Fresh & Hot from Japan, 15 to 19 August 2016

Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

15 Aug. 71 years after the Second World War, the national memorial ceremony for war victims organised by the Government in a martial arts gymnasium

On 15th, the day when the war was ended 71 years ago, the national memorial ceremony for war victims 0rganised by the Government in Japan martial arts gymnasium (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo). There will be over 5,600 participants; the Emperor and Empress, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chairperson of both houses of Representatives and Councilors, and families of the victims of the war. They will mourn approximately 3,100,000 war dead, and pray for the world peace.

Comments: It is the day when Japanese should be reminded that the war is all about painful consequence fall on each person, not a computer simulation or words in policy statements.

16 Aug. “Please work at home on an extremely hot day”, an e-mail alert system based on the weather forecast of the Meteorological Agency

“Please work at home today” — infoteria,  a software development company in Tokyo, has developed a system which automatically sends a message to its employees on the day when the Meteorological Agency forecasts the highest temperature to be more than 35 degrees, or “an extremely hot day”. It is a company policy  to advise employees to work at the home on an extremely hot day. The company provides the e-mail alert system for in-house use, as well as to other companies.

Comments: It is a company policy to promote ecological way of working. It is a good idea to put CSR (Corporate social responsibility) in practice!

17 Aug. JR West to introduce new technology for track checking, such as image recognition and 3D data management

West Japan Railway Company (JR West) will introduce state-of-the-art technologies for maintenance and inspection to improve the level of precision. For example, the company will use an image recognition system to check railway track, and manage results of inspection of elevated bridges by three dimensional (3D) data to improve the security.

Comments: ICT will largely change the hard work of maintenance and inspection of railway facilities.

18 Aug. Art exhibition of lifelike food sample in Sora Machi, Tokyo 

“Art of the taste 2016”, which exhibits a variety of food samples will be held in Tokyo Sora Machi East Yard in Tkyo Skytree Town (Sumida-ku, Tokyo) on 20 -29 August. About 40 food samples that participated in an in-house competition organised by Iwasaki Corp., a specialist of food sample production. Admission is free.

Comments: The photo below is a food sample, and looks more delicious than the real one.

いわさき 食品サンプル

19 Aug. Japanese nuclear power plants easy targets of terrorist attack? Slowly having counterterrorism in place

At last counterterrorism has begun moving ahead for the nuclear power plants in Japan, while terrorism has become frequent in all parts of the world, and the risk of attacks is increasing in various places.

Comments: It is unbelievable.

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

Fresh & Hot from Japan, 8 to 12 August 2016

Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

8 Aug. His Majesty the Emperor Akihito expressed his feeling of abdication by video message

The Imperial Household Agency released o the public the video message of His Majesty the Emperor Akihito, who showed  intention of “the abdication while alive” to hand over the throne to  Crown Prince, on his feeling about “the duty as the symbol” to at 3:00 PM. Emperor Akihito has expressed that it may become difficult to achieve the duty as the symbol of Japan with his heart and soul as he got aging. While avoiding the direct expression on abdication due to constitutional prohibition for him to step in any political matters, he speech strongly suggested intention of the future abdication.

Comments: Pope retired. Why not the Emperor? He worked hard throughout his life. It’s time to exit.

11 Aug. “Buddhist priest service” by Amazon, Buddhism community rebelled but unexpectedly criticised

“Buddhist priest service” by Amazon, in which you click a button in Amazon, put it in a cart, pay by credit card, and see the Buddhist priest coming your home before long, has become popular. Despite request made by the Buddhism community to stop the service, it is selling well, because there are some reasons why behind on both service ordering and delivering sides.

Comments: Where there is an unmet demand, there is a business opportunity.

12 Aug. The third unit of Ikata Nuclear Power Plant resumed operation, becoming the third nuclear power plant in operation 

Shikoku Electric Power Corp. has resumed operation of the third unit of Ikata Nuclear Power Plant  (Ehime, output 890,000 kilowatts) in the morning on 12th. This has become the third nuclear power plant currently in operation, following the Units 1 and 2 of Kawauchi Nuclear Plant (Kagoshima) of Kyushu Electric Power Corp. Residents of Matsuyama and Hiroshima and Oita filed an application for a provisional disposition order to their respective district court to request a tentative court order to stop driving the plant. There may be a chance that the plant operation may be stopped by judgement of the courts.

