Japan firms fall woefully short of meeting government goals on women in management: Reuters poll

By Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) – About one-fifth of Japanese companies have no female managers and most say women account for less than 10% of management, a Reuters monthly poll found, highlighting the struggle for the government’s “womenomics” drive to make headway.

The survey results come as Japan is seen to delay its target this year to raise the share of women in leadership posts to 30% as part of the government’s campaign to empower women, dubbed “womenomics”, and cope with Japan’s ageing population.

The Reuters Corporate Survey, conducted Sept. 29-Oct. 8, found 71% of Japanese firms said women accounted for less than 10% of management, while 17% had no female managers at all.

Asked how much scope there was to increase female managers, 55% said by around 10%, a quarter said by about 20%, one in 10 firms said by around 30%, while 5% saw no room for that.

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Japan, UK, Australia, Italy, UAE among nations signing U.S. Artemis Accords on moon exploration

In an interview ahead of the announcement, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the accords are “intended to create norms of behavior that all countries can agree to so that we can keep peace and prosperity moving forward in space and avoid any kind of confusion or ambiguity that can result in conflict.”

He said the accords, first announced in May, would build on the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which bans the use of nuclear weapons in space and prohibits nations from laying sovereign claim to the moon or other celestial bodies.

“There is nothing in the Artemis Accords that isn’t enshrined in the Outer Space Treaty,” Bridenstine said. “It’s a forcing function to get nations to comply with the Outer Space Treaty.”

The seven nations that signed are the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and Italy. It’s a somewhat eclectic mix, with countries like Japan,

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Big Money, Day Traders Both Love Japan Tech Darling Mercari

(Bloomberg) — Mercari Inc., the online flea-market operator that has become one of Japan’s most closely watched tech ventures, is closing in on new highs as the stock has drawn both big and small money.

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The company has already grown to command the largest weighting on Japan’s startup-focused Mothers index as individual investors buy in — of some 230 of the largest Japanese companies with market value of over $5 billion, Mercari has the third-highest percentage of individual shareholders. Then on Oct. 7, Los Angeles-based money manager Capital Group declared it had taken a 5% stake in Mercari.

That’s helping propel the stock to near the 6,000 yen mark it hit just once, on the day it listed to great fanfare in 2018. After a rapid decline, the stock has worked its way back up this year, fueled by its first quarterly operating profit. That’s been helped by

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Five Eyes governments, India, and Japan make new call for encryption backdoors

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Five Eyes cyber panel at CYBERUK 19


Image: ZDNet/CBSi

Special feature


Cyberwar and the Future of Cybersecurity

Today’s security threats have expanded in scope and seriousness. There can now be millions — or even billions — of dollars at risk when information security isn’t handled properly.

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Members of the intelligence-sharing alliance Five Eyes, along with government representatives for Japan and India, have published a statement over the weekend calling on tech companies to come up with a solution for law enforcement to access end-to-end encrypted communications.

The statement is the alliance’s latest effort to get tech companies to agree to encryption backdoors.

The Five Eyes alliance, comprised of the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, have made similar calls to tech giants in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Just like before, government officials claim tech companies have put themselves in a corner by incorporating end-to-end encryption (E2EE)

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Japan smartphone parts makers bet on miniaturization in 5G era

KYOTO — Electronic component makers in Asia and elsewhere are competing fiercely to supply manufacturers of the latest 5G smartphones. Japanese companies have solid market shares in 4G products and hope to maintain their lead over Chinese and South Korean rivals by honing their skills, especially in miniaturization.

“Given current chip-mounting technology, this is as small as it can get,” said Tsuneo Murata, chairman of Murata Manufacturing, showcasing the company’s new multilayer ceramic capacitor, a key smartphone component it has started making in large volumes.

In smartphones, MLCCs are used to store and discharge electricity to maintain a stable current in a circuit. At just 0.25 mm x 0.125 mm, Murata’s new device is the world’s smallest MLCC, with just one-fifth the volume of comparable products but 10 times the electrical storage capacity.

MLCCs are placed throughout circuit boards in smartphones. About 800 MLCCs are used in a high-grade phone;

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Japan seeks to boost catch limits of prized bluefin tuna

MITO, Japan (AP) — Japan has proposed raising its catch quotas for Pacific bluefin tuna, a fish so highly prized for sushi and sashimi that its population is at less than 5% of historical levels.

