Economy (9)

Japan's average gasoline price reaches 160 yen

Fuel prices rose in 43 of Japan's 47 provinces, with Kochi registering the sharpest increase.

The average price of regular gasoline in Japan since Monday (4) reached ¥160 per liter for the first time in about 3 years, government data showed on Wednesday (6).

According to a survey by the Ministry of Industry, the national average price increased by ¥1,3 compared to the previous week, marking the 5th consecutive week of gasoline price increase due to high crude oil prices.

Earlier this week, Japanese oil distributors raised wholesale prices to gas stations by around ¥2. Consequently, the average gasoline price is likely to rise above ¥160 for the first time in about 7 years next week.

High gas prices are likely to weigh on household spending as people are expected to travel more and more by car this fall tourist season after the government fully suspended its Covid-19 state of emergency on Friday.

Fuel prices rose in 43 of Japan's 47 provinces, with Kochi registering the sharpest increase of ¥3,7, followed by Yamagata and Fukui. Tottori and Okayama registered a drop in prices.

Source: Nippon

Japanese company accused of exporting military-grade equipment to China

The 90-year-old owner of a small factory in Tokyo has been exporting the engines for over 40 years.

The 90-year-old president of a small factory in the district of Ota (Tokyo) has been exporting servomotors for over 40 years.

Then, in July, he was shocked when the Metropolitan Police Department sent documents about him to the prosecution on suspicion of trying to export the engines to China, citing that they could be used for military purposes.

Experts warn that business operators like the company's president must remain cautious about their customers and follow government instructions to prevent their products from falling into the wrong hands.

The president developed the device in his home and factory about 45 years ago through trial and error.

A servo motor converts electrical signals into machine motion.

diverted for military use

Although it didn't sell right away, the company began to receive a lot of local and overseas orders after it was used as a support in Hollywood films.

Since then, it has been used for radio control devices, industrial robotic arms and equipment employed by NASA, according to the president.

In recent years, the company has shipped around 84 servomotors a year. Manufactured by the president, his XNUMX-year-old wife and two employees, most engines are shipped to customers outside Japan.

The United Nations pointed out in a report that it feared the company's engines were being used for military purposes based on the fact that they were employed in an Iranian drone that crashed in Afghanistan and for other reasons.

Source: Asahi

Production at factories in Japan rises to pre-pandemic levels

Vigorous growth in the auto and chip-making equipment sectors was a key factor.

Japan's industrial production grew in June, exceeding levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic. Vigorous growth in the auto and chip-making equipment sectors was a key factor.

Industry Ministry officials said on Friday (30) that production in factories had risen by 6,2% compared to May. This is the first increase in 2 months.

The production of passenger cars and engines increased 22,6% amid growing demand in Japan and abroad.

The manufacture of equipment for the production of chips and other machinery increased by 8,9%.

Looking ahead, ministry officials project output to fall 1,1% in July but increase by 1,7% in August.

They maintained the overall assessment, saying production is recovering and will keep an eye on the impact of the chip shortage and the spread of the Delta variant on the economy.

Source: NHK

Toyota remains the world's top-selling car manufacturer

This is the 2nd consecutive year that Toyota has been the top automaker in the world in the 1st half, with 5,47 million vehicles sold.

Toyota Motor continued to be the world's top-selling automaker, with a record 5,47 million vehicles sold in the first 6 months of 2021, surpassing German arch-rivals Volkswagen AG, company data showed on Thursday.

This is the second year in a row that Toyota has been the world's top automaker in the first half, revealing its sharp recovery from the initial coronavirus slump and relative rebound despite a global chip shortage.

Toyota's previous record sales for the 1st half of 1 year were established in 2019 with approximately 5,13 million units sold globally.

Toyota enjoyed robust sales in its key markets like the US and China. An automaker official said the company was able to "limit" the impact of the global semiconductor shortage.

In the period from January to June, Toyota sold 5.467.218 vehicles globally, up 31,3% from the previous year. The number includes those marketed by its subsidiaries Daihatsu and Hino Motors.

Volkswagen sold 4.978.200 vehicles in the same period, up 27,9% compared to the previous year.

Source: Mainichi

IMF cuts Japan's growth forecast on spread of Covid-19

Japan was the only country among the G7 nations that faced a downgrade in the latest IMF outlook.

The International Monetary Fund – IMF predicted on Tuesday (27) that Japan's economy will grow 2,8% in 2021 compared to the previous year, down 0,5 percentage point from its April estimate, as the country continues to face difficulties to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The global growth projection remained unchanged at 6%, as diminished prospects for Japan and emerging economies such as China and India were offset by improved outlooks for the US and some other major advanced economies.

