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TOKYO, Oct. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –Satsumasendai City and Sumitomo Corporation have agreed to carry out a joint project on the Koshiki Islands to establish an effective use of reused batteries from electric vehicles ("EV") as large-scale power storage facilities and to promote renewable energy into the micro-grid of these remote islands. For small-scale electric power grids on remote islands …

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Satsumasendai City and Sumitomo Corporation Introduce Joint Project for Reused EV Battery Systems on Koshiki Islands …

BitFlyer Inc., a Japanese bitcoin exchange, raised 25 million yen ($236,000) from New York-based Bitcoin Opportunity Corp. to fund its overseas expansion.

The Tokyo-based exchange, which opened in April, plans to begin offerings abroad by the end of the year, according to its founder and chief executive officer Yuzo Kano. BitFlyer allows anyone with a Japanese bank account to buy and sell the coins, Japans first such service since Mt. Gox collapsed in February.

Singapore is a likely target, although nothing has been decided yet, Kano, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. trader, said in Oct. 9 telephone interview from Tokyo. It will have to be somewhere favorable to bitcoin, so probably not the U.S.

Japans ruling Liberal Democratic Party has taken a hands-off approach to the virtual currency which it sees aiding Prime Minister Shinzo Abes push to spur venture funding for innovation, a June report by the LDPs special committee on IT strategy shows. That contrasts with restrictions in China, Thailand and Iceland, while U.S. Department of the Treasury guidance makes it difficult for exchanges to get custodial bank accounts to hold customer funds.

Kano, who heads the Japan Authority of Digital Asset industry group, last month accompanied the head of the LDP committee charged with regulation of the currency on a trip to San Francisco and Washington, D.C., where they met with legislators and bitcoin entrepreneurs. JADA is seeking to set security standards and personal identification guidelines for bitcoin trading in the Asian nation.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said in March it plans to issue regulations requiring facilitators of virtual currency exchanges to verify the identities of customers and report suspicious transactions to the police. The rules wont cover the safety and soundness of the intermediaries or the transactions, it said.

Mt. Gox, once the worlds largest exchange for digital-currency transactions, went offline in Tokyo on Feb. 25 after losing 850,000 bitcoins, then valued at about $473 million. The company later found 200,000 in an old-format digital wallet.

Bitcoin traded at $398.00 as of 10:21 a.m. in Tokyo today, according to Bitstamp data compiled by Bloomberg. While thats up 43 percent from this years low of $278 on Oct. 5, it traded as high as $1,132 in December.

Japan is way ahead of other countries when it comes to cooperation between bitcoin operators and regulators, which you dont see in the U.S., Europe or Singapore, Kano said.

Bitcoin Opportunity is a personal investment vehicle of Barry Silbert, who also heads New York-based brokerage SecondMarket Inc. The investments span more than 40 bitcoin companies including Coinbase, BitPay, Circle and Ripple Labs, Silbert said in an e-mailed answer to questions.

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BitFlyer Bitcoin Exchange Gets $236,000 to Expand Overseas

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch)Typhoon Vongfong is heading toward Japans main islands after strong winds and heavy rains left more than 20 people injured in the southern Okinawan islands over the weekend.

Reports cited the Japan Meteorological Agency as saying the typhoon was due to make landfall on Japans Kyushu and Honshu islands as early as Monday morning.

The agencys chief forecaster, Hiroshi Sasaki, warned residents to take precautions including staying away from beaches or swollen rivers.

Tokyo and eastern Japan are expected to see strong rain and wind on Tuesday.

In Okinawa, Japans southernmost prefecture, local officials said at least 23 people were injured, including a 9-year-old girl who had her finger amputated after getting it caught in a door slammed shut by strong winds.

Vongfong comes a week after Japan was hit by typhoon Phanfone, which killed seven people, including three U.S. servicemen in Okinawa.

Meanwhile, a massive cyclone pounded southern India on Sunday morning, killing at least six people and damaging houses and crops.

Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes, The Wall Street Journal reported. The storm, named Hudhud, hit the coast near a port city in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh at about 11:30 a.m. local time. The chief minister of the state said the extent of damage from the storm would become clear in a day or two after it subsided. He said Sunday evening at least 70% of communication had totally collapsed.

