Fresh & Hot from Japan, 17 to 21 October 2016

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

17 Oct. Yoneyama, not ready to go for the re-operation of nuclear power plants in the prefecture, won the election of Governor of Niigata

The vote for the Niigata governor’s race,  in which a re-operation of the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Kariwa and Kashiwazaki Nuclear Power Plants had been the central issue, was held and ballots were counted on 16 Oct. Ryuichi Yoneyama (49) , whose position was to be very carful in proceeding with the re-operation of the Plants won over Tamio Mori (67), who supported the operation. The turnout was 53.05% (cf. 43.95%  last time).

Comments: It is a good sign of democracy that a Governor who take health and safety of the residents as priority over the national policy was elected, following Tokyo Governor’s case.

18 Oct. Governor of Tokyo Koike and IOC Chairperson Bach to meet to discuss Tokyo Olympic Games

A meeting between Thomas Bach, chairperson of International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Yuriko Koike, the Tokyo Governor began in the Metropolitan Government today. They will exchange opinions as to the plan of Tokyo Olympic and the Paralympics Games to be held in 2020, taking into account a forthcoming review initiated by the Governor of the plan to reduce costs.

Comments: The Governor’s review is much needed as the present budget is five times larger than the one originally presented to the IOC. Japan has many other things to spend tax payers’ money other than Olympics, such as disaster recovery of the Tohoku region, reducing budget for the medical expense for the aging population, etc.

19 Oct. 25 cm in width, Hitachi to introduce a robot vacuum cleaner which is one of the smallest in the same class

Hitachi Appliances, Inc. is releasing “minimaru“, a compact robot vacuum cleaner of 25 cm in width and 9.2 cm in height on November 19. Minimal being one of the smallest among the similar product range by major vendors, the robot cleaner is good at cleaning of small places by going between legs of chairs or under a sofa. Minimal is equipped with a function to compress garbage in the dust case by a strong current of air to make it easy to throw it away. The expected price is around 100,000 yen excluding VAT.

Comments: The Japanese has demonstrated its talent to create a small product with high functionalities again.


20 Oct. Discount by 500 yen for customers with thin hair, a hotel in Kitakyusyu

It is the “hair day” today. There is a hotel Kitakyushu-shi that offers “the thin hair discount” by which  the hotel charges less than 500 yen for those customers whose hair is thin. About 20 customers benefitted from the discount so far, by asking at the reception if they would be eligible.

Comments: The rationale is the discount is that it takes less work to clean the room of the customers with little hair.

21 Oct. Starbucks to open a new store with roasting equipment in Tokyo  by the ned of 2018

The Starbucks coffee Japan announced that the company would open a store based on a new business model that is equipped with a roasting equipment of coffee beans in Nakameguro, Tokyo,  in December 2018. There is a same type of the store in Seattle, the US, and to be open in Shanghai, China in 2017 and in New York in 2018. The planned store in Tokyo will be the fourth of this kind in the world.

Comments: Could be a good news for coffee lovers. Watch that Starbucks foresees an increasing number of coffee lovers with a sophisticated taste in Chinese market.

  • 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, 10 to 14 October 2016

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

10 Oct. Abe Administration positive to the Osaka World Exposition, as an economic measure after the Tokyo Olympic Games

The Abe Administration began examination with a positive spirit possibility of an international exposition that Osaka Prefecture aims at organizing in 2025. The Administration expects economic effects of a large event after the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. The prefecture is going to show the basic design of the international exposition to the government at the end of October. There are many problems are left to be resolved, such as a large expense needed for the exposition.

Comments: Why does Japanese government always think of physical construction projects as economic incentives? There are many other essential problems to attack in the economy.

11 Oct. Decline of explosive buying, surplus of Japan’s travel balance declined

According to the international trade balance (breaking news) of August released by the Ministry of Finance on the 11th. of October,  “the current account balance” indicating income and expenditures arising from trade and the investment became the black of 2,000,800 million yen. The black figure increased by 375,900 million yen from the same month in the previous year. The amount of black figure of the travel balance, that increased since the beginning of the second Abe Administration reduced for the first time in the past 43 months.

Comments: This is due to reduced shopping by Chinese tourists.

