Accessibility links

Energy, Aviation Deals Dominate Japanese Business News

Tokyo pursues an energy deal with Russia and a Japanese auto maker eyes the aviation business.

Japan is pushing Russia to agree to its plan to build an oil pipeline linking eastern Siberia to Russia's Pacific Coast, a route that would give resource-poor Japan easy access to Russian crude oil.

When Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov visited Tokyo Tuesday, Japanese officials told him Japan would provide financing for the project, which carries a price tag of $4-5 billion.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi underscored the project's importance for Japan's energy needs, and said it also could help the development of Russia's isolated Far East.

Mr. Koizumi told reporters that negotiations with Russia on the project will continue.

However, China has offered Russia an alternative plan, with a pipeline extending from Siberia to northern China. Moscow has yet to commit to either proposal.

Japan's top mobile phone operator has walked away from an ailing joint venture with the U.S. Internet service provider America Online, or AOL.

NTT DoCoMo says it has agreed to sell its entire stake in the Japanese unit of American Online back to AOL for an undisclosed amount.

DoCoMo and AOL had hoped to develop a new service linking computers and cell phones over the Internet, but they had trouble attracting customers.

Honda, Japan's second-largest auto maker, has successfully tested a small business jet. Honda developed the aircraft independently, designing and building both the six-seat plane and its engine.

Honda says the aircraft offers about 40 percent better fuel efficiency and more cabin space than other jets of the same class. The company says its long-term goal is to enter the aviation business.