Tepco closer to reactor restart at Japan Sea plant, says president

The Wall Street Journal

Naoimi Hirose, president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. -– operator of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant -– says the company is moving along in its efforts to persuade local residents to go along with the restart of several reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant on the Japan Sea coast, The Wall Street Journal reports.

US appeals to Japanese business to help push for trade pact

TOKYO (AP) — Japan and the U.S. are moving closer to reaching agreement on market opening measures needed to conclude a Pacific Rim trade pact, a top U.S. envoy said Friday, urging Japanese business leaders to help bridge the last, difficult disagreements.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken urged members of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives to "pick up your phones" and use their influence to convince officials to work toward a final consensus on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

Japan logs record trade deficit in 2014 on weakening yen

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit ballooned to a record 12.8 trillion yen ($109 billion) last year as a weakening yen pushed the cost of imports higher despite a moderate recovery in exports.

Preliminary data from the Finance Ministry released Monday showed Japan's exports rose 4.8 percent to 73.1 trillion yen ($620 billion) in 2014 while imports climbed 5.7 percent to 85.9 trillion yen ($763.7 billion). The trade deficit rose by 11.4 percent from the 11.5 trillion yen ($97.7 billion) gap in 2013.

The Japanese yen has weakened over the past year to about 117 yen to the dollar compared with about 100 yen in early 2014. That raises the value of Japan's exports in yen terms. But it also pushes up costs for imports of fuel and food.

Japan trade deficit grows despite drop in imports

TOKYO (AP) — Japan logged a trade deficit in November, the 29th straight month of shortfalls, despite a slight decrease in imports thanks to the recent plunge in crude oil prices and Japan's return to recession.

The 891.9 billion yen ($8.5 billion) deficit in November compared with a 737 billion yen gap the month before, customs data showed Wednesday. However it was 32 percent lower than a year earlier.

Abe’s re-election boost for nuclear, blow for renewables in Japan


Political observers and environmental activists have told Bloomberg that the solid re-election victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan will promote the country’s nuclear power industry at the expense of renewables.


Europe stocks, oil higher; Asia falls

European stocks inched higher Monday while Asian markets fell as weak Japanese data, slumping oil prices and a hostage situation in Australia's largest city induced caution.

KEEPING SCORE: In early European trading, France's CAC 40 was up 0.3 percent at 4,120.44 and Germany's DAX gained 0.1 percent to 9,600.89. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent to 6,307.59. Futures pointed to a rebound on Wall Street after Friday's decline, which produced the worst weekly loss in U.S. shares in more than two years. Dow futures were up 0.6 percent at 17,288 and S&P 500 futures gained 0.6 percent to 2,002.60.

OIL SLUMP: Oil inched higher after another rout on Friday that was sparked by the International Energy Agency saying that global demand will grow less than previously forecast next year. Oil has now fallen 47 percent since reaching a peak of $107 in June this year. On Monday, benchmark U.S. crude was up 41 cents at $58.22 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Lower oil prices should be positive for many countries but there are also worries the recent plunge is a sign of a sickly global economy.

Climate funds for coal highlight lack of UN rules

KANCI KULON, Indonesia (AP) — About $1 billion in loans under a U.N. initiative for poor countries to tackle global warming is going toward the construction of power plants fired by coal, the biggest human source of carbon pollution.

Japan gave the money to help its companies build three such plants in Indonesia and listed it with the United Nations as climate finance, The Associated Press has found. Japan says these plants burn coal more efficiently and are therefore cleaner than old coal plants.

Damage worse than thought in Japanese earthquake

TOKYO (AP) — The damage from an overnight earthquake in a mountainous area of central Japan that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics proved more extensive than initially thought.

A daylight assessment Sunday found at least 50 homes destroyed in two villages, and 41 people injured across the region, including seven seriously, mostly with broken bones, officials said.


Oil slips as Japan stumbles


Word that Japan has slipped into recession kept pressure on oil prices Monday ahead of a key OPEC meeting later this month. West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery dropped 18 cents to settle at $75.64 on the Nymex, while in London Brent finished the trading session 10 cents lower at $79.31, Bloomberg reports.


Oil slides on Japan data


News that Japan has fallen into a recession sent oil prices tumbling once again early Monday. West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery dropped $1.11 to $74.71 a barrel in electronic trading on the Nymex, while in London Brent crude was 77 cents lower at $78.67, Bloomberg reports.


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