In an update to the World Economic Outlook report, the Washington-based institution highlighted the continuing divergence of economic recoveries as a result of the pandemic due to differences in the pace of vaccination programs and political support.

Japan was the only country among the Group of Seven industrialized nations that faced a downgrade in the latest IMF outlook.

The country's vaccination program lagged behind those of other developed countries, and the nation has imposed anti-virus restrictions on establishments amid an increase in coronavirus cases.

However, the world's third-largest economy is anticipated to have a stronger recovery in the second half of 2021, supported by more inoculation efforts. The IMF raised its growth outlook for 2022 by 0,5 point to 3%.

Source: Japan Times

Japan's average minimum wage will rise to ¥930 per hour


This is the national average value, but each province decides its value, based on government policy.

On Wednesday the board of the MHLW-Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare set a guideline to increase Japan's average minimum wage from 14 yen an hour to 902 yen. That's 930 yen more.

The amount of the increase was the highest since 2002, when the minimum wage started to be presented with value per hour of work. But it has not yet reached the goal of an average of XNUMX yen an hour.

Last year, due to the epidemic of the new coronavirus, the council could not give a guideline to increase it. Therefore, the amount of the increase was only 1 yen on average.

It is worth remembering that in Japan the minimum wage is defined by the government of each of the 47 provinces, around October. Currently only Tokyo and Kanagawa have a minimum above 1.013 yen/h, at ¥1.012 and ¥XNUMX respectively.

Aichi's is ¥927 and Osaka's is enquanto964, while there are still many provinces with a minimum of 792, which gives a difference of ¥221 with Tokyo.

But with this guideline it is possible for such provinces as Akita, Shimane, Okinawa and others to go up to ¥800 or more.

Sources: Gov., Mainichi and NHK


Recall of 300 Mitsubishi vehicles

Mitsubishi will recall 30 vehicles for brake problems.

Mitsubishi Motors has announced that it will recall approximately 300 vehicles for brake problems.

The recall vehicles are the “eK”, “eK SPACE”, “DAYZ” and “ROOX”. The last two models are produced by Mitsubishi for Mazda.

The recall cars were produced between 2019 and 2021.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport (MLIT), there was a problem in the computer program that controls the car's operation, which, at worst, could delay the time it would take for the vehicle to stop.

So far, there has been one accident and 39 reports of malfunctions across the country.

Mitsubishi and Mazda will do the free repair at dealerships starting on Friday (28).

Source: NHK

Amazon buys MGM for ¥920 billion

MGM is bought by Amazon for ¥920 billion.

Amazon announced on Wednesday (26), local time, the acquisition of the studio MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) for US$8,45 billion, equivalent to ¥920 billion at the current price.

The studio, which is known for its iconic vignette of a roaring lion, is behind such hits as “The Silence of the Lambs”, “and the “007” and “Rocky” franchises, among other films. However, the deal leaves out legendary MGM classics such as “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind” as they are owned by Warner.

Amazon adds a collection of 4.000 titles to the Prime platform's catalog, at a time of fierce competition among digital channels.

In a statement, Amazon said it "will help preserve MGM's heritage and catalog and provide customers with greater access to the works."

“The real value behind the deal is the grand catalog treasure that will be reinvented with the MGM team,” said Mike Hopkins, vice president of Amazon Studios and Amazon Prime.

Source: ANN

Activity at factories in Japan increased in March

The pace has increased with the prospect of a global economic recovery and countries initiating Covid-19 vaccinations.

An expansion of factory activity in Japan picked up pace in March, a private sector survey on Wednesday (24) showed, aided by the prospect of a global economic recovery as a growing number of countries start immunizations against Covid-19.

However, the services sector continued to struggle, with companies suffering from the coronavirus hit even after the government lifted the state of emergency in the Tokyo region.

The au Jibun Bank Flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers (PMI) index increased from 51.4 in February to 52.2 in March seasonally adjusted.

This means that manufacturing activity was above the 50.0 threshold that separates contraction and expansion for the second month in a row.

The PMI survey showed that activity was aided by rising production and new orders. Future orders, which show business growth expectations for the year ahead, also remained strongly positive.

"Positive feelings stemmed from the expectation that both suspensions from the state of emergency and broader restrictions, as vaccinations begin, would cause a recovery in demand in both the domestic and overseas markets," said Usamath Bhatti, economist at IHS Markit, who compiles the survey.

Despite expanding production and orders, manufacturers were hesitant to hire more workers, reporting the third straight month of job cuts.

Source: Nippon

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