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The number of people you’ll see in Japan wearing surgical masks is pretty surprising. Sure, Japan is a hard working society, and the spread of productivity-sapping sickness is always a concern at schools and workplaces, but that doesn’t seem like reason enough for the proliferation of facial coverings that sometimes has Tokyo offices looking more like an operating room.


 
 
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The rate of smartphone users among students owning mobile phones at elementary, junior high and high schools in Japan stood at 56.8 pct in late 2013, up 20.8 percentage points from a year earlier, a Cabinet Office survey showed Wednesday.  The rate stood at 82.8 pct for high school students, up 26.9 points, 47.4 pct for junior high students, up 22.1 pct, and 13.6 pct for elementary school children, up 6.0 points.


 
 
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DOMINO’S Pizza Enterprises has reaffirmed its full-year guidance for Australia and Europe and lifted its guidance for Japan after increasing profit following its acquisition of Domino’s Pizza Japan. Net profit rose by 28.2 per cent to $18.6 million in the six months to December 2013. Revenue soared 89.49 per cent to $265.4 million in the first half. Domino’s will pay an interim dividend of 17.7c, fully franked, on March 11 to shareholders on the record on February 24.


 
 
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Long under siege from Facebook, Twitter, and more recently, the semi-social Line, and confronted by a shift toward more open and international social networking preferences, Japan’s native mixi has signaled what looks a lot like retreat: it’s been announced that they will effectively merge with istyle, an online marketing company best known for its cosmetics sales site, @cosme.


 
 
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Suntory Holdings Ltd on Monday said it would buy U.S. spirits company Beam Inc for $13.6 billion cash in a deal that would make the Japanese company the world's third-largest spirits maker. Including the assumption of Beam's net debt, the deal is valued at $16 billion. It brings together Beam's Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbons, Courvoisier cognac and Sauza tequila with Suntory's Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Kakubin Japanese whiskies, Bowmore Scotch whisky and Midori liqueur.


 
 
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Your chopsticks can make your food taste better, claims Hashikura Matsukan, a chopstick manufacturer steeped in 400 years of history. But how can you improve on, or reinvent, something that’s been around for so long? Something that’s been refined so many times? It’s just 2 sticks that taper to a point, right? Well that’s exactly where Oki Sato from Nendo turned to, when he was asked to redesign a series of chopsticks.


 
 
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Junichiro Asami gave up a stable job to join a group of Japanese entrepreneurs building businesses based on 3D printing, showing the sort of pioneering spirit Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes can revitalize a calcified economy. Whether these entrepreneurs can lay the foundations for a new era in Japanese products though may depend on whether Abe can tear down barriers in a wider business culture that shuns risk and supports the status quo.


 
 
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Scoffing a calorific hamburger the size of your mouth can be difficult while maintaining good table manners. It’s even trickier for women in Japan where small and modest mouths, or ochobo, are considered attractive and the opposite not so much. Social etiquette in the East Asian country also dictates that women should never open their mouth wide in public places.


 
 
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A huge roar went up from hundreds of people who flocked to a Tokyo Park in the early hours of a grey, humid Sunday morning as the Japanese capital was awarded the 2020 summer Olympic Games.Tokyo overcame a worsening crisis at a nuclear plant 230km (140 miles) away as well as a one-time lack of local support to convincingly beat rivals Istanbul and Madrid for the right to stage the Games for the second time.


 
 
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Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate in fiscal 2012 remained at 39 % on a calorific input basis for the third consecutive year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced Thursday, August 8. Although rice consumption dropped amid higher prices, the self-sufficiency rate maintained its level, as consumption of Japanese-grown wheat and soybean grew thanks to increased amount of harvested crop, the ministry reported.