Toyota Closes Its Plants In China Over Coronavirus

Toyota closes its plants in China over coronavirus

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks to medical workers in a hospital where coronavirus patients are being treated in Wuhan, China. / Reuters   BEIJING/SHANGHAI — Toyota Motor Corp's production plants in China will stay closed through Feb. 9, the Japanese automaker said on Wednesday, in response to the spread of a new coronavirus that now includes a sharp rise in fatalities. Toyota, which runs plants in regions such as the northern city of Tianjin and the southern province of Guangdong, said the closures after the Lunar New Year holidays were in line with transport lockdowns in some places, and as it assesses its parts supply situation. The United States and Japan evacuated their nationals from the quarantined city of Wuhan, while British Airways suspended flights to mainland China.  Deaths have leapt to 132, and a Chinese government economist predicted a huge hit to the economy. Beijing's pledge to slay the "devil" coronavirus has won the trust of the World Health Organization (WHO) but confirmation of another 1,459 cases — taking the total to 5,974 in China — only fueled public alarm worldwide. Travelers with the illness were identified around the world, including in the United States, but almost all of the cases of the illness have been in the central province of Hubei, the capital of which is Wuhan, where the virus emerged last month in a live wild animal market. The situation remained "grim and complex," Chinese President Xi Jinping acknowledged. In many Chinese cities, streets were largely deserted, with the few who ventured out wearing masks. Starbucks stores in Beijing required people to have temperatures taken and posted notices saying it was a state requirement to wear masks inside. "It's my first time here in Asia, I feel very unlucky," said Brazilian tourist Amanda Lee, 23, reluctantly cutting short a trip. "I couldn't even see the places I wanted, like the Great Wall." There was relief, however, among those evacuated from Hubei province, home to about 60 million people and under virtual lockdown. "I was extremely worried that I was stuck there," said Takeo Aoyama, who arrived in Tokyo on a chartered plane carrying 206 Japanese out of Wuhan, with more flights planned. Two of the Japanese evacuated had symptoms of pneumonia, but coronavirus had not been confirmed, medics said. The virus is weighing heavily on the world's second-biggest economy. Companies are curbing travel to China, and airlines are cutting flights, with British Airways one of the biggest names in aviation to do so. But in what could be a major step towards taming the disease, scientists in Australia said they had developed a lab-grown version of the coronavirus, the first to be recreated outside China. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 210 Americans had been flown out of Wuhan. Those on board the aircraft would be screened several times and evaluated on arrival in California, it said in a statement released via the U.S. embassy in Beijing. A U.S. government official told Reuters 50 diplomats and contractors were among the passengers. U.S. officials said the White House was weighing whether to suspend flights to China. It was holding daily meetings on the outbreak and monitoring China-U.S. flights as a likely source of infection, sources briefed on the matter said, though it had decided against suspending air traffic for the time being. The number of cases in China now exceeds its tally of 5,327 infected with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus that killed about 800 people globally in 2002 and 2003. While some experts believe the new strain, known as "2019-nCoV", is not as deadly as SARS, alarm has grown over its rapid spread and many unknown attributes, such as how lethal it is. Like other respiratory infections, it is spread by droplets from coughs and sneezes, with an incubation time between one and 14 days. There are signs it may spread before symptoms show. About 60 cases, but no deaths, have been reported in 15 other countries, including the United States, France and Singapore.  

Hotels Concerned Over China's Halt Of Group Tours

Hotels concerned over China's halt of group tours

Hotels in Japan are concerned about the possible impact of China's decision to halt overseas group trips beginning Monday in a bid to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

One hotel in central Tokyo usually has about half of its 90 rooms occupied by guests from China.

Subsidies Cut For School Over Missing Students

Subsidies cut for school over missing students

The Japanese government has decided it will not to give subsidies this fiscal year ending March to a university where a large number of foreign students have gone missing.

Tokyo University and Graduate School of Social Welfare has lost contact with more than 1,600 foreign students, including enrollees from Vietnam and Nepal, over the past three years.

