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, 22 to 26 August 2016

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

22 Aug. Nursing by night without disturbing patients by light, An ear cover light developed by Shimane University

Shimane University announced that it developed an LED light for nurses to use hanged on the ear to take care of patients during the night. The wish of a nurse of the hospital attached to the medical department of the University to have a hands-free light which light up the hand without disturbing patients has come true. This lamp is a result of development with companies in Izumo city (Shimane Prefecture) and to be launched in commercial markets in the autumn.

Comments: This case convinces us that technologies find a way to be welcome in society when they are used to help people.

島根大 耳架けライト

23 Aug. UFJ Bank and Hitachi, starting experiment of the electronic check using FinTech

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Hitachi, Ltd. announced that they began demonstration experiment of electronic issuing and settlement of checks using FinTech (Information Technologies for the financial sector) in Singapore. They aim at putting the electronic check system in practical use in 2018, and plan to use it in Japan and other countries in Asia in the future.  In the experiment, so-called “block chain” technology, that encrypts business transaction records such as the settlement will be used.

Comments: The electronic check will accelerate the speed of transaction and therefore money flow in the economy.

24 Aug. The super high-quality sake “rice wine” of Y 88,000.- ($ 880.-) being exported

It costs 88,000 yen or about $ 880.- (tax-excluded) per bottle of 750 milliliters. Such a super high quality sake “Mujaku” has been put on sale. A venture company of Yamaguchi-shi and a sake producer of Iwakuni-shi, Yamaguchi ken, developed it. One thousand (1,000) bottles will be produced, out of which 250 bottles will be sold in Japan. The rest will be exported as “Rice wine” to Dubai, France, etc. Online purchase is also possible from the link here —

Comments: Sales and consumption of Sake has been shrinking in Japan since years. The sake industry must have a new strategy to appeal the sake to wider markets and a large variety of consumers.

25 Aug. Drying the clothes with high-speed wind of 300km/hour, Hitachi to release a new model of a washing and drying machine

Hitachi Appliances,Inc. is releasing a new model “BD-SV110A” of the drum-type washing and drying machine, “Heat recycling wind iron big drum slim” series in September. In addition to a major feature of this series of drying with a high speed wind of approximately 300km per an hour while steaming the clothes, it has become possible to dry the clothes with less wrinkles by improving the turn control of the drum.  The washing capacity is 11 kg. The price without TVA will be around 310,000 yen (about CHF 3000.-).

Comments: What an expensive washing machine it is!

26 Aug. Insominia treatment using the Internet,  a new cognitive-behavioral therapy without using drugs

Chiba University Hospital developed a treatment program of the insomnia using the Internet. The therapy is based on the cognitive-behavioral therapy that enables a patient to review his/her way of thinking and action without depending on medicine, while staying at home. The hospital is recruiting participants of the clinical trial to check an effect of the treatment.

Comments: It is a therapy that allows us to voluntarily work on the brain.

  • 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, 8 to 12 August 2016

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

8 Aug. His Majesty the Emperor Akihito expressed his feeling of abdication by video message

The Imperial Household Agency released o the public the video message of His Majesty the Emperor Akihito, who showed  intention of “the abdication while alive” to hand over the throne to  Crown Prince, on his feeling about “the duty as the symbol” to at 3:00 PM. Emperor Akihito has expressed that it may become difficult to achieve the duty as the symbol of Japan with his heart and soul as he got aging. While avoiding the direct expression on abdication due to constitutional prohibition for him to step in any political matters, he speech strongly suggested intention of the future abdication.

Comments: Pope retired. Why not the Emperor? He worked hard throughout his life. It’s time to exit.

11 Aug. “Buddhist priest service” by Amazon, Buddhism community rebelled but unexpectedly criticised

“Buddhist priest service” by Amazon, in which you click a button in Amazon, put it in a cart, pay by credit card, and see the Buddhist priest coming your home before long, has become popular. Despite request made by the Buddhism community to stop the service, it is selling well, because there are some reasons why behind on both service ordering and delivering sides.

Comments: Where there is an unmet demand, there is a business opportunity.

12 Aug. The third unit of Ikata Nuclear Power Plant resumed operation, becoming the third nuclear power plant in operation 

Shikoku Electric Power Corp. has resumed operation of the third unit of Ikata Nuclear Power Plant  (Ehime, output 890,000 kilowatts) in the morning on 12th. This has become the third nuclear power plant currently in operation, following the Units 1 and 2 of Kawauchi Nuclear Plant (Kagoshima) of Kyushu Electric Power Corp. Residents of Matsuyama and Hiroshima and Oita filed an application for a provisional disposition order to their respective district court to request a tentative court order to stop driving the plant. There may be a chance that the plant operation may be stopped by judgement of the courts.

