News On Japan

A $500 million bet on reinvigorating Japan’s aging ski industry

Taking a cue from Vail’s success, Hanazono resort in Niseko is spending big on modern lifts—and wants to raise ticket prices by 50% to pay for it.

HOKKAIDO, Feb 01 (Bloomberg) - Niseko sits on the western edge of the island of Hokkaido, where Siberian winds sweeping across the Sea of Japan drop heavy snow almost daily during the winter months.

The area typically gets at least 10 meters (33 feet) a season—and sometimes more than 15 meters—versus about three in France’s Courchevel and six in the Colorado resort of Vail.

Japan’s ski areas this season reopened to foreign visitors for the first time since the pandemic, and the slopes are packed with people from Australia, Singapore, the US and France alongside many locals. As a weaker yen has made the country roughly 20% cheaper than it was the last time foreigners were allowed in, a day at Niseko now costs the equivalent of $65, versus an average of $165 in the US.

Japanese tourism authorities have high hopes of again attracting hordes of skiing foreigners, but the lack of investment risks undercutting those ambitions. Laurent Vanat, an industry consultant who tracks skiing worldwide, says Japan’s aging infrastructure has damaged its reputation as a global destination. Powder hounds may come from afar for the snow, but they’re often disappointed when they find that the lifts date to the ’80s or ’90s. “The ski industry in Japan did not reinvent itself,” Vanat says. ...continue reading


or as long as Shohei Ohtani plays for the Dodgers -- which will be at least for the next decade -- May 17 will be known as “Shohei Ohtani Day” in Los Angeles County. (MLB)

Two residents of Sapporo who died earlier this month likely succumbed to food poisoning caused by mistakenly consuming toxic autumn crocus, according to the Sapporo City Health Department. The department confirmed on May 17 that the deaths were indeed due to poisoning from this plant.

A revised Civil Code introducing 'joint custody' for children after divorce has been passed by the Diet. This marks the first time in 77 years that Japan has reviewed the approach to post-divorce custody.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested three leaders of the political group 'Tsubasa Party' on suspicion of violating the Public Offices Election Act by disrupting the speeches of other candidates during a House of Representatives by-election in Tokyo's 15th district. Investigators view this as a "challenge to democracy" and plan to pursue a thorough investigation.

An event allowing visitors to experience life in 2050 has launched in Tokyo, including an elevator which enables transportation to space via a cable extending from a satellite to Earth.


MORE Business NEWS

The Umeda area in Osaka is seeing a surge in high-rise apartment construction, including a 49-story residential skyscraper south of JR Osaka Station.

Japan's National Police Agency revealed on May 16 that the amount of money lost to impersonation investment scams on social media totaled 21.9 billion yen in just three months from January to March this year.

The president and seven employees of The Grand Shield, previously featured in Japanese media due to financial troubles with dental braces, have been arrested for selling high-yield bonds without registration, promising annual returns of 20%. It is believed that two women among the suspects collected 4.6 billion yen alone.

Japan's real GDP growth rate for the first quarter of this year, from January to March, was announced by the Cabinet Office to be an annualized minus 2.0%.

Businessman Yusaku Maezawa has filed a lawsuit against Meta, the company operating Facebook, seeking 1 yen in damages in response to a series of investment scams involving impersonation of famous personalities on social media.

As the Japanese government begins discussions on the basic policies for its energy strategy, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has constructed a new substation and other infrastructure in Inzai City, Chiba Prefecture, to address the increasing power consumption of data centers.

Honda Motor says it will invest 10 trillion yen or roughly 65 billion dollars in electric vehicles and software for self-driving technology through fiscal 2030. (NHK)

The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China has released the results of a survey targeting Japanese companies operating in China, revealing that over half of them report worsening sales trends.