Tuesday, February 26, 2008

KDDI, 4 other Asian firms, Google plan Chiba-Los Angeles cable

TOKYO — KDDI Corp said Tuesday it will lay an undersea fiber-optic cable between southern Chiba Prefecture and Los Angeles with four other Asian telecom companies and Google Inc.

The 10,000-kilometer long, high-performance cable, estimated to cost some $300 million, or about 32 billion yen, is due to commence operation by March 2010 to meet hefty growth in broadband and other telecommunications demand between Japan and the United States, the Japanese telecom company said.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Japan successfully launches super high-speed Internet satellite

Japan's H-2A rocket carrying a high-speed Internet communications satellite is launched

TOKYO (AFP) — Japan successfully launched Saturday an experimental satellite aimed at providing high-speed Internet access across Asia, even when terrestrial infrastructure goes down, the space agency said.

The domestically developed H-2A rocket carrying the Kizuna satellite was launched at 17:55 pm (0855 GMT) with no glitches from the Space Centre on Tanegashima island off the southern tip of Kyushu Island, southern Japan.

The communications satellite, expected to be in use for five years, separated from the rocket approximately 35 minutes after the launch, said an official of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) during a live broadcast.

The 342 million dollar-Kizuna will allow super-high speed data communications of up to 1.2 Gbps, which would make it the fastest in the world, the agency said.

That rate would translate to 150 times that of the average high-speed ADSL connection rate of 8 Mbps, or 12 times the speed of a fibre-optic communication delivery to a person's premises (FTTP).

The "Kizuna," which also means "bond" in Japanese, is expected to begin transmitting and receiving data with terrestrial infrastructures in July after completing preparations and confirming the satellite's safety.

Japan is looking to use the satellite to allow communication when a ground-based network is severed by a disaster in any Asian country, in which case it would be used to transmit data to crisis management offices.

The agency is hoping it can also be used as an educational or medical tool to reach people in remote or mountainous areas.

"The Internet is now an integral part of our lives; but its infrastructure levels vary. Urban areas ... have a better environment, whereas some mountainous regions and remote islands are not well-equipped," JAXA said on its website.

The satellite will enable students in Asian countries to communicate smoothly and with no time lag among one another, as if they were in the same classroom, it said.

The satellite will to last five years, an agency spokeswoman said.

The launch was delayed by one week after JAXA said it had discovered a problem with the gas jet thruster for its launch rocket.

Japan, like developing Asian powers China and India, has been stepping up its space operations and has set a goal of sending an astronaut to the moon by 2020.

Japan faced an embarrassing failure in November 2003, when it had to destroy a rocket carrying a spy satellite 10 minutes after lift-off because a booster failed to separate.

However, Japan's first lunar probe, Kaguya, was successfully launched last September, releasing two baby satellites which will be used to study the gravity fields of the moon among other projects.

The 55-billion-yen (500-million-dollar) lunar probe is the most extensive mission to investigate the moon since the US Apollo in the 1960s and 1970s.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sony to develop larger OLED panels

TOKYO — Sony Corp said Tuesday it will invest some 22 billion yen from the second half of fiscal 2008 ending in March 2009 to accelerate its development of large and medium-sized organic light-emitting diode panels.

Sony launched its OLED research in 1994 and released the world's first OLED television in December 2007 in Japan.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Denso to test vehicle collision prevention system

TOKYO — Denso Corp said Tuesday it will test an anticollision, vehicle-to-vehicle communications system on public roads in Abashiri in Hokkaido from April. The accident prevention system allows in-vehicle communications devices to send out warning signals if automobiles come close, said the auto parts maker affiliated with Toyota Motor Corp.

Denso expects the system to help drivers prevent crashes at blind intersections or in low visibility conditions caused by wind-blown dust or other factors. The company also intends to allow the system to warn drivers of approaching emergency vehicles.


Monday, February 04, 2008

IHI says it has developed world's smallest turbocharger for vehicles

TOKYO — IHI Corp said Monday it has developed what it claims is the world's smallest turbocharger for vehicles and plans to manufacture 100,000 units of the product annually for Daihatsu Motor Co's minivehicles.

The turbocharger, which is about 20 percent smaller than existing models, will work to enhance engine output through aerodynamic effects, IHI, one of Japan's major heavy machinery makers, said.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Age verification card for tobacco vending machine introduced

A vending machine scans a taspo card/Photo by Taro Fujimoto

TOKYO — The Tobacco Institute of Japan (TIOJ) on Friday started accepting applications for an age verification card for tobacco vending machines at a promotional event held in Roppongi. The card, called "taspo," will be introduced nationwide from March in order to prevent underage smoking.

The new system requires cigarette buyers to use the taspo IC card before they can use a vending machine. Anyone aged over 20 can apply by sending an application form together with a photograph and a photocopy of identification. Registration is free and the card will be issued within two weeks after applying.

Hitomichi Tanaka, a spokesperson for the TIOJ, says, "The application form is only in Japanese. In the case of foreigners, only an alien registration card is acceptable as identification. So those who are visiting Japan temporarily will have to buy cigarettes over the counter at shops."

Yuki Kuzuya, 24, who was visiting from Nagoya, said: "I think taspo will work in preventing underage smoking. It's inconvenient to have to carry the card all the time but it's better than being unable to buy cigarettes."