In Wednesday's Asia papers

12 July 2006 03:25  [Source: ICIS news]

Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition)

Front page

 

Charges loom for 3 in Toyota recall failure

Prosecutors on Tuesday were mulling charges against three past and present officials of Toyota Motor for failing to order recalls of a defective vehicle over an eight-year period. Investigators with the Kumamoto District Public Prosecutors Office said the individuals may be charged with professional negligence resulting in bodily injury. It said the three knew the Hilux four-wheel drive sport utility vehicle had a steering defect but did nothing to recall that model during the past eight years.

 

Missile tests stir up debate on first-strike option

North Korea's ballistic missile launches last week have stirred up debate about whether Japan should abandon its defense-only posture and arm itself for a first strike against enemy bases. Both Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe and Defense Agency chief Fukushiro Nukaga want Japan to start considering the possibility of acquiring intercontinental ballistic missiles and long-range strategic bombers capable of pre-emptive strikes.

 

Business & Industry

 

University offers long-term internship program for students

Osaka Gakuin University next month will start a long-term internship program to give students a chance to acquire skills and get a real taste of the working world before they begin job hunting. The students will receive credits for their work, feedback from their employers, and even wages for their efforts. Although internships for credits are not new, Osaka Gakuin University's program is different because of the duration.

 

Japan Post plans to list shares in 2011

Japan Post, a holding company that will have four entities handling postal businesses under its wing, plans to list its shares in 2011 in a key step toward privatization, sources said. The holding company, which was set up in January to chart the privatization course, will also sell two-thirds of its shares in five years after listing, the sources said. The remaining shares will be held by the government.

 

China Daily, China (online edition)

Front page

 

Hu: China opposes actions worsening Korea situation

China opposes any action that may worsen the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and hopes all relevant parties can act in a way conducive to the stability of the peninsula, President Hu Jintao said on Tuesday. Hu made the remarks when meeting with visiting Vice President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Yang Hyong Sop on Tuesday afternoon.

 

China tables UN statement on North Korea missile launch

China, supported by Russia, submitted its own draft UN Security Council statement on North Korea on Monday, fearing a Japan-drafted resolution imposing sanctions might be eventually used to lay the groundwork for military action on Pyongyang. However, the United States, Britain and Japan opposed China's statement as the Security Council put off council action to allow a high-level Chinese delegation to talk to Pyongyang, Reuters reported.

 

Business & Industry

 

China to see GDP up over 10% in H1

China's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to rise by over 10% in the first half of 2006 and by over 9% for the whole year, surpassing the anticipated 9% growth, director of the State Statistics Bureau (SSB) Qiu Xiaohua said during an interview given to the media recently. Qiu said that GDP growth had remained at about 10% and would keep around the level in the short term. In 2010, the annual average growth of GDP would exceed the aim of 7.5%.

 

Shell, Shenhua to study China coal-to-fuels project

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's second-biggest oil company, and Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group agreed to study the feasibility of spending as much as $6bn on a China plant to turn coal into fuels and chemicals. Shell and Shenhua Ningxia, a unit of Shenhua Group, China's biggest coal producer, will study the technical and commercial viability of building a 70,000bbl/day plant in northern China's Ningxia province, the companies said in a statement today.

 

Taiwan News, Taiwan (online edition)

Front page

 

Prosecutor questions Wu over Sogo scandal

Lin Bang-liang, a spokesman for the Taipei Prosecutors' Office, said yesterday that a prosecutor questioned First Lady Wu Shu-chen on Sunday afternoon concerning the first family's alleged involvement in the fight over control of the Pacific Sogo Department Store. The United Evening News reported yesterday that Prosecutor Tseng Yi-sheng questioned Wu for three hours at the Presidential Office on Sunday. The questioning was aimed to clear up whether Wu received free gift certificates from the new management of Sogo and whether she intervened in helping the Far Eastern Group take over Sogo in 2003, according to the report.

