Japan Broadcasters refuse to run ads for new Panasonic TVs

Japan’s broadcasters have been refusing to advertise Panasonic Corp.’s new TV sets because the new product line, Panasonic’s Smart Viera series, displays websites and online video clips at the same time as TV programs.

The TV networks are demanding Panasonic change the way the online information is shown on the TV.

Do you think Panasonic will listen?

People want more online content in their living rooms and companies are doing all they can to control the space. Microsoft has been trying to do it for over a decade with their media center and now the newest version of x-box, which tries to be an all-in-one entertainment behemoth.

Japan rules Samsung infringed on Apple bounce back patent

A Tokyo court has ruled that Samsung infringed on Apple’s patent covering a “bounce-back” feature used on the latter’s smartphones and tablets.

Reuters reported Friday that Apple had alleged Samsung copied its “bounce-back” function, in which icons on smartphones and tablets quiver back when users scroll to the end of an electronic document.

Samsung has already changed its interface on recent models to show a blue line at the end of documents, the report noted.

The court’s decision comes after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in April said Apple’s patent for the “bounce-back” feature was invalid, allowing older Samsung models with a similar feature to remain on sale.


Read the rest of the story: Japan rules Samsung infringed Apples bounce back patent.

JR East – Please Don’t Walk When Using a Smartphone

Officials at East Japan Railway Company have begun asking people not to use mobile phones while walking inside train stations.

The move came after a 5th-grade boy suffered minor injuries when he fell off the platform onto the train tracks at Tokyo’s Yotsuya Station. He was looking at his phone screen while walking.

Posters saying “No cell phones while walking” are on display in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station. Announcements are also being aired inside the station, asking people not to use cellular phones while walking.


JAXA’s New SPRINT-A Observation Satellite Launch Set for August

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has unveiled its new planetary observation satellite, which is scheduled to be launched in August, to the press at its Kanagawa Prefecture campus.

The satellite, known as the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A), is about four meters tall and seven meters wide, and cost about 4.8 billion yen to develop.

The SPRINT-A is designed to orbit Earth at an altitude of about 1,000 kilometers.

Australia-Japan could deepen military ties with cooperation on new subs

AUSTRALIA and Japan could deepen defence ties by co-operating on Australia’s next generation of submarines, a think tank says.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) says Japan’s expertise in building submarines suited to Pacific operations could be of interest to Australia as it looks to replace its six Collins boats.

Australia and Japan could also co-operate on ballistic missile defence, with Japan already fielding SM-3 missiles on its Kongo-class warships – a capability Australia is considering for its air warfare destroyers.

“In particular, Japan and Australia could increase their defence industry co-operation and ease export controls, a move that Japan has recently taken with the United Kingdom,” ASPI says in a paper released on Monday.

Read the rest of the story: Aust-Japan could co-operate on subs: study.

Takafumi Horie, out of prison, starts mobile app firm

A Japanese entrepreneur who founded one of the country’s largest web portals and was a national celebrity before being jailed for securities fraud is now free and has launched a firm to develop smartphone apps.

Takafumi Horie was once a household name in Japan as the outspoken founder and CEO of Livedoor, a popular domestic website. Dubbed “Horiemon” in the press for his similarity to the pudgy animation character Doraemon, he published several best-selling books on business and once ran for political office with the backing of the prime minister.

He attempted a hostile takeover of a large TV station that led to new acquisition laws in Japan, and when his home and company’s offices were raided in 2006 on suspicion of fraud it caused a plunge in the stock market. Many investors who had sunk their life savings into his firm’s shares were subsequently wiped out.

Read the rest of the story: Japanese Internet icon, free from prison, starts app design firm.

Japan, France joint weapons development talks to start

Japan and France are set to start talks regarding a proposal that the two nations cooperate on developing military weapons and equipment. This was revealed after Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera met with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on the sidelines of the Asia Security Summit on June 2, the latter showing signs of strong interest to the proposal even as Japan has been complaining about France’s seeming tendency to sell military equipment to China.

Despite the lingering issues, Onodera and Le Drian agreed that Japan and France should begin negotiations towards this direction of joint arms development, beginning with a bilateral summit scheduled for June 7 in Tokyo. “I think there is no difference with France in our thinking on this,” Onodera said after the meeting with Le Drian, showing his support and anticipation for the new arms development proposal. If France goes on to agree and hammer out a deal with Japan on arms development, it will become only the second country to engage in collaborative arms development with Japan, the first one being the United Kingdom.

