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Elizabeth Beattie
For Elizabeth Beattie's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Masato Kanda, vice finance minister for international affairs, says all options are on table after the yen fell past ¥153 to the dollar.
BUSINESS / Markets
Apr 11, 2024
Tokyo and Washington may be in sync, but the dollar-yen currency gap is growing
The yen slipped to its lowest level since 1990 — ¥153 against the dollar — while officials said they were examining their options.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington on Tuesday
BUSINESS / Companies / FOCUS
Apr 10, 2024
Kishida’s U.S. trip highlights economic and political compatibility
Kishida has worked closely with Biden to enhance the Japan-U.S. alliance, with the countries labeling their bilateral ties a “global partnership.”
In one of the biggest changes to the alliance in decades, U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are expected to agree on revamping the U.S. military’s command in Japan to help strengthen operational planning with the Self-Defense Forces.
JAPAN / Politics / FOCUS
Apr 8, 2024
At Biden-Kishida summit, tech tie-ups are as important as defense deals
The two leaders are also expected to announce boosted cooperation on supply chains and cutting-edge technologies, all with an eye on China.
A helmet jellyfish recorded at depth in the Lurefjord, Norway. The creatures experience acute physical effects from short-term exposure to suspended sediment, which could be caused by deep-sea mining.
ENVIRONMENT / Wildlife / OUR PLANET
Apr 7, 2024
The weird deep-sea world, and how mining threatens it
Demand for metals such as lithium and nickel has driven a rush to take a stake in the seabed, with Japan being a major advocate of deep-sea mining.
A customer walks past a display for Nintendo's Super Mario at an electronics store in Tokyo on Jan. 12. Last year, Nintendo increased salaries, in part to be competitive with other studios.
BUSINESS
Apr 2, 2024
Japan’s game industry weathers the storm amid layoffs worldwide
The country's studios are actually scrambling to attract and retain talent — a state of affairs that is symptomatic of the nation’s demographic challenges.
Cans of Asahi Super Dry beer move on the production line inside an Asahi Breweries plant in Moriya, Ibaraki Prefecture, in April 2023.
BUSINESS / Companies
Apr 1, 2024
With U.S. push, Asahi aims to sate evolving tastes
The drink-maker is placing its “premium” offerings and low-alcohol and nonalcoholic beverages front and center in a bid to differentiate itself.
Shoppers in Tokyo on Tuesday
BUSINESS
Mar 22, 2024
Historic day for BOJ will take some time to be felt by people in Japan
With future rate hikes likely, the yen and mortgages could still see a more substantial impact.
A Daiso shop in New York in September 2022. While Daiso originally entered the U.S. in 2005, it has scaled these efforts up over the past few years — the retailer now has about 120 stores across seven states.
BUSINESS / Companies
Mar 11, 2024
Daiso banks on ‘brand Japan’ for U.S. expansion
The discount store chain plans to open 65 stores in the U.S. in 2024, and over 100 next year.
Google's cybersecurity center in Tokyo will focus on enhancing cybersecurity policy discussions, spearheading educational initiatives, developing resources and supporting research with Japanese institutions.
BUSINESS / Tech
Mar 7, 2024
Google opens Asia-Pacific cybersecurity research center in Tokyo
The center's launch comes as Japan endeavors to ramp up its online security systems following major cyberattacks.
Japan's benchmark 225-issue Nikkei average surpassed the 40,000 mark for the first time on Monday.
BUSINESS / Markets
Mar 4, 2024
Japan's Nikkei index surpasses 40,000 points for first time
The Nikkei’s smashing of previous records is credited in part to the weakness of the yen against the dollar.
While Tokyo and Washington have maintained strong ties under U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida amid intensifying concern over China’s regional ambitions, Japanese officials are still hedging their bets by sending out feelers in the event of another term under Donald Trump.
JAPAN / Politics
Feb 28, 2024
Ex-senior Trump official reassures Tokyo over possible comeback
A former deputy assistant to the ex-president swatted away concerns, saying Trump's 2024 White House bid "is a very different effort than 2016."
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms, arrives following a break during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington on Jan. 31.
BUSINESS / Tech
Feb 27, 2024
Mark Zuckerberg meets with Kishida to discuss AI
The Meta Platforms CEO is in Japan as part of an Asia tour, during which he will also travel to South Korea and India.
A screen in Tokyo shows the level of the 225-issue Nikkei stock average after it posted an all-time closing high on Monday.
BUSINESS / Markets
Feb 26, 2024
Japan’s Nikkei index sets record high for second consecutive day
The Topix was also up 0.49%, closing at 2,673.62.
Flags of the Solomon Islands and China near the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing in last July
ASIA PACIFIC / Politics
Feb 26, 2024
China’s expansive diplomatic network still outstrips that of U.S.
Beijing had a larger footprint last year than Washington in key areas of geopolitical interest including the Pacific, East Asia and Central Asia.
Japan's Nikkei stock average hit an all-time high during Tokyo trading Thursday, surpassing its previous record set in December 1989.
BUSINESS / Markets
Feb 22, 2024
Nikkei index surges past 1989's all-time high
The Nikkei index has performed strongly this year — driven up in part by the weakness of the yen against the U.S. dollar.
Daiso Industries founder Hirotake Yano
BUSINESS
Feb 20, 2024
Hirotake Yano, founder of ¥100 chain Daiso, dies at 80
The retailer capitalized on a shift in spending habits after Japan's economic bubble burst, launching Yano onto the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The exact timing of the roll out of Rakuten Mobile's commercial satellite-to-mobile service is uncertain, but the plans for coverage encompass mountainous and remote areas across Japan.
BUSINESS / Tech
Feb 16, 2024
Rakuten plans satellite mobile service across Japan in 2026
The service, to be rolled out in partnership with AST SpaceMobile, will be directly accessible by regular smartphones and won’t require a terminal.
Gross domestic product contracted 0.4% on an annualized basis in the October-December 2023 quarter, following a 3.3% contraction in the previous quarter.
BUSINESS / Economy
Feb 15, 2024
Japan loses spot as No. 3 economy after surprise GDP contraction
Analysts caution that the data is perhaps not as bad as it seems, given solid readings from other economic indicators.
Canned ready-to-drink cocktails, including Asahi Breweries' 9% Clear Cooler Strong chūhai produced in conjunction with Seven & I Holdings, at a 7-Eleven store in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Tuesday
BUSINESS
Feb 13, 2024
Asahi calls time on new strong chūhai amid low-alcohol shift in Japan
New versions of the canned fizzy cocktails with alcohol content of 8% or higher will not be launched in order to “reduce inappropriate drinking.”
A tsugumi (dusky thrush). Bird-watching increasingly plays a critical role in mapping bird behaviors and paving the way for policy and conservation initiatives.
ENVIRONMENT / Wildlife / OUR PLANET
Feb 11, 2024
How a new flock of bird-watchers is contributing to science
The hobby increasingly plays a critical role in mapping bird behaviors and paving the way for policy and conservation initiatives.

Longform

Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?