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Toyota Motor Keeps Growing and Other Business News

Japan Airlines' biggest individual shareholder calls on the company's president to resign, and Toyota Motor is positioning itself to become the number one auto manufacture in the world. This is VOA's weekly look at business news in Japan.

JAL Problems

Eitaro Itoyama, a former parliament member and the biggest individual shareholder in Japan Airlines, has demanded that JAL's president resign because of the airline's poor performance.

Executives at Japan Airlines have been working for months to restructure the company. They plan to cut some overseas routes to make its international business more profitable.

Stephen Pearlman, a spokesman for JAL, blamed rising fuel costs, falling international sales and safety issues for the airline's problems. Last year, JAL reported 14 safety mistakes. "Our international passenger business is currently in the red," acknowledged Pearlman. "One of the key focuses of our fiscal year 2006 plan is to put our international business back into the black. JAL will continue restructuring its international, domestic and cargo businesses to build a profit-focused network. We plan to build a stable business foundation, capable of producing profits, even in the face of … rising fuel costs."

JAL lost $6 million in the three months ending December 31.

Toyota Motor

Toyota Motor could soon become the world's biggest car maker. Toyota will increase its capacity at a Canadian factory currently under construction. When it starts operating in 2008, the plant will produce 150,000 cars, instead of the original capacity of 100,000 cars.

The plant will cost about $1.1 billion to build. It will be Toyota's second plant in Canada and will create nearly 2,000 jobs.

Toyota continues to increase its output, while U.S. auto makers General Motors and Ford Motor have lost market share in recent years.

World's Smallest Chip

Japan's Hitachi research institute says it has created the world's smallest integrated circuit chip. It will be used to give consumers more information about products, including food, to track the flow of delivery services and even to prevent forgeries.

The chip, less than a quarter of a square millimeter in size, is thinner than ordinary photocopier paper. The company, however, says it will take several years before the chip can be mass produced.