Fresh & Hot from Japan, 26 to 30 September 2016

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

26 Sep. “Donai shimashitan?”, video to encourage to help overseas visitors created in Osaka

A foreigner is stuck at a ticket office of a train station, while there is a long que behind her — Osaka tourist bureau created a film to invite citizens to help overseas visitors in trouble, “Donai shimashitan? (May I help you, in Osaka dialect)”.

Comments: It’s a good initiative. Hope the same film in other languages of major foreign visitors of Osaka will be made, such as Korean, Chinese, Hindu, etc.

27 Sep. Microplastic garbage also in the Antarctic Ocean, confirmed for the first time by researchers of Kyushu University and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT)

Ministry of the Environment announced that it was confirmed for the first time by the investigation undertaken by the Japanese study team that pollution of minute plastic garbage “micro plastic” extended to the Antarctic Ocean. It is worried that the drift of micro plastic with size of less than 5 millimeters may cause adverse influences on the ecosystem.

Comments: It is worrisome and may indicate even harder damages being made in other parts of the ocean worldwide.


Photo: Investigation using a net in the Antarctic Ocean with an iceberg floating afar. (Photo by TUMSAT)

28 Sep. Mega solar power generator floating in reservoir, supplying the power for 5,000 households

The surface of the water of various parts of Japan attracts attention as a business site of the solar power generation now. A floating solar power station under construction in Yamakura reservoir of Ichihara-shi, Chiba is one of them. There will be over 50,000 pieces of panels of 1.7 meters in width and 1 meter in length will float on the floated on surfaces of the water of about 180,000 square meters.

Comments: Sounds like a good idea! Just being worried about an eco-system related the water resources.

Photo: Floating solar in Kakogawa-shi, Kyocera

29 Sep. Seek approval of the Paris Agreement during the current Diet session, said Prime Minister Abe

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, in response to a question by Natsuo Yamaguchi of the Komeito, in the House of Councilors, that he planned to seek approval of the Diet on “the Paris agreement”, that established a set of the international rules to prevent the global warming. This is in line with the Japanese policy to contribute to a serious problem of the global community, the climate change.

Comments: Japan is slow to approve the Paris Agreement. 

30 Sep. Production index of manufacturing sector, 1.5% increase in August “slow improvement”

According to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the preliminary figures of the production index of manufacturing sector (2010 = 100, with seasonal adjustment) of August was 97.9, up by 1.5% from July. The Ministry raised an overall assessment to “the movement of a slow improvement”, taking into account the decreasing stock.

Comments: A bit of hope, but, on the other hand, the consumer spending continues decreasing.

  • 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, 19 to 23 September 2016

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

19 Sep.  Not so transparent, a purchase system of the power from solar photovoltaic generation, sometimes needed to go through alumnus as an intermediary to sell the power to major electricity companies

The system established by the Government for major power companies to purchase the electric power generated by solar photovoltaic generation is not functioning well. Some solar photovoltaic power generation company asked alumnus of a major power generation company (a buyer) for a personal introduction to the buyer, and others being irritated due to lack of progress, while purchase of solar generated power by major power generating companies are not making progress. Experts of the purchase system point out that the process is largely left to discretion of the major power generators, whereas there is no structure of the information disclosure.

Comments: The same problem arise in any negotiations between the giant and small companies, and where the giant is reluctant. 

20 Sep. From Plastic models, figures to drones, All Japan Model Hobby Show

The 56th All Japan Model Hobby Show, where one will enjoy large variety of plastic models and figures, miniature trains and drone flights, will be held in Tokyo Big Sight of Koto-ku, Tokyo on 24, 25th. The event is organised by the Japan plastic model industry cooperative. Sixty-six (66) companies will exhibit new products. There will be a corner where one can see drone flight or participate in “Model airplane class for kids”. Admission will be 1,000 yen, and free for junior high school students or younger.

Comments: “You may find hobbys you don’t know here.” is the catch phrase of the event.


21 Sep. Level of underground water of the First Fukushima Nuclear Plant arrived on surface, after the heavy rain by the typhoon 16

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced that the level of underground water in the area near the sea of the First Fukushima Nuclear Plant had arrived on the same level as the ground. TEPCO will analyze the quality of water and the seawater, as the underground water polluted by radioactive material may have mixed with the rain and drifted to the sea.

