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Kyodo economic news summary -3-.

TOKYO, Sept. 7 Kyodo

---------- Dollar firms at upper 116 yen in Tokyo morning on weak stocks

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar firmed at the upper half of 116 yen Thursday morning in Tokyo on sluggish Japanese stocks, building on its overnight gains in New York due to stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data.

At noon, the dollar was quoted at 116.75-78 yen, compared with its 5 p.m. Wednesday quotes of 116.59-69 yen in New York and 116.31-33 yen in Tokyo. It moved between 116.54 yen and 116.80 yen in the morning.

---------- IBM to make supercomputer using Japan technology for U.S. nuke lab

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Energy Department said Wednesday it has chosen International Business Machines Corp. to make what would become the world's fastest supercomputer, partially using Japanese consumer electronics technology, for its nuclear arms program.

The supercomputer, dubbed ''Roadrunner,'' has the potential to sustain a speed of 1,000 trillion calculations per second, or 1 petaflop, and is destined for the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where it will be used in the lab's program to ensure the safety and reliability of the nuclear weapons stockpile through activities such as subcritical nuclear tests, the department said.

---------- DVD-video rental store chain Geo to buy Shizuoka sales firm

NAGOYA - Geo Corp., a large-scale operator of DVD and video rental stores, said Thursday it will acquire Project 21, a sales firm of game software and CDs in Shizuoka Prefecture, on Oct. 1 for 16 million yen.

Project 21, headquartered in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, runs 12 stores, mainly in the western part of the prefecture, and Geo will make the acquisition through one of its subsidiaries, it said.

---------- Tokyo Gas to spend 10 billion yen to prevent gas equipment accidents

TOKYO - Tokyo Gas Co. plans to spend about 10 billion yen to replace old bath boilers and water heaters with new ones over the three years from next spring to ensure the safety of household gas equipment, company officials said Thursday.

The plan is a part of measures to prevent consumers from shying away from the use of gas equipment following a series of carbon monoxide fatal poisoning accidents involving Paloma Industries Ltd.'s gas water heaters.

---------- BOJ begins 2-day policy meet, likely to pin benchmark rate at 0.25%

TOKYO - The Bank of Japan began a two-day policy meeting Thursday amid speculation that it may not hike its benchmark short-term interest rate before the year's end due to weaker-than-expected Japanese inflation data released last month.

Most economists anticipate the nine BOJ Policy Board members to decide to maintain the current policy of guiding its key short-term interest rate at around 0.25 percent at the end of their meeting.

---------- Mitarai briefs Abe on China's hopes for bilateral cooperation

TOKYO - Fujio Mitarai, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, or Nippon Keidanren, on Thursday told Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe that China earnestly hopes to cooperate with Japan in the fields of environmental protection and energy conservation, and that the Japanese business community also hopes for such cooperation, government officials said.

In briefing Abe about his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao this Tuesday, Mitarai also conveyed a message from China that it is trying to enhance the transparency of its legal system, protect intellectual property rights, and abide by the tariff and other business rules of the World Trade Organization, they said.

---------- Takeda to build new lab to enhance new drug development

OSAKA - Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Japan's largest drug maker, is planning to build a new laboratory by March 2011 to enhance its development of new drugs, company sources said Thursday.

The 100 billion yen laboratory will be constructed in Osaka or Kanagawa Prefecture to integrate some 1,000 researchers in Osaka and Ibaraki Prefectures, the sources said.

---------- Global investment in renewable energy rises 27%

TOKYO - Worldwide investment in the renewable energy business in 2005 increased 27 percent from the previous year to $38 billion (some 4.4 trillion yen), a report by an international renewable energy network showed recently.

According to the report issued by the Renewable Energy Policy Network, Germany and China were the top investors at $7 billion each, followed by the United States at $3.5 billion. Japan was in fourth place at $2 billion.

---------- Mizuho Corporate Bank to lower long-term prime rate to 2.3%

TOKYO - Mizuho Corporate Bank said Thursday it will lower its long-term prime lending rate by 0.2 percentage point to 2.3 percent per annum, bringing the rate down for the second consecutive month.

The new rate, charged on loans of one year or longer to its most creditworthy corporate borrowers, will take effect Friday.

---------- Stocks fall on low oil prices, prospects of higher U.S. rates

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks tumbled across the board Thursday as falling crude prices dragged down mining and oil-related issues while resurging prospects of higher U.S. interest rates pushed overseas demand-led stocks lower.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 271.68 points, or 1.67 percent, to end at 16,012.41. The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 29.36 points, or 1.79 percent, to 1,613.46.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Sep 11, 2006
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