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Japanese casual wear chain Uniqlo opens its first store in Germany on Friday, as it accelerates expansion in Europe in a bid by its parent company Fast Retailing Co Ltd (9983.T) to become the world's top fashion retailer by 2020. Fast Retailing wants to open more stores abroad as it sees turnover growth slow in its home market, where the population is ageing and declining and where it lowered forecasts for Uniqlo's sales on Thursday.


 
 
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This is an interactive optic fiber cloth. It is made of side-emitting diffusive optic fibers so computer controlled light patterns can be displayed on it, and by attaching light receivers as well as light emitters, optical signals can be input using infrared light.


 
 
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Sony Corp., which popularized portable music players with the Walkman, is seeking a U.S. patent for “SmartWig” hairpieces that could help navigate roads, check blood pressure or flip through slides in a presentation. The wig would communicate wirelessly with another device and include tactile feedback, Sony said in the filing with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Depending on the model, the hairpiece may include a camera, laser pointer or global positioning system sensor, it said.


 
 
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Companies in Japan and overseas are accelerating their development of “wearable technology”— items such as wristwatches and eyeglasses with data processing capabilities. South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. is expected to soon announce a new watch-type device and Google Inc., of the United States, has generated considerable buzz over its Google Glass product. And with domestic makers including Sony Corp. hurrying to enter the market, competition over the next generation of computing devices is expected to heat up.


 
 
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Matsuzakaya, the oldest department store in Tokyo’s famous Ginza shopping district, closed Sunday for a total makeover and will reopen as a large commercial complex in four years. Under a block-wide redevelopment project, the venerable 88-year-old, seven-story department store will be replaced in fiscal 2017 by a 13-floor high-rise with six basement floors and office space, operator J. Front Retailing Co. said.


 
 
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A Japanese entrepreneur’s answer to Google Glass, but with a Japanese manga-style twist. Japanese entrepreneur Takahito Iguchi wants people to see the world through other people’s eyes. But as a less ambitious jumping off point, he’ll kick it off with a world that looks like a Japanese manga cartoon. His device, called the Telepathy One, is the closest thing I’ve seen under development yet to Google’s Glass gadget.  


 
 
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Sailor-style outfits, blazers, and stand-up collars are just some representative items from Japanese school uniforms, which are now spreading across the world as part of the "Cool Japan" trend. Behind the skirts and the sleeves, however, are decades' worth of imported culture and generational changes.


 
 
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Time for us to admit another entrant into the hall of unnecessary, but cool inventions. Installed at Tokyo's Shinagawa Station yesterday, this latest spin on the vending machine dispenses with those silly windows unto what you're buying and furnishes its user with a 47-inch touch panel from which to make his (or her) selection. An embedded camera will recognize your gender and age, allowing the machine to recommend a beverage suitable to whatever stereotype is attached to your particular circumstances. 


 
 
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Just when you thought there was no more commercial land left on which to build in Downtown Tokyo, here comes Japan Prime Realty Investment Corp. with an announcement of a planned 47 story, 2.13 million square-foot office complex on a little more than 2.5 acres.

 
 
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Kashiwa Sato is the face behind many of Japan’s most famous designs — from the logos for Fast Retailing’s casual-clothing chain Uniqlo to artwork for Japan’s popular boy band SMAP and premier fashion designer Issey Miyake. Now he is taking on a new challenge as the creative mind behind the country’s new logo and message representing “Cool Japan,” the government’s campaign to promote modern Japanese culture abroad. It will be used by Japanese agencies and companies.