Fresh & hot from Japan, from 27 to 31 March, 2017

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

27 Mar. JR Shikoku to release P/L data of income deficit routes, looking for ideas to maintain the railway system

Mr. Han-iShinji, President of Shikoku Japan Railway Company (JR Shikoku, Takamatsu-shi), said, in response to the interview by Asahi News Paper, that he would  release the income-expenditure data of each line that has not been published to an advisory panel of experts to be started after April. It is intended to share the knowledge with the panel of difficult status of the railway network in Shikoku Region while local population decreases, and thus to explore ways to maintain the network.

Comments: It is surprising that such information has not been published so far. It is expected that publishing the deficit data would become the first step forward for transparency and public debate of problems of infrastructure.

28 Mar. Price increase is more efficient than ”a request” for power saving, revealed a study by a professor of Kyoto University

Professor Takanori Yoda (behavioral economics) of Kyoto University and his research team announced a result of their study that effects of a request for power saving to households to suppress the peak consumption volume of the electricity  did not last long. The study found that a rate structure in which electricity rates during certain time zones are higher than a regular rate is more efficient than a power saving request. The study will be published in an economic journal of the US.

Comments: It is interesting that on the contrary to consumers a power saving request has been proved to be efficient for business users. It is one of the mysteries of Japan that companies follow “Requests” by power companies even if there is no penalty and thy need the power supply to carry on working productively during hot and humid summer in Japan.  

29 Mar. You may find the temperature 100 years ago, the Meteorological Agency published the daily data

“You may find the temperature per day 100 years ago” — The Meteorological Agency published in its homepage (HP) the mean, highest and lowest temperatures every day observed in 156 spots all over the country from 1910 through to 1960. It is intended for the public to make use of the data for analysis and the study of the long-term climate change or upward trend of the temperature. http://www.data.jma.go.jp/obd/stats/etrn/index.php

Comments: The climate data has high value!

30 Mar. “Up to one hour per day” for using  the smartphone for child care, reported by a study group of the Internet service providers

“Do not use the smartphone for child care for more than one hour and no use since at least one hour before sleeping time” — recommended by “Study group on the Internet use for young children (Chairperson, professor Akira Sakamoto of Ochanomizu Women’s University)”, which major Internet service providers, such as Yahoo, had established to study pros and cons of the “smartphone nursery”, by which parents let young children use smartphones as toys.

Comments: Parens let babies use smartphones!

31 Mar. Consumers’ cooperative of various regions to enter the electricity-selling business for residential markets, drawn upon strong home delivery network for sales

This April is the first anniversary since the market liberalization of electricity sales for home. A number of regional consumers’ cooperatives in the Kansai region (the western region of Japan) enter the electricity-selling business. A business model is to procure the electricity from the power generation companies dealing with the velocity of the wind and photovoltaic power generation, and sell the power to Coop members. A home delivery network has become strength for the sales of the electricity.

Comments: Consumers’ cooperatives work as a sales channel for newly entered power generators (which are usually much smaller than existing power companies).

  • 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 20 to 24 March, 2017

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20 Mar.  Asian Youtubers to promote Hiji-machi, Oita-ken, all in Chinese

Tourist information board of Hiji-machi, Oita-ken, engaged a Chinese “YouTubers” (those who earn income by posting their own videos on YouTube) to create a promotion video of the town and posted it in its own Home Page (HP). It is a new way of attracting overseas tourists to their town. The city started the promotion targeted at China.

HP of Hiji-machi –> $http://www.town.hiji.oita.jp/page/h2903_syoko_hijimachi-youtuber-movie2017.html

Comments: It is an innovative way to promote a town as a tourist attraction to foreign travellers.

21 Mar. ”Linear motor car effects” felt in Nagoya, land price doubled in Kanayama district

Rapid increase of price of op commercial areas in front of Nagoya Station has been spreading over the neighboring areas. According to the land price announced by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, two spots nearby the Kanayama Sougou Station (Naka-ku and Atsuta-ku of Nagoya-shi, ) were newly ranked in the top five of Aichi Ken. This is due to effects of investments in land in the areas neighbouring Nagoya, in anticipation of the land price increase upon the opening of linear motor car.

Comments: Lack of control of land price would distort social distribution of the wealth. 