Comments: It is the terrible news. A good point is that TEPCO announced it. The company wouldn’t have done it before the disaster of the Fukushima Plant in 2011.

22 Sep. His Majesty the Emperor harvested the rice in the rice field of the Imperial Palace

His Majesty the Emperor harvested the rice grown in the rice field located beside the biology research institute  of the Imperial Palace. He harvested 50 stalks of Mangetsumochi (a kind of the glutinous rice) which he had planted in May. According to the Imperial Household Agency, the crop of this year is “like other years”. A part of the harvested rice will be dedicated to the Ise Jingu (the shrine of the Imperial Family)

Comments: The harvesting of the rice is one of the traditional activities of the Emperor inherited from generations.

23 Sep. Sharp to re-enter the TV business in Europe, “Will do what I said”, said CEO, Mr. Tai

About one month has passed since Sharp re-started under the new management after the acquisition by Foxconn Technology Group of Taiwan. Mr. Seigo TAI, CEO of Sharp, announced that the company will re-enter the TV business in Europe, as he had promised. He considers “making things happen as said” is essential to gain the trust back to Sharp, and requires all the employees to achieve recovery plans.

Comments: It is worth a watch if a Taiwanese company well known to its severe cons-cutting and dynamic culture would make a Japanese establishment Sharp re-born.

  • 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, 12 to 16 September 2016

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

12 Sep. Table tennis robot, FORPHEUS by Omron, recorded in Guinness Book as the first robot table tennis tutor

Omron announced that the table tennis robot developed by the company, FORPHEUS, was included in Guinness world record 2017 as “the first table tennis coach robot”.

Comments: It is an excellent use of Japanese traditional competence in building things with precision.


13 Sep. Renesas to acquire Intersil  (US), enforcing semiconductors for automobiles

A semiconductor major, Renesas Electronics Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) announced that the company would acquire a US semiconductor vendor, Intersil Corporation (California, the US), to create a subsidiary. The purchase price is approximately 321,900 million yen. The acquisition will be complete by the end of June, 2017, after approval of the regulatory authorities of the countries concerned.  At a press conference, the President and CEO of Renesas, Mr. Bunsei KURE said, “We wish to increase sales and profit by combining the strength of Intersil and Renesas together”.

Comments: Semiconductor vendors are moving fast to become solution providers, along with rapid increase of ICT use in automobiles and IoT.

14 Sep. Banking transaction just by showing your palm, Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank to start a new ID checking system for the first tome in Japan

Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank (Ogaki-shi, Gifu) is starting from the next spring a new ATM system, that will check ID by reading a palm of the user to allow almost all the services, including cash withdrawal. The system will be available in all the branches. Customer will not need name stamps, bankbooks or bank cards any more. According to the bank, this service is the first in Japan.

Comments: The banks have taken lessons from Tsunami, earthquake, etc. that there are situations in which customers cannot bring stamps or bank cards, even though they desperately need money.

15 Sep. VR in spotlight, new game machines and softwares, Tokyo Game Show 

A global scale game exhibition, Tokyo Game Show (organised by the Association of Computer Entertainment) began at Makuhari Messe in Chiba city  on 15th. Virtual reality (VR, virtual reality) is the star of the event this year.  It is expected that 230,000 people will visit the show during four days from 15 to 28 September.

Comments: Tokyo is the center of computer games, drawn upon anime tradition!

16 Sep. Comfortable nodding by robots, Yamaha developed a new talking technology

A major vendor of musical instruments, Yamaha (Hamamatsu-shi) developed a technique to make a robot comfortably nod “making agreeable responses”. The robot analyzes volume human voice, speed, pause, etc. of human voice, and adjust timing to respond. The technology allows the robot to respond as if it has understood the feeling of a speaker (human being) and is expected to be allied to  toys or car navigation systems.

Comments: This may be another step forward to human-like robots.

  • 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, 5 to 9 September 2016

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

5 Sep. Real wages of July up by 2.0%, increase for 6 months in a row

The real wages index indicating the movement of the wage without influence of the price fluctuation increased by 2.0% in July as compared to the same month a year earlier, according to the monthly work statistics report (breaking news) of July announced by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. This is an increase for six month in a row. Growth that continued for six consecutive months was experienced for the first time since the last time that saw the increase for 13 months in a row from March 2010 to March 2011. Falling of the consumer price index pushes up real wages.

Comments: This news is a mixture of good and bad, i.e. a wage increase pushed by falling consumer price index.

