Picture
The Japanese government will promote the use of robots to start a new industrial revolution and double the size of the robotics market in the manufacturing sector by 2020. It plans to include measures to promote the robotics industry in its draft of its new growth strategy. The government says robotics technology will be used to improve the productivity and profitability of Japanese businesses.


 
 
Picture
It is the familiar background music of every Japanese shopping street: a cacophony of mechanical bleeps and rattles, disgorged along with a plume of cigarette smoke each time the doors of a pachinko parlor open to admit a new punter. Yet the archetypical salary man pastime is dying, in spite of its apparent ubiquity. Even as Japan looks ahead to its first western- style casinos, pachinko, the modified version of pinball played since the 1930s - itself a quasi-legal form of gambling - has been all but abandoned by younger Japanese.


 
 
Picture
Japanese high school girls are averaging three hours per day during the week using smartphones and other mobile phones, a survey by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has revealed. Daily phone time among girls stood at 186.9 minutes, on average, compared with 132.7 minutes for boys, according to the survey released on Thursday.


 
 
Bild
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.


 
 
Bild
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.


 
 
Bild
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.


 
 
Bild
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.


 
 
Bild
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. 


 
 
Bild
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.  


 
 
Picture
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.