Japan Government

We Must Stop The Artificial Intelligence Arms Race At Any Cost


My visit to Japan has coincided with the 72nd anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings. During the occasion, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for global cooperation to end nuclear weapons. Nuclear science was supposed to bring unlimited supply of energy to the power-starved countries of the world. Nuclear research was supposed to bring an unlimited supply of energy to the power-starved countries of the world.

Time prime in worker-scarce Japan for investing in service robots

The Japan Times

Faced with the worst labor shortage in decades, Japanese service companies are finally turning to labor-saving technology, an investment that could lift the sector's woeful level of productivity and allow them to raise wages. It plans to spend about ¥300 million ($2.7 million) to install new technology at its 15 nursing homes in and around Tokyo to make life easier for staff and residents. Capital spending is the most important factor in Japan's productivity growth, Goldman Sachs economists wrote in a recent report. Izumi Devalier, head of Japan economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Tokyo, said the labor shortage could turn out to be an opportunity, forcing Japanese service-sector companies to finally start investing, and perhaps fueling an economic revival.



Japan aims to finalize on June 9 plans to allow package delivery by drone sometime from 2020 and the commercialization of self-driving trucks by 2022, as it scrambles to breathe new life into its corporate sector, sources told Reuters. Japan is also eyeing financial technology as a source of future growth, the sources said, but has so far lagged overseas firms that have adopted technology to transform processes such as payments, lending, asset management and investment banking. A separate document obtained by Reuters shows the government's annual growth strategy due on Friday will keep up policies Prime Minister Shinzo Abe introduced last year to narrow the wealth gap, improve working conditions and boost productivity. In a rare step, the strategy document, which does not usually touch on defense, has called for effective military defense in line with Japan's military alliance with the United States, against the backdrop of North Korea's missile program.

Japan's not afraid of AI: CeBIT expo


Hanover German Chancellor Angela Merkel has kicked off the world's biggest digital business fair in Hanover with a speech urging developers not to leave their fellow humans behind. At the opening ceremony for the CeBIT expo, Merkel appealed to tech firms to include the'millions of people who in some ways don't know what awaits them' in the digital revolution, adding that politicians could not achieve such inclusion without help from the industry. Merkel is set to peruse the latest trends at the trade fair in detail on Monday, when it opens to the public, together with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 'We cannot let a situation arise in which only certain people generate wealth,' Abe said on Sunday, reinforcing the theme of shared benefits. Merkel admitted that Europe was all too often lagging behind in digital technology.

Will Japan Save American Jobs? Trump, Shinzo Abe To Discuss Investments That Could Add Over 700,000 Positions

International Business Times

When President Donald Trump was on the campaign trail, one of his biggest promises was to create American jobs, vowing to stop companies from making jobs abroad. But it may not be Trump who generates the greatest number of manufacturing jobs during his first months as president -- instead, it may be Japan. The country may create 700,000 jobs in the U.S., build a $7 billion factory and strengthen the American economy. The jobs could come from a Japanese investment plan Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to present Friday to Trump in Washington, D.C. "The investment will be by a Japanese consortium that will also include manufacturing equipment makers," an unidentified source told Reuters last week. Japan was expected to invest in both private and public funds and focus on developing U.S. infrastructure by way of high-speed railways in Texas, California and the northeastern U.S. The plan would also create closer ties between Japan and the U.S. by including global infrastructure investment, artificial intelligence research, and collaboration on topics like space exploration and cybersecurity, according to Reuters.

Will robots compete at the 2020 Olympics?

AITopics Original Links

When Japan hosts the summer Olympics in 2020, prime minister Shinzo Abe is determined to make it an event to remember. And what better way, he claims, than to include robotic competitors to show off the world's technical achievements. Mr Abe made the comments during a tour of robotics factories in Tokyo and Saitama, where he also announced the creation of a taskforce to treble the size of the Japanese robotics industry. The industry could help revitalise the country's economy, and Mr Abe hopes to increase its market for machines to 2.4 trillion yen (£13.8 billion or $24 billion). 'In 2020, I would like to gather all of the world's robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills,' Mr Abe said.

Refugee's daughter driven to build Japanese language school in Vietnam

The Japan Times

The child of a refugee from Vietnam is striving to realize her dream of building a Japanese language school in the Southeast Asian country. "My dream is to do something that would serve as a bridge between Japan and Vietnam," said Doan Thy Trang, 27. To achieve that goal, she founded a consulting firm in Akashi, a city in Hyogo Prefecture facing the Seto Inland Sea, in January 2015. Trang explained that many business trainees from Vietnam she meets through her work have little difficulty communicating with Japanese in daily conversations but struggle with technical terms. "Vietnamese need a school that teaches them Japanese language used in workplaces," she said.

Japan's students face uncertain future under cloud of debt

The Japan Times

Kengo Kyogoku borrows about ¥122,000 ($1,035) per month in addition to a scholarship and a part-time job, because his mother can't afford to pay his college fees at the prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set aside ¥7 billion in the budget on Dec. 22 to launch government scholarships in the year starting next April in an effort to make higher education affordable, according to documents from the education ministry and Finance Ministry. With family support dwindling, more students are turning to the Japan Student Services Organization, the government-backed lender that charges interest from zero to 3 percent depending on academic credentials and prevailing bank rates. The university provided ¥2.1 billion in scholarships in the year that ended in March 2016, while its students had borrowed ¥9.3 billion in JASSO loans as of the end of the year.

Japan 2020: Robot revolution


TOKYO • Come 2020 when the Olympic Games are held in Tokyo, drone deliveries, driverless taxis, and home robots will be the norm in one part of Japan. Visitors will see a beeline of drones in the sky in Chiba prefecture, just an hour away from the capital by train. At the designated drone zone, to be called Drone City, there will be around 200 of these flying robots whizzing through the air across a 10km distance at any one time, delivering goods from warehouses in Tokyo Bay to apartments that come with built-in landing ports for delivery drop-offs. Leading drone expert and pioneer, Dr Kenzo Nonami of Chiba University, is looking forward to living in such an apartment in Drone City, due for completion in three years' time. "If you don't like drones, don't live there," quipped Dr Nonami, who has helped develop drone technology over the past 20 years, and who painted the 2020 vision to The Straits Times.

G-7 transport ministers agree to bolster railway, airline sector cooperation

The Japan Times

Prior to the conclusion of the gathering, ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union adopted a declaration Saturday pledging to reinforce international cooperation in creating safety regulations to promote self-driving cars. "We will cooperate with each other and exercise leadership to support the early commercialization of automated and connected vehicle technologies," the declaration adopted at the Saturday meeting said. On the sidelines of the ministerial talks, Ishii held bilateral meetings with his Canadian, British and German counterparts. In the talks with Chris Grayling, Britain's transport secretary, Ishii expressed a desire to deepen bilateral cooperation in the railway business, a Japanese official said.