1. Switzerland Related News

Ambassador meets with Mayor of Kawsaki City, host town of CYBATHLON Wheelchair Series Japan 2019

Science & Technology Office Tokyo, October 01, 2018

The Swiss Ambassador to Japan, Mr. Jean-Francois Paroz met with Mr. Norihiko Fukuda, Mayor of Kawasaki City and Mr. Osamitsu Yamada, Chairman of the Kawasaki Chamber of Commerce and Industry to congratulate the municipality of the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan for becoming the host town for the first official CYBATHLON event to be held in Japan.

Swiss delegation attended STS forum

Science & Technology Office Tokyo, October 10, 2018

A delegation of 12 Swiss leaders participated in this year’s Science & Technology in Society (STS) forum in Kyoto from Oct. 7 to Oct. 9.

Swiss Initiative invited to World Robot Summit organized by Japanese Government

Science & Technology Office Tokyo, October 22, 2018

The Swiss initiative CYBATHLON was invited to the World Robot Summit organized by the Japanese Government through the Science and Technology Office Tokyo of the Swiss Embassy.

2. Science and Technology Policy in Japan

Ministry to test dementia prevention goods, services

The Japan News, October 01, 2018

The Yomiuri Shimbun The economy ministry has decided to test the efficacy of products and services that claim to prevent dementia, ministry officials said.

Nobel laureate Tasuku Honjo hopes Japan invests more in science

The Japan Times, October 02, 2018

Nobel Prize-winning scientist Tasuku Honjo voiced hope on Tuesday that Japan would invest more in science, a day after he was chosen for this year’s award in physiology or medicine along with American James Allison for their studies on cancer therapy.

Govt eyes measures to reduce use of plastic bags

The Japan News, October 15, 2018

The Environment Ministry has decided to obligate retailers including supermarkets and convenience stores to charge fees for plastic checkout bags or provide loyalty points to shoppers who bring their own bags, officials said Friday.

Tokyo to back US exports of shale gas to Asia

Nikkei Asian Review, October 17, 2018

Japan's government will offer domestic companies financial incentives to ship liquefied natural gas produced in the U.S. to other parts of Asia, a policy change that supports President Donald Trump's goal of selling more American energy overseas.

Panel to call for creating IT watchdog

The Japan News, October 29, 2018

An expert panel will call for the government to set up a team of specialists to monitor the business practices of tech giants in its interim report to be released early next month, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

3. Education

Pair of boys, 10, to take on world in robot competition

The Japan News, October 15, 2018

Two elementary school boys from Gunma Prefecture will put their skills to the test in the international competition called World Robot Olympiad 2018, held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in November.

Japan Ryugaku Awards

The Japan Times, October 15, 2018

The Japan Ryugaku (a Japanese word meaning “study abroad”) Awards grand prizes have been conferred on nine Japanese universities and vocational schools in 10 different categories for the excellence of their academic programs for non-Japanese students, and their achievements in helping the students find jobs in Japan.

Faced with crop destruction, Chiba city fosters hunting and serving wild game as enterprise

The Japan Times, October 15, 2018

The city of Kimitsu, Chiba Prefecture, has set up a “business school for hunting” that provides courses introducing people to the pursuit of game and encouraging them to consider it as a livelihood.

Robots deployed to English classrooms

The Japan News, October 20, 2018

Students learn English with humanoid robot Nao at Meiji Elementary School in Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture. The Yomiuri ShimbunMore and more elementary schools are starting to use robots and artificial intelligence in their English classes.

4. Life Science / Health Care

Japanese professor Tasuku Honjo wins Nobel in medicine, together with U.S. scientist, for work on cancer therapy

The Japan Times, October 01, 2018

Japanese scientist Tasuku Honjo was awarded on Monday this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, for his discovery of a protein that contributed to the development of an immunotherapeutic drug against cancer.

Discoveries that revolutionized cancer care win Japanese and U.S. researchers a Nobel Prize in medicine

The Japan Times, October 02, 2018

The two researchers, from Japan and the U.S., who won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday are credited for discoveries that have revolutionized cancer care, turning the body’s immune system loose to fight tumors.

Startups to gain better access to Japanese medical records

Nikkei Asian Review, October 04, 2018

Japan will make it easier for startups and other technology companies to gain access to medical records as part of an effort to drive innovation and spur investments in the health care sector.

Goichiro Toyoda taps technology in bid to save Japan's health care system

The Japan Times, October 06, 2018

Goichiro Toyoda, 34, has an impressive resume. A graduate of the prestigious University of Tokyo faculty of medicine, Toyoda worked as a brain surgeon in Tokyo before leaving to become a research scholar at Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Firm ‘successfully cultivates’ mushroom close to matsutake

The Japan News, October 15, 2018

A fertilizer maker in Hyogo Prefecture has claimed it succeeded in artificially cultivating “bakamatsutake,” a mushroom species close to precious matsutake, for the first time in the world.

