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Japan's Trade Surplus Rises


Japan has registered a strong increase in its trade surplus. And Toyota Motor Corporation could become the world's biggest car maker.

The Japanese Finance Ministry says, for the first time in eight months, the trade surplus increased by .6 percent in November from a year ago, which was higher than some business people expected. It rose to $5.1 billion.

The main reason for the gain was strong exports, which rose by double digits for the first time in a year, by 14.7 percent. Exports to China increased by almost 25 percent, which was a record, and exports to the United States jumped 17 percent.

Toyota Motor Corporation plans to manufacture a record 9.6 million cars in 2006, which means it could surpass General Motors as the world's biggest car maker. Toyota also expects a fourth straight year of record profit, while its main competitor, General Motors, lost nearly $4 billion in the first nine months of 2005.

In addition, Toyota will expand its production in North America, Russia and China.

Toyota says the reason for its growth is more demand for its cars in the United States, Asia and Europe, and the release of new models.

Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco says the company's success is also because of its corporate philosophy.

"Well, you have to understand that, from day one, or very early on in the process, when you join Toyota, when you become a member of the team, you are constantly taught about, and reminded about who your customer is, whether it's the person next to you on the assembly line, or the person walking into the showroom to purchase a car," he explained.

NTT DoCoMo, which is Japan's largest mobile phone service provider, will buy shares of Japan's Fuji Television Network for $180 million. This will be the first time a mobile provider forms an alliance with a TV broadcaster.

DoCoMo and Fuji will create a TV service for mobile phones, with programs ranging from news to sports and entertainment. It will start in April.

Japan's Marubeni Corporation plans to expand its water services, and buy nearly 80 percent of Berlinwasser Holding, a German water service provider. Marubeni will purchase it for $52 million.

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