Fresh & Hot from Japan, 24 to 28 October 2016

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

24 Oct. Toyota to release a fuel cell battery bus in the market, promoting the ecology-car technologies

Toyota Motor Corporation announced that the company will start selling a bus powered by a fuel cell battery, that generates electric power by the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, from 2017. Toyota aims at having over 100 of the bus running in downtown Tokyo in 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic, thus appealing its technology to produce ecology-cars to inside and outside Japan.

Comments: It is a good side effect of the Olympic and Paralympic that the event provides a strong motivation for the industry of technology innovation.

25 Oct. J League (Japanese football league) entered into partner with Tag Heuer

 J League (Japanese football league) announced at a press conference that it has entered into a partner contract with a Swiss high quality watch maker, Tag Heuer. The boards used to display a relief player or an additional period in a game of J1 (The top league) will become the one modeled after Tag Heuer watches.

Comments: Glad to find another tie between Switzerland and Japan!

26 Oct. Japanese gender gap the worst among G7, down to the 111th

World Economic Forum (WEF) known as the Davos Forum announced the Gender Gap Report 2016, that compares the status of women and men of each country. Japan is the 111th place out of 144 countries of the world, which is the lowest rank among seven major economies (G7). The country lowered the rank from the 101st place out of 145 countries in 2015.

Comments: Low participation of women in decision-making level in politics and business is a major reason of the low rank. Thus women are heavily underutilized resource in Japan.

27 Oct. In which companies sexual minorities work comfortably? Ranking of 82 companies are released in Japan

To create a workplace in which those who are sexual minority may comfortably work, supporting organizations pulled together an “index” of the companies based on an evaluation of their actions for the minorities. The organizations awarded the highest category, “Gold”, to 53 companies and group companies of telecommunications, finance and manufacturing industries. A similar index is established in the UK, the US and Australia, and this is the first time in Japan.

Comments: Publicly recognizing good actions is a good way to admit and promote LGBT in society.

28 Oct. Too much assist by an electric bicycle, not allowed on the public road, seven products with over power

The National Police Agency announced that the power of the motor was beyond the legal limit as for at least 7 models from 6 vendors of the electric bicycles. According to the Agency, 4536 electric bicycles of these models were sold from 2013 to September 2016. The Agency invites users of such bicycles not to use them, as their motors are stronger than the level determined by the ordinance and thus are not allowed to run on the public roads.

Comments: Why isn’t there a checking of the motors of electric bicycles, if there is a legal limit  in the strength of the motors?

  • 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.
広告

Fresh & Hot from Japan, 17 to 21 October 2016

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

17 Oct. Yoneyama, not ready to go for the re-operation of nuclear power plants in the prefecture, won the election of Governor of Niigata

The vote for the Niigata governor’s race,  in which a re-operation of the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Kariwa and Kashiwazaki Nuclear Power Plants had been the central issue, was held and ballots were counted on 16 Oct. Ryuichi Yoneyama (49) , whose position was to be very carful in proceeding with the re-operation of the Plants won over Tamio Mori (67), who supported the operation. The turnout was 53.05% (cf. 43.95%  last time).

Comments: It is a good sign of democracy that a Governor who take health and safety of the residents as priority over the national policy was elected, following Tokyo Governor’s case.

18 Oct. Governor of Tokyo Koike and IOC Chairperson Bach to meet to discuss Tokyo Olympic Games

A meeting between Thomas Bach, chairperson of International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Yuriko Koike, the Tokyo Governor began in the Metropolitan Government today. They will exchange opinions as to the plan of Tokyo Olympic and the Paralympics Games to be held in 2020, taking into account a forthcoming review initiated by the Governor of the plan to reduce costs.

Comments: The Governor’s review is much needed as the present budget is five times larger than the one originally presented to the IOC. Japan has many other things to spend tax payers’ money other than Olympics, such as disaster recovery of the Tohoku region, reducing budget for the medical expense for the aging population, etc.

19 Oct. 25 cm in width, Hitachi to introduce a robot vacuum cleaner which is one of the smallest in the same class

Hitachi Appliances, Inc. is releasing “minimaru“, a compact robot vacuum cleaner of 25 cm in width and 9.2 cm in height on November 19. Minimal being one of the smallest among the similar product range by major vendors, the robot cleaner is good at cleaning of small places by going between legs of chairs or under a sofa. Minimal is equipped with a function to compress garbage in the dust case by a strong current of air to make it easy to throw it away. The expected price is around 100,000 yen excluding VAT.