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Typhoon Vongfong aims at Japans main islands



Oct 5, 2014 | Typhoon Phanfone Lashing Japan's Amami Islands; Tokyo, Osaka in Cyclone's Path
Sources: NHK World, TWC, NOAA, JTWC, TWN. TWC: http://www.weather.com/news/weather-hurricanes/typhoon-phanfone-heads-towards-japan-weekend-20141004 TWN: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articl…

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Oct 5, 2014 | Typhoon Phanfone Lashing Japan’s Amami Islands; Tokyo, Osaka in Cyclone’s Path – Video

Exchange in the context of finance often conjures up images of busy trading floors where traders gesticulate and shout in deafening din. In the world of Bitcoin, things are much quieter. The Bitcoin exchanges, as many of them are, can be little more than a website and a piece of program running behind it. Many of these exchanges, often registered in offshore tax havens such as British Virgin Islands, dont have much of a physical existence.

Given how new Bitcoin is, it may not be surprising that the Bitcoin exchanges at large resemble the banking industry in the early days a little bit They often fail. This year, the industry is stigmatised by the fall of Mt. Gox, the longest lasting and erstwhile largest Bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo, Japan. In the aftermath, there was a wave of criticism of incumbent exchanges, which were referred to as single point of failure. Contrary to the popular demand, however, the single point of failure persisted. On the ruins of the failed Mt. Gox, new exchanges emerge and many prosper. Among them, China-based OKCoin and Huobi impress many with their meteoric rise from obscurity.

Both Huobi and OKCoin, the largest Chinese exchanges, had been questioned over the veracity of their claimed trading volumes. After one of the first accusations being reported by Bitcoin news website CoinDesk last year, despite consistent denials from these exchanges,similar suggestions popped up fairly regularly on the social media. However, skepticism notwithstanding, the China-based exchanges, exemplified by the two aforementioned, are making strides. Both have grown from nothing to be relatively large companies within a period of a year Both Huobi and OKCoin have over 150 employees each. Both appear to be on solid ground financially, at least judging by the way they spend and speed of expansion. In a recent interview, OKCoins CEO Star Xuconfirmed that his company had been profitable.

From left to right: Yan Chuan, Elon Zhao, Mike Gropp

All these lead to a question: Are the Chinese exchanges, despite their shortcomings, possess some special quality that makes them more successful?

Will Chinese Exchanges Dominate The World?

In a high-rise office building in Sanyuanqiao, Chaoyang district in Beijing, I met Elon, Mike, and Yan Chuan, three cofounders of BitBays, a new Bitcoin exchange. I first met Mike and Elon at the Shanghai Bitcoin Expo a week before, where they gave a presentation. Although a secure and globalized Bitcoin exchange sounded to me just vanilla marketing talk, I was curious as to how they implemented the concept. I was also interested to learn what they have to say about the exchange environment as well as other questions that many are concerned with.

I started the interview by asking what are the competitive advantages and disadvantages of the large Chinese exchanges such as Huobi and OKCoin. Acknowledging the success of the two, Elon listed three factors that he believed are behind the growth: The appeal of zero-fee, general lack of speculative assets in China and a highly developed Internet industry.

In spite of these advantages, Elon didnt believe that any of the two, in their current shape, stand much of a chance to be global leaders. First, there is the negative image associated with being Chinese. It is like an American sees an Arabic exchange or a North Korea exchange. Then, Chinese companies generally performed badly in terms of globalisation. Elon cited the example of WeChat: despite its phenomenal success in China, the mobile communication app remains a Chinese phenomenon. It is hard to imagine that a Bitcoin exchanges can do what Tencent, a much larger and deeper-pocketed company, cant.

However, Elon believed BitBays had the advantage as a late-starter. The company had little burden; it would be much harder to switch direction when you are halfway in the journey. Elon compared BitBays that he envisioned with Blockchain.info. Blockchain.info is the worlds largest online Bitcoin wallet service. Headquartered in Luxembourg, the wallet provider has employees distributed in many countries across the globe. According to an email reply from Roger Ver, cofounder of Blockchain.info: People help from Blockchain from all over the world. North and South America, Europe, Asia, and even South America. I dont think we have anyone in Africa yet though.

