japan

Toyota Keeps Slim Lead Over GM Despite Recall Woes

Toyota managed to hold onto the title of world's No. 1 automaker last year, despite numerous safety recalls that took a toll on its sales. Toyota sold 8.42 million vehicles worldwide in 2010, enough to barely edge out resurgent General Motors, which rang up sales of 8.39 million.

Why Japan Is Rushing to Aid Europe: It's All About China

World markets got a boost this week from Japan's pledge to help overly indebted EU nations. What's behind Japan's move? Sure, the spirit of global cooperation is part of it. But much more significant is Tokyo's need to keep pace with Beijing in the influence game.

Sweden's Central Bank Is Fighting the Next Bubble

While most of the world's central banks are still fighting the last war, Sweden's Riksbank has moved on to the next one. Rather than looking at conventional inflation gauges, the world's oldest central bank is basing its actions on asset-price growth in an effort to prevent the next bubble.

Buzzword of the Week: Open Kimono

As political correctness gets ever more pervasive, business jargon is one of the last bastions of old-fashioned, rough and tumble crudity. Little surprise, then, that boardroom buzzwords sometimes veer into racism, sexism, or -- in the case of "open kimono" -- a combination of the two.

Authorities Probe Insider Trading at Wal-Mart's Japan Unit: Report

Authorities in Japan will investigate allegations of insider trading involving Seiyu, the Japanese unit of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT). The country%u2019s Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission and Tokyo district prosecutors will pursue an insider trading case against the husband of a former member of the Seiyu board, Dow Jones said, citing a report in the Japanese media.

Asian Markets Close Lower on Fears of Chinese Tightening Measures

Shares in Asia slid lower Friday as investors reacted to Chinese government moves to tighten credit and clamp down on inflation. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell 0.8% to 22,877, and in China, the Shanghai Composite sank 0.9% to 2,872. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down 0.4% to 10,040.

China Could Be the Big Winner Amid Korean Tensions

North Korea has rattled global markets again with hostile acts toward Korea. As analysts struggle to determine the best course of engagement, China stands to gain in increased influence in the Asian economy.

Asics to Offer Cheaper Shoes in Bid to Boost Sales

Asics Corp. (ASCCF) plans to start selling cheaper shoes in a bid to boost its sales. Asics will start selling shoes with a recommended retail price of about $60. Previously, it sold running shoes priced between $75 and $125, leaving the lower end of the market to companies including Nike (NKE).

Nissan Leaf Will Get Equivalent of 99 Miles Per Gallon

Nissan%u2019s (NSANY) Leaf electric car will get the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon, making it the most fuel-efficient midsize car on the road. The Leaf does not use gasoline, so the EPA created an "mpg-equivalent" rating for its fuel efficiency, CNNMoney said.

Panasonic to Sell Smartphones Starting 2011

Panasonic Corp. (PC) will begin selling its own smartphone in Japan in 2011 and overseas in 2012. The new phone will use the Google (GOOG) Android operating system, Reuters reported.

Skymark Airlines May Buy 15 A380s for International Flights

Japanese low-cost airline Skymark may buy as many as 15 Airbus A380s as it expands into international flights. The planes would be delivered starting 2014 and would initially fly to destinations including London, Frankfurt and New York, Bloomberg News reported. Skymark has already signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to buy four A380s.

Mizuho to Take $500 Million Stake in BlackRock

Mizuho Financial Group (MFG), Japan%u2019s third-largest bank, will take a $500 million stake in asset manager BlackRock Inc. (BLK) Mizuho will buy a total of 3.07 million shares of BlackRock for $163 a share, Bloomberg News said. The purchases will give Mizuho a 2% stake in BlackRock.

Could Japan Hold the Key to Asia's Rising Consumers?

Although Japan's stock market has been weak for the last 20 years, there are signs that a shift may be under way that could transform that nation into the gateway to Asia's emerging-market consumers. For patient investors looking for a contrarian play with huge upside potential, it's time to re-examine Japan.