An online meeting of countries that manage the Pacific bluefin that began Tuesday is studying the proposal to raise Japan’s catch limits for both smaller and larger bluefin tuna by 20%.

A slight improvement in the spawning population for the fish has raised confidence that it can recover from decades of overfishing. But conservation experts say increasing catch limits too soon could undo progress toward restoring the species.


Increasing harvests of such fish could also drive prices lower, making the industry less profitable in the long run, the Pew Charitable Trusts said in a report issued Tuesday.

The report, Netting Billions 2020: A Global Tuna Valuation, put the market value of seven tuna species including

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Bluefin tuna in focus as Japan seeks boost to catch limits

MITO, Japan (AP) — Countries involved in managing bluefin tuna fisheries are set to face-off over a Japanese proposal to raise its catch quotas for the fish, highly prized for sushi and sashimi.

At an online meeting that began Tuesday, Japan is seeking to raise its catch limits for both smaller and larger bluefin tuna by 20%.

A slight improvement in the spawning population for the fish has raised confidence that it can recover from decades of overfishing. But conservation experts worry that the capture of small fish used for farming bluefin tuna is may be putting the recovery of the species in peril.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission includes more than two dozen countries that collaborate to manage fisheries on the high seas and curb illegal and unauthorized fishing and other activities that endanger highly migratory species such as the Pacific bluefin.

Countries participating in management of

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Japan Startup Surges 300% on Demand for Cloud-Based Accounting

(Bloomberg) — Daisuke Sasaki has seen his cloud-based accounting company’s valuation swell to $3.7 billion despite having yet to show a profit, but he’s not letting that pressure him.

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Shares of Freee K.K. have quadrupled since going public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December, along with rising demand for cloud services amid the remote-working trend.

“We don’t have a set timeframe for when the company will swing to profits,” Sasaki, founder and chief executive of Freee, said in an interview on Aug. 17. “Our business is about subscription.”

The Tokyo-based firm’s stock is one of the many technology names that have surged during Covid-19, fueled by investor euphoria over stay-at-home and DIY themes. While the pandemic roiled the outlook for companies around the world, U.S. accounting software giant Intuit Inc. beat recent earnings estimates, helped by better-than-expected growth for its cloud-based service for small businesses.



chart: Shares of cloud accounting firm have nearly quadrupled since IPO


© Bloomberg

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Japan August household spending seen falling for 11th straight month

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese household spending is expected to have fallen for a 11th straight month in August, a Reuters poll found on Friday, suggesting the coronavirus crisis is still weighing heavily on consumer confidence.

Analysts say the economy is rebounding gradually after suffering its worst post-war contraction in the second quarter, but the jobs and wage situation remain weak.

New COVID-19 cases in Japan have been on a general downward trend recently but appear to be levelling off.

Household spending likely fell 6.9 % in August from a year earlier, the poll of 14 economists showed, after a 7.6 % fall in July.

Compared with the previous month, household spending is forecast to have risen 3.2% in August from a 6.5% decline, the poll found.

“As the coronavirus cases resurged in Japan, people’s self-restraint stance towards spending on entertainment and tourism persisted,” said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin

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Billboard Japan & NTT Data’s Joint Research Predicts Future Hits From Chart Data & Cerebral Information

Billboard Japan and NTT Data/NTT Data Institute of Management Consulting (NTT Data/IMC) partnered on a new project that combines the former’s chart data and the latter’s neuroscientific technology to develop a new way to analyze music trends.

Billboard Japan’s Hot 100 song chart is based on a weighted formula incorporating eight metrics such as CD sales, downloads, streams and Twitter mentions. NTT Data/IMC is a pioneer in the advancement of the brain information business, in part through its development of the “NeuroAI” that predicts the cerebral activity and perceptual content of people viewing moving images. The underlying technology of NeuroAI was adopted by this year’s AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-20).

The collaborative project used technology called “NeuroAI-Music” that simulates the cerebral activity of people listening to music. NeuroAI-Music succeeded in estimating and characterizing the cerebral activity per second of music from audio signals, making it possible to quantitatively extract

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