Honda

Foundation: 1946

Headquarters: Minato Ward, Tokyo

President: Takahiro Hachigo

Honda is a Japanese public multinational conglomerate corporation primarily known as a manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles, and power equipment. Its annual income is in the range of US$130 billion.

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SoftBank to Establish “Beyond AI Institute”

SoftBank (Tokyo) — The University of Tokyo and SoftBank Corp. today announced an agreement to establish the Beyond AI Institute, a new research facility that will gather the world’s best minds and launch programs to develop businesses with research results.

The Beyond AI Institute aims to be an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) research organization that brings together top-level researchers from the University of Tokyo and leading universities abroad. The institute will conduct fundamental research for key AI technology and for incorporating research from other academic fields. Using these fundamental research results, applied research will be conducted for the purpose of utilizing AI to address issues facing society and industry. Along with linking fundamental research areas to applied research domains, for business development the Beyond AI Institute will actively utilize the Collaborative Innovation Partnership (CIP) system that was newly formulated by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), which enables universities and companies to rapidly set up joint ventures.

Through the Beyond AI Institute, the University of Tokyo and SoftBank Corp. will contribute to Japan’s AI research and AI-related businesses to lead Japan’s AI revolution.

Specific Initiatives

(1) Advanced AI research conducted by top level researchers from the University of Tokyo and universities abroad. To forge new AI-related fundamental research areas such as the radical evolution of AI enabled by quantum physics and the combination of AI and biofunctions, researchers at the University of Tokyo involved in physics and medical fields—areas that the university excels in—will be assigned to the institute to realize AI integration. In conjunction with this, researchers at top universities abroad will be brought on board to create a world-class team that conducts advanced AI fundamental research.

(2) Commercialization of research results using new joint venture system. Promising results from fundamental research will be passed on to applied research for application to fields such as “Health and Medical,” “Public Works and Social Infrastructure” and “Manufacturing.” Furthermore, the CIP system, which makes it possible to rapidly set up joint ventures between universities and companies, will be utilized to commercialize research. Using this system will create an ecosystem where it will be possible to quickly envision commercialization through joint ventures at the research stage and invest returns from business ventures into future research activities. This will in turn contribute to the nurturing of next-generation AI experts and educational activities (The Beyond AI Institute will also collaborate with Deepcore Inc., Innovation Platform for The University of Tokyo Inc. and related venture capital companies in forming ventures).

(3) Research facilities to be located at University of Tokyo’s Hongo Campus and the future SoftBank headquarters in Takeshiba. The research facility dedicated to fundamental research will be located in the University of Tokyo’s Hongo Campus and the research facility for applied research will be established at the future SoftBank headquarters in Takeshiba, which is expected to open during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021. These two locations will be linked by the Science and Information Network (SINET) that is run by the National Institute of Informatics (NII) to build a structure that enables seamless transitions from research to commercialization.

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The Quiet Charm of Satake Shopping Arcade

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — A ten-minute stroll from Akihabara’s central Chuo-dori lay one of Tokyo’s oldest and most charming shopping arcades.

The Satake Shopping Arcade, which resides in neighboring Taito Ward, has a unique history. From the end of the 17th century the entire area was part of the feudal residence of the Satake family, head of the Kubota Clan in what is now Akita Prefecture.

With the dawn of the Meiji Era in 1868, such feudal residences in Tokyo were abandoned, and so this area of land also became open to new forms of development.

The origins of the Satake Shopping Arcade reach back to about 1884 when private residences and shops began to be built here. Decade by decade, this shopping street became more energetic and prosperous along with the general economic advance of Meiji times.

However, the area was entirely devastated in the Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1, 1923, with the entire town burned to the ground.

The surviving local people rebuilt the area, and by 1936 a census counted 116 shops on the street. Like today, clothing and grocery stores were the most prominent.

Satake shopping street in 1930

Tragedy struck again in late 1944 and early 1945, when the shopping street was again entirely burnt to the ground by US bombing raids.

But, again, after the war the locals rebuilt it.

Satake shopping street in 1957

The version of the Satake Shopping Arcade that exists today was completed in 1977 with the addition of its colored pavement. Now looking rundown and partially abandoned, like many shopping streets in the rural cities, this is something of a living relic of Showa Era Japan, and well worth a gentle stroll.

On occasion, Satake Shopping Arcade still holds exchanges with Akita Prefecture, from where it gets its name and traces its origins.

