Fresh & hot from Japan, from 20 to 24 February, 2017

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

20 Feb. Developing use of Drone, getting rid of deers, monitoring of marathon race, etc.

Areas of use of the small robot plane, Drone, is expanding. Extermination of birds and animals that eat farm products, weather observation of high above the sky, medical support, etc. The expectation of those concerned is growing that Drone may enable what has been impossible in the past.

Comments: While Drone may bring benefits to farmers, hunters and a variety of people, ecological balance should be taken into account when used for wild birds and animals.

22 Feb. “Astro Boy” to build at home to be on sale, conversation via AI also possible

Kodansha, a major publishing company in Japan, is launching a weekly magazine in April, “Let’s make Astro Boy!”, which will allow the readers to build a robot of “Astro Boy” at home if they collect all the pieces that will be attached to each of the series of 70 issues. NTT DOCOMO and IT major, Fuji Software, worked together to enable natural conversation using artificial intelligence (AI) and distinguish up to 12 people by facial recognition.

Comments: “Astro Boy” was a national hero in the 60s in Japan. He will have life again thanks to robot and AI technologies.

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23 Feb. Buy a drink by smartphone and get it via a vending machine in a station, JR to start a new service to start in March

 JR East water business, a subsidiary of JR East, that run business of drink vending machines at railway stations announced that the company will start a new service by which consumers buy drinks using a smartphone and receive it later from a vending machine in March. Consumers may give drinks to friends as a gift if consumers send the purchase data stored in the phone to friends via SNS.

Comments: It is a type of online shopping that involves the vending machines. A major difference is that delivery system isn’t needed as buyers go to the machine to receive the purchase products.

24 Feb. The first “premium Friday” started today, would it be well integrated in the society?, a skeptical voice says, “We’d just suffer next week for too much work carried forward”

“Premium Friday”, the last Friday of the month when workers leave work at 3:00 p.m. started today. It is the public-private initiative that intends to increase consumption while reducing working hours, thus to chase “two rabbits”. The Government and the business community economic expect “Premium Friday” to trigger consumption increase and the reform of way of working, but would it be well integrated in the society?

Comments: Productivity increase at work would bring substantial changes that will enable shorter working hours and increased consumption.

  • 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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Fresh & hot from Japan, from 13 to 17 February, 2017

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13 Feb. Fourth-quarter GDP, positive growth continued for four quarters in a row

According to the primary breaking news of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the fourth-quarter 2016 (October to December 2016) announced by the  Cabinet Office, a real growth rate except the influence of the change of commodity prices increased by 0.2% as compared to the third quarter (July to September 2016). This growth is equivalent to the growth of 0.1 % when convert it into an annual growth. This figure resulted in the consecutive positive growth for four quarters or one year.

Comments: The growth owns to trade surplus in 2016. Reducing growth of consumer consumption is still worrisome for the health of national economy.

14 Feb. Transformers installed in town, used for electronic signboards and battery chargers, developed by Panasonic and TEPCO

Panasonic and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) plan to push forward a project to utilize a transformer in a box shape installed in cities  to attach equipment of advertisement or information board. Using the space on the transformer, the companies plan to enable charging of an electronic signboard and vehicles. Panasonic showed a trial product in Tokyo on 13th. The service is planned to start in 2018.

Comments: It is a part of IoT project promoted by Panasonic and TEPCO.

15 Feb. Toshiba, a possible sell off the semiconductor stock to avoid liabilities exceeding the assets at the end of FY 2016 or March

Toshiba reported a loss of  712,500 million yen over the atomic energy business in the U.S. from the settlement of accounts (American accounting standards) for the period of April to December 2016, and announced the deficit prospect of USD 4.4 million as a net profit or loss (a deficit of the same period a year ago was USD 4.2 million). The company felt into exceeding liability at the end of December 2016. Toshiba will consider to raise a ratio of stocks to sell the new company of semiconductor business to be branched out from less than 20% to over 50% to avoid liabilities exceeding the assets at the end of FY 2016 or March.

Comments: What to see in Toshiba’s saga is that what’s happening in the company is a consequence of lack of appropriate governance and mechanism to fix it that lasted for years till now.

16 Feb. Debate heated at the Diet over the proposed regulations on passive smoking

The debate on the cigarette is in fire in Nagatacho (the Japanese Diet). The regular smokers across the ruling and opposition parties resist against the proposed bill which is to introduce stronger measures against the passive smoking that the government is preparing taking into account the coming Tokyo Olympic Games and the Paralympics in 2020. The Japanese smoking habit is criticized as “the worst in the world”.

Comments: It is a shame that members of the Diet put their ego forward while the public interests behind.

17 Feb. Automatic running of row of trucks on highway, the Japanese Government to experiment from 2018

“Future investment meeting” (chairperson, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) , a mission of which is to formulate a growth strategy of the Government pulled together an implementation plan to partially realize the automatic driving of cars that does to require  drivers in 2020.  Recognizing that competition over the development of automatic driving becomes fierce in international markets, the Government intends to hold a superior position in the world by hurrying a proof experiment.

Comments: The field experiment is a large step forward, even though many changes of road transportation are envisaged, such as driving regulation, highway structure, etc.

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Photo by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)
  • 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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Fresh & hot from Japan, from 6 to 10 February, 2016

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6 Feb. Children caught by the Internet for a long time tend to be irritated, while the confidence in studying decreasing

Those children who spend hours over the Internet via smart phones, etc. tend to be irritated all the time while their level of confidence in studying decreasing —  found by a survey by Kinki block of Association of Parents and Teachers (PTA) and researchers. A researcher involved said, “The situation is too serious to ignore. The adults must be well aware of the net-dependency of children.”