One possible major stumbling block of this deal is France’s recent arms exports to China, which has upset the Japanese government and prompted Onodera to raise these questions to his French counterpart. Recently, France sold to China a helicopter landing grid, which gives better capabilities for helicopters to land on or take off from ships without crew assistance, especially in bad weather conditions. With Japan’s long-running territorial dispute with China over the sovereignty of the Senkaku/Diaoyu island chain still simmering, Japan is admittedly concerned that said equipment will be utilized on Chinese ships around the disputed territory in the East China Sea. “If the equipment is installed on the (Chinese marine surveillance vessel) Haijian, that will fuel tensions in the East China Sea,” Onodera said at the meeting. But Le Drian stated that the sales cannot be regulated because the system is not termed as military equipment and is generally for civilian use.

Broadcasters begin using Tokyo Skytree

Six major broadcasters in Tokyo started using Tokyo Skytree instead of Tokyo Tower to transmit digital terrestrial television signals to the Japanese capital and neighboring areas Friday morning.

The move is designed to improve reception of TV signals that has deteriorated due to a recent increase in the number of high-rise buildings.

Akihabara: The One Stop Japan Spot for Otakus

Japan is notable for its many splendour tourist spots such as Shibuya, Okina and Kyoto. However, if there is one spot Otaku’s from all over the world wish to visit and this would be none other than Akihabara. Akihabara has been considered Japan’s one-stop-shop for all anime lovers and enthusiasts.

Where in Japan:

Located in Sotokanda, Tokyo Prefectur, Akihabara (秋葉原) is two stations north of Tokyo Station. Locals call the area Akiba after the local shrine. This area has gained quite the recognition from all over the world due to its diehard otaku culture. Major developments have already occurred thanks to the Akihabara Crossfield complex that promotes Akihabara as the centre for global electronics technology and trade.

How to Get There:

It’s easy to head to Akihabra thanks to Japans’ complex train systems plus their trains give meaning to “faster than a speeding bullet.” There are two options of which are as follows:

  1. From Tokyo Station: Akihabara is located two stations north of Tokyo Station by Keihin-Tohoku or JR Yamanote Line. The trip costs 130 yen and will only take three minutes. However, during the weekdays, Keihin-Tohoku line skips one station between Akihabara and Tokyo which will cut off a few seconds off travel time.
  2. From Shinjuku Station: Travellers should take the JR Chuo Line (colour orange) from Shinjuku to Ochanomizu Station of which takes approximately ten minutes. After, take a quick transfer to JR Sobu line (colour yellow) for one more station headed to Akihabara. This trip takes two minutes max. Alternate options also include taking the yellow train without transfer from Shinjuku to Akihabara for seventeen minutes trip. The fare costs 160 yen for either case.

What to See:

As mentioned, Akihabara is the centre for Otaku enthusiasts and lovers. From maid cafes to Tokyo anime centres selling merchandise and games, everything can be found here. It’s best to load up the wallet because the merchandise scattered around can easily lure Otakus in.

  1. Maid Cafes: Cosplay themed restaurants abound where food is served basically by waitresses in frilly and colourful attires. These “maids” also engage in fun activities with the guests.
  2. drinks

  3. Tokyo Anime Center: This is found on the UDX building of Akihabara Crossfield where anime related exhibitions are held.
  4. akihabara-2

  5. Gundam Café is extremely popular where food is served in gundam themes. A gift shop is also connected where visitors may purchase souvenirs and goods.


Why Visit Akihabara:

While Akihabara is heaven on earth for Otakus, some visit the area for real steals when it comes to the latest gadgets and electronics. Various centres offer whopping deals that are definitely a real steal as compared to any other place in Japan or overseas.

When to Visit:

Akihabara is open all year round! Take a trip to one of Japan’s busiest and most Otaku-friendly place on earth.

Important Reminders:

Japanese don’t like tourists taking photos inside stores. Unless you’re a famous celebrity or you’ve got special permission, keep the trigger happy camera’s to yourself or outside the store.

320-kph Hayabusa Bullet Train Matches World Speed Record

Hayabusa bullet trains began running Saturday at a new top speed of 320 kph on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, equalling France’s TGV as the world’s fastest train in operation.

Meanwhile, a new red E6 series bullet train debuted on the Akita Shinkansen Line the same day and part of local train lines in Miyagi Prefecture resumed operation for the first time in two years, providing a sliver of good news for the disaster-hit Tohoku region.

The E5 series Hayabusa, which links Tokyo with Aomori Prefecture on the northern tip of Honshu, now reaches speeds of 320 kph between Utsunomiya and Morioka — the capitals of Tochigi and Iwate prefectures.

Read the rest of the story: 320-kph Hayabusa matches world speed record.