Mitsui expands health care business in Asia

Nikkei Asian Review, October 15, 2018

Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. is extending its reach in Asia's growing health care market, from hospital management to information services for doctors.

Companies foucs on ‘health-conscious’ LED lighting

The Japan News, October 16, 2018

Electrical machinery companies are seeking to increase sales of light-emitting diode (LED) lights distinguished by their health effects and comfort for users.

Shiseido experiment finds humans produce 'stress smell' similar to onions

The Japan Times, October 16, 2018

Japanese cosmetics maker Shiseido Co. has found that human bodies produce a distinctive odor that is similar to that of an onion or a long onion when they come under stress.

The biomedical cluster spearheading Kobe's revitalization

Nikkei Asian Review, October 19, 2018

When the city of Kobe was devastated by an earthquake in 1995, few imagined a thriving biomedical industry emerging from the rubble.

Nobel laureate Tasuku Honjo calls for a better environment in Japan for life science research

The Japan Times, October 22, 2018

Nobel laureate and immunologist Tasuku Honjo on Tuesday called for a better environment in Japan for conducting research in the life sciences, saying more efforts are needed by both the private and public sectors in enabling researchers to come up with medical cures for illnesses such as cancer.

Salivary glands and other organs grown in laboratory

The Japan Times, October 27, 2018

When, in the 20th century, cell biologists learned to grow tissue samples in the laboratory, it transformed our understanding of how cells grow and how they react to disease. Crucially, it allowed us to test drug treatments on living cells before risking them in a person.

5. Nano and Micro Technology / Material Science

Japan eyes reducing amount of plastic waste by as much as 25% by 2030

The Japan Times, October 15, 2018

The government will announce an ambitious plan aimed at cutting disposable plastic waste by 25 percent over the next decade while promoting environmentally friendly bioplastics made from plants, sources said Saturday.

6. Information & Communications Technology

AI system helps lawyers check legal documents, sometimes in seconds

The Japan News, October 01, 2018

The Yomiuri ShimbunArtificial intelligence has moved into the world of corporate legal matters: A Tokyo-based start-up founded by young lawyers is using AI to check for omissions and mistakes in contracts, sometimes taking only one second.

AI eyed to find breast cancer at early stage

The Japan News, October 04, 2018

While doctors diagnose breast cancer with the help of mammograms and other tools, thousands of cases around the world are said to go undetected each year. Identifying breast cancer in Japanese women is believed to be harder because of differences in their breast density and anatomical structure.

Carriers may start some 5G services next year

The Japan News, October 04, 2018

Three major Japanese mobile phone carriers have shown their intentions to launch part of their planned fifth-generation, or 5G, mobile communications services as early as 2019.

Sony sets out AI ethical guidelines

Nikkei Asian Review, October 05, 2018

Sony has established a set of ethical guidelines for handling artificial intelligence technologies, following the lead of Google and Microsoft.

Japan must improve its disaster services for foreigners

Nikkei Asian Review, October 09, 2018

If a major earthquake or other disaster hits Japan, is the country equipped to provide sufficient information to foreign residents and tourists? This issue was brought into sharp relief this past summer when disasters hit the northern main island of Hokkaido and the Kansai area in the west.

Huawei smartphone's AI cameras can tell your cat and car apart

Nikkei Asian Review, October 09, 2018

China's Huawei Technologies is aiming for a younger set of Japanese customers with its newest smartphone, which comes with artificially intelligent cameras and a relatively modest price tag.

Jins' new vision: Glasses as wearable smart devices

The Japan Times, October 10, 2018

When he senses a business opportunity, Hitoshi Tanaka bets big and does everything he can do to make sure the initiative bears fruit.

Kizuna AI's NHK appearance sparks debate on social media

The Japan Times, October 14, 2018

Do virtual YouTubers dream of online controversy? Maybe not but they sure are good at courting it. One of the most buzzed about developments in online culture in Japan over the past 12 months has been a boom in virtual YouTubers, animated characters operating their own channels, upon which they behave much like their human counterparts. They play video games, partake in memes and provide meta commentary on their existence.

AI eyed for local govts’ clerical tasks

The Japan News, October 17, 2018

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry plans to launch an experiment next fiscal year to promote the use of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies to streamline the administrative work of local governments, sources said.

