Fresh & Hot from Japan, 21 to 25 November 2016

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

21 Nov. “I can study in the evening!”, Light of hope in Tanzania from a venture born in University of Tokyo

The technique developed in the University of Tokyo has brought the light to African villages which there was no electricity. Digital Grid, a venture based on the technology developed in the University of Tokyo, has been running a business to rend to villagers an LED lantern which was charged with a required minutes worth of the electricity generated by solar panels. The electricity is charged by a remote charging system operated via the Internet by a branch office of Digital Grid and lanterns may be rented at village kiosks. This service is rapidly spreading in Tanzania.

Comments: Sale of the electricity like the water in a pet bottle, mobile money coupled with need for the electricity have given birth to innovation!

(Photo from Wassha corporate web site)

22 Nov. One meter of tsunami at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, all the staff evacuated

Due to the earthquake originated in offshore of the Fukushima Prefecture in the early morning of 22nd, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) manually stopped the operation of facilities which transferred the contaminated water pooled underground of buildings of the first Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. TEPCO said that the company stopped transportation of the water because contaminated water might leak when being  transferred in case a water pipe might be broken by the rolling of the earthquake.

Comments: It is only horrible that tsunami attacked the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant again.

23 Nov. Nobel Laureate Professor Amano to develop the next-generation technology with his senior disciple

Professor Hiroshi Amano, Nagoya University, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics of 2014 for the development of the blue light emitting diode (LED) will establish a laboratory jointly with National Institute for Materials Science to benefit from gallium nitride which he studied for as material of LED for the next-generation technology development. The representative of the two organizations announced the plan in a pressroom of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Comments: One good work gives birth to another development.

24 Nov. A wearable terminal to stick to the skin developed, maybe disposable?

A team of researchers led by Kuniharu Takei, a Research Associate of Osaka Prefecture University, has developed a wearable terminal to stick to the skin like a thin adhesive plaster, which is used to check health conditions. They published the research results in a US science journal, Science Advances. It is said to be possible to make a product with a disposable sensor, because of a low cost.

Comments: A number of application may be possible!

(Photo from Mr. Takei’s web.)

25 Nov. To reduce burden on the back, a robot suit was introduced for luggage handlers of Haneda Airport Limousine bus

Ten “Robot suit HAL” developed by CYBERDYNE, a venture company of Tsukuba-shi, Ibaragi Prefecture, were adopted  by Airport Transport Service, which operats buses to and from airports. Luggage handlers working at bus terminals in Haneda Airport started wearing the robot suit around their waist when loading and unloading of the heavy baggages of customers.

Comments: CYBERDYNE is a spin-off company of Tsukuba University. It is a good example of the use of robot technologies for those needed.

  • 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, 14 to 18 November 2016

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

14 Nov. Farms of mandarin oranges are switching to avocado in Matsuyama-shi

Matsuyama-shi, a major production site of mandarin oranges of Ehime Prefectur, is promoting cultivation of avocado, in response to the warming climate. Abandoned farm land of mandarin oranges is used for this project. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries posts the project in its web site as a main example of an adaptation plan to the global warming.

Comments: The global warming necessitate farmers to change crops.

15 Nov. Over 80% of hit rate, diagnosis of disease of eye ground by AI to enable early detection

Nagoya City University and an information system company, Cresco Ltd., developed a video diagnosis system using the artificial intelligence (AI) to quickly detect disease of the eye ground. The system diagnoses a disease with probability of more than 80%. The development team intends to use the system for medical examination such as medical checkup.

Comments: It’s fantastic!

16 Nov.  Cabinet Office testing autonomous cruising over the Tomei and the Metropolitan Expressways in the next autumn

The Cabinet Office office has announced that Government begins a large-scale proof demonstration test the autonomous cruising on more than 300 km of expressways, including the Metropolitan expressway, the Tomei Expressway, and the Joban Expressway from the next autumn. The Government will ask Toyota Motor Corporation and Honda, Nissan Motor Company, etc. for participation and aim at performance improvements  by focusing mainly on the issues that may be overcome through cooperative development by the participating automobile companies, such as maps to be installed in an automatic cruising car and a system that prevents malfunction.

Comments: Autonomous cruising may not be a dream any more.

17 Nov.  Public transportation companies are experimenting instant translation system, aiming at Tokyo Olympic Games

An increasing number of public transportation companies are experimenting the state-of-the-art translation systems, that instantly translate the spoken language into foreign languages and put them in voice. The public and private sectors are working together anticipating and increasing number of foreign visitors towards Tokyo Olympic Games. The systems would enable automatic translation of simple conversation often used during the travel.

Comments: Tokyo Olympic Games push forward opening the cultural gate of Japan to international communities.

18 Nov. “Will work for TPP to come into effect early” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Kishida at APEC Leaders’ Summit

Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida stated at the 2016 APEC Leaders’ Summit being held in Lima, Peru, “It was important for all the countries work to create an environment for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to come into effect early.” By this, he demonstrated the Japanese policy to push forward TPP, despite opposition by Mr. Trump, the President-elect go the US.

