Fresh & hot from Japan, from 8 to 12 May 2017

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

8 May LIXIL returned the best sales performance, thanks to a solid shower toilet selling well in China

The net income of the settlement of accounts (international accounting standards) of a house equipment major, LIXIL Group, recorded the highest gain of 42,500 million yen for March, 2017 period (cf. a deficit of 25,600 million yen in 2016).  This was due to results of cost cutting and good sales performance of overseas restroom business including China.

Comments: This news indicates consumer interests in China have turned to the improvement of living conditions.

9 May You may be a sales person even above 70 years old, Daiwa Securities to lift the age limit of reemployment

Securities major Daiwa Securities Group Inc. decided to lift the age limit of the reemployment of the sales job, which presently is 70 years old. It is intended to reinforce sales force by utilizing abundant experience of the veteran work force.

Comments: Good not to eliminate resources because of the age, but what will be their payment? A major problem of the present Japanese reemployment after the legal retirement age is a sharp decrease of wages even for the same job.

10 May Film for tablets that may not be broken, invented by RIKEN TECHNOS Corp.

A plastic film maker, RIKEN TECHNOS CORPORATION, returned a record high operating income of 5,800 million yen for March 2017, up by 15.3% from the previous year.  While the main product was a vinyl  chloride material for automobiles, the company developed a plastic film which was hard to be broken for the screens of tablet terminals, anticipating that the number of cars produced in Japan may not grow any more.

Comments: From core-competence, taking into account the digital markets, innovation is born.

12 May Search by a smartphone application of strolling person due to dementia, the first field trial in Aichi-ken

A trial to look for an elderly person strolling around because of dementia using an application of smartphone started. Those who look for such person may send some information of the missing person such as his/her characteristics to  the smartphones of the cooperators, thus expand a search network to the entire region. The first field experiment in Japan took place in Kasuga-shi, Aichi-ken in April.

Comments: A key to success may be to have a large number of people who install and pay attention to such an application, or social awareness raiding.

  • 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 1 to 5 May, 2017

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1 May On May day, workers demonstrated advocating prevention of long working hours and the death from overwork

A number of meetings and the demonstrations of workers were held in Osaka-shi on 1st of the May Day. Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO) organised a meeting, in which 37,000 people participated in the Osaka Castle Park, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, and appealed to the public,  “Stop long working hours” or “Stop the death from overwork”. 

Comments: Too much work that may lead to the death is a major problem for workers in Japan, rather than a job itself, inlike many other countries suffering from economic downturn.

2 May 93% said “Uneasy” on national security, according to opinion polls by The Asahi Shimbun

The latest public opinion poll (by post mail) of the Asahi Shimbun (a Japanese major news paper) asked opinions on national security in connection with the constitution of Japan. With regard to the level of uneasiness in recent security environment around Japan, the sum of those who responded “very much” and “To some extent” added up to 93%. Regarding the overseas activity of the Self-Defense Forces, the majority responded “Good”,  thus the status quo was preferred.

Comments: The present feeling of the Japanese is “uneasy” looking at security status around the country.

5 May Ginza now a fierce battle field of watches,  “I’ve come to Japan to visit here” said a foreign visitor

Japanese major watch makes are opening their own shops for direct sale one after another in Ginza, the high-street in Tokyo. This is because Ginza has become a fierce battle field of watches incomparable in the world as a consequence of concentration in a small area of shops of international high quality watch makers.

According to a watch specialist, “Ginza is a crossroads of major watch brands of the world. Famous brands gather within a radius of 1 kilometer and one can look around every brand in a short time. The time efficiency is the number one in the world.”

Comments: Japanese shops has largely been inward looking, not expecting to handle foreign currencies or discussing with customers in English, let alone other languages. Hope this change in Ginza and many other similar ones in major cities in Japan will make the retail business outward looking.

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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 24 to 28 April, 2017

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24 Apr. Toshiba to branch out four major business units, such as the energy unit including the atomic energy

Toshiba announced that the company will branch out four main business units of “the social infrastructure”, “the energyincluding the atomic energy, “the information systems” and “the electronic device”. Toshiba intends to clarify management responsibilities by branching out the business units. Thus the company intends to maintain its volume of business so that the branched companies continue their own business by renewing the construction permit needed to install large scale facilities without being affected by financial troubles of the head quarters.

