Katsuyo Kuwako

For Katsuyo Kuwako's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Dec 9, 2014

Tokyo may fail Olympic sustainability vow, activists say

Tokyo risks falling down on its pledge to stage an environmentally sustainable 2020 Olympics due to the import of illegally felled timber from Southeast Asia, activist group Global Witness said. Some of Japan’s biggest construction companies buy plywood from Borneo, where the rain forest ...

Jun 13, 2014

Japan needs tougher laws to end illegal timber imports, NGO says

Japan, the world’s fourth-largest buyer of timber products, needs to introduce laws and stricter oversight to stamp out imports of illegally logged wood, according to the activist group Environmental Investigation Agency. The country’s laws do not require private buyers of foreign timber to ensure ...

Contractors feeling impact of 'Abenomics'

Apr 30, 2014

Contractors feeling impact of 'Abenomics'

The construction industry is raising wages and selling bonds as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s stimulus policies cause labor shortages and a need for funds. Obayashi Corp., the country’s second-largest contractor by market value, raised ¥10 billion in a sale last Friday of five-year bonds ...

Temp workers threaten housing recovery

Mar 24, 2014

Temp workers threaten housing recovery

Momoko Suzuki quit her sales job in Tokyo and took a temporary position so she could pursue her film ambitions. Suzuki’s employment change may force her to abandon another goal — owning a home. “I am single and I am a temporary worker, which ...

Vacant homes highlight hole in 'Abenomics'

Sep 18, 2013

Vacant homes highlight hole in 'Abenomics'

Pieces of broken wood dangle and sway like autumn leaves from the window frames of vacant homes in the Inariyato district in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, where taped-over mailbox slots tell a story of abandonment. More than 50 houses and apartments, almost 20 percent of ...

Tokyo real estate lures Asian bargain hunters

Aug 6, 2013

Tokyo real estate lures Asian bargain hunters

When Julia Chang, a 48-year-old Taiwanese who divides her time between Taiwan and Tokyo, decided to diversify her family’s overseas investments, she settled on real estate in the Japanese capital, where prices have slumped for two decades. Chang, a former flight attendant, is looking ...

Mori plans ¥100 billion in property buys, rent hikes

Nov 29, 2012

Mori plans ¥100 billion in property buys, rent hikes

Billionaire Akira Mori plans to buy as much as ¥100 billion in properties in Tokyo, New York and London, his company’s first investment of this scale since 2008, as local real estate values recover and the yen strengthens. The owner of Mori Trust Co., ...

Jan 14, 2012

Builders tap postdisaster rush for quake-resistant homes

Ken Saishoji, a Tokyo real-estate agent, used to answer questions from potential apartment buyers about the proximity to train stations and prices, but that changed after the March disasters. “The question almost 100 percent of the customers ask first these days is how strong ...

Feb 1, 2011

Risk of Algerian default puts builders in CDS bind

Two of the nation’s biggest construction companies are learning the risks of expanding in developing markets to offset dwindling domestic demand, credit default swap prices show. The cost of insuring the debt of Taisei Corp., the nation’s third-largest general contractor, and No. 4 Kajima ...