Archive for the ‘Japanese’ Category

Vietnam: Japanese investors worry about inadequate infrastructure

December 2, 2008

Some 78% of Japanese businesses said roads in Vietnam need to be improved while 60% said the power supply and 45% said seaports need to be upgraded.

VietNamNet Bridge – The Japan Bank for International Cooperation’s (JBIC) survey in the 2008 fiscal year reveals that Japanese investors continue to worry about underdeveloped infrastructure in Vietnam, particularly roads, ports and power systems.

JBIC’s survey was compiled based on 620 questionnaires collected from Japanese companies overseas. According to the survey, 2008 is the third consecutive year that Vietnam ranks third among countries and regions that have medium-term business potential, after China and India.

 

Low labour cost is still the main reason why Japanese investors see Vietnam as a country with investment potential. Other elements include market development potential, risk diversification, and abundant human resources.

 

However, according to Matsuda Noriyasu, chief representative of JBIC in Vietnam, many Japanese investors say labour costs in Vietnam have increased and become a new concern.

 

Notably, only 48% of Japanese businesses appreciate the “market development potential” of Vietnam, compared to 53.4% last year.

 

Matsuda Noriyasu said Japanese companies continue to worry about underdeveloped infrastructure in Vietnam, especially roads, ports and power. “This is the most serious matter to Japanese producers,” JBIC’s survey noted.

 

Some 78% of Japanese businesses said roads in Vietnam need to be improved while 60% said the power supply and 45% said seaports need to be upgraded.

Read the rest:
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/politics/2008/12/816504/

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Japan, U.S. Navy Express Disappointment, Regret At Failure of Missile Defense Test “At the Last Second”

November 20, 2008

The Navy of Japan and the United States Navy as well as the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) expressed disappointment and  after a missile defense test failure over the Pacific Ocean November 20, 2008.

By William Cole
The Honolulu Advertiser

A missile fired by the Japanese destroyer Chokai yesterday failed to intercept a ballistic missile target off Kaua’i in a second test of Japan’s ship-based Aegis ballistic missile defense system.
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The $55 million exercise paid for by Japan was intended to knock down a simulated ballistic missile in which the warhead separated from the booster.

But Rear Adm. Brad Hicks, the Aegis system program manager for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said an “anomaly” occurred in the fourth stage of flight by the Standard Missile-3 Block 1A seeker missile.

A kinetic warhead released by the missile found and tracked the simulated ballistic missile, but in the last few seconds it “lost track” of the target, Hicks said.

 
This is the ballistic missile target launched from the Pacific missile range facility (PMRF) in Hawaii.  Photo: MICHAEL BEJARANO | Sandia National Laboratories

“The missile, until the very end of flight, had excellent performance,” Hicks said.

Hicks said an investigation will determine “if it was just that individual missile, or something that we need to take a look at.”

The Aegis ballistic missile defense system has been successful in 16 of 20 attempts.

Hicks said the same type of missile, fired by the Pearl Harbor cruiser Lake Erie, was used to successfully shoot down a failing U.S. spy satellite in February.

“This system works,” said Hicks, adding the success rate is good compared to other U.S. missiles.

On Dec. 17 off Kaua’i, the Japanese destroyer Kongo shot down a ballistic missile target, marking the first time that an allied naval ship successfully intercepted a target with the sea-based Aegis weapons system.

That target was a nonseparating simulated ballistic missile. Officials said yesterday’s target separated from a booster, making it harder to discriminate.

At 4:21 p.m., the ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The Japanese destroyer Chokai detected and tracked the target using an advanced on-board radar, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

The Pearl Harbor-based destroyer Paul Hamilton also participated in the test.

The Aegis Weapon System developed a fire-control solution, and at 4:24 p.m., a single SM-3 Block IA was launched. The Chokai was about 250 miles off Barking Sands in Kaua’i, and the intercept was to occur about 100 nautical miles above earth in the mid-course phase of the ballistic missile’s trajectory.

Approximately two minutes later, the SM-3 failed to intercept the target. The Chokai crew performance was “excellent” in executing the mission, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

The Japanese ship will stop in Pearl Harbor before returning to Japan with additional SM-3 Block 1A missiles.

Hicks said Aegis ballistic missile defense is a certified and deployed system in the U.S. Navy, and certified and operational in Japan’s navy.

Eighteen U.S. cruisers and destroyers and four Japanese ships are being outfitted with the Aegis ballistic missile defense capability.

On Nov. 1, during the exercise “Pacific Blitz,” the Hawai’i-based destroyers Hamilton and Hopper fired SM-3 missiles at separate targets launched from Kaua’i.


Above: USS Hopper

Hamilton scored a direct hit, while the missile fired by the Hopper missed its target, the Navy said.