Danone in Talks to Sell Bottled Water Business

Groupe Danone SA (DANOY) is in talks with Japanese companies to sell its bottled water business, including the iconic Evian brand, in a deal worth as much as $7 billion. Danone is in talks with companies including Kirin Holdings (KNBWY), The Wall Street Journal said without naming its sources. Other potential buyers include Suntory Holdings and Asahi Breweries (ASBRY).

G-20 Leaders Criticize Fed's $600 Billion QE2 Stimulus

The U.S. finds itself on the wrong side of the currency manipulation argument this week, as many G20 countries criticize the Fed's $600 billion bond buying plan, which could further devalue the dollar. World leaders say the move breaks the vow of unity made during the last G-20 summit.

Toyota Earnings Preview: Recalls May Hurt

When Toyota Motor reports quarterly earnings tomorrow it will give investors the latest snapshot of how big a toll massive recalls and tepid auto sales are taking on the company's bottom line.

Domino's Japan to Pay $31,000 for One Hour's Work

Domino%u2019s Pizza Japan will pay one lucky worker 2.5 million yen ($31,000) for an hour%u2019s work. The pizza outlet gave no details on the job%u2019s duties. The only requirement was that applicants must be over 18, according to The Associated Press.

Asian Markets Are Mixed as Investors Eye U.S. Elections

In Asia on Tuesday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.1%, China's Shanghai Composite inched down 0.3%. and in Japan, the Nikkei 225 crept up 0.1%. Investors are closely monitoring the U.S. midterm elections, with many predicting that if the Democrats lose their majorities in both the House and the Senate, the dollar will continue to slide.

To Topple Toyota, Volkswagen Must Accelerate in the U.S.

VW has set a hefty goal for itself: to displace Toyota as the world's No. 1 car company. The German automaker is actually within reach, thanks mainly to its huge lead in China. To overtake Toyota, however, VW will need to really ramp up sales in the American market.

Nissan to Recall 2.14 Million Vehicles

Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY) will recall 2.14 million vehicles because of a flawed ignition relay that could create problems with the engine. The recalls are mostly in Japan, with 835,000 units, and in the United States and Canada, with a total of 762,000 units, Reuters reported. About a dozen different models are affected, including the March/ Micra and the Cube.

Volkswagen on Track to Overtake Toyota, CEO Says

Volkswagen (VLKAY) CEO Martin Winterkorn said the company is on track to overtake Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) as the world%u2019s largest automaker. The German company beat Toyota%u2019s full-year profit goal in the first nine months.

Japan, U.S. Sign Treaty to Boost Air Travel

Japan and the U.S. signed a treaty that will reduce barriers to flights between the countries and encourage collaboration between the countries%u2019 airlines, Bloomberg News reported. "I am optimistic that we will see an increase in the numbers of passengers traveling between our countries," said U.S. Ambassador John Roos, after signing the treaty in Tokyo.

Sony Cuts PSPgo Prices Ahead of Holiday Season

Sony Corp. (SNE) will slash the price of its PSPgo portable game player ahead of the holiday period. The company will cut the price of the PSPgo to $199 from $249 in the United States and to 16,800 yen ($207) from 26,800 yen in Japan, Reuters said.

Dollar Falls to 15-Year Low Against Yen

The dollar fell to a 15-year low against the yen and the weakest since January against the euro on speculation that the Federal Reserve will ease monetary policy. The dollar slipped 0.8% to 81.13 yen at 6:37am in New York, from 81.81 yen on Wednesday. Earlier, it fell to 80.89 yen, the weakest since 1995. The dollar fell to as low as $1.4122 against the euro, the weakest since Jan. 26.

Honda Fit Hybrid Battles Toyota Prius in Japan

Honda unveiled its new hybrid Fit subcompact in Tokyo Friday. At a starting price of around $19,160, it is cheaper than any other hybrid vehicle in Japan -- including Toyota's popular Prius.