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  • Tuesday, 21st April 2015
    In Business In Japan,

    Samsung drops logo on its phones in Japan

    Samsung has announced it will no longer carry the company's logos on its phones in Japan from this week (April 23rd).

    The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will instead be co-branded with mobile carriers Docomo Galaxy and au Galaxy, both of which will be launching the phones. It is still unclear on the exact reasoning behind the decision, but a spokesperson told the Korea Herald newspaper that it was down to the Galaxy brand having been well established in Japan.

    Industry experts have also pointed to the tense diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea, the latter of which is Samsung's native country. While these tensions have seemed to have cooled since the election of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in 2012, Samsung has still struggled to gain a foothold in Japan.

    According to Counterpoint Research, Samsung holds just five per cent of the smartphone market in Japan, compared to the 51 per cent share by Apple, and the 25 per cent domination Samsung has all over the world. It is mostly Japanese firms, such as Sony, Fujitsu and Sharp, that control the market in the country. It is hoped that these new devices will reverse Samsung's fortunes, having suffered several quarters of plunging profits and booming sales of Apple's iPhone 6. Apple now holds the position of biggest smartphone seller in the world — a position Samsung had held since 2011.

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  • Tuesday, 21st April 2015
    In Business In Japan, Japan Travel News,

    Maglev train sets world record speed of 603 km/h

    Central Japan Railway has announced that its new ultra-high speed magnetic levitation (maglev) train has set a new world record speed during a test run today (April 21st).

    The maglev train managed to reach a speed of 603 km/h when it was travelling along a 42.8-km test track in the Yamanashi Prefecture, managing to break its own world record of 590 km/h, which it set last Thursday (April 16th).

    The train is actually driverless and it uses a propulsion system known as an 'L-Zero', which initially brings the vehicle up to the speed of 160 km/h, before initiating the maglev system and slowly accelerating to 500 km/h. The entire seven-car train actually hovers ten centimetres above the tracks and is propelled by electrically charged magnets.

    Central Japan Railway has already made it clear that it wants to adopt these trains to launch a new route between Tokyo and Nagoya by 2027. The journey, which is 286 km, would usually take around 90 minutes using the current shinkansen bullet trains, would be reduced to a mere 40 minutes. As part of the scheme, there will be four stations along the route: Sagamihara in Kanagawa Prefecture, Kofu in Yamanashi Prefecture, Iida in Nagano Prefecture, and Nakatsugawa in Gifu Prefecture. The Shinagawa and Nagoya stations will be around 40 metres underground, and the entire project is estimated to cost around ten trillion yen.

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  • Monday, 20th April 2015
    In Business In Japan, Japan Travel News, Japan Travel News,

    How's the Japanese tourism sector set to look over the next 5 years?

    A new report by Japan's Travel & Tourism Intelligence Centre has been released, offering further details on how the country's tourism sector is set to look like over the next five years in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Offering a better understanding of sector expectations, expenditure, intermediate industries and services such as airlines, car rentals and hotels, the report brings together a rich wealth of data and insight that has got officials in a frenzy. Here is a quick overview of the main report points, highlighting which particular segments are sure to see the most growth.

    A look at the numbers

    Naturally, tourism is set to be big business for Japan over the next five years. Not only does the government hope that the Olympics will mean 20 million annual visitors by 2020, but it is hoped that the event will boost numbers even further to 30 million international arrivals by 2030.

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  • Tuesday, 14th April 2015
    In Business In Japan, Japan Travel News, Japan Travel News, Japan Entertainment News,

    Shibuya cinema to host one-month Ernst retrospective

    Cinema Vera in Shibuya, Tokyo, will be honouring legendary director Ernst Lubitsch with a one-month programme of his most famous films.

    Kickstarting on April 25th, the cinema will be hosting a retrospective, with audiences having the chance to see some of his classics. These include the bedroom farce One Hour With You (1932), silent movie The Marriage Circle (1924), and the hilarious satire on Hitler To Be or Not to Be (1942).

    Lubitsch's career started off in Germany, where he became renowned for his silent films. As he grew in fame and stature, he moved to glitzy Hollywood, where his comedies and musicals did wonders for his career. At this time, it was the actors and actresses of movies that made the headlines, with directors often forgotten about, but Ernst's movies soon became advertised for having 'the Lubitsch touch'. And what as that exactly? Well, elegance and sophistication, with a touch of earthy humour.

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