Thursday, May 25, 2017
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Nation University and Japan’s Fukui University of Technology have agreed to expand their academic cooperation in the form of student exchanges and joint research by lecturers.

“We believe we will receive support from the Japanese government too,” Nation University president Dr Pong-In Rakariyatham said on the weekend.

He was speaking as the Nation University organised academic seminar to showcase and promote co-operation between the two institutes.

Held at the Thai institute’s Lampang campus on the weekend, the event attracted a wide range of intellectuals and representatives from the public and private sectors.

During the seminar, Assoc Prof Tsuyoshi Kigawa from the Fukui University of Technology in Japan presented his academic work titled “The Charm of Two Cities: Fukui & Lampang”.

Adisak Champathong, dean of Nation University’s Faculty of Communication Arts, produced “Short Films of Local Towns Situation”.

The seminar also covered various other interesting topics such as “The Network Design for Connecting Anytime Anywhere: An Introduction to Delay Tolerant Network” by Assoc Prof Akihiro Fujihara of Fukui University of Technology.

There was also “Design and Use of Local Materials, Design and Use of Lampang Phasin” by Prof Koichi Nishio of Fukui University of Technology, and “Design and Use of Fukui Traditional Paper” by Pawinrat Saetang and her team from Nation University.

A discussion on traditional materials and cultural exchange was also held.

In addition, the seminar addressed the topic “Lampang U-Town: Local Economy Development” – or how to develop Lampang as an education destination.

Nation University, like The Nation, operates under Nation Multimedia Group. The university also has a Bangkok campus.

TOKYO – Japan’s economy sank into recession in the third quarter, making it almost inevitable that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will delay a fresh sales tax hike and call snap elections to reinvigorate his power against party rivals, analysts said Monday.

Abe’s two-year premiership has been largely focused on breathing life into Japan’s deflation-plagued economy, and getting a handle on its soaring national debt by tapping into new revenue through raising duties.

But a sales levy hike in April — Japan’s first in 17 years — knocked consumers off their feet, as Abe’s approval ratings fall and he uses up political capital in his attempt to restart nuclear power and bolster the role of Japan’s military.

“In light of the sharp fall in today’s preliminary estimate, it now looks likely that PM Abe will call off the hike and announce snap elections,” Marcel Thieliant from Capital Economics said in a report following the data release.

Japan’s gross domestic product shrank 0.4 percent in the third quarter, or at an annualised rate of 1.6 percent, underscoring how the tax rise earlier this year stalled Abe’s programme to turn the world’s number three economy around.

The market’s median expectation was for a 0.5 percent expansion, according to economists surveyed by the leading Nikkei business daily.

Residential investment fell, capital spending was weak, and consumer spending remained tepid. Exports were in positive territory, but shipments of cars and televisions were not enough to drag the economy into the black.

“The data show that the economy is in a recession,” said Koichi Fujishiro, an economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

“Household consumption is still weak as real disposable income declined…We’ll have to wait until December or January to see a rebound in the economy.”

– Snap elections –

The figures comes as speculation swirls that Abe — who faces a leadership election next year — will delay boosting Japan’s sales tax to 10 percent next year, after the rise to 8.0 percent from 5.0 percent in April.

The economy suffered a revised 1.9 percent contraction in the April-June quarter — or 7.3 percent at an annualised rate — reversing a 1.6 percent expansion in the first quarter of the year when hopes were still buoyant for Abe’s growth plan, dubbed “Abenomics”.

Last month, the Bank of Japan expanded its already huge monetary easing programme to counter the downturn, but the latest figures will lead to talk of further measures by the central bank.

Tokyo has said it would wait to see the final estimate for third-quarter growth, due next month, before making a final decision on the second tax hike.

On Monday, economy minister Akira Amari noted that, despite Monday’s data, the economy still expanded 0.5 percent in the first nine months of the year.

“A positive cycle in the economy is ongoing — we can’t just simply summarise (the data) with the word ‘recession’.”

Tokyo’s tax rises are aimed at paying down the country’s enormous national debt, but they have put Abe in a tricky position as he tries to balance them with his pro-spending growth plan, launched after he swept to power in late 2012.

While most commentators said a dip in spending was inevitable — millions of shoppers dashed to stores ahead of the tax hike — the second-quarter contraction was much more painful than many economists had expected.

Japanese media have reported that Abe plans to hold a general election on December 14, two years ahead of schedule, as he seeks to bolster his public support on the back of shaky approval ratings.

The premier wants an early poll while opposition parties remain weak after the ruling party’s spectacular election victory two years ago, pundits said. An election win next month would boost Abe ahead of the Liberal Democratic Party’s three-yearly leadership vote in 2015.

