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

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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 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.

hitoe_toray

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.

Fresh & Hot from Japan, 16 to 20 January 2017

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16 Jan. JAXA failed to launch a small size rocket, causes to be investigated

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced on the 15th that it had failed launching of the small rocket which is the world’s smallest of the class created upon improvement of the rocket for atmospheric observation. JAXA said that it had canceled the ignition of the second rocket planned 180 seconds later of the launch, because JAXA couldn’t receive the data from the rocket after the launch from the Uchinoura outer space observatory locates in Kimotsuki-cho, Kagoshima-ken. The cause of the failure is not known at present and the agency will investigate it in detail.

Comments: Failure is always a means of leaning.

17 Jan. Slight increase of rate of women general managers to be 4.1% of government officials

The Cabinet Office announced the ratio of woman administrator of public and private sectors. Regarding the national government officials,  23.9% of the section manager of the Ministries, 9.4% of the assistant manager of the Ministries and general manager of local organizations, 4.1% of  department managers of the Ministries and 3.5% of those higher than deliberation official grade were women. <these figures were lower by 1.5-6.1 points compared to the aimed figure of 2020.

Comments: Japan is still behind of the world in utilizing resources of women workforce.

18 Jan. Relaying on robots for the care of the aged?, due to a serious labour shortage in the aged persons’ home

What kind of town is good if I spend the old age? The nature is rich, and convenient for shopping and above all a good medical and care services must be available — It was Kitakyushu-shi that shined in the first place in “the ranking of local cities where people  wanted to live after 50 years old”, according to a magazine for the senior published in summer last year.

Comments: Care requires emotional energy. Could robot replace human beings for that?

19 Jan. Supporting IT talented people, a foundation of Masayoshi Son started recruiting

“The Masayoshi Son endowment foundation” which President Masayoshi Son of the SOFTBANK group established by his own fund started recruitment of people whom the foundtati9on will support as the leaders of the next generation. Those eligible must be under  25 years old, may  in studying or returning benefits as a corporate manager. The foundation would support max. 100 people for their research, and study abroad and interchanging of each other.

Comments: Supporting one hundred people? wWhat a big idea it is!

20 Jan. Kirin to withdraw from Brazil, planning to sell its local subsidiary

A Japanese beer major Kirin Holdings Co., Ltdexamining the sale of the Brazilian subsidiary. An anticipated buyer is a Netherlands’ beer major Heineken. Kirin acquired a local major beer company six years agobut a deficit continues due to intensifying competition in local markets. Kirin is a withdrawing from Brazil.

Comments: Kirin will focus on Asia.

  • 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, 19 to 23 December 2016

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19 Dec.”Bioplastic” which is painting-free, Roadster to adopt

Bioplastic resin, produced by Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. from bio materials, is being used for an increasing number of automobile parts. Though more expensive than the resin derived from oil, attention is being paid to bioplastic for its eco-friendliness and cost-saving effects due to no need for painting.

Comments: Bioplastic could be a breakthrough for ecological production.

20 Dec. NEC to establish a company for development of medicines for cancer treatment using AI

NEC announced that the company would enter an innovative drug development business using artificial intelligence (AI). By using AI, the company has already discovered a promising material which may be used to create “peptide vaccine” that is attracting attention as a new therapeutic drug of cancer. NEC has established a new company to push forward the drug development to put the new medicine into practical use around 2025.

Comments: What an interesting development it is to stretch its core competence of information technology to medical science!

nec-medicine

21 Dec. Assessment of economic status raised for the first time since one year and nice months, “recovery continued”

The Cabinet Office raised an overall assessment of the domestic economy one year nine months since March, 2015, according to a monthly economic report of December. It is judged that movement of the improvement came out to export and individual consumption, saying, “the delay in the improvement was partly seen, but a gentle recovery tone continued”.

Comments: It’s a good news.

22 Dec. Honda, to partner with Google to develop automatic driving, starting a run experiment in the US

Honda announced that the company would start collaborative investigation of the “complete automatic driving” with the US net search major Google. Artificial intelligence (AI) of Google will be loaded in the car provided by Honda. The two companies will repeat run experiments in the United States and share know-how of the automatic driving.

Comments: A merger between the automobile manufacturing and information technology companies are taking place over the automatic driving, and the connected car.

23 Dec. Diplomatic documents related to Asia after the WWII to be open to the public on the web

The Asian history document center of the National Archives decided to extend the coverage of the documents related to international relations with Asian countries available to the public via its web site from those covering from Meiji era to the Second World War (WWII) to the era that include post WWII period. It is intended to fill the gap between different interpretations of historical incidents that sometimes cause disputes among different views by enabling to share the common documents between researchers and scholars. This change will start from 2017.

Comments: Better late than never — it is a good idea.

  • 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, 12 to 16 December 2016

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12 Dec. Inquiries and doorstepping investigations in the cyber space by a special force of Fukuoka Prefectural Police

Eradicate cyber crimes! — a special force of Fukuoka Prefectural Police, whose members are special investigators who had studied the computer science, “Cyber security special team (F-CST )”  started operating. The team deals with the investigation to go back and forth between the cyber space and real world, and started seeing the results.

