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London, New York, Tokyo, Paris and Singapore world’s most comprehensively attractive cities: report

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London, New York, Tokyo, Paris and Singapore once again emerged as the world’s most comprehensively attractive cities, in that order, in the Global Power City Index (GPCI) 2020 report. This report is published by The Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies, a research body established by Mori Building, a leading urban developer in Tokyo.

Although the composition of the top five cities has remained unchanged since 2016, London and New York have shown a marked uptrend over that time while the scores of Tokyo and Paris have slipped, and Singapore has closed in on Paris. Among the other cities in the top 10, Berlin extended its scores in the area of Livability, leapfrogging Seoul into seventh place overall. Shanghai improved its ratings in all areas aside from Research and Development, greatly improving its overall position from #30 to #10 and overtaking Sydney to enter the top 10 for the first time.

Since 2008, the annual GPCI report has ranked 40 or more major cities in terms of their “magnetism,” or their overall power to attract creative individuals and enterprises from around the world. Cities are rated on the basis of 70 indicators in six functions: Economy, R&D, Cultural Interaction, Livability, Environment, and Accessibility. In an effort to reflect changes in the conditions affecting global cities, the GPCI continuously fine-tunes its indicators and data-collection methods.

In 2020, the most serious event was the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), labeled by the WHO in March as a global pandemic. COVID-19 subsequently had a wide-ranging impact on cities’ economic networks and lifestyles as a result of the accompanying lockdowns, travel prohibitions and other restrictions on people’s movements.

In the GPCI 2020 survey, conducted in August this year, the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic was reflected in a number of indicators, including “Workstyle Flexibility” and “Satisfaction with Urban Cleanliness”. With the accompanying transition to online working, internet speed was added as a factor to “Variety of Workplace Options”. On top of these changes, new indicators such as “Air Quality”, “Number of Flight Arrivals and Departures” and “Ease of Mobility by Taxi or Bicycle” were added. Moreover, based on a separate survey of urban lifestyle changes, some factors emerged which might be added as new criteria in the GPCI evaluation process.

Highlights (Cities from #1-10)

London (#1), maintaining its #1 position for the ninth consecutive year, was placed in the top 10 of all categories aside from Environment. It achieved a remarkable improvement in Accessibility where it took first place, replacing Paris, while maintaining its comprehensive lead in the area of Cultural Interaction. On the other hand, its score in the Economy field fell for the second year running following a drop in its “GDP Growth Rate”. It will become even more important for London to maintain its overwhelming strength in Cultural Interaction if there is economic fallout as a result of COVID-19, which continues to affect people’s movements and interaction.

New York (#2) was once again dominant in the Economy category this year, with improved scores in “Total Employment” and “Employees in Business Support Services”; it also secured the highest ratings in “Variety of Workplace Options”. Though the city maintained its top ranking in Research & Development and Cultural Interaction, its scores in “Workstyle Flexibility” fell, causing it to drop in the Livability rankings, the city’s weakest area. Given the impact of COVID-19 and the political divisions in the United States, Livability is a key area where the city should seek improvements.

Tokyo (#3) continued to display consistent strengths in all areas while also raising its score in the area of Environment and Accessibility. Despite Japan’s capital retaining third place in the Economy field, the gap between it and next-placed Singapore narrowed. Livability was the only area where the city’s rankings fell, due to a drop in scores for “Workstyle Flexibility”. The city has improved its position in Cultural Interaction since it was selected as an Olympic host city in 2013, yet it still has a potential for improvement in “Nightlife Options” and “Number of Luxury Hotel Rooms.”

Paris (#4) fell back somewhat, in a reversal of its improved ratings last year. Although the city boosted its score in the Economy category as a result of improved scores in “Corporate Tax Rates”, it fell from first place in the areas of Livability and Accessibility. Its ranking in the area of Environment also fell due to low scores in “Satisfaction with Urban Cleanliness”, possibly as a result of the strike action by city sanitation workers in February 2020.

Singapore (#5) reaffirmed its credentials as a stable city, achieving improved rankings in all areas except Cultural Interaction. The city state, a global business hub, raised its scores in the Economy field and closed the gap in this area on third-placed Tokyo. It overtook Hong Kong to claim first position in “Economic Freedom” and also improved its score in “Variety of Workplace Options” (#3). Competition with other Asian financial centers such as Tokyo and Hong Kong is expected to intensify.