22 Mar. Straight defeat of AI due to a Come-from-behind defeat, World Championship of Go, Iyama also got the second defeat

The World Championship of Go, where champions from Japan, China and Korea, and AI (artificial intelligence) are fighting, took place in the Japanese Go Society Kansai total headquarters of Osaka, Umeda, on the middle day. A Japanese Go player, Iyama Yuta crown (27), the sixth Crown, was defeated by Mi Ikutei  (21), the ninth dan, of the China. The Japanese strongest AI “DeepZenGo” lost again by a great come-from-behind defeat by the Champion of Korea, Pak Jon-Fan, the nineth dan.

Comments: It’s not SF that AI fight against human champions in Go.

  • 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 March, 2017

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13 Mar. Decrease by 3.2% from the previous month seen in machine order of January for the first time in the past two months

According to the machine order statistics (seasonal adjustment level) of January announced by the Cabinet Office, the amount of order of the civilian demand except for large ships and electricity machineries (due to a large magnitude of change), the amount was 837,900 million yen, decreasing by 3.2% compared to the month before. It was the first decrease in the past two months. The overall assessment was left unchanged, “the standstill was seen for the movement toward improvement”.

Comments: Economic improvements still hesitant.

16 Mar. Domestic production of heavy electric machinery and white goods are increasing, hitting the highest level in the past 10 years

The electric equipment industry society in Japan announced that it predicted the domestic production of the electric apparatus that  in 2017 of the electric apparatus that included the heavy electric machinery apparatus and white goods would be  5,655,800 million yen, the largest amount in the past 10 years. A major reason is the increase of heavy electric machinery apparatus due to the number of replacement needs of the boiler of power stations and an increasing demand for heavy electric machinery apparatus for the redevelopment of cities to be prepared for the Tokyo Olympic Games to be held in 2020.

Comments: An economic impact of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is seen.

17 Mar. Nissan launched a car-sharing business with Yokohama-shi, using Ultra Compact EVs

Nissan Motor launched a car sharing business using the Ultra Compact electric cars (EVs) of the 2-crew in cooperation with Yokohama-shi. Users may borrow EVs from 14 stations located in the city center and use it for sightseeing, etc.

Comments: This initiative will help piling up know-how to operate a char-sharing business. A question remains, though — what is a major difference between this car-sharing model and a car rental business using a small vehicle?

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  • 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 March, 2017

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

6 Mar. Am I skiing down or up hill? , An illusion slide” appears in the ski slope

“The illusion slide” by which one feels to go up against gravity was installed in the Hakkaisan Ski Slope  of Arakane, Minami-Uonuma-shi, Niigata-ken. One skis down a slope from the hight of 10 m of the slide of 10 x 10 m length and width. This is a work of the art by Professor Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University (68) known as a specialist of the illusion art.

Comments: There may be a trick in “Seeing is believing.”

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7 Mar. The Metropolitan Police Department to enforce investigation of the cyber attack, creating a special independent corps of investigation

The Metropolitan Police Department will reinforce investigation system for the cyber attack from April by establishing new departments, such as “Counter cyber attack center”.  Envisaging the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympics of 2020, the Police will prepare for the threat of cyber terrorism targeted at government offices and major companies.

Comments: The Olympics in 2020 is creating wide consequences in Japan.

8 Mar. Upward revision of GDP, increase of 1.2% a year based on the performance  in the fourth-quarter last year

According to the second breaking news of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the fourth-quarter of 2016 issued by the Cabinet Office,  a real growth rate was 0.3% excluding the influence of the price fluctuation (at s compared to the previous quarter of 2016). This growth rate was equivalent of annual 1.2% growth. The growth figure was revised up from 0.2% increase (1.0% increase in annual ratio conversion) as announced in the first breaking news announced in February. The positive growth continued for four quarters or one year.

Comments: Stable economic growth is good news.

9 Mar. “We don’t have financial strength to shorten time for the extension of linear express train”, said President of Central JR Tokai

Mr. Yasuhide Tsuge, President of Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai), reiterated that it would be extremely difficult to shorten time for the extension of linear express train the present plan of which is to reach Shin-Osaka in 2037 in earliest., by saying that the company would not have strength or financial power to constructed a sector connecting Osaka in parallel with the sector between Shinagawa (Tokyo) and Nagoya. He said so at a regular meeting of the Kansai press club, whose members are the press located in Osaka.

Comments: There may not be need to hurry up, as the existing sure express train connects between Tokyo and Osaka (over 500 km) in less than three hours.

10 Mar. JETRO got a cyber attack, 26’000 addresses may have stolen

Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO, headquarters in Minato-ku, Tokyo) announced that its website had been attacked from outside. Some information has been removed, that might include e-mail address of users.

Comments: Anyone may be attacked by hackers.