Want to learn more about Akihabara? The best way we know to get started is to take the three-hour Akihabara Anime & Gaming Adventure Tour. With an experienced guide and priced at only ¥7,600, this is the ideal means to begin your exploration!

Satake Shopping Arcade in December 2019

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Robot Lawn Mower Unleashed on Tokyo

Honda (Tokyo) — Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that it has begun demonstration testing of Miimo HRM520 (Miimo), Honda’s robotic lawn mower, jointly with the Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association (Park Association). The purpose of the test program is to verify the usability and aptitude of Miimo for large-sized parks as well as the feasibility of using Miimo for dry riverbeds where there is no existing power supply facility.

At the end of last month (November 2019), Honda and the Park Association began conducting demonstration testing of Miimo, a robotic lawn mower developed for home use, at Hibiya Park (the First Flower Garden area) to verify its usability for a large-sized park during daytime hours, as well as its aptitude for park management operations. Through this demonstration testing, Honda expects to expand the potential of robotic lawn mowers for park management operations, while contributing to the improvement and expansion of areas with expansive lawns.

Moreover, since October 1, 2019, Honda and Park Association have been conducting demonstration testing using Miimo together with LiB-AID E500 (E500), Honda’s portable power source, at the Shinnakagawa Temporary Mooring located at the dry riverbed of Shinnakagawa River, to verify the feasibility of using Miimo in an environment where there is no permanent installation of power supply facility. Through this testing, Honda hopes to contribute to expanding the potential for unattended environmental improvement operations in areas where a permanent power supply facility is not available.

Both of these tests will be carried out jointly with Park Associations which will use Miimo and the E500 at two testing locations, namely Hibiya Park and Shinnakagawa Temporary Mooring. Honda will collect data on both use cases.

Miimo’s ability to mow a lawn and recharge itself automatically makes lawn management easy and convenient. Miimo has become popular due to the fact that it can foster a dense and beautiful lawn by taking advantage of the nature of grass that is mowed constantly. By slowing growth, the number of sprouts increases and the lawn becomes denser. The E500 is a portable power source that stores electricity and enables the user to use electrical appliances in various situations.

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Nintendo

Foundation: 1889

Headquarters: Kyoto

President: Shuntaro Furukawa

Nintendo is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. Originating as a card company and eventually evolving from toys to video games, Nintendo is one of the world’s largest video game companies, creating some of the best-known and top-selling video game franchises. Its annual income is in the range of US$11 billion.

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Pokemon Sword and Shield Slashes Record Books

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — Pokemon Sword and Shield sold around 1.37 million copies in Japan within the first three days of release, according to Shukan Famitsu magazine, which is a new record for any title developed for Nintendo’s Switch console.

These sales figures edge out 2018’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the previous record holder.

The worldwide figure for the launch weekend was in the neighborhood of 6 million units sold in the launch weekend.

Nick Chavez, Nintendo of America’s senior vice-president of sales and marketing, commented, “With such a momentous launch, Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield have proven to be two of the must-have games this holiday season.”

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Sony Jumps into Artificial Intelligence

Sony (Tokyo) – Sony Corporation today announced the establishment of Sony AI. This new organization, with offices globally in Japan, Europe, and the United States, will advance fundamental research and development of AI (artificial intelligence).

Sony’s Purpose is to “Fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology.” Recognizing that AI will play a vital role in the fulfillment of this purpose, Sony AI is being established with the mission to “unleash human imagination and creativity with AI.”

Sony AI will combine world class fundamental research and development with Sony’s unique technical assets, especially in imaging & sensing solutions, robotics and entertainment (games, music and movies), driving transformation across all existing business domains and contributing to the creation of new business domains. In addition, one of Sony AI’s long-term goals is to contribute to the resolution of shared global issues extending beyond Sony’s business domains.

Sony AI will drive the research and development of AI in both physical and virtual space through multiple world-class flagship projects as well as other explorative research projects, including AI ethics.

Initially, Sony AI will launch three flagship projects in the areas of gaming, imaging & sensing, and gastronomy. The adoption of new AI technologies developed through these flagship projects will be critical to further enhancing the value of Sony’s gaming and sensor businesses in coming years. This research will be pursued in close collaboration with the relevant Sony Group business units.