12 Oct. Toyota and Suzuki, started discussion on a possible business cooperation

Toyota Motor Corporation and SUZUKI Motor Corporation announced that they had started examination of the business cooperation in those areas as environment and safety, information technology, etc.

Comments: The news is worth following as the dialogue may lead to an M&A of a significant consequences on the Japanese automotive industry.

13 Oct. Sharp to enter factory efficiency business, while not selling the office appliance business

Sharp has announced that the company will enter the business of “a smart factory” business, that would improve production efficiency by using the IoT technologies. For this business, Sharp plans to use its own technologies of multifunctional office equipment and know-how of Foxconn Technology Group (Taiwan), its new parent company. The company also plans to examine a plan to produce monitoring robots or a conveyance apparatus to export to the overseas markets led by China.

Comments: New business developments have started under a new management of Foxconn Technology Group.

14 Oct. CEO of GLM originated from the Univ. of Kyoto, “We’ll be known to professionals”

GLM, a venture company specialized in EV sorts vehicles born in the University of Kyoto, extended its world by its first exhibition in Paris Motor Show.

Comments: EV is giving birth to small automobile companies addressing to specialized markets. The technology may change the automobile industry structure in the near future.

GLM – “Astounding pleasure”


  • 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.

Professor Geert Hofstede

I was convinced that the real meeting is above all what the cyber may offer us.

I’m Just back from travel to Prague to meet with Professor Geert Hofstede, who is well known for who did a pioneering study of cultures across modern nations, and “The Six Dimensions of National Culture”. I attended as a guest with other five specialists of cross-cultural management — Tom Fadrhonc,Pernilla, George LP, Merita Vilen, Haas — the ceremony of conferral of the degree of Doctorat Honoris Causa at the University of Economics.

Professor Hofstede (Center), Prague.

It was a great experience to talk to Prof. Hofstede with just 6 of us for as long as two full hours (!) over breakfast on the next day.

I was impressed by his sincere attitude to research, willingness to learn non-stop as a scholar, while being humble and with a warm-heart and charming sense of humor.

A nutoritious meeting with Professor Hofstede, Café de Paris, Prague


Fresh & Hot from Japan, 3 to 7 October 2016

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

3 Oct. Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi, professor emeritus of Tokyo Institute of Technology, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, announced that the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine of this year will be given to Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi (71), a professor emeritus of Tokyo Institute of Technology. The awarding reason was “the discovery of the structure of the automatic fuzzy” (autophagy action). Dr. Ohsumi clarified mechanism in which a cell broke down own part and recycled it as a nourishment source or its own renewal. He thus resolved a mystery of an essential life phenomenon common to various creatures.

Comments: It was original that Dr. Ohsumi looked at a destroying process, rather than creating process of a cell.

4 Oct. IMF raised Japanese growth rate expectation in increase 0.5% of this year

International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced latest World Economic Outlook on 4th. The organization raised the growth forecast from the one in July, taking into account the postponement of the consumption tax increase this summer, and the economic measures proposed by the Government raised. The IMF left the growth rate worldwide unchanged, due to the decrease of the growth forecast of industrialized countries upon slowdown of the US economy and the determination of the UK to exit from the European Union (EU), while the growth prospect of newly developing countries.

Comments: Hope that the growth of Japanese economy would last.

5 Oct. Gundam from the small factory in town! Bipedalism Robo of “the world’s largest grade

The engineers engaged in manufacturing in Osaka-shi made a humanoid robot made from aluminum of 4 meters tall and 300 kg in weightOne may control it in a cockpit in the body such as “Mobile Suit Gundam“.  According to Mr. Hajime Sakamoto (49) who runs a robot production company “Hajime Institute ” (Nishiyodogawa-ku, Osaka-shi) and who is the head of the development of the robot, “The robot is one of the world’s largest” among those robots of the bipedalism.

Video: Mounting on the 4m robot.

Comments: The engineers are working to make their dream come true.

6 Oct. CEATEC  Japan, exhibitors compete over wireless communication and sensors towards IoT 

Electronic parts vendors compete over wireless communication technologies and the sensor, which are indispensable for the IoT (the Internet of the things). Enormous volumes of sensors will be required for the IoT, and a large demand increase is expected.

Comments: Fierce competition is an origin of innovation.

