UK, Japan to monitor N Korea activity at sea

UK-Japan News September 2018

The HMS Argyll will be deployed to Japan to help with surveillance operations.

The UK and Japan are working on conducting joint surveillance activities later in the year in a bid to spot illegal ship-to-ship goods transfers by North Korea, The Japan News reported on 20 August.
The surveillance will be carried out in November and December, following the arrival in Japan of the Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll, the third UK Navy vessel to visit Japan this year following HMS Sutherland and HMS Albion, the report says.
It adds that the ship will use US military bases in Japan, and will also be involved in joint exercises with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.
North Korea has been accused of violating international sanctions by carrying out illegal ship-to-ship goods transfers on the high seas.

Naval drill off for typhoon

UK-Japan News September 2018

The UK and Japan cancelled a joint beach landing naval drill near Mt Fuji due to a typhoon which was approaching the Japanese mainland, Japan Today reported on 22 August.
The drill, involving a detachment of Royal Marines and Japanese amphibious troops, was set to see soldiers land on the beach from boats launched by HMS Albion, a Royal Navy amphibious assault carrier that visited Japan, according to the report.
A Japanese destroyer and helicopters had also been scheduled to take part in the exercise.
Typhoon Cimaron brought strong winds and rain to the Japanese archipelago, after arriving from the western Pacific.

London looks to Tokyo over future of British banks in EU

September 2018

The UK government is looking at the relationship between Japanese banks and the European Union as an example for British banks to follow after leaving the EU, The Japan Times reported on 21 August.
A government paper states that the UK wanted equivalence, where the EU recognises rules as strict as its own, but a more generous version than that which other non-EU countries have, the report says.
It also says that the pact between the EU and Japan had been cited as an example for the rules the UK wanted, as this allows for taking into account the impact of each other’s decisions and regulatory dialogue between the two.

Tokyo, Osaka firms fund deal for offshore wind farm off Lincs

UK-Japan News September 2018

Innogy SE already operates a number of wind farms off the coast of the UK.

Two major Japanese energy firms are to help finance a new offshore wind farm in the UK in a £1bn deal, The Telegraph reported on 13 August.
The Electric Power Development Co., Ltd., better known as J-Power, and Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. have bought a combined 41% stake—25% and 16%, respectively—in the Triton Knoll project from German renewables firm Innogy SE.
The investment in the plant, off the coast of Lincolnshire, marks the first time Japanese energy firms have made a major move to enter the UK’s wind power market, according to the report.

Scotland, Yokohama ink pact on closer ties

UK-Japan News September 2018

Fiona Hyslop met representatives of the City of Yokohama.

Scottish Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop signed a joint declaration of cooperation with Mayor of Yokohama Fumiko Hayashi, the Sankei Shimbun’s Japan Forward website reported on 13 August.
Hyslop, who was on a three-day visit to Japan, also took part in a sell-out seminar on diversity and inclusion organised by the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
The agreement between Scotland and Yokohama includes close cooperation in sport, education, culture and marine industries, according to the report.
Hyslop’s trip to Japan ended with a tourism networking lunch at the British Embassy Tokyo.

Blended in Osaka, bottled in UK

UK-Japan News September 2018


A new Japanese whisky has been launched. The drink was bottled in the UK after having spent three months maturing at sea on the voyage from Japan, The Spirits Business reported on 15 August.
Kaiyo whisky was blended and aged in Japan, before being loaded in mizunara oak casks bound for the UK. The firm behind the drink says the casks were subject to changes in temperature and air pressure, and the whisky inside would also have been impacted.
The whisky was bottled on arrival in the UK, and is being sold in regular, cask strength and peated expressions.

Campsie Fells SME to sell whisky souvenirs to Japan

UK-Japan News September 2018

A Scottish firm hoping to sell its wares to whisky lovers in Japan has been awarded a grant from the Department for International Trade and London Heathrow Airport, Passenger Terminal Today reported on 22 August.
Reza Wood Designs, which recycles whisky barrels from Scottish distilleries and turns them into handcrafted items for whisky fans, said it plans to use its £2,000 grant from the World of Opportunity 2018 campaign to help it enter the Japanese market.
The scheme saw grants awarded to 20 small and medium-sized enterprises, including a tea firm, a family-run bicycle business, and a gourmet crisp maker.