In order to drive these projects and achieve truly innovative research, Sony is eager to work with top global AI talent with an aim to attract world-class AI researchers and engineers. Sony believes that extraordinary innovation requires diversity of both talent and approaches, and this will be reflected in the composition and operation of Sony AI. Recognizing the power and influence of AI technologies, Sony AI will contribute to society through the development of AI that is fair, transparent, and accountable.

Sony AI will be headed globally by Hiroaki Kitano (President and CEO, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.; Corporate Executive, Sony Corporation), and the American site will be headed by Peter Stone.

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Line Merger with Yahoo Japan Aims at Artificial Intelligence

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — The merger of online firms Line and Yahoo Japan is aimed squarely at the Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry, hoping to give the combined holding company, Line and Z Holdings, the financial heft it needs to compete against the tech giants.

The merger statement explained, “Social and industrial conditions surrounding us are changing drastically and daily on a global basis. Particularly in the Internet market, overseas companies, especially those based in the United States and China, are overwhelmingly dominant, and even when comparing the size of operations, there is currently a big difference between such overseas companies and those in Japan and other Asian countries, other than China.”

It continued, “Furthermore, in Japan, which is working to increase the declining productivity that comes along with a shrinking workforce and to respond rapidly to natural disasters, the use of artificial intelligence and technology in these fields has great potential.”

The combined firm will target “growth in the areas of AI, commerce, Fintech, advertising and O2O and other new business areas.”

Currently, Line Corporation, owned by the South Korean firm Naver, has a user base of about 82 million people in Japan, and Yahoo Japan, owned by SoftBank Corporation through its subsidiary Z Holdings Corporation, has a user base of about 50 million Japanese.

The full merger is expected to be completed within a year.

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Google Becomes a Gaming Company

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — With the launch of the Stadia cloud service this week, Google becomes a heavyweight gaming company taking on the established Sony PlayStation Now and the incipient Microsoft Project xCloud.

Stadia games will be playable using televisions, desktop Google Chrome web browsers, or Google-made Pixel smartphones. In a later stage it is expected to be integrated with YouTube.

At the time of launch, 22 games will be available in the Stadia lineup. These are Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Attack on Titan: Final Battle 2, Destiny 2: The Collection, Farming Simulator 2019, Final Fantasy XV, Football Manager 2020, Grid 2019, Gylt, Just Dance 2020, Kine, Metro Exodus, Mortal Kombat 11, NBA 2K20, Rage 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Red Dead Redemption 2, Samurai Shodown, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Thumper, Tomb Raider 2013, Trials Rising, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood.

Initially, Stadia is launching in fourteen countries in North America and Europe, but is not available in Japan or any other Asian country.

Google originally announced the coming of its Stadia game service in March, and by June began accepting preorders for the US$130 Founder’s Edition controllers.

The global video game industry is worth an estimated US$135 billion.

Stadia introduction video (October 2019)

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Fujifilm Ends Takeover Battle with Xerox

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — Fujifilm has put an end to both its two-year takeover battle with Xerox Holdings as well as its 57-year partnership with the US firm.

In January 2018, Fujifilm launched a US$6.1 billion bid to gain a majority stake in its erstwhile US partner, but the deal foundered under the opposition of activist shareholders Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason. Fujifilm persisted by launching a US$1 billion lawsuit against Xerox in June 2018.

In an announcement yesterday, Fujifilm put an end to all that. The lawsuit has been dropped and instead Fujifilm will buy out all of Xerox’s 25% stake in their joint venture firm, Fuji Xerox. In this US$2.3 billion deal, Fuji Xerox will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujifilm.

In other words, Fujifilm and Xerox have made a clean break from one another and will now go their separate ways.

Shigetaka Komori, chairman and chief executive officer of Fujifilm, commented, “Full ownership of Fuji Xerox will facilitate faster decision making in a rapidly changing business environment. At the same time, Fuji Xerox will be able to further strengthen its business by capturing new original equipment manufacturer opportunities in the global market, leveraging our world-leading product development and manufacturing capabilities.”

Founded in 1962, the joint venture Fuji Xerox has been a leading document solutions company with revenues growing to above 1 trillion yen (about US$9.2 billion). It had also been regarded as one of the most successful joint ventures between a Japanese and a non-Japanese company.

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Mazda

Foundation: 1920

Headquarters: Fuchu, Hiroshima

President: Akira Marumoto

Mazda Motor Corporation is a Japanese multinational automaker, which for several decades had a partnership with the Ford Motor Company of the United States. Its annual income is in the range of US$32 billion.