The Mainichi newspaper said the conservative premier would order the drafting of an additional budget on Tuesday, before announcing his decision to dissolve the lower house of parliament.

Japan eyes wind power to generate electricity

Posted by pakin On October - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

With huge funding, it is carrying out an experimental project amid major tech challenges

A huge amount of electricity supply was lost in Japan when the nuclear power plant at Fukushima was disabled by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and compensating for such a loss has required original thinking.

An ingenious solution that is being pursued is to build a network of power-generating systems relying on a freely available source – wind power – in an operational area well within the vicinity, and using floating platforms right off the coast.

This solution, which is being carried out in what is the world’s first experimental project of its sort, requires not only a tremendous amount of effort, but is also a major technological challenge and involves a colossal amount of funding.

Ultimately, the Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind Farm Demonstration Project – also known as Fukushima FORWARD – is aimed at becoming the centre of a new industry that will create employment in this region, helping it to recover from the massive damage brought about by the tragic disaster more than three years ago.

The project is also expected to perform a crucial role in feeding electricity to many key cities, including Tokyo, which had relied on more than 70 per cent of the power generated by the Fukushima nuclear plant before the earthquake andtsunami struck, disabling its operation to this day.

Fukushima FORWARD, which is being carried out by a consortium of Japanese companies with expertise in heavy industry and funded by the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, is now well under way and into its Phase II, in which two of the world’s largest 7-megawatt wind turbines will be installed by year-end, after the first Phase-II works began in June.

During Phase I, one 2MW floating wind turbine and a 25-megavolt-ampere floating power substation were moored off the coast of Fukushima. The former is based on a platform called the Compact Semi-Sub, while the latter is the world’s first floating substation with undersea cables, which were completely put in place last November.

Work on the ambitious project commenced in 2011, just a few months after the disaster occurred in March.

In a recent on-site interview with Professor Takeshi Ishihara of University of Tokyo’s Department of Civil Engineering, School of Engineering, who is the chief technical adviser for the project, journalists from Southeast Asian countries that had been affected by tsunamis were granted exclusive access to detailed information and latest updates on the project.

Ishihara expressed enthusiasm over expectations for the successful operation of the two 7MW wind turbines, despite their being much costlier than the 2MW unit, as the power output would be more than triple while the long-term cost of cable installation, catenary chains and relevant underwater operations would be invested in at one time, at an amount more than three times cheaper than if it took place separately over time.

The 2MW unit – known as Fukushima Mirai – is anchored some 20 kilometres off the coast, in waters 120-metres deep. It has three blades that are each 40m long, a diameter of 80m and stands atop a 32m-high floater.

The substation – Fukushima Kizuna – consists of a transformer to convert the generated electricity to high voltage for transmission to land. It stands 60m above the surface of the sea, and the 66-kilovolt transformer is the first ever to float on the ocean.

The professor said ocean winds were both stronger and more consistent than the onshore type, and Japan’s territorial waters were much larger than its land mass.

While Japan ranks just 62th globally in terms of land area, its territorial waters and exclusive economic zones combined give it the sixth-largest area, he added.

The 2-MW unit’s daily output can feed 1,600 houses, while that of each of the 7MW units can power 6,000 houses, or 12,000 houses in tandem.

Revenue from the sale of electricity will initially cover the operational cost of Fukushima FORWARD, before the project establishes a business model for the floating wind farm and contributes to future commercial projects, Ishihara said.

The works on the 7MW wind turbines and the laying of chains and anchors at the testing area were completed between June and August, as was the shipping, laying and burying of the undersea cable.

Towing of the v-shape, three-column Semi-Sub, which is also called Fukushima Shimpuu, from Nagasaki port to Onahama port will commence on November 1 and be completed on November 10. The schedule for the operation with the other unit – the advanced spar – will be worked out at a later stage.

Japan eases visa rules for SE Asia

Posted by pakin On September - 30 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Japan said Tuesday it has significantly relaxed its visa requirements for visitors from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The measure is part of the government’s drive to increase the number of foreign tourists to 20 million a year by 2020 after hitting the 10 million mark in 2013.

Japan exempts applicants from the three countries from submitting documents showing their savings on condition that they have visited Japan in the past and also that they have made several trips to any of the Group of Seven industrialized nations other than Japan, according to a Foreign Ministry official.

The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

The validity of multiple-entry visas for nationals of the three Southeast Asian countries has been extended to up to five years from three years, the official said.

Japan will also waive visas for tourists from Indonesia from Dec. 1 if they register in advance with their IC passports at Japanese diplomatic establishments abroad.

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