Fresh & hot from Japan, 8 to 13 Jan. 2016

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

8 Jan. Training by Virtual Reality system — preparation for operation of Naraha Center for reactor decommissioning, Fukushima 

Japan Atomic Energy Agency is using the VR (virtual reality) system at its Naraha Sector of Research and Development located in Naraha-Machi, Fukushima, to train the personnel who will be involved in the decommissioning of the reactors of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

Wearing special glasses, one may look at the state of the nuclear reactor built indoor three-dimensionally and assess the volume of radiation when working inside of the building. The VR system will be used for training and planning of the decommissioning work.

Comment: Using VR for dangerous tasks is a great step forward in the use of the information technology (IT). A remaining challenge is that the decommissioning must be done by human hands inside of the hazardous building. I’d expect that in the near future robots for this task will be created and work inn combination with the VR systems.

9 Jan.  A Japanese beer giant, Asahi Group Holdings (HD), acquiring two major beer brands in Europe

Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., a holding company of one of the largest beer companies in Japan, may start negotiations to acquire Peroni (Italy ) and Grolsch (The Netherlands) soon. The acquisition is estimated to cost USD 3.4 billion.

Comment: An impact of the aging of population on the beer business is a major trigger of this move. The volume of beer consumption in Japan has been decreasing since 1994, though it is still the most consumed alcoholic beverage. This is mainly due to a  decrease in the beverage consumption in general, shrinking domestic market because of the aging of population, and shift of consumer preference to other non-traditional drinks. Asahi’s planned acquisition of the European brands is against such a domestic market situation.

11 Jan. Legal consultation web site is a big hit

Legal consultation via the web sites is hitting legal needs of a number of people in Japan. These are operated by lawyers for free or some fees, depending on a site operator. “While the face to face consultation is the best, the web consulting system provides the first step for people to access to the legal experts.”, said some layers.

Comment: The web provides an easy access to a professional service that used to be considered expensive and for special occasion only.  A major challenge for the service providers (layers) is to create a business model to grow their real business out of free or low-cost consultation.

12 Jan. Increasing number of citizens visiting the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The number of visitors are increasing in the decommissioning site of the reactors of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Among the 16,000 visitors since the disaster in March 2011, it is remarkable that the number of citizens are increasing. Their major interest is to witness the decommissioning in order to think what the Japanese society should do with the nuclear power in the future.

Comment: It is critical to have the first-hand experience with what is going on after the nuclear disaster. The visit would provide a good opportunity of public education for citizens to create a meaningful debate on the nuclear power in society.

13 Jan. Cyber attack at Univ. of Hokkaido

The University of Hokkaido (Sapporo) announced that a server of its career center had been attacked in December. Personal data of over ten thousand people, including the one of present and past students, could have been stolen.

Comment: Outflow of personal data happened several times in Japan in recent years. Business opportunities of data protection specialists are increasing.


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




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