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Nissan

Foundation: 1933

Headquarters: Yokohama

President: Yasuhiro Yamauchi

Nissan Motor Company is one of Japan’s leading automotive firms and part of an international alliance that includes Renault of France and Mitsubishi Motors of Japan. Nissan has been a pioneer in the development of electric vehicles. Its annual income is in the range of US$110 billion.

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Coworking Spaces in Akihabara

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — Japan has definitely entered to era of coworking spaces, and the area around Akihabara Station has multiple offerings at a variety of standards and price points.

Compared to the situation some years ago, the coworking space boom is definitely welcome. Tokyo has long had many attractive offerings, but places to sit down and get some work done had been lacking. Most people still park themselves in cafes that offer wifi, but for those individuals and small startups that need a little more, the coworking spaces are rising to meet the needs of new era. And what could be cooler than to base your business in the tech and anime capital of Akihabara?

Akihabara News has begun a review of the coworking spaces available within easy walking distance of JR Akihabara Station. We plan to update this survey in the weeks and months ahead as we learn about other offerings or gain additional information about those listed below.

1/3 Life

1/3 Life coworking space viewed from the exterior

The central part of what we call Akihabara is actually Sotokanda, which lay to the west of JR Akihabara Station, and includes Electric Town, Radiokaikan, and the main thoroughfare of Chuo-dori. It is in the northern part of this central district, close to Suehirocho Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, that the new offering of 1/3 Life is located.

Having just completed an interior renewal, this coworking space may take the prize for being the most fashionable, comfortable, and imbued with young energy. Just as you enter, there is a bar and cafe, and the interior seats are relatively spacious and quiet.

The second floor of the facility includes a couple of offices with larger tables that are even more quiet. The second floor is open 24-hours a day, every day of the year, to those with full membership. Most of the staff members speak English.

They also offer mailboxes for startups that register their addresses at the coworking space.

An unique feature is that membership in the coworking space plan also comes with access to a fitness gym which is located about two blocks away to the north.

The best part? This is one of the most reasonably priced, with their monthly plans ranging from only 9,200 yen (for the cafe only) to 45,000 yen. It’s a stunningly good offering.

Rampart

Rampart is also a quite affordable workspace, located just a few steps from JR Akihabara Station on its east side, in Kanda Sakumacho. It’s main monthly plan runs at only 22,000 yen.

The facilities definitely have a more Showa Era aesthetic, located in an old office building and in general looking like the typical Japanese office of a small or medium-sized company.

Rampart includes a smoking room, and the smell of cigarettes is definitely in the air. This may be the go-to coworking space for smokers, but non-smokers may want to look for another option.

Aside from the bright and open main room, there are also two meeting rooms available at Rampart. They also specialize in having various computer cables and cords available for their patrons.

Bottom line: You can’t beat the access to JR Akihabara Station and the price is excellent. Rampart was the busiest coworking space we visited, and it is clearly popular with Japanese businesspeople working in the area.

Regus Akihabara Minami

For a much more expensive option, Regus Akihabara Minami is not far from JR Akihabara Station, located across the Kanda River near Iwamotocho Station on the Toei Shinjuku Line.

Regus, of course, is one of the major corporate players in the coworking space industry, and so the atmosphere here is much more upscale and impersonal. There is a wider variety of spaces and meeting rooms than those on offer by the smaller players. The facility was being well-used when we visited, so clearly this too is a popular option for businesspeople, both Japanese and foreign.

On the first floor of the GYB Akihabara Building, where Regus is located, there is also an interesting, though unaffiliated, cashless cafe, so a good food and coffee option is not far in looking.

Regus was the most opaque about its actual monthly costs, with a system that apparently requires customers to contact a representative to get a quote. We were able to gather, however, that Regus is several times more expensive than the offerings of the smaller operations like 1/3 Life and Rampart.

BIZcomfort Akihabara Iwamotocho

In the same southeastern direction from JR Akihabara Station, but further down Yanagihara-dori, is the coworking facilities of BIZcomfort Akihabara Iwamotocho.

The first thing that a visitor will come across is the fact that there is no staff. Indeed, when we visited there was no signs of life inside the facility at all.

Members are given a 24-hour keycard and mainly just fend for themselves, apparently.

