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Tokyo Motor Show Unveils Environment-Friendly Vehicles


An embattled Japanese truck maker has cut the number of models on display at the latest big auto show in Tokyo. And owners of Japan's professional baseball teams have allowed a new member into their exclusive club for the first time in more than 50 years. Those are among the stories in this week's look at Japanese business news. VOA's Steve Herman reports from Tokyo.

Environmentally friendly technology, such as advanced diesel engines and low emission hybrid systems, highlighted the displays at the annual Tokyo Motor Show.

More than one hundred companies, including some from the United States and Europe, had vehicles and automotive products on display at the show.

Scandal-plagued Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus had only three vehicles on display this year, instead of its usual 10. The company has admitted concealing defects for years, including some that led to fatal accidents. Company President Wilfried Porth says despite the troubles, it is important to show that the truck maker is looking ahead.

"We still have a lot of homework to do in carrying out all the field fixes," said Mr. Porth. "This is what we do - as a priority, with sincerity, but, at the same time, we have to look into the future."

Japan and Malaysia began a sixth round of free trade negotiations Thursday in Tokyo. Malaysian negotiators want Japan to scrap tariffs on plywood. The Japanese, on the other hand, want Malaysia to lift tariffs lifted on cars and industrial products. Both countries say they hope to finish negotiations by the end of the year.

Japan has its first new professional baseball franchise in half a century. Owners of existing clubs have agreed to award a new team to the operator of an Internet shopping service. Rakuten says it will base the Golden Eagles in the Tohoku region of northern Japan.

Takuo Takihana, the owner of Japan's most popular team, the Yomiuri Giants, told reporters that Rakuten was deemed best qualified to join the exclusive group.

Mr. Takihana says he and the 11 other owners wanted to select a stable company that could absorb expected losses for a number of years.

Owners refused to consider a new franchise until players staged their first strike in September.

Players were angered when two Pacific League teams announced a merger that will eliminate one hundred jobs.

Japanese electronics maker Toshiba has signed an agreement with TCL of China to jointly manufacture and market household appliances. The companies will set up a factory in southern China and begin selling refrigerators and washing machines in China. They eventually want to export their products to Southeast Asia and Japan.

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