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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. 

Shaping the Future with Hydrogen from Fukushima- Wrapping Bus (Fuel Cell Bus) Begins Operation
NEDO is progressing with efforts for the development of clean hydrogen production technology and increasing understanding of hydrogen through the "Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R)" in Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture.
In January 2020, NEDO and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government signed a comprehensive agreement to promote the spread of hydrogen energy and have been conducting public relations and awareness-raising activities in cooperation with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. As part of this, NEDO plans to promote the use of hydrogen produced at FH2R within Tokyo. As an initiative to make hydrogen feel more familiar, the operation of wrapping buses, which are part of the fuel cell buses owned by Toei Bus, designed by children from Namie Town, the local area of FH2R, will begin.
NEDO will continue to contribute to the further spread and expansion of hydrogen energy in collaboration with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
NEDO (in Japanese): https://www.nedo.go.jp/news/press/AA5_101739.html

Edge AI-Driven Vision Detection Solution Introduced at 500 Convenience Store Locations to Measure Advertising Effectiveness
Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (SSS) announced that it has introduced and begun operating an edge AI-driven vision detection solution at 500 convenience store locations in Japan to improve the benefits of in-store advertising. SSS has been providing 7-Eleven and other retail outlets in Japan with vision-based technology to improve the implementation of digital signage systems and in-store advertising at their brick-and-mortar locations as part of their retail media strategy. To help ensure that effective content is shown for brands and stores, this solution gives partners sophisticated tools to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising on their customers.
As part of this effort, SSS has recently introduced a solution that uses edge devices with on-sensor AI processing to automatically detect when customers see digital signage, count how many people paused to view it, and measure the percentage of viewers. The AI capabilities of the sensor collects data points such as the number of shoppers who enter the detection area, whether they saw the signage, the number who stopped to view the signage, and how long they watched for. The system does not output image data capable of identifying individuals, making it possible to provide insightful measurements while helping to preserve privacy.
Sony: https://www.sony-semicon.com/en/news/2024/2024042401.html

Marubeni Invests in U.S. Company AiDash for Satellite and AI-Powered Infrastructure Maintenance Solutions
Marubeni Corporation (hereinafter, “Marubeni”) has invested in AiDash, a U.S.-based solution provider that utilizes satellite imagery and artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize and digitize operations and maintenance for critical infrastructure such as electricity, gas, and water networks. In AiDash’s Series C funding round, in which Marubeni participated, the company raised over USD 50 million from lead investor Lightrock and other investors, including Benhamou Global Ventures, SE Ventures, G2 Venture Partners, Shell Ventures, and National Grid Partners.
AiDash provides SaaS (Software as a Service) that combines high-resolution satellite imagery with AI to enable satellite-based operations and maintenance for utilities, roads and railways, and other critical infrastructure industries with geographically dispersed assets. Power grid infrastructure is currently facing reliability challenges from the expansion of renewable energy, worsening climate disasters such as wildfires, and cost increases due to labor shortages. AiDash provides a comprehensive vegetation management solution for electricity networks, from risk assessment-based vegetation management planning to operational management and inspection tracking. This solution has received high praise from power companies and grid operators. AiDash offers other services that contribute to optimization and digitalization of operations and maintenance of critical infrastructure, plus biodiversity impact analysis for developers.
Marubeni: https://www.marubeni.com/en/news/2024/release/00028.html

Panasonic Energy to Start Recruiting for "MIRAI Scholarship" to Foster Next-Generation Battery Talent
Panasonic Energy Co., Ltd., a leading company in the lithium-ion battery industry, has established the "MIRAI Scholarship" program with the aim of fostering talent essential for the development of the battery industry, indispensable for realizing a decarbonized society. Recruitment for the program begins today. The Japanese government has set a goal to train and secure 30,000 battery-related personnel throughout the supply chain by 2030 to develop talent for battery manufacturing, which is considered key to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Batteries are positioned as a critical industry sector from the perspectives of decarbonized society infrastructure and economic security, and global market expansion is predicted in the future, making talent development and acquisition an urgent issue.
Under this program, selected third-year university students or first-year graduate students majoring in science and engineering, chosen through our selection committee, will receive an annual scholarship of 500,000 yen to support the creation of an environment conducive to research activities. Additionally, scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to join an internal community composed of our engineers, allowing them to maintain continuous contact with engineers working at the forefront of the global battery industry. This will enable them to stay updated on the latest trends in the industry and experience the rewards and attractions of working in the battery industry firsthand.
Panasonic Group (in Japanese): https://news.panasonic.com/jp/press/jn240422-1

METI has compiled a collection of case studies on collaboration between foreign and Japanese companies
Collaboration between Japanese and foreign companies has increased about threefold in the past 10 years in terms of the number of cases and about fivefold in terms of value, reaching the highest level in the past 20 years. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has compiled a "collection of case studies" to serve as a reference for Japanese companies seeking to expand their businesses and create innovation through collaboration with foreign companies. This collection of case studies features 11 companies from various industries and with different forms of investment, presented with their real names. This is the first time that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has comprehensively covered M&A, minority investments, and joint investments in a collection of case studies, with real names. In addition to explaining the significance of collaboration with foreign companies and how contact with them was established, we have also included the challenges faced, the strategies employed, and future visions, making the content more practical.
METI (in Japanese): https://www.meti.go.jp/press/2024/04/20240424001/20240424001.html

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