Japanese education minister Hakubun Shimomura said Tuesday that the government plans to introduce an income limit for free preschool education for five-year-old children. Families with an annual income of less than 3.6 million yen are expected to be eligible for the free schooling from fiscal 2015, Shimomura said at a press conference.
Many Japanese purchasers of e-books are facing a situation inconceivable to owners of conventional texts: They are no longer able to read the books they purchased. With an increasing number of e-book distributors withdrawing from the market, some people are calling for a new system to protect e-book consumers. On May 29, Yamada Denki Co. notified users of its Yamada E-book service that it would discontinue its e-book distribution service.
While most ATMs in Tokyo are located in convenience stores, in train stations, or on important street corners, Tokyo’s first fully operational Bitcoin ATM is located in The Pink Cow, a Cal-Mex restaurant and bar in the middle of Roppongi. The bar is a popular expat hangout in the city, and is a gathering place for artists and musicians. More recently, the restaurant has been home to frequent gatherings of Bitcoin fans in Tokyo, and incidentally became the first restaurant in Japan to accept Bitcoins.
Japanese company Brandear has come up with an innovative service that lets the broken-hearted erase all remnants of their failed relationships. The ‘Heartbreak Box’ is a cardboard box that is specially designed for you to ship your former lover’s belongings in. It also helpfully contains a Heartbreak Guidebook, tissues and bubble wrap that will come in handy when sorting through your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend’s items.
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.
The Japan Tourism Agency has devised guidelines to improve signboards and make them easier to understand for foreign visitors. Tourism officials are trying to turn Japan into a more tourist-friendly country by enhancing explanations of facilities and places in foreign languages. The draft guidelines say names of facilities, such as parks and museums, will be translated. For example, "Hibiya Koen" will become "Hibiya Park."
Singapore’s public transport operator for the rail system, may want to take a leaf out of Japan’s book on how to improve train arrival times. ‘Super Japan: On-time Metro’, gives an inside look on how trains are run in Tokyo. The video by Discovery Channel Asia is available on YouTube. At the start of the video, a driver is seen being timed while driving from one station to the next. The time taken to reach each station is calculated down to seconds.
The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) released in June 2013 its newly developed "KoeTra," a free application for smart phones and tablet terminals (now available for iOS), which supports better communication between the hearing-impaired and the non-hearing-impaired. Using speech recognition and synthesis technologies, KoeTra converts text into speech, and speech into Japanese text.
After decades drowning in deflation, Japan’s property market is re-emerging, with average prices for new condos in Tokyo hitting levels not seen since 1992, the Real Estate Economic Institute said this week. If the trend continues and broadens, it could mark a turnaround in the long-dormant financial fortunes of the world's third-largest economy. Such a turnaround is long overdue: Japan’s real estate prices have been falling for nearly 25 years. From 1990 to 2002, falling real estate prices swallowed an estimated $9.3 trillion of the nation’s wealth, according to the Nomura Research Institute.
The communications ministry and the education ministry will test a new system in which students will be able to access teaching materials on the Internet using tablet computers and other electronic devices both at home and at school, beginning in late fiscal 2014, ministry sources said.