Macron puts France back in fashion for Japan

There has been an affectionate relationship between France and Japan for a long time. It began in the mid-19th Century, when Japanese art treasures reached Paris, providing inspiration for painters such as Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas. The French still use the word Japonisme to describe their deep appreciation of Japan’s culture. In return, the Japanese hold […]

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Japan’s big money is still on the table

Japan’s companies have billions of dollars to spend and are “very much up for it” when it comes to buying foreign businesses. That was the message I heard this week from a senior figure based in the City of London who regularly brokers huge international deals. I also learned that Japanese companies have made many […]

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Is the yen still a safe haven?

The Japanese yen has long been considered the best currency in which to invest when the world is facing danger or financial markets are in turmoil. On more than a dozen occasions since the mid-1990s, it has soared in response to shocks, including the global financial crisis in 2008 and Britain’s vote to leave the […]

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N.Korea threat deepens US-Japan alliance

Japan and the United States have reaffirmed their close alliance in the face of threats from North Korea. There was extensive coverage in the world’s media of the trip by the US Vice President Mike Pence to South Korea and Japan this week, during which he pledged “100 percent support” for both nations. As he […]

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Trump leaves Asia guessing on North Korea

Most politics in Japan is influenced by its two most important relationships; those with China and the United States. Last week, President Xi Jinping of China visited President Donald Trump in Florida. The Japanese were not invited. Both China and the US claim the summit meeting was a success. Mr Trump said there was “tremendous […]

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Should the government rescue Toshiba?

Toshiba must reveal the full scale of its financial problems within one month or face being de-listed from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The company has twice failed to submit audited accounts which show how much money it has lost on its investment in nuclear power in the United States. Toshiba has said the problems will […]

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Japan’s dynamic global trade

This week, I gained valuable insights into the way Japanese companies work around the world to help countries to build power stations, ports and airports. The deals are often complex but they illustrate the smooth way in which Japan’s big institutions work together with its government to help people, especially in developing countries. Take, for […]

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Cost of North Korean threat increases

Japan is to spend a record sum on defence in the face of missile launches by North Korea and a rise in China’s military power. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament that defence spending will not fall below one percent of GDP, despite Japan’s continuing economic problems. The Japanese parliament, or Diet, agreed a record […]

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Dark deflation era “may end soon”

“There’s a good chance that Japan will soon be exiting its long dark era of deflation.” That was the optimistic view expressed by Peter Berezin, who runs global investment strategy on behalf of BCA Research when he spoke to Market Watch this week. “This will be a huge surprise to investors,” he added. It would […]

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Less work could be a lifesaver

The CEOs of Japan’s biggest companies are encouraging their staff to leave the office early to help ease the pressure of working life. Once a month, employees will be invited to pack up work at three pm on Friday afternoon, leaving them free to travel, shop or spend time with their families. The initiative, backed […]

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