Japan begins test self-driving of shuttle service on public road

TOCHIGI, Sept. 2 ─ Japan’s transport ministry has tested an autonomous bus on public roads in Tochigi city. The ministry will conduct similar testing in 12 other rural areas this year, with a view to deploying self-driving shuttle services by 2020. With a rapidly ageing and shrinking population in Japan, more municipalities have given up offering public transport services, particularly in mountainous areas. This is why self-driving vehicles are expected to improve transportation access for underserved communities, transforming the way people, goods and services move from one place to another. Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii attended a test-ride event in Tochigi city on Sept. 2, and said: “Through automated driving, we … Continue reading

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Shinzo Abe asks UK to ease Brexit’s impact on Japanese firms

TOKYO, Sept. 1 ─ UK Prime Minister Theresa May is eager for a swift, bilateral trade agreement with Japan after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to keep options open until the shape of the UK-EU deal becomes clear. Abe met May in Tokyo on Aug. 31 when she made her first official visit to Japan to discuss trade and investment as well as security cooperation. During the meeting, Abe asked May to keep Tokyo fully informed about the ongoing Brexit negotiations in order to minimize the impact on Japanese companies. Japanese companies, including Toyota, Nissan and Honda, together employ tens of … Continue reading

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TPP-11 nations agree to freeze drug monopoly protection period

TOKYO, Aug. 31 ─ The 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have agreed to put a provision for drug monopoly protection period on ice, until the United States returns to the TPP. Senior trade officials from the 11 members met in Sydney to discuss how the TPP is being implemented without the U.S. at a three-day meeting that ended on Aug. 30. The drug monopoly protection of eight years was one of the thorniest issues that many members had to concede to U.S. demands during the TPP negotiations. During the Sydney meeting, some members also asked to revise other issues such as investment protection. In the meantime, Tokyo didn’t … Continue reading

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Abe meets new head of JA ZENCHU

TOKYO, Sep. 6 ─ Leaders of Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA-ZENCHU) including new president, Toru Nakaya, met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on September 6, 2017, at the Prime Minister’s Office. According to Nakaya, who is the first JA-ZENCHU chief elected from the Wakayama union, he explained Abe that the country’s most influential farm group is now making efforts to reform itself, and Abe responded: “Let’s work together.” The meeting was attended by Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who represents a district in Wakayama Prefecture. It was the first meeting for Nakaya and Abe after Nakaya assumed the top post of JA-ZENCHU in August, and … Continue reading

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JA Group Kumamoto invites famous Taiwanese bloggers and reporters to share message about Kumamoto food and agricultures online

KUMAMOTO, Sept. 4 ─ An agricultural cooperative in Kumamoto Prefecture (JA Group Kumamoto) hosted a tour for nine popular Taiwanese bloggers and journalists in the prefecture for the first time. The tour gave them an opportunity to discover firsthand how Kumamoto has recovered from the 2016 earthquake through the visits at JA farmers’ markets and tourism farms. Having deeper connections with those who are good at communicating information will hopefully help the prefecture to tell to a wider range of audience how people in Kumamoto stood up after the destruction and how they are offering beautiful food, via SNS (social networking service) for example. It also helps to bring back … Continue reading

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