Japanese carmakers “speak softly and wield a big stick”

Bloomberg.com: Japan
“In the past, the Japanese automakers would defer to Detroit on auto issues, even when it wasn’t in their best interest,” said Brian O’Neill, president of the Arlington, Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which works with automakers on legislative issues. “Now they’re being much more assertive, and their confidence is growing in line with their increase in U.S. plants.”
Already this year, Toyota and Honda used their influence to obtain from Congress an extension of tax credits that favor their hybrid-electric autos over those produced by U.S. companies. And Nissan earned a waiver from a rule relating to fuel-economy standards for its cars.

Private health-service point to a new trend in Japan

asahi.com : English
The health-service firm will charge several tens of thousands of yen per employee annually.
“The companies that sign up for the service can expect to see their medical expenses held down, which will be worth the annual costs,” said Yoichiro Imanishi, a senior researcher at Mitsubishi Research Institute, which provides data support for the establishment of the new company

Education Minister Regrets Remarks On Textbooks – Japan’s Leading International News Network

Japan Today – News – Education minister regrets remarks on textbooks –
TOKYO— Education minister Nariaki Nakayama said Tuesday his remarks on Japanese history textbooks were based on his personal belief and that he should not have made such comments in public. “I should have refrained from speaking from my individual standpoint,” he said…
….[previously on the weekend he had said that the texbooks were] “extremely self-torturing and tantamount to saying that Japan did only bad things.” [and] “It is good that references to ‘comfort women’ and abduction from occupied territories are decreasing.”

Big Head People In Tokyo Stores


Boing Boing: Big head people in Tokyo stores
Giant headed people in Tokyo stores are a sign that Christmas is coming?????

Japanese crazy says he stabbed woman to go to jail

Japan Today – News – Tokyo man says he stabbed woman so he could go to prison – Japan’s Leading International News Network
A 45-year-old man being held in connection with the murder of a 19-year-old woman has told investigators he killed her because he wanted to be sent to prison, police said Monday. The suspect told police he selected the woman at random.

Brother cides Japan Prince’s Remarks

Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Brother Remarks on Japan Prince’s Remarks
Japan’s crown prince should have consulted his father before criticizing palace officials earlier this year…In May, Crown Prince Naruhito had lashed out at palace officials for restricting Crown Princess Masako’s activities, saying they wanted to “deny her character.”
…Prince Akishino said both he and the emperor were surprised by his older brother’s remarks.
“He should have at least told the emperor about what he was going to say before speaking at the news conference. I think this is regrettable,” Akishino said. “I was surprised, to say the least. I hear the emperor was also very surprised.”

Hollywood supporting HD-DVD format

PC World | UPDATE – HD-DVD picks up Hollywood support
The group supporting the HD-DVD optical disc format for high-definition video has received a boost in its battle against the rival Blu-ray Disc format with pledges of support from a number of Hollywood studios.

The format will be used by Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, the HD-DVD group said on Monday. It will also be used by HBO, Warner Bros. announced the same day.

TRADE WAR BREWING: South Korea Bans Japanese Plasma TVs

South Korea bans some plasma TV panels
South Korea Monday temporarily banned imports of plasma display panels made by Japan’s Matsushita Co., the Financial Times reported.
The action followed a complaint filed with the Korean Trade Commission by LG Electronics claiming Matsushita violated its intellectual property rights.

China and Japan push for control of an ‘east Asian’ Summit

FT.com / World / Asia-Pacific – Members agree to hold ‘East Asian’ summit
South-east Asian countries have agreed to hold an East Asia summit in Malaysia next year with China, Japan and South Korea, a move that could eventually shift the leadership of regional economic and security co- operation from south-east Asia to China.

The 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) already hold an annual joint meeting with the three north Asian countries. But an East Asia summit would mean China, Japan and Korea could play a large role in driving the pace and agenda of regional dialogue.

Citigroup bitter about the Land Of Rising Sun

FT.com / Business / Asia-Pacific – Citigroup finds little to crow about in land of rising sun
…..The business-as-usual appearance, however, belies the reality of a business with no future.
Japan’s Financial Services Agency has ordered Citigroup to wind up its Japanese private bank by next September, accusing the business of misleading customers, profiteering and riding roughshod over regulations.
The closure will leave vacant up to six floors in the tower that Citigroup shares with Japan’s bankers’ association. And it will create an even bigger gap in the country’s private banking sector….