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An exhibition in Osaka, western Japan, is giving visitors a chance to see real-life renderings of inventions and gadgets featured in the popular comic and animated series "Doraemon." In the long-running series, the titular cat-shaped robot from the 22nd century uses a variety of devices dubbed "secret tools" to help Nobita, a schoolboy in present-day Tokyo.


 
 
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Despite only being in closed beta testing at the moment, Google's new social-network service, Google+, is rapidly proving to be huge, with more than 10 million users joining since it was announced on June 28. And thanks to their international connections, Net-savvy Japanese too were soon getting invitations to join "circles," which is how the service organizes members. Within a day or two of invitations being sent out, I observed a lot of Japanese users joining — with a speed much faster than when social-networking services like Orkut, Mixi, Gree, Twitter and Facebook launched.


 
 
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Sanrio Co. aims to spend as much as ¥30 billion to buy the rights to a character for the first time and cut its reliance on Hello Kitty. "We want to diversify our character portfolio instead of spending time to boost recognition of our existing characters in overseas markets," Managing Director Susumu Emori, 62, said in an interview.


 
 
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Japan vending machines are offering Diet Cokes with a side of good deeds. Helping the calamity-hit Japan isn’t all that difficult now, with Coca Cola and Japanese Red Cross teaming up to bring a few tweaks to vending machines. Japan currently is one of the world’s largest users of vending machines, with a machine for every 23 people according to statistics. 


 
 
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A mobile photo printer designed jointly by Polaroid and pop singer Lady Gaga will be launched in Japan in early September, Summit Global Japan, which has exclusive marketing rights to Polaroid brand products, said Tuesday. The GL10 Instant Mobile Printer is the first Polaroid brand product under the Grey Label line, a new brand the singer launched after she became creative director for Polaroid products last year, Summit Global Japan said.


 
 
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The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy on hold and gave a brighter assessment of the economy on Tuesday, encouraged by a rebound in factory output and increasing signs that the recovery from the devastating March earthquake is broadening. But the central bank warned that emerging nations faced a tough balancing act between curbing inflation and sustaining economic growth.


 
 
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Fujitsu demonstrated a next generation cholesteric LCD colour digital paper module at the International Digital Publishing Expo. "This is the newest module, and the brightness, contrast and colour replication range are better than anything yet."


 
 
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The people at NTT Docomo have often proved already that they are environmentally conscious. Next year, the Japanese provider will begin outfitting its expansive cellphone tower network with ten "green transmission stations," to be powered by an artillery of biofuels, wind and solar energy. This kind of infrastructure would obviously bring a smile to the face of Mother Nature, but it could also help mitigate the adverse effects of power outages on cellphones. And for that, we should all be grateful.


 
 
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According to a new report from comScore Japan KK, both Google Android and Apple are showing excellent growth in the smartphone space in Japan. But Google is winning over customers at a much faster rate to start 2011. While Apple put up a very solid 17 percent growth over the past six months to reach 3.9 million mobile subscribers, Android has doubled it’s subscriber base in the last three months alone to reach 4.6 million in March.