Mazda's Hesitating Over Skyactiv-x For U.s. Market

Mazda's hesitating over Skyactiv-X for U.S. market

We've been watching Mazda roll out the 2.0-liter four-cylinder Skyactiv-X engine in Japan and Europe, waiting our turn. When European authorities released fuel economy information for the high-tech motor last June, we wrote, "Mazda has yet to make an official decision on timing for the U.S market's launch of the engine." Automotive News spoke to Mazda engineers in charge of the powertrain, and based on the answers AN got, the question might not be when we get the Skyactiv-X, but if. Seems that the automaker now isn't certain whether the cost/benefit analysis for the U.S. market favors the engine, and there's concern the 2.0-liter might not be powerful enough for us with its current output of 178 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. At the moment, our Mazda3 is served only with a 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine producing 186 hp and 186 lb-ft., not too far ahead of the Skyactiv-X. The Skyactiv-X would return better fuel economy, but requires a noteworthy price premium over the Skyactiv-G. The Truth About Cars says the Skyactiv-X has become the top-seller in the Japanese-market Mazda3, even though it costs 27% more than the base, 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G for a 9% improvement in fuel economy. Mazda's not sure U.S. customers would care much for that kind of math. Engineer Yoshiaki Yamane told AN, "Maybe U.S. customers require more power, because fuel economy is not the top requirement." There isn't much Mazda can do about the tech-heavy engine's cost, since pricey equipment like the high-pressure fuel injection and combustion systems, supercharger, three-way catalyst, and 24-volt mild-hybrid system provide the mileage gains that are the engine's reason for being. Instead, engineers are researching the system's effects with larger displacements. If it works as desired, a larger and more powerful Skyactiv-X could come to the U.S. on the large-vehicle architecture Mazda's developing for new sedans to arrive in a couple of years. That's the hope, at least. Remember, Mazda's Skyactiv-D was meant to go into the 2014 Mazda6, but didn't because Mazda said it needed more time to find "the right balance between fuel economy and Mazda-appropriate driving performance." After five years of "Soon," the engine showed up on the 2019 CX-5 that starts at $42,045. Based on that template, it could be awhile before we know how the U.S.-market Skyactiv-X story ends.

Ex-air Sdf Official Arrested Over Data Leak

Ex-Air SDF official arrested over data leak

A former senior official of the Air Self-Defense Force has been arrested for allegedly leaking confidential data on US early warning aircraft to a Japanese trading house.

58-year-old Sou Kanno is a former colonel and section chief at the ASDF's Air Development and Test Command.

Japan Post Heads To Quit Over Insurance Sales

Japan Post heads to quit over insurance sales

The heads of three Japan Post Group companies will resign to take responsibility for the firms' inappropriate sales of life insurance policies.

The Financial Services Agency took administrative disciplinary action against the companies on Friday.

Ldp Lawmaker's Office Searched Over Casino Project

LDP lawmaker's office searched over casino project

Tokyo prosecutors have searched offices of a ruling party lawmaker in connection with a Chinese firm that is suspected of bringing undeclared cash into Japan.

The special investigative team raided offices of Tsukasa Akimoto, a Lower House member of the Liberal Democratic Party, in Tokyo on Thursday.

Journalist Shiori Ito Wins Damages Over Rape Case

Journalist Shiori Ito wins damages over rape case

A Japanese court has ordered a former television correspondent to pay damages worth 3.3 million yen, or about 30,000 dollars, to a journalist over a rape case.

Journalist Shiori Ito sued Noriyuki Yamaguchi, a former reporter of Tokyo Broadcasting System Television, or TBS, demanding about 100,000 dollars in compensation. Ito said she was raped by Yamaguchi in 2015 after getting drunk at a dinner with him and falling unconscious.

Ldp Lawmaker Questioned Over Casino Project

LDP lawmaker questioned over casino project

NHK has learned that Tokyo prosecutors have questioned a Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker over suspected illegality by a Chinese firm.

Lower House member Tsukasa Akimoto was questioned on a voluntary basis. It is believed that he was asked about his involvement with a Chinese company hoping to enter the fledgling Japanese market for integrated resorts that will include casinos.

Japan, S.korea Meet Over Trade Row

Japan, S.Korea meet over trade row

Senior officials from Japan and South Korea are sitting down together in Tokyo, in a bid to resolve a bilateral trade dispute.

The meeting is the first of its kind since Japan tightened export controls on some high-tech materials sold to South Korea.

Over $92 Mil. Eyed To Develop F-2 Successors

Over $92 mil. eyed to develop F-2 successors

Japan's Defense Ministry will ask for more than 10 billion yen to develop stealth fighter jets to replace the Air Self-Defense Force's aging fleet. That amount is more than 92 million dollars.

The ministry says it will use the budget to develop the fuselage and other parts of successors to the F-2s.

Two Men Questioned Over Nakamura Shooting

Two men questioned over Nakamura shooting

The Afghan interior ministry says its officials are questioning two men in connection with the fatal shooting of Japanese doctor and aid worker Tetsu Nakamura.

The ministry told NHK it believes the two men may know something about the incident.

Nintendo Sold Over 800,000 Switch Units Over The Thanksgiving Weekend

Nintendo Sold Over 800,000 Switch Units Over The Thanksgiving Weekend

Nintendo’s Switch console has been doing rather well and we imagine that it is probably a holiday present that many people are after. In fact, that’s exactly what happened because according to the numbers, it seems that the Nintendo Switch has done very well for itself over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Based on the numbers, it seems that just in the US alone, Nintendo has managed to sell a whopping 800,000 units of the Switch console. This brings the total number of Switches sold in the US so far to a whopping 17.5 million units. We’re not sure what the split is between the Switch and the Switch Lite, but we imagine that the cheaper Switch Lite probably contributed to these figures.