England lose to Japan in Women’s Under-20 World Cup

UK-Japan News September 2018

England lost to Japan in the semi-finals of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, the BBC reported on 20 August.
Despite Mo Marley’s side putting in a good performance during the tournament, they were defeated 2-0 in the game in Vannes, France, the report states.
The goals came from Japan’s Riko Ueki and Jun Endo, leading England to face France in the third-place play-off, and Japan to face Spain in the final.
Japan beat Spain 3-1 in the final, while England finished third after beating France 4-2.

Wales build rugby ties in Kyushu

UK-Japan News September 2018

More than a year ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, the Welsh team has begun staging an outreach programme in Kitakyushu, on Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu, Channel NewsAsia reported on 14 August.
With the Welsh team being based in the city for the competition, captain Ryan Jones was quoted as saying, “We wanted to be a little bit different, so our legacy is starting now”.
On a recent visit, Jones and the Wales Rugby Union ran coaching sessions for 600 children, and a coaching course for 50 coaches, the report says.

UK looks to Japan as partner for new fighter jet

UK-Japan News August 2018

The Tempest fighter jet was unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow. • PHOTO: ANDREW LINNETT MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

The UK unveiled a new fighter jet at the Farnborough International Airshow, and sources said it would look to Japan as a partner for the new project, Japan Today reported on 17 July.

The Tempest fighter has raised questions about European defence cooperation, the report said, adding that Germany and France got their joint fighter jet programme under way in 2017.

HS2 to rival shinkansen

UK-Japan News August 2018

Trains on the UK’s High Speed 2 railway, which is currently under construction, will operate to an average delay target of 30 seconds, North Wales Pioneer said in a report on 19 July.

HS2 Ltd., the line’s builder, said trains that operate on the line will rival Japan’s shinkansen trains, famed for their dependability and punctuality.

The HS2 line initially will run from London’s Euston Station to Birmingham Interchange, with future extensions to Leeds and Manchester already having been proposed.

Legal action launched by Hitachi against TfL

UK-Japan News August 2018

Hitachi Ltd. has launched a legal challenge against Transport for London, after a contract to build new Tube trains was awarded to German rival Siemens AG, Rail Technology Magazine reported on 23 July.

Hitachi, which joined Canada’s Bombardier Inc. to bid for the contract to build 94 new trains for the Piccadilly Line, said TfL did not follow the proper procurement process, the report said.

The contract, part of the wider Deep Tube Upgrade Programme, was worth £1.5bn.

Stronger ties with Wales sought

UK-Japan News August 2018

Toyota city officials visited Wales to boost ties for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. • PHOTO: STRACHAN SPORTS TRAVEL

A delegation from the Japanese city of Toyota in Aichi Prefecture visited the town of Cowbridge in South Wales, to help shore up ties between Wales and Toyota, The Glamorgan GEM reported on 18 July.

The Mayor of Toyota, Toshihiko Ota, met with directors and managers from Strachan Sports Travel, which is based in Cowbridge and will be helping Welsh rugby with their travel arrangements for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Wales’s first game will be against Georgia in Toyota, and the city’s officials were hoping to encourage dialogue with Wales and strengthen ties in commerce, culture, tourism and sport, the report said.

BBC starts service in Japan to stream news

UK-Japan News August 2018

A new BBC news streaming service has been launched in Japan, bringing video news to online audiences, Japan Today reported on 19 July.

The service, which is being run through the Yahoo! JAPAN website, is available from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, and offers a selection of news and documentaries from the BBC’s World News channel, with either Japanese simultaneous interpretation or Japanese subtitles.

Programmes on offer include News Day, Asia Business Report and HARDtalk.

Kanagawa theme park to fete Paddington Bear

UK-Japan News August 2018

A theme park based on Paddington Bear opened in Japan on 21 July, Kyodo News reported the same day.

