Japan Newsletter

Science & Technology News from Japan

Switzerland related news

Swiss news
Alliances&TechTrans
The Japan Times, December 17, 2018
Hitachi Ltd. said Monday it has reached a deal to purchase the power grid business of Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd., initially investing $6.4 billion for an 80.1 percent stake before a complete takeover in the future.

Science and Technology Policy Japan

S&T Policy
Climate Change
Env
The Japan Times, December 24, 2018
“Urgency” and “inclusiveness” were two keywords at the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Katowice, Poland, from Dec. 2 to 15.
S&T Policy
ICT
Nikkei Asian Review, December 18, 2018
Japan will promote the free flow of personal data with the U.S. and the European Union by creating common rules on privacy protection, Nikkei has learned.
S&T Policy
Climate Change
CleanTech
The Japan News, December 13, 2018
Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada expressed on Wednesday Japan’s readiness to continue efforts to become a global role model that realizes a virtuous circle for the environment and economic growth.
S&T Policy
Nikkei Asian Review, December 12, 2018
The Japanese government will keep a closer eye on foreign companies that work with big data, aiming to promote healthy competition and ensure that consumers and small businesses are not harmed by excessive concentration of information.
S&T Policy
CleanTech
Env
The Japan News, December 08, 2018
Three months have passed since a strong earthquake hit Hokkaido in early September. In disaster-affected areas, an increasing number of people are using large numbers of trees felled by landslides.
S&T Policy
Bio/Medtech
The Japan News, December 06, 2018
Vegetables, fish and other foods to which genome editing technology — which can modify genetic information with a high degree of precision — has been applied will be exempted from legal regulations if genes were not integrated into the food, a research panel of the Health, Labor and Welfare…

Education

Education
The Japan News, January 11, 2019
The Science Museum in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, was established in 1964 in Kitanomaru Koen park in central Tokyo by the Japan Science Foundation to foster young people who want to pursue the sciences. Its mission is to widely disseminate and heighten understanding of such areas as scientific and…
Education
The Japan Times, January 10, 2019
Perhaps he won the presidency thanks to his specialized knowledge of voting behavior and public opinion, or maybe it was his casual tweets in conversations with students, his use of mocking buzzwords or his adoption of slang used by his pupils.
Education
Env
The Japan Times, December 30, 2018
The finals of the 7th AEON Eco-1 Grand Prix environmental competition for Japanese high school students were held at Tokyo Big Sight in the city’s Koto Ward on Dec. 8. Again, as in previous years, I was among the judges examining entries and selecting winners of the annual prizes awarded by the…
Education
The Japan Times, December 28, 2018
The government on Friday formally approved the details of a program that will expand child care and higher education support, including free public preschool education for all children aged between 3 and 5, beginning in October 2019.
Education
The Japan News, December 25, 2018
Japan’s industry ministry plans to name Hitotsubashi University Prof. Kunio Ito to head a panel on a review of the governance and remuneration systems at government-affiliated Japan Investment Corp., Jiji Press learned on Monday.
Education
The Japan News, December 25, 2018
Yuriko Sengoku, a third-year student at Den-en-chofu Futaba Junior High School in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, won the top prize in the final round of the H.I.H. Prince Takamado Trophy 70th All Japan Inter-Middle School English Oratorical Contest that was held in Tokyo on Nov. 30.
Education
The Japan Times, December 16, 2018
Programming. This word may bring to mind many things — high-tech computers, complex coding and (for me at least) a mysterious world of unintelligible languages. What it does not normally make me think of are 4-year-olds.
Education
Nikkei Asian Review, December 14, 2018
Japanese education companies are expanding their language offerings overseas, seeing business opportunities in meeting growing demand for Japanese-speaking foreign manpower as the nation opens its doors to workers from overseas.
Education
The Japan Times, December 13, 2018
A record 72.8 percent of college students in Japan have participated in corporate internship programs, a recent survey by Mynavi Corp. has found.
Education
The Japan Times, December 12, 2018
More and more schools are trying out cognitive behavioral therapy “games” to get kids to confront their everyday problems, and in turn lessen the likelihood they will cut school or bully others.
Education
Bio/Medtech
The Japan Times, December 11, 2018
Japanese scientist Tasuku Honjo received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine at a ceremony Monday in Stockholm, for his discovery of a protein on immune cells that paved the way for a new approach to cancer treatment.
Education
S&T Policy
The Japan Times, December 06, 2018
A government panel on Thursday recommended the introduction of a variable work-hour system for public school teachers to tackle the problem of overwork.
Education
The Japan News, December 04, 2018
A suprapartisan group of Diet members has compiled a bill aimed at fostering Japanese education for foreign nationals, putting forward a policy stating that three sectors — the central government, local governments and the private sector — should each be responsible for promoting Japanese education.

