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.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has unveiled a campaign to utilise emerging technologies, including drones and artificial intelligence, to increase productivity at construction sites by 20% by 2025. According to Japanese newspaper The Japan Times, Abe announced the plan at the inaugural meeting of a think tank tasked with formulating new growth strategy policies. The panel of government officials and industry experts is expected to announce details of the construction productivity strategy before the end of 2017. Potentially the think tank may recommend giving tax breaks and financial support to regional public works projects and SME construction companies that invest and utilise new technologies.
Beijing and Tokyo are at loggerheads over disputed islands and wartime history, and Abe has raised hackles with his criticism of his neighbor's assertiveness in the South China Sea. The reaction is a contrast to how Abe is often portrayed by Chinese media and online, where an army of posters regularly comment in praise of Beijing's Communist government. Abe has regularly been blasted by state-run Chinese media for his impenitent comments on Japan's wartime history and its invasion of China, publicly questioning claims that the Japanese military systematically compelled women to become sex workers. The two countries are locked in a long-running dispute over uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, and Abe has vocally criticized China for rejecting a July ruling by an international tribunal invalidating its extensive claims to the South China Sea.
Maybe it's just FOMO, but it seems like every internet company wants to be in the car business these days, and Japan's DeNA is no exception. DeNA has had an automotive business for a while now, though, and now it's launching its first production vehicle in partnership with French driverless tech company EasyMile, which makes the EZ10 Robot Shuttle currently being trialled in a number of global projects. It's not a full-featured city dweller, though; EasyMile's vehicles are designed specifically for use in private environments, where they don't have to contend with the added complexity of human traffic. DeNA's role in all of this is primarily to handle coordinating with local Japanese authorities to make sure the French company's hardware can operate in tandem with local regulations and existing systems, as well as facilitating insurance and offering "services" to customers who purchase the self-driving vehicles for deployment.
Since Google's computer program AlphaGo won four out of five matches against South Korea's champion Go player, Japanese governmental officials are seriously wondering whether artificial intelligence (AI) is the way to rewrite Japan's blueprint for the future. IBM's Deep Blue beat chess champion Gary Kasparov in 1997, and in 2012, computer programs beat professionals of Shogi, also known as Japanese chess. On the other hand, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is also nursing an eager expectation. "In the 21st century, humans created artificial intelligence," Matsuda has warned.