Comments: Would Toshiba renew itself to be a company with a good governance? The restructuring of the company looks like a host term solution only not to run to the worst.

25 Apr. Speaker for people with hearing impairment to enjoy music, awarded by the first prize at the Asian Competition

Three graduate students of Kyushu University designed the speaker that enables to enjoy music using the vibration of the sound designed. The underlying idea of the speaker, that is “to have people with hearing impairment enjoy music with the whole body”, was highly appreciated for its uniqueness at the Asian Competition for the design of industrial products, and the speaker obtained the highest award.

Comments: One may enjoy the music without hearing it.

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26 Apr. Kansai Airport marked the largest number of passengers of 25,710,000, crowded by visitors from Korea and China

The number of users of Kansai Airport was 25,710,000 in 2016, up 7% from a year ago and updated the record number for two consecutive years. The figure was released by the Kansai Airport which operates Kansai Airport and Osaka (Itami) Airport announced.

Comments: The Japanese economy, including airports, benefits much from visitors from neighboring Korea and China.

27 Apr. Unique earphone for smart phones

Earphones and headphones equipped with Bluetooth are becoming popular, the markets being pushed by the iPhone 7 (that does not have headphones terminal) or an earphone in which the right and left ones are separated from each other. On the other hand,  unique products comes up to headphones connected by the cable. For both products, not only one can enjoy music but also may be used for the voice call of the smartphone with a built-in microphone.

Comments: They are cool!

  • 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 3 to 7 April, 2017

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3 Apr. The highest possible hit of application for mountain clibmbers, being able to confirm location outside the mobile phone network zones

YAMAP, an application of map for mountain climbers developed by a venture company of Fukuoka-shi has become very popular. The application sees the 500,000 downloading, and 38 millions of monthly viewers, which are the largest numbers among the applications of this kind available in Japan. Drawn on the strength of being usable in those areas where the electric wave does not reach, attempts are being made to use it for wider purposes such as disaster prevention and sightseeing.

Comments: Swiss version of YAMAP may be very useful, if made available.

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4 Apr. Solar battery not needing the sun, developped by Sekisui Chemical

SEKISUI CHEMICAL CO., LTD. developed the solar battery which could generate electricity indoor where the sun light does not reach. While not much power may be generated, one may bend or process the battery into tape and stick to something because it is in the form of a thin film and is light. The company will start selling it from 2017, aiming at the sales of 10 billion yen in 2015.

Comments: This technology may be a breakthrough for ecological power generation!

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5 Apr. Payment by “bit coin” is becoming popular, Bic Camera to introduce it

There is an emerging trend to allow payments by the virtual currency “bit coin”. A major household appliance shop chain Bic Camera announced that it will allow payments by bit coin in some shops in Tokyo. The trend may spread to other retail shops and restaurants in future. While the bit coin is not free from risk of changes of market price, it is gradually becoming popular as a means of settlement.

Comments: Bit coins may dominate the present means of payments, such as “Osaifu Keitai” by domestic mobile phone service providers in Japan, as Bit coins may be used in wide payment opportunities worldwide. Foreign visitors to Japan may benefit from payments by Bit coins.

6 Apr. Sharp to increase the number of workers to 4,000 in Kameyama factory to increase production of parts of smart phones

Senior managers of Sharp revealed that the company will increase the number of workers of Kameyama factory (Kameyama-shi, Mie-ken) from 2,000 and several hundreds to about 4,000, including subcontractors. This move is in line with Sharp’s plan  to double the production volume of camera parts for smartphones.

Comments: It appears that Sharp is successfully walking a turnaround path since its acquisition by Foxconn (Taiwan).

7 Apr. Almost perfect precision with only a few centimeters’ errors, the second GPS satellite made in Japan released to the public

“Michibiki (guide)” the second, a quasi-zenith satellites of Japanese GPS (Global Positioning System), was shown to the public at  the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Tsukuba Space cCnter (Tsukuba-shi, Ibaragi-ken).  The launch from the first to the fourth unit is planned by the end of this year aimed at the full use in 2018.

Comments: This level of precision may allow a wide variety of use of locational information.

  • 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 27 to 31 March, 2017

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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 6 to 10 March, 2017

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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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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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