Fresh & hot from Japan, from 13 to 17 February, 2017

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13 Feb. Fourth-quarter GDP, positive growth continued for four quarters in a row

According to the primary breaking news of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the fourth-quarter 2016 (October to December 2016) announced by the  Cabinet Office, a real growth rate except the influence of the change of commodity prices increased by 0.2% as compared to the third quarter (July to September 2016). This growth is equivalent to the growth of 0.1 % when convert it into an annual growth. This figure resulted in the consecutive positive growth for four quarters or one year.

Comments: The growth owns to trade surplus in 2016. Reducing growth of consumer consumption is still worrisome for the health of national economy.

14 Feb. Transformers installed in town, used for electronic signboards and battery chargers, developed by Panasonic and TEPCO

Panasonic and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) plan to push forward a project to utilize a transformer in a box shape installed in cities  to attach equipment of advertisement or information board. Using the space on the transformer, the companies plan to enable charging of an electronic signboard and vehicles. Panasonic showed a trial product in Tokyo on 13th. The service is planned to start in 2018.

Comments: It is a part of IoT project promoted by Panasonic and TEPCO.

15 Feb. Toshiba, a possible sell off the semiconductor stock to avoid liabilities exceeding the assets at the end of FY 2016 or March

Toshiba reported a loss of  712,500 million yen over the atomic energy business in the U.S. from the settlement of accounts (American accounting standards) for the period of April to December 2016, and announced the deficit prospect of USD 4.4 million as a net profit or loss (a deficit of the same period a year ago was USD 4.2 million). The company felt into exceeding liability at the end of December 2016. Toshiba will consider to raise a ratio of stocks to sell the new company of semiconductor business to be branched out from less than 20% to over 50% to avoid liabilities exceeding the assets at the end of FY 2016 or March.

Comments: What to see in Toshiba’s saga is that what’s happening in the company is a consequence of lack of appropriate governance and mechanism to fix it that lasted for years till now.

16 Feb. Debate heated at the Diet over the proposed regulations on passive smoking

The debate on the cigarette is in fire in Nagatacho (the Japanese Diet). The regular smokers across the ruling and opposition parties resist against the proposed bill which is to introduce stronger measures against the passive smoking that the government is preparing taking into account the coming Tokyo Olympic Games and the Paralympics in 2020. The Japanese smoking habit is criticized as “the worst in the world”.

Comments: It is a shame that members of the Diet put their ego forward while the public interests behind.

17 Feb. Automatic running of row of trucks on highway, the Japanese Government to experiment from 2018

“Future investment meeting” (chairperson, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) , a mission of which is to formulate a growth strategy of the Government pulled together an implementation plan to partially realize the automatic driving of cars that does to require  drivers in 2020.  Recognizing that competition over the development of automatic driving becomes fierce in international markets, the Government intends to hold a superior position in the world by hurrying a proof experiment.

Comments: The field experiment is a large step forward, even though many changes of road transportation are envisaged, such as driving regulation, highway structure, etc.

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Photo by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)
  • 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.

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Fresh & hot from Japan, from 6 to 10 February, 2016

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6 Feb. Children caught by the Internet for a long time tend to be irritated, while the confidence in studying decreasing

Those children who spend hours over the Internet via smart phones, etc. tend to be irritated all the time while their level of confidence in studying decreasing —  found by a survey by Kinki block of Association of Parents and Teachers (PTA) and researchers. A researcher involved said, “The situation is too serious to ignore. The adults must be well aware of the net-dependency of children.”

Comments: it is serious and the same may be true to the adults, including ourselves.

7 Feb. Memory is up after ten minutes’ exercise? Maybe thanks to activation of the brain function

Soon after having an exercise for ten minutes of the level of jogging, one’s short-term memory improves, according to a report of a study undertaken by a team of Tsukuba University, Japan, and the University of California, the US. The team found that results were better for those who had dome some exercise then whose who rested, in an experiment of the correctness of memory of an object seen in advance. The study team says that the function of the brain might be activated by the exercise.

Comments: Good news for joggers and those who regularly do some exercise.

