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Kyodo economic news summary -5-.

TOKYO, May 17 Kyodo

---------- Tokyo stocks plunge, Nikkei closes at 3-month low

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks plunged Monday as disappointing news about UFJ Holdings Inc. sparked a sell-off across the board, leading the benchmark Nikkei index to end at a three-month low.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average plummeted 344.58 points, or 3.18 percent, to close at 10,505.05, its lowest finish since Feb. 12 when it ended at 10,459.26. It was the Nikkei's second-largest, single-day loss this year. The largest was marked on May 10 when it lost 554.12, or 4.84%. The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange lost 37.74 points, or 3.46 percent, to 1,053.77, falling for the third straight trading session.

---------- FY 2003 industrial output revised upward to 3.5% rise

TOKYO - Japan's industrial production in fiscal 2003 grew an unadjusted 3.5 percent from the previous year for the second consecutive yearly increase, revised upward from a 3.4 percent expansion reported earlier, the government said Monday.

The index of industrial production in fiscal 2003 stood at an unadjusted 96.6, compared with the initial figure of 96.5, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a revised report.

---------- Keidanren urges member firms to fulfill social responsibilities

TOKYO - The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) said Monday it has revised its Charter of Corporate Behavior to promote the implementation of social responsibilities by member companies, such as protection of human rights and personal information and adoption of environmental measures.

Companies must enhance their raison d'etre by fulfilling their corporate social responsibilities, Nippon Keidanren says in a portion added to the charter's preamble.

---------- AOL Japan to hand over Net hookup business to eAccess

TOKYO - AOL Japan Inc. said Monday it will turn over its Internet connection service division on June 30 to eAccess Ltd., a major provider of asymmetric digital subscriber line Net hookup services.

All of AOL Japan's facilities and assets associated with its Web hookup service as well as employees in the hookup division will be transferred to eAccess, the company said.

---------- Ishikawajima-Harima's group net loss quadruples in FY 2003

TOKYO - Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. said Monday its group net loss quadrupled in fiscal 2003 as it lost profitability in the shipbuilding and marine construction business and the energy and plant engineering division.

The shipbuilder and heavy machinery maker said its group net loss came to 38.35 billion yen in the year ended March 31, compared with 9.67 billion yen the previous year.

---------- Dentsu's group net profit leaps 34.5% in FY 2003

TOKYO - Dentsu Inc. said Monday its group net profit sharply rose 34.5 percent to 30.88 billion yen in the year to March 31 due mainly to a big one-off gain from returning the management of an employee pension plan to the government.

In a consolidated earnings report for fiscal 2003, its pretax profit rose 4.0 percent to 47.14 billion yen on revenue of 1,749.11 billion yen, up 3.3 percent, according to the nation's top advertising agency.

---------- Nissin posts record sales on brisk sales of Chicken Ramen

TOKYO - Nissin Food Products Co. said Monday it scored an all-time high of 320.03 billion yen in group sales in the year to March 31 due in part to record sales of Chicken Ramen, the world's first instant noodle product.

The figure represents an increase of 1.5 percent over the previous year, Nissin said.

---------- Dollar drops to lower 113 yen range on concerns about Iraq

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar dropped to the lower 113 yen range Monday in Tokyo, pressured by worries about the situation in Iraq following a report that the head of the Iraqi Governing Council was killed in an explosion.

At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at 113.42-45 yen, compared with Friday's 5 p.m. quotes of 114.20-30 yen in New York and 114.64-67 yen in Tokyo. The euro was quoted at $1.2047-2050 and 136.66-70 yen against $1.1880-1890 and 135.65-75 yen late Friday in New York.

---------- Yield on key cash bond issue falls to 6-week low

TOKYO - The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond issue fell to a six-week closing low Monday, on buying prompted by plunges in Tokyo stocks that led the key Nikkei stock index to end at a three-month low.

In interdealer trading, the yield on the key No. 259 10-year, 1.5 percent May government bond issue fell 0.055 percentage point from Friday to 1.450 percent, the lowest finish for a key 10-year issue since April 2 when it ended at 1.430 percent.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:May 24, 2004
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