Comments: Why does the Japanese Government insists on TPP, despite withdrawal of the US, who originally proposed TPP and the largest economy among the economic of the Pacific Rim?

  • 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, 7 to 11 November 2016

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

7 Nov. Drone, the aerial hot battle over the God flag by 20 brave men

“The drone God flag contest” was held in Minamisoma-shi, Fukushima prefecture on 6th. The contest is to catch the God flag by drones, modeled after a wild horse chase of Soma, a traditional event of the region in which samurais on galloping horse to compete to catch the God flag.

Comments: It’s an interesting idea to replicate horse racing by drones!


8 Nov. “Fukushima to be a world pioneer of energy revolution”, the 1st World Community Power Conference

The 1st World Community Power Conference (WCPC2016) was held in Fukushima on 3-4 November, aiming at investigation of ways for communities to promote the use of renewable energy, such as distributed power supply. A total of 620 people involved in renewable energy participated in the conference from worldwide. The WCPC 2016 launched a message that Fukushima, a disaster site of unprecedented nuclear plant accident 5 years ago, will entrust the next generation with the society that will not depend on the atomic energy.

Comments: WCPC 2016 is an initiative by local municipalities. It’s unusual for Japan and worth seeing how it will roll out.

9 Nov. “May take some measures if JPY’s value keep rising after the US Presidential election, said Deputy Vice‐Minister of Financial Affairs, Asakawa

Ministry of Finance, Financial Services Agency and the Bank of Japan held an urgent meeting in the afternoon of 9th and discussed possible reactions of Japan to a rising value of Japanese Yen (JPY) and falling price of stocks, in case the Republican candidate Trump may become dominant in the U.S. presidential election. Masashi Asakawa, Deputy Vice‐Minister of Financial Affairs stated to the press, “We will take necessary measures if this moment would continue, after careful observation”. This implies that Japanese Government would not hesitate to intervene in currency markets, should a rapid rise of the value of JPY may not cease.

Comments: We’ll see how market of JPY would react soon.

10 Nov. Smartphones made by “SANYO” to be marketed in India, following a steady sales performance of  liquid crystalline TV 

It was known that Panasonic is preparing the sale of smartphones in “SANYO” brand in India from next year. The plan  is to grow the sale of smartphones in the Indian market where economy is growing, by addressing a market for low-price products available only via an online sale via the Internet.

Comments:  Low-cost & high performance smart phones would be a good fit for Asian markets.

11 Nov. Groping for diplomatic strategy with Trump, Japan the first among G7 States to start diplomatic discussion on phone

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed diplomatic issues on phone with Mr. Donald Trump, the next US President, and agreed to meet in New York on 17th Nov. The Prime Minister wishes to reconfirm to firmly maintain the Japan-U.S. alliance, which Mr. Trump insisted to review. Thus the Japanese Government has started “the diplomacy with the Trump Administration” by groping, without having a strong tie with him.

Comments: One can only say, “Wait and see”.

  • 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, 31 October to 4 November 2016

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

31 Oct. Cleaning, cooking, and more, four tasks of hotel business taken by one person, hotel management reform by Hoshino Resort of inns

Hoshino Resort is known as revitalizing business of ryokans (Japanese style inns). A major strength of the company is “multi-tasking” of employees who take more than two roles, while, in other hotels, those in charge of the front desk takes tasks at the front desk and those in charge of cleaning do cleaning only. With the improvement of employee productivity, Hoshino Resort opened a ryokan in Tokyo last summer and intends to develop ryokan business overseas.

Comments: Multi-tasking reduced redundant time of employees. This management may be an interesting model of hotel business.

2 Nov. A major vendor suspended sales of some routers due to a possible abuse of the use for cyber attack

I-O Data Device Inc. (Kanazawa), one of the major Japanese computer peripheral manufacturers, suspended sales of some of its products, due to a possible abuse of use of its equipment for a new means of cyber attack, that utilizes the equipment used for IoT (the Internet of Things). There are a number of cyber attack cases recently in and outside Japan in which device for IoT is infected by virus and used for “DDos” attack.

Comments: IoT could be more vulnerable than human-to-human Internet. We need wisdom to prevent this new way of cyber attack.

3 Nov. Willingness of sending by family budget worsened for the first time in three months, said the Cabinet Office

According to the  consumer behavior survey of October undertaken by the Cabinet Office, the consumer sentiment index for private households (seasonal adjustment level) that indicates willingness to spend by the family budget turned worse to be 42.3 points, down from the last month by 0.7 points for the first time in three months. The Cabinet Office concluded “the slow upward trend continued” and maintained its basic observation to be “the movement of the improvement is observed”.

Comments: Japanese economy is still fragile, while moving upwards.

4 Nov. “World Tsunami Awareness Day” is the 5th Nov., disaster drill involving 420,000 people undertaken in Wakayama

One day before the first “World Tsunami Awareness Day” on 5 Nov. established by the United Nations, a disaster drill was held in Wakayama prefecture, involving about 420,000 people who are mostly in public facilities, such as schools.

Comments: “World Tsunami Awareness Day” is a good idea to regularly alert us to be prepared for the disaster.



  • 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.