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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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