Media December 2012

News in Brief

N-Power Creates Jobs Boost

About 14,000 jobs are to be created in the UK by Hitachi Ltd., The Sun reported on 31 October.

The technology firm bought Horizon Nuclear Power for £700mn in October, and plans to build reactors at two sites.

At each site, at least 6,000 jobs will be created during construction, and 1,000 permanent jobs thereafter, which will give the UK’s nuclear energy programme a massive boost.

Call for New Maths Teaching Methods

British experts want the techniques employed in Japanese schools to teach maths brought to UK institutions to boost the country’s low numeracy level, the Daily Mail reported on 2 November.

Many six-year-olds in Japan are taught to use an abacus, and can calculate much faster than if they used pencil and paper.

Scientific tests have shown that those taught maths using an abacus in East Asia use the computational and visual areas of the brain, while their peers in the West under-emphasise visual elements.

Tourism Trade Visit

VisitBritain brought representatives of 18 UK tourism-related firms to Japan to connect with travel trade buyers, The Japan Daily Press reported on 22 November.

Britain’s tourism agency sought to make the most of encouraging figures for Japanese visitors to the UK. In 2011, some 237,000 Japanese went to the UK and spent £191mn, up 6% year on year. The agency hopes to raise the figure to 30% by 2020, with an additional 61,000 visitors.

Soft Power Poll of Nations

The UK is the nation with the most positive influence, while Japan is in sixth position, according to a survey by Monocle magazine, published in its November issue.

The rankings focus on soft power, a country’s ability to attract and persuade rather than coerce, and were calculated using a composite index of 50 objective and subjective factors—from the standard of government and cultural output to the quality of national cuisines and business brands.

Schools Feel Thatcher Legacy

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has announced that children will have to attend school on Saturdays, reflecting his admiration for the education reforms credited to former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Daily Telegraph reported on 12 November.

As part of a campaign to raise the standard of education and reduce delinquency, all elementary schools in the city must implement the new timetable at the start of the next school year in April.

In the 1980s, Thatcher outlined plans for higher standards and increased local autonomy in UK education.

Dementia Scheme

The UK is launching a scheme based on a Japanese programme for training people to spot signs of dementia and help sufferers, the BBC reported on 8 November.

The £2.4mn programme hopes to raise awareness of the illness and recruit 1mn volunteers by 2015. In England, the ailment affects some 700,000 people, a figure expected to double over the next 30 years.

Sessions in workplaces and town halls will explain dementia, what it is like to have the condition, and what can be done to help those with symptoms.

Staple Success

Seaweed has been commercially harvested in the UK for the first time, the Daily Mail reported on 14 November.

The edible Dulse seaweed cannot be collected and sold without permission from landowners and environmental agencies and is worth up to £200/kg.

The seaweed is popular in Japan where it is a key ingredient used to achieve umami, the so-called fifth taste.

Top Honours for Linguist

Roy Hurst was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun medal for his contribution to UK–Japan ties as a linguist, according to the Slough and South Banks Observer on 8 November.

Hurst, appointed an OBE in 2000 and awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation in 2006, taught Japanese diplomats Russian and German at the Royal Army Educational Corps centre at Wilton Park, Beaconsfield, from 1964 to 2002.

Limited Drink Bottles Launched

Suntory Holdings has released a blended whisky to mark the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary, media reported on 2 November.

Only 150 bottles of the whisky, part of the firm’s Stones Bar series, were released. The crystal bottles are engraved with the Stones’ iconic lips and tongue logo, and have a decorative diamond-shaped stopper.

Visitors Pay Homage to Shipbuilders

A Cumbrian shipyard hosted visitors from Japan, who were there to see the birthplace of that nation’s most famous battleship, the North-West Evening Mail reported on 14 November.

The Mikasa was built for the Imperial Japanese Navy by the firm then known as Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd. of Barrow-in-Furness. Launched in 1900, it played a key role in defeating the Russian Navy at the Battle of Tsushima in 1905.

The 28 members of the Mikasa Preservation Society were presented with a plaque to commemorate the visit and a picture of the Mikasa as she looks today.

Rare Tapestries Exhibited

Tapestry and embroidery wall hangings from the Meiji era will be exhibited at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, the Guardian reported on 7 November.

The Threads of Silk and Gold exhibition is the first devoted to textiles from the Meiji era (1868–1912) and will include fabrics never before exhibited.

Project Imports Arts, Crafts

A new e-commerce venture will take Japanese art and designs to the UK, according to a press release issued on 1 November.

Online customers will be able to buy contemporary Japanese art and crafts.

The founder of the Manchester-based endeavour, Pop Up Tokyo, travelled Japan to source items from up-and-coming artists and craftspeople, who would otherwise never have been able to market their products in the UK.

Star Player Boosts Fans

Since the signing of Shinji Kagawa, the number of Manchester United fans has increased, FCBusiness reported on 19 November.

The football team has almost 4mn supporters in Japan, and the number is expected to continue to rise while Kagawa plays for the club.

Manchester United has a long-established presence in Japan with six commercial partners in the country, including printer manufacturer Seiko Epson Corp. and electronics giant Toshiba Corporation.