7 Oct. “Xperia ear”, a device on the ear to operate a smartphone by voice

Sony mobile communications will release “the Xperia ear” on November 18, which will connect a smartphone of the android operating system (the OS) with the wireless communications network.  The device attached to the ear will allow phone calls and message exchanges without holding a smartphone by hand.


Comments: Sounds like an SF.

sonx-xperia_equipment sony-xperia





  • 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, 26 to 30 September 2016

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

26 Sep. “Donai shimashitan?”, video to encourage to help overseas visitors created in Osaka

A foreigner is stuck at a ticket office of a train station, while there is a long que behind her — Osaka tourist bureau created a film to invite citizens to help overseas visitors in trouble, “Donai shimashitan? (May I help you, in Osaka dialect)”.

Comments: It’s a good initiative. Hope the same film in other languages of major foreign visitors of Osaka will be made, such as Korean, Chinese, Hindu, etc.

27 Sep. Microplastic garbage also in the Antarctic Ocean, confirmed for the first time by researchers of Kyushu University and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT)

Ministry of the Environment announced that it was confirmed for the first time by the investigation undertaken by the Japanese study team that pollution of minute plastic garbage “micro plastic” extended to the Antarctic Ocean. It is worried that the drift of micro plastic with size of less than 5 millimeters may cause adverse influences on the ecosystem.

Comments: It is worrisome and may indicate even harder damages being made in other parts of the ocean worldwide.


Photo: Investigation using a net in the Antarctic Ocean with an iceberg floating afar. (Photo by TUMSAT)

28 Sep. Mega solar power generator floating in reservoir, supplying the power for 5,000 households

The surface of the water of various parts of Japan attracts attention as a business site of the solar power generation now. A floating solar power station under construction in Yamakura reservoir of Ichihara-shi, Chiba is one of them. There will be over 50,000 pieces of panels of 1.7 meters in width and 1 meter in length will float on the floated on surfaces of the water of about 180,000 square meters.

Comments: Sounds like a good idea! Just being worried about an eco-system related the water resources.

Photo: Floating solar in Kakogawa-shi, Kyocera

29 Sep. Seek approval of the Paris Agreement during the current Diet session, said Prime Minister Abe

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, in response to a question by Natsuo Yamaguchi of the Komeito, in the House of Councilors, that he planned to seek approval of the Diet on “the Paris agreement”, that established a set of the international rules to prevent the global warming. This is in line with the Japanese policy to contribute to a serious problem of the global community, the climate change.

Comments: Japan is slow to approve the Paris Agreement. 

30 Sep. Production index of manufacturing sector, 1.5% increase in August “slow improvement”

According to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the preliminary figures of the production index of manufacturing sector (2010 = 100, with seasonal adjustment) of August was 97.9, up by 1.5% from July. The Ministry raised an overall assessment to “the movement of a slow improvement”, taking into account the decreasing stock.

Comments: A bit of hope, but, on the other hand, the consumer spending continues 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.

Fresh & Hot from Japan, 19 to 23 September 2016

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

19 Sep.  Not so transparent, a purchase system of the power from solar photovoltaic generation, sometimes needed to go through alumnus as an intermediary to sell the power to major electricity companies

The system established by the Government for major power companies to purchase the electric power generated by solar photovoltaic generation is not functioning well. Some solar photovoltaic power generation company asked alumnus of a major power generation company (a buyer) for a personal introduction to the buyer, and others being irritated due to lack of progress, while purchase of solar generated power by major power generating companies are not making progress. Experts of the purchase system point out that the process is largely left to discretion of the major power generators, whereas there is no structure of the information disclosure.

Comments: The same problem arise in any negotiations between the giant and small companies, and where the giant is reluctant. 

20 Sep. From Plastic models, figures to drones, All Japan Model Hobby Show

The 56th All Japan Model Hobby Show, where one will enjoy large variety of plastic models and figures, miniature trains and drone flights, will be held in Tokyo Big Sight of Koto-ku, Tokyo on 24, 25th. The event is organised by the Japan plastic model industry cooperative. Sixty-six (66) companies will exhibit new products. There will be a corner where one can see drone flight or participate in “Model airplane class for kids”. Admission will be 1,000 yen, and free for junior high school students or younger.

Comments: “You may find hobbys you don’t know here.” is the catch phrase of the event.