Comments: Police needs competence of hackers to investigate cyber crimes.

13 Dec.  Automatic driving bus in campus, field experiment by a group of public and private organizations including Kyushu University

Four private and public organizations including Kyushu University announced that they would start a field experiment of the automatic driving bus from next January, and showed a demonstration run in Ito campus of Kyushu University  (Nishi-ku, Fukuoka-shi). The Road Traffic Act does not allow the unmanned driving in the public road, but premises in the campus is all right as it is not the public road.  The group of organizations plans to progressively  test the bus in the environment near to the public road and improve safety and convenience. It is aimed to put the automatic driving bus into practice as a means of transportation in campuses in the latter half of 2018.

Comments: The automatic driving cars may start being used for specific purposes in the private premises, such as Universities, factories, hospitals, etc.

14 Dec. Please read it before you use!, “Toilet paper to read” getting popular

It is too good to just use — “Toilet paper to read” by Hayashi Paper (President Hiroyuki Hayashiof Hina, Fuji-shi, Shizuoka produces is popularFrom a quiz to a novel and disaster prevention information, here are more than 30 products of this kind. The company is receiving a number of requests for an original toilet paper from public institutions and companies inside and outside the prefecture.

Comments: It is a great value-added of toilet paper!

xmas-toilet-paper

15 Dec. Fuji Film acquired Wako Pure Chemical Industries from Takeda Pharmaceutical to strengthen its medical business

Fuji Film Holdings Corp. purchased Wako Pure Chemical Industries  Ltd. (Osaka-shi), a subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited specialized in reagent for studies for approximately 154,700 million yen. Fuji Film intends to acquire techniques necessary for research and development of the regenerative medicine and thus to strengthen its medical business.

Comments: With decreasing demand for films, Fuji Film is undergoing a strategic shift to the medical business using its core competence on chemicals.

16 Dec. Christmas tree of high-quality melons, “If you hit the right number, please get one”

“The melon tree” which used the high-quality cantaloupes is displayed in the Nishijima gardening housing complex of Hataeda, Nankoku-shi, Kochi until 24th and heaps up a Christmas season.

Comments: Japanese are good at using Christmas for marketing of high quality melons!

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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, 5 to 9 December 2016

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5 Dec. From filament to stamp, Panasonic switching the use of material of lamps due to switching of lighting to LED

Panasonic converted material (tungsten) for the filament of incandescent and fluorescent lamps into a stamp. Due to the spread of lighting  by LED (light emitting diode), the use of the filament is decreasing. The company therefore has switched the use of processing technique of tungsten developed in-house to stamps.  The stamps made from tungsten has advantages over existing materials of stamps, such as a long life and only a little pressure needed to use it. Panasonic plans to ship the material to stamp manufacturers before the end of this year.

Comments: Panasonic is flexible to search and find a new use of existing techniques in a competitive ways.

6 Dec. Automatic driving car carrying cars for export to a wharf, ”Intelligent Vehicle Towing” introduced by Nissan Oppama Factory

Nissan Motor Corp. introduced and showed to the press a system to carry newly manufactured cars from the factory to a dedicated wharf by  an electric car (EV) of the automatic driving in its major Oppama Factory (Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa-ken). Nissan plans to use this system to carry 1,000 cars per day by 2019, thus to improve efficiency of production and the shipment.

Comments: Automatic cars may be used more efficiently in private premises for limited purposes than in public roads, at least until technology and operational know-how will have been piled up.

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7 Dec.  Monitoring teleworkers, Canon to start a support service

Canon announced that the company will launch a system to support “the telework” via the Internet, a style of working  to work at homes. The system allows managers to watch employees working at home with a remote camera, and will be introduced to the market next February. The Government promoting the telecom as a part of “The reform of the way of working”, Canan and its competitors are developing the systems that facilitate the telework.

Comments: The system hits a thin line between private and work lives. Would teleworkers want to have a monitoring camera at home?

8 Dec. The East meets the West, Santa Clause in a shape of Japanese traditional doll

Hakata dolls (One of the Japanese traditional dolls developed in Fukuoka area, Kyushu region) of Santa Claus are on sale in the Christmas market held in front of the JR Hakata station (Fukuoka-shi ). Only three hundred dolls will be sold. People queued to but one.

Comments: The doll symbolizes adjustment of traditional craftsmanship to the modern life.

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9 Dec. Innovative drug development of iPS, budget of 6 Billion yen over 6 years to be approved by the Government

Japanese government is starting a new project to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from the cells of patients to support the innovative drug development. A committee in charge of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has approved an outline of the plan that will cost 6 billion yen over six years. The project is intended to support research to create the basis of a new medicine to be developed by pharmaceutical companies.

Comments: A long time and huge investment are needed for R&D of new medicine.

  • 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.