Fresh & Hot from Japan, 19 to 26 May 2016

19 May. SONY to finance US venture for AI R&D

Sony Corporation announced that the company will finance “Cogitai”, a US venture of the artificial intelligence (AI) development, to start collaboration. The amount of investment is not released.  The purpose is to integrate  knowledge from outside to be prepared for the times when AI is incorporated in household appliances. “AIBO” (Aibo), a dog robot sold by Sony was equipped with face and the sound recognition sensors, which were later applied for TV and digital cameras. Sony plans to feed results of the collaboration into future products.

Comments: The era of AI is coming close.

20 May. “The Japanese Nobel Prize winners, majority is on the achievements made by less than 45 years old” said the white paper on science and technology

The Cabinet approved the 2016 edition of the white paper on science and technology. The white paper contains a detailed analysis of all the 16 Japanese Nobel Prize winners after the year 2000. It was found that most of the achievements that lead to the Nobel Prize had been accomplished by the age of 45 in majority of the cases. The white paper concluded that the support to young researcher s was important.

Comments: It is also reported that all the researchers were in a stable post with a long term contract. This proves that a precarious situation on which many young researchers presently have to stay does harm to the development of science and technology.

23 May. 3000 participated in a disaster drill of earthquake, organised by an university in Kumamoto in the summer heat

The Kumamoto Gakuen University (Chuo-ku, Kumamoto-shi) performed the disaster drill that assumed an earthquake. The drill was planned to enhance crisis management at the time of the disaster, having taken a lesson from the Kumamoto earthquake that recorded seismic intensity of a little over six in the city. Approximately 3,000 students and staff of the university participated in the drill despite a very hot day that recorded 30 degrees in the mid-day.

Comments: The drill must have been efficient when people still strongly remember the fear of the earthquake.

24 May. “No plan to have more child” said 44% of the generation raising children in Japan, the largest among those countries surveyed

A survey by the Cabinet Office found that nearly half of the people don’t plan to have more child than now. This survey is to find attitude of those in a generation of child raising in Japan, the UK, France and Sweden. The percentage of those who replied this way is largest in Japan. The result reveals that the environment for child raising is hardest in Japan among those countries surveyed.

Comments: The result is no surprise for Japanese. An increasing number of low income family, precarious employment, small houses, long time to commute, shortage of child-care facilities, overwork of women, etc. have lead to a decreasing birth rate.

25 May.  Ise-Shima Summit to start on 26th, focus on cooperation in fiscal policy

A Ministerial summit of seven major countries (G7) will start on 26 May in Japan after an interval of eight years. The Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will chair G7 plans to propose cooperation in fiscal policy to stimulate the economy. It is worth watching how much would the G7 countries are prepared to cooperate among themselves.

Comments: Let’s watch how the debate will roll out.

26 May. G7 opened in Ise-Shima region, focus on cooperation over the world economy

A Ministerial summit of seven major countries (G7) started this morning. The largest focus this time is the level of cooperation among the leading economies as to political measures to lift the world economy. The agenda also includes refugee issues and counterterrorism. The Leaders’ Declaration will be adopted on the last day, 27 May.

Comments: Anecdotally, Ise Shrine, which has not been known outside Japan despite its cultural values, may see a large number of foreign visitors after G7.

  • 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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