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Highlighting JAPAN

December 2013

Japan's Technological achievements -Innovation through small and medium enterprises-

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PRIME MINISTER'S DIARY
Prime Minister visits the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

COVER STORY
Japan's Technological achievements -Innovation through small and medium enterprises-

FEATURES

Dr. Hashimoto Interview

-An insightful conversation about the development of manufacturing in Japan-
To learn about how these enterprises have supported Japan's growth, we spoke to Dr. Hisayoshi Hashimoto, former director of the technology division at the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, now doing research focusing on the activities of small and medium enterprises at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

Higashiosaka City: Synergy of City and Industry

'Made in Higashiosaka' products, assembly parts, and technical manufacturing capabilities play important roles not only in Japan but all over the world. In addition to manufactured products made nowhere else in Japan, locally-made machine parts hold a significant stake in global markets. Indeed, Higashiosaka's know-how can be found applied to aircraft, satellites, shinkansen bullet trains, and even Tokyo's Skytree, the tallest free-standing tower in the world.

Nicker Paint: The magic behind the artist

The Nerima Ward of Tokyo is often said to be the birthplace of anime. Fittingly, it is also the location of Nicker, the paint brand used by many leading manga and anime artists, including Hayao Miyazaki, the genius behind such beloved films as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.

Moritaka Hamono Inc.: 700 Years of Precision Steel

Hidden away on a small side-street in the town of Yatsushiro, in Kyushu's Kumamoto Prefecture, three bladesmiths hand-forge what they claim to be the sharpest, most durable knives in all of Japan.


Hammering out High-Technology: Yamashita Kogyosho Forms the Face of the Shinkansen by Hand

It is hard to imagine that a simple hammer can shape the complex curves of this high-tech train's nose. What is even more remarkable is that only one company in Japan, with a mere 40 employees, has employed this technique to produce many of the Shinkansen's distinctive shapes.

Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd.: On the Horizon of Innovation

Founded in 1966 on the outskirts of the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory - now the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan - Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd. has grown from telescopes and rocket-mounted observation equipment to encompass precision three-dimensional measuring instruments, medical microscopes and solar-thermal energy systems.

Suzuki Precion: Precision and Family in Tochigi

Catch an express train out of Tokyo Station and 90 minutes later you will find yourself in Kanuma, a quiet town surrounded by the beautiful foothills and flowing rivers of Tochigi Prefecture. While this may seem to be the spot for an idyllic hot spring resort or some natural marvel, it is in fact a hotbed for high-precision machining and manufacturing.

JETRO Caravans: Japanese Goods Make Inroads Abroad

In the last four years, the Japan External Trade Organization, or JETRO, has implemented annual Caravan projects in an effort to support small and medium Japanese enterprises in expanding trade overseas.

SERIES

STUDENTS' CORNER
Toshikoshi

Do you have any end-of-year special traditions? In Japan, there are a few different ways to say goodbye to the old year.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
The Mega-ton Water System

Seawater reverse osmosis may provide drinking water for the world

JAPANESE ABROAD
Top of the Shelf: Mototsugu Hayashi

He is declared 'Sommelier of the Year' by Le Guide de l'Espresso in 2010, and again by the Italian Sommelier Association (AIS) in 2012 in Italy.

47 PREFECTURES: FROM A TO Y
Kagawa

Islands and mountains embrace the arts

Kagoshima

Drawing on the Power of the Earth