Amsterdam (#6) achieved first place in the area of Livability, replacing Paris, due largely to an improvement in its “Total Unemployment Rate” scores. The city was also rated highest overall in terms of “Ease of Mobility by Taxi or Bicycle” and took second place overall in Accessibility. However, its score in the Environment category dropped sharply due to low ratings in “Satisfaction with Urban Cleanliness”.

Berlin (#7) overtook Seoul in the overall rankings, achieving significantly improved Livability scores, particularly in “Workstyle Flexibility” and with improved “Commitment to Climate Action” ratings helping to boost its performance in the Environment field. However, its rankings in “Variety of Workplace Options” fell and its weak position in Economy (#29) was unchanged from last year.

Seoul (#8) greatly improved its ranking in Environment with strong ratings in “Waste Recycle Rate” (#2) and significant improvement in “Comfortable Temperature Levels”. In the Livability category, the city scored worst in “Workstyle Flexibility”, dropping from #34 to #39 position. It maintained its strong position in Research & Development, scoring in the top 10 in five out of eight indicators.

Hong Kong (#9) saw improved ratings in the Economy area with very high scores in “Variety of Workplace Options” (#2) and “Economic Freedom”. It also raised its score in Research & Development due to improvements in “Number of Researchers” and “Number of Patents”. On the other hand, its ranking in the Cultural Interaction field fell from #13 to #20 due to a drop in scores for “Tourist Attractions” and “Attractiveness of Shopping Options”.

Shanghai (#10) made the biggest jump in overall ratings in 2020, from #30 to #10. The main reason for this was its dramatic improvement in “Variety of Workplace Options”(#16) in the Economy area, as well as “Workstyle Flexibility” in Livability, where the city scored the highest in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experiencing the impact of COVID-19 earlier than many other cities, Shanghai took the opportunity to accelerate the development new ways of working.

© Business Wire

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Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://japantoday.com/category/business/japan’s-economy-grows-22.9-in-3q-bouncing-back-from-covid

Author: Elaine Kurtenbach

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Japan’s economy grows 22.9% in 3rd quarter, bouncing back from COVID

Japan’s economy grows 22.9% in 3rd quarter, bouncing back from COVID

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A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo. Photo: AP/Koji Sasahara

Japan has reported its economy expanded at a 22.9% annual rate in the last quarter, as businesses and personal spending recovered from pandemic-related shocks in the spring and early summer.

Economists said the upward revision released Tuesday was in line with forecasts and suggests Japan’s economy, the world’s third largest, is on the mend from the recession that started in late 2019, even before coronavirus outbreaks hit.

“The sizeable upward revision to Q3 GDP and the sharp rise in ‘core’ household spending in October support our view that Japan’s economy will recover from the pandemic faster than the consensus expects,” Tom Learmouth of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

“We think GDP will rise by another 2.1% (quarter-to-quarter) in this quarter and surprise to the upside next year,” he said.

Core household spending excludes costs for housing and purchases of vehicles and other volatile expenditures and is thought to best reflect consumer demand.

As is true for most major economies, the setback dealt by the pandemic has left Japan still at a lower level of economic output, 3.9% below the level of the last quarter of 2019, Learmouth said.

The expansion in the July-September quarter coincided with a push to encourage domestic spending to make up for the loss of foreign tourism with “Go To Travel” and “Go To Eat” programs offering steep discounts on hotels and dining out.

The economy contracted at a 29.2% annualized pace in April-June, when the government declared a state of emergency and sought to quell virus outbreaks with various precautions including urging businesses to let people work from home. With international travel at a near standstill, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed.

The earlier estimate showed a 21.4% expansion.

The economy grew at a 5.3% quarterly pace, revised upward from the earlier 5.0% estimate.

Most of the extra growth came from consumer and corporate spending. Household spending outpaced retail sales, suggesting many people were making purchases online.

Government spending also was slightly higher than earlier reported.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced an additional stimulus package worth about $700 billion on Tuesday. That followed $2.2 trillion in earlier stimulus measures.