Unmanned AI store debuts on JR station platform in Tokyo

The Japan News, October 18, 2018

An unmanned, AI-equipped store located on a train platform at JR Akabane Station in Kita Ward, Tokyo, was unveiled to reporters on Tuesday ahead of an about two-month trial period that started Wednesday.

US-Japan-EU to form alliance in data battle with China

Nikkei Asian Review, October 19, 2018

The U.S., Japan and the European Union will work together to craft rules on cross-border data transfers, aiming to safely share more information and so become more competitive in developing artificial intelligence as China vacuums up more and more personal data on its own.

Japan rebukes Facebook for gathering data through 'likes'

Nikkei Asian Review, October 23, 2018

Japanese government body on Monday directed Facebook to be more transparent and strengthen guards on personal information, following European authorities in pushing back against the social networking giant as hacks and its own tools leave data exposed.

Tokyo researchers’ Paper Digest makes academic jargon a cinch

The Japan Times, October 25, 2018

They come from very different worlds, yet have remarkably similar tales to tell. One hails from Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, while the other was brought up in the shadows of the Merendon mountains in the Sula Valley of northwestern Honduras.

Workers in Japan to be able to receive salaries via smartphones

Nikkei Asian Review, October 25, 2018

Japan plans to let businesses pay their employees with electronic money, such as via smartphone apps or payroll cards, a move expected to help foreign workers who lack bank accounts.

Uniqlo parent goes digital as it faces Amazon

Nikkei Asian Review, October 26, 2018

Uniqlo's cavernous warehouse in Tokyo's Ariake district, a vast space populated by conveyor belts pushing around boxes and towering shelves stacked with containers, is all but devoid of human life.

EU enlists Japan to help establish AI safeguards

Nikkei Asian Review, October 30, 2018

The European Union is seeking Japan's cooperation on setting rules for artificial intelligence, potentially covering everything from privacy to preventing the creation of killer robots, European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told Nikkei in an exclusive interview.

Japan's Gree taps Bilibili to promote virtual stars in China

Nikkei Asian Review, October 31, 2018

Japanese game maker Gree said Tuesday it will partner with Chinese streaming site Bilibili to develop smartphone games and promote virtual internet celebrities, looking to tap into the large base of Chinese fans of Japanese anime and games.

7. Software / Mobile Services & Applications

Japanese cryptocurrency industry group plans to tighten rules on asset management after thefts

The Japan Times, October 01, 2018

A group of cryptocurrency exchange operators plans to tighten self-regulatory measures it follows on the management of customer assets in the wake of another hacking incident in early September, informed sources said Saturday.

Banks embrace blockchain to remain relevant

Asian Nikkei Review, October 01, 2018

Global banks such as HSBC and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group along with local players like Japan's Resona Holdings and Bank of Ayudhya in Thailand are embracing blockchain technology to offer lower-cost services as financial technology companies threaten their dominance.

Zaif cryptocurrency breach victims remain shortchanged

Nikkei Asian Review, October 04, 2018

The Japanese cryptocurrency exchange that lost over 7 billion yen ($61.5 million) to hackers last month has yet to repay the victims of the breach, while both industry and regulators seek stronger consumer protections against the risks plaguing the field.

Company stumbles upon new software to build healthy work environment

The Japan Times, October 05, 2018

Haruki Atarashi never thought his company’s flagship software, Recog, which fosters communication between employees within companies, would ever evolve beyond just an internal project.

Taxis experiment with sliding fees in bid to stay competitive

The Japan News, October 07, 2018

The transport ministry began a trial system in Tokyo this month in which fares charged by taxis to pick up customers fluctuate based on demand. Three taxi companies are participating in the trial, which is aimed at making services more customer friendly and increasing ridership by allowing taxi firms to flexibly set rates.

Caps on cryptocurrency margin trades weighed in Japan

Nikkei Asian Review, October 25, 2018

Japan's Financial Services Agency is considering leverage caps for margin trading of cryptocurrencies to curb speculative trading and limit user exposure to volatility risks.

Asia rises as key frontier in bitcoin's next stage

Nikkei Asian Review, October 31, 2018

With $300 million in fresh funding, one of the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges is looking for a foothold in Asia, a signal of the region's growing clout as bitcoin looks into the next decade.

8. Energy / Environment

U.N. report under review presents nations with tough choices on climate

The Japan Times, October 01, 2018

The world’s nations will gather at a U.N. conference in South Korea on Monday to review and approve a 20-page bombshell — distilled from more than 6,000 scientific studies — laying out narrowing options for staving off a climate catastrophe.

Saudi power struggle clouds SoftBank's solar ambitions

Nikkei Asian Review, October 03, 2018

Though SoftBank Group insists that plans to build the world's largest solar farm in Saudi Arabia are moving forward, doubts remain about a project key to CEO Masayoshi Son's international energy business strategy.

