Thursday, May 25, 2017
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TOKYO – Japan on Monday relaxed a ban on the use of electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets in flight, following similar moves by the United States and the European Union.

From Monday, passengers were allowed to use a wide range of mobile electronic devices if they were switched to “flight mode” during the take-off and landing of newer planes, the transport ministry has said.

This disables cellular service, so passengers will still not be able to make calls or send texts.

The changes came after similar decisions by the US and European Union last year, and after Australia last week relaxed similar rules for passengers on Qantas and Virgin Australia.

Under previous rules, mobile phones, computers and other digital audio-visual devices that emitted radio waves were supposed to be switched off during take-off and landing. They were allowed to be used during the flight.

“The new rules do not apply to some airplanes with an old design,” a ministry official told AFP.

Serenity in the snow

Posted by pakin On August - 13 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Eight luxury townhouses add to the range of luxury accommodation for the winter sports enthusiast in Hokkaido’s Niseko Village

Boutique and spa resort brand YTL Hotels recently added winter sports to its elegant collection with the launch of the Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse – a collection of eight townhouses in the heart of Hokkaido’s award-winning Niseko Village.

Scheduled to open their doors to visitors from December 1, these three-bedroom townhouses on the very edge of the slopes are ideal for friends and families.

In parallel, Niseko Village is delivering on the first steps of its masterplan with the creation of a premium alpine shopping, dining and entertainment village a stone’s throw away from the resort’s luxurious hotels and residences.

“The Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse and new retail and dining experiences are the realisation of the first stage of the unique and exclusive developments under YTL Hotels’ Niseko Village masterplan,” says Luke Hurford, vice president of sales and marketing for the hotel chain.

“All these elements will create a world-class alpine destination with the unique touches of Japan and Hokkaido subtly interwoven with contemporary Western comforts and sophisticated dining and entertainment,” he adds.

The announcement followed on the heels of the company’s unveiling of its new Kasara brand in July, promising authentic and unforgettable experiences in exotic locations across the globe.

Staying true to the Kasara brand essence, the award-winning Design Intervention, has created a bespoke interior that captures key Japanese design principles. Each townhouse embraces shibumi and its principles, crafted with a sense of calm and a touch of richness, through contemporary furnishings that bring an undercurrent of glamour and warmth.

They include a traditional tatami room, shoji screens, lush fur throws and natural materials in gentle hues of greys, taupes and browns.

Guests at Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse will be entitled to priority privileges such as making fresh tracks on a guided Niseko Village mountain orientation with a local expert, access to both onsen and gym at the Hilton Niseko Village and The Green Leaf Niseko Village, and in-residence ski or snowboard boot fitting along with a host of personalised services including a residence concierge and complimentary driver-on-call.

The first phase of Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse comprises two blocks housing four townhouses each, all of which will have a view of the majestic Mount Yotei.

Each ski-in ski-out townhouse encompasses a minimum floor space of 240 square metres and accommodates up to six people. Three bedrooms, a flexible tatami-style dining room, a fully-equipped kitchen and laundry room set the foundation for a fabulous alpine getaway.

Adding vibrancy and energy to the destination, the new retail, food and beverage developments within Niseko Village are just moments away.

Inspired by traditional Japanese machiya architecture with its unmistakable sliding screens, wooden lattice facades and walkways lit by lanterns, the development will encourage guests to take leisurely strolls and enjoy dining on gourmet food and shopping for souvenirs.

Setting the benchmark for other Japanese ski resorts, an Asiatic tapas pub with a rustic Hokkaido twist will provide a dynamic place to socialise, eat, drink and party the night away.

Celebrated Michelin-starred Austrian-German chef Johann Lafer is also opening a brasserie that will operate year round and offer contemporary twists on European classics such as Wiener Schnitzel and pork knuckle.

“Niseko has evolved into Asia’s hottest ski destination over the past 10 years and it excites us to push it to even greater heights with Kasara Niseko Village and Asia’s best apres ski experiences. Coupled with the exotic appeal of the Japanese culture and traditions, we are certain that Niseko Village will draw new audiences from farther afield while exciting and retaining our loyal visitors,” says Hurford.

Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse is already taking short and long-term bookings for the 2014/15 winter season, beginning at US$2,000 per night for a three-bedroom townhouse.

A ceremony to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was held Wednesday, with Mayor Kazumi Matsui stressing the importance of sharing the memories of the victims and calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons around the world.

About 45,000 people braved pouring rain to attend the ceremony at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima to mourn the atomic bomb victims and pray for peace.

