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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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There is big money to be made on games and other apps for mobile devices around the world. There has been a change at the top of the most profitable countries for apps with Japan taking the top spot. Previously, the top country for mobile app revenues was the US. Japanese consumers spent 10% more on apps than consumers in the US did in October.


 
 
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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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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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In a country that has no shortage of vending machines, Google Japan has decided to join the fray. The company has announced three dedicated Google Play machines that will each sell 18 different gaming titles, which are a mix of free-to-play and paid-for titles. To use the machines, you'll need a smartphone running Android 4.0 and NFC -- and that's about it. 


 
 
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NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile carrier, will use location data from its 61.5 million subscriber devices to build a platform that monitors traffic conditions across the country. DoCoMo said it will leverage its access to massive amounts of location data to build a cloud platform of traffic information on which services can be built.  


 
 
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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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Japan's public broadcaster says it could begin transmissions in a format with 16 times the resolution of today's high-definition television in 2016. The format, called Super Hi-Vision, has been under development by Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) for the last few years. Super Hi-Vision images have a resolution of 7,680 pixels by 4,320 pixels. That's four times the resolution of "4K" television that's currently being touted by TV set makers as the next big thing.



 
 
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Apple investors focus heavily on growth opportunities in China; but what about another neighboring Asian country? Is Apple overlooking iPhone growth potential in Japan? Japan's largest wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo has now expressed interest in carrying the iPhone, after the company has been losing subscribers to rivals that do offer Apple's device. 


 
 
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Remember Minami, the lifelike robot we introduced earlier? She was just the beginning! Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory was founded to encourage and promote studies based on original and unique ideas from Hiroshi Ishiguro, ATR Fellow, who has remarkable achievements on robotics. The scientists have explored new information media based on humanlike robots that harmonize humans with information-environment beyond existing personal computers, while inquiring "what is the essence of human beings?"