The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, June 01, 2015, Page Page 2, Image 2

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June 1, 2015
Toho sues U.S. studio, alleges Godzilla copyright violation
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese movie studio Toho Co. is suing Voltage Pictures and
director Nacho Vigalondo, complaining of copyright and trademark infringe-
ments in an upcoming film. Toho spokesman Makoto Hanari said a lawsuit was
filed in a California court, but declined to discuss details. Voltage Pictures
president and chief operating officer Jonathan Deckter declined to comment.
Toho created Godzilla with its 1954 classic film, owns the rights to the character,
and licenses it out for figures and video games, as well as Hollywood remakes,
such as last year’s Godzilla movie directed by Gareth Edwards. The current
complaint is about what Los-Angeles-based Voltage is creating for Vigalondo’s
upcoming film, Colossal, that Toho says uses Godzilla images without
permission or payment.
Myanmar president signs off on contested population law
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s president has signed off on a law
requiring some mothers to space their children three years apart despite
objections by a visiting senior U.S. diplomat and rights activists, who worry it
could be used not only to repress women, but also religious and ethnic
minorities. The Population Control Health Care Bill — drafted under pressure
from hardline Buddhist monks with a staunchly anti-Muslim agenda — was
passed by parliamentarians in May. U.S. deputy secretary of state Anthony
Blinken said he warned Myanmar leaders during face-to-face talks about the
dangers of the bill. Hours after the diplomat left, state-run media announced
President Thein Sein had signed it into law. As predominantly Buddhist
Myanmar started moving from dictatorship to democracy four years ago,
newfound freedoms of expression lifted the lid on deep-seated hatred for
minority Muslims — including Rohingya Muslims now arriving on Southeast
Asian shores in crowded, rickety boats. The population law — which carries no
punitive measures — gives regional authorities the power to implement birth-
spacing guidelines in areas with high rates of population growth.
IMF official says China’s yuan no longer undervalued
BEIJING (AP) — An official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it
believes China’s currency is no longer undervalued — a stance that might help
Beijing in its wrangling with Washington over exchange rate controls. The
IMF’s first deputy managing director, David Lipton, also said Beijing should
work toward having a floating exchange rate in two to three years. Lipton spoke
after meeting Chinese officials to discuss economic and financial policy. The
United States and some other governments have complained for years that
China suppresses the value of its currency, the yuan, giving its exporters an
unfair price advantage and hurting their foreign competitors. Referring to the
yuan, Lipton said that after recent changes in global exchange rates, “We believe
that it is no longer undervalued.”
India appoints first transgender head of college
KOLKATA, India (AP) — India has for the first time appointed a transgender
as the principal of a women’s college. Manabi Banerjee will head the Krishnagar
Women’s College in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. According to local
official Dipak K. Kar, Banerjee is expected to start her new job on June 9. India’s
transgender activists have hailed the decision as a proud day for the community
that usually faces discrimination. Last year, India’s Supreme Court declared
the transgender community as a legal third gender, granting them minority
rights and privileges to education, employment, and health benefits.
Vietnam detains two South Koreans in scaffolding collapse
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Police in central Vietnam have detained two South
Korean managers for the Samsung Group over a scaffolding collapse in March
that killed 13 workers and injured dozens. Col. Phan Ke Hien, a spokesman for
the Ha Tinh provincial police, said Lee Jae-myeong and Kim Jong-wook are
accused of violating labor safety regulations, which carries a penalty of up to 12
years in prison. All of the victims were Vietnamese subcontractors who were
working on a seaport breakwater project in the province, about 250 miles south
of Hanoi. Samsung C&T Vietnam, a unit of South Korea’s Samsung Group, is
the contractor. State-controlled media said the workers began to flee when the
scaffolding started to shake, but Lee and Kim urged them to stay. The Son
Duong seaport is part of the Vung Ang economic zone, where Taiwan’s Formosa
Plastics Corp. is building a multibillion-dollar steel complex.
Indian nurse dies after 42 years in coma after rape
MUMBAI, India (AP) — A Mumbai nurse who was in a vegetative state for 42
years after being sexually assaulted while working in a hospital has died,
according to authorities. Aruna Shanbaug, 67, suffered severe brain damage
when she was sodomized and strangled with a metal chain by a hospital worker
in 1973. The man, a ward attendant, left her to die in the hospital’s basement,
where she was found 11 hours later. She was 25 years old at the time. Shanbaug
was diagnosed with pneumonia in May and was on a life-support system, said
Pravin Bangar, medical superintendent at Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial
Hospital. Shanbaug’s case sparked a debate over India’s euthanasia laws after a
Mumbai-based author and friend of the nurse petitioned the courts to stop
force-feeding her through a tube so her suffering would not be prolonged. India’s
Supreme Court rejected the petition filed by Pinki Virani, who had sought
euthanasia for Shanbaug, saying the court should “end her unbearable agony.”
