Rakuten offers discount 5G in win for Suga's price-cut push
Nikkei -- Oct 01
Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani's e-commerce group Rakuten on Wednesday announced it will offer an unlimited 5G wireless data plan for roughly half the price of the country's top three mobile providers, in a move that could trigger discounts across the industry.

Rakuten's 5G plan will be available for 2,980 yen ($28) a month plus tax within its service area, the same rate as its 4G plan. The e-commerce company is a relative newcomer to mobile services, this spring breaking into an industry long dominated by NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank. It hopes to attract more customers through affordable and easy-to-understand plans.

New Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is a strong advocate for lower mobile rates, saying they could be as much as 40% cheaper. Rakuten's announcement adds momentum to his push.

Suga and Mikitani, Rakuten's CEO, are old acquaintances, and they agree that Japan's mobile rates are expensive compared with the rest of the world.

Rakuten is able to offer fifth-generation service for significantly less than its rivals thanks to virtualization, an approach to network building that combines cloud technology with commodity-grade hardware. Because this method does not use expensive equipment, it requires 40% less in capital spending and 30% less in operating costs than conventional mobile networks, according to the company.

楽天モバイルが30日、5G規格のサービスを格安で開始しました。NTTドコモの再編も発表されるなか、今、携帯電話業界・通信業界で何が起きているのでしょうか。  楽天・三木谷会長:「4Gに加えて5Gも使える。料金については2980円」  月額2980円。楽天が打ち出したのは、これまでの4Gプランの料金そのままで次世代通信サービス「5G」が使えるというプランでした。  楽天モバイル・山田社長:「私どものユーザーが増えれば、全体として日本における平均的な料金が下がると」  楽天の5Gエリアは首都圏など限定的で、今の4Gでも自前の基地局を設置するエリア以外では利用に制限があるものの、この発表が携帯各社の値下げの起爆剤となるのでしょうか。  菅官房長官(当時):「国民の大事な電波ですから、安いということは極めて大事だと思っていますので」  携帯電話料金の値下げは、菅総理が官房長官時代から打ち出していた肝煎り(きもいり)の政策。29日はNTTが、携帯電話大手「NTTドコモ」の完全子会社化を発表。  NTT・澤田社長:「お客様の要望の一つとして、値下げについても検討していく」  NTTの澤田社長は完全子会社化で財政基盤が整い、値下げの余力が出てくると、前向きな考えを示しました。KDDIも・・・。
News sources: Nikkei, ANNnewsCH
Oct 27
The animated movie "Kimetsu no Yaiba," or "Demon Slayer," has broken box office records in Japan, earning 10 billion yen in its first 10 days in theaters. It reached the milestone much faster than the 25 days it took the 2001 animated fantasy film "Spirited Away." (NHK)
Oct 27
A new survey shows only a small number of people in Japan are getting the safety benefits of working from home. It found that less than 20 percent were telecommuting despite calls to do so to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (NHK)
Oct 24
Tokyo and London have agreed the UK's first big post-Brexit trade deal as Britain pushes to keep its economy on track after leaving the European Union. (NHK)
Oct 24
Japan's minister in charge of the coronavirus response says he will ask businesses to extend their year-end and New Year holiday period so people can stagger their travel. (NHK)
Oct 24
Wine connoisseurs in Japan are gearing up for an annual ritual. (NHK)
Oct 23
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. is considering sharply scaling back its staff and budget for developing the first domestically manufactured passenger jet, effectively freezing the operation amid a slump in demand caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, sources close to the matter said Thursday. (Kyodo)
Oct 22
Japan is considering creating a hub where financial firms can file regulatory paperwork in English as Tokyo aims to recruit banks and brokerages away from Hong Kong and other parts of the world, according to people familiar with the matter. (Japan Times)
Oct 22
A computer file containing data on 2,750 business partners of a unit of Japan Post Co. has been leaked, the parent company said Tuesday. (Japan Times)
Oct 21
Japan and China are expected to agree as early as this month on resuming travel by both short- and long-term businesspeople between the two countries, Japanese government sources said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Oct 21
Obtain totally free Young America quotes for auto insurance coverage. (newsonjapan.com)
Oct 19
Over the coming decade, Japan will get economic tailwinds from a force never before experienced in economic history anywhere on this scale: the country's gigantic stock of record household savings will become unstuck. (Japan Times)
Oct 18
NHK hopes to make it mandatory for those who have not signed viewing contracts to report to the broadcaster whether or not they have a TV, a move it says could help cut costs for collecting fees. (Japan Times)
Oct 16
Analysts credit a Japanese government travel campaign with a slight uptick in spending on services and entertainment in late September. (NHK)
Oct 15
The parent company of All Nippon Airways Co. plans to acquire 400 billion yen ($3.8 billion) in loans from five Japanese banks as the airline operator's earnings have sharply deteriorated under the novel coronavirus, sources close to the matter said Wednesday. (Kyodok)
Oct 13
A chain of misjudgments and unexpected events, not least Carlos Ghosn's escape to Beirut, have sent Japanese prosecutors and former Nissan Motor general counsel Greg Kelly on a collision course set to unfold in his long-awaited trial over the next nine months. (Nikkei)
Oct 13
The Indian economy is set to become the third largest in the world behind China and the US by 2050 and retain the same position in 2100, a study published in the medical journal Lancet found by translating working age population of countries into scenarios for total GDP. ()
Oct 13
A report by the BOJ highlights that prices in Japan are under downward pressure amid the pandemic. (NHK)
Oct 12
A growing number of Japanese companies in the retail and service sectors are turning shop space into shared rental space to meet demand for telecommuting due to the pandemic. (NHK)
Oct 10
Pressures for public aid are mounting in the Japanese aviation market, with no rebound in sight for air travel, as full-service and budget airlines are preparing further cost-cutting measures that will hit their employees and routes. (Nikkei)
Oct 09
The Japanese government says it expects the country's crude steel output this year to be the lowest in about half a century, as the economy continues to feel the effects of the coronavirus. (NHK)