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'Something wrong' in TEPCO's safety culture

November 28, 2012 9:59 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The chief of Japan's nuclear regulatory authority on Wednesday suggested that Tokyo Electric Power Co. needs to improve its safety culture if it wants to resume its idled reactors, touching on a series of problems seen before the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi complex last year.

Mega solar plant to be set up at airport site in Makurazaki, Kagoshima

November 27, 2012 10:06 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The municipal government of Makurazaki, Kagoshima Prefecture, said Tuesday it will build a mega solar power plant after demolishing a local airport next March in the first such use of an airport site in Japan.

Seven & I to offer free Internet connection

November 27, 2012 10:02 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Seven & I Holdings Co. said Tuesday it will offer free Wi-Fi Internet connection service at its around 10,000 retail outlets, including Seven-Eleven convenience stores and Ito-Yokado supermarkets, from Saturday.

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Fujitsu to start cloud service to check dogs' health

November 27, 2012 10:00 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Fujitsu Ltd. said Tuesday it will launch a cloud computing health management service for dogs on Wednesday, using a pedometer that can be attached to a dog collar. The data collected through the pedometer, called "Wandant," can be analyzed via personal computer or smartphone, allowing dog owners to monitor...

Southeast Asia’s key technical consumer goods markets

November 26, 2012 10:40 am | by GFK | News | Comments

The developing markets of Indonesia and Malaysia continue to turn in strong results in their technical consumer goods (TCG) sector consecutively quarters after quarters. Along with Thailand, these three countries are the three strongest performing markets across Southeast Asia in the third quarter...

Fitch cuts ratings on Sony, Panasonic to speculative levels

November 26, 2012 10:29 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Fitch Ratings said Thursday it has downgraded long-term issuer ratings on Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp., citing weakness in their core electronics operations. The rating agency downgraded Sony's rating by three notches to BB-minus from BBB-minus, saying Sony's "meaningful recovery will be slow...

Kyushu Electric eyes 8.5% raise in household electricity rates

November 26, 2012 10:24 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Kyushu Electric Power Co. is considering increasing household electricity charges by an average of 8.5 percent from next April, its first rate hike since 1980, sources close to the matter said Friday. The proposed hike comes after the utility posted a record group net loss of 149.5 billion yen in the first April-September first half of fiscal 2012...

Defense Ministry countersues Toshiba

November 26, 2012 10:18 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Japanese Defense Ministry is countersuing Toshiba Corp. for breach of contract in relation to the remodeling of F-15 fighters into reconnaissance planes, seeking 1.2 billion yen in penalties for failure to complete work on schedule, Defense Ministry sources said Monday.

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North America and China TV shipments rise ahead of holidays, according to NPD DisplaySearch

November 21, 2012 12:52 pm | News | Comments

Despite a 7% Y/Y dip in global TV shipments, retail sales in North America have been steady, if not exciting, and unit shipments were up almost 3% in Q3’12 after posting small declines in 1H’12. The trend in the US market has been toward bigger and cheaper TVs, in the U.S. market lately, which is expected to be the focus during Black Friday this year.

Erroneous radiation spread projections made by industry-linked firm

November 21, 2012 9:36 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Erroneous projections for the spread of radiation from reactors in Japan in the event of a severe accident were made by a consulting firm linked to the nuclear industry for the nation's independent nuclear regulatory body, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

Itochu to build power generator in Russia

November 21, 2012 9:35 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Japanese trading house Itochu Corp. said Wednesday it and Toyo Engineering Corp. will build a 400-megawatt gas-fired thermal power generator at the Avtozavodskaya power station in Nizhniy Novgorod, Eastern Russia.

Robot vacuum cleaner users to remotely control other appliances

November 21, 2012 9:33 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Sharp Corp. said Wednesday it will start a new service in December to enable users of its robot vacuum cleaner to operate electric appliances from outside the home via smartphone. The Cocorobo robot vacuum cleaner, launched in June, will have a remote control function added to it for which users will need a controller that will sell...

Japan logs 4th straight trade deficit in October

November 21, 2012 9:23 am | by Malcolm Foster - Associated Press | News | Comments

Japan logged its fourth straight monthly trade deficit in October as the European debt crisis and strained business ties with China over a territorial dispute reduced exports. The Ministry of Finance said Wednesday that imports exceeded exports by 549 billion yen ($6.7 billion), the biggest deficit for October since at least 1979...

