According to The Asahi Shimbun, a test run of Japan’s first hydrogen hybrid train called Hybari was shown to the media on the JR Tsurumi Line in Kanagawa Prefecture.
The train, which runs on electricity generated from hydrogen, is part of East Japan Railway Co. (JR East)’s initiative to decarbonize railroads, with the aim of its commercialization in fiscal 2030.
Hybari is equipped with a fuel cell, which generates electricity by having hydrogen react with oxygen, and storage batteries.
It runs without emitting carbon dioxide.
The hybrid train was jointly developed with Toyota Motor Corp., which markets the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, and Hitachi, which offers storage batteries.
According to The Jiji News, Nissan Motor Co. said that it aims to launch automated driving services in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, and elsewhere between fiscal 2027 and 2028.
Some other municipalities will also be chosen for the services. Nissan plans to set the service fees lower than taxi fares.
According to The Jiji News, Japan's Aeon Co. and Marubeni Corp. said that they have concluded a deal to strengthen their cooperation from the food sector to newly cover digital transformation and decabonization.Trading company Marubeni also increased its equity stake in retail giant Aeon, although the number or value of the newly acquired shares was not disclosed.
According to the Asahi Shimbun, Idemitsu Kosan, a major oil wholesaler, ENEOS, and Hokkaido Electric Power Co. have announced that they have begun studying the construction of one of the largest hydrogen production facilities in Japan in the western part of Tomakomai City.
The aim is to produce "green hydrogen" by utilizing renewable energy abundant in Hokkaido.
By around 2030, a plant will be constructed in western Tomakomai to produce hydrogen by electrolyzing water. The scale of the facility will be more than 100,000 kilowatts, the largest in Japan, and will be capable of producing more than 10,000 tons of hydrogen per year; 10,000 tons is equivalent to the annual use of 110,000 fuel cell vehicles.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Honda Motor Co. announced it has begun commercial production of a new hydrogen fuel cell system jointly developed with General Motors Co.
The auto giant said it had managed to reduce costs to one-third.
The battery will be fitted to the CR-V sports utility vehicle that will be released in North America and Japan by the end of the year.
Honda said it will also be sold to other companies for use in trucks and other commercial vehicles. Data center operators are expected to rely on the battery as an emergency power source.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Japanese researchers said they have produced three piglets cloned from a pig that was genetically modified to prevent rejection of its organs in transplants to humans.
PorMedTec Co., a Kawasaki-based company established by the Meiji University International Institute for Bio-Resource Research, said on Feb. 13 that the three piglets were born by C-section on Feb. 11.
A team consisting of researchers from Kagoshima University and Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine plans to transplant the pigs’ kidneys into monkeys to verify the safety of the organs. If all goes well, they hope to start the operations this summer.
The eventual goal is to transplant pig kidneys into humans.
According to The Jiji News, Monet Technologies Inc., a Japanese mobility service firm partly owned by Toyota Motor Corp., plans to test a self-driving taxi service in Tokyo's Odaiba district, starting in July, people familiar with the matter said.
The test will start with Level 2 partially automated driving technology and will examine the feasibility of Level 4 technology that provides fully automated driving under certain conditions.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, no more complaints from clerks tasked with mopping floors at FamilyMart Co. as the convenience store chain is deploying autonomous cleaning robots to address the growing labor shortage.
The multifunctional robots will have been rolled out in 300 outlets by the end of this month, the company announced.
They will be tasked with keeping the outlet's floors spotless.
The sweeping and mopping machine, 108-centimeters-high and 39-cm-wide, also features racks to display merchandise and a screen for advertising.
Capable of cleaning the entire floor of an outlet in an hour, the robot does its job as well as, or even better than a human worker, according to the chain operator.
According to The Jiji News, five major Japanese banking groups' combined net profits in April-December 2023 grew 50.7 pct from a year before to 2,896.4 billion yen, hitting their first record high in nine years.
The result reflected robust funding demand in Japan and abroad as well as an improvement in profit margins on loans due to higher interest rates, according to their latest earnings reports released.
According to The Australian Financial Review, Australians are coming here in record numbers. Government statistics out last week shows 23 per cent more of us visited Japan last month than in December 2019 when tourist numbers hit record highs ahead of the pandemic. Visitors are also spending more than ever here, with 25 million tourists paying out a record ¥5.29 trillion ($54 billion) last year.
The repeat guests are now on their way, lured by a weak yen that offsets soaring mortgage payments back home. The Australian skiers and snowboarders are here in droves, packing the Qantas flights into Haneda before heading to the powder snow meccas of Niseko, Hakuba and Tokakushi.
But it won’t end there. Japan mania peaks during cherry blossom season that takes place in late March and tourist numbers are forecast to smash pre-pandemic records.
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