This Week in Japan
Friday, April 26, 2019
The latest headlines in Japan for the week of April 22, 2019
Top Stories for the Week of April 22
Softbank Corp. and Alphabet Inc. Join forces for Flying 5G Stations
Softbank Corp and Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, are joining forces to set up flying 5G stations using balloons and aircrafts. Both Softbank’s HAPSMobile and Alphabet’s Loon have been trying to fly network equipment in the stratosphere to provide 5G technologies and high speed Internet to places where grounded towers cannot access.
Under the terms of the agreement Softbank will invest 125 million in Loon with the aim of launching the airborne systems that would hover 20km above the ground by 2023. The system would be beneficial for connectivity during natural disasters or in rural areas where Internet connections are unreliable. To read more about Softbank and Alphabet's 5G technologies here are some useful links:
Japanese Government to Compensate Victims of Forced Sterilization Policies
The Eugenics Protection Law gave the government the authority to sterilize individuals who were “at risk” of producing “poor-quality descendants,” which included those with disabilities (mental and physical), those with mental illness, or hereditary disorders. The law was in effect from 1948 to 1993 and during that period about 25,000 people were sterilized, 16,500 of which did not give consent for the procedure.
Japan Likely to Follow Europe in Strengthening Online Consumer Protection
The Personal Information Protection Commission is discussing and amendment to the Private Information Protection Law that was implemented in 2017. Currently IT giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook are able to collect personal data like birth dates, names and address without the consumer’s consent and use it for marketing purposes. With consumers becoming more anxious about personal data privacy, the government is considering the option of “the right to be forgotten,” which allows consumers to choose to remove previously uploaded images and search results related to them; a right that already exists in Europe.
Currently it isn’t mandatory for companies to comply with customer requests to remove personal data, but under the new considerations, following the user’s request will be required by law. To read more about the Private Information Protection Law, here are some useful links:
Fukushima Prefecture’s Agricultural Exports Recover
Since the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Fukushima prefecture in 2011, the prefecture’s agricultural exports were crippled. But in the fiscal 2018, agricultural exports from the region hit a record high for two years in a row. The main exports of rice, pears, and apples were shipped to countries in Southeast Asia.