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  • Petrochemical plunge

    After summer highs, prices dive

    TOKYO -- Asian markets have seen prices of basic petrochemicals plunge since summer as supplies rebound and downstream demand softens. Spot prices of ethylene have fallen 20% since summer to between $1,200 and $1,240 per ton. Prices for benzene h

    November 24, 2014 07:00 am JST
  • Safeguarding business secrets

    Japan to stiffen penalties for leaks

    TOKYO -- Japan will impose tougher penalties for leaking company data to better protect proprietary technologies and corporate secrets, subjecting even failed attempts to criminal prosecution. Under the proposal, traces of attempts to steal info

    November 24, 2014 04:28 am JST
  • Economic ties

    India Ex-Im Bank to issue yen bonds for Sri Lankan rail repairs

    TOKYO -- The Export-Import Bank of India will issue 10-year samurai bonds to raise 20 billion yen ($167 million), planning to use the money for a railway repair project in Sri Lanka. The project is part of efforts to strengthen economic ties bet

    November 24, 2014 03:34 am JST
  • China in South Pacific

    Making overtures to island nations in strategic backyard

    BEIJING -- China is offering generous financial support to countries in the South Pacific in hopes of strengthening its economic and military influence and eclipsing the Taiwanese and American presence in the region. President Xi Jinping met Sat

    November 24, 2014 03:08 am JST
  • Preparing for liftoff

    Japanese budget airline readies Okinawa-Hong Kong route

    OSAKA -- Peach Aviation will add service connecting Hong Kong and the Okinawa city of Naha in February, likely offering one-way airfares as cheap as 7,000 yen ($58.78) or so. This will mark the first time that the budget airline adds internation

    November 24, 2014 02:24 am JST
  • Mitsubishi Electric

    Offering internships to train Myanmar engineers

    YANGON, Myanmar -- Mitsubishi Electric will start accepting student interns from Yangon Technological University next month. Mitsubishi Electric and the university signed a memorandum of understanding Sunday. "We hope to contribute to personnel

    November 24, 2014 01:50 am JST
  • Nikkei poll

    Voters cool to Abenomics but still back ruling party

    TOKYO -- Japanese voters are not impressed with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic policy but still favor his ruling party over the opposition camp, according to the latest Nikkei opinion survey. Asked which party they will support in the Dec.

    November 24, 2014 01:30 am JST
  • 40 injured in M6.7 quake in Nagano, central Japan

    NAGANO (Kyodo) -- At least 40 people have been injured in Nagano Prefecture following a strong earthquake that struck the area in central Japan overnight, including seven who were seriously injured, police said Sunday. Injuries, including broken

    November 23, 2014 09:30 pm JST
  • Japan, China, South Korea agree on Ebola cooperation

    BEIJING (Kyodo) -- The health ministers of Japan, China and South Korea said Sunday they will collaborate closely in preventing Ebola and other deadly diseases from entering their borders. The trilateral meeting was held in Beijing at a time of

    November 23, 2014 02:33 pm JST
  • Renewable energy

    Japan utilities to resume solar power purchases under new rules

    TOKYO -- Five major Japanese utilities are looking to resume purchases of renewable energy under a new system that will give them greater control over producers' output. Kyushu Electric Power is increasing the number of days it can require solar

    November 23, 2014 02:00 am JST
  • Japan's importers

    Increase in forward exchange contracts to combat weak yen

    TOKYO -- Japanese importers of fuel and parts are increasing the number of forward exchange contracts to curb the impact of the drastically weaker yen on their earnings. The dollar climbed to the upper-118 yen range in Tokyo on Thursday for the

    November 23, 2014 02:00 am JST
  • Magnitude-6.8 quake hits Nagano, vicinity in central Japan

    TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 hit Nagano Prefecture and surrounding areas in central Japan on Saturday night, injuring at least several people, the weather agency and police said. Following the 10:08 p.

    November 22, 2014 10:49 pm JST
  • Obituary

    Ken Takakura was a movie star to the end

    TOKYO -- Ken Takakura, who died at the age of 83 on Nov. 10, remained a movie star right until the end, living like the silent characters he played, and rarely disclosing anything about his personal life. Born Goichi Oda in the city of Nakama, F

    November 22, 2014 01:00 pm JST
  • Pet insurance market in Japan

    Pet insurers walk fine line between profit and pain

    TOKYO -- The pet insurance market has been growing rapidly as big vet bills force owners to insure their furry friends. But despite the industry's rosy outlook, insurers face an uphill battle for sales and profits. Until recently, the market was

    November 22, 2014 01:00 pm JST
  • Scenic railways

    Japan's northern Gono Line offers majestic views

    TOKYO -- The Gono Line connecting the northern Japanese cities of Aomori and Akita was chosen by travel lovers as the nation's most recommended local train line. The survey of 916 Rakuten Travel newsletter subscribers who travel more than five t

    November 22, 2014 01:00 pm JST
  • East Asian currencies

    South Korean won gains on yen following Japan's easing

    TOKYO -- The South Korean won is stuck in a period of strength against the Japanese yen due to the Bank of Japan's introduction of further monetary easing on Oct. 31. The won has climbed just over 1% against the yen since that date. On Friday, i

    November 22, 2014 07:44 am JST
  • Kyocera gets tough

    Ruggedized smartphones headed to Latin America

    TOKYO -- Kyocera will team up with a U.S. electronics distributor to sell a strategic smartphone in 40 or so Central and South American countries, beginning Canadian sales as well. The Japanese electronics manufacturer is joining forces with Ing

    November 22, 2014 07:39 am JST
  • Hit by the tax hike

    Japanese retail sales on track to fall in 2014

    TOKYO -- Existing-store sales in the Japan's retail sector will likely shrink on the year in 2014 as consumers continue holding back under a higher consumption tax and a soft yen. Sales at general merchandisers dropped 0.3% for the nine months t

    November 22, 2014 07:24 am JST
  • Japan's parties on issues

    Election boils down to whether voters feel better off

    TOKYO -- Voter perceptions about the state of the economy and confidence in the Abe government's ability to turn it around will constitute the biggest factor in the coming lower house election. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems happy to make the el

    November 22, 2014 06:51 am JST
  • Yen politics

    Finance minister talks up sagging Japanese currency

    TOKYO -- Sensing that the ruling party's political fortunes are at stake, the Japanese finance minister on Friday issued a rare warning against the yen's rapid decline in the currency market. "The pace of the yen's slide over the past week has b

    November 22, 2014 06:41 am JST