The petition was opposed by nurses at the hospital, who took turns caring for her
for more than four decades after Shanbaug’s family said they were unable to
support her. The attacker was released after serving a seven-year jail term.
CULTIVATING COFFEE CULTURE. A barista brews coffee at a Blue Bottle coffee shop in Tokyo. Japan, famous
for green tea, is welcoming artisanal American coffee roaster Blue Bottle with long lines that have at times meant a four-
hour wait for a cup. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Artsy coffee chain Blue Bottle
brews long queues in Tokyo
By Yuri Kageyama
AP Business Writer
OKYO — Japan, famous for green tea,
is welcoming artisanal American coffee
roaster Blue Bottle with long lines that
have at times meant a four-hour wait for a cup.
The company, which began in Oakland,
California in 2002, hopes its early popularity is
more than a passing fad. Japan’s consumer
culture is littered with manias for western food
imports: pancakes, popcorn, doughnuts, even
Taco Bell.
Success in Japan is important for Blue
Bottle, which operates 17 cafés in the San
Francisco Bay area, New York, and Los
Angeles. Japan is its first foray outside of the
U.S. Blue Bottle raised nearly $26 million last
year to invest in expansion, including
financing from Silicon Valley executives,
setting the stage for a test of whether an artsy
gourmet coffee chain can go big.
Founder James Freeman, a musician, was
inspired by Japan’s old-style kissaten coffee
shops: tiny dimly-lit establishments, with
good music and a barista behind a wooden
counter. Think places for quiet serious think-
ing and real drip coffee, not sweet, frivolous
“We care about every part of the coffee. We
call it from seed to cup,” said Saki Igawa, the
business operations manager for Blue Bottle
in Japan.
Attention to detail that dovetails with
aspects of Japanese culture accounts for part
of the coffee chain’s early popularity. The
spread of Starbucks internationally, which
has created a cookie-cutter coffee culture that
some people want to trade up from, is another
factor. Blue Bottle is also benefitting from the
image problems in Japan of fast-food chains
and highly processed foods.
“It’s a new era in eating out,” said food
industry consultant Jotaro Fujii, who
contends that Blue Bottle’s arrival and the
decline of McDonald’s in Japan is part of a
bigger trend of consumer interest in the safety
and quality of the entire food supply chain.
McDonald’s is suffering declining popularity
in Japan, a problem exacerbated after plastic
pieces, and even a tooth, were found in its food
last year, setting off outrage among consum-
Upscale burger chain Shake Shack, which
started as a hot dog stand in New York, is
expected to arrive in Japan soon, said Fujii.
Such chains, including Blue Bottle, are
likely to aim for 50 or at most 100 outlets in
Japan, not the thousands that fast-food
eateries such as McDonald’s have achieved, he
Instead, they will focus on fortifying a brand
image, which can lead to other kinds of
lucrative businesses.
Although the prevalent image of Japan
might be tea, it has long had plenty of affection
for coffee.
Starbucks has been a hit since arriving in
1995. It now has more than 1,000 shops in
Japan. Not a single prefecture (state) is with-
out a Starbucks with one opening in holdout
Tottori prefecture last month — which, not
surprisingly, was welcomed with long lines.
Even convenience stores are serving freshly
brewed coffee. Japan also invented “manga-
kissa,” or a café-cum-library, where you can
curl up with a comic book and sip on coffee for
Continued on page 4
Asian Currency
Exchange Rates
Units per U.S. dollar as of 5/29
Bangladesh Taka· ·
Cambodian Riel · ·
China Renminbi · ·
Fijian Dollar · · · ·
Hong Kong Dollar ·
Indian Rupee · · · ·
Indonesian Rupiah ·
Iranian Rial · · · ·
Japanese Yen · · ·
Laos New Kip · · ·
Malaysian Ringgit ·
Nepal Rupee · · · ·
Pakistani Rupee · ·
Papua N.G. Kina · ·
Philippine Peso· · ·
Russian Ruble · · ·
Saudi Riyal· · · · ·
Singapore Dollar · ·
South Korean Won ·
Sri Lankan Rupee ·
Taiwan Dollar · · ·
Thai Baht · · · · ·
Vietnam Dong · · ·