Fresh & Hot from Japan, 16 to 23 June 2016

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

16 Jun. Pokemon in Chinese, from its release in Nov. to support 8 languages 

“Pocket Monster”, nicknamed as Pokemon, will include a Chinese version for the first time from its new world-wide release planned on 18 November. In addition to English, French, etc., Pokemon will be available in 8 languages. Nintendo, vendor of Pokemon, thus plans to develop the overseas markets that may keep growing.

Comments: Language is a key to easy access for a growing number of international lovers of comic and games.

17 Jun. Mitsubishi Motors to pay 100,000 yen per car as compensation of fuel consumption camouflage

Mitsubishi Motors plans to pay compensation of flat 100,000 yen to those customers who own the four models of light cars for which the company camouflaged the fuel consumption (including those cars sold to Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. as OEM) . The compensation is to cover costs of gasoline paid more than needed due to the fact that the fuel consumption was not as stated in a catalogue.

Comments: It is a trivial solution. The compensation may not rebuild the trust by consumers lost due to the false reporting of the fuel consumption.

20 Jun. Two nuclear power generators of over 40 years old to obtain authorization to extend operation for 20 years, two units of Takahama nuclear plant

Two nuclear power generators of Takahama Nuclear Power Plant owned by Kansai Electric Power Co., which are more than 40 years old, is likely to obtain authorization of driving extension for 20 years. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission consults with an ordinary assembly about a result of examination in the afternoon of 20th. This case will be the first extension authorization under the new regulation established after an accident of Fukushima first Nuclear Power Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. that limits the life of the nuclear power generators in principle to be 40 years.

Comments: What is the new regulation for if an extension is granted without hurdles? Die the Japanese take lessons from the disaster of Fukushima Nuclear Plant?

21 Jun. “Robots for home use will come true in 15 years”, said the chief of Toyota subsidiary of AI research

Mr. Gill Pratt, the top person of Toyota research institute (TRI), an AI (artificial intelligence) subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, said, “We wish to apply technologies to manufacture automobiles to other areas. I trust that the home robots will be used caring of the aged, etc. will be realized in 15 years”.

Comments: Let’s see what will be possible and what will be human roles which robots can’t take.

22 Jun. 11,000 personal information outflown from an e-commerce site of a women’s journal, “ViVi”

Kodansha, a major publishing company in Japan, announced that the personal information of approximately 11,000 members were flown outside the its e-commerce system  of its monthly women’s journal, “ViVi”, due to an unjust access.   Kodansha said that the credit card information was not included in the stolen date, and that the company had sent an email of the apology to those whose data had been stolen. The publishing company has not received any report of damage from its e-commerce members.

Comments: This incident is the second one after JTB in the past one month, who had the customer information stolen. One may doubt there could be other cases that are not publicly announced yet.

23 Jun. No conversation between Prime Minister and Mr. Onaga, Governonr of Okinawa, deepening discord observed on the day of the Okinawa memorial service

The Okinawa “day of the memorial service” was held while the shock of the killing of a women by an ex-soldier of  U.S. army was continued. The Governor of Okinawa-ken, Mr. Takeshi Onaga clarified again in his speech in the memorial service his position against the relocation of Futenma Air Station of the UA Army (currently located in Ginowan-shi, Okinawa) to Henoko. In contrast, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was also present in the memorial service, does not change the relocation plan. The discord of the two only deepens further.

Comments: Okinawa issue is rooted in Japanese history since the WWII. 

  • 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, 10 to 15 June 2016

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

10 Jun. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ to issue an original virtual currency for the public in next autumn

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ publishes an original virtual currency “MUFG coin” currently under development for wide users in next autumn. MUFG coin is a part of the bank’s”Fintech”, financial services based on information technology (IT), and is the first case in the world in which a major bank issues a virtual coin for the general public. The virtual currency will allow users to exchange it between themselves easily or to exchange it with foreign currencies at a low fee. A wide variety of use of the virtual currency may develop by the full-scale entry of a major bank such as the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Comments: It is an interesting move by a major bank in Japan. It remains to be seen how much a conservative bank may explore potential of virtual currencies without changing the rigid paradigm of banking business.

13 Jun. The negative business perception of large companies two quarters in a row, April to June

 According to the quarterly survey by the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Finance, the business forecast index of large companies in the period from April to June was negative 7.9 for all the industries. The negative result continued for two quarters in a row. The negative value is larger than the one in the first quarter due to the suspension of production by the Kumamoto earthquake, and strong yen in international currency markets.

Among large companies, the business perception of the manufacturing industry largely became worse than before with -11.1. This is due to a large decrease of the index in the automobile and information and communication apparatuses (such as smart phones) sectors. The index of the small- and medium-sized companies was -16.9 for all the industries, returning negative figures nine quarters in a row.

