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2019/12/10
CICC TOKYO DAYORI vol.69
Topic : Shopping in Japan

Time passes so early that only one month is remaining in 2019.
How was the year of 2019 for you?
For me, I found changes in the digital society are very fast. 

Last month, CICC invited key IT personnel from government organization
in Asian countries to Japan. This is one of our annual programs.
Please see our site for details:
http://cicc.or.jp/Prg/whatsnew/en/whatsnew_details.php?cd=477

After the official schedule of this invitation program every year,
our staff is often asked by the visitors to accompany for their
shopping. In the past, I also helped their shopping many times. Their
purchases ranged widely from kitchen wares like pot, rice cooker, and
kitchen wraps to brand new home appliances. The most difficult item
ever requested to me was a supplement of growth promotion for child’s
height. It was only sold at a store in Gunma Prefecture, which locates
about 160km away from Tokyo. The small store did not have an
e-commerce site at that time. I called the store and ordered the
supplement on cash on delivery and brought it to the hotel which the
guest stayed in.

In this year, no CICC staff was asked by the guests to help their
shopping. I guess there are the following reasons for it:

1. They can search and buy Japanese goods anytime, anywhere through
the internet.
E-commerce market has been growing in Japan.
A research conducted in 2018 by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and
Industry indicates that the Japanese e-commerce (B-to-C) market
amounted to 929.92 billion yen. The market has been growing steadily
at 9.75% annually on average. It seemed to become easy to buy Japanese
goods from overseas.

2. Growing number of inbound tourists
The annual number of inbound travelers to Japan has surpassed 30
million for the first time by the end of 2018. That’s about six times
the figure recorded in 2003. Increased consumption by inbound tourists
has allowed Japan, with its rapidly aging and shrinking population, to
benefit from expanding their consumption demand. Japanese Government
has set a target of having 40 million inbound tourists by 2020.
To cope with inbound tourists, the number of shop assistants who can
speak English at the sales floor is increasing. A few years ago,
elderly clerks at Nakamise shopping street in Asakusa mostly did not
speak English, but now a lot of them speak not only English but also
Chinese. So they can enjoy shopping by themselves without our help
like interpreters.

3. A full-scale Introduction of cashless payment
According to the Payments Japan Association, only about 20% of
payments were cashless in Japan in 2016, compared with 96.4% in South
Korea and 65.8% in China.
After the consumption tax increase from 8% to 10% on Oct.1st 2019,
the government rolled out a nine-month reward points program to reduce
the impact. At small-sized shops, customers can earn shopping points
valued either 2% or 5% of their noncash purchases, including credit
card payments. The rewards program may provide a breakthrough in
Japan's transformation to a cashless society.
Thanks to the program, the number of stores where you can shop
cashless is increasing, and, foreigners can use mobile payment like
Alipay at those shops.

I saw a lot of small stores have cashless payment devices in Asakusa
district this year.
It will be getting far easier for foreigners to shop in Japan from now
on.

Reference:
“Survey Report on e-Commerce Market” (only in Japanese)
https://www.meti.go.jp/press/2019/05/20190516002/20190516002.html

By Hiroko SHIRAKURA (Ms.)


<<Topics of Government>>

(1)Second AI Edge Contest to be Held
https://www.meti.go.jp/english/press/2019/1118_002.html

(2)Public Briefing on the 2019 Telework Days Campaign to be Held
https://www.meti.go.jp/english/press/2019/1021_005.html


<<Topics of Industries and others>>

1)NEC and INTERPOL partner to strengthen cyber security, replacing
existing-agreement formed in 2014.
https://www.nec.com/en/press/201911/global_20191125_01.html 

2) NEC Introduces 5G Vertical Business Platform at Futurecom 2019
https://www.nec.com/en/press/201910/global_20191025_02.html

3) Sojitz, NTT Com, NEC, NEC Networks & System Integration to Upgrade
Communications Infrastructure in Myanmar
https://www.nec.com/en/press/201911/global_20191120_02.html

4)Hitachi developed automation technology of 3D culture to expand
regenerative medicine business
http://www.hitachi.com/New/cnews/month/2019/11/191126.html

(5)Fujitsu Laboratories and Aichi Cancer Center in Japan Sign
Comprehensive Joint Research Agreement to Drive Advances in Cancer
Genomic Medicine with AI Technology
https://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/resources/news/press-releases/2019/1129-01.html

(6)Fujitsu Begins Shipping Supercomputer Fugaku
https://www.fujitsu.com/global/about/resources/news/press-releases/2019/1202-01.html




2019/10/07
CICC TOKYO DAYORI vol.68
[Topic]  "Omotenashi" (hospitality) by IT

Rugby World Cup is going on in Japan now. Matches are held across the
country from Hokkaido to Kyushu. Not only matches but also team camps
are hosted by many Japanese communities where the qualified teams
train and prepare. The Namibia team is camping in Kamitonda, a small
town in Wakayama Prefecture. I know Kamitonda very well because it is
next to my hometown. People in Kamitonda received the Namibian team
with "Omotenashi" - Japanese word for hospitality. (See this article:
https://informante.web.na/namibia-rugby-lands-in-kamitonda/)



2019/08/07
CICC TOKYO DAYORI vol.67
[Topic ]

It is less than one year to go until the Olympic and Paralympic
Games Tokyo 2020.



2019/06/13
CICC TOKYO DAYORI vol.66
In Japan, the employment situation is steadily improving along with
gradual recovery of the economy. On the other hand, the sense of labor
shortages of Japanese companies is gradually increasing.



2019/04/05
CICC TOKYO DAYORI vol.65
[Spacecraft Hayabusa2 - touchdown on asteroid by "self-driving"]

If you are a reader of this Tokyo Dayori for 10 years or more, you
might remember an essay in its Oct/2010 issue about Hayabusa
spacecraft's returning to Earth after landing on the asteroid Itokawa.



2019/02/04
CICC TOKYO DAYORI vol.64
[Topic] Let’s Try Online Education

Over 25 years has passed since I graduated from my university.  After
I went out into the world, I did not have enough time to study
something or prepare for some examination.


2018/12/07
CICC TOKYO DAYORI vol.63
Topic : Traditional Medicines

It started snowing in the north area in Japan and going down in
temperature in Tokyo. Now winter comes.



2018/10/10
CICC TOKYO DAYORI vol.62
[Topic ]

Title: Support status of accepting interns from Myanmar IT related
universities

According to the survey results released by the Ministry of Economy,
Trade and Industry(METI) in June 2016, the supply of IT human
resources in Japan were about 919 thousand people and about 171
thousand people were short. In addition, the supply will turn to
decrease with peak of 2020, and it is maintained at about 923 thousand
in 2020, but METI estimate that about 369 thousand will be short.
Moreover, the supply will be reduced to about 857 thousand in 2030,
and it is estimated that about 789 thousand will be short.
In particular, the demand for both information security fields and new
technology fields including AI, IoT, big data etc. is very high, and
the shortage of IT human resources in those fields may become serious.



2018/08/06
CICC TOKYO DAYORI vol.61
[Topic ]
= FLOW-OF-THE-GAME over IT utilization in sports festivity =

The world of sports is continually changing over the years, and
utilization of information technology (IT) is one of those areas that
have made huge impact onto many of them.


2018/06/01
CICC TOKYO DAYORI vol.60
We often hear the word "safety(Anzen in Japanese) and security
(Anshin in Japanese)” recently.

However, it is said that it has been some time since the breakdown of the
myth that “Japan is a country where we can live in safety and security”.
Events including disasters, crimes, food safety problems, medical mistakes etc.
that threaten our safety and security are increasing.



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