One of the biggest stories to watch for this year is Toyota’s almost-certain-to-happen rise to the top, beating General Motors as the world’s No. 1 automaker in annual global vehicle production (and sales).
And there’s Sony. Sony needs to perk up its image (after the embarrassing massive recall of lithium-ion batteries). And the new year has started with everyone talking about the iPhone instead. Sony has so much riding on how the PlayStation 3 and Blu-ray disk fare this year. Maybe we need to even watch for takeover attempts and management shuffles?
Japan hopes to lead the world in robotics, and robots are constantly in the news here. Stories about robots make for a fun read (and fun reporting), partly because Japan views robots as cute nearly human companions _ a contrast to the view prevalent in the West of robots as tools.
An important development to monitor this year is Japan’s defense business. Japan is growing more assertive on the international stage, and the government has made no secret of its ambitions to beef up defense. The nuclear threat from North Korea has encouraged public support for the changes.