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How Asia sees Obama's pivot to the Pacific

November 20, 2012 11:58 am | by Eric Talmadge- Associated Press | News | Comments

A lot has happened in Asia while the United States was off fighting its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most of it can be summed up in one word — China. Fueled by China's amazing growth and the promise of its huge and expanding consumer market, the Asia-Pacific region is now, as experts like to say, the global economy's center of gravity. Sorry, Europe...

Mazda aims to sell 240,000 units a year of new Atenza globally

November 20, 2012 10:04 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Mazda Motor Corp. on Tuesday launched a fully-remodeled Atenza in Japan, aiming to sell 240,000 units a year in the global market. The third generation of the Atenza, sold overseas as the Mazda 6, features advanced safety technologies and a new fuel-efficient system.

Moody's lowers Panasonic's ratings by 2 notches

November 20, 2012 9:55 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Moody's Investors Service Inc. said Tuesday it has lowered its long-term debt ratings for Panasonic Corp. by two notches to Baa3 on concern about the adverse impact on earnings of slowing demand and declining prices for digital products.

Yaskawa to acquire German controller maker

November 20, 2012 9:53 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Electric motor manufacturer Yaskawa Electric Corp. said Tuesday it will acquire Vipa GmbH, a German maker of programmable logic controllers for factory automation. Yaskawa said the acquisition through Yaskawa Europe GmbH will allow it to strengthen its motion control business with Vipa's products that have a stable customer base...

U.S. and Chinese consumers willing to pay more for ‘Made in USA’ products

November 19, 2012 11:43 am | News | Comments

More than 80 percent of U.S. consumers and, perhaps more surprising, over 60 percent of Chinese consumers say that they are willing to pay more for products labeled “Made in USA” than for those labeled “Made in China,” according to new research released today by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Fukushima Pref. to abolish nuclear fuel tax

November 19, 2012 10:51 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Fukushima prefectural government will abolish a nuclear fuel tax imposed on two power plants operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said Monday, as the prefecture seeks the decommissioning of all reactors following the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant...

Panasonic, Itron tie up to develop smart meters for Japanese market

November 19, 2012 10:48 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

U.S. smart meter maker Itron Inc. has tied up with Panasonic Corp. to develop smart meters for the Japanese market with third-generation mobile communications capability. With the smart meters to be developed by the Liberty Lake, Washington-based manufacturer, Panasonic will take part in a tender...

Baidu Japan offers app to replay recordings on Android devices

November 19, 2012 10:42 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Baidu Japan Inc. said it has released a Japanese-language application that replays voice recordings on devices running on the Android operating system. The new Simeji ver. 5.3 app can replay recordings of up to 15 seconds via e-mail and social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook, according to the Japanese arm of Baidu Inc...

Leica to release Paul Smith-designed camera

November 19, 2012 9:35 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Leica Camera Japan Co. said it will release on Friday a limited edition version of its Leica X2 compact digital camera designed by British designer Paul Smith. The Japanese subsidiary of Leica Camera AG said 1,500 units of the Leica X2 Edition Paul Smith will be sold worldwide...

China to launch new manned spaceship in 2013: Xinhua

November 12, 2012 9:03 am | by Reuters | News | Comments

China plans to launch its Shenzhou 10 spacecraft in early June 2013, one of the senior officials in charge of the manned space program said on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.The launch marks another step forward in Beijing's ambitions for a bigger presence

Google says search engine, other services cut off in China as ruling party picks new leaders

November 12, 2012 9:01 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Google says its search engine and other Internet services have been cut off from much of China just as the country's ruling party picks new leaders. Data posted on Google's website shows its services in China became largely inaccessible beginning around 1 a.m. PST Friday. That would be about 5 p.m. Friday in Beijing.

Marketing services with facial recognition technology

November 9, 2012 12:48 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

NEC Corp. said Wednesday it has started providing new services for shop operators to help them analyze customer trends using its facial recognition technology. With the services, retailers will be able to analyze the shopping behavior of different age groups, for example, as the facial images captured by cameras installed at outlets...

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