Comments: The Japanese has demonstrated its talent to create a small product with high functionalities again.

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20 Oct. Discount by 500 yen for customers with thin hair, a hotel in Kitakyusyu

It is the “hair day” today. There is a hotel Kitakyushu-shi that offers “the thin hair discount” by which  the hotel charges less than 500 yen for those customers whose hair is thin. About 20 customers benefitted from the discount so far, by asking at the reception if they would be eligible.

Comments: The rationale is the discount is that it takes less work to clean the room of the customers with little hair.

21 Oct. Starbucks to open a new store with roasting equipment in Tokyo  by the ned of 2018

The Starbucks coffee Japan announced that the company would open a store based on a new business model that is equipped with a roasting equipment of coffee beans in Nakameguro, Tokyo,  in December 2018. There is a same type of the store in Seattle, the US, and to be open in Shanghai, China in 2017 and in New York in 2018. The planned store in Tokyo will be the fourth of this kind in the world.

Comments: Could be a good news for coffee lovers. Watch that Starbucks foresees an increasing number of coffee lovers with a sophisticated taste in Chinese market.

  • 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, 3 to 7 October 2016

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

3 Oct. Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi, professor emeritus of Tokyo Institute of Technology, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, announced that the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine of this year will be given to Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi (71), a professor emeritus of Tokyo Institute of Technology. The awarding reason was “the discovery of the structure of the automatic fuzzy” (autophagy action). Dr. Ohsumi clarified mechanism in which a cell broke down own part and recycled it as a nourishment source or its own renewal. He thus resolved a mystery of an essential life phenomenon common to various creatures.

Comments: It was original that Dr. Ohsumi looked at a destroying process, rather than creating process of a cell.

4 Oct. IMF raised Japanese growth rate expectation in increase 0.5% of this year

International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced latest World Economic Outlook on 4th. The organization raised the growth forecast from the one in July, taking into account the postponement of the consumption tax increase this summer, and the economic measures proposed by the Government raised. The IMF left the growth rate worldwide unchanged, due to the decrease of the growth forecast of industrialized countries upon slowdown of the US economy and the determination of the UK to exit from the European Union (EU), while the growth prospect of newly developing countries.

Comments: Hope that the growth of Japanese economy would last.

5 Oct. Gundam from the small factory in town! Bipedalism Robo of “the world’s largest grade

The engineers engaged in manufacturing in Osaka-shi made a humanoid robot made from aluminum of 4 meters tall and 300 kg in weightOne may control it in a cockpit in the body such as “Mobile Suit Gundam“.  According to Mr. Hajime Sakamoto (49) who runs a robot production company “Hajime Institute ” (Nishiyodogawa-ku, Osaka-shi) and who is the head of the development of the robot, “The robot is one of the world’s largest” among those robots of the bipedalism.

Video: Mounting on the 4m robot.

Comments: The engineers are working to make their dream come true.

6 Oct. CEATEC  Japan, exhibitors compete over wireless communication and sensors towards IoT 

Electronic parts vendors compete over wireless communication technologies and the sensor, which are indispensable for the IoT (the Internet of the things). Enormous volumes of sensors will be required for the IoT, and a large demand increase is expected. http://www.ceatec.com/ja

Comments: Fierce competition is an origin of innovation.

7 Oct. “Xperia ear”, a device on the ear to operate a smartphone by voice

Sony mobile communications will release “the Xperia ear” on November 18, which will connect a smartphone of the android operating system (the OS) with the wireless communications network.  The device attached to the ear will allow phone calls and message exchanges without holding a smartphone by hand.

http://www.sonymobile.co.jp/product/smartproducts/

 

Comments: Sounds like an SF.

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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.

Fresh & Hot from Japan, 22 to 26 August 2016

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

22 Aug. Nursing by night without disturbing patients by light, An ear cover light developed by Shimane University

Shimane University announced that it developed an LED light for nurses to use hanged on the ear to take care of patients during the night. The wish of a nurse of the hospital attached to the medical department of the University to have a hands-free light which light up the hand without disturbing patients has come true. This lamp is a result of development with companies in Izumo city (Shimane Prefecture) and to be launched in commercial markets in the autumn.

