Jack Ma leaves SoftBank board after 13 years

TOKYO — SoftBank Group is ending an era of close involvement with Jack Ma, saying on Monday that the Alibaba Group Holding co-founder would leave its board after 13 years.

Softbank also named three new directors, two of whom are independent, amid calls from an activist investor to boost shareholder returns and strengthen corporate governance.

SoftBank founder and chairman Masayoshi Son’s bet on Ma’s startup in 2000 became known as one of the most successful deals in history. Alibaba went on to become one of the world’s largest companies with a market capitalization of $546 billion. SoftBank still holds about

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Thailand’s lockdown exit leaves traditional massage industry in limbo

BANGKOK — The social distancing measures required to fight COVID-19 have been painful for Thailand’s traditional massage and medicine sector, which has been shut down by controls aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus and will continue to face restrictions as the country slowly emerges from its nationwide lockdown.

Yumiko Kase, the Japanese CEO of the Asia Herb Association, one of Thailand’s most successful therapeutic massage chains, says the crisis makes previous bouts of political turmoil and flooding that have disrupted business look like “mere inconveniences.” But she and other industry leaders believe the 2,000-year-old industry will recover.

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Postponed season leaves Yokohama BayStars owner stuck in bullpen

TOKYO — When times are good, owning a baseball team can be a lucrative source of cash. 

Mobile game developer DeNA, owner of the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, has seen that first hand. In the fiscal year ended March 2019, sports business accounted for roughly 15% of overall revenue, with the Baystars responsible for most of that.

On top of ticket sales and broadcast rights, sales of merchandise, stadium food and beverages have all contributed to revenue streams.

But when sales slow down, the fixed costs associated with a baseball team can come back to bite. Player salaries reach close to

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Telework rush leaves Japanese companies at risk of cyberattack

A hurried shift to telework is leaving Japanese companies open to cyberattacks through videoconferencing services, cloud storage and unsecure internet connections, according to security experts.

“There are no borders in the cyberworld, so malicious attacks from outside targets on Japanese companies and employees are increasing because we are not familiar with teleworking,” said Kenji Uesugi, a cybersecurity consultant with PwC Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s emergency declaration has prompted a range of Japanese companies to supply employees with equipment to ensure business continuity while sheltering at home. But it has been a halting start for a professional culture largely unfamiliar

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