Japan has sought to keep businesses running more or less as usual while urging people to wear masks, use hand sanitizer and maintain social distancing. But the number of virus cases has surged in recent weeks, leading some local areas to urge residents to stay home as much as possible. In some places, authorities have asked bars and restaurants to close early.

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://japantoday.com/category/business/japan’s-economy-grows-22.9-in-3q-bouncing-back-from-covid

Author: Elaine Kurtenbach

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Japan to fund AI matchmaking to boost birth rate

Japan to fund AI matchmaking to boost birth rate

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Credit: Getty Images

Japan plans to boost its tumbling birth rate by funding artificial intelligence matchmaking schemes to help residents find love.

From next year it will subsidise local governments already running or starting projects that use AI to pair people up.

Last year the number of babies born in Japan fell below 865,000 – a record low.

The fast-greying nation has long been searching for ways to reverse one of the world’s lowest fertility rates.

Boosting the use of AI tech is one of its latest efforts.

Next year the government plans to allocate local authorities 2bn yen ($19m, £14m) to boost the birth rate, reported AFP news agency.

Many already offer human-run matchmaking services and some have introduced AI systems in the hope they will perform a more sophisticated analysis of the standardised forms where people submit their details.

A few of the existing systems are limited to considering criteria such as income and age, only producing a result if there is an exact match.

Local media say that the funding aims to allow authorities to harness more costly advanced systems that take into account factors like hobbies and values.

“We are especially planning to offer subsidies to local governments operating or starting up matchmaking projects that use AI,” a cabinet official told AFP. “We hope this support will help reverse the decline in the nation’s birthrate.”

Japan’s population is projected to fall from a peak of 128 million in 2017 to less than 53 million by the end of the century.

Policymakers are racing to ensure the country’s contracting workforce can meet the expanding costs of welfare.

Sachiko Horiguchi, a socio-cultural and medical anthropologist at Japan’s Temple University, thinks there are better ways for the government to bump up the birth rate than subsidising AI matchmaking – such as helping young people earning low wages.

She pointed to a recent report which suggests a link between lower income levels and the loss of interest in romantic relationships among young Japanese adults.

“If they’re not interested in dating, the matchmaking would likely be ineffective,” Dr Horiguchi told the BBC. “If we are to rely on technologies, affordable AI robots taking over household or childcare tasks may be more effective.”

Analysts have long pointed towards the lack of support for working mothers in Japan, where there are strong expectations women will do all the housework and raise children alongside doing their jobs.

The government has said it wants to encourage more women into full-time employment in recent years but the gender gap has grown.

Japan ranked 121st out of 153 countries in a 2019 report on gender equality by the World Economic Forum, slipping down 11 places from the year before.

 

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-asia-55226098

Author: BBC News Staff

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Japan’s October exports almost back to pre-pandemic levels

Japan’s October exports almost back to pre-pandemic levels

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A worker rides a bicycle past containers at an industrial port in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS file

Japan’s exports in October bounced back to just below the levels seen before the novel coronavirus pandemic, as global demand for products such as cars has risen in line with a gradual recovery in business activities, government data showed Wednesday.

Exports edged down 0.2 percent from a year earlier to 6.57 trillion yen ($63 billion), with auto shipments to the United States and China showing a significant increase while those of diesel oil and cargo ships remained sluggish, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.

The declining pace of exports slowed from 4.9 percent in September.

Meanwhile, exports shrank for the 23rd consecutive month since December 2018, tying the longest streak of monthly on-year falls set in July 1987 when the country was facing fierce trade friction with the United States amid Japan’s rise as an economic power.

Imports decreased 13.3 percent to 5.69 trillion yen, down for the 18th straight month, mainly on the falling price of crude oil purchased from the United Arab Emirates and other countries. But the decline was smaller than the 17.4 percent drop in the previous month.

The goods trade surplus stood at 872.90 billion yen in the reporting month, securing black ink for the fourth month in a row, and up from the 687.84 billion yen recorded in September.

By product, exports of cars grew 3.0 percent, turning positive from a 0.5 percent decrease in September to post their first rise since July 2019. Those of auto parts also climbed 4.0 percent, following a 7.7 percent fall the previous month.

By country, exports to China expanded 10.2 percent to 1.46 trillion yen, while imports fell 3.7 percent to 1.54 trillion yen. Exports to the United States increased 2.5 percent to 1.30 trillion yen, with imports shrinking 15.6 percent to 600.76 billion yen.

