1. Switzerland Related News

4th Joint Committee Meeting on S&T Cooperation

Science & Technology Office Tokyo, February 28, 2018

The fourth Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation between Japan and Switzerland was held at the Mita Conference Hall in Tokyo on February 28th 2018.

2. Science and Technology Policy in Japan

Japanese government to support AI semiconductor development

The Japan News, February 19, 2018

Aiming to promote the development of semiconductors for artificial intelligence, the government will start providing assistance for start-ups and young researchers jointly with companies such as SoftBank Group Corp., Sony Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd., according to sources.

Japan paves way for gas stations to charge up electric cars

Nikkei Asian Review, February 21, 2018

The Japanese government will relax restrictions that hamper many gas stations from adding electric vehicle charging terminals, aiming to revitalize the distribution network and promote the spread of cars running on alternate fuels.

Japanese government to investigate utilization of CO2

The Japan News, February 24, 2018

The government will start practical trials in fiscal 2018 to utilize carbon dioxide discharged from industrial plants and other facilities, turning it into fuels such as ethanol and synthesizing it into materials for producing synthetic resins.

3. Education

Cabinet adopts bills targeting hurdles to e-book use in schools

The Japan Times, February 24, 2018

The Cabinet has adopted a bill that would allow digital textbooks to be used at elementary, junior high and high schools.

4. Life Science / Health Care

Japanese and Australian researchers develop quick way to diagnose Alzheimer's with simple blood test

The Japan Times, February 01, 2018

Japanese and Australian researchers have developed a simple and affordable blood test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, they reported in the science journal Nature on Wednesday.

To baldly grow: Japan scientists regrow hair at record rate

The Japan Times, February 06, 2018

Polished pates and thinning thatches may one day be a thing of the past thanks to Japanese scientists who have developed a way to grow hair follicles at a record rate.

Japan doctors tap health-monitoring app to help diabetics keep dialysis at bay

The Japan Times, February 08, 2018

Last month, doctors at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo, with help from medical institutions and health insurance unions across the country, launched what they called the world’s first large-scale clinical study to examine whether using the internet of things is effective in keeping high blood-sugar levels at bay.

Genome treatment hubs to be named

The Japan News, February 15, 2018

The health ministry plans to designate a total of 11 hospitals in the seven regions as regional centers for genome-based cancer treatment, it was learned Wednesday.

Japanese team's bandage-like health monitor and messaging display could revolutionize medical care

The Japan Times, February 18, 2018

Palm reading could take on a whole new meaning thanks to a new invention from Japan: an ultra-thin display and monitor that can stick directly to the body.

5. Nano and Micro Technology / Material Science

Japan's suppliers eagerly eye market for foldable smartphones

Nikkei Asian Review, February 12, 2018

Japan's materials makers are tapping their technological prowess to develop components for bendable OLED panels, as they get serious about securing their role in the production of foldable smartphones.

Teijin unveils world's thinnest polyester nanofibers

Nikkei Asian Review, February 15, 2018

Japanese textile maker Teijin has developed the world's thinnest polyester fibers, measuring 200 nanometers, or billionths of a meter, across. That is a mere ninety-thousandth the width of an average human hair.

Japan's NTT develops eco-friendly battery that can safely return to soil.

The Japan Times, February 20, 2018

NTT Corp. says it has developed an eco-friendly battery that can be disposed of in soil without harming the surrounding environment.

6. Information & Communications Technology

Gyms in Japan deploy new tool to fix poor posture: eyewear

Nikkei Asian Review, February 01, 2018

A poor posture can cause chronic pain -- not to mention embarrassment -- but identifying the root of the problem is no easy task. A Japanese fitness club operator and an eyewear chain, though, have teamed up to do just that.

Mitsubishi Electric shines spotlight on new AI technology at R&D event

The Japan Times, February 16, 2018

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. launched a research and development open house event in Tokyo this week to showcase their latest advanced research products. The main focus of the event was the company’s new array of AI technology.

Lawson looks to AI for help deciding where to open new stores

The Japan Times, February 18, 2018

Convenience store chain Lawson Inc. might use artificial intelligence to help it make decisions on opening new stores, company officials said Sunday.

Fujitsu using IoT to improve distribution

The Japan News, February 26, 2018

A new service from Fujitsu Ltd. utilizes Internet of Things (IoT) technology to detect unproductive or inefficient workflows in warehouses.

7. Software / Mobile Services & Applications

New Japan travel app pairs Microsoft's AI chatbot with Navitime guidance

The Japan Times, February 22, 2018

Two Tokyo-based firms and Microsoft Japan on Thursday launched an English-language tourism app with an AI agent to target a surge in inbound tourists that is projected to continue.

8. Energy / Environment

Tokyo takes more steps to deal with Sanchi oil spill

The Japan Times, February 02, 2018

With fears growing that an oil spill in the East China Sea last month could impact marine life, reefs and fishing grounds in western Japan and Okinawa in the coming weeks, the government stepped up measures Friday to deal with what has been described by scientists as potentially one of the worst oil spills in decades.

Japanese companies turn to biomass to clean up coal power

Nikkei Asian Review, February 07, 2018

Japanese companies are developing biofuels that can be burned alongside coal to cut carbon dioxide emissions at power plants without investment in pricey new equipment.

Japanese chemist finds way to improve production of clean energy using egg whites

The Japan Times, February 16, 2018

Japanese scientist says his team has hatched a way to improve production of carbon-free energy by using proteins taken from egg whites.

