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.

Fresh & Hot from Japan, 5 to 9 September 2016

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

5 Sep. Real wages of July up by 2.0%, increase for 6 months in a row

The real wages index indicating the movement of the wage without influence of the price fluctuation increased by 2.0% in July as compared to the same month a year earlier, according to the monthly work statistics report (breaking news) of July announced by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. This is an increase for six month in a row. Growth that continued for six consecutive months was experienced for the first time since the last time that saw the increase for 13 months in a row from March 2010 to March 2011. Falling of the consumer price index pushes up real wages.

Comments: This news is a mixture of good and bad, i.e. a wage increase pushed by falling consumer price index.

6 Sep. State subsidy of 7,600 million yen for in-company nursery schools for employees, addressed to 150 facilities

The state subsidy for 150 facilities (for 3,887 children) of “the company-led nursery schools”, which a company sets up mainly for its employees was approved. The Cabinet Office announced the result of the first call for requests for subsidy. Such nursery schools are non-registered nursery schools based on a government program newly established this year to alleviate children on a waiting list of registered nursery schools. The government aims at creating facilities for 50,000 children by the end of FY 2017 (March 2018).

Comments: Japanese system of child care facilities is complicated, having registered and non-registered nursery schools, and kinder gardens in existence housing millions of children. Streamlining such complicated system may result in less administrative burden and more resources for quality of child care.

7 Sep. The Governor of Tokyo, Koike, to propose to cut her remuneration into half to the metropolitan assembly in September

The Governor of Tokyo , Ms Yuriko Koike, decided to submit a proposal to reduce her  remuneration to a half to the metropolitan assembly opening on 28th. The reduction by half of the governor reward was one of her major campaign promises in the governor’s race in July and she examined a good timing to submit the proposal. Reactions of each party in the metropolitan assembly are to watch.

Comments: Those voted to Ms Koike expected her to do new things for Tokyo. It’s time for her to match her actions to words.

8 Sep. Warning of heavy rain may come again but when to take refuge? — Staff at aged persons’ welfare facilities are worried 

A heavy rain is anticipated again due to the typhoon coming closer in the Tohoku Region. Uneasiness is spreading in the elderly person facilities in Iwaizumi-cho, Iwate prefecture,  where 15 people died by the typhoon 10 in August.

Comments: No wonder, as typhoons are new experience in the Tohoku Region. This may be because of the global warming.

9 Sep. EV venture rising, “Sign of hit” felt by Mitsuoka Motor Co.

The venture companies which build electric vehicles (EV) are growing in Japan. Mitsuoka Motor Co. (Toyama) announced that the company started the full-scale sale of a two seater EV, “Like  -T3” (photo). While the venture companies sell EVs with characters as a strategy to be different from major automobile vendors, their challenges are weak sales force.

Comments: Small EV could grab a market between an electric bike and a small car.



  • 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, 29 August to 2 September 2016

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

29 Aug. Japanese companies heading to the last mega market, 73 MOUs in Africa after TICAD6

In connection with the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD6) held in Nairobi, Kenya, 22 Japanese companies and organizations signed 73 memorandums (MOU) with African organisations. Eighty four (84) Japanese companies participated in TICAD to appeal their presence, expecting business development in “The last mega market”.

Comments: Africa has been far and unknown for Japanese companies till recently.

30 Aug. Kubota entering the drone market for agrochemical spraying, one 2 million yen per drone

Kubota Corp., a major vendor of agricultural machinery, announced that the company would enter the market of drone (robot plane) to spray pesticides from the air by May 2017. A drone would cost around 2 million yen, and Kubota would sell 1,000 drones per year three years after the market entry to generate sales of about 2 billion yen.

Comments: Drones may be a good idea to avoid human beings to get affected by harmful ingredients of pesticides.

31 Aug. Production index of manufacturing sector remained flat in July, no renewal of trend assessment

The preliminary figure of the production index of manufacturing sector (2010 = 100, seasonal adjustment) of July released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry was 96.9, which remained flat since last month. The trend assessment remained unchanged, being “Fluctuating, while some improvements are seen”.

