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. 

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Saito held talks with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Szijjártó
On Tuesday, May 21, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Saito met with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Szijjártó and signed a Memorandum of Cooperation towards nuclear cooperation. 
During their meeting, Minister Saito and Minister Szijjártó discussed further development of economic cooperation between the two countries and the strengthening of nuclear cooperation. They also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on enhancing nuclear cooperation. The memorandum signed on this occasion includes agreements to exchange information on the introduction of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), strengthen the nuclear supply chain, cooperate on the long-term operation and safety enhancement of existing reactors, and collaborate on the use of nuclear energy. This signing will serve as a catalyst to further accelerate nuclear cooperation with Hungary.
METI (in Japanese):

JR Tokai to Introduce "Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles" in Collaboration with ENEOS and Hitachi
On May 16, Central Japan Railway Company (JR Tokai/Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture) announced that it would begin collaborating with ENEOS (Chiyoda, Tokyo) and Hitachi (same) to establish a hydrogen supply chain aimed at introducing hydrogen-powered vehicles.

To build this hydrogen supply chain, each company will undertake the following initiatives:
•    JR Tokai: Exploring the "Use" of Hydrogen
JR Tokai will investigate the amount of hydrogen required for the operation of hydrogen-powered vehicles, the frequency and locations for hydrogen refueling, and methods for loading hydrogen.
•    ENEOS: Exploring the "Production" and "Transportation" of Hydrogen
ENEOS will develop and test technologies for large-scale hydrogen production and transportation, examining the characteristics of hydrogen carriers and their compatibility with existing infrastructure.
•    Hitachi: Exploring the "Transportation" and "Use" of Hydrogen
Hitachi will develop technologies to extract hydrogen from methylcyclohexane (MCH) and manage the operation of related ground and vehicle equipment.
Hitachi (in Japanese):

Mitsui to Invest in Ship Investment Fund Managed by Navigare Capital Partners
Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui", Head Office: Tokyo, President and CEO: Kenichi Hori) has decided to participate in Maritime Investment Fund III K/S ("MIF III"), a maritime investment fund established and operated by Navigare Capital Partners A/S ("Navigare", Head Office: Copenhagen, Denmark), through intermediate companies, together with Mitsui & Co. Alternative Investments Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui.
Navigare was established in 2017 by Robert Maersk Uggla, the Chairman of A.P. Moller Maersk A/S, one of the world's largest shipping, logistics, and infrastructure companies, and four well known executives in the shipping industry as partners to join the company. Navigare has since formed and operated two maritime investment funds. Accumulated operating assets have reached approximately USD 2 billion, and Navigare has built up an excellent investment track record in a diverse range of maritime assets through the effective utilization of its large global shipping network.
Mitsui & Co:

Project to Develop Cost-Reducing Technology for TLP Floating Offshore Wind Turbines awarded Approval in Principle (AiP)
JERA Co., Inc. (“JERA”), together with MODEC, Inc. (“MODEC”), Toyo Construction Co., Ltd. (“Toyo construction”), and Furukawa Electric Industry Co., Ltd (“Furukawa Electric”), is progressing the “Project to Develop Cost-Reducing Technology for TLP*1 Floating Offshore Wind Turbines” (“the Project”)*2 under the Green Innovation Fund Program of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (“NEDO”) (21 January 2022 Press Release). In the Project, MODEC and Toyo construction has received the Approval in Principle (“AiP” *3) from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (“Class NK”) for the “Floater and Mooring Design of Tension Leg Type Platform for Floating Offshore Wind Applications”. For obtaining the AiP, JERA has performed surveys and measurements at the planned verification site and has set the design conditions for the floating system design performed by MODEC and Toyo Construction.
The AiP is an achievement related to the integrated system design, which is one of the development outputs of the Project. JERA is working with various partners to develop technologies for the purpose of realizing the renewable energy potential of Japan. Through floating offshore wind applications, JERA intends to accelerate the development of renewable energy and realize the vast potential for offshore wind energy of Japan.

NEDO commences the Development and Demonstration of Long-Range Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology under the "Economic Security Critical Technology Development Program"
NEDO is initiating the research and development of "long-range unmanned aerial vehicle technology for material transport" (hereafter referred to as "this project") as part of the "Economic Security Critical Technology Development Program" (commonly known as the "K Program"). This program aims to advance cutting-edge critical technology research and development to enhance and promote economic security.
In this project, the goal is to develop a vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicle capable of transporting approximately 30-50 kg of materials over distances up to about 1000 km. This will involve the development of key technologies such as a hybrid power system that can operate on alternative fuels like hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), high-power motors, and lightweight structural technology. These technologies will be integrated into a prototype aircraft for evaluation testing, establishing the foundation for long-range material transport unmanned aerial vehicle technology.
The successful realization of this technology aims to enable unmanned aerial vehicles to play an active role in various scenarios, such as transporting materials between remote islands and offshore infrastructure, inspecting wide-area infrastructure like power lines and pipelines, searching for individuals in need of rescue in maritime or mountainous areas, and assessing damage in disaster situations.
NEDO (in Japanese):

ITOCHU Announces Signing of MOU with KDDI, Toyota Industries, Mitsui Fudosan, and Mitsubishi Estate for Creation of Physical Internet Business
ITOCHU Corporation announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with four partners—KDDI Corporation, Toyota Industries Corporation, Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., and Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. — agreeing to joint considerations for the creation of a Physical Internet business by the end of FY2024. The five cross-industry partners will work together to drive logistics reforms aiming to achieve sustainable logistics, including a solution to Japan's 2024 logistics problem. Although logistics is the backbone supporting Japan's economy, the environment surrounding the logistics industry is becoming more challenging by the day, due to factors such as labor shortages accompanying population decline, tighter overtime regulations for truck drivers (the so-called "2024 logistics problem”), efforts to achieve carbon neutrality, and high fuel and commodity prices. If things continue as they are, it may become impossible to transport goods effectively in the future. To make logistics sustainable in the future, it will be essential for shippers, logistics operators, and consumers to work together as one to address current issues, and to implement next-generation solutions such as logistics standardization (e.g., expanding the use of pallets) and improving efficiency through digital transformation (DX) and green transformation (GX).

Development of Biomass Plastic Pellets "CottResin" Reusing Cotton Material
Shikibo Co., Ltd. has developed biomass plastic pellets "CottResin" by reusing cotton material that was traditionally discarded. This initiative is part of their efforts towards transitioning to a circular economy and achieving carbon neutrality. 
CottResin is developed by finely dividing cotton material, which was traditionally discarded, into microscopic sizes and mixing it with polypropylene resin. Compared to products made of 100% polypropylene, CottResin improves physical properties, yielding molded products with superior strength and durability. Additionally, by reducing wall thickness, it is expected to reduce the amount of resin used and achieve weight reduction. Applications include automotive parts, electronic devices, and building materials where plastic is used. The company plans to further develop CottResin for commercialization. According to a survey by the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan, over 500,000 tons of clothing waste is generated annually in Japan, most of which is incinerated or landfilled. The company also notes issues such as high dependency on foreign manufacturers for biomass and concerns about the impact on food production as raw materials. Shikibo believes that CottResin can contribute to solving challenges in the fiber and plastic industries.
Shikibo (in Japanese):

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