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.



  • 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, 24 to 28 October 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

  • All the news items are picked up from “Asahi Digital”, and summarized and translated by Europe-Japan Dynamics. The articles are not an official translation by the Asahi Newspaper.


Fresh & Hot from Japan, 3 to 7 October 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video: Mounting on the 4m robot.

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

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

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

Comments: Fierce competition is an origin of innovation.

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

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


Comments: Sounds like an SF.

sonx-xperia_equipment sony-xperia





  • 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, 11 to 15 July 2016

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

11 Jul.  Over “the Two-thirds” of the Upper House seats taken by those supporting revision of the Constitution, after the national election yesterday

The seats of the 24th Upper House election was settled in the morning on 11th. In the whole seats of the House which includes a non-reelection member, the number of the seats taken by those supporting revision of the Constitution exceeded  two-thirds, that is needed to amend the Constitution. These are members of the four parties promoting the amendment, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the New Komeito, the Osaka Restoration Party and the Party for Japanese Kokoro, as well as those member of the Diet who are not re-elected and do not belong to any party. The Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (President of the LDP) who assumes revision of the Constitution is likely to accelerate the Constitution debate in the Diet.

Comments: The draft Constitution proposed by the LDP contains a number of sensitive words that place the basic human rights under the Government control. Is it what the Japanese voters want?

12 Jul. First order from Europe of 120 MRJ, “A strong foothold of market development” said the president

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, announced that the company received an order of small jetliner MRJ under development from a European company for the first time. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and Rockton AB, a regional aircraft leasing company based in Sweden, agreed on twenty (20) orders. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation takes this success as the first foothold in a prosperous European market and wishes to leverage it for further business development.

Comments: The Japanese aerospace was one of the best in the world before the end of the WWII. Let’s see how the industry will evolve.

13 Jul. Pokémon GO, to be released in Japan by the end of this week? Nintendo, stock prices  rising sharply

A smartphone game, “Pokémon GO” by Nintendo has become explosively popular. The game was downloaded more than 7,500,000 times in the United States after its release ahead of Japan.  Pokémon GO will be released in Japan soon and a hit is anticipated. The share price of Nintendo rose, as its business recovery is expected.

Comments: The game is a kind of virtual reality. The world is moving ahead to VR.

Pokemon GO

13 Jul. Japanese Emperor Akihito ‘wishes to abdicate’, advised to the Empress and the Crown Prince

We have learned from a source in the Imperial Household Agency that His Majesty the Emperor showed intention to hand over the status of Emperor to Crown Prince during the lifetime, which is unusual for the Japanese imperial family, for which the death has been the only reason of abdication in the past 200 years. The Emperor has been repeating the intention since several years. The Imperial House Act does not have a clause that states rules and procedures of  abdication while alive.

Comments: The Emperor is 82 years old. He should be allowed to retire from a heavy job as the Emperor.

15 Jul. LINE went public at the first share price of 4,900 yen in Tokyo Stock Exchange,  with the aggregated market value of 1 trillion yen

LINE  which provided an application of phone-talk went public in the First Section of Tokyo Stock Exchange. The first share price was 4,900 yen, that exceeded  a public price (3,300 yen) by approximately 48%. The aggregate market value of the company calculated by the first price amounted to approximately 1 trillion yen, which was the largest value for a company newly went public this year.

Comments: LINE also went public in NYSE on 14 Jul. Communication continues being personalised.

  • 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, 10 to 15 June 2016

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

10 Jun. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ to issue an original virtual currency for the public in next autumn

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ publishes an original virtual currency “MUFG coin” currently under development for wide users in next autumn. MUFG coin is a part of the bank’s”Fintech”, financial services based on information technology (IT), and is the first case in the world in which a major bank issues a virtual coin for the general public. The virtual currency will allow users to exchange it between themselves easily or to exchange it with foreign currencies at a low fee. A wide variety of use of the virtual currency may develop by the full-scale entry of a major bank such as the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Comments: It is an interesting move by a major bank in Japan. It remains to be seen how much a conservative bank may explore potential of virtual currencies without changing the rigid paradigm of banking business.

13 Jun. The negative business perception of large companies two quarters in a row, April to June

 According to the quarterly survey by the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Finance, the business forecast index of large companies in the period from April to June was negative 7.9 for all the industries. The negative result continued for two quarters in a row. The negative value is larger than the one in the first quarter due to the suspension of production by the Kumamoto earthquake, and strong yen in international currency markets.

Among large companies, the business perception of the manufacturing industry largely became worse than before with -11.1. This is due to a large decrease of the index in the automobile and information and communication apparatuses (such as smart phones) sectors. The index of the small- and medium-sized companies was -16.9 for all the industries, returning negative figures nine quarters in a row.