Life Science & Medical Technology

Bio/Medtech
The Japan Times, December 28, 2018
Two of the first kanji Conner Lowe learned were the ones that make up the word daizu, meaning soybeans.For him, knowing those two characters, 大豆, is a matter of life and death because he has a serious allergy to legumes.
Bio/Medtech
The Japan Times, December 25, 2018
Clinical studies on pre-implantation genetic screening, or PGS, of eggs fertilized in vitro has suggested that the screening can reduce the miscarriage rate, the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology said.
Bio/Medtech
S&T Policy
The Japan Times, December 11, 2018
The government said Tuesday it will offer free rubella vaccinations for three years to men who were unvaccinated in their childhood amid an outbreak of the disease that threatens to dampen demand for travel to Japan.
Bio/Medtech
Health
The Japan Times, December 07, 2018
Japanese scientist Tasuku Honjo, who jointly won this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his research on the immune system that contributed to cancer treatments, said Thursday that he believes most cancers will become treatable with immune therapy by 2050.
Bio/Medtech
S&T Policy
Nikkei Asian Review, December 05, 2018
Genetic editing in fertilized human eggs can be conducted for basic research purposes but births will be forbidden, the Japanese government said in draft guidelines issued Tuesday, hoping to avoid a repeat of last month's outcry after a Chinese scientist claimed to have produced genetically altered…
Bio/Medtech
The Japan Times, December 05, 2018
Officials from the city of Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture, said Wednesday that a case of classical swine fever has been discovered at a public research institute — the third such case of the virus being reported this year and just over a decade since it was official declared eradicated in Japan.
Bio/Medtech
Education
The Japan News, December 03, 2018
A Keio University research team will begin clinical tests for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), administering ALS patients an existing drug used for another disease, which is confirmed to be effective in experiments with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
Bio/Medtech
The Japan News, December 02, 2018
Japanese scientists and doctors on Friday condemned the birth of gene-edited twin babies, claimed by a Chinese researcher last week.

Material Science

Material Science
Alliances&TechTrans
The Japan News, December 14, 2018
Fujifilm Corp. said Thursday it will invest a total of some ¥10 billion over the next three years in its bases in the United States for the development, production and sale of semiconductor materials.
Material Science
The Japan Times, December 13, 2018
From a young age, Dr. Yukiko Ogawa knew she wanted to become a scientist. Growing up in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture, she would spend hours after school creating objects in her bedroom. It was this curiosity and early ingenuity when it came to designing novel things that led Ogawa to where she is today.

