South Korea-Japan row rages on, this time over export details
Nikkei -- Jul 12
Seoul has pointed to its interceptions of illegally exported sensitive materials to discredit Japan's claim that South Korea lacks a proper monitoring regime, prompting an immediate rebuttal from Tokyo, as bilateral relations appear to plumb another low.

Tokyo's export curbs on semiconductor materials, implemented last week, cited a breach of trust by South Korea and "improper" incidents regarding materials it shipped to the South.

Japan's move is widely seen as retaliation for South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese companies to compensate those forced to work for them in World War II.

In response, Seoul brought up its record on crackdowns to insist that Japan's argument has no basis.

There were 156 cases from 2015 to this March of sensitive materials illegally shipped from South Korea to Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East and elsewhere, according to South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Fourteen cases were caught in 2015 and 22 in 2016. The number more than doubled to 48 in 2017, the year Moon took office.

Etching gas, one of materials targeted by Japan's export curbs, was illegally shipped to Vietnam in December 2017 and the United Arab Emirates this January. In addition to semiconductors, etching gas can also be used in the production of nuclear and chemical weapons, including sarin gas.

But Japan remains unconvinced. "Just because South Korea caught some cases doesn't mean it's doing enough," a Japanese government source said. Tokyo continues to question whether Seoul has implemented appropriate screening and other measures to prevent illegal shipments.

South Korea argues that the shipments were made by a handful of domestic companies and do not involve Japan-made etching gas. High-grade etching gas imported from Japan cannot be used for sarin production, which involves lower-grade materials, it says.

Seoul views the recent surge in busts as a sign of a successful crackdown, backed by increased training of police and maritime authorities, and rejects Tokyo's charge of lax controls.

News source: Nikkei
Sep 13
Yahoo Japan's acquisition of online fashion retailer Zozo presents an opportunity for the venerable internet services company to bring fresh blood into its e-commerce audience as the business looks to step outside the shadow of Amazon.com and Rakuten. (Nikkei)
Sep 11
In Japan, is there one standard of justice for Japanese executives and another for non-Japanese executives? The forced resignation on Monday of Nissan Motor Co.’s chief executive officer, Hiroto Saikawa, certainly seems to suggest as much. (Bloomberg)
Sep 11
Japan's real gross domestic product retreated 0.5% in July compared with the previous month as rising imports led to negative external demand, the Japan Center for Economic Research reported Wednesday. (Nikkei)
Sep 10
The month between World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 and World Mental Health Day on October 10 is a good time to start considering the under-discussed topics of anxiety, depression and suicide in our society, especially as they relate to the workplace. (Nikkei)
Sep 10
Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa tendered his resignation Monday after acknowledging that he had received dubious income and vowed to pass the leadership of the Japanese automaker to a new generation. (Japan Today)
Sep 10
日本にはラスベガスやマカオにあるような本格的カジノはありませんが、最近では本格的に遊べるオンラインカジノが増えつつあります。 (newsonjapan.com)
Sep 07
SoftBank Corp. said Friday that from next week it will stop giving its mobile phone users two-year contracts that offer discounts on monthly communication fees but impose substantial penalties for canceling early. (Japan Times)
Sep 07
Cutting interest rates "further into the negative zone is always an option" for the Bank of Japan, Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda told Nikkei, as the central bank grows increasingly concerned about mounting downside risks to the global economy from the U.S.-China trade war. He said rate cuts are one of the four options BOJ has presented before. (Nikkei)
Sep 06
Bubble tea’s popularity has positively exploded in Japan. The mad rush has inspired many novel and creative ways to serve up the chewy beverage, including "drinkable sun block," Halloween zombie boba, and even a bubble tea theme park. (Japan Today)
Sep 06
The trial of Carlos Ghosn, the former head of Nissan Motor Co who has been charged with financial misconduct in Japan, will begin as early as March, Kyodo News said on Thursday, citing his defense lawyer. (Japan Today)