Japan joins race to develop Arctic resources

Nikkei Asian Review, October 05, 2018

With both Russia and China expanding their presence in the Arctic, Japan looks to ensure it also has a voice in the development of the resource-rich but environmentally sensitive region.

Tokyo 2020 organizers plan to filter polluted bay water through screens

The Japan Times, October 06, 2018

A plan to filter bacteria from the water around Odaiba Beach Park in Tokyo Bay was announced Friday by 2020 Olympic and Paralympic organizers and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Will Japan be a climate leader or a climate laggard?

The Japan Times, October 09, 2018

A summer of typhoons and flooding has put the issues of severe weather, global warming and climate change mitigation domestically and internationally back on top of Japan’s political agenda.

Japan continues to rely on coal-fired plants despite global criticism

The Japan Times, October 09, 2018

Japan may be feeling the effects of global warming more than ever with the series of natural disasters that hit the archipelago this summer, but this resource-poor country is sticking with coal-fired energy production that emits more than double the carbon dioxide generated by liquid natural gas-fueled plants.

Home and car batteries to help power Japan's grid

Nikkei Asian Review, October 11, 2018

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, Nissan Motor and others are joining a Japanese effort that unites the batteries used in electric cars, homes and offices into storage networks in order to boost the use of renewable energy and keep local power grids stable.

Kyushu Electric to seek curb on solar power generation

The Japan News, October 12, 2018

Kyushu Electric Power Co. has expressed its intention to call for a temporary suspension of electricity generation from renewable energy sources, particularly solar power, to prevent power oversupply.

Battling 'fatbergs': Tokyo's sewers get an upgrade so they can keep on flowing

The Japan Times, October 12, 2018

In September last year, a monster was discovered in London’s sewers. Weighing about 130 metric tons and measuring 250 meters in length — longer than the city’s Tower Bridge — a congealed mass of fat, oil, wet tissues, condoms and diapers was found blocking a section of the wastewater network during a routine inspection.

Japan to slash fixed prices for solar power feed-ins

Nikkei Asian Review, October 13, 2018

In an overhaul of a feed-in-tariff scheme introduced six years ago, the Japanese government will bring down prices promised to solar power producers in the past and ease the burden on the major power companies required to buy energy from them.

Japanese organizations and officials gather in Tokyo in support of Paris climate accord

The Japan Times, October 14, 2018

With an aim to facilitate the achievement of goals from the landmark 2015 Paris agreement, the Japan Action Climate Summit, organized by nonstate actors, was held Friday in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.

Traces of previously unknown Mount Fuji eruptions uncovered at bottom of nearby lake

The Japan Times, October 14, 2018

Traces of two past unknown eruptions of Mount Fuji have been found in a layer at the bottom of Lake Motosu, northwest of the country’s tallest mountain, according to a research group that included Akita University.

Japan in Depth / Solar power pause reveals renewables’ weakness

The Japan News, October 16, 2018

Kyushu Electric Power Co. suspended operation of thousands of solar power generators run by independent operators in the Kyushu region on Saturday and Sunday.

Warm, dry spring seen aggravating Nagoya-area hornet threat

The Japan Times, October 16, 2018

As the nation enters the autumn tourist season, concerns are growing over hornets, whose nests and number of workers are larger than usual this year because of the warmer spring and limited rain during the rainy season.

Toshiba to set up new lithium-ion battery plant

The Japan Times, October 18, 2018

Toshiba Corp. will set up a new plant at its business complex in Yokohama in an effort to boost production of lithium-ion batteries.

Plastic waste piling up in Japan after Chinese import ban

The Japan Times, October 19, 2018

Plastic waste is piling up in Japan with many local governments struggling to cope after China banned the import of such waste late last year, Environment Ministry data showed Thursday.

Japan adds Miyagi and Tokyo sites to list of internationally important wetlands

The Japan Times, October 19, 2018

Japan has designated two coastal areas to be of international importance, raising the number of such sites around the country to 52, the only international conservationist body focused on wetlands said Thursday.

Firms must play bigger role in tackling climate change, experts and business leaders tell Tokyo forum

The Japan Times, October 20, 2018

As climate change threatens to transform the world as we know it, the business sector needs to increase its efforts to deal with the threat by boosting investment in environmentally friendly firms and developing green technologies, business leaders and experts said at a recent international forum.

Japan-led consortium to lend $1.3bn to Indonesia LNG power plant

Nikkei Asian Review, October 21, 2018

A consortium of international banks, led by the government-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation, will jointly lend $1.31 billion for a thermal power station in Indonesia fueled by liquefied natural gas.

