Media June 2012

News in Brief

Welsh Welcome for London Envoy

Carwyn Jones, the first minister of Wales, welcomed Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi for talks on the relationship between the two countries, according to a press release issued by the Welsh government on 26 April.

Jones commented that it was “a pleasure to welcome the ambassador to Wales as the Welsh government values greatly the long standing and deep rooted business and cultural links between Wales and Japan.

“Wales is the location for so many successful Japanese companies and we will continue to do all we can to help them grow and prosper, especially in difficult economic times such as these.

“Only last week, I officially opened Toyoda Gosei’s new site in south Wales that will eventually employ more than 500 people and I am keen to encourage further investment in Wales by Japanese companies.”

The Welsh government will be leading a trade mission to Japan in November. Wales is home to 50 Japanese-owned firms. Employing a total of some 8,000 people, the enterprises include Toyota, Sony, Panasonic and auto parts maker Calsonic Kansei.

Appraisal for Museum’s Oldest Western Clock

Japan has asked the British Museum to assess the historical value of its oldest existing Western clock, the Asahi Shimbun reported on 9 May.

The wind-up, brass clock was presented by a Spanish king to Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1611.

“We hope the clock will be confirmed valuable through the appraisal and will eventually be designated a national treasure”, said Hidekuni Ochiai, chief priest of Kunouzan Toushouguu shrine in Shizuoka, where the clock is displayed.

The assessment by the British Museum is part of the memorial project to mark the 400th anniversary of Ieyasu’s death in 2015. Two experts from the museum were set to visit Japan in May.

British Museum officials were intrigued because, for four centuries, the clock may have remained intact and as originally made, although like other similar antique clocks, it will have undergone repairs over the years in Western countries.

Ministers Agree on Internet Rules

A husband-and-wife team behind the hugely successful ethical clothing brand Howies is set to launch a new venture designing and making high-quality premium jeans to be sold in Japan and the UK, the London Press Service reported on 17 April.

David and Clare Hieatt believe they will be the only brand in the UK manufacturing its own denim products in its own factory.

“Our key focus will be to design and make great jeans for men, develop our own brand and, in the first year, sell via a catalogue and on-line through our website. However, the business will be set up for the wholesale market, which we will be targeting in the second to third year,” David said.

The product will be a premium brand competing with the very best—while maintaining the Hieatts’ ethical standards—and will sell for £150–200 a pair and be aimed at top markets in London and Japan.

Ministers Agree on Internet Rules

Britain and Japan should promote internationally consistent rules on use of the Internet, the Nikkei reported on 4 May.

The statement, made by Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt and Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Tatsuo Kawabata, comes as countries propound different Internet policies.

They agreed to ensure internet freedom and to talk more about fighting intellectual property infringements. Kawabata called for early negotiations on an economic partnership agreement between Japan and the European Union, which Hunt supports.

Sir Bobby Gonged

Japan honoured Sir Bobby Charlton with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, media reported in early May.

The award was for “his outstanding contribution to promoting cultural exchange between Japan and the United Kingdom, and to the development of football in Japan”.

Sir Bobby supported Japan’s bid to jointly host the 2002 FIFA World Cup, for 20 years helped the Japanese FA develop football, and was involved in a match at Wembley last November for victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Insurance Firm Fined

The UK’s Financial Services Authority has fined a European unit of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. about £3.3mn, the Mainichi Shimbun reported on 9 May.

The firm had failed to adopt appropriate risk-management measures, such as the appointment of people with adequate knowledge concerning the local insurance underwriting business as it expanded in Europe.