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Kyodo economic news summary -4-.

TOKYO, Feb. 5 Kyodo

---------- Mitarai tells of farm trade concern under FTA to Australia biz leaders

SYDNEY - Fujio Mitarai, the head of Japan's most powerful business lobby Nippon Keidanren, told Australian business leaders Monday that Australia should pay special consideration to farm trade liberalization in any free trade agreement talks between the two countries, officials traveling with him said.

''In Japan, there are concerns that an economic partnership agreement would have a devastating effect on the agricultural industry,'' Mitarai, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, was quoted as saying to members of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee.

---------- Japan gov't bond, futures prices up slightly

TOKYO - Benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond and futures prices rose slightly on Monday after moving in a narrow range amid lack of fresh incentives.

In interdealer trading, the yield on the February issues of No. 284 1.7 percent issue fell 0.005 percentage point from Friday's close to 1.720 percent.

---------- Fujiya to receive food-safety support from Yamazaki Baking

TOKYO - Fujiya Co., a major confectioner which has been under fire for using old ingredients for its products, said Monday it will receive food-safety support measures from Yamazaki Baking Co. as part of efforts to win back consumer trust.

Fujiya and Yamazaki, the No.1 firm in the Japanese baking industry, said they had signed a memorandum of understanding on Yamazaki's assistance, which will be based on U.S. quality management standards.

---------- Tokyo stocks plunge on profit-taking after recent rises

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks plunged Monday with investors selling a wide range of issues after their recent rises.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 202.31 points, or 1.15 percent, to 17,344.80 after closing at a 10-month high of 17,547.11 Friday. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 26.12 points, or 1.50 percent, to 1,716.28.

---------- Hitachi incurs larger net loss of 76.83 bil. yen in April-Dec.

TOKYO - Hitachi Ltd. said Monday it fell deeper into the red, with a group net loss of 76.83 billion yen, in the first three quarters of fiscal 2006 as it failed to wipe out the effect of a huge loss in the first half caused primarily by heavy costs incurred in repairing broken turbines at two nuclear power plants in Japan last summer.

The loss in the April-December period of 2006 spells an increase from a loss of 5.45 billion yen a year earlier, Hitachi said.

---------- Nikon raises FY 2006 earnings estimates on robust camera business

TOKYO - Nikon Corp. said Monday it has revised upward its consolidated earnings estimates for the fiscal year through March due in part to higher-than-expected profit in its digital camera business.

In the April-December period of fiscal 2006, the company saw its group net profit soar 93.7 percent from the year before to 46.20 billion yen with its key divisions -- precision and other instruments and digital cameras -- posting both higher sales and profits.

---------- Malaysia, U.S. begin 5th round of FTA talks

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia and the United States set aside a recent controversy over the former's trade ties with Iran to begin their fifth round of talks Monday to forge a bilateral free trade agreement.

More than 150 trade officials led by Assistant Trade Representative Barbara Weisel on the U.S. side and International Trade and Industry Ministry Secretary General Abdul Rahman Mamat for Malaysia are huddled in a resort in Malaysia's Sabah State in Borneo for a five-day meeting.

---------- Dollar slips to upper 120 yen amid mixed expectations of G-7 meeting

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar weakened to the upper 120 yen level Monday in Tokyo amid mixed expectations on whether the Group of Seven top financial officials will express concerns over the declining yen when they meet at the weekend.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at 120.60-62 yen, down from Friday's 5 p.m. quotes of 121.08-18 yen in New York and 120.76-78 yen in Tokyo. It moved between 120.52 yen and 121.19 yen during the day, changing hands most frequently at 120.80 yen.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Feb 12, 2007
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