 

KMT Will Not Consider Unification Until China Democratizes: KMT Head

Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou said Tuesday that even if his party came to power, it would not consider the option of "unification" until China achieves democratization. In a speech at Tokyo's Foreign Correspondents' Club, Ma rejected a Japanese media's portrayal of him as a "pro-China" politician in Taiwan. Japan recognized China more than 30 years ago, Ma said, and the KMT was just following in Japan's steps by trying to improve ties with China.

 

Business & Industry

 

Mandarin Airlines to lease 8 Embraer E-Jet aircraft

Mandarin Airlines, a subsidiary of Taiwan's No. 1 carrier - China Airlines, yesterday picked Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer's 190 and 195 E-Jets as the core aircraft for its future fleet requirements. Mandarin is initially acquiring a fleet of eight aircraft under operating leases. Under the lease agreement that it signed with GE Commercial Aviation Services yesterday, the carrier will be leasing three Embraer 190s and five

Embraer 195s equipped with GE-CF34 engines.

 

Formosa Petrochemical Corp Raises Gas Prices

Formosa Petrochemical Corp (FPC) raised wholesale prices for its oil products by NT$1 per liter on Tuesday to reflect its rising crude oil import costs. The price hike for gasoline and diesel fuel took effect on Tuesday noon, a company executive said, adding that gas stations can decide on their own when to adjust retail gasoline and diesel prices.

 

Korea Herald, South Korea (online edition)

Front page

 

Roh lambastes Tokyo for hawkish remarks on North Korea

President Roh Moo-hyun yesterday slammed Japan for its provocative rhetoric suggesting possible pre-emptive strikes on North Korea in the wake of the latest missile crisis. Roh also said the missile dispute should be resolved through dialogue in his first remark since Pyongyang shot up ballistic missiles above the East Sea after defying international entreaties.

 

South Korea, US grapple with sensitive FTA issues

Seoul and Washington dove right into some of the most contentious areas during the second day of the free trade agreement talks here yesterday. The two negotiating teams, led by chief US negotiator Wendy Cutler and her South Korean counterpart Kim Jong-hoon, expanded the issues for negotiations to 13 from eight the previous day. The sensitive issues were brought up to narrow differences.

 

Business & Industry

 

Bond issuance jumps amid dull trading

South Korea's fixed income market issued more treasury and bank bonds in the first half this year, but the market overall saw duller trading as the oil price hike, unstable consumer prices and the US interest hike kept investors in doubt. The local market issued nearly Won190.38trn worth of bonds in the first half of this year, nearly Won8.87trn more than six month ago.

 

US court upholds LG patent claims

LG Electronics., the country's second-largest electronics maker, said yesterday it has won an appeals court ruling that would pave way for the resumption of computer royalty negotiations with Taiwanese PC makers. The US Appeals Court for the Federal Circuits, or CAFC, sided with LG Electronics in computer patent infringement suits against three Taiwanese PC manufacturers - Quanta, Compal, and FIC - on 7 July, the company said.

 

Business Standard, India (online edition)

Front page

 

Ghost of 1993 returns to haunt Mumbai

Mumbai was rocked by eight bomb explosions at railway stations and on trains today, that killed 146 people and injured over 400. The country’s financial capital, a metropolis of about 17 million people, has been hit by a series of bomb blasts in the past decade or so. More than 250 people had died in a string of bomb blasts in the city in 1993, for which the authorities blamed the city’s underworld gangs.

 

Anil Ambani seeks big bucks in stressed assets

Anil Ambani is eyeing the Rs2trn worth of stressed assets in the Indian financial system. Reliance Capital, the non-banking finance arm of the Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-ADAG), is ready to float an asset reconstruction company, which will buy stressed assets from the system, and nurse them back to health.

