For the old dinosaurs of energy, it is wise to get in front of the next wave of disruption. TEPCO is showing signs of doing just that.
Japanese automakers are trying to put damaging corporate scandals behind them and get people to focus on designs for vehicles that are not only environmentally friendly, but packed with artificial intelligence features.
Japanese academics and scientists argue that the Abe government is in the process of shifting the nation’s university system and its industry from a footing of peace and consumerism toward the re-formation of a military-industrial complex, which will make the society increasingly dependent on arms exports and foreign wars.
“There is a profound shift underway – a tilt – in economic power from the northern hemisphere to the fast-developing markets and economies of the South,” says acclaimed business author Ram Charan. Terra Motors Co. Ltd., an electric vehicle company based in Japan, is a firm that has promptly addressed this tilt; 95% of the company’s sales are from South Asian and Southeast Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It has recently expanded its shares in the electric vehicle market in these countries, and predicts that it will make 30 billion yen (US$270 million) in this market period.
The Panasonic Corporation has unveiled a new product which their developers describe as the world’s thinnest insulation. They call it the NASBIS high-performance thermal insulation sheet. The key to this technology is a material called aerogel, which is a synthetic porous material derived from a gel, but in which the normal liquid component of the gel has been replaced with gas.
Energy conservation has become a major topic in Japan over the past few years, not only because of the suspension of nuclear reactors after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, but also because of the higher energy bills that came with it. New technology might help in that struggle.
The loss of public faith in nuclear energy since the March 11, 2011, triple disaster has once again put the Japanese nation on the hunt for new solutions to its vast energy needs. Many voices have called for the dramatic expansion of renewable energy systems such as solar, wind, and hydro as the medium- to long-term answer to reduce the contemporary dependency on nuclear, as well as on CO2-producing forms of energy like oil and gas.
More than two years after the Fukushima disaster, the effects of the government’s first efforts to reduce the nation’s dependency on nuclear power are clearly visible to the citizens of Anpachi in Gifu Prefecture, where Sanyo, now Panasonic, constructed its 315-meter-wide Solar Ark consisting of over 5,000 solar panels. Besides generating 530,000 kilowatt hours annually, the site also features a museum and several outdoor exhibitions.
Threats to humankind do not only come from within, and while it may still sound like science fiction to many, the possibility of a sizable asteroid impacting Earth remains a major concern for the space and national security communities. Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi recently reminded the public of this fact, and furthermore called for an international effort to detect and deflect incoming celestial bodies. Given the advanced capabilities of the Russian space program, Moscow would be a much welcome partner in such an enterprise.
The appearance on September 9 of an unmanned airplane near the Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims under the name Diaoyu, was just one of many incidents reported by the media over the last few weeks. However, it attracted the attention of observers who wondered whether this was a harbinger of things to come. On the one hand, it was just a matter of time until this kind of weapon would be deployed by the various powers in the Asia-Pacific region, where rumors about its presence already abounded.