At the Shibaura Chuo auto showroom in Tokyo, the Nissan March subcompact has all the signs of Japanese quality-it's fuel-efficient, sturdy, and handles well. Except the March is made in Thailand, not Japan. "People see the sale of cars made abroad as a sign of the times, as globalization," says salesman Shiro Kakinuma. "When the new March came out here there were some articles questioning the quality of a car made in a developing country. Not anymore."
When Nissan Motor (NSANY) began to import foreign-made vehicles in 2010, that paved the way for Japan's biggest companies, including cosmetics seller Shiseido and electronics maker Toshiba, to follow suit. "Nissan's decision was epochal," says Masato Sase, an auto industry analyst at Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting. "Before then, there was a tacit assumption that cars sold in Japan would be made in Japan."
According to government data, shipments home from overseas plants have more than doubled in a decade to a record ¥8.4 trillion ($107.4 billion) in 2011, including a 31 percent jump in the past two years. A stronger yen, an aging workforce, and improved worker skills overseas have eroded a century-old tenet that Japan only buys what's made in Japan. It's not just consumer brands: Industrial goods such as electrical machinery and chemicals top the list of Japan-bound Japanese products made abroad.
Shiseido next month will introduce its Za makeup, made in Taiwan and Vietnam, to Japan, the first time it will import an entire product line made overseas. Mitsubishi Motors started shipping subcompacts from its Thai factory on Aug. 31. Kubota, Japan's largest tractor manufacturer, started domestic sales of its Chinese-made rice-planting machines and U.S.-built lawn mowers last year.
This Monday, members of the seminal metal band X Japan were in Odaiba rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and AKB48′s Yuko Oshima. The catch? They were all made out of wax. (Japan Times )
The parents of a nightclub worker killed in an arson fire three years ago filed a suit in the Nagoya District Court on Monday seeking damages against top members of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group. (Tokyo Reporter )
Kyodo News said Monday that it has dismissed Satoshi Kondo, 51, deputy chief of its general administration bureau and former personnel affairs division chief, for meeting individually with a female student searching for a job and doing an inappropriate act.
(Jiji Press )