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It has been almost a year since the pandemic started.
The numbers of new COVID-19 cases reported each day have increased more
than tenfold since  the first state of emergency was declared in April
last year.
The Japanese Government has declared the second state of emergency for
Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures in an attempt to curb the rise
in coronavirus cases on January 7th (As of February, it is extended to
other prefectures).
In the statement, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide asked bars and
restaurants to be closed by 8 p.m. (What an early closing it is! Can
they make lives for themselves?) Residents were also asked to refrain
from non-essential outings after 8 p.m.
Companies were asked to encourage remote work and reduce the number of
staff in their offices by 70 percent.

CICC has introduced teleworking since the end of March in last year. Our
staff, including myself  comes to the office 2 days a week and work from
home 3 days a week. At first, I thought it was just a stopgap measure to
prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and it would not last long.
But the pandemic has changed our workplace appearance.
And what is more, online meetings are now held twice a week.
I had been hearing for some time that online meeting was the wave of the
future. It was the first time for all of us to have meetings online last
spring. It took us a little time to be accustomed to it. Sometimes,
video stops in the meeting and never recovers again. I forgot to turn
off the speaker during an online meeting, and my soliloquies were heard
by the other participants.
But eventually we were able to organize a multilateral conference in the
form of webinar in December. The COVID-19 crisis served as a short-term
intensive course on how to hold conferences physically apart.
Not only that, it forced us to use the internet the way it was always
meant be used: to connect each of us, to share information and to
develop solutions to problems. Twice-a-week meetings give us opportunity
to share information and improve communications in our organization.

There are trying times and it’s difficult not to get pessimistic as we
listen to the news.
The outlook for economic indicators released by the government is grim.
The GDP growth rate was -28% in the second quarter of 2020. Many
bankruptcies have also been reported. This is especially true for
food-service industry. In total, 646 business enterprises in Japan went
bankrupt after the outbreak of the virus. In terms of industries, the
food-service industry experienced the highest number of bankruptcies at
110 cases as of October 2020.

Under these circumstances, one of restaurant chains are increasing their
sales through its innovations. The restaurant chain that operates many
Izakaya (Japanese style pubs) across the country has changed its Izakaya
to smokeless barbecue restaurants and prepared a breakfast menu, so
called “Early Morning Yakiniku”.
Before the crisis, I would never have thought of having Yakiniku(grilled
meat) in the morning.
The smokeless roaster is well ventilated, and there are also
single-person Yakiniku seats available to ensure that infection
prevention measures are perfect.
Here, too, the common belief that Yakiniku is grilled and eaten by many
people was overturned.

Once again, I was reminded of the saying, "Necessity is the mother of
The common sense of the past no longer applies in the face of survival.
I feel that we will see tremendous innovation in the post-COVID era.
I am scared of being left behind.

More than anything else, I hope that this crisis will end as soon as

SHIRAKURA Hiroko (Ms.)

<<Topics of Government>>

(1)Demonstration Tests to be Held for Food Waste Reduction Taking
Advantage of Electronic Tags (RFID)

(2)Call for Public Comments on “AI Governance in Japan Ver. 1.0
(Interim Report by Expert Group on Architecture for AI Principles to be
Practiced) Opens

(3)Study Group on Solving Challenges in Digital Markets and Developing
Infrastructures for Next-Generation Transaction Compiles Report
“Discussion Paper on Digital Markets - For Solving Social Challenges
and Achieving Economic Growth by Transition of Industrial Structures -”

(4)“DX Report 2 (Interim Report)” Compiled as Interim Report by Study
Group for Acceleration of Digital Transformation

(5)Alerts to Company Executives to be Issued to Encourage them to
Enhance Cybersecurity Efforts in Light of Situations of Recent

<<Topics of Industries>>

(1)NEC completes submarine cable system for BSNL connecting Chennai,
India and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands

(2)NEC delivers submarine cable seismic and tsunami observation system
to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau

(3)NEC concludes contract to supply the Palau Cable 2 (PC2) optical
submarine cable

(4)Hitachi Launches H4E Series of Compact Finger Vein Authentication
Modules for Embedding in Devices Featuring Significantly Improved
Authentication Accuracy and Usability with Enhanced Support for Outdoor

(5)Thailand's First Demonstration Project of Optimized Performance
Enabling Network for Volt/Var(Q) (OPENVQ) in Power Transmission Networks

(6)Fujitsu and Hokkaido University Develop "Explainable AI" Technology
Providing Users with Concrete Steps to Achieve Desired Outcomes

(7)Fujitsu Delivers Cashless, Contactless Retail Experience for Masked
Shoppers with Hygienic, Multi-Factor Biometric Authentication Technology

Cultural Icon of “IN-KAN”, in New Normal era to come

Japan is no exception from countries and territories around the world,
being forced to accelerate digital transformation (“DX”) and to seek
for “New Normal” during and post COVID-19 Pandemic state-of-emergency

Supercomputer “FUGAKU” got the Quattro crowns (Top500, HPCG, HPL-Al,
as the Highest-Performance Processing capacity of the computer in the
world 2020.

Who are using 5G in Japan?

5G services in Japan started in March. Almost 5 months have passed since
then, but I have not seen anyone using 5G mobile terminal around me, and
never heard my friends and colleagues bought 5G smartphones.
This looks strange, but there are some reasons easily understood.

Konnichiwa or Good day!

Tokyo lifted the state of emergency over the novel coronavirus pandemic
on 25 May.
A sports club, which had launched a year ago near my house, reopened on
1 June, after closing for these past two months. I found many changes
there. First, it is necessary to enter the club with wearing face masks.

“AI technology will help to make Fair Judgement for All Athletes”

Hello every one. I am Kotaro Okada, new comer from Fujitsu Limited
from May 2019.
This is the very first time to show you my column, and I hope you
enjoy it.

Belated Happy New Year greetings to all CICC family members!

One (1) month has passed since beginning of the new year, 2020.
That means, five (5) to six (6) months to go till opening of Olympic
(July 24-Aug. 9) and Paralympic (Aug 25-Spet. 6) games respectively
taking place in Japan.
Hope that all acknowledges, as a universal common perception, of joys
and excitements Olympic and Paralympic games bring along to us all.

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. 

[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:

[Topic ]

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

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