Electronics

Electronics
Nikkei Asian Review, December 25, 2018
With fifth-generation wireless networks set for launch across developed markets in the coming months, competition is intensifying among manufacturers of mobile infrastructure equipment.
Electronics
The Japan Times, December 20, 2018
While your December agenda might be filled with joyful year-end parties, train station staff in Tokyo often face a more disgusting reality — vomit left behind by drunken holiday revelers at railway hubs across the capital.
Electronics
The Japan News, December 17, 2018
Akihiro Adachi, a 31-year-old audiovisual equipment designer at Panasonic Corp., longed for some personal space during his lengthy train rides from Osaka to Tokyo. So when his company set out to encourage innovation, he joined with some colleagues and came up with “Wear Space,” a headset that…
Electronics
Nikkei Asian Review, December 17, 2018
Japanese manufacturers' global sales of televisions using organic light-emitting diodes look set to exceed 1 million for the first time next year, thanks to a partnership with LG Display that has helped drive the market's growth.
Electronics
The Japan Times, December 16, 2018
Electronic musical instrument manufacturer Roland Corporation is inviting everyone to have a go at being a VJ by offering five different special effects to liven up personal music videos. Fishing is often described as a relaxing hobby, but if all you end up with is a measly catch, it can also be…
Electronics
Alliances&TechTrans
Nikkei Asian Review, December 10, 2018
Japan's three main mobile phone carriers SoftBank Group, NTT Docomo and KDDI have decided not to use Chinese equipment in their 5G networks due to rising security concerns that spurred the Japanese government to block Huawei Technologies and other Chinese companies from public procurement.
Electronics
The Japan News, December 02, 2018
This year has seen a series of Hollywood announcements about future productions based on popular Japanese video games. Amid a box-office slump in U.S. theaters, Hollywood is turning its attention to gamers, with video-game developers being flooded with offers.
Electronics
The Japan Times, December 01, 2018
After launching in Japan in September 2015, Netflix has aggressively gone after the nation’s streaming market with an array of content. Original programming such as “Aggretsuko,” “Terrace House” and a reboot of “Ainori” have helped capture the attention of many cordcutters who want the freedom of…

Information & Communications Technology

ICT
The Japan News, December 31, 2018
The number of shrines and temples in Japan that accept saisen monetary offerings via e-money is increasing as the country moves toward a cashless society.
ICT
Nikkei Asian Review, December 27, 2018
Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart will introduce an app-based proprietary mobile payment service in July.
ICT
The Japan Times, December 17, 2018
Major convenience store operator Seven-Eleven Japan Co. has launched an experimental outlet in Tokyo with an unmanned payment system and facial recognition technology.
ICT
Crypto
The Japan News, December 15, 2018
The Financial Services Agency has decided to integrate the names of bitcoins and other virtual currencies, which are traded online as if they were money, into a category called “crypto-assets,” The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
ICT
S&T Policy
Nikkei Asian Review, December 13, 2018
Information technology giants like Google and Facebook should face greater antitrust oversight in Japan to prevent them from abusing their dominant market positions to stifle competition and infringe on consumer privacy, according to a government report compiled Wednesday .
ICT
Nikkei Asian Review, December 11, 2018
As the global shortage of skilled information technology experts hits Japan hard, companies are scrambling to lure and keep top talent with hefty annual pay packages.
ICT
The Japan Times, December 03, 2018
Taking out a wallet loaded with cash, receipts and loyalty cards and searching for coins in front of a cashier is a familiar scene at stores in Japan.But the country wants more consumers to kick that habit and engage in cashless transactions using credit cards, debit cards and electronic money.
ICT
Electronics
The Japan News, December 01, 2018
So-called 4K and 8K ultrahigh-definition satellite television broadcasting in Japan fully started at 10 a.m. on Saturday while the penetration of TV sets supporting the services has remained slow.
ICT
Electronics
Crypto
The Japan News, December 01, 2018
Electronic payments using smartphones are becoming increasingly common at tourist spots, shopping streets and other locations around Hyogo Prefecture.