8 Feb. Heart rate measurable just by wearing it, the experiment start a Tank-top model 

Fujita Health University, Toray, NTT, NTT DOCOMO announced that they will start a demonstration experiment of “hitoe”, the cloth by  which one could measure a heart rate merely by wearing it like the underwear. The cloth will be used to monitor a heart rate and various activities of a patient in a hospital. It is intended to allow efficient rehabilitation exercise to enable the early recovery, and also to utilize the cloth in the remote monitoring service after leaving the hospital. An expected timing of market release is after three years.

Comments: Innovation take place where formerly completely different sectors and technologies meet. Thus another proof that diversity gives rise to innovation.

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9 Feb. Where is an empty toilet room? You find it over the net, no need to hurry in vain

Arriving at the office in the morning to find all the toilet rooms occupied! Dash to another floor to food them occupied again — To resolve such a problem development of the systems  which allows us to check  toilet rooms by  PCs is making progress. A by-product of such system is that the collected data may be used for health check. This may signal the arrival of “The IoT (Internet of Toilet)”.

Comments: Use of the data collected from the usage status of toilets is potentially interesting, though if and how much a company may collect employee’s health data is debatable.

10 Feb. Over ten thousand applications for the refugee status in Japan in 2016, while only 28 were admitted

The number of applications for the recognition of refugee status in Japan was 10,901 in 2016 (3,315 increase compared to the previous year) , exceeding  10,000  for the first time, according to the preliminary figure released by the Ministry of Justice. On the other hand, only 28 people were recognized as refugees  (one increase as compared to the number in 2015). In addition, the Ministry admitted the resident status to 97 people  (increase by 18 year-on-year) because of “humanitarian consideration”. The government continues a severe attitude for recognition of refugee status.

Comments: Severeness of the Japanese Government to the allocations of the refugee status has been one of the areas where Japan is behind the rich countries.

  • 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.

Where different ideas meet, a brand new idea is born — KitKat Sushi

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My friend in Tokyo sent me a Valentine’s gift — KitKat Sushi.

Though what I received was its online news (see a link below), hence nothing romantic, the news was sufficiently inspiring.

Why? The KitKat Sushi typically demonstrates where innovation is born; Where two different things meet, there is a brand new idea. That is the reason why diversity is essential for innovation.

kitkat-sushi

 

For the original news, please read –> CNN News, 2 Feb. 2016, “KitKat sushi: Has Japan gone too far?” 

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Fresh & hot from Japan, from 30 January to 3 February, 2016

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

30 Jan. The LCC terminal opened in Kansai Airport for international flights, the first flights  brought passengers traveling in the Luna New Year holidays

The low cost carriers (LCC) terminal for international flights opened in Kansai Airport was opened on 28th of Jan. The first flight from Hong Kong landed at 6:07 a.m., with travelers spending holidays of the Luna New Year’s Day (which was on the same day this year) in Japan.

Comments: It’s good to improve access for Asian passengers.

31 Jan. Oxygen of the earth travels even to the moon, confirmed by study team of Osaka University and JAXA

The study teams of Osaka University, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) , etc. confirmed that oxygen in the earth arrived to the moon, which is 380,000 km away. The team concluded that “the Solar wind”, i.e. the charged gas blowing from the sun, drifted the oxygen from the earth. The article is published in Nature Astronomy, a British science magazine.

Comments: It’s nice to imagine what’s happening in the universe!

1 Feb. Heart-shaped strawberries 1’270 yen (CHF 11) per piece, how about it for a Valentine gift?

Heart-shaped strawberries produced in Yanai-shi, Yamaguchi-ken, is becoming popular in view of Valentine’s Day.

“Kurahju Create”, a company that produces and sell strawberries, successfully created the heart-shaped ones after four years’ trials and failures. The company named it as “Heart of strawberry” and started selling in markets in December 2015.

Comments: Valentine Day provides a popular gift sales season in Japan, where girls buy gifts to boys.