Special zones eyed for offshore power generation

The Japan News, February 20, 2018

The government intends to designate special zones for promoting offshore wind power generation in an upcoming bill, in a bid to expand renewable energy by encouraging more businesses to enter the wind power generation market, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Japanese power firms race to go digital as competition heats up in liberalized market

The Japan Times, February 21, 2018

Domestic power companies are racing to introduce digital technologies, including the “internet of things” and artificial intelligence, to cope with a changing business environment.

Japan gets its first office building fully powered with solar energy

The Japan Times, February 26, 2018

The country’s first office building fully powered by off-the-grid solar energy opened Monday in the city of Saga.

9. Space Development

Japan successfully launches world's smallest satellite-carrying rocket

The Japan Times, February 04, 2018

Japan successfully launched on Saturday the world’s smallest satellite-carrying rocket following a failed attempt in January last year, the nation’s space agency said.

10. Engineering / Robotics / Automotive

Toyota to invest $2.8bn for R&D hub in green-car push

Nikkei Asian Review, February 20, 2018

Toyota Motor will create a research and development hub in Japan to step up its development of a broad range of environmentally friendly vehicles and meet regulations in various markets.

Toyota unveils motor magnet with less scarce metal

Nikkei Asian Review, February 21, 2018

Toyota has developed an electric vehicle motor magnet that uses half as much neodymium as compatible products, aiming to stave off supply disruptions in the rare-earth element that could come as major producer China toughens environmental regulations.

Drones playing bigger role in Japanese crop management

The Japan Times, February 22, 2018

Drones are finding increasing use in Japanese agriculture as farmers start to use the unmanned aerial vehicles for crop inspection and other purposes.

TDK to develop wireless charging system for electric vehicles

Nikkei Asian Review, February 23, 2018

Electronics parts maker TDK will work with automakers to develop a wireless charging system for electric vehicles, with an eye toward making easy cable-free charging a commercial reality by 2021.

Nissan, DeNA to test autonomous mobility service

The Japan News, February 24, 2018

Nissan Motor Co. and DeNA Co. announced Friday the outline of a planned joint trial of an autonomous mobility service using a smartphone app, aiming for a service launch in the early 2020s.

Sharp and Hon Hai to jointly develop automotive cameras

Nikkei Asian Review, February 26, 2018

Japanese electronics maker Sharp and its Taiwanese parent, Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, will set up a joint venture to produce cameras for cars, people familiar with the matter have told The Nikkei.

Honda puts hybrids in high gear for US, China and Japan

Nikkei Asian Review, February 27, 2018

Automaker looks to lift electrified vehicles to 65% of sales volume in 2030.

Toyota targets 18% cut to emissions with new powertrains

Nikkei Asian Review, February 27, 2018

Toyota Motor aims to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 18% or more across its vehicles with a new family of powertrains including improved engines and transmissions, the Japanese automaker said Monday.

11. Physics and Nuclear Development

Japan’s SuperKEKB set for first particle collisions

Physics World, February 21, 2018

First collisions at an upgrade to one of Japan’s premier particle-physics experiments are set to begin in April 2018.

12. Startups

JP to set up firm for investment funds

The Japan News, February 01, 2018

Japan Post Holdings Co.’s two financial arms have said that they will jointly set up a company to manage investment funds mainly targeting start-ups with growth potential.

13. Intellectual Property Rights / Technology Transfer / Alliances

Hitachi, Fanuc, AI startup forming automation joint venture

Nikkei Asian Review, February 01, 2018

Hitachi, Fanuc and AI-startup Preferred Networks are creating a joint venture to develop manufacturing systems that combine artificial intelligence and edge computing technologies to achieve superior productivity.

Japanese drone service provider Terra taps Indian market

The Japan Times, February 20, 2018

Tokyo-based drone service and solution provider Terra Drone Corp. will launch operations in India this year to apply unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) tech within the industry field of Asia’s third-largest economy.

14. General Interest

More of Japan's junior high schools include English in entrance exams

The Japan Times, February 05, 2018

More and more private junior high schools in the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Kansai region are introducing English into their general entrance examinations.

Japan Inc. embraces co-working spaces to combat overwork

Nikkei Asian Review, February 13, 2018

A growing number of Japanese businesses are signing up to make shared office spaces available to employees who hope to work more efficiently by reducing travel times, part of a broader effort to improve work-life balance.

Osaka pushing life sciences and wellness in 2025 Expo bid

The Japan Times, February 22, 2018

Hosting the 2025 World Expo is an opportunity to showcase Osaka and Kansai-based research and technological advancements geared toward taking head-on global issues, such as those that come with an aging society, Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui said in a recent exclusive interview with The Japan Times.

Space-matching service finds work for idle offices across Japan

The Japan Times, February 23, 2018

Keito Kobayashi runs a business consultancy out of a condominium in Tokyo, but when he needs to hold a face-to-face meeting with clients he reaches for his smartphone and books a room elsewhere.

Sports expo spotlights high-tech ways to better train athletes ahead of 2020

The Japan Times, February 25, 2018

With Japan riding high after its best showing ever in a Winter Olympics, a recent trade show drew attention to state-of-the-art technologies that could one day help train future Olympians.

Japan pushes to put more women in the boardroom

Nikkei Asian Review, February 28, 2018

 Increasing women on the board will become a recommended goal for Japanese companies under a revised governance code, and those lacking them will be asked to explain the reasons to the public.

15. Calls

New call: Certificate of advanced studies in Public Governance and Administration at ETH Zürich

The ETH Zürich is announcing a new course in Public Governance and Administration.

New call: Enter Nanolive's "Scientists of Tomorrow" competition!

Nanolive is inviting Undergraduate students from all over the world to submit a proposal (and a microscope image of a cell) to win a one week trip to their headquarters in Lausanne at the end of July (dates subject to discussion).

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.