The amusement park is the world’s first to be based on the popular British character. Located in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, the park has five attractions for children and families.

Among the activities of interest is a ride on a miniature fire engine. Children can knock over targets made to look like fire.

The facility is part of the Sagamiko Resort Pleasure Forest complex near Lake Sagami.

Hokkaido bears for Yorkshire

UK-Japan News August 2018

One of four Ussuri brown bears that will be given a home at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. PHOTO: YWP

Four bears are to be sent from Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, The Mirror reported on 21 July.

The Ussuri brown bears have been living in tiny cages at the Ainu Culture Museum, but experience and resources to look after the bears are now lacking, the report said.

Named Riku, Kai, Hanako and Amu, the bears will be sent to a rehabilitation centre at the park in Doncaster, where a volunteers’ day was held to get everything ready for their arrival.

Princess heads to Eton

UK-Japan News August 2018

Princess Aiko departed for the UK, where she will take part in a summer school programme at Eton College, The Japan News reported on 23 July.

The 16-year-old princess, a granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, will also visit other places, including Portsmouth and Oxford, the report says.

The short programme at Eton is part of her high school’s study schedule, and will see her return to Japan in August.

UK beats Japan in 4x100m relay event

UK-Japan News August 2018

Japan came second, losing out to Great Britain, in the men’s 4x100m relay in the final day of the International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League event in London, The Japan Times reported on 23 July.

The Japanese team recorded a time of 38.09 seconds, behind the UK’s 37.61, which was the world’s fastest time this season, according to the report.

Three of the Japanese runners were members of the relay team that won the silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Maker of new engine hopes to attract Japanese car firms

Japan news July 2018

Representatives of a British manufacturer of a new type of engine for cars have been holding meetings with automakers in Japan, according to a 15 June report in Forbes.

Roger Stone and Mark Gostick of Camcon met with staff from Toyota Motor Corporation, Honda Motor Company, Ltd. and Mazda Motor Corporation to show off their Intelligent Valve Actuation (IVA) system.

The IVA engine combines the fuel economy of a diesel engine with the emissions and power of a gasoline unit, the report said.

The firm, a small start-up based in Leamington Spa, has spent seven years developing the technology, and is now testing it out with a Jaguar prototype in the UK.

Hitachi seeks partners for new N facility in Wales

UK-Japan News July 2018

Hitachi, Ltd is looking for partners to help share the cost of building a new nuclear complex on the Welsh island of Anglesey, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on 16 June.

The cost of the Wylfa Newydd is expected to be around ¥3tn (£20.5bn). The British government has already pledged to arrange ¥2tn in loans.

Hitachi has been in talks with the Development Bank of Japan and a number of Japanese energy firms about funding the project.

The article suggests, however, that gaining a commitment from Japanese power providers will not be easy.

Glasgow firm bought by Arm

UK-Japan News July 2018

The firm manufactures processor chips and semiconductors.

Scottish Internet of things (IoT) firm Stream Technologies has been bought out by Japanese software and semiconductor manufacturer Arm, The Herald reported on 13 June.

The Glasgow-based firm was set up in 2000 by Nigel Chadwick and deals with platforms allowing data transfers between different machines, such as smart meters, cars and vending machines.

Arm, which was bought by SoftBank Group Corp. in 2016, said the deal would help expand its IoT connectivity and device management capabilities, the report said.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

NHS to use robots

UK-Japan News July 2018

SoftBank Group’s robot Pepper has been used in dementia care trials.

The NHS is to follow Japanese health services and begin using robots to assist patients who have dementia, The Telegraph reported on 1 July.

Then-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK should follow Japan’s example in embracing technology to produce “world beating” outcomes, and helping people stay healthy for longer, the report said.

As well as robots, virtual health coaches will be used to encourage families to lead healthier lifestyles.

Sawfly threat to UK elms

UK-Japan News July 2018

The zigzag elm sawfly is threatening British elm trees after having made its way across Europe, The Daily Mail reported on 22 June.

