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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. 

Joint demonstration of floating perovskite solar cells begins
Sekisui Chemical, MM Bridge, and Koei Densetsu have started a joint demonstration experiment to install film-type perovskite solar cells on a swimming pool in Kita-ku, Tokyo, on April 3, 2024.
Sekisui Chemical Industry has utilized its proprietary technologies in "encapsulation, film formation, materials, and process technology," achieving the outdoor durability equivalent to 10 years, which is considered the essence of the development of film-type perovskite solar cells. They have constructed a 30cm width roll-to-roll manufacturing process. With this manufacturing process, the company has succeeded in producing film-type perovskite solar cells with an energy conversion efficiency of 15.0%. Furthermore, they are accelerating development towards improving durability and energy conversion efficiency, as well as establishing manufacturing technology for 1-meter width.
MM Bridge, as a comprehensive engineering company involved in everything from the design to the maintenance and repair of bridges and coastal structures, utilizes its expertise in floating structure design and mooring methods for joint demonstration efforts. Additionally, Koei Densetsu utilizes their developed measurement and control system to conduct measurements of factors specific to the aquatic environment and floating structure composition.
Sekisui House (in Japanese): https://www.sekisui.co.jp/news/2024/1401291_41090.html

ITOCHU announces the establishment of “Sekkei Community”, a platform for matching architects and structural material manufacturers of construction
ITOCHU Corporation announced today that it has established “Sekkei Community”, a platform for matching architects and structural material manufacturers of construction in the areas of construction and planning, and it has started providing services via the platform.
In Japan, labor shortages, rising costs and other phenomena that are causes for growing concerns in numerous industries are collectively referred to as the "2024 problem." In the construction and planning industry, DX is seen as a vital measure to address the shortage of people to maintain operations. To minimize the impact of the increase in costs, the industry believes that there is a growing need to select structural materials of construction and methods in a building's planning stage to adjust specifications, costs, systems, etc. Selecting the proper structural materials of construction at an early stage is also important in terms of disaster control and resilience.
The latest information about structural materials of construction and methods are published on the established “Sekkei Community”. 
“Sekkei Community” enables building architects to access the latest information about structural materials of construction and methods, and comprehensively facilitates activities such as consultations with manufacturers, requests for cooperation in planning and the acquisition of estimates from multiple companies. Manufacturers may be able to learn about projects at an early stage and create sales opportunities by directly connecting with the architects who are their potential clients. The platform is designed for structural materials of construction. Going forward, we will consider expanding the service into many different categories such as design planning, facility planning, energy-saving planning and infrastructure and civil planning.
ITOCHU Corporation: https://www.itochu.co.jp/en/news/press/2024/240408.html

Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Mr. Kozuki attended the Mineral Security Partnership (MSP) Forum establishment event
On April 5th (Friday), the MSP Forum establishment event, co-hosted by the EU and the United States, was held in a hybrid format in Belgium, Leuven, and online. The Vice Minister of Economy Mr. Kozumi from Japan attended the event online.
During this event, representatives from MSP partner countries, including the EU, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Finland, Germany, and the UK, made speeches. Representatives from candidate countries for the MSP Forum, including Kazakhstan, Namibia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Greenland, and Morocco, also spoke.
The MSP Forum, announced in March 2024, expands the existing framework of MSP to strengthen the supply chain of critical minerals and becomes the world's first framework to officially include resource-rich countries not only from allied countries but also from Asia, Africa, South America, and other regions.
At the establishment event, Donbrowskis, the co-chair of the event and the European Commission's Vice President for Energy Transformation and European Commissioner for Trade, and Blinken, the US Secretary of State, highlighted the increasing importance of critical minerals in the energy transition. They emphasized the significance of the MSP Forum in aiming for resource security, as well as adding value and achieving high ESG standards in resource-rich countries through collaboration between resource countries and consumer countries.
Furthermore, participating countries in this event welcomed the establishment of the MSP Forum and agreed to cooperate with each other to build resilient supply chains for critical minerals.
METI (in Japanese): https://www.meti.go.jp/press/2024/04/20240405004/20240405004.html

New Low-Carbon High-Performance Concrete "e-CON®" Adopted and Delivered at Shin-Honmoku Wharf in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
Tokyo Metropolitan Sewerage Service Corporation and Nippon Hume Corporation have developed a low-carbon high-performance concrete "e-CON® " that generates about 80% less CO2 than conventional concrete and has excellent resistance to salt damage and acid.
e-CON® is a zero-cement concrete that uses 90% recycled materials such as blast furnace slag and fly ash as the main ingredient in place of cement.
Compared to ordinary concrete, e-CON® reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 80%, is five times more resistant to salt damage (salt diffusion coefficient), and more than 10 times more resistant to acid. It has a long service life, and the company claims that it is virtually free of the white flower phenomenon seen with ordinary concrete. It is also highly versatile, requiring no special manufacturing equipment, and can be produced at many concrete plants.
It is aimed to be adopted in various sites: 
•    Ports and harbors: piers, offshore structures, wave dissipating blocks, etc. 
•    Waterways: Hume pipes, manholes, segments, precast storage tanks, treatment plants, etc.  
•    Waterworks: water valve chambers, shepherd's pipes, water treatment plant-related and precast corridors, etc. 
•    Roads: medians, wall railings, retaining walls, PC wells and other foundation structures, etc. 
•    Rivers: Flumes, river blocks, water gates, etc.
Nippon Hume Corporation (in Japanese):  https://shorturl.at/hBH39