Comments: it is serious and the same may be true to the adults, including ourselves.

7 Feb. Memory is up after ten minutes’ exercise? Maybe thanks to activation of the brain function

Soon after having an exercise for ten minutes of the level of jogging, one’s short-term memory improves, according to a report of a study undertaken by a team of Tsukuba University, Japan, and the University of California, the US. The team found that results were better for those who had dome some exercise then whose who rested, in an experiment of the correctness of memory of an object seen in advance. The study team says that the function of the brain might be activated by the exercise.

Comments: Good news for joggers and those who regularly do some exercise.

8 Feb. Heart rate measurable just by wearing it, the experiment start a Tank-top model 

Fujita Health University, Toray, NTT, NTT DOCOMO announced that they will start a demonstration experiment of “hitoe”, the cloth by  which one could measure a heart rate merely by wearing it like the underwear. The cloth will be used to monitor a heart rate and various activities of a patient in a hospital. It is intended to allow efficient rehabilitation exercise to enable the early recovery, and also to utilize the cloth in the remote monitoring service after leaving the hospital. An expected timing of market release is after three years.

Comments: Innovation take place where formerly completely different sectors and technologies meet. Thus another proof that diversity gives rise to innovation.

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9 Feb. Where is an empty toilet room? You find it over the net, no need to hurry in vain

Arriving at the office in the morning to find all the toilet rooms occupied! Dash to another floor to food them occupied again — To resolve such a problem development of the systems  which allows us to check  toilet rooms by  PCs is making progress. A by-product of such system is that the collected data may be used for health check. This may signal the arrival of “The IoT (Internet of Toilet)”.

Comments: Use of the data collected from the usage status of toilets is potentially interesting, though if and how much a company may collect employee’s health data is debatable.

10 Feb. Over ten thousand applications for the refugee status in Japan in 2016, while only 28 were admitted

The number of applications for the recognition of refugee status in Japan was 10,901 in 2016 (3,315 increase compared to the previous year) , exceeding  10,000  for the first time, according to the preliminary figure released by the Ministry of Justice. On the other hand, only 28 people were recognized as refugees  (one increase as compared to the number in 2015). In addition, the Ministry admitted the resident status to 97 people  (increase by 18 year-on-year) because of “humanitarian consideration”. The government continues a severe attitude for recognition of refugee status.

Comments: Severeness of the Japanese Government to the allocations of the refugee status has been one of the areas where Japan is behind the rich countries.

  • 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.

Where different ideas meet, a brand new idea is born — KitKat Sushi

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My friend in Tokyo sent me a Valentine’s gift — KitKat Sushi.

Though what I received was its online news (see a link below), hence nothing romantic, the news was sufficiently inspiring.

Why? The KitKat Sushi typically demonstrates where innovation is born; Where two different things meet, there is a brand new idea. That is the reason why diversity is essential for innovation.

kitkat-sushi

 

For the original news, please read –> CNN News, 2 Feb. 2016, “KitKat sushi: Has Japan gone too far?” 

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Fresh & hot from Japan, from 30 January to 3 February, 2016

Welcome to Europe-Japan Dynamics!

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

30 Jan. The LCC terminal opened in Kansai Airport for international flights, the first flights  brought passengers traveling in the Luna New Year holidays

The low cost carriers (LCC) terminal for international flights opened in Kansai Airport was opened on 28th of Jan. The first flight from Hong Kong landed at 6:07 a.m., with travelers spending holidays of the Luna New Year’s Day (which was on the same day this year) in Japan.

Comments: It’s good to improve access for Asian passengers.

31 Jan. Oxygen of the earth travels even to the moon, confirmed by study team of Osaka University and JAXA

The study teams of Osaka University, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) , etc. confirmed that oxygen in the earth arrived to the moon, which is 380,000 km away. The team concluded that “the Solar wind”, i.e. the charged gas blowing from the sun, drifted the oxygen from the earth. The article is published in Nature Astronomy, a British science magazine.

Comments: It’s nice to imagine what’s happening in the universe!

1 Feb. Heart-shaped strawberries 1’270 yen (CHF 11) per piece, how about it for a Valentine gift?

Heart-shaped strawberries produced in Yanai-shi, Yamaguchi-ken, is becoming popular in view of Valentine’s Day.

“Kurahju Create”, a company that produces and sell strawberries, successfully created the heart-shaped ones after four years’ trials and failures. The company named it as “Heart of strawberry” and started selling in markets in December 2015.

Comments: Valentine Day provides a popular gift sales season in Japan, where girls buy gifts to boys.

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 2 Feb. Levying copy right tax from music classes, JASRAC said it’s policy, repel may happen

 Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) decided to levy a copy right tax from music classes organised by Yamaha or Kawai Musical Instruments Mfg, etc. for their playing of music. An estimated amount of the collected tax is between 1,000 -2,000 million yen a year. The classrooms reject the decision. This may call for intervention by the Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs or lead to a legal suit by the JASRAC.

Comments: JASRAC has a point. We must be sensitive and respect intellectual property rights of music creators.

 3 Feb. Japan to accept Syrian refugees, about 300 over 5 years to begin with, paving a way for settling down

The Government of Japan is ready to accept about 300 refugees from Syria who are foreign students and their families over the coming five years starting from this year.  The foreign student may come with a spouse and children, and family allowance will be paid. These refugee students are not obliged to go back to their home country after the study.  This program thus will eventually open a way for the refugee students to settle down with a family n Japan.

Comments: Japan has accepted refugees only on exceptional basis. This program, while being still very timid, would open a way to a comprehensive system for refugees to settle down.

  • 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.