 

Business & Industry

 

GSK to use gel to enter OTC erectile market

GSK Consumer Healthcare, the world’s largest pharmaceutical OTC company, is soon to roll out a blockbuster product in the burgeoning erectile dysfunction (ED) drug market. The new OTC gel, an invention of UK’s leading sexual health company Futura Medical, would create an unparallel competition in the erectile dysfunction (ED) drug market, which is a strictly regulated prescription segment in India.

 

Hero Honda fails to rev up Q1

Hero Honda Motors - the country’s largest two-wheeler maker - today reported 16% growth in net profit during the first quarter of 2006-07. The PAT figure at Rs2.377bn as against Rs2.045bn for the same period last year, however, fell short of expectations. Analysts had, earlier in the day, projected 24% growth.

 

Business Times, Singapore (print edition)

Front page 

 

GIC's average annual return 9.5% over 25 years

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew disclosed for the first time last night that the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) made a 'good' annual return averaging 9.5% in US dollar terms over the past 25 years. GIC's annual rate of return over that period, up to March this year, was 8.2% in Singapore dollar terms. And the average rate of return over global inflation was 5. % yearly, Mr Lee said at a dinner marking GIC's 25th anniversary.

 

IMF studies quick credit facility to forestall market crises

 

The International Monetary Fund, which will hold its annual meeting in Singapore in September, is looking into a new quick credit facility to help emerging economies stave off market crises without having to meet demands for structural reform. The new 'high-access' financing tool could provide up to 300% of a country's loan quota to help stave off huge and sudden withdrawals of capital in the event of a crisis.

 

Latests News (online edition)

 

Japan June domestic CGPI up 3.3% on year

Japan's domestic corporate goods price index rose in June year-on-year on high oil and raw material prices, providing more evidence of an end to deflation and supporting expectations of an interest rate hike this week. Bank of Japan data showed the CGPI, which tracks trends in wholesale prices of goods, rose 3.3% from the same month a year earlier, just short of the market's consensus forecast for a rise of 3.4%. Compared with a month earlier, the index was down 0.1% in June.

 

Sony pulls controversial PSP ad in Netherlands 

Sony said on Tuesday it has pulled a Dutch billboard advertising campaign for the new white version of its PlayStation Portable video game player and apologised to anyone offended by ad, which critics dubbed racist. A billboard ad in the campaign - which Sony said was launched in the first week of June and created locally and exclusively for the Dutch market - portrayed a white woman aggressively grabbing the face of a black woman and read 'PlayStation Portable White is Coming'.

 

Bangkok Post, Thailand (online edition)

Front page

 

Bush sees Asian as next UN chief

President Bush said the next United Nations secretary-general is expected to come from Asia. From endorsing any current candidate, however, he kept his discussion hypothetical. "As I understand it, traditionally ... regions rotate, and we're really looking in the Far East right now to be the secretary-general," Mr Bush said in an interview on Monday with print reporters with Russia, Japan, Italy and Germany.

 

Kantathi meets Rice in Washington
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon on Tuesday for talks on bilateral issues and the dispute over North Korea's nuclear and missile activities. The two diplomats discussed trade relations between the two countries and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit scheduled for the end of this month in Kuala Lumpur, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

 

Business & Industry

 

TOT plans staff cuts and setup of new subsidiaries

TOT Plc plans to form a new wholly owned subsidiary to provide telecoms services, while it will provide the network. The move will help the company avoid the high regulatory fees charged under the Telecom Business Law, and is one element of a sweeping programme of change aimed at streamlining operations at the state enterprise.

 

Mitsubishi Thailand nears one million sales

Total worldwide exports of Mitsubishi cars from Thailand are expected to reach one million units by 2007, thanks to increasing demand for one-ton pickups and new product launches. Pinit Ngarmpring, the general manager of public relations with Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand) Co Ltd (MMT), said the target was realistic. Since 1988, MMT has exported 832,541 vehicles to 140 countries, generating a total of Baht323.77bn in revenue.





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