Fresh & hot from Japan, 18 to 24 Feb. 2016

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

18 Feb.  No more loss of food, Yahoo Auction Japan to sell leftover food at discount price

Yahoo Japan announced that the company will start selling the food close to the limit of the date of the sale or out of the season, using its auction site “Yahuoku!”. The company will sell the food at the discount price by 30 to 90% , thus contributing to reduce the volume of the loss of food. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries estimates the annual food loss would be five to eight million tons in Japan.

Comment: This business is possible thanks to very efficient delivery systems all over Japan. Otherwise, it could be a risky business, as Yahoo can’t deliver the food that has gone over the limit of the sales date.

19 Feb.   Daytime flights between Haneda and NYC will start, while reduced services from Narita anticipated

The Governments of Japan and the US agreed to increase the flights from Haneda to the US on 18 February. The agreement included permission of daytime flights (departing and arriving between 6:00 and 23:00) . Consequently, it is expected that daytime flights between Haneda and the East Coast of the US, namely NYC, will start from the autumn. While this will improve convenience of business passengers, decrease of services from Narita, another major international airport serving to Tokyo, is anticipated.

Comment: It is natural that demand to improve convenience of Haneda Airport is high, due to  a good access to downtown Tokyo. Airports are in competition with each other, domestically and internationally. Narita airport needs strategy to improve its importance in the airport systems in all over East Asia.

22 Feb.  Learning English at Elementary School, during the break or summer holidays?, according to MEXT

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT) released examples to include English in the school calendar. This is to demonstrate possible ways for elementary schools to include two school hours of English (one school hour is 45 minutes) every week. English will become compulsory for the 5th and 6th grade schoolchildren from 2020.

Comment: While it’s good to start learning English from the elementary school, a major problem is that school calendar is already full due to other compulsory subjects. Revisiting of the necessity of present volume of  existing subjects may be needed.

23 Feb.  Spike for prosthetic legs developed by a manufacturer jointly with Mizuno, the first Made in Japan

Imasen Engineering Corporation (, a manufacturer specialised in prosthetic legs (Kakamigahara-shi, Gifu), has developed spikes that may be attached to prosthetic legs, jointly with Mizuno Corporation (sports equipment and sportswear company, of Osaka). The spikes may be attached to the prosthetic legs manufacturer by other companies. Imagine also developed a special cover for the spike so that the athletes may not be obliged to remove the spike to walk in areas where spikes are prohibited, such as toilets in arenas. The company aims that the spikes will be adopted at the forthcoming Paralympic in Rio de Janeiro.

The spike has been developed upon advice by Mr. Atsuhi Yamamoto, a silver medalist of the long jump at Beijing Paralympic in 2008.

Comment: The core competence of Imasen is mechatronics to support human beings. For example, its group company produces various device for automobile seats. It is an excellent example that a good technology helps the handicapped, when user’s experience is fully taken into account.

24 Feb. The US, UK and French Ministers of Foreign Affairs, visiting the Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima

The ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries that own nuclear weapons, the US, the UK and France, would be visiting the Peace Memorial Park located in Hiroshima city. They are visiting Hiroshima to attend the meeting for Ministers of Foreign Affairs to be held prior to the G7 Ise Shima Summit. If the plan comes true, it will be the first visit by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries that own nuclear weapons.

Comment: It is always good for anyone to see in reality the consequences of the nuclear weapons on people and the city.


  • 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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