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 2 Feb. Levying copy right tax from music classes, JASRAC said it’s policy, repel may happen

 Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) decided to levy a copy right tax from music classes organised by Yamaha or Kawai Musical Instruments Mfg, etc. for their playing of music. An estimated amount of the collected tax is between 1,000 -2,000 million yen a year. The classrooms reject the decision. This may call for intervention by the Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs or lead to a legal suit by the JASRAC.

Comments: JASRAC has a point. We must be sensitive and respect intellectual property rights of music creators.

 3 Feb. Japan to accept Syrian refugees, about 300 over 5 years to begin with, paving a way for settling down

The Government of Japan is ready to accept about 300 refugees from Syria who are foreign students and their families over the coming five years starting from this year.  The foreign student may come with a spouse and children, and family allowance will be paid. These refugee students are not obliged to go back to their home country after the study.  This program thus will eventually open a way for the refugee students to settle down with a family n Japan.

Comments: Japan has accepted refugees only on exceptional basis. This program, while being still very timid, would open a way to a comprehensive system for refugees to settle down.

  • 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, 23 to 27 January 2017

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23 Jan. “Cooperation upon the expertise of stakeholders are important”, said CEO of Toyota, in search for cooperation with Mr. Trump

At the ceremony of the launch of mass production of the new bus, “Coaster”, held in  Kakamigahara-shi, Gifu-ken, Mr. Akio Toyota, CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, said with regard to the new US administration, “Either automobile companies or the administration alone cannot make the region happy. What’s important is for all the stakeholders to work together drawing on their own expertise”. This indicate that he would cooperate with the US administration.

Comments: It is still wait and see as to the way the new US administration would influence on the private sector activities in the country.

24 Jan. H-2A rocket successfully launched, the first communications satellite of Ministry of Defense

The 32nd unit of H-2A rocket that carried communications satellite of the Ministry of Defense, “Kirameki 2”,  on board was successfully launched at 4:44 PM on 24th by Tanegashima space center of Kagoshima-ken.

Comments: A benchmark of the development of rockets made-in-Japan.

25 Jan. Automatic driving tractor for rice planting, announced by Kubota

Agricultural machinery major, Kubota announced that the company will start selling automatic driving tractors to monitors from June.  Kubota will be the first company to sell automatic driving agricultural machinery in Japan. Envisaging an increasing scale of the agriculture with less workforce, the company plans to put it on sale for the wide public in 2018.

Comments: True, an automatic driving could work in the agriculture which will have to be carried on with decreasing workforce.

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26 Jan. Your walking age is known by walking for 6m, a system developed by Asics & NEC

Asics and NEC developed a system which could tell the “walking age”by  detecting the age equivalent of a way of walking by walking only about 6 meters towards a sensor apparatus.  At n expected market entry is from nursing facilities for the elders as the system helps formulating menus of the exercise to prevent them from falling.

Comments: Do you want to try it?

27 Jan. Toshiba to branch out its  semiconductor business, inviting bids early next month

Toshiba decided in the meeting of board of directors held today to branch out one of its core sectors of semiconductor business. The company plans to sell some of the stocks of the new company to pay for a huge loss caused by its nuclear power plant business in the United States. After having shareholders’ approval in an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to be held at the end of March, Toshiba plan to officially branch out the semiconductor business.

Comments: Competition map of the semiconductor vendors may change.

  • 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, 16 to 20 January 2017

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16 Jan. JAXA failed to launch a small size rocket, causes to be investigated

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced on the 15th that it had failed launching of the small rocket which is the world’s smallest of the class created upon improvement of the rocket for atmospheric observation. JAXA said that it had canceled the ignition of the second rocket planned 180 seconds later of the launch, because JAXA couldn’t receive the data from the rocket after the launch from the Uchinoura outer space observatory locates in Kimotsuki-cho, Kagoshima-ken. The cause of the failure is not known at present and the agency will investigate it in detail.

Comments: Failure is always a means of leaning.

