According to The Asahi Shimbun, more Japanese companies are moving their production facilities from China to Japan, fearing further disruptions from the novel coronavirus pandemic as well as the increasing friction between Washington and Beijing.
Manufacturers of products ranging from appliances and semiconductors to cosmetics and clothing are rethinking their business strategy of focusing production in low-cost areas.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, photovoltaic (solar) cells densely line the roofs of two apartment buildings in Yachiyo, Chiba Prefecture, generating as much as 13.5 kilowatts of power at each building.
That is enough to meet the energy needs of four-and-a-half ordinary households.
The apartment buildings were built last September by Daito Trust Construction Co. and an affiliated company covered the installation and maintenance costs of the solar cells.
Because of that, the owner--Chiyoko Fukuda, 63, who is eligible for the monthly rooftop rental fee of 15,000 yen (US$112)--said she is content with the contract.
“I am just leasing out the upper coverings,” said Fukuda. “I invest no money but can receive a small sum. If I ever get more land, I want to rent more.”
According to The Australian Financial Review, coal miner Whitehaven will moonlight as a property developer in rural NSW as part of efforts to lure skilled workers away from the big cities to join an era of record profitability in the coal sector.
Whitehaven mines coal near the NSW towns of Gunnedah and Narrabri and a lack of housing in the region has made it harder for the miner to attract skilled labour amid a boom in the resources sector and as governments spend big on infrastructure in cities.
Mr Flynn said Whitehaven had acquired land in the region which was eligible for subdivision and would seek to have the land developed in a variety of ways.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Australian start-up MCi Carbon, which aims to cut carbon emissions in so-called hard-to-abate sectors such as steel, cement and heavy industry, has partnered with construction firm Taisei Corporation of Japan to promote its technology for converting carbon into cement and other products.
MCi last year struck a deal with Itochu Corporation for the Japanese company to invest millions of dollars in exchange for exclusive rights to develop market applications for the carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) technology with other Japanese firms.
In the first such deal, MCi – 34 per cent-owned by Orica – and Itochu said they had signed a deal with Taisei that would accelerate the development of a technology heralded as a solution to reduce carbon emissions.
According to The Australian Financial Review, more than half of all unit markets nationwide and a third of all house markets are now achieving high enough rental yields to generate a positive cash flow, as the sharp rise in rents and falling prices offset the increase in mortgage rates, data from CoreLogic shows.
In NSW, rental houses in 131 suburbs or one in seven of all suburbs analysed are now achieving positive cash flow, amid large increases in rents.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Nara Medical University has teamed with socks maker and seller Mikasa Inc. to develop gloves designed for patients with Parkinson’s disease and athletes to strengthen the muscles of their fingers.
The handwear is woven in a way that its back side becomes smaller so that the wearer’s fingers are constantly pulled. Donning them will allow users to improve their manual functions unconsciously through daily-life motions.
A team of the university’s researchers had subjects suffering from Parkinson’s disease, marked by muscular rigidity and other conditions, wear the gloves as an experiment for five days. They were then compared with patients who did not wear the gloves.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, there is an older apartment building in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area purchased by an Australian investor in June.
But instead of living there, the buyer is taking advantage of the weak yen to make a timely investment.
“More foreign investors began looking for properties in Japan following the depreciation of the yen,” said Masahiro Kusanagi, an official of the real estate firm Nihon Agent Inc., which sold the apartment. “Some are selling their properties at inflated prices by taking advantage of the weak yen.”
Overseas investors are increasingly jumping on the recent sharp depreciation of the yen to purchase real estate properties in Japan at bargain prices.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Japan’s largest bank, MUFG, is keen to back the development of a hydrogen industry in Australia and will maintain lending to major LNG projects, which, it says, is compatible with its commitments to net zero as carbon capture and storage technology improves.
Rob Ward, a Sydney-based managing director at MUFG Bank – which has $20 billion of loans in Australia where it is one of the largest providers of project finance – said large Japanese industrial companies, which it banks in both countries, would play an integral role driving demand for new energy sources, including green hydrogen.
According to The Australian Financial Review, BHP has sought federal approval to build a new Queensland coal mine which would run for up to 90 years, just months after it was praised by environment groups for keeping huge volumes of coal in the ground with its plan to shut a NSW mine early.
BHP’s request to build a new mine at Blackwater South came as Glencore – the miner that championed the notion that “managing down” coal mines was more ethical than selling them – sought federal approval to add an extra two years to the life of its Ulan coal mine in NSW.
According to The Australian Financial Review, the housing downturn could be over in the next 12 months – a significantly shorter run than previous cycles – but prices are set to fall sharply in the meantime as interest rates jump higher, experts say.
The subsequent recovery is also forecast to be slower, and it will take years before prices hit a new high.
Shane Oliver, AMP Capital chief economist, said the bigger and faster rate rises, high inflation, poor affordability and surging supply would fuel steeper declines in house values in the next six to nine months.
“Our base case is for prices to fall 20 per cent top to bottom, assuming the interest rate will peak at 2.6 per cent, but there is a risk that it could go up to 3 per cent and above, which will trigger sharper price declines,” Dr Oliver said.
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