Media May 2013

News in Brief

Help Urged for Exporters of Scotch Beef

Richard Lochhead, the Scottish government’s cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment, has urged Owen Paterson, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, to open up export markets to Japan for Scotch beef, the Farmers Weekly reported on 22 April.

At April’s Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers’ conference, Lochhead said he was shocked to find that gaining access to the Japanese market was not a UK government priority. He believes offers from the Scottish government to provide resources to secure accreditation for Scotch beef in Japan and other countries have been ignored.

Meanwhile, export sales of Scotch beef to European markets thus far this year are up 16%, and Quality Meat Scotland said it is actively targeting new markets in the Nordic countries and Germany.

Most Developed Nations Index

The UK has been ranked as the second-most advanced country in the world, while Japan was placed in eighth position, according to the Social Progress Index issued on 17 April.

The listing assesses 50 leading countries by combining figures on everything from health to broadband access and freedom of speech.

Compiled by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology team of economists, who used over 50 sets of data to assemble the list, the index is an alternative to traditional measures that are based on purely economic standards.

The UK outstrips the US, Germany, France and Japan for overall progress in living standards, infrastructure and individual opportunity and, although the UK’s health spending is 11th, it takes the top spot for overall health and wellness. That has proved central to the UK’s success in the rankings.

According to the authors, the UK’s constant efforts to “straddle” Europe and the US have made it one if the best places overall to live in the world.

Sales of Luxury Car Growing

Nissan Motor Company’s Infiniti luxury car brand has increased its UK sales by 45% year-on-year, Motortrades Insight reported on 17 April.

Since the first Infiniti Centre was set up in Reading in 2009, a further six centres have opened across the country, with another three planned.

Sales for the year ending March 2013 show a 45% year-on-year increase, and a hike of 23% just for the first three months of 2013.

The good performance has been fuelled mainly by sales of the FX and recently introduced Ifiniti M35h saloon.

According to a recent independent brand tracking survey by GFK Custom Research Japan KK, there has been a significant increase in awareness of the Infiniti brand. In 2011, only 51% of respondents had heard of the premium brand, while the ratio has now reached 64%.

The new Infiniti Q50 premium sports car is planned for release in the autumn.

Norwich Software Firm Expands Global Portfolio with Energy Deal

Falcon Global has obtained a licensing deal with a Yokohama-based oil and gas firm to increase its global portfolio, the Eastern Daily Press reported on 3 April.

The UK firm will now be able to use its Zenator Systems project management software in any projects conducted with Chiyoda Corporation.

The agreement has enabled the firm to forecast a rise in turnover from £1.9mn to between £5mn and £6mn this year, and are planning to add new employees to its staff.

Envoy Opens Island Display

The Japanese ambassador to the UK has officially opened an exhibition on the Isle of Wight. The event celebrates the life and work of Professor John Milne, the Isle of Wight County Press reported on 8 April.

Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi visited Carisbrooke Castle Museum near Newport to open an exhibition commemorating the centenary of the leading seismologist’s death.

Professor Milne invented the horizontal pendulum seismograph, a device that changed the way earthquakes are predicted and measured.

His work led him to receive the medal of the Order of the Rising Sun, and the title of Emeritus Professor of Seismology at Tokyo University, his workplace for 20 years. He retired to the island in 1895.

The exhibition will run until October.

Techies to Take Part in Annual Komatsu Olympics

Four Komatsu UK Ltd. employees will travel to Japan later this year to compete in the Komatsu Technology Olympics, the Sky Tyne and Wear reported on 10 April.

The Japanese competition—now in its 36th year—aims to provide Komatsu workers and key suppliers with an opportunity to demonstrate the high level of skill and technical ability required to work in fabrication, painting, assembly and machine inspection.

The yearly event plays a key part in the leading manufacturer’s philosophy of continuous improvement.

The Britons won the Komatsu UK Technology Olympics competition earlier this year, in which a record number of 73 people took part.

Garden Attraction Unveiled

Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom Keiichi Hayashi has opened Alnwick Garden’s Tai-haku Duck House, the Evening Chronicle reported on 19 April.

Situated on a pond within the garden’s Cherry Orchard—the second largest of its kind in the world—the house accommodates 12 Mandarin Ducks.

Hayashi was a guest of honour at the garden’s fourth annual Cherry Blossom Dedication Ceremony, during which sponsors floated traditional Japanese paper lanterns on the pond in memory of lost loved ones.

WWII Clashes Named as Greatest Battles

The 1944 battles of Kohima and Imphal—when British troops were victorious over the Japanese army—have been chosen as the UK’s greatest battles in a National Army Museum contest, the Daily Telegraph reported on 21 April.

One of the main turning points of World War II was the successful British defence in the battles. This meant the troops could push into Burma and roll back the Japanese from mainland Asia.

The winner was a surprise, given the prominence in the UK of the Battle of Waterloo and the Normandy landings.

The competition’s criteria included the battle’s political and historical impact, the challenges the troops faced, and the strategy and tactics employed.

Football Club Invests in Social Gaming

Manchester United has signed a two-year deal with a social gaming firm, Japan Today reported on 25 April.

Gloops International Inc. is the club’s first official social gaming partner. The agreement will allow the Japanese firm the right to create and distribute a statistical-based battle card social game in Japan.