Fresh & hot from Japan, from 5 to 9 June 2017

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

5 Jun. Experiment of the remote control of a car on a public road starting this summer in Aichi-ken

The Governor Hideaki Omura of Aichi-ken announced at a press conference of 5th that experiments of the remotely controlled  cars on the public roads  in Nagoya-shi, Kasugai-shi and Kota-cho for the first time in Japan this summerA driver does not get on the driver‘s seat of the car and she/he controls the car from the remote place.

Comments: An automatic driving car coming closer to the reality.

6 Jun. Increasing “Curving out” of business, even despite good performance. Why?

Major reason of the sale of subsidiaries and business branches were restructuring of the parent company or bad performance. Nowadays the number of the sale by good performing companies are increasing. The total volume of such sale amount to one trillion yen scale among major companies since 2013. Such sale is calledcurving out” (business separation), and often investment funds are involved. The selling company performs new investment financed by the curving out and the buying fund aims at securing of profit from the purchased company.

Comments: What is a company for? Its mission is being questioned.

7 Jun. The summer with an reactivated nuclear plant after being put on-hold for four years in the Kansai region, foreseeing excess of the power

Kansai Electric Power Co. has resumed operation of the third unit of Takahama Nuclear Power Plant  (Fukui-ken) again, and this will bring back the Kansai region “the summer with a nuclear power plant in operation” for the first time in the past four years. Despite a repeated threat by the Power company that advocated the need for a nuclear power plant, there will be excessive power even during the peak hours in summer. With a small reduction of the electricity bill for consumers yet remaining doubt on the security of neighboring inhabitants of nuclear plants, re-starting of operations of nuclear plants goes on in Japan.

Comments: Do we really need the nuclear plants to supply power to Japan?

8 Jun. The world’s first Nintendo area to be constructed in the USJ, right next to the Harry Potter zone

Universal Studios Japan (USJ, Osaka-shi) inaugurated the beginning of construction of the new area of Nintendo filled with popular game characters such as “Mario”. This is the first theme park of Nintendo in the world. USJ will invest record-high over 60 billion yen in the Nintendo area aiming at its opening before the Tokyo Olympic Games of 2020.

Comments: Game characters are a major part of international attraction of Japan.

任天堂USJ

Video –> http://www.usj.co.jp/nintendo/

9 Jun. “Please enjoy time for the couple”, a one-off law for the Emperor’s abdication is passed

A one-off law to enable abdication of His Majesty the Emperor was passed on the 9th. The voice of thanks was heard from those related to the Imperial couple for His Majesty the Emperor who embodied the symbol of Japan since his enthronement in 1989, and the Empress who supported him all the time.

Comments: When all the population is aging, kings/Queen and Emperors/Empresses are not exception. Why Japan handled the Emperor’s retirement by an one-off law that applies to the present Emperor only, instead of a regular law that applies to all the Emperors in the future?

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

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

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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 8 to 12 May 2017

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8 May LIXIL returned the best sales performance, thanks to a solid shower toilet selling well in China

The net income of the settlement of accounts (international accounting standards) of a house equipment major, LIXIL Group, recorded the highest gain of 42,500 million yen for March, 2017 period (cf. a deficit of 25,600 million yen in 2016).  This was due to results of cost cutting and good sales performance of overseas restroom business including China.

Comments: This news indicates consumer interests in China have turned to the improvement of living conditions.

9 May You may be a sales person even above 70 years old, Daiwa Securities to lift the age limit of reemployment

Securities major Daiwa Securities Group Inc. decided to lift the age limit of the reemployment of the sales job, which presently is 70 years old. It is intended to reinforce sales force by utilizing abundant experience of the veteran work force.

Comments: Good not to eliminate resources because of the age, but what will be their payment? A major problem of the present Japanese reemployment after the legal retirement age is a sharp decrease of wages even for the same job.

10 May Film for tablets that may not be broken, invented by RIKEN TECHNOS Corp.

A plastic film maker, RIKEN TECHNOS CORPORATION, returned a record high operating income of 5,800 million yen for March 2017, up by 15.3% from the previous year.  While the main product was a vinyl  chloride material for automobiles, the company developed a plastic film which was hard to be broken for the screens of tablet terminals, anticipating that the number of cars produced in Japan may not grow any more.

Comments: From core-competence, taking into account the digital markets, innovation is born.

12 May Search by a smartphone application of strolling person due to dementia, the first field trial in Aichi-ken

A trial to look for an elderly person strolling around because of dementia using an application of smartphone started. Those who look for such person may send some information of the missing person such as his/her characteristics to  the smartphones of the cooperators, thus expand a search network to the entire region. The first field experiment in Japan took place in Kasuga-shi, Aichi-ken in April.