Increased exports to these countries, which are Japan’s two largest trading partners, could not make up for sharp drops in shipments to other areas, causing overall exports to decline, a ministry official said. Exports to the Middle East tumbled 30.3 percent and those to South and Central America sagged 26.2 percent.

Japan’s exports posted a double-digit fall between March and August due to the pandemic, and concerns are growing that recent virus resurgences in Europe and the United States could deal a fresh blow.

Exports to Asia as a whole rose 4.4 percent to 3.69 trillion yen and imports slipped 6.9 percent to 3.01 trillion yen.

With the European Union, exports were down 2.6 percent at 599.23 billion yen and imports dropped 11.4 percent to 638.85 billion yen.

“The latest outcome shows that Japan’s exports are picking up vigorously, reflecting that the global economy is moving toward its normal state faster than expected,” said Takeshi Okuwaki, an economist at the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

Okuwaki said the virus resurgence in Europe “won’t inflict great damage” on Japan’s trade, given that the country’s exports to the area account for only about 10 percent of the total.

However, he said large-scale economic restrictions in the United States could have a serious impact.

Exports played a key role in boosting the world’s third-largest economy to grow an annualized real 21.4 percent in the July-September period from the previous quarter, the biggest expansion in 40 years, after it shrank 28.8 percent in the April-June term due to the government’s state of emergency declaration over the virus in April.

All figures were compiled on a customs-cleared basis.

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://japantoday.com/category/business/Japan’s-October-exports-almost-back-to-pre-pandemic-levels

Author: Kyodo News Staff

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Salaries in Asia Pacific projected to grow the most globally in 2021

Salaries in Asia Pacific projected to grow the most globally in 2021

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Salaries in Asia Pacific are forecast to grow at a greater rate than any other part of the world in 2021, in a signal that employers believe the region is emerging from the worst of the pandemic.

Asia Pacific pay packets are expected to rise by an average of 4.3% next year, up from 3.2% in 2020, even as global wages falter, according to a new salary report released Thursday by consultancy firm ECA International.

After accounting for inflation, that translates to average regional real wage growth of 1.7% — well ahead of the global standard of 0.5% despite comparable average inflation rates.

The top 10 nations

Indonesia leads the charge for 2021 salary increases in a top 10 dominated by eight Asia Pacific countries.

The Southeast Asian nation is forecast to see real wage growth of 3.8% in 2021, up from 2.6% in 2020, as employers walk back wage freezes and inflation continues to fall.

Second-place Israel’s real wage growth ranks somewhat behind at 2.8%, just slightly ahead of joint third-place nations Singapore and Thailand’s 2.7%. Colombia, also at 2.7%, is the only other non-Asia Pacific nation to make the top 10.

“Few countries are expected to see a significant rise in the level of real salary increases in 2021, but there are exceptions to this within the Asia Pacific region,” the report noted.

Conducted annually, ECA’s Salary Trends Survey is based on an August to September survey of 370 multinational employers across 68 countries and a range of industries.

Lee Quane, ECA International’s regional director for Asia, attributed this year’s gains to a “sustained increase in productivity in many Asian nations” despite the coronavirus crisis.

The United States and Middle Eastern countries are approaching salary rises more conservatively.
Lee Quane
REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR ASIA, ECA INTERNATIONAL

By and large, Asia Pacific has avoided the sweeping and continued lockdowns endured by other parts of the world in the latter half of this year, paving the way for faster economic recovery. As such, just 22% of surveyed employers in the region expect to implement salary freezes in 2021, compared to 36% this year.

Other parts of the world still struggling to contain the virus may face a prolonged economic fallout and resultant hit to wages, however, said Quane.

“Although many Asia Pacific countries are already seeing signs of recovery, companies based in other parts of the world such as the United States and Middle Eastern countries are approaching salary rises more conservatively,” he noted.

Asia Pacific pay in focus

A frontrunner in the region, Singapore is forecast to see real wage growth of 2.7%, even as a higher-than-usual 0.3% inflation rate pinches.

China, too, is expected to see a notable salary increase of 2.3% after inflation, which Quane attributed to the country’s perceived resilience to the virus.

