According to The Asahi Shimbun, average land prices in Japan’s regional areas rose for the first time in 31 years, thanks to thriving major cities outside the three largest metropolitan areas, according to a land ministry report released.
The average land prices across the country also rose for the second year in a row.
As of 1 July, the average price for residential, commercial and industrial land outside the areas of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya increased by 0.3 percent.
The increase was driven by the four metropolitan areas of Sapporo, Sendai, Hiroshima and Fukuoka, which saw an 8.1 percent increase.
According to The Australian Financial Review, developers Icon Kajima and Mulpha Australia are taking advantage of weaker land values and stronger room rates to develop boutique hotels in the Sydney CBD that will attract both business and leisure travellers.
Icon Kajima’s $265 million project at 499 Kent Street – site of the heritage-listed RCA House building built in 1936 – is for a 229-key hotel across 23 storeys that already has secured a stage 1 approval and on which construction should start next year.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, electrified chopsticks that change the taste of food extended the winning streak of Japanese researchers for a satiric Ig Nobel Prize to 17 straight years.
Hiromi Nakamura, a project associate professor at the University of Tokyo, and Homei Miyashita, a professor at Meiji University, won the Ig Nobel Prize in Nutrition for their research on augmented gustation using electricity.
In 2011, when Nakamura was a graduate student studying under Miyashita’s supervision, she conducted experiments to determine how electrification changes the taste of food.
In a trial run, Nakamura put a piece of agar on her tongue and charged it with a small amount of electricity. The taste changed instantly when she turned the switch on and off.
According to The Jiji News, Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. has unveiled to the press a demonstration line to mass-manufacture next-generation electric vehicles it hopes to release in 2026.
The automaker aims to halve the manufacturing time by combining a new technology to make the auto body frame and a new production system in which vehicle bodies travel to the next manufacturing process on their own using self-driving technology.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Orica CEO Sanjeev Gandhi has singled out Japanese and Korean power utilities as the earliest export customers for green ammonia from the company’s planned hydrogen hub near Newcastle, which is expected to get its final go-ahead before June 30, 2024.
Speaking after Orica announced an acceleration and expansion of its emissions reduction targets, Mr Gandhi said he expects the first molecules of green hydrogen to be produced at the 50-megawatt plant in 2026.
While Orica would only then start commercial negotiations with potential export customers, he said preliminary discussions with power utilities in Japan and South Korea clearly showed demand as utilities aim to start co-firing green ammonia with fossil fuels in power plants.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen says electric planes will be in the skies and a green hydrogen industry will be up and running by the end of the decade, as Australia charts its course to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Amid scepticism from some energy experts about whether Australia can meet its 2030 climate targets, Mr Bowen admitted it would be a “challenge” to achieve 43 per cent emissions reduction over the next seven years.
Mr Bowen said he was confident green hydrogen would be a viable option by 2030. “The economics of green hydrogen are very promising. It’s only 2023, but we are talking about creating a new industry from scratch.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Victoria is considering a fast-track planning system to boost the pace of new housing development, as part of a comprehensive housing package the state is due to unveil this month, Premier Daniel Andrews says.
Speaking at the launch of a $210 million mixed-tenure housing project in inner-suburban Melbourne’s Kensington recently, Mr Andrews declined to say whether the reforms would curb local councils’ powers, but said he wanted to speed up approvals processes.
“What we’re keen to do is to make sure that things that have been lying around, applications that have been lying around for way too long, get dealt with, and that applications that haven’t even been submitted yet, if they meet criteria, if they are high quality, and they have an eye to affordability, then they should be approved as fast as possible,” Mr Andrews said.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, home appliance maker Balmuda Inc. is developing a wind power generator combined with solar panels that is small enough to install on the yard or rooftop of an individual home.
“We hope to contribute to the way energy is produced, not just the way energy is used,” said Gen Terao, CEO of Balmuda, during an Aug. 8 news conference on the corporation’s financial results. “There would be nothing more wonderful.”
According to the company, the generator design takes advantage of specialized technology used in Balmuda’s electric Green Fan.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, hospital walls no longer have to be barriers to patients who dream of going on trips with their families or greeting visitors through a meeting app that is currently being tested.
The application, Medical Meetup, started its trial run on 1 Aug at Juntendo University Hospital in Tokyo, so users can see one another in a virtual reality space.
“Expanding the scope of visitors and the metaverse may allow hospitalized children to go on virtual school walks and trips with classmates, too,” said Junya Fujimura, an associate professor of pediatrics at the hospital’s Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, expressing high expectations.
According to The Australian Financial Review, it’s by no means a lay-down misère for telco behemoth Telstra as it prepares to submit a binding offer for Versent, the cybersecurity play on the market via Goldman Sachs.
Street Talk can reveal Japan’s NTT, one of the world’s largest telecoms groups, is through to the second round of the auction and has engaged local investment bank Jefferies for help with diligence, funding and deal structure.
NTT, which has more than 330,000 employees in over 80 countries, shapes as a major obstacle to Telstra in its bid to become a full -service cybersecurity and technology player. The Japanese group makes $108 billion in revenue; services more than 75 of the Fortune Global 100 clients; and is one of the five biggest global IT services providers.
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