The EU-Japan Centre is pleased to start a new weekly service by publishing brief summary of the latest information from the Japanese governmental organizations & private companies/organizations. A couple of minutes reading to be informed about what is happening in Japan's policy, economy, EU-Japan relations, and innovation.

*Information is deemed correct at the time of release. 

Suntory Spirits succeeds in a world-first direct-fired distillation trial using 100% hydrogen for whisky production
Suntory Spirits Ltd. proudly announces that it has succeeded in a world-first*1 direct-fired distillation trial using 100% hydrogen*2 for whisky production at Yamazaki Distillery in Japan. Suntory Spirits proved that the new make spirits distilled at this trial has the same quality and taste as those produced by conventional natural gas. This is a milestone moment in the company’s journey to decarbonize its whisky manufacturing while maintaining the quality craftsmanship of its whiskies. The company aims to verify this technology at a commercial scale at its Hakushu Distillery in Japan, where it announced to install the country’s largest 16 megawatt-size “Yamanashi Model Power-to-Gas (P2G) System” and produce green hydrogen (News Release No. 14225).
‘Direct firing’ is regarded as a traditional method of distilling, by which a direct flame is used to heat the still at significantly higher temperatures compared to indirect heating by steam coils. This can enhance spirit quality and depth of character, and for this reason, the company places this method as an essential process for quality craftsmanship in whisky making and uses it for the first distillation at Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries to produce rich and strong new make spirits.

Nissan shows in-construction all-solid-state battery pilot line in Japan
Nissan today showed its in-construction all-solid-state battery pilot line to members of the media at its Yokohama Plant in Kanagawa Prefecture. The pilot line is aimed to further promote development and innovative manufacturing technologies for the batteries.
Under the Nissan Ambition 2030 long-term vision, Nissan aims to launch EVs equipped with the batteries by fiscal year 2028.
All-solid-state batteries, which will be game-changers for EVs, have the potential for energy density approximately twice that of conventional lithium-ion batteries, significantly shorter charging time due to superior charge and discharge performance, and lower costs due to less expensive materials. Nissan plans to use all-solid-state batteries in a wide range of vehicle segments, including pickup trucks, making its EVs more competitive.
Nissan is conducting wide ranging research and development, from molecular-level battery material research to electric vehicle development, and even city development using EVs as storage batteries. Utilizing this experience, Nissan is stepping up development with the goal of practical implementation.

Cosmo Energy Group starts supplying electricity through waste power generation for the first time - Promoting local production and consumption by providing to 87 public facilities in Fujisawa City-
Cosmo Petroleum Marketing Co., Ltd. (President and CEO: Koji Moriyama, hereinafter referred to as 'Cosmo Petroleum Marketing') and Cosmo Energy Solutions Co., Ltd. (President and CEO: Naoki Takayama, hereinafter referred to as 'Cosmo Energy Solutions') have commenced supplying electricity generated during waste processing at the Northern Environmental Facility of Fujisawa City (Mayor: Tsuneo Suzuki) to 87 facilities including the Fujisawa City Hall and municipal elementary and junior high schools starting from April 1, 2024. Waste power generation is a method of obtaining electricity by utilizing the steam generated during waste incineration to rotate turbines (devices that convert thermal energy into kinetic energy). The reuse of waste leads to effective resource utilization and can reduce the emission of carbon dioxide, a cause of global warming. Cosmo Energy Solutions purchases surplus electricity generated from waste processing at the Northern Environmental Facility of Fujisawa City and supplies it to public facilities in Fujisawa City. 
The electricity supply period is one year from April 1 to March 31 of the following year. The generating capacity is 8,440 kW, with a daily output of 300 tons. By transforming waste collected from households, businesses, and public facilities in the city into electricity with zero CO2 emissions, we promote local production and consumption of electricity effectively utilized in the local area.
Cosmo Energy Group (in Japanese):

Domestic construction of a large-scale gas engine demonstration facility with 30% hydrogen blending for the first time 
Kawasaki Heavy Industries has embarked on the construction of a domestic large-scale gas engine power generation facility with an output of 8MW, initiating construction work on a full-scale demonstration facility for 30% hydrogen blending (hereinafter referred to as "this project") for the first time in Japan. This project involves the modification of a gas engine power generation facility (engine model: KG-18-T) with a power generation output of 7.5MW, which operates on city gas at our Kobe Works, to be compatible with hydrogen blending specifications. Mainly, additional hydrogen supply system installation and modification of the engine combustion chamber will be carried out. The facility is scheduled to be completed in May 2024, and operation as a hydrogen-blended gas engine power generation facility is set to commence from October of the same year. Until now, our company has developed and deployed high-performance power generation facilities under the concept of high efficiency and low NOx (nitrogen oxides) with our proprietary "Kawasaki Green Gas Engine," boasting the world's highest efficiency in this output class. Our gas engines possess excellent maneuverability, capable of reaching maximum output within 5 minutes after startup command, contributing to the improvement of power grid supply-demand adjustment capabilities in the expansion of renewable energy introduction in the future.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries (in Japanese):

