In May Japans industrial production rose 5.9% month-to-month, according to preliminary data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, matching the revised 5.9% climb in April. The rise in output was led by the automobile, electronics, and iron and steel sectors, but almost all other sectors saw increases too. These numbers show that Japans production grew at the fastest pace in 56 years, boosting hopes that the world's number two economy has returned to positive growth.
Japanese Popart artist Takashi Murakami who is frequently called the Japanese Andy Warhol opened up his exhibition at the Musem of Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles in late 2007. The most interesting thing about it was propably a temporary pop-up store from Louis Vuitton in the museum which sold a limited sortiment of Vuitton Monogram bags finished with special Murakami artwork.
The Bowlingual, a gadget that analyzes a dog's bark to detect its emotion, is being relaunched. First put on sale in 2002, a new version from toymaker Takara Tomy is being reintroduced in Japan in August. The original version had a microphone to be worn around the dog's neck and a handheld unit that received data from the microphone, determined the emotion, and then displayed a corresponding phrase on the screen for the owner.
Tokyo's Toy Show opened on Thursday showcasing some of the latest high-tech gadgets from Japan. One of Japan's best-loved animation characters, Doraemon, has been transformed into a companion robot by Bandai. The 16-centimeter-high device has a vocabulary of 1,300 words and will react to conversation from its owner, although it lacks the ability to really understand what's being said. It hits Japanese stores on Sept. 3 and will cost ¥31,500 (US$336).
London dropped out of the world’s top 10 most expensive cities for expatriates for the first time since 2001, sliding to 16th place from third, as the pound and rental prices slumped. Tokyo replaced Moscow as the most expensive city for foreigners and Osaka moved to number two after the yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar, according to Mercer LLC’s Cost of Living Survey. The Russian capital, which had held the top spot since 2006, slipped to third.
The study by travel company Expedia asked 4,500 hotels (including stores and restaurants) worldwide to rank tourists on their behaviour. Japanese tourists - seen as clean and tidy, polite, quiet and uncomplaining - came top for the third year running.
Keihin Electric Express Railway Co. has introduced a "Smile Scan" system to evaluate the grins of its station staff. The smile-measuring software has been developed by Kyoto-based precision equipment maker Omron Corp. The device analyzes the facial characteristics of a person, including eye movements, lip curves and wrinkles, and rates a smile on a scale between 0 and 100 percent using a camera and computer.
Toyota Motor Corp's Prius hybrid was Japan's best-selling car in June while Honda Motor Co's rival Insight ranked fourth, helping the two hybrid leaders dominate the list of top-selling models. Sales of the Prius, which was remodelled in mid-May, jumped 258 percent to 22,292 units from the year-earlier month, data from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association showed.