Comments: Japan should consider the energy supply of the future before hurriedly moving to resume operation go nuclear plants in the country. This is the act of learning form the Fukushima disaster

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

Fresh & Hot from Japan, 1 to 5 August 2016

Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

1 Aug. New Governor of Tokyo, Ms Koike to set up a new organization to improve transparency of the governance, including a team to pursue abuse of public rights

In the first morning after the election of the governor of Tokyo, MS Yuriko Koike (64 ) held a press conference in her office in Toshima-ku, and revealed that she would create an organization whose mission is to improve the transparency of the governance of Tokyo, as she had promised in the campaign pledge. She went on to say that she would promote information disclosure of the business taken by Tokyoincluding the Tokyo Olympic and the Paralympic Games.

Comments: New policies must be implemented in the first six months after taking the throne, said a political philosopher of an ancient Rome.

2 Aug. Food self-sufficiency ratio in Japan, 39% for six years in a row

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced that the food self-sufficiency ratio (on calorie base) of 2015 was 39% for 6 years in a row. Though the Government aims at raising the rate to 45% by the summer 2025, the ratio still remains unchanged.

Comments: Despite years of huge investment by the Government to raise the food self-sufficiency ratio, we have not got significant results. Essential changes in the structure of agriculture is needed.

3 Aug. GDP to increase 0.6% p.a., average of forecasts by private think tanks 

Forecasts of gross domestic product (GDP) of the second-quarter by 14 private think tanks have been made available.  The average of the predicted real growth rate that excludes  influence of the price fluctuation is 0.2 % increase (0.6% increase when converted into an annual rate). This is a positive growth for two quarters in a row.

Comments: It is a good news, even though the growth appears to be still fragile.

4 Aug. Unifying wireless LAN between public facilities of Fukuoka-shi and public transportation of Nishitetsu

Fukuoka-shi and Nishitetsu announced that they will allow from 1 September mutual recognition of certification of public wireless LAN services between public facilities of Fukuoka -shi and bus services of Nishitetsu. Mayor Soichiro Takashima of Fukuoka-shi said at the press conference that such service will help visitors of the city to access to various information.

Comments: Public LAN (WiFi) has been made available in wider areas in the past few years, but the progress is still slow. Many other cities should follow the arrangement between Fukuoka-shi and Nishitetsu. 

5 Aug. Prime Minister to express the acceptance in response to a planned expression of the feeling by the Emperor

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe started consensus building among those Government officials who are involved in order to express the acceptance in response to a planned expression of the feeling by the Emperor of his intention of abdication while being alive. Upon the expression of the feeling by the Emperor, the Government plans to examine what actions to take by spending ample time, widely collecting opinions from well-informed persons.

Comments: While the Government appears to have started taking a way to admit the abdication of the Emperor, why do they move so carefully and slowly? The Emperor is 86 years old, have worked much to perform roles as established by the Japanese Constitution, it’s time for him to peacefully retire.

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

Fresh & Hot from Japan, 25 to 29 July 2016

Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

25 July. A free application for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to obtain legal knowledge, developed by Tokyo bar association

The Tokyo bar association has developed a free application “Poke Ben (Pocket lawyer)”, which delivers latest legal news or ways to avoid legal problems for owners and managers of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). It is intended to narrow the distance between SMEs’ managers and lawyer.

Comments: Knowledge is the power, also for SMEs. It is a good marketing strategy for lawyers to approach to SMEs to demonstrate in what way they may help.

26 July. Cash withdrawal by smartphone, starting by Mitsubishi UFJ Bank from 2018

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ is newly creating a system to do “identity verification” by a smartphone. To pave the way forward, the bank will enable clients to establish a bank account with a smartphone from September, and introduce the first “cardless” cash withdrawal service using a smartphone with an automated teller machine (ATM) in the spring 2018.

Comments: Adding a cash withdrawal function on top of already crowded applications of smartphones, importance of information security is ever increasing.

27 Jul. Kubo, an ace player of the Japanese team of football of Olympic Games, rejected participation by his Swiss club team

Swiss football club, Young Boys, announced in its official Home Page (HP) that the club refused to send Kubo, who had already been selected as a member of the Japanese national team, to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. This was due to an injury of the left knee of the FW of the club, during the first match of three rounds of European champions league held in Ukraine. The Swiss club said that it needed to keep Kubo in the team to maintain the strength.

Comments: What a difficult decision the Swiss team had to make!

28 Jul. NTN developing hybrid power generation business, such as installation of street lamps powered by the sun and wind

NTN, a major bearing company, is entering markets of the wind and hydraulic power generation device. The company used to be a supplier of components, but is set to manufacture a high-efficiency power generator for a small windmill and waterwheel used in local communities, drawing upon its own bearing technology.

Comments: This market appears to have a high growth potential.

