Fresh & Hot from Japan, 19 to 23 December 2016

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

19 Dec.”Bioplastic” which is painting-free, Roadster to adopt

Bioplastic resin, produced by Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. from bio materials, is being used for an increasing number of automobile parts. Though more expensive than the resin derived from oil, attention is being paid to bioplastic for its eco-friendliness and cost-saving effects due to no need for painting.

Comments: Bioplastic could be a breakthrough for ecological production.

20 Dec. NEC to establish a company for development of medicines for cancer treatment using AI

NEC announced that the company would enter an innovative drug development business using artificial intelligence (AI). By using AI, the company has already discovered a promising material which may be used to create “peptide vaccine” that is attracting attention as a new therapeutic drug of cancer. NEC has established a new company to push forward the drug development to put the new medicine into practical use around 2025.

Comments: What an interesting development it is to stretch its core competence of information technology to medical science!


21 Dec. Assessment of economic status raised for the first time since one year and nice months, “recovery continued”

The Cabinet Office raised an overall assessment of the domestic economy one year nine months since March, 2015, according to a monthly economic report of December. It is judged that movement of the improvement came out to export and individual consumption, saying, “the delay in the improvement was partly seen, but a gentle recovery tone continued”.

Comments: It’s a good news.

22 Dec. Honda, to partner with Google to develop automatic driving, starting a run experiment in the US

Honda announced that the company would start collaborative investigation of the “complete automatic driving” with the US net search major Google. Artificial intelligence (AI) of Google will be loaded in the car provided by Honda. The two companies will repeat run experiments in the United States and share know-how of the automatic driving.

Comments: A merger between the automobile manufacturing and information technology companies are taking place over the automatic driving, and the connected car.

23 Dec. Diplomatic documents related to Asia after the WWII to be open to the public on the web

The Asian history document center of the National Archives decided to extend the coverage of the documents related to international relations with Asian countries available to the public via its web site from those covering from Meiji era to the Second World War (WWII) to the era that include post WWII period. It is intended to fill the gap between different interpretations of historical incidents that sometimes cause disputes among different views by enabling to share the common documents between researchers and scholars. This change will start from 2017.

Comments: Better late than never — it is a good idea.

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


Fresh & Hot from Japan, 5 to 9 December 2016

Welcome to Europe-Japan Dynamics!

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

5 Dec. From filament to stamp, Panasonic switching the use of material of lamps due to switching of lighting to LED

Panasonic converted material (tungsten) for the filament of incandescent and fluorescent lamps into a stamp. Due to the spread of lighting  by LED (light emitting diode), the use of the filament is decreasing. The company therefore has switched the use of processing technique of tungsten developed in-house to stamps.  The stamps made from tungsten has advantages over existing materials of stamps, such as a long life and only a little pressure needed to use it. Panasonic plans to ship the material to stamp manufacturers before the end of this year.

Comments: Panasonic is flexible to search and find a new use of existing techniques in a competitive ways.

6 Dec. Automatic driving car carrying cars for export to a wharf, ”Intelligent Vehicle Towing” introduced by Nissan Oppama Factory

Nissan Motor Corp. introduced and showed to the press a system to carry newly manufactured cars from the factory to a dedicated wharf by  an electric car (EV) of the automatic driving in its major Oppama Factory (Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa-ken). Nissan plans to use this system to carry 1,000 cars per day by 2019, thus to improve efficiency of production and the shipment.

Comments: Automatic cars may be used more efficiently in private premises for limited purposes than in public roads, at least until technology and operational know-how will have been piled up.


7 Dec.  Monitoring teleworkers, Canon to start a support service

Canon announced that the company will launch a system to support “the telework” via the Internet, a style of working  to work at homes. The system allows managers to watch employees working at home with a remote camera, and will be introduced to the market next February. The Government promoting the telecom as a part of “The reform of the way of working”, Canan and its competitors are developing the systems that facilitate the telework.

Comments: The system hits a thin line between private and work lives. Would teleworkers want to have a monitoring camera at home?

8 Dec. The East meets the West, Santa Clause in a shape of Japanese traditional doll

Hakata dolls (One of the Japanese traditional dolls developed in Fukuoka area, Kyushu region) of Santa Claus are on sale in the Christmas market held in front of the JR Hakata station (Fukuoka-shi ). Only three hundred dolls will be sold. People queued to but one.

Comments: The doll symbolizes adjustment of traditional craftsmanship to the modern life.


9 Dec. Innovative drug development of iPS, budget of 6 Billion yen over 6 years to be approved by the Government

Japanese government is starting a new project to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from the cells of patients to support the innovative drug development. A committee in charge of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has approved an outline of the plan that will cost 6 billion yen over six years. The project is intended to support research to create the basis of a new medicine to be developed by pharmaceutical companies.

Comments: A long time and huge investment are needed for R&D of new medicine.

  • 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, 7 to 11 November 2016

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

7 Nov. Drone, the aerial hot battle over the God flag by 20 brave men

“The drone God flag contest” was held in Minamisoma-shi, Fukushima prefecture on 6th. The contest is to catch the God flag by drones, modeled after a wild horse chase of Soma, a traditional event of the region in which samurais on galloping horse to compete to catch the God flag.

