Category Archives: BUSINESS

Construction Co to relocate 140-yr old house to Koto-ku

Construction giant Shimizu Corporation has acquired the historic home of Viscount Shibusawa Eiichi and will relocate it to an innovation center currently being developed on a manmade island in Tokyo Bay.

The house is already being disassembled in its current location in Hoshino Resort Aomoriya in Aomori Prefecture.

Shibusawa (1840-1931) is widely celebrated as the father of Japanese capitalism. Throughout his career he either established or supported over 500 companies, one of which is now Mizuho Bank. He purchased the existing house in 1876. It had been built several years earlier by a rice wholesaler and was located near Kiyosumi Park in Koto-ku. With the assistance of friend Shimizu Kisuke, son-in-law of Shimizu Corporation’s founder, the house was relocated to Shibusawa’s main residence in the Mita Tsunamachi district in Minato-ku. The property fell under the control of the Japanese government shortly after WWII. The government auctioned off the house for removal in 1990, where it was sold to the founder of Komaki Onsen (now the Hoshino Resort Aomoriya) and relocated to the onsen a year later.

This is the only surviving home of six of Shibusawa’s former residences.

Shimizu Corporation purchased a 37,000 sqm site on Shiomi island, Koto-ku, and is in the process of building an innovation and research center at a cost of 50 billion Yen (approx. 462 million USD). The project is expected to be completed by March 2022.

Source: Shimizu Corporation News Release, June 7, 2019.

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The rules-based maritime order is not completely adrift

One of Australia's big decks – HMAS Canberra – made its debut appearance at IMDEX Asia in May 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Australian Defence Force/Kev Bristow WB).

Author: See Seng Tan, RSIS

Over two days in May 2019, navy chiefs and maritime experts from across the world gathered in Singapore for the sixth edition of the International Maritime Security Conference (IMSC). The conference is held biennially as part of the Marine Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX Asia), reputedly the Asia Pacific’s premier international maritime defence show.

The glitz and glam that accompany such talk shops fail to hide that little is achieved by way of concrete accomplishments. The 2019 IMSC was striking for the emphatic consensus among its international delegates and participants over the need to strengthen the maritime rules-based order. A number of things are noteworthy about the conference deliberations.

First, the shared perception of the need for a strong and viable rules-based order and the collective will to preserve and enhance it was evident among the participants. The focus of this IMSC was very much on principle rather than power, despite the formidable presence of the world’s most powerful navies. Principles belonging to the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) were stressed most among delegates.

Participants frequently made the point that the seas are a maritime commons, whose ‘free and equitable’ use can only be effectively ensured through adherence by all signatories to UNCLOS. Crucially, adherence to the entirety of UNCLOS was emphasised, rather than the selective observance shown by some parties — including claims by regional states that do not abide by the terms of UNCLOS.

Second, the participants demonstrated widespread appreciation for the need to establish and implement concrete measures in support of the rules-based order. There have been a growing number of maritime exercises among the region’s navies aimed at developing familiarity with the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES). These include the exercise conducted by ASEAN navies with …continue reading


A forecast of new apartment prices between 2019 and 2025

On May 28, the Japan Real Estate Institute (JREI) issued their latest medium-term forecast for the price of brand-new apartments in Tokyo’s 23 wards. As we saw last year, price predictions have again been revised upwards from earlier forecasts. In 2019, the average new apartment price is forecast to be 1,065,000 Yen/sqm, up 0.4% from 2018 and 7.7% than an earlier forecast.

In 2020, the price is expected to drop slightly to 1,064,000 Yen/sqm. By 2025 it is forecast to be 1,024,000 Yen/sqm.

For the rental market, the average monthly rent of a new apartment in 2019 is forecast to reach 3,470 Yen/sqm, up 2.1% from last year. It is forecast to continue to increase by 2025.

Forecasting future property prices is an impossible task for even the largest research institutes and data can be unreliable due to the unpredictable nature of the market and the factors influencing it. Back in 2014, the Institute forecasted that the average price of a new apartment would be 816,000 Yen/sqm in 2020, while the most recent forecast puts it at 1,064,000 Yen/sqm (a 30.4% difference).


The Institute has been providing property market forecasts for Tokyo’s 23 wards since 1998. Reports are based on their own housing market index, GDP, private housing investment and population trends. New apartment prices and rents are based on standard apartments sized between 40 ~ 80 sqm.

These are predictions only and should not be relied upon when making an investment decision. Japan Property Central, KK does not support or endorse the accuracy or reliability of these forecasts.

Data: The Japan Real Estate Institute, May 28, 2019.

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Nissin’s New Kansai Cup Noodle Factory

We’ve never wanted to peel off the lid of a building as much as this one: Nissin’s new Cup Noodle Factory in Shiga Prefecture of Japan’s Kansai region. This is the company’s first new factory in 22 years and at 100,000㎡ (approximately 24.6 acres) it stands as one of Japan’s largest food factories. Nissin is, […]

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No easy choices ahead in regional aid and trade governance

Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao attends the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, China, 15 January 2018.      REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Author: David Arase, Johns Hopkins University

As trade relations between the United States and China grow more rivalrous, the situation in the Indo-Pacific becomes increasingly vexed. Asian states and regional organisations caught in the middle are struggling to cope, and now even the low-profile Asian Development Bank (ADB) is getting caught in the crossfire.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao recently signalled a reduction in lending to China in coming years. This happened after Taro Aso, Japanese Finance Minister and ADB Governor, said that China — which absorbed 12 per cent of ADB lending in 2018 — should be put on a path to ‘graduate’ from needing financial aid. Assisting lower income and vulnerable countries, Aso said, should be the bank’s priority.

It is worth noting that Japan ended its bilateral official development assistance (ODA) to China this year, while World Bank President David Malpass last year began calling for an end to World Bank loans to China. Because the United States names the president of the World Bank and Japan names the president of the ADB, the banks appear to be acting in parallel with the two states.

The official explanation is that China no longer needs ODA because it has ample access to international finance on its own. For one, China is spending some US$900 billion over the 2013–2022 decade on its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This money will be used to design, finance, construct, and operate infrastructure connectivity between China and some 70 BRI partner countries, forming what China styles a ‘community of common destiny’.

China also leads the new 97-member Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that has just successfully floated a US$2.5 billion international bond issue to finance AIIB infrastructure projects.

The ADB says Asia <a target=_blank href="" target="_blank" …continue reading