Fresh & hot from Japan, from 12 to 16 Jun. 2017

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

12 Jun. Robot suit for workers of nuclear power generation decommissioning, a subsidiary of Panasonic to develop

A subsidiary of Panasonic, ATOUN (Nara city), announced a plan to develop “the power assist suit” using the robot technology for workers engaged in decommissioning of the nuclear power generation. One may lift heavy things by small power when he/she wears it.

Comments: It’s great that robot technologies may be used for the cloth. This idea may be used to support people with limited mobility, such as the aged and handicapped people.

The robot suit is to be developed based on the existing product, Power Assist Suit

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13 Jun. Bus accident on Tomei Expressway immediately recorded in video and seen via the Internet by the operating company 

There was a massive collision of a car and sightseeing bus on the Tomei Expressway in Shinshiro-shi, Aichi on 10th. The operating company of the bus immediately grasped the state that a car jumped from the opposite lane and crashed against the bus. he bus was equipped with the Drive recorder which allows to watch driving video and driving record through a cell-phone network.

Comments: It is brilliant!

Video of the accident –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jH5Hjt6lJQ#action=share

14 Jun. Jam-packed bus, disappearing flavor of old days …. Dilemma of Kyoto of rapidly increasing number of international tourists

While the number of foreign tourists is rapidly increasing in outstanding tourist city, Kyoto, its side effects are creating unexpected effects on everyday life of inhabitants. Public buses are always full and the number of illegal lodgings is increasing. Some started crying that the status has reached to the limit and that sightseeing is “pollution by tourism”.

Comments: The same happened some 40 years ago by Japanese tourists in Kyoto. The city just can’t keep up with the rapid change.

15 Jun.  “3D map” becoming infrastructure supporting the era of automatic driving

Production of the full-scale three-dimensional “digital map” necessary for the automatic driving of a car is getting momentum of production. The Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, the fund established by the Government and Mitsubishi Electric announced that  they would gather data of all the expressways and 30,000 kilos of exclusive motor ways  in Japan by 2018. It is intended to create the  infrastructure needed by he automatic driving and thus aim at leading international competition.

Comments: Being instruments needed for enabling the automatic driving is developed. automatic driving may not be dream any more sooner than one would imagine.

16 Jun. Aiming at automatic driving taxi, an automatic driving venture and Hinomaru Transport allied

Hinomaru Transport  (Tokyo),  One of the largest taxi companies in Japan, and ZMP (Tokyo) of the automatic driving venture announced that they would work together to enable the practical use of the unmanned taxi. It is intended to operate an automatic driving taxi in limited areas in Tokyo by 2020, the year of Tokyo Olympic Games.

Comments: Another marvelous development of automatic driving in Japan! Who will be clients of such taxi? — Maybe those who are curious. We need to learn my uhf through experience before taking benefits of technologies.

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

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Fresh & hot from Japan, from 27 to 31 March, 2017

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27 Mar. JR Shikoku to release P/L data of income deficit routes, looking for ideas to maintain the railway system

Mr. Han-iShinji, President of Shikoku Japan Railway Company (JR Shikoku, Takamatsu-shi), said, in response to the interview by Asahi News Paper, that he would  release the income-expenditure data of each line that has not been published to an advisory panel of experts to be started after April. It is intended to share the knowledge with the panel of difficult status of the railway network in Shikoku Region while local population decreases, and thus to explore ways to maintain the network.

Comments: It is surprising that such information has not been published so far. It is expected that publishing the deficit data would become the first step forward for transparency and public debate of problems of infrastructure.

28 Mar. Price increase is more efficient than ”a request” for power saving, revealed a study by a professor of Kyoto University

Professor Takanori Yoda (behavioral economics) of Kyoto University and his research team announced a result of their study that effects of a request for power saving to households to suppress the peak consumption volume of the electricity  did not last long. The study found that a rate structure in which electricity rates during certain time zones are higher than a regular rate is more efficient than a power saving request. The study will be published in an economic journal of the US.

Comments: It is interesting that on the contrary to consumers a power saving request has been proved to be efficient for business users. It is one of the mysteries of Japan that companies follow “Requests” by power companies even if there is no penalty and thy need the power supply to carry on working productively during hot and humid summer in Japan.  

29 Mar. You may find the temperature 100 years ago, the Meteorological Agency published the daily data

“You may find the temperature per day 100 years ago” — The Meteorological Agency published in its homepage (HP) the mean, highest and lowest temperatures every day observed in 156 spots all over the country from 1910 through to 1960. It is intended for the public to make use of the data for analysis and the study of the long-term climate change or upward trend of the temperature. http://www.data.jma.go.jp/obd/stats/etrn/index.php

Comments: The climate data has high value!

