May 26, 2010

Scion a misfit at Toyota helm: expert

An influential writer with ties to Toyota’s past presidents is calling for a change of leadership at the recall-battered automaker in a letter to editors of major U.S. newspapers. Masaaki Sato, who wrote about Toyota Motor Corp. for more than 30 years and still ...

May 20, 2010

Women get rare chance for promotion

It shouldn’t be surprising that Panasonic’s star manager for developing appliances for women is a woman herself — except that this is Japan, a nation notorious for holding back females in the workplace. The beauty products Shiori Yamada has developed and runs marketing campaigns ...

May 8, 2010

Activist laments free ride Toyota receives at home

KAMAKURA, Kanagawa Pref. — Japan’s most famous consumer activist is watching the safety problems enveloping Toyota with a sense of frustration. For decades, Fumio Matsuda took on the country’s powerful carmakers, bringing his engineering expertise to landmark court battles that won damages for consumers ...

Showrooms get i-MiEV, first cheap electric car

Apr 3, 2010

Showrooms get i-MiEV, first cheap electric car

Japan’s first mass-market electric car arrived in showrooms Thursday as the futuristic technology becomes more affordable amid a burgeoning price war. The four-seater bubble-shaped i-MiEV from Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Japan’s fifth-biggest automaker, costs ¥2.8 million after government incentives are figured into the price of ...

Toyoda's tears win over Japan

Feb 27, 2010

Toyoda's tears win over Japan

He hasn’t bowed in apology. He hasn’t resigned. But this week Toyota President Akio Toyoda did perform one of the typical rituals of a Japanese executive under attack: He wept publicly. The image of Toyoda choking up during a meeting with American dealers is ...

Don't expect an assertive Toyoda

Feb 24, 2010

Don't expect an assertive Toyoda

Americans are likely in for a surprise if they expect Toyota President Akio Toyoda to put on a show of authoritative “the-buck-stops-here” clout at Wednesday’s congressional hearing on the automaker’s massive recalls. In harmony-loving Japan, company heads are rarely management professionals and are picked ...

Feb 21, 2010

Can 'prince' Toyoda cut the mustard?

Toyota President Akio Toyoda, known as “the prince” in Japan, was groomed for years to head the automaker his grandfather founded. His appointment in 2009 was full of promise — a morale booster for the rank and file who expected that a youthful Toyoda ...

Tuna farming getting a boost as species suffers

Dec 7, 2009

Tuna farming getting a boost as species suffers

KUMANO, Mie Pref. — Thousands of tuna, their silver bellies bloated with fat, swim frantically around in netted areas of a small bay here, stuffing themselves until they grow twice as heavy as in the wild. Is this sushi’s future? Tuna raised like chickens ...

Hyundai sends chills down rivals' spines

Oct 6, 2009

Hyundai sends chills down rivals' spines

Hyundai Motor Co. — not the up-and-coming Chinese, nor the leaner meaner Americans — is the automaker that has the Japanese seriously worried. Talk to any Japanese auto executive and the official is likely to say the South Korean automaker is rapidly emerging as ...