbooks…..

Japanese electronic eye for the blind with response time is 3 or 4 seconds

Japanese university researchers invent electronic eye to help blind cross intersections
…..The electronic eye, being developed at Kyoto Institute of Technology, could one day be adapted for broader use to help the blind or visually impaired get around without a walking stick or seeing-eye dog.
Tested in a lab by Tadayoshi Shioyama and Mohammad Shorif Uddin, the technology has identified crosswalks, judged the width of roads and deciphered the color of pedestrian signals.
“It’s almost real-time. The response time is 3 or 4 seconds,” Uddin said Wednesday…..

Sony’s woes as iPod takes off

iPod
Apple Deepens Sony’s Woes as iPod Takes Off

Tokyo-based Sony’s embarrassment at Apple’s hands is another setback for the company that in 1979 invented the world’s first portable music player, the Walkman. Sony’s profit from consumer electronics has fallen in five of the past six years as Sharp and Matsushita Electric Industrial grabbed the digital initiative with flat-screen televisions and DVD players…..

Japanese have grown taller but weaker


BIGGER BUT NOT BETTER

Good living is changing the shape of men and women %u2013 and not for the better.
Over the past half century or so people have soared in height, which might be seen as a healthy trend.
The bad news is that they have also got rounder, flabbier and weaker. ….
…Improved nutrition and other trappings of affluence are clearly one factor driving up growth rates, as Japan has well demonstrated. After the second world war, Japan underwent a period of rapid socio-economic development. Consequently the average 17-year-old Japanese boy was 5cm taller in 1980 than he was in 1948….