Comments: We only expect economic recovery.

1 Sep. FamilyMart absorbed UNY, the number of the combined convenience stores become next to that of Seven-Eleven

FamilyMart and UNY group holding performed business integration on 1st September to give rise to UNY FamilyMart Holdings. A large distribution group is born, which has the second largest number of convenience stores and super markets strong in the Tokai Region.

Comments: Large scale supermarkets and convenience stores must revamp their competition strategies.

2 Sep. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical to introduce “Anmerutsu” in the US markets at last at the 50th anniversary of its market release

Antiphlogistic balm “Anmerutsu”, which has been in the market for 50 years since its release in 1966, is entering the US markets. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical, which is in charge of the medicine’s sale, announced that the company acquired a US company, Perfecta Products, Inc., to promote the sale of “Anmerutsu” in the US.

Comments: It’s a good idea to bring well-established medicine to new markets.


  • 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, 22 to 26 August 2016

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

22 Aug. Nursing by night without disturbing patients by light, An ear cover light developed by Shimane University

Shimane University announced that it developed an LED light for nurses to use hanged on the ear to take care of patients during the night. The wish of a nurse of the hospital attached to the medical department of the University to have a hands-free light which light up the hand without disturbing patients has come true. This lamp is a result of development with companies in Izumo city (Shimane Prefecture) and to be launched in commercial markets in the autumn.

Comments: This case convinces us that technologies find a way to be welcome in society when they are used to help people.

島根大 耳架けライト

23 Aug. UFJ Bank and Hitachi, starting experiment of the electronic check using FinTech

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Hitachi, Ltd. announced that they began demonstration experiment of electronic issuing and settlement of checks using FinTech (Information Technologies for the financial sector) in Singapore. They aim at putting the electronic check system in practical use in 2018, and plan to use it in Japan and other countries in Asia in the future.  In the experiment, so-called “block chain” technology, that encrypts business transaction records such as the settlement will be used.

Comments: The electronic check will accelerate the speed of transaction and therefore money flow in the economy.

24 Aug. The super high-quality sake “rice wine” of Y 88,000.- ($ 880.-) being exported

It costs 88,000 yen or about $ 880.- (tax-excluded) per bottle of 750 milliliters. Such a super high quality sake “Mujaku” has been put on sale. A venture company of Yamaguchi-shi and a sake producer of Iwakuni-shi, Yamaguchi ken, developed it. One thousand (1,000) bottles will be produced, out of which 250 bottles will be sold in Japan. The rest will be exported as “Rice wine” to Dubai, France, etc. Online purchase is also possible from the link here —

Comments: Sales and consumption of Sake has been shrinking in Japan since years. The sake industry must have a new strategy to appeal the sake to wider markets and a large variety of consumers.

25 Aug. Drying the clothes with high-speed wind of 300km/hour, Hitachi to release a new model of a washing and drying machine

Hitachi Appliances,Inc. is releasing a new model “BD-SV110A” of the drum-type washing and drying machine, “Heat recycling wind iron big drum slim” series in September. In addition to a major feature of this series of drying with a high speed wind of approximately 300km per an hour while steaming the clothes, it has become possible to dry the clothes with less wrinkles by improving the turn control of the drum.  The washing capacity is 11 kg. The price without TVA will be around 310,000 yen (about CHF 3000.-).

Comments: What an expensive washing machine it is!

26 Aug. Insominia treatment using the Internet,  a new cognitive-behavioral therapy without using drugs

Chiba University Hospital developed a treatment program of the insomnia using the Internet. The therapy is based on the cognitive-behavioral therapy that enables a patient to review his/her way of thinking and action without depending on medicine, while staying at home. The hospital is recruiting participants of the clinical trial to check an effect of the treatment.

Comments: It is a therapy that allows us to voluntarily work on the brain.

  • 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, 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.