Golden Week holiday lacks luster for small businesses
Nikkei -- Apr 27
As most Japanese eagerly await the annual Golden Week holiday that begins on Saturday, small business owners are scrambling to figure out how to survive the longer-than-usual break as many banks and financial services will be shuttered for 10 days.

Miyuki Nakakura, manager of a small cafe in central Tokyo, says she will have to wait to collect the roughly 400,000 yen ($3,573) weekly payment for her food delivery services, which comprise a significant part of the company's earnings.

The 32-year-old Nakakura uses Uber Eats, an online food delivery platform based in San Francisco. Uber typically pays out each Tuesday for the preceding week's sales. But the long holiday means Nakakura will not see her funds for end-of-April sales until after the holiday on May 7 -- about a two-week wait.

Golden Week was extended this year to include celebrations for the Imperial succession, shuttering banks, government offices and most large companies. It is a welcome break for most of the country but a nervous time for cash-strapped smaller businesses.

The majority of international bank transactions go through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication network, or SWIFT. Uber Eats is no exception, making payments to Japanese banks even over holidays. Since remittances are processed during business hours, however, Uber Eats' Japanese merchants -- more than 8,500 --- will be in for a long wait.

Shop owner Miyuki Nakakura needs to obtain a small loan to see her business through this year's 10-day Golden Week.

Nakakura hopes to get a 400,000 yen online bridge loan from Japan Net Bank to pay the 1.5 million yen in salaries and rent due around the end of the month.

Shops that rely on credit cards for inventory purchases could also feel strapped if due dates for payables fall on nonbusiness days, since credit limits will not reset until payments are recorded.

The Japanese Bankers Association has a 24-hour remittance system, but only for transactions up to 100 million yen. Moreover, it does not cover salary payments.

News source: Nikkei
Aug 21
Japan's current bubble tea craze has sent tapioca imports soaring to meet the demand for the drink made with cold milk and tapioca balls. (Asahi)
Aug 21
Japan has approved shipments of a high-tech material to South Korea for the second time since imposing export curbs last month, two sources told Reuters news agency, ahead of talks between government officials this week to resolve a bitter dispute stemming from their wartime past. (aljazeera.com)
Aug 21
Up to 3.41 million people, accounting for about 5 percent of Japan’s total labor force, are estimated to be working as freelancers, according to a recent survey conducted by the government. (Japan Times)
Aug 18
Japan will tighten control over foreign investments in domestic companies involved in semiconductors and other high-tech industries by focusing on the purchase of shares that carry voting rights, Nikkei learned Saturday. (Nikkei)
Aug 10
LCD maker Japan Display has escaped immediate bankruptcy by lining up 80 billion yen ($758 million) in aid from Chinese investors, but the company remains dogged by uncertainty over the long-delayed rescue. (Nikkei)
Aug 10
Japan's economy grew at a faster-than-expected clip in the second quarter, official data showed on Friday, helped by celebrations to usher in a new imperial era. (Japan Today)
Aug 10
Earnings season in Japan is highlighting a recent plunge in inbound spending and its impact on drugstore chains, cosmetics makers and department stores previously favored by big-spending Chinese tourists. (Nikkei)
Aug 09
To much of the world Japan is the home of video games. (newsonjapan.com)
Aug 08
Japan Post Bank appears set to place a limit on over-the-counter international cash transfers to better address money laundering. (NHK)
Aug 07
A government panel decided Tuesday to end Saturday delivery for standard mail to deal with a labor shortage at Japan Post Co and a drop in demand due to increased use of the internet. (Japan Today)