Japan and EU to establish LNG framework

Nikkei Asian Review, October 22, 2018

Japan and the EU are set to collaborate on developing a framework to promote the stable procurement of liquefied natural gas, in a bit to establish a more flexible market.

At Tokyo meeting, ministers from around the world vow to promote hydrogen as alternative energy source

The Japan Times, October 24, 2018

Energy ministers and government officials from around 20 countries said Tuesday they will step up cooperation in promoting the use of hydrogen as an alternative energy source by sharing technology and standards.

First shipment of Inpex LNG from Ichthys project departs Australia for Japan

The Japan Times, October 24, 2018

Inpex Corp. said Tuesday that the first shipment of liquefied natural gas produced as part of its project in northern Australia departed for Japan late Monday evening.

David Rockefeller Jr., scion of powerful U.S. family, calls for action from Japan to improve health of oceans

The Japan Times, October 25, 2018

Japan is moving in a positive direction on its fisheries policy and ensuring the marine ecosystem remains sustainable, said David Rockefeller Jr., an environmentalist and a descendant of one of the most influential business families in the United States, but he noted in an interview with The Japan Times on Monday that the country needs to do more to tackle the issue of plastics polluting the world’s oceans.

Hidden and scenic, Kurobe route in Kansai to accept more annual visitors from 2024

The Japan Times, October 25, 2018

Kansai Electric Power Co. and the Toyama Prefectural Government have agreed to open a route between Keyakidaira Station, the terminal station of the Kurobe Gorge Railway, and the famed Kurobe Dam to more of the public by at least fiscal 2024.

Awareness of Aichi Biodiversity Targets found to be lacking compared to climate change

The Japan Times, October 29, 2018

The global community has less than two years to reach the Aichi Biodiversity Targets set for 2020, yet public awareness of biodiversity issues is still relatively low.

As IPCC report warns of growing climate change risks, Japan seeks to adapt

The Japan Times, October 30, 2018

A report released this month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that unless global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, Japan’s summer of extreme weather may become the new normal.

9. Space Development

Japan space probe Hayabusa2 launches new robot onto Ryugu asteroid

The Japan Times, October 03, 2018

Japanese probe launched a new observation robot toward an asteroid on Wednesday as it pursues a mission to shed light on the origins of the solar system.

Japan and Europe launch space probes to survey Mercury

Nikkei Asian Review, October 20, 2018

Japanese and European space agencies on Friday launched a rocket carrying two robotic explorers on a seven-year journey to Mercury.

Constellation named after Godzilla

The Japan News, October 21, 2018

An international research group using the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, including NASA, has named a constellation of gamma ray-emitting stars Godzilla, according to movie distributor Toho Co.

Japan puts upgraded greenhouse gas observation satellite Ibuki-2 into orbit

The Japan Times, October 29, 2018

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched on Monday an H-IIA rocket carrying Japan’s Ibuki-2 greenhouse gas observation satellite and an Earth observation satellite made by United Arab Emirates, putting both into orbit.

10. Engineering / Robotics / Automotive

AI helps smooth sake brewing

The Japan News, October 02, 2018

Attempts to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) systems are spreading through the world of sake brewing in Japan.

Wraps come off superlight electric car prototype

Nikkei Asian Review, October 03, 2018

Researchers from Toray Industries, Sumitomo Chemical and other organizations have unveiled an electric vehicle prototype that is about 40% lighter than comparable existing cars, in a potential breakthrough toward greater driving range.

Honda stakes self-driving future on GM with $2.8bn investment

Nikkei Asian Review, October 03, 2018

Honda Motor has pledged to invest a total of $2.75 billion in a partnership with General Motors for autonomous-driving technology, aiming to parlay the U.S. automaker's massive driving data into innovations that challenge Google and Apple.

Honda teams with GM's Cruise start-up to develop autonomous vehicles

The Japan Times, October 04, 2018

Honda Motor Co. has joined forces with General Motors Co.’s tech start-up Cruise to develop autonomous vehicles, as the race to market self-driving cars heats up, the companies announced Wednesday.

Tokyo car event kicks off

The Japan News, October 06, 2018

The Tokyo Motor Fes 2018 kicked off in Tokyo’s Odaiba waterfront district on Saturday for a three-day run.

Toyota looks to SoftBank's Son as a catalyst for innovation

Nikkei Asian Review, October 06, 2018

When Toyota Motor approached SoftBank Group about a potential tie-up earlier this year, Aichi Prefecture-based President Akio Toyoda offered to travel to Tokyo to meet the tech company's leader Masayoshi Son.

