Around 260 companies supply parts for popular Subaru vehicles like the Forester pictured below. Many of these companies use asylum seekers and foreign trainees at their plants in Japan. Subaru has won over U.S. drivers with its socially responsible image. But another key to its success is a supply chain that relies on hundreds of migrant workers who are far cheaper to employ than Japanese laborers. Read the full Reuters Investigates special report and check out the labor breakdown in today’s graphic.
From Westlaw Journal Automotive: A California federal court says the Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. belongs in a class-action suit over 2004-2009 vehicles with allegedly defective engine-timing chains, rejecting the defendant’s argument that it had nothing to do with the vehicles’ manufacture.
The company had argued that by “lumping” it together with Nissan North America Inc. and failing to distinguish between their separate design and manufacturing functions, the plaintiffs did not satisfy minimum pleading standards.
Last year, the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s decades-old whale hunt in the Southern Ocean should stop, leading Tokyo to cancel the bulk of its whaling for the 2014/2015 season and submit a scaled-down plan for future hunts. Japan said it hoped to resume its Antarctic whale hunt around the end of this year. Today’s graphic shows the most hunted whales and the worldwide annual catch.
Japanese wineries are aiming for global recognition amid growing consumption, but not enough grapes are available domestically. Farmers are inclined to grow table grapes as they command higher prices than the wine-making varieties. This makes Japanese wines heavily dependent on imported grapes, with only about 2% of wine made from locally grown ones. Although wine consumption is growing, Japan has a long way to go, as is seen in today’s graphic. The country exported only about 208,000 litres of wine in 2014, compared with about 21.1 million litres of sake and 3.8 million litres of whisky.
On Tuesday, the World Bank predicted the global economy would grow 3% this year, below a forecast of 3.4% made in June. The World Bank also lowered its global growth forecast for 2015, and suggested world GDP growth will reach 3.3% in 2016, before dipping to 3.2% in 2017. Today’s graphic breaks down their GDP growth forecasts.
Japan’s economy unexpectedly slipped into recession in Q3 after the rise in the national sales tax in April, setting the stage for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to delay an unpopular sales hike planned for next year. Today’s graphic looks at wages, spending and GDP in the months before & after the tax hike.
Thirty billion dollars in funding for new homes in tsunami-ravaged areas is stuck in banks, leaving tens of thousands of evacuees facing a fourth winter in temporary dwellings. Japanese government funds budgeted for reconstruction and transferred to local governments are stuck in banks across the tsunami-ravaged northeast, a Reuters review of budget and bank deposit data and interviews with bank officials reveals.
The structural problems of Japan’s power grid were highlighted by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear shutdown, which left some regions with power shortages despite ample supplies elsewhere. It is the only country in the world with two electricity frequencies and needs transformers to switch power between east and west. Today’s graphic diagrams Japan’s electricity transmission and distribution system.
Cooling growth in China and an economic trouble in Europe are adding to pressure on the Bank of Japan and the government to step up policy support as the economy struggles to recover from the pain of an April sales tax hike. Today’s graphic contains seven charts on key economic indicators of the Japanese economy.
Japan’s premier animation house is considering dismantling an expensive production system, possibly laying off full-time artists and animators in Japan and outsourcing to Southeast Asia. Today’s graphic is a timeline of Studio Ghibli’s feature film releases and their respective earnings.