Japan

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Japanese startup Donut Robotics invents tech "smart mask" that can translate Japanese into 8 languages
Japanese startup Donut Robotics invents tech "smart mask" that can translate Japanese into 8 languages
Credit: Donut Robotics (Reproduction)

The white "c-mask" by Japanese startup Donut Robotics that can translate Japanese into eight different languages. The tech smart mask needs to be worn over standard face masks to ensure protection and can amplify the mask wearer’s voice, make calls, transcribe speech and translate languages. The first 5,000 masks will be shipped to Japanese buyers in September but the company is looking to expand their market into China, the US and Europe at a later date.

Technology • Internet & Web
Japan likely to ban TikTok for alleged sharing of domestic user data with Chinese Government
Japan likely to ban TikTok for alleged sharing of domestic user data with Chinese Government
Credit: unsplash.com/visuals

According to the Japanese national broadcaster NHK, Japan is seeking to ban TikTok for the app's alleged sharing of domestic user data with the Chinese Government. A group of lawmakers has proposed the ban of several in China developed apps which will most likely be submitted to the government by September. Early this year, India banned several Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat and others.

Politics • Asian
Armenia government approves social development help from Japan
Representative image of an ambulance
Representative image of an ambulance Credit: unsplash.com / RAYMOND Wong

The government of Armenia has approved a law to ratify an agreement between Japan and Armenia with the aim to develop the economic cooperation of the countries.

According to the agreement Japan will provide a grant for economic and social development purposes worth around $3,7 million. The Armenia government has committed to use the funds to purchase four-wheel ambulances and vehicles to provide remote regions with improved medical care.

Politics • Asian • Japan
Japan reports 1,259 new Covid-19 infections - highest daily number so far
Japan reports 1,259 new Covid-19 infections - highest daily number so far
Credit: unsplash.com / Jérémy Stenuit

The number of newly reported Covid-19 cases has reached 1,259 across the country. With that Japan has crossed 1,000 new infections on a single day for the first time. The total number of confirmed cases in Japan is 34,215 including people in quarantine at airports as well as passengers and crew members on cruise ships.

All 47 prefectures in Japan have now reported Covid-19 cases.

Science • Space
UAE launched its first mission to Mars successfully
"We have lift-off. H2A, the rocket carrying the Hope Probe to space, has launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan."
"We have lift-off. H2A, the rocket carrying the Hope Probe to space, has launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan." Credit: @HopeMarsMission via Twitter

UAE's Mars Hope lift-off was a success. On Sunday the United Arab Emirates launched its Hope probe, a probe designed to orbit Mars to gather data from the Red Planet, from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan. The probe, which should reach March sometime in February 2021, will track day-to-night cycles of the planet's weather over the period of a Martian year which equals 687 days on Earth.

Politics • Asian
Japan to pay $536 million to companies for moving production out of China
Japan to pay $536 million to companies for moving production out of China
Credit: Chris / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

According to Bloomberg the Japanese government has announced that it'll pay 57 companies a total of $536 million in subsidies in order to move production from factories in China back to Japan or other countries.

This follows after the government has announced in April that it aims to reduce the dependency on Chinese supply chains. Another 30 companies will receive additional funds for an undisclosed amount.

Climate & Environment
Japan implements mandatory fee for plastic bags
Japan implements mandatory fee for plastic bags
Credit: unsplash.com / Brian Yurasits

The Japanese government has implemented a mandatory rule for all retail outlets to charge costumers for plastic bags. The previously free plastic bags will now only be handed out for a fee.

The goal is to reduce plastic waste as the bags often end up in oceans and decompose there into microplastics which enter the food chain.

Law
Japan requests the U.S. extradition of men accused of helping Carlos Ghosn escape
Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn Credit: Ecole polytechnique (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Government of Japan has formally requested the U.S. State Department to extradite Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, accused of helping Carlos Ghosn flee the country. Ghosn, the former CEO of Nissan Motor, fled Japan in December after claims of financial misconduct.

Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret, and Peter Taylor were arrested in Harvard, Massachusetts, on May 20 at the Japanese Governments request.

Lifestyle • Travel
All Asia Disney parks have reopened after 4-month closure
Entrance of Disneyland Tokyo, Japan
Entrance of Disneyland Tokyo, Japan Credit: unsplash.com/Roméo A.

With the reopening of the Disney Resort in Tokyo, all of Disney's Asian parks have reopened as of July 1. Disneyland in Shanghai has opened its doors for visitors in May and Disneyland Hong Kong welcomed visitors back in June. Visitors have to follow social distancing rules and wear masks at all times. Disneyland Tokyo and Japan's DisneySea parks have introduced further safety guidelines such as mandatory temperature checks, advanced ticket bookings and no physical interaction with actors.

Politics • American • South America
Uruguay is the only Latin American country in EU's Covid-19 'safe list'
Munich International Airport passport control
Munich International Airport passport control Credit: Vasyatka1 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Union has named 14 countries whose citizens are deemed "safe" to be let in from July 1, and the only Latin American country is Uruguay.

As infection rates in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are still high, their nationals will face travel restrictions.