Takashimaya opens Japan’s biggest robot sales space

The Japan News, October 09, 2018

Major department store chain Takashimaya Co. on Monday opened one of the nation’s biggest selling spaces for robots at its outlet in Osaka.

Yamato to team with U.S. firm on UAV

The Japan News, October 13, 2018

Courtesy of Yamato Holdings Co. An artist’s rendering of a ‘flying truck’ to be developed by Yamato and U.S. firm Bell Helicopter Textron.

Honda's N-Box and other minicars prove to be a hit with Japan's elderly drivers

The Japan Times, October 13, 2018

When Honda Motor Co. launched the latest version of its N-Box a year ago, it promoted features on the pint-sized minicar such as error-detecting pedals, automatic emergency braking and moveable seats, part of a push to market the vehicle to young families.

Robot-made Asics sneakers to reach markets faster

Nikkei Asian Review, October 13, 2018

Asics, the Japanese company behind Onitsuka Tiger sneakers, will introduce a host of robots to a plant in Japan so that it can swiftly respond to the latest consumer trends and put its footwear on store shelves faster.

Do the elderly and disabled people in Japan want robots to look after them?

The Japan Times, October 15, 2018

Things really do not get “more Japanese” than a robot. Whether it is the heroes and villains of manga and anime, or the Pepper you find in branches of mobile phone company SoftBank, robots seem to be everywhere here. The robots are indeed rising in Japan — and they are ready to take over the health and social care system.

Suzuki and Mitsubishi move to nix diesel cars in Europe

Nikkei Asian Review, October 15, 2018

Suzuki Motor aims to halt European sales of diesel cars by the end of the year, while Mitsubishi Motors also plans to pull diesel passenger autos from key markets like the U.K. and Germany in response to stronger environmental regulations.

Postman, shopper, builder: In Japan, there's a robot for that

The Japan Times, October 20, 2018

Forget the flashy humanoids with their gymnastics skills: At the World Robot Summit in Tokyo, the focus was on robots that can deliver the mail, shop and build a house.

Calsonic's Magneti acquisition kick-starts its self-driving ambitions

Nikkei Asian Review, October 22, 2018

Japanese auto parts maker Calsonic Kansei is to buy European auto parts maker Magneti Marelli from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for 6.2 billion euros ($7.15 billion), in an effort to gain the upper hand in the competition to develop electronic parts for next-generation automobiles developed by tech companies such as Google.

Cut in Tokyo to Hakodate time eyed / Shinkansen speeds may be raised to compete with airlines

The Japan News, October 22, 2018

The travel time between Tokyo and Hakodate, Hokkaido, is expected to drop to under four hours on the Shinkansen bullet train as early as this fiscal year, as the safety of the Seikan Tunnel has been confirmed and there is no problem if the speed of the Shinkansen, which currently runs a little faster than conventional express trains, is raised.

Panasonic proposes next-gen transport with self-driving cars

Nikkei Asian Review, October 26, 2018

Panasonic aims to offer various services with autonomous electric cars, including ferrying elderly people in depopulated areas, teaming with startups to dive into next-generation transport services as consumers shift toward using vehicles rather than owning them.

Autonomous car reacts to voice, motion

The Japan News, October 26, 2018

A Japanese team including Nagoya University said Thursday that they have jointly developed an autonomous car that responds to the voice and motion of the person in the driver’s seat.

Meet the Japanese tech guru who is betting big on the future of drones

The Japan Times, October 26, 2018

The only person in kimono at a recent government meeting on flying cars was Kotaro Chiba, a former online-game executive turned financier of a very specific kind.

JR Tokai unveils flexible-length Shinkansen train

The Japan News, October 26, 2018

Tokai’s new N700S Shinkansen model runs with eight cars in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Wednesday. The Yomiuri Shimbun Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) unveiled to the media on Wednesday a new model of its Shinkansen bullet train during a test run of an eight-car length of the train at the company’s factory in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture.

AI robot to get trial run patrolling Tokyo train station

The Japan News, October 27, 2018

A newly developed security robot called Perseusbot shows its ability to detect suspicious movements by people during a demonstration in Koto Ward, Tokyo, on Thursday.

Panasonic to launch automated restaurant business in China

The Japan News, October 27, 2018

Panasonic Corp. said Thursday that it will launch a smart restaurant business in which robots serve food, in cooperation with a major Chinese restaurant chain operator.

Japan Post to begin test deliveries using drones in Fukushima next month

The Japan Times, October 27, 2018

Japan Post Co. has said that it will begin to test drone deliveries between two post offices in Fukushima Prefecture next month.