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Interview With BitBays – A Bitcoin Exchange That Tries To Make A Difference

At San Franciscos Buyers Best Friend, a worker demonstrates the companys custom-built bitcoin payments system. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired

Over the past year, its become a lot easier to buy bitcoin, thanks to services such as Coinbase. And thanks to retailers such as Overstock.com and TigerDirect, its now a lot easier to to spend them online. But theres still one big pothole in bitcoins bumpy road to mainstream adoption: Your local coffee shop.

Thats because most cash register software still doesnt support the worlds most popular digital currency. But the situation is about to change, according to Square CEO Jack Dorsey. He says that Square is building a register that will allow companies to accept bitcoin as well as Apples new contactless payment system, Apple Pay.

Were building a register so that sellers can accept a credit card, so they can accept cash, so they can accept a cheque, so they can accept Bitcoin and so they can accept any form of payment that comes across the counter including future ones and burgeoning ones like Apple Pay, Dorsey told the CBC this week, speaking at the opening of Squares new Canadian offices in Kitchener, Ontario.

Reached Monday, the company didnt have any word on when its bitcoin-ready register might be on the market. But it said say that it wants to support new types of payment systems. Square sellers should never have to miss out on a sale. They should be able to accept any form of payment, said Square spokesman Johnny Brackett.

Today, shops such as Buyers Best Friend in San Francisco and restaurants such as the Pink Cow in Tokyo accept payments in bitcoin. Basically, you hold your smartphone up to a scanner at the cash register. But such systems can be difficult for businesses to set up. Square, whose in-person payment systems are already used by so many businesses, could potentially make it much easier for small stores and restaurants to accept bitcoin, a new kind of currency that exists only on the internet.

Though many believe bitcoin can remake the way we handle moneyremoving some of the control traditional exhibited by big banks and government organizationsit is still a long way from reaching the mainstream. But with company such as Overstock now accepting bitocin payments across the globe and Square flirting with a bitcoin register, the currency is inching closer.

Home Page Photo: David Shankbone

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Square Is Making a Register That Takes Bitcoin and Apple Pay

Japan is to establish new military outposts on remote islands, a report said Monday, as Tokyo looks to bolster its defence amid a territorial dispute with China. Up to 350 troops each could be stationed on three islands in the far southwest, close to the Senkakus, which Beijing claims as its own under the name Diaoyus, the mass-selling Yomiuri Shimbun reported. With the exception of the main …

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Japan 'to establish island military posts'

An aerial view shows Yonaguni island, Okinawa prefecture in this picture taken by KyodoReuters file photo

Japan is reportedly planning to establish fresh military outposts in remote islands near the archipelago known in Japan as Senkaku, in order to bolster security in its territorial waters.

According to the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun, nearly 350 troops are expected to be stationed on three different islands in the far southwest, near the disputed chain of islands. The string of land mass, often at the centre of spats between Tokyo and Beijing, is called Diaoyus in China.

Although there is already a minimum air force facility in the region, it does not have Japan’s ground forces and the latest proposal is bound to infuriate China.

The two countries are frequently involved in maritime confrontations in the waters to assert their claims to the islands, which lie about 2,000kms from Tokyo and 200kms from Taiwan, which also claims rights to the chain.

The three sites identified for the new outposts are Amamioshima, Miyako island and Ishigaki island, all of which are located about 150 to 210kms from Senkakus, the daily reported, citing anonymous senior officials.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters: “At the moment, however, we have not decided on specific, concrete locations such as those reported.”

Last month, Japan had come up with its first military expansion in the region in more than 40 years by beginning the construction of a radar station in Yonaguni.

Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said: “This is the first deployment since the US returned Okinawa in 1972 and calls for us to be more on guard are growing. I want to build an operation able to properly defend islands that are part of Japan’s territory.”