Comments: The economy is still gloomy. Small companies are hit much harder than large ones.

14 Jun. Clot found in 9.1% of people, examination by doctors of 2000 people staying in the refuge after the Kumamoto earthquake

A team of doctors and other medical service professionals who have been working to prevent the “economy-class syndrome” (lungs embolus symptoms) as a consequence of the Kumamoto earthquake released results of the work that they found the clot which could cause the pulmonary embolism in 9.1% of 2,000 people examined. The likelihood of having the clot is high in particular among those women who are more than 70 years old, and 70% or more of the patients are women.

Comments: This news makes me speechless. Could someone invent medicine to recover from the worn-out feet.

15 Jun. An election of governor of Tokyo on 31 July at the earliest, Mr. Masuzoe is resigning

Governor of Tokyo, Yoichi Masuzoe submitted the resignation through his staff to Chairperson of assembly of metropolitan Tokyo.  Over the financial scandals such as using public finds for private purposes, both the ruling and opposition parties of the assembly have agreed on the submission of the no-confidence motion. With this move, Mr. Masuzoe appears to have decided that he could not stay in the Governors seat as the motion would be approved in the second ordinary assembly this afternoon.

Comments: It is a shame that two Governors in a row resigned due to inappropriate use of money in Tokyo. Voters will have huge responsibility in deciding whom to vote at the forthcoming election.

  • 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, 2 to 8 June 2016

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

1 Jun. Learning drill like a game on the Internet, developed by Gakken to improve motivation

The Gakken Holdings will start new learning drills services on the Internet in July. The services are addressed to children of primary and junior high schools, and have game characteristics so that children will obtain custom of learning. The Gakken Holdings plans to increase the number of customers of its main business of tutoring school by attracting potential customers by an easy-access service such as the online learning drill service.

Comments: Would an online game motivate children to study?

2 Jun. “We’ll dispatch robots to factories that plan production increase”, a new business of Kawasaki Heavy Industries

Kawasaki Heavy Industries launched a new business to dispatch robots to work on the production line of factories that need to increase production temporarily. By dispatching robots instead of human work force, the company plans to offer solutions for the shortage of work force on the shop floor.

Comments: Robots to replace human workers — it was an SF dream. Now the dream may gradually come true taking such an avenue.

3 Jun. Russia to designate the Northern Territories as a special economic zone, aiming at promotion of fish farming and tourism

The Russian Ministry of Far East Development announced the policy to create a special economic zone in the Kuril Islands (Name of the Chishima Islands and the Northern Territories in Russia) before the end of this year. The Government intends to promote industry such as fish farming or tourism in Etorofu and Kunashir Islands. Expectation of Japanese investment in the region is increasing in Russia after Japan and Russia summit meeting of May. The country may demand Japan an economic cooperation in the new special economic zone.

Comments: Japan should take advantage of this opportunity to push interests of regional development forward in order to create a realistic and feasible solutions with Russia over this disputed territories  since the end of the WWII.

6 Jun. A number of “Drone class” being held in cities, responding demand for practice due to regulations limiting areas of flying 

An increasing number of fields and flight schools of a small robot plane (Drone) is open in Japan. While the Government included drone in the growth strategy of the country, the drone regulations increased due to accidents and other troubles. As a result, it has become difficult to fly drones in urban areas. This gave rise to demand of companies investigating business opportunities using a drone to practice flying the drone in safe zones.

Comments: It is an excellent business idea to provide the space and course for future drone service providers. While it is a nice market, an increasing use of drone will provide stable demand.

7 Jun. Honda factory in Kumamoto to partly start production in June, expecting the full operation in August

Honda is restarting production of motorcycels in the Kumamoto factory (Ohzu-machi, Kumamoto), which has been stopped since the Kumamoto earthquake, though partly by the end of this month. The factory is the only base of motorcycle production in Japan. The company is starting some of the 50 models and plans the full-scale production in the middle of August.

Comments: It is a good sign of economic recovery from the Kumamoto earthquake.

8 Jun. Real growth rate of GDP increased by 0.5% from the previous quarter, in January to March period

A real growth rate of GDP that excludes the influence of price fluctuation increased by 0.5% in the first quarter 2016 as compared to the rate in the previous quarter (Oct. – Dec. 2015), according to the second breaking news announced by the Cabinet Office. The rate is equivalent to the 1.9% increase if converted into the annual rate. The 0.5% figure was revised upward from 0.4% increase (1.7% increase in annual rate conversion) announced in the breaking news released in May. It is the first positive growth in the past two quarters.

Comments: Let’s see how the economic status will roll out.

  • 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.