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Archives : No.26

May-Jun 2015

No.26
No.26 ,Economy  Jun 05, 2015

Superconducting Maglev Technology: Future and Development

The journey toward realizing superconducting magnetic levitation (maglev) that achieves speeds of up to 500 kilometers an hour has come one step closer to its end, with the emergence of a train known as the linear motor car. JR Central, which is responsible for the operation of the Tokaido Shinkansen line, started work on the construction of the Chuo Shinkansen line for use by the superconducting maglev at the end of last year. The occasion was marked with a ceremony held on December 17, 2014 to pray for safe construction of the line, which will run between JR Central’s Shinagawa Station in Minato Ward, Tokyo and Nagoya Station in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture. If all goes well, service is scheduled to begin in 2027, when linear motor cars will connect the 285.6-kilometer distance between Shinagawa and Nagoya in as little as 40 minutes.... [Read more]

No.26 ,Economy
Jun 05, 2015

Fifty Years of the Shinkansen, and the Opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen

October 1, 2014 marked the passage of fifty years since the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train line), which was Japan’s first Shinkansen, and also the world’s first high-speed railway. Japan’s Shinkansen network—which began with the 552.6 km stretch between the stations of Tokyo and Shin-Osaka—has continued to grow and expand and, including the new Hokuriku Shinkansen (between Nagano and Kanazawa) that entered service on March 14, 2015, has now reached a total length of 2,848.3 km. The Shinkansen mentioned above are the ones capable of running at speeds of over 200 km/h. Apart from these, there are also the 275.9 km of the Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen, which are both of the type that run onto conventional train lines; the Hakata-Minami Line; and the 1.8 km stretch of the Joetsu Line between Echigo-Yuzawa and Gala-Yuzawa; which are also essentially part of the Shinkansen network. Including these, the overall length extends to 3,134.5 km. In addition, the construction of new Shinkansen lines is also continuing: the Hokkaido Shinkansen between Shin-Aomori and Sapporo, the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Kanazawa and Tsuruga, and the section of the Kyushu Shinkansen... [Read more]

No.26 ,Society
Jun 03, 2015

A Second Home in Japan
— What comes next after the visitor boom is semi-residence

The attraction is the cheapness of commodity prices and land prices in Japan’s regional cities.

The number of Chinese people visiting Japan is increasing at an explosive rate. In addition to the weak yen, the relaxation of requirements for visa issuance is also providing a boost. There is an increasing trend amongst the high-income classes of wanting to own a home in Japan, too. Chinese tourist visits to Japan are showing an unprecedented upsurge. Last year 2.4 million Chinese tourists came to Japan: an increase of 80% on the previous year. From January 19, a new “five-year multi” visa was introduced which allows holders to come to Japan an unlimited number of times during a five-year period, with up to a ninety-day period of stay being authorized for each visit, and with this momentum the interest of Chinese people towards Japan seems set to heighten even further still. ... [Read more]

No.26 ,Science
Jun 01, 2015

Corporations and Geniuses― The main man behind the invention of blue LEDs speaks.
Serendipity: No Such Thing Exists
Interview with Amano Hiroshi, Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University

The invention of blue LEDs was the product of the conviction of a researcher who does not even view effort as really effort. How should corporations deal with capable researchers?
The dream of all researchers is to make possible that which is considered to be impossible. They seek to conceive an invention that breaks accepted theories. However, the road to innovations that destroy paradigms is a long one, and they can only be brought about through years of research that goes unnoticed. This was the case of the research of Amano Hiroshi, a professor at Nagoya University who worked on inventing blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In 1983, Professor Amano enrolled in a master’s program at Nagoya University. To produce gallium nitride crystal, a material for blue LEDs, he lit his device every day except... [Read more]

No.26 ,Diplomacy
May 30, 2015

Japan, the United States, and China in the Twenty-First Century: A Historian’s Perspective

I was born in Tokyo in 1934, eighty years ago, and lived in Japan for nineteen years, until 1953. Since 1953, I have spent almost sixty-one years in the United States. That is why what I know about Japan is probably quite different from what Japan really is today. My knowledge about Japan is mostly based on my memory before 1953. I have spent the last sixty-one years, from 1953 to 2014, in the United States, primarily in the teaching profession. I have met a great variety of people since entering university. I have paid occasional visits to China over that period of time. However, the time I have spent in Japan and China is not as long as the years I have spent in the United States. Therefore, I am not sure how much I can discuss the grand theme of China, Japan, and the United States in the twenty-first century.... [Read more]

No.26 ,Culture
May 28, 2015

Sudoku of the World and the Originator’s Joy
The godfather of the numerical puzzle in great demand in the west and in the east

One day, on my way home on a train after losing money in a horse race, I opened up an American magazine of puzzles I had been carrying around. What caught my eye was a numerical puzzle called the Number Place puzzle. I am not great at reading English. After jotting down numbers without even reading the instructions, I was able to solve it. Isn’t this fun? I bought a bunch of back issues at Maruzen and proceeded to solve one puzzle after another. Just as an experiment, I tried creating a puzzle of my own and I was able to make one. This is how I came to publish this puzzle in a magazine issued by my company, Nikoli, for which I am the president, in 1984. I coined this puzzle – which is about filling each box in a row or a column with a single-digit number of 1 to 9 – “The Numbers (suji) Must be Single (dokushin).... [Read more]

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