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Chris Gallagher

Tokyo film festival taps 'power of the arts' to give courage amid pandemic

31 Oct 2020

TOKYO The Tokyo International Film Festival kicked off on Saturday with live screenings and a host of coronavirus prevention measures to ensure the show could go on.

UPDATE 1-Japan bank lending slows as easing pandemic sees big firms pay back loans

12 Oct 2020

* Bank lending rises 6.4% in September vs 6.7% in August * Major banks' lending slows as big firms pay back loans * Smaller borrowers continue to rely heavily on lending (Adds details, quotes from BOJ briefing) By Chris Gallagher and Leika Kihara TOKYO, Oct 12 - Japanese bank lending rose at a slower annual pace in September than the previous month as corporate funding strains caused by the pandemic eased mainly among big borrowers, central bank data showed on Monday. But lending by regional banks remained high as smaller firms continued to borrow heavily to meet immediate funding needs, the data showed, underscoring the lingering economic pain brought by the health crisis. "Big companies that had borrowed huge amounts of funds as a precaution around spring are now paying back some of the loans due to easing uncertainty over the pandemic," a BOJ official told a briefing. "But that's not to say conditions have improved. There are gaps among industries on how much their profits have recovered." Total bank lending rose 6.4% in September from the same month a year earlier, slower than a 6.7% gain in August, to a record 573.7 trillion yen ($5.43 trillion), Bank of Japan data showed. The pace of lending by major banks slowed to 7.3% in September from 8.0% in August. Lending by regional banks rose 5.3%, roughly unchanged from the previous month's 5.4% increase. Those by "shinkin" credit associations, which lend mostly to small firms in regional areas of Japan, rose 7.8%, the fastest pace on record, the data showed. Bank deposits rose 9.0% in September from a year earlier, the biggest increase on record, as households held back on spending and instead saved government pay-outs aimed at cushioning the blow from the pandemic, the official said. ($1 = 105.6300 yen) (Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Leika Kihara; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

SoftBank exits cellphone distributor Brightstar in telecoms sell-down

18 Sep 2020

TOKYO SoftBank Group Corp said on Friday it would sell U.S. cellphone distributor Brightstar for an undisclosed price, marking the latest sale of telecoms assets as the Japanese conglomerate builds a cash pile.

Ageing and empty: Japan next premier’s hometown highlights challenges ahead

14 Sep 2020

YUZAWA, Japan It's noon on a warm day in the Japanese town where Yoshihide Suga, Japan's next prime minister, grew up, but more than half the stores in a downtown shopping arcade are shuttered and sidewalks stretch empty except for the rare elderly passerby.

Japan's next prime minister as a boy: good in sports, 'stiff' as actor

14 Sep 2020

YUZAWA, Japan As a boy, friends say, Yoshihide Suga - poised to be Japan's next leader - sledded down mountains in winter, ran track and field and was an avid baseball player. But his skills didn't extend as far as acting.

Japan's next prime minister as a boy: good in sports, 'stiff' as actor

14 Sep 2020

YUZAWA, Japan As a boy, friends say, Yoshihide Suga - poised to be Japan's next leader - sledded down mountains in winter, ran track and field and was an avid baseball player. But his skills didn't extend as far as acting.

Hip hop hooray for Japan's next PM with hometown T-shirt shout-out

12 Sep 2020

YUZAWA, Japan Yoshihide Suga, used to suits, a lectern and the trappings of the Japanese government, now finds himself on hip hop T-shirts and bags in his hometown, where the locals are celebrating the man expected to become prime minister in a few days.

Hip hop hooray for Japan's next PM with hometown T-shirt shout-out

12 Sep 2020

YUZAWA, Japan Yoshihide Suga, used to suits, a lectern and the trappings of the Japanese government, now finds himself on hip hop T-shirts and bags in his hometown, where the locals are celebrating the man expected to become prime minister in a few days.

Japan's Suga vows to put growth ahead of fiscal reform, stay course on Abenomics

09 Sep 2020

TOKYO Yoshihide Suga, on course to become Japan's next prime minister, said he would maintain incumbent premier Shinzo Abe's policy prioritising economic growth over efforts to fix the country's tattered finances.

Rakuten CEO urges review of Japan's COVID-19 entry curbs on foreigners

20 Aug 2020

TOKYO Rakuten Inc Chief Executive Hiroshi Mikitani has urged Japan's government to review its entry restrictions on foreign nationals, saying prolonged imposition of COVID-19 curbs risks tarnishing Japan's appeal and causing innovation to stagnate.

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