Comments: This case convinces us that technologies find a way to be welcome in society when they are used to help people.

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23 Aug. UFJ Bank and Hitachi, starting experiment of the electronic check using FinTech

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Hitachi, Ltd. announced that they began demonstration experiment of electronic issuing and settlement of checks using FinTech (Information Technologies for the financial sector) in Singapore. They aim at putting the electronic check system in practical use in 2018, and plan to use it in Japan and other countries in Asia in the future.  In the experiment, so-called “block chain” technology, that encrypts business transaction records such as the settlement will be used.

Comments: The electronic check will accelerate the speed of transaction and therefore money flow in the economy.

24 Aug. The super high-quality sake “rice wine” of Y 88,000.- ($ 880.-) being exported

It costs 88,000 yen or about $ 880.- (tax-excluded) per bottle of 750 milliliters. Such a super high quality sake “Mujaku” has been put on sale. A venture company of Yamaguchi-shi and a sake producer of Iwakuni-shi, Yamaguchi ken, developed it. One thousand (1,000) bottles will be produced, out of which 250 bottles will be sold in Japan. The rest will be exported as “Rice wine” to Dubai, France, etc. Online purchase is also possible from the link here — http://mujaku.jp.

Comments: Sales and consumption of Sake has been shrinking in Japan since years. The sake industry must have a new strategy to appeal the sake to wider markets and a large variety of consumers.

25 Aug. Drying the clothes with high-speed wind of 300km/hour, Hitachi to release a new model of a washing and drying machine

Hitachi Appliances,Inc. is releasing a new model “BD-SV110A” of the drum-type washing and drying machine, “Heat recycling wind iron big drum slim” series in September. In addition to a major feature of this series of drying with a high speed wind of approximately 300km per an hour while steaming the clothes, it has become possible to dry the clothes with less wrinkles by improving the turn control of the drum.  The washing capacity is 11 kg. The price without TVA will be around 310,000 yen (about CHF 3000.-).

Comments: What an expensive washing machine it is!

26 Aug. Insominia treatment using the Internet,  a new cognitive-behavioral therapy without using drugs

Chiba University Hospital developed a treatment program of the insomnia using the Internet. The therapy is based on the cognitive-behavioral therapy that enables a patient to review his/her way of thinking and action without depending on medicine, while staying at home. The hospital is recruiting participants of the clinical trial to check an effect of the treatment.

Comments: It is a therapy that allows us to voluntarily work on the brain.

  • 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.

What are clues for Western Professional women doing business in Japan?

Here are seven clues for you! Please enjoy.

These are highlights of the Intercultural Training Channel organised by Mr. Matthew Hill, intercultural author, trainer & coach.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

How does a Swiss innovative start-up fight to enter the Japanese market?

We enjoyed discussion at “Moshi moshi, Japan?” (held in Geneva on Friday, 17 April) on  “How does a Swiss innovative start-up fight to enter the Japanese market?”

Mr. Shaban Shaame, CEO & Founder, EverdreamSoft, an innovative vendor of Moonga, a game soft run over the mobile device, such as smartphones and tablets.

EverdreamSoft, online games for mobile device

Highlights of discussion

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  • I found that a large download volume of Moonga, our game soft, from Japan. I thought “Why?”, as I knew that people don’t speak English as default in Japan. This made me to think that there must be a big Moonga market there.
  • I went to Japan (in 2009) to find a business partner who could translate the game into Japanese and who’d provide graphics for the games. Communication with the Japanese was difficult. I din’t know Japanese and they din’t know English. We managed to negotiate a contract using Google translator, though sometimes English translated by Google function didn’t make sense.
  • Japanese people are hard workers, more than Swiss people are. However, whether their hard work is efficient is questionable. Some (or many?) people work hard where their boss is near by.
  • In the Japanese work ethics, a  group culture is strong. All the people in the same office stay working till midnight. Some cohesion power must be working.
  • Consensus is extremely important in the Japanese decision-making at any level.
  • Is change possible? — Yes but only slowly.
  • Lay-off is difficult and rare in Japan. Hence employing someone involves a risk to an employer. Mobility is still low in the job market.
  • Re. Women at work, maternity leave is guaranteed by law but employers don’t like it. Mobbing to women exists in some offices.
  • Then, we discussed bit coin; what it is, how it works, where can we use it, etc.

