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Japanese casual wear chain Uniqlo opens its first store in Germany on Friday, as it accelerates expansion in Europe in a bid by its parent company Fast Retailing Co Ltd (9983.T) to become the world's top fashion retailer by 2020. Fast Retailing wants to open more stores abroad as it sees turnover growth slow in its home market, where the population is ageing and declining and where it lowered forecasts for Uniqlo's sales on Thursday.


 
 
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The rate of smartphone users among students owning mobile phones at elementary, junior high and high schools in Japan stood at 56.8 pct in late 2013, up 20.8 percentage points from a year earlier, a Cabinet Office survey showed Wednesday.  The rate stood at 82.8 pct for high school students, up 26.9 points, 47.4 pct for junior high students, up 22.1 pct, and 13.6 pct for elementary school children, up 6.0 points.


 
 
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Long under siege from Facebook, Twitter, and more recently, the semi-social Line, and confronted by a shift toward more open and international social networking preferences, Japan’s native mixi has signaled what looks a lot like retreat: it’s been announced that they will effectively merge with istyle, an online marketing company best known for its cosmetics sales site, @cosme.


 
 
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After decades drowning in deflation, Japan’s property market is re-emerging, with average prices for new condos in Tokyo hitting levels not seen since 1992, the Real Estate Economic Institute said this week. If the trend continues and broadens, it could mark a turnaround in the long-dormant financial fortunes of the world's third-largest economy. Such a turnaround is long overdue: Japan’s real estate prices have been falling for nearly 25 years. From 1990 to 2002, falling real estate prices swallowed an estimated $9.3 trillion of the nation’s wealth, according to the Nomura Research Institute.


 
 
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Suntory Holdings Ltd on Monday said it would buy U.S. spirits company Beam Inc for $13.6 billion cash in a deal that would make the Japanese company the world's third-largest spirits maker. Including the assumption of Beam's net debt, the deal is valued at $16 billion. It brings together Beam's Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbons, Courvoisier cognac and Sauza tequila with Suntory's Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Kakubin Japanese whiskies, Bowmore Scotch whisky and Midori liqueur.


 
 
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On the final day of trading 2013, Japanese shares closed with an annual gain of 57 percent  the highest ever since 1972. That this occurred this year is no coincidence – Shinzo Abe’s three-pronged strategy for Japan’s economy dubbed “Abenomics” is working. For now. After Japan’s “lost decade” puzzled economists for years, Shinzo Abe in his second term as Prime Minister, with Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, demonstrated that Japan hadn’t in fact tried everything in its economic toolkit. 


 
 
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There is big money to be made on games and other apps for mobile devices around the world. There has been a change at the top of the most profitable countries for apps with Japan taking the top spot. Previously, the top country for mobile app revenues was the US. Japanese consumers spent 10% more on apps than consumers in the US did in October.


 
 
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Despite a not-so-stellar third quarter for Apple, Japan was a bright spot for the iPhone maker. Apple now commands a record 34% market share in the country once dominated by domestic brands. It's the first time a smartphone brand has surpassed 30% market share in Japan in a decade, and Apple is poised to grab even more. Japan's smartphone market has typically been dominated by domestic companies including Sony and Sharp, and until this past quarter Apple didn't hold much sway in the country.


 
 
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Mikihiko Yamato, Deputy Head of Research at Ji Asia tells CNBC's Cash Flow which retailers will benefit from the recent improvement in Japanese consumer sentiment. He expects favourable earnings from fast retailing companies like H&M and Gap. Hit play to find out how Abenomics influence Japanese retailers like Aeon and Izumi.

 
 
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Japanese bathroom giant Lixil Group has agreed to buy Germany's Grohe in a $4.1 billion deal, its second purchase in recent months and one that would turn it into the sector's biggest global player. The Dusseldorf-based maker of bathroom appliances confirmed Thursday that it was being taken over by Lixil in a buyout which also marks Japan Inc's biggest-ever investment in Germany.