Fujifilm to Invest Additional S1.2 Billion to Expand its Large-Scale Cell Culture CDMO Business in North Carolina 
FUJIFILM Corporation today announced an investment of $1.2 billion in its Large-Scale Cell Culture CDMO*1 Business to further expand the planned FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies end-to-end bio-manufacturing facility in Holly Springs, North Carolina, bringing the total investment in the facility to over $3.2 billion. The expansion adds significant large-scale production capacity to FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ global network through its United States and Europe manufacturing hubs. The investment will generate an additional 680 jobs by 2031, also bringing the total number of new, highly skilled local jobs to 1400 in Holly Springs.
The new investment in FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ large-scale cell culture facility in Holly Springs will add 8 x 20,000 liters (L) mammalian cell culture bioreactors by 2028, to the already planned 8 x 20,000 L for bulk drug substance as part of the initial investment. This new facility allows for flexibility to expand with additional bioreactors to accommodate new projects to meet the emerging needs of partners, and upon completion will make the site one of the largest cell culture biopharmaceutical CDMO facilities in North America. 
The strategic investment and expansion supports a key pillar of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Partners for Life strategy, which is to build capacity in large-scale production in locations across the U.S. and Europe to support biopharma customers’ end-to-end needs, and provide supply chain resiliency. Through FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ modular production model, KojoXTM, the expansion enables the Company to construct identical large-scale production facilities in U.S. and Europe to ensure that customers can seamlessly integrate drug manufacturing production regardless of location.
Fujifilm: https://www.fujifilm.com/jp/en/news/hq/11307

Notice of Recruitment of Projects for Akita Prefecture Wind Power Generation Related Industry Entry Support Project Subsidy for FY2024
The prefecture will subsidize part of the expenses related to acquiring qualifications necessary for construction, maintenance, etc., of facilities related to wind power generation (including offshore wind power generation), geothermal power generation, solar power generation, hydroelectric power generation, or biomass power generation, as well as expenses required for obtaining certification by public institutions or manufacturers necessary for manufacturing wind power generation-related components, and expenses required for securing personnel related to wind power generation, etc. The recruitment period is from April 9th, 2024 to February 14th, 2025.
The subsidy will cover part of the expenses incurred by regular employees to acquire specialized knowledge, skills, and qualifications necessary for construction, maintenance, etc., of wind power generation, etc. Direct expenses such as training institution fees, teaching materials fees, travel expenses, and transportation expenses are eligible.
Examples of subsidized projects include:
•    Acquisition of technology and qualifications necessary for regular maintenance of wind turbines, etc.
•    Acquisition of ship licenses for personnel handling maintenance vessels, practical training using domestic and overseas vessels, etc.
•    Safety training and seminar attendance for maritime labor
•    Acquisition of qualifications necessary for underwater facility inspection such as wind turbine foundations, submarine power transmission lines, etc.
Akita Prefecture (in Japanese): https://www.pref.akita.lg.jp/pages/archive/80831

Zeon Corporation signs memorandum of understanding with Visolis, Inc. to commercialize bio-isoprene monomer and SAF toward realizing a sustainable society
Zeon Corporation (Zeon; head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President and CEO: Tetsuya Toyoshima) signed a memorandum of understanding with Visolis, Inc. (Visolis; California, U.S.A.; President and CEO: Deepak Dugar) on March 30, 2024, to advance the commercialization of products, including bio-isoprene monomers and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Zeon had announced its investment in Visolis through its venture capital arm Zeon Ventures Inc. (California, U.S.A.; representative: Yoshihiro Kagawa) in February 2023, and the latest agreement will accelerate its efforts to realize a sustainable society. 
Bio-isoprene monomers are used as a raw material for products such as bio-isoprene rubber, bio-styrene-isoprene-styrene block copolymer (bio-SIS), and SAF. The material is expected to contribute significantly to transforming Zeon’s “monozukuri" manufacturing to realize carbon neutrality and a circular economy as a Groupwide strategy under its STAGE 30 Medium-Term Business Plan. Bio-isoprene monomers and SAF will be manufactured from biomass materials through a combination of biological catalysis(fermentation) and chemical catalysis drawing upon Visolis’ patented cutting-edge technology. In this context, Zeon recently accomplished a world first by synthesizing bio-SIS using bio-isoprene monomers produced through Visolis’ proprietary technology, while Visolis has concurrently achieved a 50-fold increase in its production capacity of bio-isoprene monomers.
Zeon Corporation: https://www.zeon.co.jp/en/news/assets/pdf/240409.pdf

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