Hybrids account for nearly 20% of cars in Japan

The Japan News, October 29, 2018

Gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles are rapidly increasing their presence in the nation partly on the back of growing environmental awareness.

Battery boom: The future of cars rests with firms that predate the Model T

The Japan Times, October 29, 2018

It took more than seven years for automakers to sell 4 million passenger electric vehicles. It’ll take about six months to sell the next million.

Smartphone slump weighs on Japan's electronic suppliers

Nikkei Asian Review, October 30, 2018

Japan's major electronic parts makers are seeing a slowdown in demand as smartphones prove a less reliable growth driver.

World's robot builders hit by China's capital spending slowdown

Nikkei Asian Review, October 30, 2018

The Sino-American trade war has dampened appetites for capital spending among Chinese companies, taking a toll on earnings at manufacturers of industrial robots and machinery across the globe.

11. Physics and Nuclear Development

Residents in Miyagi file suit to block burning of radiation-tainted waste from Fukushima nuclear disaster

The Japan Times, October 12, 2018

Residents in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to prevent a local public association from burning radiation-tainted waste generated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Hitachi and GE to jointly develop next-generation reactors

The Japan Times, October 15, 2018

Hitachi and General Electric Co. will jointly develop a new type of nuclear power plant with small modular reactors, sources said Monday.

Toshiba and IHI drop nuclear venture in shift to renewable energy

Nikkei Asian Review, October 19, 2018

Japan's Toshiba and IHI are dissolving a joint venture that manufactures nuclear power plant equipment, scaling back operations in a field battered by global trends toward renewable energy.

Tohoku Electric to scrap aging No. 1 unit at Onagawa nuclear plant

The Japan Times, October 26, 2018

Tohoku Electric Power Co. said Thursday it will scrap the idled No. 1 unit at its Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture, more than 30 years after it started operations.

Shikoku Electric restarts Ikata nuclear reactor following failed court challenges

The Japan Times, October 28, 2018

Shikoku Electric Power Co. on Saturday restarted a reactor at its Ikata nuclear power plant after a suspension of nearly one year due to a high court order.

Sony to pour $5.3bn into image sensor production

Nikkei Asian Review, October 30, 2018

The investment, representing a 30% increase in semiconductor capital spending over the previous three fiscal years, aims to lift production capacity by 20% to 30%.

12. Startups

Japan online flea market operator Mercari hires large number of non-Japanese grads

The Japan Times, October 02, 2018

Mercari Inc., Japan’s leading online flea market operator, has hired about 50 new graduates, including 44 with foreign nationalities. Through the recruitment of the foreign graduates, the firm hopes to boost its operations abroad and develop new businesses utilizing their information and technology expertise.

Japanese electric car startup FOMM to open $30m Thai plant

Nikkei Asian Review, October 10, 2018

Japanese electric vehicle startup FOMM will spend 1 billion baht ($30.4 million) to set up in Thailand its first-ever production site, the company said Tuesday at a news conference here.

Tokyo-based clothes recycling newbie to advance to Startup World Cup 2019

The Japan Times, October 12, 2018

Tokyo-based startup specializing in the business of recycling clothes is slated to proceed to the final stage of an annual global startup competition, scheduled to be held in San Francisco in May of next year.

Amid Japan's changing work-style landscape, office space provider WeWork grows at a dizzying pace

The Japan Times, October 17, 2018

The seven-story tower with a glass exterior near Tokyo’s trendy Omotesando district serves not just as a co-working space with computers and free Wi-Fi. There is also a pantry, a bar counter and a spacious lounge where you can drink freshly roasted coffee and beer on tap free of charge. There is even a room for meditation or prayer.

Insects and underpants: Panasonic seeks inspiration from startup hub

Nikkei Asian Review, October 18, 2018

Old-fashioned underpants and turning insects into fish feed might not be the first things that come to mind when someone mentions Panasonic, but these are just some of the ideas being developed at 100banch, a shared work space set up by the Japanese electronics maker.

Japanese unicorn promises 'robots for everyone' in 5 years

Nikkei Asian Review, October 22, 2018

Within five years, consumers will enjoy an all-purpose household robot that will help them make dinner, brings dishes to the sink and tidies up while they are out. That's the goal of Toru Nishikawa, 35-year-old founder CEO of Preferred Networks, a Tokyo-based technology startup.

Kyoto University venture fund and Chinese peer to grow startups

Nikkei Asian Review, October 25, 2018

Kyoto University is combining venture capital with that from a peer in the Chinese city of Guangzhou to help startups from the university do business in China and other Asian markets.

13. Intellectual Property Rights / Technology Transfer / Alliances

Sharp acquires Toshiba unit to re-enter PC business

The Japan Times, October 02, 2018

Sharp Corp. has completed its acquisition of Toshiba Corp.’s personal computer business, marking a return to the PC business after pulling out eight years ago.