Real salaries for Hong Kong residents will be amongst the lowest in the region.
Lee Quane
REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR ASIA, ECA INTERNATIONAL

“China’s economy seems to have weathered the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic better than many other locations in the region, and this is reflected in the extent to which salaries are forecast to grow again in 2021,” he said.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, is something of an outlier in the region. The global economic hub faced a dual hit to wages in 2020 amid the pandemic and ongoing socio-political tensions. The city’s wages are expected to rebound 3% in 2021, but with inflation estimated at 2.4% that will translate to real wage growth of just 0.6% — well below the regional average.

“Real salaries for Hong Kong residents will be amongst the lowest in the region,” noted Quane. “This compares unfavourably with expected rates of real salary increases across other parts of Asia Pacific, and may hinder the extent to which the Hong Kong economy may recover from the current recession.”

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/19/salaries-in-asia-pacific-projected-to-grow-the-most-globally-in-2021.html?__source=iosappshare%7Ccom.apple.UIKit.activity.Mail

Author: Karen Gilchrist

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JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon: People with these traits succeed–‘not the smartest or hardest-working in the room’

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon: People with these traits succeed–‘not the smartest or hardest-working in the room’

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Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co.Giulia Marchi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

According to Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the most successful leaders have certain key traits.

″[H]umility, openness, fairness [and] being authentic” are most important – “not [being] the smartest person in the room or the hardest working person in the room,” Dimon, who runs the nation’s largest bank and oversees more than 250,000 employees globally, told LinkedIn editor in chief Daniel Roth in a recent video.

“Management is: Get it done, follow-up, discipline, planning, analysis, facts, facts, facts. It’s [getting] the right people in the room, kill the bureaucracy, all of these various things,” Dimon told Roth. “But the real keys to leadership aren’t just doing that.”

It’s about having “respect for people,” not about having “charisma” or “brain power,” he said.

Having these traits also increases your productivity, along with your success, Dimon said. If you’re “selfish” or “take the credit” when it isn’t warranted, others are “not going to want to work,” which will impact efficiency on the job.

Dimon also looks for these things when hiring, he said in July. When interviewing or assessing a promotion, Dimon asks himself a few questions about the candidate, including, “Would you work for that person? Would you want your kid to work for that person?”

He also considers whether they “take the blame” or “how they act anytime something goes wrong.”

In his role as CEO, Dimon said he tries to practice what he preaches.

“No one would say Jamie Dimon is humble,” he said in July, “but I treat everyone the same, and I expect the same thing. You’d want to work for me if you think I give a s—, if I treat you fairly, if I treat everyone equally.”

To achieve success, “treat people the way you want to be treated,” Dimon told Roth. “Have respect for people.”

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/18/jpmorgan-ceo-jamie-dimon-on-what-makes-the-most-successful-leaders.html?__source=iosappshare%7Ccom.apple.UIKit.activity.Mail

Author: Taylor Locke

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Robot enforces mask-wearing, distancing at store in Japan

Robot enforces mask-wearing, distancing at store in Japan

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Robovie directing a customer to products in a store.
Credit: Reuters

TOKYO – A robot has signed on as the newest staff member at a store in Japan, taking on the job of ensuring customers wear masks and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Robovie, developed by Kyoto-based Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR), guides customers around the sales floor at the official store of soccer team Cerezo Osaka.

It warns customers when it detects through a camera and 3D laser beam technology that they are not wearing masks or abiding by social distancing rules.

Robovie’s deployment is a trial that started last week and will run at least through the end of the month. It will be extended according to the situation, ATR said.

With around 120,000 reported coronavirus cases and close to 2,000 deaths, Japan has weathered the pandemic better than many nations, and people are mostly compliant with requests to wear masks.

But authorities are calling for vigilance after a resurgence in cases as the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors.

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.asiaone.com/digital/robot-enforces-mask-wearing-distancing-store-japan

Author: Reuters Staff

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Python creator Guido van Rossum joins Microsoft

Python creator Guido van Rossum joins Microsoft

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Image Credits: Sauria Associates, LLC / Contributor / Getty Images

Guido van Rossum, the creator of the Python programming language, today announced that he has unretired and joined Microsoft’s Developer Division.