21 Sep. Level of underground water of the First Fukushima Nuclear Plant arrived on surface, after the heavy rain by the typhoon 16

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced that the level of underground water in the area near the sea of the First Fukushima Nuclear Plant had arrived on the same level as the ground. TEPCO will analyze the quality of water and the seawater, as the underground water polluted by radioactive material may have mixed with the rain and drifted to the sea.

Comments: It is the terrible news. A good point is that TEPCO announced it. The company wouldn’t have done it before the disaster of the Fukushima Plant in 2011.

22 Sep. His Majesty the Emperor harvested the rice in the rice field of the Imperial Palace

His Majesty the Emperor harvested the rice grown in the rice field located beside the biology research institute  of the Imperial Palace. He harvested 50 stalks of Mangetsumochi (a kind of the glutinous rice) which he had planted in May. According to the Imperial Household Agency, the crop of this year is “like other years”. A part of the harvested rice will be dedicated to the Ise Jingu (the shrine of the Imperial Family)

Comments: The harvesting of the rice is one of the traditional activities of the Emperor inherited from generations.

23 Sep. Sharp to re-enter the TV business in Europe, “Will do what I said”, said CEO, Mr. Tai

About one month has passed since Sharp re-started under the new management after the acquisition by Foxconn Technology Group of Taiwan. Mr. Seigo TAI, CEO of Sharp, announced that the company will re-enter the TV business in Europe, as he had promised. He considers “making things happen as said” is essential to gain the trust back to Sharp, and requires all the employees to achieve recovery plans.

Comments: It is worth a watch if a Taiwanese company well known to its severe cons-cutting and dynamic culture would make a Japanese establishment Sharp re-born.

  • 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, 12 to 16 September 2016

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

12 Sep. Table tennis robot, FORPHEUS by Omron, recorded in Guinness Book as the first robot table tennis tutor

Omron announced that the table tennis robot developed by the company, FORPHEUS, was included in Guinness world record 2017 as “the first table tennis coach robot”.

Comments: It is an excellent use of Japanese traditional competence in building things with precision.


13 Sep. Renesas to acquire Intersil  (US), enforcing semiconductors for automobiles

A semiconductor major, Renesas Electronics Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) announced that the company would acquire a US semiconductor vendor, Intersil Corporation (California, the US), to create a subsidiary. The purchase price is approximately 321,900 million yen. The acquisition will be complete by the end of June, 2017, after approval of the regulatory authorities of the countries concerned.  At a press conference, the President and CEO of Renesas, Mr. Bunsei KURE said, “We wish to increase sales and profit by combining the strength of Intersil and Renesas together”.

Comments: Semiconductor vendors are moving fast to become solution providers, along with rapid increase of ICT use in automobiles and IoT.

14 Sep. Banking transaction just by showing your palm, Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank to start a new ID checking system for the first tome in Japan

Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank (Ogaki-shi, Gifu) is starting from the next spring a new ATM system, that will check ID by reading a palm of the user to allow almost all the services, including cash withdrawal. The system will be available in all the branches. Customer will not need name stamps, bankbooks or bank cards any more. According to the bank, this service is the first in Japan.

Comments: The banks have taken lessons from Tsunami, earthquake, etc. that there are situations in which customers cannot bring stamps or bank cards, even though they desperately need money.

15 Sep. VR in spotlight, new game machines and softwares, Tokyo Game Show 

A global scale game exhibition, Tokyo Game Show (organised by the Association of Computer Entertainment) began at Makuhari Messe in Chiba city  on 15th. Virtual reality (VR, virtual reality) is the star of the event this year.  It is expected that 230,000 people will visit the show during four days from 15 to 28 September.

Comments: Tokyo is the center of computer games, drawn upon anime tradition!

16 Sep. Comfortable nodding by robots, Yamaha developed a new talking technology

A major vendor of musical instruments, Yamaha (Hamamatsu-shi) developed a technique to make a robot comfortably nod “making agreeable responses”. The robot analyzes volume human voice, speed, pause, etc. of human voice, and adjust timing to respond. The technology allows the robot to respond as if it has understood the feeling of a speaker (human being) and is expected to be allied to  toys or car navigation systems.

Comments: This may be another step forward to human-like robots.

  • 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.