29 Jul. “Will reshuffle a cabinet on 3 Aug.”, said the prime minister in a meeting of cabinet members 

The Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he would reshuffle the cabinet on 3 August   in an informal meeting of cabinet members. The Prime Minister plans to have the Minister of Finance and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso continued in the new cabinet.

Comments: There will be many challenges to the new cabinet members.

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

Fresh & Hot from Japan, 18 to 22 July 2016

Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

18 Jul. Two grass boats arrived in Iriomotejima, sailing for 75 km in the way it was 30,000 years ago

Two grass boats arrived in Iriomotejima (an island of Okinawa-ken), on 18 July. This is an experiment to do the same as our ancestors did to come to Okinawa by boat 30,000 years ago, organised by a team of researchers of the National Science Museum. The boats left Yonagunijima (another island) which is approximately 75 km away from Iriomotejima in the early morning on the 17th.  On the way, they had to stop night navigation due to a fast drift of the tide, and an accompanying boat moved the grass boats to the south to place them on the right way.

Comments: Congratulations of the success of the adventure!

20 Jul. Softbank of Japan to acquire ARM of the UK by £24 billion, aiming at IoT for post-smartphone

Softbank Group ( a major Japanese mobile telecommunications operator) purchases a British ARM Holding, a global semiconductor design company, for approximately £24 billion (approximately 3,300 billion yen). This is the largest acquisition for a Japanese company to buy an overseas company. Stakes of the UK Government which wishes to invite foreign investment after Brexit, of ARM who wishes to get overseas investor and Softbank which wanted to obtain a new area of business agreed with each other.

Comments: A reduced value of the UK £ has brought a great opportunity to SoftBank to move on to acquire ARM as a strategic investment for the future of IoT.

20 Jul. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to set up an organisation which will be a control tower of developments of new medicines

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology decided a policy to set up an organisation which will function as a control tower in order to make use of results of research undertaken by universities and research organizations to create new medicine. A major purpose is to connect results of the research by separate institutions and groups in various domains with each other and thereby to discover and feed into research and development those research results which tend to be buried by huge volume of information.

Comments: A clue to success of “the control tower” would be to make the information search easy for researchers, given wide areas  and a very large volume of research. It will be ideal if the research results from institutions overseas would be included.

21 Jul. “Robo Cat Yamato”?, YAMATO experimenting an automatic driving for delivery  from the next year

 IT major D N A (DeNA) and Yamato Transport Co. Ltd. announced that they are starting an experiment to develop a distribution service using an automatic driving car from March 2017. With a nickname of “Robo Cat Yamato”, the experiment will continue for one year.

Comments: Drones in the sky, automatic driving car on the road, the logistics sector is  innovating delivery system.

22 Jul. Thanks gift of Hometown tax is sending someone who will talk to your parents, Ashiya-shi, Hyogo-Ken

Ashiya-shi (Hyogo-Ken)added a service to dispatch a person who will talk to parents of payers of the Hometown tax (a tax system in which one pays part of the tax for the city s/he lives to his/her home town) to return a favor of the payment. The service is presently delivered as a regular public service for the aged by a resource center of senior citizens operated by the city. Ashiya-shi added the service to those payers of the Hometown tax, who are worried about their parents who lives alone in the city.

Comments: The speed of aging in Japan is fastest in the world.

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

Fresh & Hot from Japan, 11 to 15 July 2016

Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

11 Jul.  Over “the Two-thirds” of the Upper House seats taken by those supporting revision of the Constitution, after the national election yesterday

The seats of the 24th Upper House election was settled in the morning on 11th. In the whole seats of the House which includes a non-reelection member, the number of the seats taken by those supporting revision of the Constitution exceeded  two-thirds, that is needed to amend the Constitution. These are members of the four parties promoting the amendment, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the New Komeito, the Osaka Restoration Party and the Party for Japanese Kokoro, as well as those member of the Diet who are not re-elected and do not belong to any party. The Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (President of the LDP) who assumes revision of the Constitution is likely to accelerate the Constitution debate in the Diet.

Comments: The draft Constitution proposed by the LDP contains a number of sensitive words that place the basic human rights under the Government control. Is it what the Japanese voters want?

12 Jul. First order from Europe of 120 MRJ, “A strong foothold of market development” said the president

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, announced that the company received an order of small jetliner MRJ under development from a European company for the first time. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and Rockton AB, a regional aircraft leasing company based in Sweden, agreed on twenty (20) orders. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation takes this success as the first foothold in a prosperous European market and wishes to leverage it for further business development.

Comments: The Japanese aerospace was one of the best in the world before the end of the WWII. Let’s see how the industry will evolve.

