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.
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.
With the world's elderly population growing rapidly, scientists are suggesting that robots could take on some of the burden of providing care, support and - most surprisingly - companionship. A boy born today in Britain is expected to live on average to the age of 89, a girl to 92. Worldwide 1.5 billion people over the age of 65 are expected to be around in 2050.
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.
Despite a not-so-stellar third quarter for Apple, Japan was a bright spot for the iPhone maker. Apple now commands a record 34% market share in the country once dominated by domestic brands. It's the first time a smartphone brand has surpassed 30% market share in Japan in a decade, and Apple is poised to grab even more. Japan's smartphone market has typically been dominated by domestic companies including Sony and Sharp, and until this past quarter Apple didn't hold much sway in the country.
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.
Mikihiko Yamato, Deputy Head of Research at Ji Asia tells CNBC's Cash Flow which retailers will benefit from the recent improvement in Japanese consumer sentiment. He expects favourable earnings from fast retailing companies like H&M and Gap. Hit play to find out how Abenomics influence Japanese retailers like Aeon and Izumi.
Japanese bathroom giant Lixil Group has agreed to buy Germany's Grohe in a $4.1 billion deal, its second purchase in recent months and one that would turn it into the sector's biggest global player. The Dusseldorf-based maker of bathroom appliances confirmed Thursday that it was being taken over by Lixil in a buyout which also marks Japan Inc's biggest-ever investment in Germany.
The vast train network that criss-crosses subterranean Tokyo can be a confusing and intimidating place for the uninitiated. Dreary, utilitarian stations drone and chime with a stream of announcements, seemingly ignored by the mass of humanity that spills onto platforms or crams improbably into carriages. It may not be pretty, but in a city where millions of commuters travel by train daily, it boasts the precision of a finely-crafted Swiss watch, keeping Tokyo moving -- even if it means pushing hundreds of people into a single carriage at rush hour.
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.