EPTE Newsletter: Japan Failing in Vaccine Distribution

COVID-19 vaccines are having dramatic effects in the U.S. and Europe. State and federal restrictions are eliminated or modified in most areas, and everyone is excited to get a vacation this summer. Most businesses are back to business full time, and larger companies are beginning return-to-work strategies either in a hybrid form or full time.

Unfortunately, the numbers of positive COVID -19 cases continue to increase in Japan, especially in Tokyo and Osaka. The cabinet declared a “short” state of emergency in Tokyo and asked people to stay at home. Media reports claim more than 80% of Japanese want the Tokyo Olympics 2020 postponed or canceled; however, the prime minister of Japan stated that he is confident the event will happen in three months.

The government ordered enough vaccines for all of Japan more than a year ago. The first shipment arrived a few months ago but fell short of the allocation. The first wave of vaccines was not enough to spread amongst doctors and nurses. Every two or three weeks more vaccines arrive, but it is not enough to vaccinate the population of Japan—more than 120 million people.

Vaccine distribution is now prioritized—medical personal are first in line followed by people 65 and older. Once this segment of the population is completed, the remaining groups will be determined by age. The distribution network does have its flaws, similar to the ones experienced in the U.S. The appointment procedure is not user-friendly for seniors who are not computer literate. Second, the network crashed many times because it could not support the traffic.

The backup plan to internet scheduling was a phone-in system. Telephone lines were clogged, and most people were on hold for a day without reaching an agent. The population that is over 65 is predicted to be vaccinated by the end of July, and other groups will be vaccinated later than that. Most of the population will not be vaccinated by the opening of the Olympic Games.

Surprisingly, my hometown, Tome-shi in the northern part of Japan, had a simple, efficient scheduling system. The town is relatively small at 77,800 residents and their budget is small compared to larger cities. They did not have a lot of money to allocate for an automated reservation system. Their simple way to make appointments was a mail campaign to every citizen with a predetermined date and time for your vaccination. If this date or time did not work, you were instructed to call the town for any changes. The appointments that needed change were less than 5% and there were no complaints.

Many residents were happy with the hand-written, primitive analogue system. This is contrary to every modern-day system in place. Nowadays, we are forced to log onto a website for everything. Sure, instant results are the new norm, but sometimes the old primitive system trumps state-of-the-art complexity.    

Headlines of the week
(Please contact haverhill@dknreseach.com for further information and news.)

Hoshiden (Equipment manufacturer in Japan) 4/20
Has started the photovoltaic cell business with perovskite type compounds utilizing the manufacturing lines of touch panels. The volume production will start in 2023.

Tokyo University (Japan) 4/23
Has developed a new technology to generate conductive polymers introducing radical salt dopants with strong oxidation power.

KIOXIA (Major semiconductor manufacturer in Japan) 5/13
Will invest 20 billion yen for the new R&D center in Yokohama, Japan. The construction will be completed in 2023. The new facility will work mostly for flash memory and SSD devices.

SK Hynix (Major semiconductor manufacturer in Korea) 5/18
Will make remarkable investment to double the foundry capacity in Korea competing against Taiwanese competitors.

Nippon Zeon (Major material supplier in Japan) 5/19
Has co-developed a new hybrid elastomer combining silicone rubber and high purity carbon nanotube with AIST for wearable electronics.

TPCA (PCB industry organization in Taiwan) 5/19
Total shipment of PCB materials in April was 74.9 billion NT$, a 3.8% increase from March and a 67.0% increase from the same month of 2020.

Toray (Major material manufacturer in Japan) 5/20
Has developed a new technology to increase the heat conductivity of CFRP materials applied to aerospace and mobile electronics. The heat conductivity is almost equivalent as metals.

JSW (Major steel product supplier in Japan) 5/20
Has completed the pilot plant of single crystal ingots of GaN. JSW will work with Mitsubishi Chemical to operate the field test.

