Japan’s jobless rate rises to 5.2 percent in November: govt

Unemployed Japanese people search through job vacancies at an employment bureau in Tokyo. Japan's unemployment rate rose to 5.2 percent in November from 5.1 percent in October, worsening for the first time in four months, the government said Friday.

Unemployed Japanese people search through job vacancies at an employment bureau in Tokyo. Japan's unemployment rate rose to 5.2 percent in November from 5.1 percent in October, worsening for the first time in four months, the government said Friday.

AFP – Japan’s unemployment rate rose to 5.2 percent in November from 5.1 percent in October, worsening for the first time in four months, the government said Friday.

The latest rate was in line with the average market forecast.

Figures released by the labour ministry showed there were 45 job offers for every 100 jobseekers in November, slightly up from 44 in the previous month.

Many Japanese companies, particularly exporters, moved swiftly to cut jobs and production in response to a slump in demand caused by the global economic downturn, which triggered Japan’s worst post-war recession.

Japan’s economy grew in April-June for the first time in five quarters on rebounding exports and government stimulus measures but deflation has emerged as a threat to the recovery.

The internal affairs ministry meanwhile said that the nation’s core consumer prices marked a ninth straight month of drops in November.

Japan’s factory output up 0.5 percent in October

Japan’s factory output edged up by 0.5 percent in October from September, marking an eighth straight monthly gain, official data showed Monday.

The growth extended the longest unbroken expansion since a 12-month climb through March 1997 but came below an average market forecast for a rise of 2.5 percent.

Japan posts 9.1-billion-dollar trade surplus in October

People cross the road in the Ginza shopping district in downtown Tokyo in July 2009. Japan on Wednesday posted a trade surplus for the ninth straight month in October, as the world's number two economy gradually emerges from deep stagnation, thanks to recovery in the rest of Asia.

People cross the road in the Ginza shopping district in downtown Tokyo in July 2009. Japan on Wednesday posted a trade surplus for the ninth straight month in October, as the world's number two economy gradually emerges from deep stagnation, thanks to recovery in the rest of Asia.

AFP – Japan on Wednesday posted a trade surplus for the ninth straight month in October, as the world’s number two economy gradually emerges from deep stagnation, thanks to recovery in the rest of Asia.

The latest trade surplus came to 807.1 billion yen (9.1 billion dollars), a sharp rebound from a trade deficit of 75 billion yen registered a year ago, the finance ministry said.

But the nation’s trade activities remained weak with exports in October falling 23.2 percent to 5.31 trillion yen from a year ago, led by shrinking exports of vehicles and steel, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, imports tumbled 35.6 percent to 4.50 trillion yen, weighed on by fewer energy imports, such as crude oil and liquid natural gas, the ministry said.

Japan’s trade surplus with Asia rose 82.3 percent to 827.0 billion yen, with exports falling 15.0 percent while imports fell 30.0 percent.

Against China, Japan logged its fourth straight monthly trade deficit of 26.2 billion yen.

Japanese exports to China fell 14.3 percent to 993.4 billion yen, although exports of auto parts rose 32.1 percent.

Chinese imports to Japan dropped 26.6 percent at 1.02 trillion yen.

Meanwhile, Japanese trade surplus with the United States marked 26 straight months of decline, falling 27.7 percent in October to 369.6 billion yen.

Against the EU region, Japanese trade surplus in October fell 40.8 percent to 210.8 billion yen, falling for 14th straight month.

Japan braced for strong typhoon

Japan is bracing itself for what could be its most powerful storm for more than ten years.

euronews channel-Meteorologists say Typhoon Melor could bring with it gusts of wind in excess of 200 kilometers per hour, as well as rain of up to 50 centimeters in the next 24 hours.

Melor is not expected to reach Japan’s main island, Honshu, until Thursday but the country’s smaller islands to the south are already being hit.

Hundreds of domestic flights have been cancelled, electricity has been cut to some communities and roofs have been ripped off by the strong winds.

Many residents fear a repeat of a typhoon five years ago that struck at the same time of year and claimed the lives of 95 people.

Sebastian Vettel wins Japanese Grand Prix

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has won the Japanese Grand Prix, with Jarno Trulli second in his Toyota and McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton third. The German led from start to finish to win his third victory of the season.