  • 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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Open Workshop for Cross-Cultural Understanding with Japan, Etoy, VD, 20 April

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【Unusual opportunity to know what’s inside a Japanese head】
I am delivering “Workshop for Cross-Cultural Understanding with Japan”, an open workshop of Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce (SJCC).

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Are these your problems?

  • “The Japanese decision-making process is so mysterious!”
  • “I don’t know if I’m interacting well with my Japanese colleagues.”
  • “Why do the Japanese always do things in their own way?”
  • “How can I say ‘No’ to my Japanese customers without offending them?”
  • “Japanese customers don’t complain when they are not satisfied with our service, but they just never come back to us.”

If you say “Yes!” to one of the problems above, this workshop is for you. The workshop will enable you to learn about the internal drivers of your Japanese business partners and colleagues.

Topics discussed —

  • Why is culture in business so important?
  • The trap of “cultural bias”
  • Major factors underlying Japanese business culture
  • Five clues to increase productivity in working with the Japanese
  • Your personal action plan

For more detail and registration

  • Date: Thursday, 20 April
    • 18:00 Workshop
    • 20:00 Aperitif and Networking
  • Venue: Sunstar Suisse SA, Route de Pallax 11, 1163 Etoy, VD
  • Fee
    • SJCC Members   CHF 100.-
    • Non-SJCC   CHF 150.-
    • Special Offer: “Come with three, pay for two” — If two people participate from the same organisation, the third person will be free.

For more detail and registration

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Fresh & hot from Japan, from 27 February to 3 March, 2017

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27 Feb. Nerve reproduction by 3D printer, Kyoto University succeeded to create a tubular structure out of cells

Ryosuke Ikeguchi, Associate Professor (orthopedics) of Kyoto University and his research team developed a technique to regenerate a damaged peripheral nerve by a tubular structure created out of patient’s own cells using “the Bio 3D  printer” which could process a cell three-dimensionally. He succeeded in the experiment using the rat and published the results in PLOS ONE, a U.S. science online journal. The clinical trial is to start in 2020.

Comments: It is worth paying attention that an early publication of this result is made possible because of the open access publishing business model, on which PLOS ONE is based.

28 Feb. Fujitsu to introduce “Telework”, working at home, to all the employees

Fujitsu announced that the company would introduce “The telework system” that allows to work any place other than the office including home and on the road to all the employees from April. This applies to 35,000 employees except for those of the company’s group companies, becoming the case of a large-scale introduction in the country. By Telework, Fujitsu aims at reform go the way of working and accumulate know-how of distant working, that may in turn provide knowledge for future business.

Comments: It’s a good idea to try a new way of working using IT starting with its own resources.

1 Mar. Safety of the car, constructors supporting the aged, aiming at 2020

Observing that there was no way to alleviate traffic accidents caused by driving of an elderly person, automobile constructors started enhancement of a car including “the prevention of false departure” for manufacturers to prevent an accident. The government also wants to make such a car widely available as a “a support car of careful driving” from the new fiscal year, starting today or 1st of March. The government wants to make such a car be widely available as “a car with careful driving support car” from the new year, too. That said there are many problems to really reduce the number of traffic accidents.

Comments: Very good idea!

2 Mar. Cloud funding for mackerel farming, new business launched by mackerel farmers and Obama city

A new action will start to farm mackerel using the fund raised by the cloud funding. Seabaya (Toyonaka, Osaka) that runs restaurants specialized in mackerel cooking in Osaka and Tokyo will tie up with Obama-shi (Fukui ken), which used to be a point of departure of the “Saba (mackerel) highway” connecting the city of origin of mackerel, Obama-shi , and place of consumption, Kyoto, in the past. This public-private partnership aims at bringing benefits to fishermen in Obama-shi.

Comments: The success would largely depend on how much benefits planned by the partnership would attract the fund donors.

3 Mar. Onward Kashiyama and C channel to launch a new brand, a marriage between the real clothes and fashion created online

 An apparel major Onward Holdings Co., Ltd. (HD) and “C Channel” (channel) that provide video services on smart phones addressed to women announced that they will jointly launch a new brand.  President Ryo Morikawa of the C channel said, “Online shopping in the future will not be the one to search products in mind on web sites and buy it but to immediately pick up products consumers see on smart phone videos, or ‘I want this!’. We wish to create a system in which  ‘influencers (those who have strong influence on consumers on the Internet) push forward a brand.”

Comments: This cooperation intends to capture and monetize out of collective intelligence of consumer preference regarding the fashion collected from videos for smart phones.

  • 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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