Comments: The economy is still gloomy. Small companies are hit much harder than large ones.

14 Jun. Clot found in 9.1% of people, examination by doctors of 2000 people staying in the refuge after the Kumamoto earthquake

A team of doctors and other medical service professionals who have been working to prevent the “economy-class syndrome” (lungs embolus symptoms) as a consequence of the Kumamoto earthquake released results of the work that they found the clot which could cause the pulmonary embolism in 9.1% of 2,000 people examined. The likelihood of having the clot is high in particular among those women who are more than 70 years old, and 70% or more of the patients are women.

Comments: This news makes me speechless. Could someone invent medicine to recover from the worn-out feet.

15 Jun. An election of governor of Tokyo on 31 July at the earliest, Mr. Masuzoe is resigning

Governor of Tokyo, Yoichi Masuzoe submitted the resignation through his staff to Chairperson of assembly of metropolitan Tokyo.  Over the financial scandals such as using public finds for private purposes, both the ruling and opposition parties of the assembly have agreed on the submission of the no-confidence motion. With this move, Mr. Masuzoe appears to have decided that he could not stay in the Governors seat as the motion would be approved in the second ordinary assembly this afternoon.

Comments: It is a shame that two Governors in a row resigned due to inappropriate use of money in Tokyo. Voters will have huge responsibility in deciding whom to vote at the forthcoming election.

  • 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, 2 to 8 June 2016

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

1 Jun. Learning drill like a game on the Internet, developed by Gakken to improve motivation

The Gakken Holdings will start new learning drills services on the Internet in July. The services are addressed to children of primary and junior high schools, and have game characteristics so that children will obtain custom of learning. The Gakken Holdings plans to increase the number of customers of its main business of tutoring school by attracting potential customers by an easy-access service such as the online learning drill service.

Comments: Would an online game motivate children to study?

2 Jun. “We’ll dispatch robots to factories that plan production increase”, a new business of Kawasaki Heavy Industries

Kawasaki Heavy Industries launched a new business to dispatch robots to work on the production line of factories that need to increase production temporarily. By dispatching robots instead of human work force, the company plans to offer solutions for the shortage of work force on the shop floor.

Comments: Robots to replace human workers — it was an SF dream. Now the dream may gradually come true taking such an avenue.

3 Jun. Russia to designate the Northern Territories as a special economic zone, aiming at promotion of fish farming and tourism

The Russian Ministry of Far East Development announced the policy to create a special economic zone in the Kuril Islands (Name of the Chishima Islands and the Northern Territories in Russia) before the end of this year. The Government intends to promote industry such as fish farming or tourism in Etorofu and Kunashir Islands. Expectation of Japanese investment in the region is increasing in Russia after Japan and Russia summit meeting of May. The country may demand Japan an economic cooperation in the new special economic zone.

Comments: Japan should take advantage of this opportunity to push interests of regional development forward in order to create a realistic and feasible solutions with Russia over this disputed territories  since the end of the WWII.

6 Jun. A number of “Drone class” being held in cities, responding demand for practice due to regulations limiting areas of flying 

An increasing number of fields and flight schools of a small robot plane (Drone) is open in Japan. While the Government included drone in the growth strategy of the country, the drone regulations increased due to accidents and other troubles. As a result, it has become difficult to fly drones in urban areas. This gave rise to demand of companies investigating business opportunities using a drone to practice flying the drone in safe zones.

Comments: It is an excellent business idea to provide the space and course for future drone service providers. While it is a nice market, an increasing use of drone will provide stable demand.

7 Jun. Honda factory in Kumamoto to partly start production in June, expecting the full operation in August

Honda is restarting production of motorcycels in the Kumamoto factory (Ohzu-machi, Kumamoto), which has been stopped since the Kumamoto earthquake, though partly by the end of this month. The factory is the only base of motorcycle production in Japan. The company is starting some of the 50 models and plans the full-scale production in the middle of August.

Comments: It is a good sign of economic recovery from the Kumamoto earthquake.

8 Jun. Real growth rate of GDP increased by 0.5% from the previous quarter, in January to March period

A real growth rate of GDP that excludes the influence of price fluctuation increased by 0.5% in the first quarter 2016 as compared to the rate in the previous quarter (Oct. – Dec. 2015), according to the second breaking news announced by the Cabinet Office. The rate is equivalent to the 1.9% increase if converted into the annual rate. The 0.5% figure was revised upward from 0.4% increase (1.7% increase in annual rate conversion) announced in the breaking news released in May. It is the first positive growth in the past two quarters.

Comments: Let’s see how the economic status will roll out.

  • 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.