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The Crisis Facing Japanese Scientific ResearchNakano Tōru

In March this year, an editorial in the British journal Nature showed that the pace of scientific research in Japan has slowed considerably over the past decade. Nakano Tōru, a leading stem cell researcher, discusses the challenges facing researchers in Japan and some of the structural weaknesses holding science back.
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A Robotic Arm with a Sense of Touch

A research group at Keiō University has developed a soft robotic arm that can adjust the strength of its grip according to what it grasps. Its movements are delicate enough to pick up a potato chip.
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Remembering AIBO

A Buddhist memorial service was held in July 2016 for AIBO robots developed by Sony, attesting to the depth of affection that the robotic pets have inspired among their owners. For them, these robots were clearly much more than mechanical devices; they were partners in life and deserving of a ceremony for their remembrance and the repose of their “souls.”
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Spotify Aims to Revitalize Japan’s CD-Dominated Music MarketYamaguchi Norikazu

Music-streaming giant Spotify has launched its Japanese service. What impact is it likely to have on the distinctive local market, where CDs remain popular and can be rented from stores?
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The Promise of Cellulose Nanofibers

Cellulose, the main ingredient of plant fibers, is drawing attention as a promising new material that is light, strong, and eco-friendly when processed into celluose nanofibers. CNFs have many potential applications, such as in adult diapers, electronic displays, automobiles, and airplanes. With forests covering about 70% of its territory, Japan is a world leader in CNF-related research and develo…
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Kōno Seisakusho: World’s Thinnest Needles Bring Surgical Revolution

With its development of the world’s thinnest surgical needles, a small manufacturing firm headquartered in a suburb east of Tokyo has revolutionized regenerative surgery and other medical fields. Kōno Seisakusho’s “Crown Jun” needles are being used throughout Japan and are attracting international attention as well.
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The Abe Government Grapples with Low IT InvestmentTobias Harris

Since returning to power in December 2012, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō has struggled to advance the so-called “third arrow” of Abenomics, which includes both structural reforms to transform the Japanese economy and an industrial policy that uses state power to foster new industries. Perhaps the tip of that arrow—and a key to its advancement—is information technology policy. In fact, as Abe’…
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Wacoal Lingerie: In Pursuit of the Ideal Figure

Lingerie today is about more than just showing off a shapely figure. More and more women are looking for undergarments that also bring health benefits, such as improving posture. Japanese manufacturer Wacoal has been at the forefront of this trend toward developing lingerie that is both flattering and functional.
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Industrial Strength 3D Printers: Matsuura Machinery

Media worldwide have been focusing on the potential of 3D printing in recent years. One leader in the industrial use of this technology is Matsuura Machinery Corp., located in Fukui Prefecture. This article profiles the company and its new Lumex Avance-25 machine, which is revolutionizing the production of dies and molds.
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The Glow of the Human Touch: Why Shoeshine Stands are Making a ComebackAhmed M. F. Mostafa

The words “street children” don’t conjure up images of Japan for most people, but don’t be fooled into thinking that no link exists. The 1950s, for example, saw big hits for both Akatsuki Teruko with her 1951 song “Tōkyō shūshain bōi” (Tokyo Shoeshine Boy) and Miyagi Mariko with “Gādoshita no kutsumigaki” (The Shoe Polisher Beneath the Tracks) in 1955. A long row of shoeshine stands on a Shibu…
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