17 Jan. Slight increase of rate of women general managers to be 4.1% of government officials

The Cabinet Office announced the ratio of woman administrator of public and private sectors. Regarding the national government officials,  23.9% of the section manager of the Ministries, 9.4% of the assistant manager of the Ministries and general manager of local organizations, 4.1% of  department managers of the Ministries and 3.5% of those higher than deliberation official grade were women. <these figures were lower by 1.5-6.1 points compared to the aimed figure of 2020.

Comments: Japan is still behind of the world in utilizing resources of women workforce.

18 Jan. Relaying on robots for the care of the aged?, due to a serious labour shortage in the aged persons’ home

What kind of town is good if I spend the old age? The nature is rich, and convenient for shopping and above all a good medical and care services must be available — It was Kitakyushu-shi that shined in the first place in “the ranking of local cities where people  wanted to live after 50 years old”, according to a magazine for the senior published in summer last year.

Comments: Care requires emotional energy. Could robot replace human beings for that?

19 Jan. Supporting IT talented people, a foundation of Masayoshi Son started recruiting

“The Masayoshi Son endowment foundation” which President Masayoshi Son of the SOFTBANK group established by his own fund started recruitment of people whom the foundtati9on will support as the leaders of the next generation. Those eligible must be under  25 years old, may  in studying or returning benefits as a corporate manager. The foundation would support max. 100 people for their research, and study abroad and interchanging of each other.

Comments: Supporting one hundred people? wWhat a big idea it is!

20 Jan. Kirin to withdraw from Brazil, planning to sell its local subsidiary

A Japanese beer major Kirin Holdings Co., Ltdexamining the sale of the Brazilian subsidiary. An anticipated buyer is a Netherlands’ beer major Heineken. Kirin acquired a local major beer company six years agobut a deficit continues due to intensifying competition in local markets. Kirin is a withdrawing from Brazil.

Comments: Kirin will focus on Asia.

  • 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.

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Fresh & Hot from Japan, 6 to 13 January 2017

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Happy New Year!

I wish all your dream come true in 2017.

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

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6 Jan . Mr. Tramp criticized Toyota for its plan to build a new factory in Mexico, “Should build it in the US!”

The President Elect Mr. Trump criticized Toyota by his tweet for the company’s plan to build a new factory in Mexico, saying, “You should build it in the US, or otherwise pay a high import tax”.  Having attacked US automobile major, Ford and other companies to stop building relocating factories outside the US, he shot an arrow of criticism to a Japanese company for the first time after the US presidential election.

Comment: Government intervention in economic activities must be done with much care, as economic activities always run before the governments actions in the history.

11 Jan. The new imperial era name to start from 1 Jan. 2019, assuming the abdication on the previous day

The government started examining ways to allow the Crown Prince to succeed to the throne to the new Emperor on January 1, 2019, and to commence the new imperial era name on the same day, following abdication of His Majesty the Emperor. It was judged that the change of an era on the New Year’s Day was desirable to minimize consequences on life of the public.  If things go advance in line with the present plan, the present His Majesty will step down from the throne on December 31, 2018, and the Heisei will close a curtain on the 30th year.

Comments: It should not be forgotten to discuss and establish a set of general rules for the emperor to step down from the throne. Otherwise, one might face the same issues for the next emperor, when the life time of the population is becoming longer and longer.

12 Jan. The Nikkei Average to close with 229 Yen lower, upset by an expression of dissatisfaction by Mr. Trump

Stock price of the Tokyo stock market decreased after an interval of two days due to a mass selling caused by disappointment after a press conference of the President elect, Mr. Trump.

Comments: Would the stock exchange markets continue reaction sensitively to Mr. Trump for the coming four years?

13 Jan. Detection of drowsy driving, health check of cows, etc., an increasing number of wearable terminals are being released to the markets

Toyobo, a textile major, and Union Tool, a vendor of  medical equipment, announced that they had developed the underwear that alerted a driver when it detected that he/she was falling asleep and that the companies planned to put it on sale before the end of this year. The underwear is intended to prevent an accident by having drivers of bus or taxi wear.  An increasing number of clothes-shaped wearable terminals are being developed as they may be worn more naturally than glasses type terminals.

Comments: We’ll be wearing wearable devices in as it is literally meant.

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  • 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.

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