Fresh & hot from Japan, from 20 to 26 May 2017

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

20 May Shogi Maestro Amahiko SATO defeated by AI

The Shoji Maestro Amahiko SATO was defeated by PONANZA,  artificial intelligence (AI) of Shogi, at the second match between the human Shogi maestro and AI held in  Himeji-jo Castle of Himeji-shi, Hyogo. This win has became the two successive victories of PONANZA, which marked the defeat of the human maestro who was the top of the Shogi world.

Comments: It is endless in what AI could do.

23 May Japanese LCC, Peach Aviation to introduce bit coins, aiming at more passengers visiting Japan

A Japanese Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Peach Aviation will enable purchasing airline tickets by a virtual currency bit coin  within this year. While an increasing number of retail stores and restaurants have begun introducing it as a means of payment in Japan, this is the first case among major means of transportation. Peach Aviation is expecting the use by overseas visitors to Japan by facilitating the payment.

Comments: It’s a marketing strategy to use bit coins to facilitate visitors from China.  Market volume counts.

24 May Pushing market development of pharmaceutical companies in the newly developing economies, a new organization to be established on the basis of public and private sectors partnership

The Japanese Government is establishing an organization in cooperation with the private sectors to push forward the Japanese pharmaceutical companies in the rising economies. The organization may build a factory in host countries so that participating companies may use it. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who till be the general manager of the organization is going to announce the plan in the strategic promotion office of the health and medical sectors to be open in June.

Comments: Would the pharmaceutical sector need that much hands-on support by the Government?

25 May Discovered possible therapeutic drug of the intractable disease ALS, Univ. of Kyoto by using induced pluripotent stem cells

A research team of Professor Haruhisa Inoue (neurology) of University of Kyoto discovered the compound that may be a candidate of the therapeutic drug using the induced pluripotent stem cells made from the skin of a patient of the intractable disease “amyotrophic lateral sclerosis” (ALS) that causes symptoms of muscle weakness.  It was confirmed by experiment using mice that the compound works to suppress the progress of illness.

Comments: Good news!

26 May Orix to sell an electricity subsidiary, Kansai Electric Power tenders a bid for sale

Prix is selling is subsidiary, Orix Electricity (Tokyo) that undertakes a mass sales of the electricity apartments. Prix is going to decide the sale by a bid from June to August.  Electricity majors, such as  Kansai Electric Power, and city gas majors are examining participation.

Comments: Does this indicate a failure of liberalization of the power supply?

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

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, 12 to 16 December 2016

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

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!

melon-tree_comm

  • 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, 31 October to 4 November 2016

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

31 Oct. Cleaning, cooking, and more, four tasks of hotel business taken by one person, hotel management reform by Hoshino Resort of inns

Hoshino Resort is known as revitalizing business of ryokans (Japanese style inns). A major strength of the company is “multi-tasking” of employees who take more than two roles, while, in other hotels, those in charge of the front desk takes tasks at the front desk and those in charge of cleaning do cleaning only. With the improvement of employee productivity, Hoshino Resort opened a ryokan in Tokyo last summer and intends to develop ryokan business overseas.

Comments: Multi-tasking reduced redundant time of employees. This management may be an interesting model of hotel business.

2 Nov. A major vendor suspended sales of some routers due to a possible abuse of the use for cyber attack

I-O Data Device Inc. (Kanazawa), one of the major Japanese computer peripheral manufacturers, suspended sales of some of its products, due to a possible abuse of use of its equipment for a new means of cyber attack, that utilizes the equipment used for IoT (the Internet of Things). There are a number of cyber attack cases recently in and outside Japan in which device for IoT is infected by virus and used for “DDos” attack.

Comments: IoT could be more vulnerable than human-to-human Internet. We need wisdom to prevent this new way of cyber attack.

3 Nov. Willingness of sending by family budget worsened for the first time in three months, said the Cabinet Office

According to the  consumer behavior survey of October undertaken by the Cabinet Office, the consumer sentiment index for private households (seasonal adjustment level) that indicates willingness to spend by the family budget turned worse to be 42.3 points, down from the last month by 0.7 points for the first time in three months. The Cabinet Office concluded “the slow upward trend continued” and maintained its basic observation to be “the movement of the improvement is observed”.

Comments: Japanese economy is still fragile, while moving upwards.

4 Nov. “World Tsunami Awareness Day” is the 5th Nov., disaster drill involving 420,000 people undertaken in Wakayama

One day before the first “World Tsunami Awareness Day” on 5 Nov. established by the United Nations, a disaster drill was held in Wakayama prefecture, involving about 420,000 people who are mostly in public facilities, such as schools.

Comments: “World Tsunami Awareness Day” is a good idea to regularly alert us to be prepared for the disaster.

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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, 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.

 

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

i

  • 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

Moshi moshi, Japan? — Japanese market for Swiss innovative start-ups, Geneva, Friday, 13 March

You are cordially invited for “Moshi moshi, Japan?“, Geneva on Friday, 13 March.
Moshi moshi, Japan?” is an informal meet-up with people who are doing business with Japan. Though Japan is a fascinating market, its business culture is nothing like others. In addition, handling the culture well is the key to success with Japan.
South Entrance, Shinjuku Station, Tokyo
South Entrance, Shinjuku Station, Tokyo
What are other people doing to work well with Japan?
What works and what doesn’t?
What breakthrough did other people make? 

Let’s exchange experiences and discuss over coffee!

Mr. Shaban Shaame, CEO & Founder, EverdreamSoft
on “Japanese market for innovative startups

Participants: Anyone interested in business with Japan.

Date and time: From 18h00 to 19h15, Friday,13 March

Place: Starbucks, Rive, Geneva central area

Languages: French and English

Organisation fee: CHF 10.-
Please register: By e-mail or phone call to Yoshiko Kurisaki, Europe-Japan Dynamics

Yoshiko.kurisaki@gmail.com, Tel. 076 411 6076

I look forward to seeing you!
Yoshiko
Check it out! Forthcoming meetings —
Friday 17 April, Uchi and Soto, the key concepts of the Japanese relationship building
Friday 26 June, Negotiations with Japanese companies (Tentative)