But there is also a distinct upside. With a standard monthly plan running at only 12,000 yen per month it is the cheapest coworking space near JR Akihabara Station that we’ve found, and the desks and chairs appear to be comfortable enough.

Those who are looking for a very quiet place to set up their computers and work, and who are the more self-reliant sort of people, may find this one to be their best option, especially at this price point.

Lifork

Lifork boasts what is probably the best location for a coworking space near Akihabara Station, found on the 4th floor of the UDX Building, to the popular northwest direction from the station past the AKB48 Cafe and the Gundam Cafe.

This coworking space is run by the NTT Urban Development Corporation, and definitely has that more impersonal corporate feeling to it. Also, not surprisingly, it can be one of the more expensive offerings.

Lifork does appear to have one particular strength, which is that it might be the best option for those who have more than one person in their company needing a coworking facility, with two, three, and four-person workrooms available at a premium price. One person private workspaces run 55,000 yen per month, while the four-person spaces reach 180,000 yen per month.

There are also some small and large-sized meeting rooms available for rent at fairly reasonable prices.

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The End for i-mode

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — NTT Docomo has announced that it will terminate services for i-mode, the world’s first mobile internet service, at the end of March 2026.

A groundbreaking new technology at the time of its launch in February 1999, it ultimately peaked at about 49 million users in 2010.

Gradually, however, the inability to spread i-mode internationally, and more importantly the competition from the superior Apple iPhone and Google Android systems, relegated the technology to obsolescence. At present, there are about 7.6 million subscribers and declining.

An NTT Docomo statement explained, “Given the decline in the number of contracts and the allocation of more corporate resources to 5G), we have decided to end services.”

In its heyday in the early 2000s, i-mode offered its mostly Japanese users services that were otherwise unknown. It allowed users mobile access to email and the internet, and played a key role in popularizing the now ubiquitous emoji.

In the end, however, it largely became another galapagos technology. Although Japan had taken a global lead with the introduction of i-mode, it was ultimately blown away by Steve Jobs and his iPhone, introduced in June 2007.

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Toyota Offers Automated Vehicle Rides

Toyota (Tokyo) — Toyota Research Institute (TRI) announced that its Platform 4 (P4) automated driving test vehicle will be available for public demonstration rides next summer in Tokyo. Offered from July to September 2020, the P4 will demonstrate Toyota’s “Chauffeur” SAE Level-4 capabilities in a specific “mobility as a service” (MaaS) driving environment.

The P4 experience will take place in Tokyo’s Odaiba district, a busy and often congested waterfront subcenter. Odaiba’s complex environment of pedestrians, vehicle traffic, diverse road infrastructure and tall glass buildings provide a challenging setting in which to demonstrate the capabilities of Toyota’s automated driving technology. The public will be invited to register for the experience, and individuals will be selected to participate. In accordance with Japanese law, a safety driver will be present during the experience.

“By challenging ourselves to successfully operate autonomously in Odaiba, we have set a high bar that requires us to rapidly expand the capabilities of our technology in a short amount of time,” said TRI CEO Gill Pratt. “To accomplish that, we are working closely with the Advanced R&D Division of Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) based in Tokyo, who is responsible for bringing the P4’s automated driving software to the public.”

TRI has been testing the P4 in the United States at its Ottawa Lake, Michigan, closed-course test facility. There, TRI replicated Odaiba’s most challenging infrastructure characteristics and driving scenarios for which the P4 will have to navigate autonomously. Further testing of P4 software is being conducted on public roads in Odaiba and around TRI’s Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Los Altos, California, research offices.

The P4 test vehicle is based on the fifth-generation Lexus LS sedan. It is being used in TRI’s research and development of both “Toyota GuardianTM” active safety and “Chauffeur” automated driving applications.

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Fujifilm

Foundation: 1934

Headquarters: Minato Ward, Tokyo

Chairman and CEO: Shigetaka Komori

Fujifilm is a multinational photography and imaging company which produces digital cameras, color film, color paper, photofinishing equipment, and much more. It is a pioneer Japanese film company. Its annual income is in the range of US$22 billion.

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Fujifilm Releases X-Pro3 Mirrorless Camera

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — In late November, Fujifilm is releasing its X-Pro3 mirrorless digital camera, the third iteration of a line first launched in 2012.

The X-Pro3 is very much intended for street photography, built for capturing still images much more than video, though it does have 4K video capability and can shoot sharp and beautiful images.