Sony is the Industry’s First to Eliminate Polystyrene Foam Packaging for Large TVs
Sony is the first company in the industry to eliminate the use of polystyrene foam cushioning material for large TVs, affecting BRAVIA 9, the 85-inch 4K Mini LED TV to be introduced in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Instead of polystyrene foam, Kaneka Green Planet, a biomass-derived biodegradable biopolymer made by Kaneka Corporation, will be used for cushioning material. This material has biodegradability in a variety of environments, decomposing and returning to CO2 and water not only in soil but also in seawater, thereby contributing to solving the problem of environmental pollution caused by plastic.
Cushioning materials are molded into complex shapes to match the product design and maintain the impact resistance of large and heavy TVs during transportation. In order to adopt Green Planet, Sony created a mold structure according to the characteristics of the material which differs from polystyrene foam, thus achieving both design that maintains impact resistance and stable production. At the same time, Sony leveraged its packaging design expertise cultivated over the years and simulation technology for endeavors, such as realizing simplifying the cushioning material shape and reducing the number of parts.

Release of the ultra-small artificial satellite “CURTIS” from the International Space Station and begin technical verification in space
Panasonic Holdings Co., Ltd. and Panasonic Operational Excellence Co., Ltd. will release the ultra-small artificial satellite "CURTIS," a 3U size (10 cm × 10 cm × 30 cm) satellite designed and manufactured through joint research with Kyushu Institute of Technology, from the International Space Station (ISS). We will commence operational verification of "CURTIS" and begin technical verification of components and components manufactured and sold by the Panasonic Group in space.
The components used for the technical verification in space this time have completed reliability tests and operation tests in vacuum environments, assuming their use in space at the device level. Through approximately one year of operation after release from the ISS, we will conduct technical verification in space. 
In the realm of ultra-small artificial satellites, Panasonic will leverage collaborations with operators who conduct technical verification and services in space as bus satellites, and will continue to advance deployment into larger satellites such as 6U or 12U sizes, enabling us to undertake a wider array of missions in the future.
Panasonic (in Japanese):

Fujitsu and Oracle collaborate to deliver sovereign cloud and AI capabilities in Japan
Fujitsu to deploy Oracle Alloy as part of its hybrid IT solutions 
Fujitsu Limited and Oracle are collaborating to deliver sovereign cloud and AI capabilities that help address the digital sovereignty requirements of Japanese businesses and the public sector. 

Fujitsu will deploy Oracle Alloy, a cloud infrastructure platform that provides more than 100 Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) services, including generative AI, as part of its Fujitsu Uvance Hybrid IT portfolio, which supports customers with on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure. This will enable businesses and the public sector to utilize sovereign cloud infrastructure and sovereign AI directly from data centers operated by Fujitsu in Japan. Oracle is the only hyperscaler capable of delivering AI and a full suite of 100+ cloud services locally, anywhere. Based on the knowledge accumulated through use cases in the Japanese market, Fujitsu will actively consider expanding Oracle Alloy to other markets.
The collaboration will:
•    Enable Oracle Database users to leverage the cloud: Customers with large, sensitive, mission-critical database systems will be able to move to the cloud while ensuring the same level of operability as with their on-premises environment.
•    Support safe and secure data management and cloud usage: Fujitsu will deploy and operate Oracle Alloy in its data centers in Japan. This will provide a sovereign cloud environment for businesses and the public sector to help ensure digital sovereignty and operational transparency.
•    Centralize operations and security policies across on-premises and hyperscaler environments: Fujitsu provides operational consulting services and Fujitsu Cloud Managed Service across cloud service providers’ cloud environments, including Oracle Alloy. Fujitsu Cloud Managed Service provides comprehensive support tailored to customers’ business needs and enables centralization of operations and security policies across on-premises and hyperscaler cloud environments.
•    Deliver superior customer experiences: Fujitsu will be able to control updates and patch its cloud environment according to each customer’s needs. This level of control gives Fujitsu the ability to prevent system outages caused by automatic updates.



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