Comments: A key to success may be to have a large number of people who install and pay attention to such an application, or social awareness raiding.

  • 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 24 to 28 April, 2017

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24 Apr. Toshiba to branch out four major business units, such as the energy unit including the atomic energy

Toshiba announced that the company will branch out four main business units of “the social infrastructure”, “the energyincluding the atomic energy, “the information systems” and “the electronic device”. Toshiba intends to clarify management responsibilities by branching out the business units. Thus the company intends to maintain its volume of business so that the branched companies continue their own business by renewing the construction permit needed to install large scale facilities without being affected by financial troubles of the head quarters.

Comments: Would Toshiba renew itself to be a company with a good governance? The restructuring of the company looks like a host term solution only not to run to the worst.

25 Apr. Speaker for people with hearing impairment to enjoy music, awarded by the first prize at the Asian Competition

Three graduate students of Kyushu University designed the speaker that enables to enjoy music using the vibration of the sound designed. The underlying idea of the speaker, that is “to have people with hearing impairment enjoy music with the whole body”, was highly appreciated for its uniqueness at the Asian Competition for the design of industrial products, and the speaker obtained the highest award.

Comments: One may enjoy the music without hearing it.

聴覚障害者用スピーカ

26 Apr. Kansai Airport marked the largest number of passengers of 25,710,000, crowded by visitors from Korea and China

The number of users of Kansai Airport was 25,710,000 in 2016, up 7% from a year ago and updated the record number for two consecutive years. The figure was released by the Kansai Airport which operates Kansai Airport and Osaka (Itami) Airport announced.

Comments: The Japanese economy, including airports, benefits much from visitors from neighboring Korea and China.

27 Apr. Unique earphone for smart phones

Earphones and headphones equipped with Bluetooth are becoming popular, the markets being pushed by the iPhone 7 (that does not have headphones terminal) or an earphone in which the right and left ones are separated from each other. On the other hand,  unique products comes up to headphones connected by the cable. For both products, not only one can enjoy music but also may be used for the voice call of the smartphone with a built-in microphone.

Comments: They are cool!

  • 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 10 to 14 April, 2017

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10 Apr. Population in Japan to be 88.08 million after 50 years,  becoming less than 100 million in 2053

National Institute of Population and Social Security Research announced estimation of future population in the coming 50 years, saying that population would become 88,080,000 in 2065. The prospect of the number of children whom a woman would give birth to (average number of birth per woman) after 50 years is 1.44, recovered from the estimation (1.35) in the last time in 2012. The speed of population decreased has become slower than the estimation last time. That said, the population decrease will continue in the coming 50 years to be 30% less than the present population, and the low birthrate and aging of population will remain unchanged.

Comments: The low birthrate, aging and decrease of population will continue being major factors of Japanese markets.

11 Apr. SDGs, Japanese companies have a long way to go, according to the first survey by a think tank

Japanese companies are yet to start activities for children in the future — concluded by the first report on actions and challenges of Japanese companies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocated by the United Nations.

Comments: It is like CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility. It may take some time for Japanese companies to digest and understand what SDG is for their own business. SDGs is not a charity slogan, but must be their underlying principles of business.

Logo_SDGs

12 Apr. Cyber attacks at infrastructure, such as the electricity and gas, under investigation by Metropolitan Police Department

The existence of a cyber attack aimed at companies and the government offices in charge of critical infrastructure such as the electricity, gas and railways became clear. There are even some cases in which no one noticed infection for nearly two and a half years while attacks had been there for four years. There is a risk that a large quantity of data might have been stolen without being found. The Metropolitan Police Department has been investigating these cases, saying that new infection routes were found.

Comments: Better late than never to investigate the cyber attacks.

13 Apr. Toyota to offer rental of rehabilitation support Robots, aiming at 1,000 rental in three years

Toyota Motor Corporation enters the new business of rehabilitation support using the robot. The robot is made applying the technique of the industrial robot for car manufacturing. The company will start the rental to medical institutions in SeptemberA market of robots for rehabilitation and care of the aged is growing to make up for the shortage of labour force.

Comments: An interesting idea to apply the core competence of a company to an emerging business opportunity in the aging society.

14 Apr. IRIS OHYAMA INC. to enter air conditioner markets, with remote- control functions by a smart phone

IRIS OHYAMA INC. announced that the company had developed the home air-conditioner equipped with a built-in radio communication devise so that one may control from a remote place using a smart phone. The company will start selling it in general merchandising stores of household appliances, etc. all over Japan from the 28th.

Comments: This is a home appliance version of the Internet of Things (IoT) !

  • 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 3 to 7 April, 2017

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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.

logo_YAMAP

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?

日産横浜カーシェア

  • 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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