The radar facility will significantly increase Japan’s surveillance capabilities in the region as Tokyo’s monitoring could potentially expand up to mainland China to keep an eye on its ships and flights.

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Japan Plans New Military Outposts near Disputed Islands



Bitcoin ATM Debut in Japan ATM
TV Tokyo English Translation: Me Everything else: TV Tokyo Did you enjoy the subtitles? Leave a tip! Bitcoin: 1pXP3CUsSGuT5TpkDCq2xdd77AXUTRHp6 Want …

By: Ricky Burgin

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Bitcoin ATM Debut in Japan ATM – Video



A Huge Bitcoin Exchange Just Disappeared Into Thin Air.
A Huge Bitcoin Exchange Just Disappeared Into Thin Air. The website for Mt Gox – a bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo – went blank late Monday night – after reports surfaced on Twitter and Reddit…

By: Nathan Creswell

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A Huge Bitcoin Exchange Just Disappeared Into Thin Air. – Video



Dispute islands 'within scope' of US-Japan alliance: Barack Obama
Tokyo: The islands at the centre of a corrosive row between Tokyo and Beijing are covered by the US-Japan defence alliance, Barack Obama told a newspaper ahe…

By: Top World News

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Dispute islands ‘within scope’ of US-Japan alliance: Barack Obama – Video

TOKYO (AP) Showing solidarity with Japan, President Barack Obama affirmed Thursday that the U.S. would be obligated to defend Tokyo in a confrontation with Beijing over a set of disputed islands, but urged all sides to resolve the long-running dispute peacefully.

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Obama: US would defend Japan in islands dispute

TOKYO (AP) President Barack Obama confirmed Wednesday that America's mutual security treaty with Japan applies to the islands at the center of a territorial dispute between China and Japan.

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Obama: U.S.-Japan treaty applies to disputed islands

The islands at the centre of a row between Tokyo and Beijing are covered by the US-Japan defence alliance, Barack Obama told a newspaper ahead of his arrival in Tokyo.

Obama, who begins a tour of Asia that will also take in South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia, is the first sitting US president to explicitly affirm that hostile action against the island chain would spark an American reaction.

“The policy of the United States is clear – the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security,” Obama said in a written interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun.

“And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands,” he said.

Several senior US figures, including former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have made similar statements, which Tokyo covets as a way to warn China away from territories it claims as the Diaoyus.

Obama’s week-long tour of Asia is being dubbed a “rebalancing” eastward of US foreign policy by the White House.

Although China is not on his itinerary, its presence will be felt on every leg at a time of complex regional disputes and questions about US strategy.

The row over ownership of the Senkakus is not new, but has burst to the fore in the past two years, with paramilitary vessels from both sides jostling in nearby waters to assert control.

In November, China declared an air defence identification zone over the East China Sea, including the skies above the islands.

“I’ve also told (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping) that all our nations have an interest in dealing constructively with maritime issues, including in the East China Sea,” Obama told the Yomiuri.

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Obama: Disputed islands part of US-Japan alliance

Tension: a Japanese coast guard vessel shadowing a Chinese surveillance ship last year near the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Photo: AP

Tokyo: Islands at the centre of a row between Tokyo and Beijing are covered by the US-Japan defence alliance, Barack Obama told a newspaper ahead of his arrival in Tokyo.

Mr Obama, on a tour of Asia that will also take in South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia, is the first sitting US president to explicitly affirm that hostile action against the island chain would spark an American reaction.

“The policy of the United States is clear – the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security,” Mr Obama said in a written interview with Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

“We oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands,” he said.

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Several senior US figures, including former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, have made similar statements, which Tokyo covets as a way to warn China away from territories it claims as the Diaoyu islands.

Mr Obama’s week-long tour of Asia is being dubbed a “rebalancing” eastward of US foreign policy by the White House.

Although China is not on his itinerary, its presence will be felt on every leg at a time of complex regional disputes and questions about US strategy.

On Wednesday, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency published a comment piece criticising US policy in the region as “a carefully calculated scheme to cage the rapidly developing Asian giant”.