Comments: Japan should consider the energy supply of the future before hurriedly moving to resume operation go nuclear plants in the country. This is the act of learning form the Fukushima 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, 4 to 8 July 2016

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

4 Jul. Heat of 36.1 degrees hit Wakayama, “Be careful!” said Meteorological Agency

It became severely hot mainly on the Pacific side of Japan on the 4th, and temperature rose rapidly. The temperature rose above 35 degrees in several cities already in the morning. At noon, it recorded 36.1 degrees in in Shingu-shi, Wakayama, 35.9 degrees in Kawanehon-cho, Shizuoka, 35.4 degrees in Kamikitayama-mura, Nara, 34.5 degrees.  The tempereture rose to 34.3 degrees in Ozu-shi, Ehime, and 34.5 degrees in Hirakata-shi, Osaka.

Comments: Such an extraordinarily high temperature is scarcely. It may signal some disorder happening in our planet.

5 Jul. Glico ice cream extremely popular in Thailand, developing its ice-cream business in  Southeast Asia 

A major confectionery, Ezaki Glico (Osaka-shi) place emphasis on ice cream business in Southeast Asia. The company started selling its ice cream for the first time in Thailand for its overseas business in January and is beginning the sale and production within this year in Indonesia. Having the Glico brand popular abroad, the company will develop business in growing markets in Asia.

Comments: The Japanese food industry is also developing in Southeast Asia.

6 Jul. The 18 years old, getting the right to vote from the forthcoming election, the high school newspapers assert importance of continued interests

Newspaper clubs of high schools takes up as a subject of an article “the right to vote for the 18 years old”. Some reports results of a questionnaire survey to ask if one would go for a vote, and others analyses “political neutrality” for the school. Teachers expect those papers raise interests in the election of students of 18 years old, as high school papers are familiar media for them.

Comments: The high school papers provide good opportunities for the youngest voters to think of what is the voting bring for them.

7 Jul. Japanese Astronaut Onishi left for space trip for 4 months, space spaceship Soyuz placed on the orbit

The Russian spaceship Soyuz which Japanese Astronaut Takuya Onishi (40) and others boarded was launched at 7:36 a.m. on 7th July (Japan time 10:36 a.m.), from Baikonur space station in Kazakhstan. Onishi stays in the International Space Station (ISS) for approximately four months and undertake scientific experiments. He is the sixth Japanese astronaut who stays in the ISS for a long time and it is the seventh time for the Japanese to join in the ISS.

Comments: It is great that the space technologies are used for the advancement of the science.

8 Jul. Meiji Yasuda Mutual Life Insurance Co. to extend retirement age to 65 years old, the first time among major life insurance companies

Meiji Yasuda Mutual Life Insurance Co. decided to extend the retirement age of all full-time employees to 65 years old from 60 years old. The purpose is to utilize the resources of the expert staff. The company will implement the plan from April, 2019, after a labor and management discussion. This is the first case for major life insurance companies tto extend the retirement age of all full-time employees to 65 years old.

Comments: A number of other companies may follow this case, as companies must utilize resources of the employees with experience when population of younger generation is decreasing.

  • 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 June to 1 July 2016

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

24 Jun. Prime Minister Abe instructed Ministers to take prompt actions in response to the UK secession from the EU

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting with the cabinet Ministers concerned to discuss actions in response to the European Union (EU) secession of the U.K. in the evening of 24th. He said, “I am concerned about a risk of the world economy and a currency market. We must ensure of stabilization of the money market as a matter of priority”. He further pointed out the need for the Government to cope with possible influences on Japanese companies operating in the U.K. and Japanese economy, and instructed the Cabinet Ministers concerned to take actions needed.

Comments: We are all diving into an unknown zone, after being shocked by the result of the UK referendum.

27 Jun. Rearrested a 17 years old for the alleged outflow of information of 6 high schools including the grades injustice by illegal connection

The Metropolitan Police Department and the Saga Prefectural Police rearrested an unemployed boy (17 years old, living in Saga-shi) on the ground of alleged violation of Unauthorized Computer Access Law for an illegal access to the computer network of prefectural high schools in Saga prefecture. He is likely to have broken into the networks of at least 6 high schools, and, according to the Saga Board of Education, performance records and the personal information of 9,589 students and teachers were taken away. The police said that the boy admitted most of the case for his charge.

Comments: Both protection of electronic data and education to grow computer moral are important.

28 Jun. Japanese businesses concerned about Brexit, Prime Minister instructed to include measures to reduce the reactions in the supplementary budget 

Following the U.K. secession from European Union (EU), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed Nobuteru Ishihara, Minister in charge of economic revitalization, to include the measures to reduce anticipated impacts on businesses in the second supplementary budget this year to be submitted to an extraordinary session of the Diet in the autumn.

Comments: Japanese reactions to Brexit is centered on economic consequences.