Van Rossum, who was last employed by Dropbox, retired last October after six and a half years at the company. Clearly, that retirement wasn’t meant to last. At Microsoft, van Rossum says, he’ll work to “make using Python better for sure (and not just on Windows).”

A Microsoft spokesperson told us that the company also doesn’t have any additional details to share but confirmed that van Rossum has indeed joined Microsoft. “We’re excited to have him as part of the Developer Division. Microsoft is committed to contributing to and growing with the Python community, and Guido’s on-boarding is a reflection of that commitment,” the spokesperson said.

The Dutch programmer started working on what would become Python back in 1989. He continued to actively work on the language during his time at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology in the mid-90s and at various companies afterward, including as director of PythonLabs at BeOpen and Zope and at Elemental Security. Before going to Dropbox, he worked for Google from 2005 to 2012. There, he developed the internal code review tool Mondrian and worked on App Engine.

I decided that retirement was boring and have joined the Developer Division at Microsoft. To do what? Too many options to say! But it’ll make using Python better for sure (and not just on Windows :-). There’s lots of open source here. Watch this space.

— Guido van Rossum, November 12, 2020

Today, Python is among the most popular programming languages and the de facto standard for AI researchers, for example.

Only a few years ago, van Rossum joining Microsoft would’ve been unthinkable, given the company’s infamous approach to open source. That has clearly changed now and today’s Microsoft is one of the most active corporate open-source contributors among its peers — and now the owner of GitHub. It’s not clear what exactly van Rossum will do at Microsoft, but he notes that there are “too many options to say” and that “there’s lots of open source here.”

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/12/python-creator-guido-van-rossum-joins-microsoft/amp/

Author:Frederic Lardinois

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Japanese companies rushing to adapt to net-zero emission goal

Japanese companies rushing to adapt to net-zero emission goal

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The 2020 Toyota Corolla is awarded the Green Car of the Year at the AutoMobility LA auto show in Los Angeles in November. | AP / VIA KYODO

Japan’s business world is rushing to take measures to reach the government’s goal to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Automakers are accelerating their shifts to electric vehicles while steel-makers are developing technologies to reduce emissions. The carbon neutrality goal was announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in his first policy speech at the Diet on Monday.

Toyota Motor Corp. is aiming to cut carbon dioxide emissions from its new vehicles by 90 percent in 2050 from the level in 2010. Honda Motor Co. plans to raise the proportion of electric and fuel-cell vehicles in its total automobile sales to two-thirds in 2030. The two companies released new electric vehicle models this year.

The share of electric vehicles in the domestic automobile market is only less than 1 percent, far behind that in Europe. Electric vehicles have a shorter range than vehicles that run on gasoline, and there are not many charging stations in Japan.

As automakers rush to bolster their facilities for mass production of electric vehicles, an official of a major maker asked the government for support measures, such as providing subsidies and setting up necessary infrastructure.

The steel industry is conducting research into steel-making methods using hydrogen while reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Nippon Steel Corp. plans to draw up a specific reduction target by the March 2021 end of fiscal 2020. Industry peer JFE Holdings Inc. is seeking to achieve carbon neutrality at an early stage after 2050.

Japan’s heavy dependence on coal-fired power generation is a major obstacle to the push for net-zero emissions. But people living around nuclear power plants remain staunchly opposed to restarting suspended reactors, and renewable energy sources hold the key to success.

However, an official of a heavy electric machinery giant sounded cautious, saying that the use of renewable energy sources will lead to a hike in electricity rates and cause companies to lose competitiveness.

Cutting costs related to renewable energy sources is also a major challenge, industry sources said.

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/10/28/business/companies-net-zero-emission-goal/

Author: JIJI

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This floating spaceport in Japan could bring space travel to the city

This floating spaceport in Japan could bring space travel to the city

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Around the world, spaceports are popping up in anticipation of a boom in commercial space travel. Spaceport City in is a conceptual design project in Japan that aims to demonstrate the opportunities an urban spaceport could bring for business and travel. Click through to see spaceports around the world. Space Port Japan Association, Dentsu, Canaria and Noiz Architects

Cylindrical steel and glass towers protrude through solar panels on the vast circular roof of the futuristic, four-story Spaceport City.

