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Highlights: February 2009 Issue

Getting Serious About Rare Metals: Japan's Trading Companies Could Rise One More Time

Because the global business media is often focused on more interesting, or ‘sexier’ industries like movies, consumer good and finance, far less has been reported about how deeply the sogo shosha (Japanese general trading companies) have established themselves in mineral holdings generally, and rare metals in particular. But by owning and trading minerals and selling them to industrial customers in both Japan and other countries, the trading companies have one of the best perspectives and early warning systems related to metals market movements, overall industrial trends and demand levels, the emergence of substitute materials, and even the likelihood of shortages.

And many of them have quietly established major positions in rare metals including tungsten, molybdenum, titanium, cobalt, nickel, chromium, germanium, niobium, tantalum, vanadium, gallium, indium, manganese and others.

With a special focus on Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Marubeni, C. Itoh & Co., Sojitz, Toyota Tsusho, Kanematsu,  JFE Shoji Trade as well as other lesser-known but major players.

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A Specialist Offers Advice: "Indulgent Parsimony Is the Key for Japan's Consumer Marketers" (Part One)

Consumerism in Japan has not died, but has been reborn in radically-altered form.  In this Part One of a two-part contribution, this month's specialist contributor applies the principles more deeply to the Japanese situation.  What follows is a brief analysis of how this transformed consumerism — this indulgent parsimony — is likely to manifest itself Japan over the next few years.  It's a must read for all companies engaged in or planning consumer marketing campaign's in the world's second-largest economy in the wake of the global credit crisis.

Reader Survey: Possible Goldman Deal for Universal Studios Japan Is A Bad Deal for US Taxpayers

At least, that's what our survey of senior Japan-oriented global executives revealed.  We received no less than a short ton of e-mail on this topic, and some of the best quotes from Japan-oriented senior executives around the world are selected for this feature.  Read it to get an in-depth understanding of how executives from both in and out of the finance industry view Goldman's opportunistic bid for the remaining part of Universal Studios Japan it doesn't already own.

Japan Insight: Get the Scoop

Saint-Gobain Hopes for Key to Japan Tech; Belgian Pharma Firm UCB To Remain Focused on Japan

From the Editors

Banks Flee China....

Plus much more...

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