Energy

Energy
The Japan News, December 26, 2018
The organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games is planning to use the next-genera- tion energy of hydrogen fuel to light the flames of the cauldrons and torch relay, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. If realized, the 2020 Games would be the first Olympics to use the…
Energy
Waste
Nikkei Asian Review, December 18, 2018
Japan and China confirmed on Monday that they will discuss restarting long-stalled talks on joint development of a gas field in the East China Sea, at the insistence of Tokyo.
Energy
Nuclear
Nikkei Asian Review, December 17, 2018
Hitachi is having difficulty persuading Japanese companies to share the burden of building a nuclear power plant in the U.K., raising the specter of a withdrawal from the project worth more than 3 trillion yen ($26.5 billion).
Energy
S&T Policy
The Japan News, December 06, 2018
The Japanese government has decided to relax the conditions for cutting solar power subsidies for projects that have not started operations following opposition from power producers and other firms.

Environment

Env
The Japan Times, December 30, 2018
Crested ibises in Japan are facing less risk of extinction amid efforts to reintroduce the birds to the wild, leading the government to consider lowering its status on the list of threatened species, government sources said Saturday.
Env
Waste
The Japan Times, December 24, 2018

A decade-old community effort in Nagoya to recycle food waste from supermarkets and school lunches to make compost for vegetable farming has been awarded the Biodiversity Action Award by the Japan Committee for United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (UNDB).

Env
The Japan Times, December 20, 2018
Japan has decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in a bid to resume commercial whaling for the first time in 30 years, government sources said Thursday.
Env
Nuclear
Waste
Nikkei Asian Review, December 19, 2018
Supplies of uranium, used to fire nuclear power plants, are becoming increasingly plentiful globally, threatening to make redundant Japan's long-standing policy of recycling spent nuclear fuel.
Env
Climate Change
CleanTech
Nikkei Asian Review, December 18, 2018
Asia has been battered in 2018 by a series of extreme weather events such as floods and typhoons, and the prospects for coming decades are bleak with rising temperatures set to spur even more severe cases of inundation.
Env
The Japan Times, December 17, 2018
Japanese water is clean and readily available, as evidenced by drinkable tap water and a nearly 100 percent penetration rate.
Env
Climate Change
The Japan Times, December 11, 2018
The road, hemmed in on one side by empty warehouses and the other by a concrete seawall, ends abruptly in a desolate parking lot. Men step out of their cars and into the darkness, then slip behind the sliding doors of a warehouse. Inside, they huddle under floodlights and wait. A clock on the wall…
Env
The Japan Times, December 07, 2018
At the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, a giant oceanic manta ray can be seen gliding effortlessly through the Kuroshio Sea attraction’s large ocean aquarium, drawing exclamations of delight from onlookers.
Env
Waste
The Japan Times, December 04, 2018
China’s ban on imports of plastic waste is forcing other nations, including Japan and the United States, to scramble for new ways to deal with their trash, including exporting recyclable waste to Southeast Asia.
Env
Waste
Climate Change
The Japan News, December 02, 2018
Nearly 70 percent of plastic sent to be recycled in Japan is burned in a method called “thermal recycling” or “heat recovery,” prompting specialists to call for a review of the system, which they say contributes to global warming.

Physics

Physics
Electronics
The Japan News, December 04, 2018
Computers dominate modern society, including smartphones, personal computers and control devices for machines, but they have an unexpected natural enemy: cosmic rays, high-speed particles raining down from outer space to Earth. Observers say cosmic rays can cause errors in computers, and various…

Space & Aeronautics

Space
S&T Policy
The Japan Times, December 29, 2018
The government is considering beefing up its monitoring activities over remote islands that define Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones using images captured by state-controlled satellites, government officials said Saturday.
Space
Nikkei Asian Review, December 21, 2018

Honda Motor delivered Thursday its first HondaJet business plane in Japan to prominent investor Kotaro Chiba, co-founder of game company Colopl.

Space
Robotics
The Japan News, December 18, 2018
Small robotic explorers and a lander loaded on the Japanese asteroid explorer Hayabusa2 have collected valuable data after successfully landing on the asteroid Ryugu, attracting global attention for the accomplishment.
Space
S&T Policy
The Japan News, December 12, 2018
The government plans to possess the capability to jam hostile communication satellites in outer space, a new policy stipulated in a draft outline of the next National Defense Program Guidelines set to be approved by the Cabinet as early as Tuesday next week.

