Japan

As Japan strives to remain at the technological forefront, why is it that its companies are so averse to the idea of merging? Too many make the same thing yet do not get around to pooling their resources. The FT’s Special Report on Japan’s technology and innovation investigates this phenomenon, while looking at some of the latest in Japanese design, writes Peter ChapmanRead more

Last year, 23m flat-screen television sets were sold in Japan. This year, according to AU Optronics, the third biggest flat panel maker in the world, there may only be 12m unit sold.

Impact from the earthquake and tsunami? The spirit of jishuku, or self-restraint, sweeping through Japanese consumers? Neither, says Paul Peng, executive vice-president of AUO. Rather, it is the end of the Y290bn ‘eco-point‘ stimulus programme that is threatening TV demand in Japan. Read more

Robin Harding

NEC, Casio and Hitachi announced today that they are merging their mobile handset divisions. The following two graphs explain why:

Handset sales in Japan have been falling steadily since 2007, when the mobile networks cut subsidies on new phones, and the market has now all but halved in size. The blue line shows the twelve-month moving average of sales and the data is from the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association. Read more

Robin Harding

The ever-entertaining Onion is running a skit about Yamaha of Japan under the headline:

Yamaha CEO Pleased With Current Production Of Jet Skis, Alto Saxophones, Snowmobiles, Power Generators, Scooters, Golf Carts*

The Onion futher refers to Yamaha’s production of synthesizers, PA systems, DVD players, tone generators, motocross bikes, power amplifiers, heart-rate monitors, signal processors, analog mixers, engine oil, microphones, HiFi systems, grand pianos, sound chips, ceiling brackets, editing software, race-kart engines, sport boats, flugelhorns, ATVs, sequencers, outboard motors, conference systems, golf clubs, projectors, MIDI controllers, lamp cartridges, portable recorders, subwoofers, component systems, and motorcycles.

It is a bit unfair – Yamaha Corporation now owns only 15 per cent of Yamaha Motor, which makes about half of these products – but the Onion could have added unmanned helicoptors, health supplements, and swimming pools to the mix, with plenty more products left over.

What is so striking is that the US satirists thinks this broad array is funny – whereas Japan’s technology industry sees it as laudable and prudent diversification. Read more

Robin Harding

Nintendo’s flagship summer title, Wii Sports Resort, has got off to a strong start since its launch in Japan last Thursday June 25th.

According to figures from publisher Enterbrain in its Famitsu magazine, Wii Sports Resort sold 353,827 copies in its first four days on sale. That makes it the third most successful launch in the history of the Wii in Japan. Read more

Robin Harding

Or it will soon if Japan’s largest telephone company has its way.

Silicon Valley may be atwitter over Twitter but NTT Communications has a different proposition for the future of the internet: Fragrance Communication. Read more