Decline in South Korean tourists takes toll on small Japanese firms
Japan Times -- Oct 04
Head to the winding streets of Tokyo’s trendy Omotesando district on any given day and you’ll see young South Korean women taking selfies in front of popular cafes or snapping photos of their logo-emblazoned coffee cups.

But behind that familiar scene, employees at those cafes have seen a different picture in recent months — dwindling numbers of visitors from Japan’s neighbor amid a spiraling bilateral dispute that has as yet no end in sight.

Operating out of a plain wooden building, the peaceful, rustic ambiance of Shozo Coffee’s Commune 246 store reflects its origins in the rural town of Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture. Along with drip coffee, its specialty is scones.

Koreans have usually accounted for around 40 percent of the store’s customers, said staffer Noriko Kogure, making them the biggest group of foreign visitors.

They started flocking there after Blue Bottle Coffee, a high-end retailer headquartered in California, opened a branch next door, she said. The cafe’s quirky appearance then helped make it an “Instagrammable” spot, with word of mouth spreading digitally among Korean visitors.

In 2018, Koreans made up almost a quarter of all foreign tourists in Japan, spending ¥588 billion ($5.5 billion). They were second only to mainland Chinese, who accounted for 27 percent.

But bilateral relations have deteriorated sharply since the South Korean Supreme Court ordered two Japanese companies last year to pay compensation for wartime labor during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The row, which developed into a tit-for-tat trade dispute, has led to cancellations or reductions of flights linking cities in both countries, damaging tourism to Japan.

News source: Japan Times
Jun 04
Japanese casual clothing chain Uniqlo will open a new outlet Friday in Tokyo's Harajuku neighborhood, marking a homecoming eight years in the making to the city's vibrant hub for youth fashion. (Nikkei)
Jun 03
The balance of money circulating in Japan’s economy reached ¥543 trillion in May, hitting a record high for the second straight month, as the central bank pumped more cash to cushion the blow to businesses and consumers from the coronavirus pandemic. (Japan Times)
Jun 03
East Japan Railway Co. will accelerate plans to open 100 unmanned convenience stores within the next four years, sources close to the matter said Tuesday, as it takes advantage of the need to reduce human contact amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Japan Times)
Jun 02
Regulations to protect workers in Japan from abusive bosses and colleagues took effect Monday to criticism that it only provides a road map to desk-bound bullies. (Nikkei)
Jun 01
Japan's government is set to ask all independent administrative corporations and government-designated corporations handling personal information, to consider security risks when purchasing telecommunication equipment. (NHK)
May 30
Despite Nissan Motor Co.’s latest efforts to become more cost-efficient and profitable by strengthening its collaboration with Renault SA, its business downturn may be causing a costly delay in the global race toward new mobility technologies, analysts say. (Japan Times)
May 30
Looking for an easy business idea to start fast? (newsonjapan.com)
May 29
Japan's textile imports surged in April, fuelled by growing demand for face masks. (NHK)
May 29
Nissan Motor has posted its first net loss in 11 years in the business year through March, amounting to more than 670 billion yen, or 6.2 billion dollars. (NHK)
May 29
NTT Docomo, Japan's largest mobile carrier, said Thursday it has secured exclusive rights to offer Disney's streaming service Disney+ in the country starting June 11. (Nikkei)