Robotics

Robotics
The Japan Times, December 27, 2018
Toyota Motor Corp. has sold enough cars to put one outside every Japanese home. Now it wants to put robots inside those homes.
Robotics
Agriculture
The Japan Times, December 25, 2018
The country that brought robots to car factories looks set to stay resolutely old-school in agriculture as it seeks to attract more foreign workers to replenish an aging workforce.
Robotics
The Japan Times, December 18, 2018
Tokyo is one of the biggest cities in the world, but it also might be the loneliest. So much so that its people may need to be taught how to love by a robot.
Robotics
Health
The Japan News, December 16, 2018
“Welcome to our avatar cafe,” said a real woman’s voice, coming from a robot. This was the Avatar Cafe “DAWN ver. β,” and the robots were being operated via remote control by people with severe physical disabilities working from their homes or elsewhere.
Robotics
Alliances&TechTrans
The Japan Times, December 16, 2018
Last year, Huawei Technologies Co. and wireless carrier SoftBank Group Corp. jointly demonstrated advanced 5G technology by pitting a human against a robotic arm in a game of air hockey in Japan.
Robotics
The Japan News, December 13, 2018
Humanoid robots started introducing sightseeing spots in Yokohama to visitors at the observation deck of the Landmark Tower on Tuesday.
Robotics
Health
The Japan News, December 03, 2018
The “aibo” robot dog is being used in research at the National Center for Child Health and Development in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, to see how much it can comfort children who have been hospitalized for long periods.
Robotics
Drones
The Japan Times,
The tranquility of a warm autumn morning in Chiba Prefecture is broken by three shapes streaking through the sky above a rugby field.They move so fast it is difficult for the eye to follow, flitting this way and that like angry dragonflies and filling the air with high-pitched shrieks.

Automotive

Automotive
Health
Env
The Japan News, December 31, 2018
Japan has seen a series of incidents in which people inside cars stalled by heavy snow suffered carbon monoxide poisoning.
Automotive
S&T Policy
The Japan Times, December 20, 2018
The National Police Agency on Thursday unveiled a draft bill that would allow vehicles with a high level of autonomous features to run on public roads, with an eye toward implementing the legislation in the first half of 2020.
Automotive
Mobility
The Japan News, December 13, 2018
The time needed to travel between Tokyo and Hokkaido on a Shinkansen bullet train is set to fall below four hours.
Automotive
Startups
Alliances&TechTrans
Nikkei Asian Review, December 07, 2018
Japanese trading house Marubeni will test out automated vehicles at airports serving the Tokyo and Nagoya areas next month, teaming with Tokyo-based autonomous driving startup ZMP.
Automotive
Sharing Economy
Nikkei Asian Review, December 06, 2018
Japanese online service developer DeNA launched a free car-hailing campaign on Wednesday, in a bid to catch up with bigger competitors in an increasingly crowded market.

Artificial Intelligence

AI
Nikkei Asian Review, December 17, 2018
Personalized products are taking the beauty industry by storm, with consumer goods company Kao set to join the trend next year with bespoke skin care offerings based on genetic information.

Startups

Startups
Nikkei Asian Review, December 29, 2018
By the time this year closes, Japan will have witnessed 91 initial public offerings, the second-highest tally in the past decade, to be headlined by the blockbuster debut of mobile carrier SoftBank Corp.
Startups
Nuclear
The Japan News, December 11, 2018
The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry plans to foster start-ups in the field of nuclear power, providing funds and human resources to researchers who have developed promising technologies, to help them commercialize those technologies.
Startups
Nikkei Asian Review, December 04, 2018
Hong Kong-based travel booking site Klook plans to enter the Japanese market in the first half of 2019, looking to cash in on Japan's popularity as a tourist destination and to serve the needs of Japanese travelers.
Startups
CleanTech
Bio/Medtech
Nikkei Asian Review, December 02, 2018
Japanese biotech startup Spiber has raised 5 billion yen ($44.1 million) to build a facility in Thailand for mass-producing synthetic spider silk protein.

