Business

Top business news of 2018

The Japan Times newsroom selected the following business news stories as the most important of 2018.

1. Going, going, Ghosn: Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s November arrest sent shock waves worldwide, throwing the future of an alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. into question.


U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit in Buenos Aires on Dec. 1.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit in Buenos Aires on Dec. 1. | AP

2. Trading barbs: The United States and China ramped up a trade war that destabilized world markets. Even though they agreed to a truce, the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada could further fuel the conflict.


Levy metal: Steel pipes sit stacked near the Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. plant in Kashima, Ibaraki Prefecture.
Levy metal: Steel pipes sit stacked near the Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. plant in Kashima, Ibaraki Prefecture. | BLOOMBERG

3. Levy metal: The United States imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent levy on aluminum in March. Three months later, Japan and four other countries received some exemptions from the steel tariffs.


Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg listens during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Washington in April.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg listens during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Washington in April. | BLOOMBERG

4. Hit unlike: Social media giant Facebook saw a series of scandals that involved consulting firm Cambridge Analytica and other tech leaders such as Amazon and Spotify gaining access to users’ private information.


A signboard shows the name of Coincheck Inc., which fell victim to a heist in January
A signboard shows the name of Coincheck Inc., which fell victim to a heist in January | KYODO

5. Virtual heist: In a massive breach of security, Tokyo-based virtual currency exchange Coincheck said in January that hackers stole about ¥58 billion worth of cryptocurrency. The firm was later acquired by Monex Group.


Toshimitsu Motegi, the minister in charge of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, signs the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), also known as TPP-11, in Santiago in March.
Toshimitsu Motegi, the minister in charge of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, signs the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), also known as TPP-11, in Santiago in March. | KYODO

6. The art of a new deal: After U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2017, Japan and the remaining countries signed a revised trade pact in March that comes into effect Dec. 30.


Mercari makes its debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in June. The smiles were short-lived, however, as the stock
Mercari makes its debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in June. The smiles were short-lived, however, as the stock’s initial strong performance began to diminish. | KYODO

7. Strong start: Flea market app operator Mercari debuted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange with a strong first day of trading at ¥5,000, up 67 percent from its initial offering, but fell to around ¥2,000 by year’s end.


Yusaku Maezawa speaks near a Falcon 9 rocket during an announcement named him as the first private passenger who will fly around the moon aboard the SpaceX BFR launch vehicle.
Yusaku Maezawa speaks near a Falcon 9 rocket during an announcement named him as the first private passenger who will fly around the moon aboard the SpaceX BFR launch vehicle. | AFP-JIJI

8. Moon shot: Tesla CEO Elon Musk handpicked Zozotown founder Yusaku Maezawa to be among the first crew members on a SpaceX spacecraft that is bound for the moon in 2023.


A couple prepares to receive guests as they start a minpaku (private lodging) service in their west Tokyo home.
A couple prepares to receive guests as they start a minpaku (private lodging) service in their west Tokyo home. | KYODO

9. Put out the welcome mat: A law on minpaku (private lodging) took effect in June that allows private homes to be offered as accommodation, but strict rules dampened enthusiasm.


Ken Miyauchi, president and CEO of Softbank Corp., prepares to strike the trading bell at the Tokyo Stock Exchange ahead of the company
Ken Miyauchi, president and CEO of Softbank Corp., prepares to strike the trading bell at the Tokyo Stock Exchange ahead of the company’s debut there on Dec. 19. | KYODO

10. Harsh start: SoftBank Group Corp.’s mobile subsidiary saw a harsh welcome on the Tokyo Stock Exchange due to a service outage and concerns about the use of parts from Chinese telecom Huawei.