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Keiko Ujikane
For Keiko Ujikane's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Tech / FOCUS
Aug 22, 2017
Prime time in worker-scarce Japan for investing in service robots
Faced with their worst labor shortage in decades, Japanese service companies are finally turning to labor-saving technology, an investment that could lift the sector's woeful level of productivity and allow them to raise wages.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Jun 23, 2017
Fintech firm uses credit card data to fix holes in Japan's consumption figures
Private consumption is 56 percent of Japan's GDP, so understanding where people are spending and what they're buying is essential to have a clear picture of what's going on in the world's third-biggest economy. That's true not just for the government, but also for businesses and people.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Apr 26, 2017
Automated factories can't solve Japan's productivity paradox
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has cut the number of workers on its turbocharger production lines west of Tokyo by more than 80 percent, as manufacturers from carmakers to electronics producers push further into automation.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 15, 2017
Millennial movers revive Japanese mountain towns amid depopulation
High-speed broadband. An award-winning brewpub built with recycled materials as part of a "zero waste" mission. An artist-in-residence program. Organic pizza from a wood-fired oven.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Politics
Jan 24, 2017
Ex-economy chief Amari feels Trump misunderstands TPP
The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which U.S. President Donald Trump backed his country out of on Monday, is actually the best way to achieve the fair trade in Asia that he promised American voters, former Japanese economy minister Akira Amari has said.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Dec 12, 2016
Amamiya, aka 'Mr. BOJ,' shapes central bank policy behind the scenes
Masayoshi Amamiya is viewed as so essential to operations at the Bank of Japan that he's known inside the central bank as "Mr. BOJ."
BUSINESS / Economy
Dec 12, 2016
Japan's consumers proving more resilient than thought, restyled GDP readings show
Decades of economic stagnation have taken a toll on Japan's consumers, who went from being big spenders before the bubble economy imploded in the 1990s to masters of thrift today.
BUSINESS / Economy
Dec 7, 2016
Economy is about to grow by ¥19.8 trillion, at least on paper
Japan's economy will grow by an amount equivalent to New Zealand's economy in the blink of an eye on Thursday.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Nov 24, 2016
In Japan, world's gloomiest millennials see a future of struggle
Youthful optimism can be hard to find in Japan, where millennials rank as the gloomiest of those in the world's biggest economies.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Economy
Oct 7, 2016
Japan needs 'double dose' of monetary, fiscal stimulus: Abe adviser Honda
Japan needs a double dose of monetary and fiscal stimulus, including further easing by the central bank next month, says Etsuro Honda, one of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic advisers.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Sep 15, 2016
Signs of graying Japan: pensioners in the gym and a shortage of denture experts
As graying takes hold in Japan, the changes it brings go far deeper than the impact on social welfare and the labor force.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Aug 22, 2016
Chinese 'explosive shopping' boom turns to Japanese cosmetics, supplements
The spending power of Chinese tourists in Japan is so impressive there's a special word for it: bakugai, or explosive buying.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Jul 15, 2016
60 seen as too young to retire in aging, worker-short Japan
Hiroshi Suzuki had a fulfilling career in which he traveled the world as an engineer. Then, at age 65, he retired. That didn't last long. For the past seven years Suzuki, 72, has been a nursing aide in the Tokyo area, and says he's years away from true retirement.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Feb 12, 2016
Amid turmoil, housing market may get boost from refinancing rush
The Bank of Japan's adoption of negative interest rates two weeks ago hasn't provided a lasting boost to stock investors or weakened the currency, but it has spurred some optimism for the housing market.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Jan 19, 2016
El Nino is snow joke for Japan's ski resorts, hit also by declining interest in the sport
The nation's ski industry, hurt by demographics that have aged out many from the sport, this winter has additionally suffered — until this week — balmy, winter weather, courtesy of El Nino.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Economy
Nov 2, 2015
Kuroda sows doubts on further easing among some BOJ watchers
After twice this year putting off his inflation target yet declining to step up monetary stimulus, Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda has discouraged some analysts from thinking he'll ever boost policy again.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Economy
Oct 29, 2015
Industrial output climbs a surprise 1%, raising bar for BOJ action
Industrial production unexpectedly increased in September, potentially raising the bar for an expansion in stimulus when Bank of Japan policy-setters meet on Friday.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Economy
Sep 18, 2015
Consumer spending recovery hampered by pension payment cuts
More than a year after a consumption tax increase tipped Japan into a recession, efforts to clamp down on soaring pension payments are suppressing a recovery in consumer spending.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Markets
Jul 10, 2015
Toilet seat makers, diamond sellers among Japan firms fearing China plunge
The plunge in China's stock market and concerns about its economic growth are having effects well beyond the nation's borders — with shares of Japanese companies that benefit from Chinese tourists also declining.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Jul 3, 2015
Japan still set for 2017 tax hike despite struggling economy
The central government still plans to raise the national sales tax again in 21 months, even as the economy struggles to gain momentum following the recession caused by a hike in the levy last year.

Longform

Later this month, author Shogo Imamura will open Honmaru, a bookstore that allows other businesses to rent its shelves. It's part of a wave of ideas Japanese booksellers are trying to compete with online spaces.
The story isn't over for Japan's bookstores