The pest, which originated in Japan, feeds on elm leaves, and is known for the signature zigzag trail of destruction that is left on the leaves, the report says.

It added that, while the sawfly rarely kills trees, it can defoliate them. This, in turn, causes problems for other creatures living among the trees and prevents photosynthesis from taking place.

Evidence of the pest has been found in Surrey.

Welsh and Hyogo castles to be twinned

UK-Japan News July 2018

North Wales’ Conwy Castle is to be twinned with Himeji Castle in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, the BBC reported on 17 June.

The report says the mayor of Himeji was preparing to travel to Conwy to sign an agreement on the plan.

Jim Jones, managing director of North Wales Tourism was quoted as saying Himeji Castle was “absolutely stunning” and that both castles shared a bond, given their construction started at a similar time.

He said the twinning move was the first for Wales, and possibly the first for the UK.

Himeji Castle features in scenes from the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, the report says.

Princess completes studies

UK-Japan News July 2018

Princess Kako has returned to Japan after completing her studies at the University of Leeds, Japan Today reported on 16 June.

The princess, a granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, studied performing arts for one academic year at the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies as an exchange student.

“I had an enjoyable and fruitful nine months in Britain. I will treasure my experiences there,” she is reported to have said.

While in Leeds, besides taking classes, the princess travelled to Spain and Portugal for holidays, the report added.

Japan House culture centre opens in London

UK-Japan News July 2018

Japan House London sells and exhibits a range of items from Japan. • PHOTO: JAPAN HOUSE LONDON

A new cultural centre showing off all things Japanese has opened in London, The Asahi Shimbun reported on 22 June.

Japan House showcases food, art, design and technology, the report said, with examples of products on show ranging from bonsai trees and traditional tea cups to freshly made sushi and whisky.

It is the third Japan House to open, following those in Los Angeles and Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Japan’s tidy habits lauded

UK-Japan News July 2018

The behaviour of Japanese fans at the 2018 FIFA World Cup should be an example for the UK to follow, according to a 1 July opinion piece in the
Crewe & Nantwich Guardian.

In the piece, the writer detailed a trip to Alderley Park in Cheshire during which they spotted litter and cigarette butts discarded around flower beds, and compared this to the way Japan fans pick up their rubbish at the end of football games and take it with them.

Fans of the Japanese side made headlines around the world when they were filmed tidying up around their seats after Japan’s games.

England dodge Japan for World Cup knockout stage

UK-Japan News July 2018

Talk was focused on whether England would face Japan in the knockout stages of the football 2018 FIFA World Cup, after both teams led their groups after two games at the group stage.

The Daily Mail was one of the many news outlets speculating on the possibility of the two sides meeting in its report on 28 June. It described Japan’s last game of the group stage, against Poland, as “farcical” due to a lack of action by the Blue Samurais.

England were defeated by Belgium in their last group stage match. This left England to face Colombia and Japan to face Belgium in their first knockout matches.

Deal sought to build two nuclear power plants

UK-Japan News June 2018

A computerised rendition of the proposed Wylfa Newydd complex • PHOTO: HORIZON NUCLEAR POWER

The UK government Hitachi Ltd. are continuing talks to reach a deal for two new nuclear power plants in Wales, The Japan Times reported on 28 May. The Wylfa Newydd complex would help fill the UK’s nuclear energy gap, as most of the country’s 15 reactors are set to be retired by 2030.

Hitachi, through its British nuclear arm Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd., aims to start operating the facility in the first half of the 2020s, if approval is given, the report said.

Meanwhile, in late May a group of anti-nuclear protestors travelled from Wales to Japan to hand a petition against Wylfa Newydd to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, according to a BBC report.

Bilateral pressure on NK

UK-Japan News June 2018

After Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, both agreed to keep pressure on North Korea, according to The Mainichi on 22 May.

The politicians’ stated aim is to rid the country of its nuclear and other weapons, the report said.

The talks took place on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Buenos Aires on 21 May. Kono reached similar agree­ments with the foreign ministers of the Netherlands and Australia.