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Japan Is Finding It Harder to Stay Quiet on China’s Abuse of Uyghurs

TOKYO — Last summer, Halmat Rozi, a Uyghur Muslim living in Japan, received a video call from his brother in China’s western Xinjiang region. His brother said he had someone he wanted Mr. Rozi to meet: a Chinese security officer.China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, had been invited to Japan, and the officer had some questions. Were Mr. Rozi and his fellow Uyghur activists planning protests? Who were the group’s leaders? What work were they doing? If Mr. Rozi cooperated, his family in China would be well cared for, the officer assured him on a second video call. …

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Super Nintendo World Looks for a Level Beyond the Pandemic

After a year of pandemic life, many people need an escape. On Thursday, thousands in Japan found one in the fantasyland of the Mario Bros.A theme park, Super Nintendo World, opened at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, ending months of delays and testing the proposition that people will want to gather in large numbers while the coronavirus is circulating to race in a Mario Kart or punch question mark blocks.The authorities said they were taking steps to prevent the spread of infections. The park’s capacity is limited to 10,000 people. Guests have their temperature taken upon entering, and …

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Investors Clara Brenner, Quin Garcia and Rachel Holt are coming to TC Sessions: Mobility 2021

The transportation industry is abuzz with upstarts, legacy automakers, suppliers and tech companies working on automated vehicle technology, digital platforms, electrification and robotics. Then there are shared mobility companies from cars to scooters and mopeds to e-bikes. And who can forget the emerging air taxi companies?
At the center of this evolving industry are the investors. Simply put: TechCrunch can’t hold an event on mobility without hearing from the people who are hunting for the best opportunities in the industry and tracking all of its changes. That’s why we’re happy to announce investors Clara Brenner of Urban …

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Why Japan Is Holding Back as the World Rushes Toward Electric Cars

TOKYO — Just over a decade ago, Nissan became the first automaker to offer a mass-produced car that ran on batteries alone. That hatchback, the Leaf, has been a smash hit, at least by electric car standards, with more than 500,000 sold by the end of last year.But as the trail that Nissan blazed becomes increasingly crowded, Japan’s mighty auto industry is in danger of being left behind. While governments and automakers worldwide are staking out bold pledges to transition to electric-only vehicles, Japanese car companies and regulators are hedging their bets.Japan dominates the global market for the current …

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Japanese OEMs need to focus on pricing strategy to accelerate BEV adoption, says GlobalData

Following the news that Tesla car demand picked up in Japan after aggressive price cut;
Bakar Sadik Agwan, Senior Automotive Consulting Analyst at GlobalData, a leading research and consulting company, offers his view:
“The uptick in the domestic demand for mid-range electric sedan Tesla Model 3, the company’s most affordable EV, is a result of significant price cut of 24% announced last month. The development signifies the importance of pricing strategy for EV transition and customers’ affinity towards cheaper products.
“Japan is a strong market for hybrid vehicles with sales soaring nearly a million per year. On the other end, battery …

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Scrum Ventures launches new program to connect startups with Japanese corporations

Masami Takahashi, the president of Scrum Studios
Headquartered in San Francisco and Tokyo, Scrum Ventures is known for its accelerator programs focused on sports, food and smart city tech. Today it announced the launch of a new incubator program that will help startups from business partnerships with Japanese corporations.
Called Scrum Studio, it will be spun out as an independent entity from Scrum Ventures, and headed by Masami Takahasi, who was previously strategy officer and general manager for WeWork Japan. Before that, he led Uber’s operations in Japan.
Takahasi told TechCrunch that Scrum Studio is currently focused on the …

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From the ashes of nearly a billion dollars, Ample resurrects Better Place’s battery swapping business model

A little over thirteen years ago, Shai Agassi, a promising software executive who was in line to succeed the chief executive at SAP, then one of the world’s mightiest software companies, left the company he’d devoted the bulk of his professional career to and started a business called Better Place.
That startup promised to revolutionize the nascent electric vehicle market and make range anxiety a thing of the past. The company’s pitch? A network of automated battery swapping stations that would replace spent batteries with freshly charged ones.
Agassi’s company would go on to raise nearly $1 …

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Anime Is Booming. So Why Are Animators Living in Poverty?

Netflix has also gotten involved, announcing this month that it will team up with WIT Studio to provide financial support and training to young animators working on content for the studio. Under the program, 10 animators will receive around $1,400 a month for six months.But many of the smaller studios are barely scraping by and don’t have much room to increase wages, Mr. Chou said. “It’s a very low-margin business,” he said. “It’s a very labor-intensive business.” He added that the studios “that manage to adapt are the big ones, the ones that are public.”Not all studios …

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How a High-Ranking Nissan Executive Escaped His Own Trap

The matter weighed on him. In 2010, Mr. Kelly instructed Mr. Nada to begin the first of a series of secret plans intended to increase Mr. Ghosn’s benefits and compensation, according to court testimony and internal Nissan documents.Executive compensation was a perilous political issue in France, Mr. Nada testified earlier this month, and if Mr. Ghosn’s true compensation were revealed, the French government — as a major Renault shareholder — would have pushed the company to fire him.Mr. Nada, 56, had joined Nissan as a junior legal counsel in 1990 and was fiercely loyal to the company. He began his career …

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New York licenses GMO Internet to issue the first JPY-pegged stablecoin

The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has approved Tokyo-based GMO Internet to launch GYEN, the first stablecoin pegged to the Japanese yen.
GMO Internet, an internet conglomerate that offers a large array of services, including domain hosting, online advertising and what it claims is the world’s largest foreign exchange trading platform, will set up GMO-Z.com Trust Company (GMO Trust) to issue GYEN and ZUSD, a USD-pegged stablecoin. Both will start selling outside of Japan next month.
In a press announcement, GMO Trust said it had also made strategic partnerships with global digital asset exchanges to ensure …

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