TDK (Major device supplier in Japan) 5/24
Has unveiled new series of 3D HAL angle sensors for automobiles and industrial applications.

Tohoku University (Japan) 5/24
Has co-developed a new ITO film generation process with Nikon. The new process is conducted under atmosphere at lower temperature than 150°C.

Dominique K. Numakura is the managing director of DKN Research LLC. To read past columns or contact Numakura, click here.



EPTE Newsletter: Japan Failing in Vaccine Distribution


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EPTE Newsletter: JPCA SHOW 2018


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EPTE Newsletter: SEMICON JAPAN 2017


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EPTE Newsletter: Semi-Annual Review of the Global Circuit Industry


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EPTE Newsletter: Reborn Sharp Pushes Drastic Reforms


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EPTE Newsletter: M-Tech 2017


Tokyo Big Sight hosted the Mechanical Component & Materials Technology Expo (M-Tech) on June 21. The three-day show included the 21st Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo (DMS), the 25th 3D Virtual Reality Expo (IVR) and the Medical Device Development Expo (MEDIX).

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EPTE Newsletter: Transparent Flex Circuits, Stretchable Flex Circuits


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DKN Research Newsletter: JPCA Show a Positive Sign for Industry


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EPTE Newsletter: SEMICON Japan, 2016


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EPTE Newsletter: Preliminary PCB Industry Results For 2016


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EPTE Newsletter: Printable Electronics—A Practical Solution?


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EPTE Newsletter: CREATEC JAPAN 2016—Is Manufacturing Turning Around?


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EPTE Newsletter: Hon Hai Completes Sharp Acquisition


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EPTE Newsletter: Sony Sells Battery Division to Murata


Large electronics companies in Japan continue to lose market share in the global arena. This erosion of market share has had a ripple effect on Japanese printed circuit manufacturers that supplied these electronic companies; when they sneeze, printed circuit manufacturers catch cold.

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EPTE Newsletter: Pokémon Go a New Direction For Nintendo


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EPTE Newsletter: Transparent Circuits Gaining in Popularity


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EPTE Newsletter: Sanyo—Japanese or Chinese?


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EPTE Newsletter: Taiwan Printed Circuit Industry Is Shrinking


Taiwan has become the manufacturing powerhouse for the global consumer electronics industry. Their product scope includes personal computers, tablet PCs, smartphones, gaming consoles, digital cameras and more. These broad ranges of products are not only manufactured in Taiwan, but also in Mainland China and other overseas countries.

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EPTE Newsletter: Toshiba’s Financial Scandal


Last spring, Toshiba disclosed to its shareholders some accounting irregularities, causing them to delay their earnings report for the first quarter. These accounting irregularities made investors nervous, but not panicked enough to sell off their holdings. Officials at Toshiba explained the accounting irregularities included hiding some losses during previous years, and they would need to re-state their earnings as soon as possible.

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EPTE Newsletter: Toshiba's Leadership Lies about Profits


Japan is home for Toshiba, one of the largest electronics company in the world. Toshiba is in the midst of a massive accounting scandal that was brought to light in April, when Toshiba first disclosed some accounting irregularities. Several executives including Toshiba’s chief executive and president resigned, and heads may continue to roll.

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Things are Slowing Down in Taiwan


The recent news from Taiwan is not very optimistic; manufacturing companies are very pessimistic with their fourth-quarter forecasts. The media continues to report about the dismal global economy due to the uncertainty in the Chinese economy and the roller coaster rides in the financial markets. Taiwan is not uncertain at all—they are pessimistic with the business outlook for the rest of the year.

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We Have No Internet— Now What?


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Deadly Blast in China


The quality of products made in China has improved over the years, but factory and worker conditions may not be keeping up. Without safeguards in the workplace, tragedies are bound to happen in plants that work with hazardous and flammable chemicals.