6 Sep. State subsidy of 7,600 million yen for in-company nursery schools for employees, addressed to 150 facilities

The state subsidy for 150 facilities (for 3,887 children) of “the company-led nursery schools”, which a company sets up mainly for its employees was approved. The Cabinet Office announced the result of the first call for requests for subsidy. Such nursery schools are non-registered nursery schools based on a government program newly established this year to alleviate children on a waiting list of registered nursery schools. The government aims at creating facilities for 50,000 children by the end of FY 2017 (March 2018).

Comments: Japanese system of child care facilities is complicated, having registered and non-registered nursery schools, and kinder gardens in existence housing millions of children. Streamlining such complicated system may result in less administrative burden and more resources for quality of child care.

7 Sep. The Governor of Tokyo, Koike, to propose to cut her remuneration into half to the metropolitan assembly in September

The Governor of Tokyo , Ms Yuriko Koike, decided to submit a proposal to reduce her  remuneration to a half to the metropolitan assembly opening on 28th. The reduction by half of the governor reward was one of her major campaign promises in the governor’s race in July and she examined a good timing to submit the proposal. Reactions of each party in the metropolitan assembly are to watch.

Comments: Those voted to Ms Koike expected her to do new things for Tokyo. It’s time for her to match her actions to words.

8 Sep. Warning of heavy rain may come again but when to take refuge? — Staff at aged persons’ welfare facilities are worried 

A heavy rain is anticipated again due to the typhoon coming closer in the Tohoku Region. Uneasiness is spreading in the elderly person facilities in Iwaizumi-cho, Iwate prefecture,  where 15 people died by the typhoon 10 in August.

Comments: No wonder, as typhoons are new experience in the Tohoku Region. This may be because of the global warming.

9 Sep. EV venture rising, “Sign of hit” felt by Mitsuoka Motor Co.

The venture companies which build electric vehicles (EV) are growing in Japan. Mitsuoka Motor Co. (Toyama) announced that the company started the full-scale sale of a two seater EV, “Like  -T3” (photo). While the venture companies sell EVs with characters as a strategy to be different from major automobile vendors, their challenges are weak sales force.

Comments: Small EV could grab a market between an electric bike and a small car.



  • 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, 29 August to 2 September 2016

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

29 Aug. Japanese companies heading to the last mega market, 73 MOUs in Africa after TICAD6

In connection with the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD6) held in Nairobi, Kenya, 22 Japanese companies and organizations signed 73 memorandums (MOU) with African organisations. Eighty four (84) Japanese companies participated in TICAD to appeal their presence, expecting business development in “The last mega market”.

Comments: Africa has been far and unknown for Japanese companies till recently.

30 Aug. Kubota entering the drone market for agrochemical spraying, one 2 million yen per drone

Kubota Corp., a major vendor of agricultural machinery, announced that the company would enter the market of drone (robot plane) to spray pesticides from the air by May 2017. A drone would cost around 2 million yen, and Kubota would sell 1,000 drones per year three years after the market entry to generate sales of about 2 billion yen.

Comments: Drones may be a good idea to avoid human beings to get affected by harmful ingredients of pesticides.

31 Aug. Production index of manufacturing sector remained flat in July, no renewal of trend assessment

The preliminary figure of the production index of manufacturing sector (2010 = 100, seasonal adjustment) of July released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry was 96.9, which remained flat since last month. The trend assessment remained unchanged, being “Fluctuating, while some improvements are seen”.

Comments: We only expect economic recovery.

1 Sep. FamilyMart absorbed UNY, the number of the combined convenience stores become next to that of Seven-Eleven

FamilyMart and UNY group holding performed business integration on 1st September to give rise to UNY FamilyMart Holdings. A large distribution group is born, which has the second largest number of convenience stores and super markets strong in the Tokai Region.

Comments: Large scale supermarkets and convenience stores must revamp their competition strategies.

2 Sep. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical to introduce “Anmerutsu” in the US markets at last at the 50th anniversary of its market release

Antiphlogistic balm “Anmerutsu”, which has been in the market for 50 years since its release in 1966, is entering the US markets. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical, which is in charge of the medicine’s sale, announced that the company acquired a US company, Perfecta Products, Inc., to promote the sale of “Anmerutsu” in the US.

Comments: It’s a good idea to bring well-established medicine to new markets.


  • 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.