Articles

Topic
Type
General, Investors/Business
News
Imagine if you could put an ultra-thin, transparent solar sheet on your window to generate energy, not just from sunlight but also artificial lights from inside your room? Seen as the most promising next-generation solar cell, this technology, called perovskite, is exactly what Japanese start-up Enecoat Technologies is trying to develop. Start-ups such as this are called "deep tech". They are small firms who are merging high-tech engineering innovation with scientific discovery. The hope is that it will lead to the development of transformational products.
General
News
Japan will allow visa-free, independent tourism and abolish its daily arrival cap as of Oct. 11, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday, marking a major policy shift after nearly 2½ years of strict COVID-19 restrictions. The government will also launch a nationwide travel discount program, which had been shelved due to the spread of COVID-19 infections. The moves will be welcomed by the nation’s tourism sector, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.
General
News
Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said on Friday he would not rule out any options in taking action in the foreign exchange market if sharp weakening in the yen persisted. Suzuki said a weak yen has both merits and demerits, and he could not label it as right or wrong. Market attention is focused on a slew of monetary policy meetings by the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, and the Bank of England next week.
General, Holiday/Home Makers, Investors/Business
News
Japan's sluggish economy, already weakened before the pandemic, faces the possible collapse of its national currency. The Japanese government is walking back years of harsh travel restrictions as the yen collapses in value due to a stagnant economy and weak trade. Japan until recently has all but completely rejected foreigners seeking entry or re-entry into the country. What can it do to get back on its feet? "Amid the weakening yen, [incoming tourism] will have the greatest effect," Kihara said, according to the Japan Times. "And there are the autumn leaves and powder snow. There are many foreign visitors who want to come visit Japan."
General
News
Japan on Wednesday opened its borders to foreign travelers on unguided tours, or what travel agencies are calling self-guided tours, which can be booked by registered travel agencies — a move that may be welcomed by some foreign visitors since the nation opened its doors to escorted tours in June. The country also raised the daily arrival cap, or the number of all arrivals to Japan per day, to 50,000 and dropped a pre-arrival test requirement for those who have been vaccinated with three shots of a coronavirus vaccine. Despite the moves, Japan’s border measures are still conservative compared with other major economies, including the U.K. and France, where restrictions on international travel have been lifted entirely.
General, Investors/Business
News
Just as the yen's eye-popping plunge against the dollar grabs the world's financial market spotlight, investors will get a closer look on Thursday into the underlying state of the Japanese economy. Revised second quarter GDP data, and trade and current account figures for July, will give an insight into the yen's economic fundamentals, and offer clues to whether the level and pace of the currency's depreciation are justified.
General, Holiday/Home Makers
Information
These homes are packed with charm, full of history and quickly disappearing. Over the last 30 years, Alex Kerr has given 574 presentations on the cultural importance of Japan’s minka (traditional village homes). For the first 573, his audiences were filled with nothing but local bureaucrats skeptical about lifting a finger to preserve these striking properties. “They all had to be convinced that minka are not worthless but wonderful,” Kerr told the audience at the Minka Summit, the site of the noted Japanologist’s 574th such presentation. “The people who are coming to this conference are really doing (things with) minka. You don’t need to be convinced that minka are wonderful.”
General, Investors/Business
News
A new wave of big private equity players is moving in on Japan's property market, drawn by attractive yield spreads with Japan's low interest rates and by prospective deals with companies that hold under-utilized assets. "The Japanese market presents a huge opportunity," David Cheong, managing director at KKR, told Reuters. He noted wide scope to help corporations bolster their property-related operations and boost returns on property assets. "Investment demand is strong but the number of properties for sale is relatively limited..."