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Maki Shiraki

For Maki Shiraki's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Regulators' sweep threatens auto parts business model

Aug 25, 2014

Regulators' sweep threatens auto parts business model

When a Japanese carmaker issued a tender for shock absorbers a few years ago for a model it planned to sell in Indonesia, two suppliers came back with bids that were “so obviously coordinated,” said an executive at the automaker. One supplier put in ...

K-pop stars luring Japan to buy Korean products

Jul 27, 2011

K-pop stars luring Japan to buy Korean products

Yuko Ishii, a 53-year-old factory worker in central Japan, used to feel reluctant about buying products made in South Korea. That changed after she became a fan of pop stars such as boy band TVXQ. “I used to rule out Korean products, but now ...

Solar-panel producers stand to benefit from nuke fears

Apr 26, 2011

Solar-panel producers stand to benefit from nuke fears

Akiko Hirai says the Hamaoka power station 3 km from her home evokes such dread of the crippled Fukushima plant that she would spend ¥500,000 installing solar panels if it helped make Japan nuclear-free. “Who can really guarantee that they’re 100 percent safe? I ...

Silver lining in sight for makers of solar panels

Apr 22, 2011

Silver lining in sight for makers of solar panels

Akiko Hirai says the Hamaoka power station 3 km from her home evokes such dread of the crippled Fukushima plant that she would spend ¥500,000 installing solar panels if it helped make Japan nuclear-free. “Who can really guarantee that they’re 100 percent safe? I ...

Porn stars in 3-D lure buyers to new TVs

Jun 3, 2010

Porn stars in 3-D lure buyers to new TVs

Porn star Mika Kayama is at the frontier of a push to develop videos and content in Japan that Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. need to lure customers for their new 3-D televisions. Kayama and Yuma Asami, the top actresses of adult-movie maker S1 ...

Sony head sees big things for 3-D

Nov 21, 2009

Sony head sees big things for 3-D

Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer forecast 3-D movies, pictures and games will be the electronics maker’s next $10 billion business, challenging investors and analysts who say the technology isn’t ready to become mainstream. The maker of Bravia televisions and PlayStation 3 game consoles said ...

Rich turn to solar power for latest status symbols

Oct 16, 2009

Rich turn to solar power for latest status symbols

Forget the 58-inch flat-panel TV, the new domestic status symbol for Japan’s rich is a cooker. Housewife Yasuyo Takizawa, whose husband runs a public relations company, spent as much as ¥4 million on systems that combine solar power with energy-efficient water and room heaters ...

Women forsake frills but spare no expense for skin

Feb 24, 2009

Women forsake frills but spare no expense for skin

When Miwako Taniuchi’s income slumped 30 percent last year, out went the expensive dinners and new Gucci and Louis Vuitton handbags. One purchase that didn’t get axed: a skin cream worth its weight in gold. “I’ll cut back spending on other things, but not ...