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Kyodo economic news summary -7-.

TOKYO, May 26 Kyodo

---------- New airport near Nagoya named Chubu Centrair Int'l Airport

NAGOYA - An international airport to open in 2005 near Nagoya was formally named Chubu Centrair International Airport in English, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Wednesday.

The new airport, under construction on reclaimed land off Aichi Prefecture, is slated to open Feb. 17, 2005, in time for the 2005 World Exposition in the prefecture.

---------- Nippon Life's dividend-paying contracts to rise 1st time in 4 years

TOKYO - The number of Nippon Life Insurance Co.'s individual insurance contracts for which it can pay dividends is set to rise for the year to March 31 for the first time in four years, industry sources said Wednesday.

The tally of outstanding insurance contracts at the nation's largest insurer is 17 million, the sources said.

---------- Gov't, coalition parties agree on flexible policy for WTO farm talks

TOKYO - The government and the ruling coalition parties agreed Wednesday that Japan will take a flexible position on farm negotiations in the new round of global trade talks under the World Trade Organization as long as the protection of selected products, especially rice, is taken fully into consideration, government officials said.

Japan will therefore not stick to its policy of supporting the so-called Uruguay Round approach on tariff cuts, they said.

---------- Ex-BOJ exec Tamura becomes Kanebo Cosmetics outside board member

TOKYO - Kanebo Cosmetics Inc., a spinoff from ailing cosmetics and textile maker Kanebo Ltd., decided Wednesday to have a former Bank of Japan executive director serve as an outside board member.

Tatsuya Tamura, 65, currently head of the Global Management Institute, assumed the executive post the same day, Kanebo Cosmetics officials said. Well-versed in corporate governance, Tamura was chosen as the sixth outside board member of the cosmetics company, they said.

---------- TSE suspends listing of bicycle maker Maruishi Holdings

TOKYO - Tokyo Stock Exchange Inc. said Wednesday it will suspend a plan to list the stock of Maruishi Holdings Co. next Tuesday due to uncertainty over the holding firm's registration as a corporate entity in the wake of the revelation of an alleged fictitious capital increase plan.

The holding firm is to be created on June 1 or June 2 but the TSE is uncertain whether the Justice Ministry will approve its registration following the revelation of the alleged scandal, TSE Managing Director Eisuke Nagatomo told a news conference.

---------- Gov't to consider letting foreign nurses work in Japan

TOKYO - The government plans to state in a draft economic blueprint to be adopted in early June that it will consider accepting foreigners to work in the field of nursing and caring for the elderly, government sources said Wednesday.

The government will consider allowing foreigners into the nursing field ''from a comprehensive perspective,'' says the draft, which the Cabinet Office will present to a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy on Friday, according to the sources.

---------- JAL may hike int'l airfares on higher fuel costs

TOKYO - Japan Airlines System Corp. plans to ask the government to approve hikes in its international airfares following recent increases in jet fuel costs, its president suggested Wednesday.

JAL President Isao Kaneko told a news conference, ''We would like to consider hiking fares to some extent.''

---------- Fitch puts Sumitomo Trust under watch to see merger effect

TOKYO - International rating agency Fitch Ratings said Wednesday it has placed Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co.'s long-term BBB-plus, short-term F2 and Individual D ratings on Rating Watch Evolving.

The action follows the recent announcement that Sumitomo Trust will acquire trust, custody and other specified businesses of UFJ Trust Bank, a subsidiary of UFJ Holdings Inc., Fitch said.

---------- Diet to pass privatization bills for road entities June 2

TOKYO - A package of bills to privatize four public highway operators in fiscal 2005 is expected to pass the Diet next Wednesday, according to a schedule agreed upon by the ruling and opposition parties Wednesday.

The parties agreed the House of Councillors will vote on the bills at its plenary session next Wednesday following approval by the Committee on Land and Transport in the house Tuesday.

---------- BOJ blames minus interest rates partly on yen-selling interventions

TOKYO - The Bank of Japan on Wednesday attributed the frequent occurrences of minus interest rates during fiscal 2003 and 2004 partly to its own massive yen-selling, dollar-buying market interventions.

The central bank released the analysis in a report on its financial market operations, entitled ''Financial Adjustments in Fiscal 2003,'' the same day.

---------- Softbank strikes deal to buy Japan Telecom from Ripplewood

TOKYO - Softbank Corp. reached an accord with Ripplewood Holdings LLC on Wednesday to buy Japan Telecom Co. from the U.S. investment fund, sources close to the deal said.

Softbank, a major Internet business investor, agreed to purchase a majority stake in the nation's third-largest fixed-line phone company in a deal expected to be worth more than 100 billion yen, the sources said.

---------- EU fines Topps for keeping Pokemon goods prices artificially high

BURUSSELS - The European Commission said Wednesday it has fined Topps Co., a New York-based maker of collectible cards and stickers, 1.59 million euros for keeping the prices of Pokemon goods artificially high by discouraging distributors from selling across borders between EU nations.

The executive body of the European Union said in a statement that Topps, which has subsidiaries in various EU countries, has blocked fair competition among distributors and thereby forced EU children and their families to pay more for Pokemon goods.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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