30 Mar. “Up to one hour per day” for using  the smartphone for child care, reported by a study group of the Internet service providers

“Do not use the smartphone for child care for more than one hour and no use since at least one hour before sleeping time” — recommended by “Study group on the Internet use for young children (Chairperson, professor Akira Sakamoto of Ochanomizu Women’s University)”, which major Internet service providers, such as Yahoo, had established to study pros and cons of the “smartphone nursery”, by which parents let young children use smartphones as toys.

Comments: Parens let babies use smartphones!

31 Mar. Consumers’ cooperative of various regions to enter the electricity-selling business for residential markets, drawn upon strong home delivery network for sales

This April is the first anniversary since the market liberalization of electricity sales for home. A number of regional consumers’ cooperatives in the Kansai region (the western region of Japan) enter the electricity-selling business. A business model is to procure the electricity from the power generation companies dealing with the velocity of the wind and photovoltaic power generation, and sell the power to Coop members. A home delivery network has become strength for the sales of the electricity.

Comments: Consumers’ cooperatives work as a sales channel for newly entered power generators (which are usually much smaller than existing power companies).

  • 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 6 to 10 March, 2017

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6 Mar. Am I skiing down or up hill? , An illusion slide” appears in the ski slope

“The illusion slide” by which one feels to go up against gravity was installed in the Hakkaisan Ski Slope  of Arakane, Minami-Uonuma-shi, Niigata-ken. One skis down a slope from the hight of 10 m of the slide of 10 x 10 m length and width. This is a work of the art by Professor Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University (68) known as a specialist of the illusion art.

Comments: There may be a trick in “Seeing is believing.”

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7 Mar. The Metropolitan Police Department to enforce investigation of the cyber attack, creating a special independent corps of investigation

The Metropolitan Police Department will reinforce investigation system for the cyber attack from April by establishing new departments, such as “Counter cyber attack center”.  Envisaging the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympics of 2020, the Police will prepare for the threat of cyber terrorism targeted at government offices and major companies.

Comments: The Olympics in 2020 is creating wide consequences in Japan.

8 Mar. Upward revision of GDP, increase of 1.2% a year based on the performance  in the fourth-quarter last year

According to the second breaking news of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the fourth-quarter of 2016 issued by the Cabinet Office,  a real growth rate was 0.3% excluding the influence of the price fluctuation (at s compared to the previous quarter of 2016). This growth rate was equivalent of annual 1.2% growth. The growth figure was revised up from 0.2% increase (1.0% increase in annual ratio conversion) as announced in the first breaking news announced in February. The positive growth continued for four quarters or one year.

Comments: Stable economic growth is good news.

9 Mar. “We don’t have financial strength to shorten time for the extension of linear express train”, said President of Central JR Tokai

Mr. Yasuhide Tsuge, President of Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai), reiterated that it would be extremely difficult to shorten time for the extension of linear express train the present plan of which is to reach Shin-Osaka in 2037 in earliest., by saying that the company would not have strength or financial power to constructed a sector connecting Osaka in parallel with the sector between Shinagawa (Tokyo) and Nagoya. He said so at a regular meeting of the Kansai press club, whose members are the press located in Osaka.

Comments: There may not be need to hurry up, as the existing sure express train connects between Tokyo and Osaka (over 500 km) in less than three hours.

10 Mar. JETRO got a cyber attack, 26’000 addresses may have stolen

Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO, headquarters in Minato-ku, Tokyo) announced that its website had been attacked from outside. Some information has been removed, that might include e-mail address of users.

Comments: Anyone may be attacked by hackers.

  • 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 30 January to 3 February, 2016

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30 Jan. The LCC terminal opened in Kansai Airport for international flights, the first flights  brought passengers traveling in the Luna New Year holidays

The low cost carriers (LCC) terminal for international flights opened in Kansai Airport was opened on 28th of Jan. The first flight from Hong Kong landed at 6:07 a.m., with travelers spending holidays of the Luna New Year’s Day (which was on the same day this year) in Japan.

Comments: It’s good to improve access for Asian passengers.

31 Jan. Oxygen of the earth travels even to the moon, confirmed by study team of Osaka University and JAXA

The study teams of Osaka University, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) , etc. confirmed that oxygen in the earth arrived to the moon, which is 380,000 km away. The team concluded that “the Solar wind”, i.e. the charged gas blowing from the sun, drifted the oxygen from the earth. The article is published in Nature Astronomy, a British science magazine.