Moonga

Forthcoming meetings —

Friday 8 May, Uchi and Soto, the key concepts of the Japanese relationship building

Keys to success in cross-cultural marketing — Nestlé in Asia, Oceania and Africa

I had an opportunity to interview with Mr. Anthony LOW, VP, Asia, Oceania and Africa Region of Nestlé.

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I was particularly interested in discovering the keys to success in marketing in the regions that have diversified consumer markets, including Japan. Japan is known to be a unique market for its consumer taste and preferences in the food business.

I found there was no miracle. Keys to success were but the very basics of marketing, i.e. the trust, quality, customer insights and long-term interests.

So what’s new?

Yes, there is the reason why Nestlé excels and that lead the company to a remarkable success, the thoroughness. The company’s “Can do” attitude, supported by the thoroughness led to breakthrough in its marketing.

I was happy to be assured that one may succeed in challenging markets by pursuing without compromise to the basic values of marketing, i.e. trust, quality, customer insights and long-term interests. It is not a coincidence that these values are common to the underlying principles of the corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Here is my note:

Keys to success

Customer first, “Can do” attitude = Never say, “No”.

  • To meet customer requirements in Japan, Nescafé, we changed the product. Changed its recipe from “Instant coffee” to “Regular coffee”.
  • Barista Ambassador – To facilitate access to Nescafé in offices (where tea and coffee is served less and less, due to limited budget, economic recession, etc.), offered Barista machine free of charge, including service. The customers buy the coffee products or refill from Nestlé.
    • Test market – Hokkaido. Market size is appropriate.
  • Shrinking population how do you grow business where the population is shrinking? Aging Elder people’s market.
    • Visited and listened to the elderly people. Found that loneliness is their major problem. Created “Nestlé wellness club”. With a small membership fee, send a doctor and dietitian to home.
    • Test market – Hokkaido. Market size is appropriate.
  • Trust, quality and market insights
  • To find a new market in a country where you are for more than 100 years. Creativity. Never say, “No”.

Build the trust with consumers

  •  Marketing strategy is different in each country in the AOA Region. cf. Europe – one common market
  •  There are 115 countries in the AOA Region.
  •  There are over 450 different Nescafé’s worldwide.

Long-term strategy

E.g. In India, Nestlé supports WHO to promote the breast feeding. It is not for an immediate benefit. If some mothers could not continue breast feeding, they buy Nestlé’s milk product. Nestlé infant formulae is close to mother’s milk.

“Romance the product”. Nestlé’s marketing strategy

  • Market test — Nestlé requires 60:40 preferences of Nestlé products over competition

“Then, we ‘romance’ the product to the truth.”
i.e. to make the truth to come to the life.

  • To find an answer to the question, “Why is this product perceived to be better than competition?”
  • If consumers says “this chocolate tastes fresh”, to find why is “fresh” important?

Re. Japanese market

There are over 200 KitKats in Japan,
There are over 200 KitKats in Japan,
  • MUST know how to do business in the local market
    • Perceived value is the key, e.g. Nescafé vs. Starbucks
    • MUST build the perception on quality. No failure is allowed. Must constantly work on the quality.
  • Nestlé’s response to the local market, Special-T. A system for the Japanese tea lovers to enjoy good tea without following a procedure to prepare a good tea.
    • An example of adapting to the taste of local market.
    • Originally tried with black tea but failed. Found that The Japanese wanted to take the green tea that match individual taste.
  • You can’t do cheap business in Japan. Currency rate is not in our favour while price of imported materials are rising (e.g. Cacao).
    • We can’t compete over the price. We create premium values.
    •  Japanese consumers pay for the premium.
    •  E.g. Kitkat – Those that use local materials cost less than others that use much Cacao.
  • Appeals to the emotion
    • Pepper – a robot that reads 80% of your emotion. It selects the best coffee for you. Technology invented in France, produced in Taiwan and the license bought by Softbank (one of the leading mobile phone operators known to be vanguard market strategy in Japan.

Nestlé
10:30 – 13:00, Vevey, 18 March 2015