Media January 2013

News in Brief

Venture Capital Firm Backs Scheme

In a bid to boost their worldwide growth plans, a Japanese venture capital organisation will help fund Bicycle Therapeutics Limited’s drug candidate selection programme, Business Weekly reported on 12 December.

The Cambridge-based next-generation biotherapeutics technology firm will use the £3.75mn acquired from Astellas Venture Management LLC—the venture capital arm of Japan-based Astellas Pharma, which was formed from the 2005 merger of Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical and Fujisawa Pharmaceutical—to invest in drug discovery projects in oncology, as well as metabolic and inflammatory diseases using their bicyclic peptide technology platform.

In addition, the UK firm is planning to make the platform accessible for collaborative discovery together with pharmaceutical partners.

Firm Lands Key Contract

A UK-based solutions technology specialist has secured a deal with Daifuku Co., Ltd., Business Weekly reported on 11 December.

In one of its most significant agreements, Ubisense Group plc’s location solutions will be integrated into the Japanese industrial giant’s material handling and warehouse management system.

The new arrangement will provide location solutions to manufacturing and logistics firms needing greater visibility and better control of their processes.

Deal to Help Cut Fuel Bills

Greater Manchester has signed an agreement with a Japanese government agency—the Department of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization—that will enable an initial 300 homes to generate electricity using low carbon heat units and a remote smart grid management system, according to a 1 December Manchester Evening News report.

The £20mn pilot project is expected to reduce fuel bills for those Greater Manchester residents and, if successful, may be rolled out to thousands of properties across the region.

Backed by the UK government, the project is set to be launched in 2014.

Firms Wanted for Trade Mission

The North East Chamber of Commerce has offered 10 firms the chance to join a regional delegation that will visit Osaka in February, according to a 6 December Northern Echo report.

The region’s largest business membership organisation is encouraging firms to export goods to Japan.

Arranged in conjunction with the British Consulate in Osaka and UK Trade and Investment, the visit will provide firms from the north-east with an opportunity to take part in meetings organised by the Osaka Chamber of Commerce (OCCI); be introduced to potential customers and suppliers in Osaka; attend a consulate reception to meet Japanese contacts and business representatives; as well as take part in an opinion-exchange programme with the OCCI.

New Leader in Mobile Phone Use

The UK has replaced Japan as the country in which users of mobile phones and tablet computers consume the most data, according to a 16 December Ofcom report.

The UK uses an average of 424MB of data per month—a 60% year-on-year increase—and Japan 392MB.

The communications regulator also found that internet users in the UK spend, on average, 728min per week online.

Spent Atomic Waste to Be Returned

High-level radioactive waste will be sent back to Japan around February following reprocessing in the UK, The Japan Times reported on 5 December.

The 28 canisters of waste will contain spent nuclear fuel reprocessed at the request of Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc, Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc and Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.

This is the third time radioactive waste will be brought from the UK.

Japan previously received 104 canisters of such waste from the UK, and expects to receive another 800 in the future. All the containers will be placed in a disposal site located deep underground after being stored for 30 to 50 years for cooling at a facility in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture.

Long-lost Artwork Found

An Isle of Man museum has correctly identified a painting by a popular Japanese artist whose works were lost during World War II, the BBC reported on 9 December.

Staff identified the painter from a signature on the portrait of a 19th century ship captain’s wife, by the highly acclaimed Jirokichi Kasagi (1870–1923).

Recently acquired by the museum, it is believed the painting was produced in Japan from a photograph carried on a vessel during a trading voyage.

It is hoped that, after undergoing conservation work, the painting will be displayed in the museum.

Writer Visits Grantham Over Thatcher Links

A Japanese journalist went to the Lincolnshire town to obtain information about its links with former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, according to a 3 December article in This is Lincolnshire.

The Asahi Shimbun reporter visited a number of locations, including the Grantham Museum and Grantham Girls’ School, to gather information for a story.

The former prime minister is a popular figure in Japan because of the similarities in the way the two countries’ industries grew during the 1980s and 1990s.

Greeting Card Poll Results

People in the UK send the most greetings cards in the world, while individuals in Japan send the second-fewest number of cards, according to Ofcom’s 20 December International Communications Market Report.

The communications regulator found that out of the 5,243 survey respondents from around the world, 37% of adults in the UK had sent a greeting card, invitation or postcard during the month of December, while only 23% had done so in Japan.

Pollees in France sent the fewest greeting cards (17%).