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Disputed islands part of US-Japan alliance: Obama

Apr 232014

The islands at the centre of a row between Tokyo and Beijing are covered by the US-Japan defence alliance, Barack Obama told a newspaper ahead of his arrival in Tokyo.

Obama, who begins a tour of Asia that will also take in South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia, is the first sitting US president to explicitly affirm that hostile action against the island chain would spark an American reaction.

‘The policy of the United States is clear – the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security,’ Obama said in a written interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun.

‘And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands,’ he said.

Several senior US figures, including former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have made similar statements, which Tokyo covets as a way to warn China away from territories it claims as the Diaoyus.

Obama’s week-long tour of Asia is being dubbed a ‘rebalancing’ eastward of US foreign policy by the White House.

Although China is not on his itinerary, its presence will be felt on every leg at a time of complex regional disputes and questions about US strategy.

The row over ownership of the Senkakus is not new, but has burst to the fore in the past two years, with paramilitary vessels from both sides jostling in nearby waters to assert control.

In November, China declared an air defence identification zone over the East China Sea, including the skies above the islands.

‘I’ve also told (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping) that all our nations have an interest in dealing constructively with maritime issues, including in the East China Sea,’ Obama told the Yomiuri.

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Disputed islands part of alliance

TOKYO–(BUSINESSWIRE)– Shiseido Co., Ltd. (TOKYO:4911) announces plans to open the Shiseido Cell-Processing and Expansion Center (SPEC) on May 1, 2014. The center, located in the in the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster in Kobe, Japan, will centralize research and development on hair regenerative medicine with an aim toward commercialization. Regenerative medicine in Japan is an emerging …

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Shiseido Opens Research Facility Dedicated to Hair Regeneration

Feb 072014

Outside the Lee Ufan Museum, Naoshima. Photo: Getty Images

An unlikely art trail in a remote corner of Japan has Danielle Demetriou captivated.

I am standing in a dark, windowless room resonating with the sound of a human heartbeat, each pulsating thump accompanied by a strobe-like flicker of light.

This is not because I am in the bowels of an underground nightclub in Tokyo. Nor am I detained in a mental institute (despite the presence of a woman in a clinical white outfit just the other side of the door).

Giant pumpkin at Shikoku Island. Photo: AFP

My location is a wooden building on a forest-fringed beach on a tiny fishing island in Japan – and I am inside a modern art installation.

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The appreciation of contemporary art usually takes place in a gallery. But things are done differently in Japan – in particular, in the Seto Inland Sea area. Scattered with 3000-plus islands, this idyllic expanse of blue water is dubbed the Mediterranean of Japan on account of its temperate climate and olive trees.

It is in this region, about 640 kilometres south of Tokyo, that hundreds of artworks – the heartbeat house included – have been installed across rice fields, beaches, shrines and old houses as part of an unusual project to revitalise ageing communities.

Benesse House Art. Photo: Inside Japan Tours

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Islands of inspiration

TOKYO, Jan. 28 (UPI) — Japan’s revised school teaching manuals will claim the Senkaku Islands and Takeshima islets, which are also claimed by China and South Korea, as part of Japan.

The announcement by Japan’s Education Ministry that its new teaching manuals for junior and senior high schools will describe the islands as “integral parts of Japanese territory” drew protests from China and South Korea, Kyodo News reported.

“It is natural for the state to teach properly about [Japanese] territory,” Japanese Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura told a news conference Tuesday. “With the cooperation of our Foreign Ministry, we will explain the country’s position to our neighbors.”

The Senkaku Islands in the East China, which Japan controls, have become a subject of bitter territorial dispute with China, which calls them Diaoyu.

South Korea similarly claims the Takeshima islets in the Sea of Japan, which it controls. Seoul calls them the Dokdo islets.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed “grave concern” over the Japanese Education Ministry action.

South Koran Foreign Affairs Ministry, in a protest, urged Japan to immediately retract its revision, saying Japan’s claims over Dokdo are groundless as they have always belonged to South Korea.

Kyodo said the revised manuals are not legally binding, although as teaching guidelines, they have much impact in classrooms.

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Japan teaching manuals say disputed islands are country’s territories



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