Consumers

A foreign tourist is entertained by geisha at a free trial session in November.

Japan tourism

Geisha perform at hot spring resort Hakone

TOKYO -- Foreign tourists will have the chance to experience the lavish entertainment of Japanese geisha for low prices from next year. Hakone Ichinoyu Group will launch the uniquely Japanese entertainment experience in the hot spring resort town...

  • Sapporo, Honda cashing in

    Rich Vietnamese get taste for Japan's bubble-era baubles

    HANOI -- Vietnam's growing ranks of middle class and wealthy consumers are falling for pricey, flashy products made by Japanese companies during Japan's bubble economy of the late 1980s and early '90s. According to U.K. research company Euromonit...

  • Booming tourism

    Foreign visitors a boon to Japanese retailers

    TOKYO -- Japanese businesses that ordinarily rely on domestic demand are breathing a sigh of relief as foreign tourists flock to duty-free shops and fast-food restaurants. Department store operator Takashimaya likely posted a group operating prof...

  • Asia travel

    Budget hotels could be the next travel boom

    TOKYO -- Japan aviation continues to change drastically two years after budget airlines embedded themselves in the industry. But moves to pursue low-cost business models appear likely to reach beyond the airline industry. Hotels are one good exam...

  • Luxury market

    Japan has room to grow, Swiss banking group says

    TOKYO -- Julius Baer, the Swiss private banking group, says Japan's luxury market has room to grow. "Julius Baer Wealth Report: Japan," its first on the country, showed that prices of hotel suites and luxury homes have risen an average of 1.6% fr...

  • Online retailing

    Singaporeans turn to Web for fresh food

    SINGAPORE -- Online retailers offering fresh food are enjoying brisk sales growth in Singapore. Their services meet the needs of the city-state's many affluent but busy people. RedMart, a leading Singaporean online retailer, plans to increase th...

  • Soft drink sales

    Producers cut vending machine prices to spur growth

    TOKYO -- Major soft drink producers are lowering prices for products sold in vending machines, looking to win back sales hurt by the consumption tax increase combined with poor weather since summer. Ito En has cut the price of three types of hot ...

  • High global supply

    Japan cheese lovers benefit from falling import prices

    TOKYO -- Shoppers in Japan will continue to benefit from lower import prices for cheese, thanks to strong supplies and lower demand from China and Russia. For the first six months of 2015, trading companies and Oceania cheese producers have agree...

  • What Japan's drinking

    Craft beer builds up a head of steam

    TOKYO -- Even as Japan's beer market continues to shrink, small-batch, distinctively flavored brews are commanding a bigger presence. Retail group Aeon will stock up to 90 types of mostly American and European craft beer at 250 supermarkets start...

  • Online retailing

    Vietnam set to tax stores on social networks

    HO CHI MINH CITY -- Online retailers in Vietnam will have to pay sales tax from next year. The Ministry of Industry and Trade announced Thursday that it will require websites selling goods to register with the government and pay tax on the goods ...

  • Attracting foreign shoppers

    Uniqlo offers duty-free purchases in central Tokyo

    TOKYO -- Fast Retailing is offering duty-free sales to foreigners shopping in Uniqlo stores in Tokyo, expanding the service beyond airports for the first time. Two major stores that have many foreign shoppers, one in the Ginza shopping district a...

  • Senior-friendly

    Sino-Japanese effort builds smartphone for China's elderly

    TOKYO -- Japanese smartphone software developer Optim has teamed up with a unit of Chinese appliance manufacturer Hisense to develop a high-end smartphone for seniors in China. The E360M comes installed with Optim's Optia service, which allows th...

  • Japanese chains expand

    Barbers, shoe repairers, dry cleaners gain ground in Asia

    TOKYO -- For a long time, Japanese retail and restaurant chains have established their presence in other Asian countries. But expanding overseas has been more challenging for other chains such as barbers, shoe repairers and dry cleaners. Now, so...

  • Smartphone habits

    In South Korea and Singapore, ditching old for new is the thing to do

    TOKYO -- An online survey on mobile phone usage has hammered home a reminder that not all smartphone markets are created equal. In Singapore and South Korea, more than 60% of respondents said they had swapped old devices for new ones at least twi...

  • eBay unit extending reach

    StubHub to sell tickets to Japanese events

    TOKYO -- American ticket reseller StubHub will offer tickets to events in Japan, eyeing increased demand from people traveling to the country ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The wholly owned eBay subsidiary operates the world's largest ticket ...

  • Q&A on Honda's Japan recall

    Automaker racing to get ahead of air bag problem

    TOKYO -- Honda Motor is launching an "investigative" recall in Japan -- an unprecedented move that will seek to determine the extent of potentially defective air bags made by Japanese supplier Takata. Here are some answers to questions readers may ha...

  • Shopping season in Japan

    Crowds gather at electronics, department stores

    TOKYO -- The Japanese year-end shopping season appears off to a modestly good start, with shoppers flocking to electronics and department stores on the first weekend since many companies handed out winter bonuses. Hot sellers at electronics retai...

  • Attracting the affluent

    Aman Resorts to open luxury resort in central Japan

    NAGOYA -- Singapore's Aman Resorts group will operate a luxury resort in Mie Prefecture in central Japan, with construction underway for opening in 2016. The site is within the premises of Nemuno Sato Hotel & Resort in the city of Shima. Mitsui F...

  • Bridging barriers

    Docomo developing translation service for stores

    TOKYO -- NTT Docomo is creating a new system that helps stores communicate with foreign customers through a special smartphone, planning to commercialize the service next year. The Japanese mobile carrier will provide small and midsize retailers...

  • Vietnam's Online Black Friday

    E-commerce still working to win trust

    HO CHI MINH CITY -- Vietnam launched its first national online shopping day on Dec. 5, with more than 900 local businesses and shopping websites participating in the event. "Online Black Friday" kicked off sales at 12:00 am on Dec. 5 and lasted f...