29 Jun. Testing forklift powered by hydrogen generated by the sun light, Toyota Kyushu

Toyota Motor Corporation Kyushu and Fukuoka Prefecture have announced that they are starting from the next Spring a demonstration test to move a forklift equipped with a fuel cell powered by the hydrogen generated by photovoltaic power. By the experiment, it is aimed to clarify technical issues and to find ways to cut costs during the FY 2017 in view of market introduction of the hydrogen-powered forklift.

Comments: Two-thirds of the cost of the project is subsidized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The Government is pushing forward the energy development leveraging the private sector.

30 Jun. Covering Mt. Fuji by WiFi, a base station to be built in all the mountain hut Mount

KDDI (a major Japanese telecommunications carrier) has announced that he company will enable the free use of WiFi in all the mountain huts in Mount Fuji regardless of a telecommunications carrier with which users have contracts. The WiFi network is expected to be useful at the emergency including the eruption. KDDI plan to put base stations in 49 premises, including all the mountain huts and public facilities.

Fujisan WiFi_1469440 Comments: It is a very good idea!

1 Jul. Student volunteers for cyber crime prevention, in cooperation with police 

“The cyber crime prevention volunteers” are playing active roles in cooperation with the police, when the crimes that abuse the Internet are occurring here and there. Nearly 10,000 people, many of whom are University students, have registered in the past four and a half years since the launch of this initiative by the police. The volunteers have become an indispensable force, searching harmful information in Cyberspace, teaching children and the aged people risks of careless use of the Internet and how to use smartphones.

Comments: While it’s a good idea, schools, not police, should take initiative to teach children etiquette and proper use of the Internet services. 

  • 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 23 June 2016

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

16 Jun. Pokemon in Chinese, from its release in Nov. to support 8 languages 

“Pocket Monster”, nicknamed as Pokemon, will include a Chinese version for the first time from its new world-wide release planned on 18 November. In addition to English, French, etc., Pokemon will be available in 8 languages. Nintendo, vendor of Pokemon, thus plans to develop the overseas markets that may keep growing.

Comments: Language is a key to easy access for a growing number of international lovers of comic and games.

17 Jun. Mitsubishi Motors to pay 100,000 yen per car as compensation of fuel consumption camouflage

Mitsubishi Motors plans to pay compensation of flat 100,000 yen to those customers who own the four models of light cars for which the company camouflaged the fuel consumption (including those cars sold to Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. as OEM) . The compensation is to cover costs of gasoline paid more than needed due to the fact that the fuel consumption was not as stated in a catalogue.

Comments: It is a trivial solution. The compensation may not rebuild the trust by consumers lost due to the false reporting of the fuel consumption.

20 Jun. Two nuclear power generators of over 40 years old to obtain authorization to extend operation for 20 years, two units of Takahama nuclear plant

Two nuclear power generators of Takahama Nuclear Power Plant owned by Kansai Electric Power Co., which are more than 40 years old, is likely to obtain authorization of driving extension for 20 years. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission consults with an ordinary assembly about a result of examination in the afternoon of 20th. This case will be the first extension authorization under the new regulation established after an accident of Fukushima first Nuclear Power Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. that limits the life of the nuclear power generators in principle to be 40 years.

Comments: What is the new regulation for if an extension is granted without hurdles? Die the Japanese take lessons from the disaster of Fukushima Nuclear Plant?

21 Jun. “Robots for home use will come true in 15 years”, said the chief of Toyota subsidiary of AI research

Mr. Gill Pratt, the top person of Toyota research institute (TRI), an AI (artificial intelligence) subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, said, “We wish to apply technologies to manufacture automobiles to other areas. I trust that the home robots will be used caring of the aged, etc. will be realized in 15 years”.

Comments: Let’s see what will be possible and what will be human roles which robots can’t take.

22 Jun. 11,000 personal information outflown from an e-commerce site of a women’s journal, “ViVi”

Kodansha, a major publishing company in Japan, announced that the personal information of approximately 11,000 members were flown outside the its e-commerce system  of its monthly women’s journal, “ViVi”, due to an unjust access.   Kodansha said that the credit card information was not included in the stolen date, and that the company had sent an email of the apology to those whose data had been stolen. The publishing company has not received any report of damage from its e-commerce members.

Comments: This incident is the second one after JTB in the past one month, who had the customer information stolen. One may doubt there could be other cases that are not publicly announced yet.

23 Jun. No conversation between Prime Minister and Mr. Onaga, Governonr of Okinawa, deepening discord observed on the day of the Okinawa memorial service

The Okinawa “day of the memorial service” was held while the shock of the killing of a women by an ex-soldier of  U.S. army was continued. The Governor of Okinawa-ken, Mr. Takeshi Onaga clarified again in his speech in the memorial service his position against the relocation of Futenma Air Station of the UA Army (currently located in Ginowan-shi, Okinawa) to Henoko. In contrast, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was also present in the memorial service, does not change the relocation plan. The discord of the two only deepens further.

Comments: Okinawa issue is rooted in Japanese history since the WWII. 

  • 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.