REUTERS – Sebastian Vettel won the Japanese Grand Prix to keep his Formula One title hopes alive on Sunday while Jenson Button had his overall lead trimmed to 14 points with two races remaining.

The 22-year-old Red Bull driver’s third victory of the season left the German 16 points adrift of Brawn’s Button, who inched closer to the crown with a hard-fought eighth place.

“Finally we made it, I was screaming on the radio … it’s good to be back on first position also on Sunday,” said Vettel, the first German from outside the Schumacher family to win three races in a single season.

Button’s closest rival, Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello, crossed the line in seventh on a sunny afternoon at Suzuka.

Italian Jarno Trulli was second for Toyota in the team’s home race, equalling their best result, while McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton hung on for third ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Germany’s Nico Rosberg was fifth for Williams, with compatriot Nick Heidfeld sixth for BMW-Sauber.

Button would have clinched the title had he scored five points more than Barrichello but that had looked highly unlikely since Saturday, when both were handed five-place grid penalties.

Button’s chances of sealing the championship in Japan seemed even more remote when he ended the first lap in 11th place, but he passed BMW-Sauber’s Robert Kubica and was then gifted two more places when McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen and Force India’s Adrian Sutil collided just ahead of him.

Brawn, who emerged from the remains of the Honda team only weeks before the season started, were left a tantalising half-point away from becoming the first team to secure the constructors’ title in their debut season.

They now have 155 points to Red Bull’s 120.5, with a maximum 36 still to be won.

Vettel had led comfortably from pole position but his advantage evaporated when the safety car was deployed late in the race, after Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari crashed, and stayed out until four laps from the finish.

The Spaniard was unhurt in the accident.

Disgraced former finance minister found dead

Former Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa, who was forced to resign after appearing drunk at a G7 news conference earlier this year, was found dead in his Tokyo home. The cause of his death has not yet been determined.

AFP – Japan’s former finance minister Shoichi Nakagawa, who was forced to resign over his apparently drunken behaviour at a meeting of world powers, has been found dead at his home, police and news reports said Sunday.

We were informed that former finance minister Nakagawa has been found dead, but we are still unaware of further details,” said a spokesman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

Nakagawa, 56, was found dead in a bedroom at his home in Tokyo’s residential distrct of Setagaya, Jiji Press news agency and other media said, adding that the cause of death was not immediately unknown.

Nakagawa, a close ally of then prime minister Taro Aso, was incoherent and slurred his speech at a news conference in February after the Group of Seven talks in Rome amid the global economic crisis.

Nakagawa, a heavyweight in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said he had sipped some wine with lunch before the press conference but blamed jet lag and cold medicine for his drowsiness.

The debacle dealt a blow to Aso, who resigned last month after his conservative LDP suffered a massive defeat against Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan in general elections in August.

Nakagawa, who had made no secret about his fondness for drinking, promised to swear off alcohol ahead of the elections, but lost his seat in his constituency in Hokkaido, northern Japan.

His father was also an LDP heavyweight who was found dead in 1983 in a hotel room. The death was later ruled to be suicide.

Nakagawa joined the Industrial Bank of Japan in 1978 after graduating from the elite University of Tokyo. He spent five years at the bank, which is now part of the Mizuho financial group.

Nakagawa had triggered controversy with strong criticism of China and calls for Japan — the only nation to have suffered an atomic attack — to consider developing nuclear weapons.

He was also known for being pro-Taiwan, admiring independence-minded former president Lee Teng-hui. Beijing regards the island as part of Chinese territory.

Decision day for Games host dawns

The International Olympic Committee on Friday started a key meeting to choose the host for the 2016 Olympics with US President Barack Obama pressing the case for Chicago against government leaders and kings from rival bidders.
Japan’s new prime minister Yukio Hatoyama is fighting for Tokyo, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva for Rio de Janeiro and Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero campaigning for Madrid.

Chicago were first to give their presentation to the 100-plus members of the IOC.

Generally seen as odds on favourites they were led by a relaxed looking Obama and his wife Michelle as they bid to become the first American city to host the Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996.

Obama, former senator for Illinois and resident of Chicago for nearly 25 years, flew in on Friday while the US First Lady has been lobbying IOC members here since Wednesday.

Chicago began first to be followed by Tokyo, the only one of the four to have previously hosted the Games, Rio, attempting to bring the Games to South America for the first time, and rank outsiders Madr