Honda to Invest in Swindon Factory
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will invest £267mn in its Swindon plant, the Financial Times reported on 6 September.
The investment marks the firm’s biggest expansion in the UK in over a decade. The Japanese carmaker will add 500 jobs at the UK factory, which is one of the firm’s largest in Europe.
Most of the investment will go towards the production of a new 1.6L diesel engine for Honda’s Civic car, to be launched in December.
The plant manufactured 97,000 vehicles in 2011, and plans to boost production to 183,000 units this year.
Tokyo Bank to Cut City Jobs
The Nomura Group will eliminate more than 200 jobs at its London office, the Daily Telegraph reported on 21 September.
The job cuts at the Japanese investment bank are part of a £616mn cost-saving programme, and have raised questions about Nomura Group’s commitment to London.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne last year opened Nomura’s new headquarters in the capital city and praised the firm’s investment as a sign the UK economy was “open for business”.
Report Warns of Uncertainty Ahead
Japan is facing a period of uncertainty in its domestic and international sectors, a London-based think tank stated in its global strategic survey, released on 13 September.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies believes a general election in Japan is unlikely to have a clear outcome, and could result in the formation of a grand coalition or merger of political parties.
The document also states that Japan’s relations with other countries are not especially promising.
The survey notes the difficult relationship Japan is having with China, due to a territorial dispute. It also says Japan’s relationship with the US is not what it was in the past.
Survey of World’s Most Competitive Nations
The UK is the world’s eighth most competitive country, followed by Japan in ninth position, according to a 2012–2013 World Economic Forum (WEF) report issued on 5 September.
The Global Competitiveness Report, published annually since 1979, rates countries according to its 12 pillars of competitiveness, taking into consideration a range of factors, from the state of the infrastructure to the effectiveness of its health and education systems.
The forum singled out the UK’s ability to recruit and retain talented staff, the efficiency of its labour market, and firms’ abilities to harness technology to bolster productivity. It also praised collaboration between universities and industry.
Switzerland maintained its position at the top of the table.
Fans Pay Homage to Midlands Writer
Japanese fans of George Eliot have travelled to the UK to walk in her footsteps, the Coventry Telegraph reported on 8 September.
Fourteen members of the Japanese branch of the George Eliot Fellowship visited Nuneaton and Coventry, and saw where the English novelist lived and the places which inspired many of the characters and scenes in her books.
Maths Theory “Solved”
One of the world’s most complex mathematical theories proposed by a British mathematician may have been cracked by a Japanese scholar, The Daily Telegraph reported on 19 September.
Shinichi Mochizuki, a Kyoto University mathematician, has released four papers detailing his proof of the 1985 abc hypothesis.
The proof took four years to calculate and, if confirmed, will be one of the greatest mathematical achievements so far this century.
University Hosts English Summer School
Leicester’s De Montfort University (DMU) hosted students from a Japanese university in a summer school programme designed to improve the students’ English skills, This is Leicestershire reported on 31 August.
The goal of the three-week programme, developed by DMU’s Centre for English Language Learning, was to improve the 16 Keio University students’ speaking, listening, pronunciation, reading and writing skills.
In forging new links with Japan, the university will join members of the UK and Japanese governments for a debate on the delivery of first-class higher education now and in the future in both countries.
Traditional Objects Exhibited
The largest collection in the UK of Japanese Shibayama lacquerware was exhibited in a Cornish museum, This is Cornwall reported on 18 September.
The highly ornate and exotic items are thought to be unique in the West and are believed to be an example of European fascination with all things Japanese from the 1860s to the turn of 20th century.
Red Devils in Yanmar Deal
Manchester United are to have a new three-year partnership with leading Japanese engineering firm Yanmar Co., Ltd., the Mail Online reported on 14 September.
The agreement with one of the world’s leading engine manufacturing firms will allow the football team to use the firm’s expertise in their key markets worldwide and enhance the team’s profile in Japan.
Yanmar also have a strong record in supporting young sporting talent in Asia.
Wales to Play in Osaka, Tokyo
Japan will play a two-match rugby test series against Wales next June, media reported on 24 September.
Wales, currently ranked sixth in the world, will play the 16th position Japanese national rugby team at Osaka’s Hanazono Stadium and at Tokyo’s Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground.
The rugby world cup semifinalists last played in Japan in 2001.