Tuesday, November 02, 2010

DTN News: Japan Top Stories / Headlines News Dated November 3, 2010

DTN News: Japan Top Stories / Headlines News Dated November 3, 2010
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources
(NSI News Source Info) KOTTAKKAL, Kerala, India - November 3, 2010: Comprehensive daily news related to Japan for the world of TODAY.
*Comprehensive daily news related to Japan Top Stories / Headlines News for the world of TODAY
News On Japan
In Japan, dieting moms, smaller babies
As Japan's birth weights fall for a third decade, scientists say advice pregnant women receive may be contributing to the highest rate of low-birth-weight babies in the developed world. More critically, it may be setting their infants up for diabetes and heart disease in later life. Unlike most developed nations, where new moms are getting heavier, in Japan they're becoming thinner. The result is that the average weight of a newborn in Japan is 7 ounces less than in 1980. The prevalence of babies weighing less than 2.5 kilos (5 pounds, 8 ounces) - low birth weight by World Health Organization standards - is now 9.6 percent, up from 5.2 percent three decades ago. (thenewstribune.com)
Not all white rice tastes the same
In Japan, the freshness and seasonality of ingredients used in cooking is of paramount importance. Even in this age of mass production and imported foods, people still care about the appearance of fresh bamboo shoots in spring, or the first matsutake mushrooms in fall. One of the most treasured "fresh" ingredients is shinmai (new-harvest rice). Incidentally, the word "shinmai" also means "newbie" or beginner. A shinmai mama is a new, first-time mother, and a shinmai shain is a brand new first-year company employee. Shinmai grain contains more moisture than older rice, and though some other rice-based cultures favor dry, even aged rice, in Japan, plump and moist rice indicates freshness and is more delicious. (Japan Times)
U.K. paper picks Tokyo as favorite overseas city
Readers of British newspaper The Guardian have selected Tokyo as their favorite overseas city for 2010, picking the metropolis as a top destination for the first time, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Tuesday. Japan also placed second only to the Maldives, a Pacific island nation often described as the Garden of Eden, in the favorite long-haul country category of the annual Guardian Travel Awards. Tokyo last year did not rate a mention in the first category, while Japan ranked fifth in the latter. (AP)
1st talks between whaling town, environmentalists end with no accord
The first-ever dialogue between local leaders in the town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, and foreign activists campaigning against dolphin hunting there ended Tuesday with no signs of compromise from either side, as widely expected. The activists from three groups, including the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said that although they understand the practice is longstanding in the town and part of its culture, dolphin hunting is inhumane and cannot be justified by tradition. The town's representatives, including Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen, argued that whaling and dolphin hunting provide a livelihood for people and that it is important to have a spirit of respect for different cultures. (AP)
Lay judges let killer of two avoid gallows
A 42-year-old man was sentenced to life Monday for murdering two women in Tokyo last year, avoiding what could have been the first death penalty handed down under the lay judge system that went into effect last year. Prosecutors had sought capital punishment for Koji Hayashi at the Tokyo District Court. Hayashi had admitted killing Miho Ejiri, 21, who worked at an ear-cleaning shop he frequented as a customer, and her grandmother, Yoshie Suzuki, 78, in August last year. The trial was the first to test the panel of lay and professional judges with a demand for the death penalty. (Japan Times)
Video shows Chinese ship's liability for collisions: lawmakers
Japanese lawmakers said Monday that video footage they have seen proves a Chinese trawler captain was responsible for collisions in early September between his vessel and Japanese patrol boats near the Senkaku Islands. "The images at the time of the collisions were very sharp," Hiroshi Nakai, chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, told reporters after seeing the footage in the morning. "The Chinese fishing boat rammed into (the Japanese vessels) and escaped...and this was clearly confirmed." About 30 lawmakers were shown the six-minute- and-50-second video in a room within the Diet, at a time when diplomatic ties between Asia's two largest economies remain soured over the Sept. 7 collisions off the Japan-controlled islets, which are claimed by China. (AP)
Japan protests against Medvedev's island visit
Japan lodged a protest Monday against Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Kunashiri Island, one of a group of Russian-held but Japanese-claimed islands off Hokkaido, with Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara summoning Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Bely. Maehara said at a Diet committee meeting that the first-ever visit by a leader of Russia or the former Soviet Union to the island "hurts Japanese public sentiment." Prime Minister Naoto Kan also told the committee the trip is "extremely deplorable." Bely told reporters after meeting with Maehara that the president's visit was made "purely from the standpoint of domestic politics" and "has no significance internationally." (AP)
Shoplifters getting older
A sad trend is emerging with the all too common crime of shoplifting. Although the total number of crimes recognized by authorities declined to 1.7 million in 2009 from a peak of 2.85 million in 2002 - with shoplifting leveling off at 140,000 to 150,000 cases yearly - more and more elderly people are reported to be shoplifting. In 2009, 27,000 people aged 65 or older committed the crime - some 7.5 times more than 20 years before. It appears that loneliness of elderly people is behind the gradual increase in the number of shoplifters. (Japan Times)
Nov 02Sony targets ¥500 billion in biz gear (Japan Times)
Sony Corp. said Monday it aims to boost revenue from business-use equipment by 67 percent in four years, driven by demand for projectors that can display high-resolution images. Sales in the business may climb to ¥500 billion as early as the year to March 2014, from about ¥300 billion in the 12 months that ended in March, Tokyo-based Sony said in a statement. Sony said it will reach the target no later than the fiscal year ending in March 2016.
