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SoftBank is taking its mobile division public. But what is SoftBank?

by Marielle Segarra Nov 12, 2018
SoftBank Group Corp., the massive Japanese holding company, is planning to take its mobile division public. The company is trying to raise $21 billion in its IPO, and it’ll list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December. You may not have…
Softbank group CEO Masayoshi Son delivers a speech during his company's financial results press conference at a hotel in Tokyo on Nov. 5, 2018.
TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

Japan expands use of foreign "interns" to address labor shortage

by Adrian Ma Oct 10, 2018
The unemployment rate is just 2.4 percent in Japan; the country is filling the job gaps with a controversial program for foreign interns.
Workers at the Tsuda Shoten fish plant in Kamaishi, Japan. About 10 percent of the workers are non-Japanese “interns” who come through a special government program.
Adrian Ma/Marketplace

What Japan and the U.S. hope to get from holding bilateral trade talks

by Mitchell Hartman Sep 27, 2018
Japan has agreed to start talking to the United States about trade on a bilateral basis. That’s the word from both countries after Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with President Donald Trump at the United Nations in New York…

The U.S., Japan and the EU meet to discuss China’s trade practices

by Nancy Marshall-Genzer Sep 25, 2018
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is scheduled to meet Tuesday in New York with trade officials from the European Union and Japan. It’s the fourth meeting they’ve held in the past year, all in an effort to join forces against…
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer speaks onstage during the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on Sept. 25, 2018 in New York City.
Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit
A Lawson’s store in Lakewood, Ohio in 1975 (left), and a Lawson store in Tokyo’s Akasaka neighborhood in 2018. Even though the brand was founded in Ohio, there are zero Lawson stores in the continental U.S. today, and over 14,000 in Japan. 
Special Collections, Cleveland State University Library & Adrian Ma/Marketplace

Japan trade officials and companies take a nuanced approach to U.S. tariffs

by Adrian Ma Sep 4, 2018
The Trump administration’s 25 percent tariff on imported steel has triggered retaliation from U.S. trading partners such as Canada, the European Union, and China. But over the past few months, Japan, which has also been a target of U.S. tariffs,…

U.S.-Japan trade talks open today in Washington

by Renata Sago Aug 9, 2018
Japan trade talks are set to open today in Washington, D.C. for the first bilateral trade meeting since President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership last year. It’s a high level meeting between Japanese Economic Minister…
Left, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Economic Minister Toshimitsu Motegi are meeting today in Washington, D.C. on trade.
Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images and ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images

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Postcard from a Japanese steel town

by Adrian Ma Aug 1, 2018
The city of Kamaishi is the birthplace of the modern Japanese steel industry, but that hasn't shielded it from change.
The Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal plant in Kamaishi, Japan.
Adrian Ma/Marketplace

Mnuchin urges trading partners to drop “non-tariff barriers”

by Marielle Segarra Jul 23, 2018
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the U.S. is ready to negotiate with China, the EU, and Japan on trade. But at the conclusion of a G-20 finance leaders meeting in Argentina this weekend, Mnuchin said our trading partners would…
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. risks isolation as other countries sign trade pacts

by Tracey Samuelson Jul 17, 2018
Tuesday in Tokyo, the European Union and Japan inked a fresh trade pact that will eliminate most of the tariffs between them. The EU has been a busy bee on the trade front. It recently agreed to a new deal…