Japanese industrial production fell an unexpectedly large 4.1% in September from a month earlier, government data showed Tuesday, a sign that Japan's economy may be losing more steam than expected amid the global slowdown.
The figures released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry are the worst in recent years with the exception of the March 2011 earthquake and the Lehman shock in 2008-2009.
Sales have been especially weak to China, where exports are being hit by both a slowdown in growth and tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over a recent flare-up in a territorial dispute. Last week, the government said Japan had a ¥558.6 billion (US$7 billion) trade deficit in September as exports fell 10.3% overall, while sales to China were off 14.1% compared to year-ago results.
The fall in industrial production, adjusted for seasonal factors, was larger than the 3.1% decline forecast by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and the Nikkei. The result marks the third straight month of decline, and comes after a 1.6% fall in August.
A collection of materials related to a 17th century mission sent by a Japanese feudal lord to Europe and the world's oldest autographic diary left 10 centuries ago by a Japanese regent have been selected for the UNESCO Memory of the World registry, the Japanese education ministry said Wednesday. (Global Post )
Almost 1,500 people were transported to hospitals by ambulance due to heatstroke last week, up sharply from 942 in the preceding week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday. (Japan Times )
Among about 200,000 traffic signals nationwide, 16 percent are being used beyond the end of the expected lifetime of their electrical systems and some have even toppled over due to age, according to the National Police Agency. (Yomiuri )
In May, Akira Ikoma, the editor of a guide to men's entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Journey), said that "Abenomics" had caused a spike in prices at high-end soapland bathhouses in Tokyo. However, the same editor tells Shukan Post (June 28) that the initiative is not impacting the low-end market in the same way. (Tokyo Reporter )
Tokyo District Court decided on Monday to open planned examinations of three witnesses who are former senior members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult and now death-row inmates, during an upcoming trial of another former senior Aum member. (Jiji Press )