Hicks yesterday said the missiles fired from the ships were older rounds going out of service, and the Navy took the opportunity to use them as training rounds “knowing that they carried a higher probability of failure.”

Related:
Japan-U.S. missile defense test fails

Japan-U.S. missile defense test fails

November 20, 2008

A Japanese warship failed to shoot down a ballistic missile target in a joint test with U.S. forces Wednesday because of a glitch in the final stage of an interceptor made by Raytheon Co, a U.S. military official said.

The kinetic warhead’s infrared “seeker” lost track in the last few seconds of the $55 million test, about 100 miles above Hawaiian waters, said U.S. Rear Admiral Brad Hicks, program director of the Aegis sea-based leg of an emerging U.S. anti-missile shield.

By Jim Wolf, Reuters

A missile is launched from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ... 
A missile is launched from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship Chokai in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii November 20, 2008.(Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force/Handout/Reuters)

“This was a failure,” he said in a teleconference with reporters. It brought the tally of Aegis intercepts to 16 in 20 tries.

The problem “hopefully was related just to a single interceptor,” not to a systemic issue with the Standard Missile-3 Block 1A, the same missile used in February to blow apart a crippled U.S. spy satellite, Hicks said.

Military officials from both countries said in a joint statement there was no immediate explanation for the botched intercept of a medium-range missile mimicking a potential North Korean threat. The test was paid for by Japan, Hicks said.

John Patterson, a spokesman at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona, said the company would not comment pending the results of an engineering analysis of what may have gone wrong.
The test involved the Chokai, the second Japanese Kongo-class ship to be outfitted by the United States for missile defense, and a dummy missile fired from a range on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.


Above: Chokai

North Korea‘s test-firing of a ballistic missile over Japan in August 1998 spurred Tokyo to become the most active U.S. ally in building a layered shield against missiles that could be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081120/wl_nm/us_japan_usa_mis
sile;_ylt=AtR6dVwzdhOKirAsXFcgsFSs0NUE

China tops Japan as No. 1 holder of U.S. Treasury debt for first time

November 18, 2008

Like nearly everyone else, the Chinese wanted the security of holding short-term U.S. Treasury bills in September as markets worldwide crumbled.

With China’s purchases of T-bills that month, the country surpassed Japan to become the No. 1 owner of U.S. Treasury debt, according to government data reported today on foreign investment in U.S. securities.

The September numbers overall confirm that foreigners still regard the U.S. as the best haven in times of international financial crisis.

Los Angeles Times
Money and Business

Net foreign purchases of long-term U.S. securities, including stocks and bonds, totaled $66.2 billion in September, up from $21 billion in August and $18.4 billion in July, Treasury data show.

As the global credit crisis worsened, slamming stocks, commodities and other markets, many investors put safety of principal above all other considerations. That pushed them into short-term U.S. Treasuries.

China increased its Treasury investments by $43.6 billion in September, lifting the total to $585 billion and taking the No. 1 spot among all foreign holders.

Japan, by contrast, reduced its Treasury holdings by $12.8 billion, to $573.2 billion.

Read the rest:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2008/11/like-everyone-e.html

Japan Slides Into Recession; Obama Presidency Seen as No Help

November 17, 2008

Japan’s economy slid into a recession for the first time since 2001, the government said Monday, as companies sharply cut back on spending in the third quarter amid the unfolding global financial crisis.

The world’s second-largest economy contracted at an annual pace of 0.4 percent in the July-September period after a declining an annualized 3.7 percent in the second quarter. That means Japan, along with the 15-nation euro-zone, is now technically in a recession, defined as two straight quarters of contraction.

The result was worse than expected. Economists surveyed by Kyodo News agency had predicted gross domestic product would gain an annualized 0.1 percent.

Japan’s Economy Minister Kaoru Yosano said following the data’s release that “the economy is in a recessionary phase.”

But the worst may be yet to come, especially with dramatic declines in demand from consumers overseas for Japan’s autos and electronics gadgets. Hurt also by a strengthening yen, a growing number of exporters big and small are slashing their profit, sales and spending projections for the full fiscal year through March.

Toyota Motor Corp., for example, has cut net profit full-year profit forecast to 550 billion yen ($5.5 billion) — about a third of last year’s earnings. And Sony Corp., whose July-September profit plunged 72 percent, expects to make 59 percent less this fiscal year than last year.

“What we’re starting to see is the extent of deterioration in external demand start to weigh more heavily on the Japanese economy,” said Glen Maguire, chief Asia economist at Societe Generale. “And I think looking forward, there’s every indication that dynamic is going to continue.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081117/ap_on_bi_ge/as_jap
an_economy;_ylt=ApHIyzOiyEFeB_wFtelfrris0NUE

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For Japan, Obama Signals A Shift Closer to China, Away From “Traditional” Asian Allies
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The Japanese do not share the jubilation seen almost everywhere following the election of Barack Obama. 

