Fresh & hot from Japan, 11 to 17 Feb. 2016

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

11 Feb.  Operation of four major airports in Hokkaido to private hands from 2019, MLIT

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) has set out a plan to assign a private company to operate the four major state-owned airports in Hokkaido. The MLIT will start negotiation with local municipalities aiming at the start of the privatization in 2019. It will be the first time for the MLIT to privatize the operation of national airports altogether at the same time.

The airports concerned are; Shin Chitose, Hakodate, Kushiro and Wakkanai.

Comment: Privatization of an airport operation has been increasing in Japan. A major issue has been reduction of rent of the airport building as well as landing fees. It is worth monitoring if the privatisation of airport operation will lead to cost reduction.

13 Feb.  Rakuten, leader of e-commerce in Japan, shows slow-down of the growth, while Yahoo and Amazon are catching up

Rakuten, the largest e-commerce company in Japan, announced that the total of the domestic circulation for December, 2015 period was 2,675 billion yen, the highest record for the company. Although Rakuten remains to be the number one in e-commerce, its growth rate has been decreasing, allowing its rivals, such as Yahoo and Amazon, to come closer.

Comment: This may signal the time for innovation in sales for Rakuten.

15 Feb.  Flight map for the Drone, Zenrin started a user experiment

Zenrin Co. Ltd.,  a major  Japanese map publisher, has started a user experiment of an online map service that displays areas where a small pilotless plane (Drone) may fly. The company will make the map available to the public on the dedicated web site ( till mid-March to seek opinions of users. The market launch of the map service will be in April.

Comment: Zenrin has spotted a business opportunity arising from the enactment of the amendments of the Aviation Act. Drones are required to obtain permission before flying, according to the amendment.

16 Feb.  Fast reading of e-books, reading 1.3 times faster assisted by an IT system

Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP), the largest printing company in Japan has been developing a system to enable readers to read the electronic books faster than average speed. While the key of a fast-reading technic of paper books lies in the training of eye movement, it is an information technology (IT) that help readers. DNP has been testing the system in cooperation with the Future University Hakodate (Hokkaido) since 2012. DNP says that the system will allow to read 1.3 times faster than usual by moving and relocating the letters and words on the e-books.

Comment: Letters moves on a page of an e-book, as seen in a video clip attached to the original article. Letters are not fixed on the paper any more. They dance and help busy readers to read fast!

17 Feb.  Despite economic slow-down, visitors from China doubled in January year on year

The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) has announced that the number of visitors from People’s Republic of China (PRC) had reached to 475,000 in January, 2.1 times more than a year ago. Compared with the number of visitors in December last year, this number was an increase by about 40% . The rapid growth thus continues, despite a decreased economic growth in China.

Comment: No surprise that Chinese speaking sellers are in every tourist spots, such as mobile phone rental shops at airports, electrical appliance shops in Akihabara, Tokyo, etc.

  • 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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