Two points set the X-Pro3 apart from other models.

First, it possesses an “Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder,” which can be switched between optical viewfinder (OVF) and electronic viewfinder (EVF). This model lays emphasis on use of the OVF which allows photographers to see what they are shooting with their own eyes, including people and objects that have not yet entered the field of the shot.

The EVF is a 1.62-million-dot tilting touchscreen LCD monitor found behind a rear flipscreen which extends about 180 degrees downward.

The other major selling point of this camera is its strong and lightweight titanium construction, allowing it to be easily portable and highly resistant to scratching and other physical damage, including against dust and water.

The X-Pro3 also possesses advanced autofocus and a variety of special filming modes that can create stylized color expressions.

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SoftBank Takes Ownership of WeWork

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — The SoftBank Group is doubling down on its investment in the troubled startup WeWork with a fresh US$10 billion financial commitment that will see SoftBank own about 80% of the firm’s shares.

SoftBank has declined, however, to take a majority of the voting rights, and will treat WeWork as an associate rather than a subsidiary.

Analysts have grown deeply skeptical about SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son’s judgment in this matter, with many arguing that he is simply digging himself into a deeper hole on behalf of a fundamentally misguided investment.

At this point, Son has committed about US$13 billion in funds in a startup whose market valuation has currently fallen to about US$8 billion. As recently as January, WeWork had gained a valuation at the stunning US$47 billion level, in spite of a lack of clarity about how its business model could become profitable, or be able to weather any global economic downturns.

Son, however, has remained undeterred, trusting in his own vision and analysis about how WeWork can still become a global business titan.

One person who does not figure prominently in these sweeping plans, however, is co-founder Adam Neumann, who is being paid hundreds of millions of dollars to leave the board of directors, though he will remain as an observer and an adviser.

There are about 25 existing or planned WeWork locations in Tokyo.

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Nissan Unveils Ariya Electric Car

Nissan (Tokyo) — Nissan today unveiled the Ariya Concept, a crossover EV with twin electric motors, powerful acceleration, award-winning driver assistance technology and a look that signals a complete reinvention of the brand’s design.

The new Nissan Ariya Concept, introduced today at the 46th Tokyo Motor Show, signals the dawn of a new era for Nissan as the company embarks to redefine its brand philosophy for the next evolutionary phase of the automobile.

The Ariya Concept features a spacious, premium cabin with high-tech features and a body that conveys the pure, clean nature of electric cars. It embodies the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision of personal transportation – one where electrification and vehicle intelligence will offer seamless and adaptive travel experiences free of accidents or harmful emissions.

The Ariya Concept expands on design elements first hinted at by the Nissan IMx concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. They include the bold electrified V-motion signature “shield” and striking rear light blade, short overhangs, and an interior that feels more like a lounge than a conventional vehicle.

Although it’s a concept vehicle, the crossover EV’s bold styling and unconventional interior and exterior elements could make it into production in the near future.

“The Ariya Concept represents a strong collaboration between design and engineering,” said Yasuhiro Yamauchi, representative executive officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “It is the next stage of Nissan’s future design language as we embark on a new era for the company – the next stage in our evolution.”

The Ariya Concept shares the stage at the Tokyo Motor Show with the Nissan IMk, an EV urban commuter concept revealed earlier this month. The two vehicles serve as “bookends” for Nissan’s new vision of an electrified brand identity.

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Mazda Unveils Its First Mass Market Electric Car

Mazda (Hiroshima) — Mazda Motor Corporation has unveiled its first mass-production electric vehicle, named Mazda MX-30, at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show.

A new addition to Mazda’s car lineup, the MX-30 is the automaker’s third new-generation model. Aiming to offer an experience that lets customers relax and be themselves and deepens the bond between car and owner, the model offers a creative time and space that invites new ways of using a vehicle.

Spaces in and around the center console give the cabin an open feel, and environmentally conscious materials such as cork and fabrics made from recycled materials are used in ways that bring out their natural appeal, creating a comfortable interior space. In addition, the MX-30 adopts freestyle doors so customers can invent new and creative ways of using the car.

“In any era, Mazda wants people to experience exuberant moments in life through cars,” said Akira Marumoto, Mazda’s Representative Director, President and CEO at the show. “We will continue striving to deliver creative products and technologies so our customers will love and hold onto their Mazda for a long time.”

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