Economically, Japan sees an Obama White House funding the American Big Three Automakers: GM, Chrysler and Ford.  And that’s bad for Japan’s automakers.

Japan, for one nation, prefers to allow the “system” to work without more government intervention.

On the foreign policy level, Japan fears North Korea’s erratic behavior and nuclear capability.  It also fears China as a tradition enemy of immense wealth, population and size which can easily overwhelm the economy of Japan.

Japan fears the presidency of Barack Obama.  “So far, no good,” one senior diplomat told Peace and Freedom.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapal, Virginia

Related:
Obama Not Such A Hero In Japan

Obama Not Such A Hero In Japan

November 16, 2008

Like millions of Americans, I watched the scene in Chicago’s Grant Park on election night, as President-elect Barack Obama delivered his victory speech, with a real sense of hope that something fundamental was changing. A few hours later, I began receiving e-mail messages from friends in Europe who were overjoyed by the choice American voters had made.

By Ayako Doi
The Washington Post
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And the next day, the world’s excitement was visible in news stories, photos and television images broadcast from around the globe — with one striking exception.

Surfing Japanese news Web sites for commentaries on the Obama victory from a key U.S. ally, I was taken aback by the skeptical, even negative, tone that prevailed. “Obama Likely to Stress Importance of China,” read one headline in the mass-circulation daily Yomiuri Shimbun, implying that the new administration will relegate Japan to the foreign policy back seat. The economic daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun fretted about the likelihood that the Democratic president and Congress may concoct a massive rescue package for troubled U.S. automakers and about the potential fallout for the Japanese car industry. Everyone seemed to agree that Obama, who has talked about withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq to concentrate on Afghanistan, may well put pressure on Japan to send ground troops to the latter country — something the nation’s postwar pacifist leaders don’t feel prepared to do.

President George W. Bush (L) sits alongside Japan's Prime Minister ... 
President George W. Bush (L) sits alongside Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso at the G20 Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy at the National Building Museum in Washington November 15, 2008.(Jason Reed/Reuters)

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/13
/AR2008111302975.html

Pakistan: Militants Kidnapping, Killing Outsiders In Tribal Areas

November 15, 2008

A Canadian journalist abducted this week in Pakistan’s northern tribal region was working on a documentary film for the Al-Jazeera network, media reported Friday.

A handout picture obtained in 2006 shows the logo of Al-Jazeera ...

Beverly Giesbrecht, 52, also known as Khadija Abdul Qahaar, was seized at gunpoint on Tuesday while traveling in the Bannu district of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province, which borders Afghanistan.

AFP

The daily Globe and Mail, citing Pakistan’s high commission in Ottawa, said the former magazine publisher who runs a website offering Islamic news was on a freelance assignment for the Arab language network when she was taken.

Her visa application was supported by two letters from Al Jazeera, verifying she would be doing freelance work, said the newspaper.

“The letters say … she will be reporting on the new government and the wider political situation, including the war on terrorism” for a documentary, high commission spokesman Mammona Malik told the newspaper.

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A gunman ambushed a Japanese reporter and an Afghan colleague Friday, wounding both men and their Pakistani driver in the latest attack on foreigners in Pakistan‘s volatile northwest region in three days.

Security appears to be crumbling in Peshawar, a city of 2 million where an Iranian diplomat was kidnapped Thursday and an American aid worker was killed Wednesday.

By RIAZ KHAN, Associated Press Writer

Motoki Yotsukura, Asahi Shimbun‘s bureau chief, was in a car with Sami Yousufzai, an Afghan who has worked for Western publications including Newsweek, when the assailant opened fire, police said.

Injured Japanese journalist Motoki Yotsukura arrives at a local ...

“Three armed men intercepted our car, and one of them aimed his pistol at me,” said the Afghan, Sami Yousufzai, from a hospital. “He opened fire when I put up resistance. I got a bullet in my hand.”

Yotsukura was wounded in the leg, police said. The injuries to Yousufzai and the driver also were not life threatening.

Asahi Shimbun reported that Yotsukura, 39, had left earlier Friday from Islamabad on a reporting trip to interview people close to the Taliban.

Officers were investigating whether the attack was an attempted assassination or an attempted kidnapping.

Peshawar and the nearby lawless tribal area have seen a rise in attacks on foreigners. A Chinese, an Afghan and a Pole are currently being held after being seized in the region, which is also home to criminal gangs who kidnap for ransom, drug runners and smugglers.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081114/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_108

Japan police to question man on China organ transplants

November 12, 2008

Japanese police plan to question a man on suspicion of illegally brokering organ transplant operations in China for Japanese patients, reports said Wednesday.

