Japan logs record trade gap in 2012 as exports struggle
News On Japan via Reuters -- Jan 24
Japan logged a record annual trade deficit in 2012 as exports continued to slide in December in a worrying signal that the effects of a weaker yen and the new government's moves to boost the economy with fiscal and monetary stimulus have been slow in coming.
Sentiment among Japanese manufacturers improved for a second straight month and is seen returning to a positive reading in the coming few months, providing some evidence that the world's third-biggest economy is crawling out of a mild recession.
But the record annual trade gap of 6.93 trillion yen ($78.27 billion) in 2012 and the seventh consecutive monthly drop in exports show that improved sentiment has yet to translate into hard economic data.
Finance ministry data on Thursday showed that exports fell 5.8 percent in the year to December, more than economists' consensus forecast of a 4.2 percent drop.
Yoko Ono says her own bitter experience in Japan during World War II inspired her to support WhyHunger's "Imagine There's No Hunger" campaign to fight childhood hunger around the world. (abcnews.go.com )
Japanese police arrested former sumo ozeki Kotomitsuki on Wednesday on suspicion of violating the immigration law by employing foreigners illegally at a barbecue restaurant he runs in Nagoya, central Japan. (Jiji Press )
A thousand days have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. However, only 1.2 percent of the planned land development for collective relocation of disaster-affected communities and construction of publicly operated housing have materialized, according to a survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun. (Yomiuri )
There is a fairly well-documented sex doll subculture in Japan, and one of its leading manufacturers is Orient Industry. Gaga and Universal Music Group's Japanese branch recruited the company to make replicas of the pop star. (businessinsider.com.au )
A 28-year-old Japanese woman was aboard a commuter train that crashed after derailing in the Bronx borough of New York on Sunday morning, the Japanese consulate-general in the city said Monday. (Jiji Press )