Japanese startup funding surges 8-fold over 5 years
Nikkei -- May 07
Investment by Japanese companies in domestic startups has swelled by more than eight times over the past five years, topping the amount raised through initial public offerings in fiscal 2018, as big businesses scramble to tap fresh sources of innovation.

Venture capital funding jumped 50% to 345.7 billion yen ($3.09 billion) last fiscal year, well above the total of about 220 billion yen from IPOs, according to data compiled by mergers and acquisitions advisory firm Recof. The average raised per deal rose 6% to 334 million yen for a second straight year of growth.

The surge in recent years is linked to the rise of open innovation. Companies worried about getting left behind if they try handling development on their own are investing in startups as a way to more effectively tap their new technology.

This represents a sea change for Japanese startups. Fledgling companies had traditionally raised money mainly through IPOs, as financial institutions and established businesses were leery of risking money on unproven upstarts.

Startups in financial technology are among the beneficiaries. Mobile payment platform operator Origami said last September that it had secured 6.7 billion yen from investors including Toyota Motor arm Toyota Finance. Cloud-based accounting software provider Freee announced the previous month that it had raised a total of 6.5 billion yen from MUFG Bank, Line and others.

News source: Nikkei
May 26
As a foreigner, you will notice that there are pachinko parlors everywhere in Japan. The neon signs of these pachinko parlors will meet your gaze everywhere in the country. Even the television channels will be full of advertisements for new parlors and machines. (newsonjapan.com)
May 26
Japan's top trade negotiator with the United States has said both sides continue to differ on negotiations for a trade deal, adding that they need to work further to narrow the gap. (NHK)
May 23
Carriers in Japan and Taiwan have become the first in Asia to say they will not sell Huawei Technologies' new smartphones in the wake of U.S. restrictions, with a South Korean peer saying it may follow suit. (Nikkei)
May 23
It's a spring morning as seven food trucks pitch up by an office building in Ginza, where a few curious workers are already nosing around for lunch options. Run by husband-and-wife duo Naoya and Rieko Shibutani, the Pieni Kissa van is a big hit and queues quickly form to take advantage of its best-selling taco rice. (Nikkei)
May 21
Japan's economy unexpectedly grew in the first quarter, giving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe some momentum to go ahead with his plan to raise the country's consumption tax this fall. (Nikkei)
May 20
Japanese seafood company Maruha Nichiro will export fully farmed tuna to Europe, taking advantage of a recent economic partnership agreement scrapping most substantial tariffs. (Nikkei)
May 18
Toyota Motor has brought back its Supra sports car after a 17-year absence. The new two-seater model was released on Friday in Japan, with its engine provided by the company's German partner, BMW. (NHK)
May 18
Japan's companies are expected to earn less in combined net profit for the year ending March 2020, as the weakening Chinese economy and the yen's strength take their toll on machinery makers and other exporters. (Nikkei)
May 18
The employment rate for job seekers who graduated from universities this spring stood at 97.6 percent, government data showed Friday, in the latest sign of a widespread labor shortage amid a graying population. (Japan Times)
May 17
The messaging app giant Line Corp. said Thursday it will launch a ¥30 billion reward campaign next week to increase usage of its Line Pay service as the cashless war heats up among tech firms in Japan. (Japan Times)