Nov 02Japan Airlines ends flight between Tokyo and Kona International Airport (Canadian Press)
After 14 years of serving the Big Island, financially strapped Japan Airlines has ended flights between Tokyo and Kona International Airport. The last passengers arriving from Narita International Airport to Kona Friday were greeted with lei and live Hawaiian music, the Big Island Visitors Bureau said. JAL offered the only direct international flight outside of North America to the Big Island, the bureau said. Since the inaugural Kona flight in June 1996, JAL has carried more than 980,000 visitors between Narita and Kona, it said.
Nov 02China's Spring Airlines to launch regular flights to Takamatsu (AP)
Chinese discount carrier Spring Airlines has agreed to start regular passenger flights between its home city of Shanghai and Takamatsu Airport in Japan's Kagawa Prefecture at the end of next March, the prefectural government said Monday. The deal, struck at a meeting between Kagawa Gov. Keizo Hamada and Spring Airlines Chairman Wang Zhenghua, marks the first time the airline has reached an agreement to operate a regular flight to any Japanese location, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Land, Transport and Tourism. At present, the airline runs chartered flights to Ibaraki Airport, about 80 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.
Nov 01Competition heats up between railways to offer best access to Haneda, Narita Airports (AP)
With Haneda Airport having resumed regular international flights on Oct. 31 and Narita Airport deciding to expand the number of flights it serves, competition between the railroad companies that provide access to the two airports is heating up. On one side of the competition are the Keikyu and Keisei railway companies, and on the other are East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) and its subsidiary, the Tokyo Monorail Co. The Keikyu and Keisei lines offer transit between Haneda and Narita, using travel on the Tokyo subways in-between, while JR East runs the "Narita Express," which connects directly to major stations.
Nov 01Bill in works to woo foreign firms to Japan (Japan Times)
The government will submit a bill to the Diet next year that would give foreign firms preferential treatment if they establish headquarters or research centers in Japan. The move is part of an attempt to make Japan more attractive to foreign investment ahead of negotiations on a multilateral trans-Pacific free-trade agreement backed by the United States. The FTA is aimed at completely liberalizing trade and investment.
USD to JPY: 80.645
Nov 02Japan under pressure to arrest yen's rise (The Australian)
Pressure for currency intervention is building in Japan after the US dollar moved towards its lowest level against the yen over the weekend. The sell-off in the greenback against the yen was triggered by the reports of a fresh terrorist plot against the US and the expectation of large-scale quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve. As the strong yen is cruelling company profits in Japan's export-orientated economy, pressure is mounting on the government to intervene. But Japan may try to stall until after next month's G20 meeting, when the world's leading economies will try to reach a consensus on how to deal with government manipulation of currency.
Nov 02Rice farmers may prevent Japan from joining key regional trade pact (The Australian)
Japan levies an import tariff of 778 per cent on foreign rice, no matter how delicious or desirable it is. This tells a tale of Japan's parliamentary dysfunction and hopelessly ragged foreign policy. It is why you cannot buy a packet of Uncle Ben's in a Japanese supermarket - and why vast amounts of Californian long grain is left to rot at the docks until it's fit only for pigs. And it explains why Japan could be about to make its most ill-judged economic blunder in decades. Forget Japan's high-tech image: Priuses and PlayStations are the international disguise of a country run by, and for, a constituency of farmers.
Nov 02Unclaimed pension benefits (Japan Times)
Usually retired company employees are entitled to basic pension benefits as well as an additional pension benefit, the latter a corporate pension benefit that has accrued from the management of part of the premiums they have contributed. The management of the premiums is done by employees pension funds organizations, called kosei nenkin kikin. But the Pension Fund Association (Kigyo Nenkin Rengokai) reports that some 1.21 million people are not receiving the additional benefit even though they are entitled to it. In most cases they either have forgotten to apply for it or their current addresses are unknown.
Nov 01Analysis: Risks linger as China, Japan spar over islets (Reuters)
China and Japan have long-locked horns over sovereignty claims in the East China Sea, but such disputes have rarely damaged commercial ties. The stakes are potentially huge. A disputed undersea basin could yield 20 million barrels of oil and 17.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, equal to a fifth of China's gas reserves. While previous rows over the islands have tended to fizzle out, reported curbs of rare earth minerals, crucial for the manufacture of high technology products, have complicated the diplomatic dance, with Japan in particular highly reliant on the metals and eager to not get squeezed.
Oct 31Japan Inc grapples with strong yen (Channel NewsAsia)
Surging quarterly profits for Japan's top companies belie the threat posed by a strong yen, as the unit's rise prompts firms to shift production out of the country to stay competitive, say analysts. With the currency closing in on its post-World-War-II high of 79.75 against the dollar, Japan's biggest companies are preparing to adapt to life with a currency that has defied Tokyo's efforts to weaken it. For many firms, the yen's 14 percent rise against the dollar and near 16 percent rise versus the euro this year has mitigated a post-crisis demand revival and undermined the benefits of earlier cost cuts and restructuring. With more companies considering moving production overseas to stay competitive against rivals benefiting from weaker currencies in their home countries, Japan's fragile recovery could be further tested, analysts say.
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