Comments: It’s an interesting idea to replicate horse racing by drones!


8 Nov. “Fukushima to be a world pioneer of energy revolution”, the 1st World Community Power Conference

The 1st World Community Power Conference (WCPC2016) was held in Fukushima on 3-4 November, aiming at investigation of ways for communities to promote the use of renewable energy, such as distributed power supply. A total of 620 people involved in renewable energy participated in the conference from worldwide. The WCPC 2016 launched a message that Fukushima, a disaster site of unprecedented nuclear plant accident 5 years ago, will entrust the next generation with the society that will not depend on the atomic energy.

Comments: WCPC 2016 is an initiative by local municipalities. It’s unusual for Japan and worth seeing how it will roll out.

9 Nov. “May take some measures if JPY’s value keep rising after the US Presidential election, said Deputy Vice‐Minister of Financial Affairs, Asakawa

Ministry of Finance, Financial Services Agency and the Bank of Japan held an urgent meeting in the afternoon of 9th and discussed possible reactions of Japan to a rising value of Japanese Yen (JPY) and falling price of stocks, in case the Republican candidate Trump may become dominant in the U.S. presidential election. Masashi Asakawa, Deputy Vice‐Minister of Financial Affairs stated to the press, “We will take necessary measures if this moment would continue, after careful observation”. This implies that Japanese Government would not hesitate to intervene in currency markets, should a rapid rise of the value of JPY may not cease.

Comments: We’ll see how market of JPY would react soon.

10 Nov. Smartphones made by “SANYO” to be marketed in India, following a steady sales performance of  liquid crystalline TV 

It was known that Panasonic is preparing the sale of smartphones in “SANYO” brand in India from next year. The plan  is to grow the sale of smartphones in the Indian market where economy is growing, by addressing a market for low-price products available only via an online sale via the Internet.

Comments:  Low-cost & high performance smart phones would be a good fit for Asian markets.

11 Nov. Groping for diplomatic strategy with Trump, Japan the first among G7 States to start diplomatic discussion on phone

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed diplomatic issues on phone with Mr. Donald Trump, the next US President, and agreed to meet in New York on 17th Nov. The Prime Minister wishes to reconfirm to firmly maintain the Japan-U.S. alliance, which Mr. Trump insisted to review. Thus the Japanese Government has started “the diplomacy with the Trump Administration” by groping, without having a strong tie with him.

Comments: One can only say, “Wait and see”.

  • 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.



  • 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, 15 to 19 August 2016

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

15 Aug. 71 years after the Second World War, the national memorial ceremony for war victims organised by the Government in a martial arts gymnasium

On 15th, the day when the war was ended 71 years ago, the national memorial ceremony for war victims 0rganised by the Government in Japan martial arts gymnasium (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo). There will be over 5,600 participants; the Emperor and Empress, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chairperson of both houses of Representatives and Councilors, and families of the victims of the war. They will mourn approximately 3,100,000 war dead, and pray for the world peace.

Comments: It is the day when Japanese should be reminded that the war is all about painful consequence fall on each person, not a computer simulation or words in policy statements.

16 Aug. “Please work at home on an extremely hot day”, an e-mail alert system based on the weather forecast of the Meteorological Agency

“Please work at home today” — infoteria,  a software development company in Tokyo, has developed a system which automatically sends a message to its employees on the day when the Meteorological Agency forecasts the highest temperature to be more than 35 degrees, or “an extremely hot day”. It is a company policy  to advise employees to work at the home on an extremely hot day. The company provides the e-mail alert system for in-house use, as well as to other companies.

Comments: It is a company policy to promote ecological way of working. It is a good idea to put CSR (Corporate social responsibility) in practice!

17 Aug. JR West to introduce new technology for track checking, such as image recognition and 3D data management

West Japan Railway Company (JR West) will introduce state-of-the-art technologies for maintenance and inspection to improve the level of precision. For example, the company will use an image recognition system to check railway track, and manage results of inspection of elevated bridges by three dimensional (3D) data to improve the security.

Comments: ICT will largely change the hard work of maintenance and inspection of railway facilities.

18 Aug. Art exhibition of lifelike food sample in Sora Machi, Tokyo 

“Art of the taste 2016”, which exhibits a variety of food samples will be held in Tokyo Sora Machi East Yard in Tkyo Skytree Town (Sumida-ku, Tokyo) on 20 -29 August. About 40 food samples that participated in an in-house competition organised by Iwasaki Corp., a specialist of food sample production. Admission is free.

Comments: The photo below is a food sample, and looks more delicious than the real one.

いわさき 食品サンプル

19 Aug. Japanese nuclear power plants easy targets of terrorist attack? Slowly having counterterrorism in place

At last counterterrorism has begun moving ahead for the nuclear power plants in Japan, while terrorism has become frequent in all parts of the world, and the risk of attacks is increasing in various places.

Comments: It is unbelievable.

  • 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 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.


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, Tel. 076 411 6076

I look forward to seeing you!
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)