Pay rises at Japan’s top firms will be blunted by rise in sales tax

Big firms may raise base pay for their workers but then put pressure on suppliers to cut costs, forcing them to keep their workers' wages in check. Photo: AFP

Big Japanese companies such as Toyota Motor will offer the most generous pay raises in years on Wednesday, but workers will still struggle to offset a sales tax increase next month, highlighting the difficulties the government is facing in overcoming entrenched deflation.

Wednesday, 12 March, 2014, 3:28pm

Beijing denies Xi planned to visit Holocaust Memorial during trip to Europe

China’s ambassador in Berlin Shi Mingde. Photo: Screenshot

China's ambassador to Germany has denied that Beijing proposed a visit by President Xi Jinping to a second world war memorial in Berlin during his tour of Europe later this month.

7 Mar 2014 - 5:20pm 3 comments

Lawnmowers move over as goats cut the grass

A goat kills weeds in western Tokyo. Photo: AFP

A Japanese condominium complex has decided to ditch noisy lawnmowers and their paid pushers for a more natural option: goats.

The suburban Tokyo complex has obtained four grass-munching animals to help beautify the walled property and chomp on weeds in those hard-to-reach areas.

16 Nov 2013 - 7:57pm

Fukushima operator to cut 1,000 jobs

Workers at Tepco's Fukushima crippled nuclear plant. Photo:

The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant plans to slash more than 1,000 jobs through voluntary retirement in addition to its ongoing streamlining scheme, a business daily said on Saturday.

16 Nov 2013 - 4:35pm

Japanese politician who handed Emperor Akihito letter receives death threat

Japanese actor and politician Taro Yamamoto (left) hands a letter to Emperor Akihito during the annual autumn garden party at the Akasaka Palace imperial garden in Tokyo in October. Photo: AFP

The Japanese politician roundly criticised for handing Emperor Akihito a letter last month has received a knife and a death threat at his office – a none-too-subtle message that even a hardened right-winger says is over the top.

The envelope was intercepted on Wednesday when an X-ray machine detected the weapon at the building where Taro Yamamoto has his political office in Tokyo.

14 Nov 2013 - 1:40pm

Tepco should not be in charge of Fukushima decommissioning: Japan panel

Tepco's crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Photo: Reuters

The Tokyo Electric Power Company should be stripped of the responsibility for shutting down its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, according to a draft proposal by a panel of Japan’s ruling party.

31 Oct 2013 - 4:20pm

Japan calls China a challenge in outline of national security guideline

Japan's helicopter destroyer DDH183 Izumo, the largest surface combatant of the country's navy, is seen in Yokohama on Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Reuters

Japan has listed China and North Korea as its security challenges in an outline of its new national security strategy, which should be approved by the end of the year, reported Japanese media on Tuesday.

22 Oct 2013 - 5:44pm

Japan’s Murakami again favourite for Nobel prize

Haruki Murakami. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Japanese literary superstar Haruki Murakami is favourite for this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, betting odds showed on Friday, after repeatedly being mentioned as a contender for the prestigious global gong.

Online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com was on Friday offering odds of 3-1 on the novelist scooping up the prize, which will be announced in Sweden next month.

20 Sep 2013 - 3:52pm

Beijing museum unveils ‘evidence’ of forced labour by Japan during second world war

Visitors at The Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

A Beijing museum marked the anniversary of the 1931 Mukden Incident on Wednesday by revealing documents it said will help a compensation claim against Tokyo over forced labour during the second world war.

18 Sep 2013 - 3:57pm 1 comment

Japan premier will not visit controversial war shrine

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Photo: Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not visit a controversial shrine to war dead on the anniversary of his country’s surrender in World War II, sources and a report said late on Thursday.

2 Aug 2013 - 3:06pm 1 comment

Japan's Aso rejects calls to quit over Nazi comments

Japanese Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso at a press conference in Tokyo. Photo: AFP

Japan’s gaffe-prone deputy prime minister on Thursday retracted controversial remarks that suggested Tokyo could learn from Nazi Germany when it comes to constitutional reform.

3 Aug 2013 - 3:45am 1 comment

Philippines, Japan leaders hold talks over China disputes

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows beside a Filipino honor guard during wreath laying ceremonies at the monument of Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal on Saturday. Photo: AP

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to meet President Benigno Aquino on Saturday as the Philippines seeks to boost cooperation over growing territorial disputes with regional rival China.

27 Jul 2013 - 12:22pm

Candidates make final appeal in Japan election

Japanese Prime Minister and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's leader Shinzo Abe, left, greets audience during the last day of parliamentary upper house election campaign in Tokyo on Saturday. Photo: AP

Candidates made final campaign pushes ahead of Sunday’s upper house elections that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition is expected to easily win as the economy picks up steam.

20 Jul 2013 - 5:04pm

Japan banking body to tighten interbank rate monitoring

Central bankers in Europe and Asia are expressing concern about potential rate rigging by major financial institutions. Photo: Reuters

Japan’s banking industry group said on Friday it will tighten monitoring of how its interbank lending rates are set, responding to growing public distrust in benchmark rates around the world in the wake of rate-rigging scandals.

5 Jul 2013 - 1:48pm

Japan's election date set with Abe tipped to win

Shinzo Abe. Photo: AP

Japan’s government on Friday confirmed the date of upper-house elections next month, with opinion polls tipping a big win for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party, clearing the way for him to push through much-needed economic reforms.

A cabinet meeting declared voters would be asked to choose half of the 242-member House of Councillors on July 21.

28 Jun 2013 - 1:03pm