Comments: It’s nice to imagine what’s happening in the universe!

1 Feb. Heart-shaped strawberries 1’270 yen (CHF 11) per piece, how about it for a Valentine gift?

Heart-shaped strawberries produced in Yanai-shi, Yamaguchi-ken, is becoming popular in view of Valentine’s Day.

“Kurahju Create”, a company that produces and sell strawberries, successfully created the heart-shaped ones after four years’ trials and failures. The company named it as “Heart of strawberry” and started selling in markets in December 2015.

Comments: Valentine Day provides a popular gift sales season in Japan, where girls buy gifts to boys.

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 2 Feb. Levying copy right tax from music classes, JASRAC said it’s policy, repel may happen

 Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) decided to levy a copy right tax from music classes organised by Yamaha or Kawai Musical Instruments Mfg, etc. for their playing of music. An estimated amount of the collected tax is between 1,000 -2,000 million yen a year. The classrooms reject the decision. This may call for intervention by the Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs or lead to a legal suit by the JASRAC.

Comments: JASRAC has a point. We must be sensitive and respect intellectual property rights of music creators.

 3 Feb. Japan to accept Syrian refugees, about 300 over 5 years to begin with, paving a way for settling down

The Government of Japan is ready to accept about 300 refugees from Syria who are foreign students and their families over the coming five years starting from this year.  The foreign student may come with a spouse and children, and family allowance will be paid. These refugee students are not obliged to go back to their home country after the study.  This program thus will eventually open a way for the refugee students to settle down with a family n Japan.

Comments: Japan has accepted refugees only on exceptional basis. This program, while being still very timid, would open a way to a comprehensive system for refugees to settle down.

  • 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, 19 to 23 December 2016

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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!

nec-medicine

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

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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.

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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.

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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, 21 to 25 November 2016

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21 Nov. “I can study in the evening!”, Light of hope in Tanzania from a venture born in University of Tokyo

The technique developed in the University of Tokyo has brought the light to African villages which there was no electricity. Digital Grid, a venture based on the technology developed in the University of Tokyo, has been running a business to rend to villagers an LED lantern which was charged with a required minutes worth of the electricity generated by solar panels. The electricity is charged by a remote charging system operated via the Internet by a branch office of Digital Grid and lanterns may be rented at village kiosks. This service is rapidly spreading in Tanzania.

Comments: Sale of the electricity like the water in a pet bottle, mobile money coupled with need for the electricity have given birth to innovation!

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(Photo from Wassha corporate web site)

22 Nov. One meter of tsunami at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, all the staff evacuated

Due to the earthquake originated in offshore of the Fukushima Prefecture in the early morning of 22nd, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) manually stopped the operation of facilities which transferred the contaminated water pooled underground of buildings of the first Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. TEPCO said that the company stopped transportation of the water because contaminated water might leak when being  transferred in case a water pipe might be broken by the rolling of the earthquake.

Comments: It is only horrible that tsunami attacked the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant again.

23 Nov. Nobel Laureate Professor Amano to develop the next-generation technology with his senior disciple

Professor Hiroshi Amano, Nagoya University, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics of 2014 for the development of the blue light emitting diode (LED) will establish a laboratory jointly with National Institute for Materials Science to benefit from gallium nitride which he studied for as material of LED for the next-generation technology development. The representative of the two organizations announced the plan in a pressroom of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Comments: One good work gives birth to another development.

24 Nov. A wearable terminal to stick to the skin developed, maybe disposable?

A team of researchers led by Kuniharu Takei, a Research Associate of Osaka Prefecture University, has developed a wearable terminal to stick to the skin like a thin adhesive plaster, which is used to check health conditions. They published the research results in a US science journal, Science Advances. It is said to be possible to make a product with a disposable sensor, because of a low cost.

Comments: A number of application may be possible!

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(Photo from Mr. Takei’s web.)

25 Nov. To reduce burden on the back, a robot suit was introduced for luggage handlers of Haneda Airport Limousine bus

Ten “Robot suit HAL” developed by CYBERDYNE, a venture company of Tsukuba-shi, Ibaragi Prefecture, were adopted  by Airport Transport Service, which operats buses to and from airports. Luggage handlers working at bus terminals in Haneda Airport started wearing the robot suit around their waist when loading and unloading of the heavy baggages of customers.

Comments: CYBERDYNE is a spin-off company of Tsukuba University. It is a good example of the use of robot technologies for those needed.

  • 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.