13 Jul. Pokémon GO, to be released in Japan by the end of this week? Nintendo, stock prices  rising sharply

A smartphone game, “Pokémon GO” by Nintendo has become explosively popular. The game was downloaded more than 7,500,000 times in the United States after its release ahead of Japan.  Pokémon GO will be released in Japan soon and a hit is anticipated. The share price of Nintendo rose, as its business recovery is expected.

Comments: The game is a kind of virtual reality. The world is moving ahead to VR.

Pokemon GO

13 Jul. Japanese Emperor Akihito ‘wishes to abdicate’, advised to the Empress and the Crown Prince

We have learned from a source in the Imperial Household Agency that His Majesty the Emperor showed intention to hand over the status of Emperor to Crown Prince during the lifetime, which is unusual for the Japanese imperial family, for which the death has been the only reason of abdication in the past 200 years. The Emperor has been repeating the intention since several years. The Imperial House Act does not have a clause that states rules and procedures of  abdication while alive.

Comments: The Emperor is 82 years old. He should be allowed to retire from a heavy job as the Emperor.

15 Jul. LINE went public at the first share price of 4,900 yen in Tokyo Stock Exchange,  with the aggregated market value of 1 trillion yen

LINE  which provided an application of phone-talk went public in the First Section of Tokyo Stock Exchange. The first share price was 4,900 yen, that exceeded  a public price (3,300 yen) by approximately 48%. The aggregate market value of the company calculated by the first price amounted to approximately 1 trillion yen, which was the largest value for a company newly went public this year.

Comments: LINE also went public in NYSE on 14 Jul. Communication continues being personalised.

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

Fresh & Hot from Japan, 4 to 8 July 2016

Please enjoy fresh & hot news from Japan with comments by Europe-Japan Dynamics.

4 Jul. Heat of 36.1 degrees hit Wakayama, “Be careful!” said Meteorological Agency

It became severely hot mainly on the Pacific side of Japan on the 4th, and temperature rose rapidly. The temperature rose above 35 degrees in several cities already in the morning. At noon, it recorded 36.1 degrees in in Shingu-shi, Wakayama, 35.9 degrees in Kawanehon-cho, Shizuoka, 35.4 degrees in Kamikitayama-mura, Nara, 34.5 degrees.  The tempereture rose to 34.3 degrees in Ozu-shi, Ehime, and 34.5 degrees in Hirakata-shi, Osaka.

Comments: Such an extraordinarily high temperature is scarcely. It may signal some disorder happening in our planet.

5 Jul. Glico ice cream extremely popular in Thailand, developing its ice-cream business in  Southeast Asia 

A major confectionery, Ezaki Glico (Osaka-shi) place emphasis on ice cream business in Southeast Asia. The company started selling its ice cream for the first time in Thailand for its overseas business in January and is beginning the sale and production within this year in Indonesia. Having the Glico brand popular abroad, the company will develop business in growing markets in Asia.

Comments: The Japanese food industry is also developing in Southeast Asia.

6 Jul. The 18 years old, getting the right to vote from the forthcoming election, the high school newspapers assert importance of continued interests

Newspaper clubs of high schools takes up as a subject of an article “the right to vote for the 18 years old”. Some reports results of a questionnaire survey to ask if one would go for a vote, and others analyses “political neutrality” for the school. Teachers expect those papers raise interests in the election of students of 18 years old, as high school papers are familiar media for them.

Comments: The high school papers provide good opportunities for the youngest voters to think of what is the voting bring for them.

7 Jul. Japanese Astronaut Onishi left for space trip for 4 months, space spaceship Soyuz placed on the orbit

The Russian spaceship Soyuz which Japanese Astronaut Takuya Onishi (40) and others boarded was launched at 7:36 a.m. on 7th July (Japan time 10:36 a.m.), from Baikonur space station in Kazakhstan. Onishi stays in the International Space Station (ISS) for approximately four months and undertake scientific experiments. He is the sixth Japanese astronaut who stays in the ISS for a long time and it is the seventh time for the Japanese to join in the ISS.

Comments: It is great that the space technologies are used for the advancement of the science.

8 Jul. Meiji Yasuda Mutual Life Insurance Co. to extend retirement age to 65 years old, the first time among major life insurance companies

Meiji Yasuda Mutual Life Insurance Co. decided to extend the retirement age of all full-time employees to 65 years old from 60 years old. The purpose is to utilize the resources of the expert staff. The company will implement the plan from April, 2019, after a labor and management discussion. This is the first case for major life insurance companies tto extend the retirement age of all full-time employees to 65 years old.

Comments: A number of other companies may follow this case, as companies must utilize resources of the employees with experience when population of younger generation is decreasing.

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.