Toyota and SoftBank to integrate mobility and AI in new venture

The Japan Times, October 04, 2018

Two titans of Japanese industry, Toyota Motor Corp. and SoftBank Group Corp. said Thursday they are setting up a new joint venture to develop autonomous driving technologies and other on-demand services, including food deliveries, medical care and office space.

Data explosion brings Toyota and SoftBank together

Nikkei Asian Review, October 05, 2018

The key to success for the tie-up in next-generation mobility services between Toyota Motor and SoftBank Group is the companies' ability to monetize such services by using big data.

JTB, MK team up for robot-guided taxi tour

The Japan News, October 17, 2018

Major travel agency JTB Corp. and Kyoto-based taxi firm MK Co. have teamed up to offer “Kyo no Robo Tabi Taxi,” a tour of renowned Kyoto sightseeing spots that features Robohon, a robot-shaped mobile phone from Sharp Corp.

Samsung and NEC team up on 5G as Huawei faces boycott

Nikkei Asian Review, October 21, 2018

Samsung Electronics and NEC have agreed to join in developing base stations for fifth-generation mobile communications, as they see an opportunity to gain market share while Chinese rivals such as industry leader Huawei Technologies increasingly face difficulty expanding in the U.S. and other major markets.

Toyota and Mazda look to integrate automobile loan units

The Japan Times, October 25, 2018

Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. are considering integrating their automobile sales loan businesses in a deeper capital tie-up to cut costs amid the shrinking domestic market, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.

Hitachi sells car navigation unit Clarion for $700m

Nikkei Asian Review, October 25, 2018

Japanese electronics conglomerate Hitachi will sell its Clarion subsidiary, which makes car navigation systems, for around 80 billion yen ($713 million) to French auto parts maker Faurecia, Nikkei has learned.

Thai 'smart city' to be first of 50 Japan-China joint projects

Nikkei Asian Review, October 25, 2018

Japan and China are set to agree on promoting roughly 50 private-sector, third-country infrastructure projects this week, setting in motion the first joint deal of building a smart city in Thailand as early as this year.

Rakuten and Tech Mahindra team up to advance 5G tech

Nikkei Asian Review, October 30, 2018

Japan's Rakuten and India's Tech Mahindra announced Monday they will partner to test software-based virtual networks with an eye toward codeveloping 5G service.

14. General Interest

Panasonic helps workers create their own head space with new crowdfunded device

The Japan Times, October 04, 2018

Maintaining concentration is key to getting your work done efficiently, but it can be hard to achieve sometimes. Sitting in your chair at the office, other coworkers may be constantly walking around nearby. Someone behind your desk could be chatting with their colleagues.

Govt spent over ¥800 bil. by FY17 for Tokyo Games

The Japan News, October 05, 2018

The government had spent about ¥801.1 billion on 286 state projects related to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics by fiscal 2017, which ended in March, the Board of Audit of Japan said Thursday.

Firms offer a glimpse of future business models at CEATEC, Japan's biggest electronics trade show

The Japan Times, October 16, 2018

Japan’s biggest electronics trade show kicked off Tuesday, offering a future peek at how the latest technologies can be integrated into everyday living.

Freeze-dried food guru engages in decadeslong quest to take fare to new heights

The Japan Times, October 18, 2018

Apply 140 milliliters of hot water on the brown rectangular block, then stir for 60 seconds and voila, a steaming plate of chicken cutlet curry — that quintessential Japanese comfort food — is resurrected from its mummified state, offering instant gratification with minimal preparation.

Worker shortage in Japan to hit 6.4m by 2030, survey finds

Nikkei Asian Review, October 25, 2018

Japan will face a shortage of 6.44 million workers in 2030, making wage hikes, increased child care and other labor-related reforms vital to ensuring a stable workforce, according to a joint survey by Persol Research and Consulting and Chuo University released on Tuesday.

15. Calls

The Branco Weiss Fellowship – Society in Science

The Branco Weiss Fellowship – Society in Science is a unique postdoc program. It awards young researchers around the world with a generous personal research grant, giving them the freedom to work on whatever topic they choose anywhere in the world, for up to five years.

More events on the Japan Science and Technology Office homepage: Check it Now!

The information in this newsletter is an opinion excerpt of news material from Japan and gathered to the best knowledge of the writer. The newsletter tries to provide information without any news preferences, and takes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information. No legal liability or responsibility can be taken. The information is provided for informational purposes only. No part of the newsletter may be used for any commercial or public use. Open disclosure of this newsletter is not permitted.