Alliances & Technology Transfer

Alliances&TechTrans
Bio/Medtech
Agriculture
The Japan Times, December 25, 2018
U.S. food company Just Inc. and Japanese meat producer Toriyama Chikusan Shokuhin have forged a partnership for the development of lab-grown wagyu beef, with the aim of distributing their product globally.
Alliances&TechTrans
Bio/Medtech
Nikkei Asian Review, December 20, 2018
Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings will purchase the French over-the-counter drugmaker UPSA from Bristol-Myers Squibb, the latest move by Japan's top seller of nonprescription medicines to expand overseas.

General Interest

General Interest
Nikkei Asian Review, December 25, 2018
Japan's government on Tuesday adopted a slew of measures to encourage foreign nationals to work in the country and to smooth their integration into society.
General Interest
Env
Climate Change
Space
The Japan Times, December 24, 2018
In casting an eye back over memorable science and environment stories from Japan in 2018, it is impossible to ignore the extreme weather that hit the country.
General Interest
The Japan Times, December 20, 2018
The government said Thursday it plans to regularly release data on the number of foreign nationals working in Japan under a new visa system from April, as part of its efforts to avoid having them concentrate in large cities.
General Interest
The Japan Times, December 18, 2018
Japan is the second-best place in the world in terms of human development, with Hong Kong in first place and Iceland in third, according to a new index called the Human Life Indicator that is supposed to be simpler and more accurate than the U.N. Human Development Index.
General Interest
Nikkei Asian Review, December 17, 2018
Japan will take measures to help workers from abroad meet essential needs in their everyday lives ahead of an influx expected next year to address the nation's labor shortage.
General Interest
The Japan News, December 10, 2018

There are fears that the new system to expand the acceptance of foreign workers will further undermine the ideal of the existing technical intern training system, which aims to transfer technology to trainees’ home countries, as the new system enables such trainees to work in Japan for an…

General Interest
Nikkei Asian Review, December 08, 2018
Japan's parliament passed a bill early Saturday morning that will create a new foreign worker program to help address labor shortages, opening the country's doors to blue-collar laborers in a major policy shift.
General Interest
The Japan Times, December 04, 2018
Nearly 3,000 foreign workers dispatched to a Sharp Corp. plant in Mie Prefecture have apparently had their contracts terminated, according to a labor union.The massive reduction of contract workers on the back of a cut in display panel production comes at a time when the government is seeking to…
General Interest
The Japan Times, December 02, 2018
The government is mulling introducing a common Japanese language test for applicants seeking one of two new types of visas for foreign workers, informed sources have said.
General Interest
Nikkei Asian Review, December 01, 2018
Employed Japanese women could surpass 30 million as early as this year, though a shortage of slots at day care centers poses a barrier to taking jobs for 30-somethings raising children.
General Interest
Agriculture
Nuclear
the-japan-news.com,
People from Fukushima Prefecture living in Europe have started in earnest to campaign in Brussels to dispel concerns about foods from the northeastern prefecture following the 2011 nuclear crisis there.
The EuroTechPostdoc Programme provides international research and career development opportunities for 80 high potential doctoral graduates. It is one of the first cross-country fellowship programmes co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.
The Master of Advanced Studies allows graduates and professionals from various backgrounds to enhance their skills by providing them with high-level scientific and interdisciplinary expertise in the field of European and International Governance.
This English-taught 8-week programme (July 8th to August 29th, 2019) aims at introducing Bachelor-level students to the world of biological and biomedical research: Individual students will be each integrated in a different experimental research laboratory of the School of Biology.