The current list is formed by Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Science • Physics & Engineering
CERN approves plans for a €21 billion, 100km long super-collider
View of the LHC tunnel
View of the LHC tunnel Credit: Maximilien Brice, CERN (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

CERN has approved plans to build the Future Circular Collider (FCC), a €21 billion super-collider 100 km in circumference. The new collider would smash particles together with over 100 TeV of energy to create more of the elusive Higgs bosons first detected by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012.

In a press release, the CERN council said: "Such a machine would produce copious amounts of Higgs bosons in a very clean environment, would make dramatic progress in mapping the diverse interactions of the Higgs boson with other particles and [allow] measurements of extremely high precision".

CERN’s strategy envisions 2038 as the beginning of construction for the new collider. Still, before the institution starts building its new machine, it will have to seek new funding beyond the regular budget it receives from European member states. It is expected countries outside of Europe including the United States, China and Japan might need to help fund the project.

Business • Economy
Hello Kitty founder Shintaro Tsuji retires at age 92
Hello Kitty figures at an amusement park in Guangzhou, China
Hello Kitty figures at an amusement park in Guangzhou, China Credit: unsplash.com/Jiaqi Zhang

The 92-year-old Shintaro Tsuji is retiring as chief executive from Japanese company Sanrio. Tsuji founded the company the Yamanashi Silk Center gift shop in 1960 and renamed it Sanrio in 1973. In 1974, Hello Kitty made its debut on a vinyl coin purse and was later featured on various items, including sneakers, panini makers and chopsticks. Shintaro Tsjui's grandson, Tomokuni Tsuji, will take over the business in July.

Politics • Asian
Japan records first day without Covid-19 deaths since March
Japan records first day without Covid-19 deaths since March
Credit: nakashi (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

According to Japans Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, no Covid-19 related deaths have been recorded on June 7 for the first time in three months. The last day without a Covid-19 fatality had been on March 6.

In total, 932 people have died in Japan from Covid-19.

Politics • Asian • China
Japan declined to condemn China for Hong Kong law
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping Credit: 内閣官房内閣広報室 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Japan has declined to join Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States in issuing a statement condemned China for imposing a new security law on Hong Kong.

The statement condemned China on May 28 for pushing a law that would threaten freedom and breach a 1984 Sino-British agreement on the autonomy of the former colony.

Science • Space
2020 Strawberry Moon lunar eclipse occurs today
Full moon, so called "Strawberry moon" viewed  from Tochigi prefecture, eastern Japan.
Full moon, so called "Strawberry moon" viewed from Tochigi prefecture, eastern Japan. Credit: On-chan (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Today's lunar eclipse that begins at 17:45(UTC) and lasts until 21:04(UTC) will be a "penumbral eclipse," which occurs when the outer ring of Earth's shadow just grazes the moon.

This subtle lunar eclipse will be entirely visible for observers in eastern Africa, the Middle East, southern Asia and Australia. It will start at moonrise for those on the eastern coast of South America, western Africa and Europe, and at moonset for skywatchers in Japan and New Zealand.

The full moon in June is called a Strawberry Moon because it coincides with the strawberry harvest. In Europe, an old name for this full Moon is the Mead Moon or the Honey Moon.

Sports
Japan to consider a 'simplified' Olympics in 2021
Japan to consider a 'simplified' Olympics in 2021
Credit: Kyle Dias

Yuriko Koike, Tokyo’s governor, stated it might be necessary to a organise a “simplified” Olympics in 2021 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We will move ahead with the items that should be streamlined and simplified,'' Koike said, without giving any additional details on the possible downsizing.

The Yomiuri newspaper reported that organisers are considering options as mandatory Covid-19 testing and having fewer spectators in the events.

Technology • Games
Pac-Man turns 40
Pac-Man arcade machine
Pac-Man arcade machine Credit: Peter Handke (Creative Commons Attribution 1.0)

Developed by Toru Iwatani and released by the Japanese company Namco, the first Pac-Man machine was unveiled in a Tokyo arcade on May 22, 1980.

With more than 400,000 gaming cabinets sold to arcades around the world, Pac-Man is the best-selling arcade game of all time.

Law
Former U.S. Green Beret and his son arrested over Carlos Ghosn escape from Japan
Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn Credit: Bertel Schmitt (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

On a Japanese extradition warrant, federal marshals arrested Michael and Peter Taylor in Harvard, Massachusetts this Wednesday.

Authorities claim Michael, a 59-year-old former U.S. Army Green Beret, and his son Peter were charged by Japanese authorities with planning and aiding in Carlos Ghosn's escape from Japan in December.

Health
Japan sees decline in suicides during lockdown

Japan sees a decline in suicide rates this April, dropping by 20% compared to the same time last year. 1,814 people took their own lives in April 2019 compared to 1,455 in 2020.

The Covid-19 lockdown was initially thought to show an increased rate in suicides because of suicide prevention helplines not working and the pandemic was believed to be a heightened stress factor. While Japan saw a growing number of suicides of children in the last years, triggered by bullying and academic problems, it's believed this number has decreased due to children being safe at home with their families.

Politics • Asian
Japan partly lifts state of emergency as Covid-19 cases fall

The prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abo, has announced that the country is lifting the state of emergency for most of the country but urges people to keep up physical distancing, wearing masks and upholding hygiene standards. The island Hokkaido, Tokyo and Osaka are still subject of the state of emergency as new cases are still emerging in these regions.