The spaceport rises from an island that floats in Tokyo Bay, with the skyscrapers of Japan’s capital in the background. It’s designed to launch tourists on day trips to space, where they will be able to see the building’s huge roof — as well as glimpse the curvature of the Earth and experience zero gravity.

If that sounds like a vision of the future, that’s because it is. But Noiz Architects — who designed the concept in collaboration with communications firm Dentsu, designers Canaria, and non-profit Spaceport Japan — hopes that the coming years will see a new generation of spaceports constructed as part of the urban landscape.

The spaceport will do much more than offer adventurous tourists the trip of a lifetime. It’s a day trip destination in itself, with lifestyle and education facilities designed to help earthbound visitors become “more familiar with space” says Urszula Kuczma, project manager at Noiz Architects.

The roof of the spaceport will be covered with solar panels.

The roof of the spaceport will be covered with solar panels. Credit: Space Port Japan Association, Dentsu, Canaria and Noiz Architects

The mixed-use space includes research and business facilities, an education academy, shops, a hotel, an astronaut-food restaurant, a 4D IMAX movie theatre, an art museum, a gym, an aquarium and a disco — all space-themed, of course.

To make the spaceport accessible, Noiz Architects’ design incorporates public transport with a network of bridges that carry electric cars and autonomous trains, seamlessly integrating the floating island with the city, says Kuczma. The idea, she says, is to stimulate economic opportunities, while inspiring people to explore the possibilities of technology and the wonders of space.

Day trips to space

Unlike the conventional vertical rocket launchers most of us associate with space travel, Spaceport City is designed for suborbital spaceships that look more like planes and take off horizontally.

Commercial suborbital spaceflights are not yet available, but companies including Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are testing suborbital spacecrafts for space tourism. Virgin Galactic is leading the way in the development of horizontal-launch spacecraft — the type that Spaceport City is designed for. The company has flown crewed test flights and has already signed up over 600 passengers for the yet unscheduled $250,000-per-seat, 90-minute spaceflight, which it hopes to launch as early as next year.

The spaceport is designed like an airport, for suborbital spacecrafts that take off horizontally like planes.

The spaceport is designed like an airport, for suborbital spacecrafts that take off horizontally like planes. Credit: Space Port Japan Association, Dentsu, Canaria and Noiz Architects

The company says its spacecraft will fly at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) above Earth, and travelers will be able to leave their seats for a few minutes to experience zero-gravity.

While the spaceflight will take less than two hours, those hoping to shoot for the stars will undergo three days of training before they take off, says Virgin Galactic.

Noiz Architects’ plans for Spaceport City include facilities to help space tourists get prepared, says Kuczma. Space travel can be physically and mentally challenging, she says, so health check-ups in the medical clinic and training at the gym or space academy may be part of pre-flight preparations.

Location, location, location

Spaceport City is not the first urban spaceport project. In Houston, the fourth largest city in the US and the home of NASA’s astronaut program, work is underway to transform Ellington Airport into a commercial spaceport, and Colorado Air and Space Port (CASP) is just a 30-minute drive from downtown Denver.
These spaceports have been located near cities to attract space-related businesses and space travelers — once commercial flights are available.

The four-story spaceport will be multi-purpose: a travel hub as well as an education, entertainment, retail and business center.

The four-story spaceport will be multi-purpose: a travel hub as well as an education, entertainment, retail and business center. Credit: Space Port Japan Association, Dentsu, Canaria and Noiz Architects

Tokyo’s Spaceport City is designed to showcase the benefits of urban spaceports, to get city dwellers on board with having a spaceport on their doorstep, says Hidetaka Aoki, director of Spaceport Japan.

Resistance from concerned residents has made some spaceport projects in other countries difficult, he says. However, urban spaceports could enable “point-to-point spaceflight” such as flying from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in an hour, says Aoki.

This kind of spaceflight is still decades off, but Spaceport Japan wants conceptual projects like Spaceport City to lay the groundwork in changing perceptions and “educating” the public about “potential business,” says Aoki.

Whether elements of Noiz Architects’ design will make it into spaceports of the future remains to be seen — but the project starts a conversation about what space travel could be like.
Kuczma hopes it will give “people a peek and get them primed for the concept of space as part of the contemporary landscape.”

 

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Source: https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/spaceport-city-japan-spc-intl/index.html

Author: Rebecca Cairns

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