Police plan to grill Hiroyuki Nagase, 52, on suspicion of violating Japan’s organ transplant law, which bans the brokering of organ transplants for profit, the Yomiuri Shimbun and other media reported.

A police spokesman declined to comment, but the health ministry confirmed it had received inquiries from the police linked to the case.

“They have told me that there was information that Mr. Nagase might be deported to Japan, and that they wanted to know which case would be illegal organ trading,” said Yoichi Hiratsuka, an official at the health ministry.

Nagase, who headed the China International Organ Transplant Centre in the northeast city of Shenyang, was arrested last year by the Chinese police for allegedly brokering human transplant operations on the Internet.

But the Chinese authorities changed the charge to false advertising when he was indicted, the Yomiuri said.

On October 30, a court in Shenyang sentenced Nagase to 14 months in prison, including time already served in custody, followed by deportation, it said.

Nagase, who flew back to Tokyo on Tuesday, told the Yomiuri that it was not illegal to broker organ transplants for profit in China and he was only doing what other doctors also did.

There is a severe shortage of organ donors in Japan and hundreds of patients go abroad each year for transplants.

Global Economy: Weak Japanese Yen May Boost Car Sales from Thailand?

November 9, 2008

Thailand’s car exports have room to grow next year by replacing shipments from Japan as it battles yen appreciation, according to Fukujiro Yamabe, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce (JCC) in Bangkok. Mr Yamabe, who is also the president of Mitsubishi Co (Thailand), said automobile exports are expected grow slowly in 2009 after strong progress the past decade, as purchasing power drops in all overseas destinations.

A logo of Mitsubishi Motors Corp is displayed at its headquarters ... 
Logo of Mitsubishi Motors Corp is displayed at its headquarters in Tokyo.REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao(JAPAN)

By Nareerat Wiriyapong
Bangkok Post

”Thailand, however, has some advantages in terms of production costs compared to other countries, especially Japan. Car exports will have consecutive growth for sure next year but not as big as in 2008 as export markets slow down,” he said. ”[However] the Thai exchange rate is competitive when compared to Japanese yen, so there is a good chance that Thai exports could replace those shipped from Japan.”

Domestic vehicle sales should grow at a slower pace next year. Despite the weakening economy, vehicle demand in Thailand is healthy compared to other countries, he said.

Japanese companies are also suffering from the credit crunch and have to reduce their investments. Toyota cut its net profit forecast by 24% from estimates three months ago to $6 billion.

Almost every company is reviewing its investments, he said.

Mr Yamabe said Mitsubishi Motor was also considering reviewing its investment plan in the eco-car project in Thailand. ”But I don’t think the project will change.”

Mr Yamabe forecast total car production in Thailand would fall 18% to 1.2 million units next year on pressure from the global financial crisis decreasing domestic and overseas demand.

Read the rest:
http://www.bangkokpost.com/101108_
Business/10Nov2008_biz49.php

Fired General Likens Japan’s Government to Repressive North Korean Regime

November 4, 2008

Japan’s sacked air force commander compared his country to North Korea for a row over his assertion that Tokyo was not a World War II aggressor, prompting the government Tuesday to promise an inquiry.

As the government sought to reassure other Asian countries that it did not agree with his comments, Toshio Tamogami went on the offensive insisting he was right and had thought it was time for such views to be accepted.

“If you are not allowed to say even a word that counters the government’s statements, you cannot possibly call the country democratic,” the ex-general told a press conference.

“It’s just like North Korea.”

by Harumi Ozawa, AFP

Tamogami was fired from his post for an essay in which he wrote that Japan was falsely accused of being the aggressor and calling for the nation to shed elements of its post-WWII pacifism.

Japan's sacked air force commander General Toshio Tamogami, ... 

ABOVE: Japan’s sacked air force commander General Toshio Tamogami, seen here, compared his country to North Korea for a row over his assertion that Tokyo was not a World War II aggressor, prompting the government Tuesday to promise an inquiry.(AFP/HO/File/Jiji Press)

He retired Monday two years early rather than serve in a lesser position.

Tamogami said many Asian countries “take a positive view” of Japan’s past military actions, seeing Tokyo as a bulwark against Western imperialism.

The scandal comes at a bad time for Prime Minister Taro Aso, who criticised Tamogami’s remarks but has himself previously caused controversy by defending aspects of Japanese colonialism.

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper Tuesday released a survey showing that, for the first time since Aso took office in September, more people disapproved of his government’s performance than approved of it.

His government’s approval rating stood at 40.5 percent.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081104/
wl_asia_afp/japanwwiihistorymilitary_081104123022