Fresh & hot from Japan, from 3 to 7 April, 2017

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

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!

積水太陽電池

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 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 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 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, 23 to 27 January 2017

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23 Jan. “Cooperation upon the expertise of stakeholders are important”, said CEO of Toyota, in search for cooperation with Mr. Trump

At the ceremony of the launch of mass production of the new bus, “Coaster”, held in  Kakamigahara-shi, Gifu-ken, Mr. Akio Toyota, CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, said with regard to the new US administration, “Either automobile companies or the administration alone cannot make the region happy. What’s important is for all the stakeholders to work together drawing on their own expertise”. This indicate that he would cooperate with the US administration.

Comments: It is still wait and see as to the way the new US administration would influence on the private sector activities in the country.

24 Jan. H-2A rocket successfully launched, the first communications satellite of Ministry of Defense

The 32nd unit of H-2A rocket that carried communications satellite of the Ministry of Defense, “Kirameki 2”,  on board was successfully launched at 4:44 PM on 24th by Tanegashima space center of Kagoshima-ken.

Comments: A benchmark of the development of rockets made-in-Japan.

25 Jan. Automatic driving tractor for rice planting, announced by Kubota

Agricultural machinery major, Kubota announced that the company will start selling automatic driving tractors to monitors from June.  Kubota will be the first company to sell automatic driving agricultural machinery in Japan. Envisaging an increasing scale of the agriculture with less workforce, the company plans to put it on sale for the wide public in 2018.

Comments: True, an automatic driving could work in the agriculture which will have to be carried on with decreasing workforce.

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26 Jan. Your walking age is known by walking for 6m, a system developed by Asics & NEC

Asics and NEC developed a system which could tell the “walking age”by  detecting the age equivalent of a way of walking by walking only about 6 meters towards a sensor apparatus.  At n expected market entry is from nursing facilities for the elders as the system helps formulating menus of the exercise to prevent them from falling.

Comments: Do you want to try it?

27 Jan. Toshiba to branch out its  semiconductor business, inviting bids early next month

Toshiba decided in the meeting of board of directors held today to branch out one of its core sectors of semiconductor business. The company plans to sell some of the stocks of the new company to pay for a huge loss caused by its nuclear power plant business in the United States. After having shareholders’ approval in an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to be held at the end of March, Toshiba plan to officially branch out the semiconductor business.

Comments: Competition map of the semiconductor vendors may change.

  • 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.