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Asia Top News and Analysis Japan

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    Orix, Japan's largest leasing company, and consumer credit firm Credit Saison are in merger talks, financial sources close to the matter said on Tuesday, seeking a deal to form a $106 billion finance group.

  • Nissan Motor posted on Friday a much worse-than-expected 46 percent drop in quarterly operating profit, and stuck to its annual forecasts despite a severe downturn in the U.S. market.

  • Newly elected President of the Liberal Democratic Party Yasuo Fukuda smiles while sitting in the presidential chair at the party's headquarters in Tokyo, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2007. Moderate veteran Fukuda easily won election as Japan's ruling party president Sunday, pledging to improve ties with Asia, keep a pro-U.S. foreign policy and uplift rural areas when he becomes prime minister later this week. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, Pool)

    Struggling Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will appoint popular rival Taro Aso in a key ruling party post and replace his finance minister, Japanese media said, as part of a shake up aimed at boosting his support among voters.

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    Manufacturing activity in Japan rebounded slightly in July from a six-year low the previous month, but a slowing economy and rising energy costs continued to hamper operating conditions, a survey showed on Thursday.

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    Japanese industrial output fell a little more than expected in June and marked its second straight quarter of decline, adding to concern that the economy may be slipping into recession as high energy costs curtail corporate activity.

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    Japan's jobless rate rose in June to a near two-year high and household spending fell again from a year earlier, data showed on Tuesday, in a sign of further trouble for an economy already battered by surging energy costs.

  • The signs are not good. From Chrysler's decision to stop leasing cars, to its recent decisions to cut staff and close plants, to its lack of major new product announcements, there is little of late inspiring confidence that this company can stage a comeback...

  • Toyota Motor on Monday cut its 2008 groupwide global sales forecast by 350,000 units to  9.5 million vehicles due to a pronounced downturn in the U.S. market, in a rare setback for the world's biggest automaker.

  • Japan's core annual inflation accelerated to a new decade-high in June on continued rises in energy costs, adding to the Bank of Japan's policy dilemma as it juggles the risks of inflation and slowing economic growth. 1st paragraph of story should go here

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    Japan's exports unexpectedly fell in June for the first time in nearly five years, trade data showed on Thursday, in a sign that U.S. economic troubles ensuing from a mortgage market debacle are dampening demand in China and other emerging economies.

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    A strong earthquake jolted northern Japan early on Thursday, injuring at least 76 people, trapping hundreds in halted trains and temporarily cutting off electric power to thousands of homes.

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    It may be the number one question I get from people when they ask about the struggling U.S. automakers: Who would want these guys if they ever go belly up or get sold?

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    Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said on Friday the central bank was putting equal focus on inflation and downside risks to the economy, reinforcing the view that interest rates will stay on hold at least for the rest of this year.

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    Toyota Motor will cut its global sales target for calendar 2008 by 3.6% to 9.5 million vehicles to reflect a sharp slowdown in the United States, Japanese national broadcaster NHK said on Wednesday.

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    The Bank of Japan left interest rates on hold at 0.5% on Tuesday as expected but downgraded its growth forecasts, warning high energy costs are slowing the world's second largest economy.

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    I've said it for some time, and will continue to say it to anyone who asks. The flexibility Asian automakers have to build different vehicles in different plants is the reason they'll ride out this tough time better than the Big 3.

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    Japanese wholesale prices rose slightly more than expected in June from a year earlier to hit a fresh 27-year high on surging oil and commodity prices, adding gloom to firms facing dwindling profit margins.

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    Japan's core machinery orders rose a faster-than-expected 10.4% in May, suggesting capital spending was holding up, but economists were cautious about the outlook as soaring costs hurt corporate bottom lines.

  • Toyota Motor Corp plans to install solar panels on some Prius hybrids in its next remodelling, responding to growing demand for "green" cars amid record-high oil prices, a source briefed on the matter said on Monday.

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    Japanese corporate profits are falling while consumer prices are expected to keep rising due to high oil and food costs, Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said, underlining the central bank's policy dilemma as it juggles the risks of slowing growth and rising global inflationarypressure.