It was the first time since 1971 that the annual ceremony was held in the rain.

The ceremony was attended by atomic bomb survivors, representatives of bereaved families, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and delegates from 68 countries and the Delegation of European Union to Japan. The countries sending delegates included those possessing nuclear weapons—Britain, France, Russia and the United States.

At 8:15am, the time the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug 6, 1945, representatives of bereaved family members rang the Peace Bell, and the attendees offered a silent prayer for souls of the victims.

In his Peace Declaration speech, Matsui talked about the experiences he heard from four atomic bomb survivors.

“People who rarely talked about the past because of their ghastly experiences are now, in old age, starting to open up. To make sure the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki never happen a third time, let’s all communicate, think and act together with the hibakusha,” he said, using the Japanese term for atomic bomb victims.

The mayor also asked leaders of the nuclear powers to visit the atomic bomb site as soon as possible.

As representatives of local children, Yuichiro Muta, 11, a sixth-year student of Onaga Primary School, and Reiko Tamura, 11, a sixth-year student of Ushita Primary School, read out a commitment to peace.

With next year marking the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing, Abe said in his speech that he “would spare no efforts in working toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons and the realisation of eternal world peace.”

In regard to relaxing the criteria last December to certify sufferers of the aftereffects of radiation exposure in the atomic bombings, Abe vowed to make efforts so that as many sufferers as possible will be recognised.

As of the end of March, the number of living survivors of the atomic bombing across the nation was 192,719, down 9,060 from a year ago. The average age of the survivors rose to 79.4, up 0.6, from the previous year.

During the ceremony, name lists of 5,507 atomic bomb survivors whose deaths were confirmed in the past year were placed in the Memorial Cenotaph for atomic bomb victims.

Kennedy’s ‘somber reflection’

US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy attended the memorial ceremony as part of her first visit to Hiroshima in 36 years. Kennedy, who was wearing a raincoat, closed her eyes as the Hiroshima Peace Bell rang.

“This is a day for somber reflection and a renewed commitment to building a more peaceful world,” read Kennedy’s comment, which was released by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on the day.

In January 1978, Kennedy, then 20, visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum with her uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy. At that time, she met hibakusha, or atomic bomb survivors.

Factory upgrades to meet AEC demand

Kao Corporation, a Tokyo-based consumer products conglomerate, has announced a 40-billion-yen (12.6 billion baht) factory expansion in Thailand and Indonesia from 2015-18.

The move is aimed at meeting anticipated growth in demand after the launch of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) late next year.

Kozo Saito, president for consumer products in Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the amount would be divided equally between the two countries to boost production capacity of Kao fabric and home care products, sanitary napkins and baby goods.

The additional Thai production capacity will serve domestic consumption and exports to neighbouring countries, particularly Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Kao’s factory in Chon Buri’s Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate has been tapped for the expansion, with at least some of the extra output earmarked for the Middle East and South Asian markets.

Kao now has three Asean production bases for its consumer products — Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Product categories in the Thai factory that are marked for export to other Asean members include hair and skin care, household products, sanitary napkins and baby diapers.

Indonesia produces skincare products, sanitary napkins and detergents for domestic consumption, while Vietnam’s skincare production is consumed locally and exported to Japan. Baby products will also be produced in Vietnam soon.

“Kao continues to invest in Thailand whether the economy is good or bad, because it is an important production base in Asean and a management centre for this region,” Mr Saito said.

With the AEC fast approaching, Kao will accelerate its business expansion in other countries near Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam to ensure continued double-digit growth in Asean.

Apart from this major expansion, the Japanese consumer giant is also making its three-year business plan for Asean, with the aim of raising regional sales to 10% of the global total by 2018.

Hiroyuki Kumazawa, the new president of Kao Industrial (Thailand) and Kao Commercial (Thailand), said sales had been stagnant here since last October due to the political turmoil, as people tended to spend less during such times.

However, the market has become more active since the May 22 coup, and consumers are starting to shop more, a good sign for the consumer products business, he said.

Sales of Kao products made in Thailand totalled 13 billion baht last year for a net profit of 902 million.

Of these sales, 70% were consumer products sold domestically and 30% domestic chemical sales and exports to Asean members, Australia and India.

The company expects sales growth of 6-7% for Thai-made products this year.

“There are several good indicators in the market so far. And we see a bright potential to grow our business, particularly upcountry due to better living standards,” Mr Kumazawa said.

Thailand is the core country in Asean, so the company will bring more resources of Kao Group to Thailand, especially Japanese technology and investment, he added.

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