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Taiwan: The Barometer for Consumer Electronics


Equipment manufacturers and printed circuit manufacturers released pessimistic forecasts for the second half of the year. They blame their pessimism on slow sales from personal computers, and they expect a negative growth from tablet PCs this year. The printed circuit industry in Taiwan represents the global market trends for consumer electronics. For this reason, I do not have an optimistic outlook for consumer electronics this year.

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The Drive for Transparent Circuits


DKN Research develops many types of unique electronic circuits. Some products in our portfolio include ultra-thin conductor circuits as small as 0.2 microns, metal-free circuits, and some circuits up to 20 meters long. Our staff fields many inquiries for packaging of new electronic devices. Lately, there is a lot of interest in transparent flexible circuits. The increase in interest is driven by the recent market expansion of display and optical devices.

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M-Tech Tokyo Show Draws Huge Crowd


The M-Tech 2015, held last June 24 at Tokyo Big Sight encompassed a broad range of technologies and mechanical processes, and was an excellent source for cutting-edge technologies for designing electronic devices and other mechanical components.

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The three-day JPCA 2015 trade show was held on June 3 at Tokyo Big Sight. This trade fair is an international event that attracts customers, vendors and manufacturers who are affiliated with the electronics industry. This show provides me an opportunity to discover any new market trends or new technologies.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Quick Repair, Slow Process


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SEMICON Japan 2014


Dominique Numakura writes, "With most major trade shows and events, crowds of people can be seen walking from the train and bus stations to the convention center, but there were no crowds at this event. I wondered whether I had the wrong place or the wrong date. I was expecting long lines of visitors registering for the show and was surprised to see no lines."

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Yen Continues to Slide


Japanese manufacturers lost most of their global market share over the last few years due to poor business strategies. Products include flat panel TVs, cellular phones, personal computers, MP3s, tablet PCs, and more. Market share in the digital camera market remains on track, but this segment continues to shrink at an alarming rate. Some Japanese companies may throw in the towel. For them, a weak yen does not help their bottom line.

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EPTE Newsletter From Japan: Yen Continues to Slide


Japanese manufacturers lost most of their global market share over the last few years due to poor business strategies. Products include flat panel TVs, cellular phones, personal computers, MP3s, tablet PCs, and more. Market share in the digital camera market remains on track, but this segment continues to shrink at an alarming rate. Some Japanese companies may throw in the towel. For them, a weak yen does not help their bottom line.

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Pessimism in the PC Market


Did you know that more than 90% of personal computers are manufactured by Taiwanese manufacturers in Taiwan? The total number of PCs manufactured totals more than three hundred million units per year (excluding tablets).

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Pessimism in the PC Market


Taiwanese manufacturers are forecasting a further slowdown for the PC market during the fourth quarter of 2014 and all of 2015. This time around they expect the tablet PC market will also slow. Does it mean the entire electronics industry will slow down for a while? Some believe that when the PC industry sneezes the rest of the electronics industry catches a cold.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Pessimism in the PC Market


Taiwanese manufacturers are forecasting a further slowdown for the PC market during the fourth quarter of 2014 and all of 2015. This time around they expect the tablet PC market will also slow. Does it mean the entire electronics industry will slow down for a while? Some believe that when the PC industry sneezes the rest of the electronics industry catches a cold.

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Japan Market Conditions Changing Drastically


Unfortunately, market conditions in Japan have changed drastically during the last few years. Large electronics companies lost market share, along with the prestige of being the market leaders in business and technology. Columnist Dominique Numakura explains that the CEATEC Japan show reflects this downturn as it continues to shrink year over year.

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EPTE Newsletter: Japan Market Conditions Changing Drastically


Unfortunately, market conditions in Japan have changed drastically during the last few years. Large electronics companies lost market share, along with the prestige of being the market leaders in business and technology. Columnist Dominique Numakura explains that the CEATEC Japan show reflects this downturn as it continues to shrink year over year.

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Lights Out for Sony?


Last month, Sony announced a loss of more than $2 billion and canceled dividends for the current fiscal year. The CEO apologized for the poor performance and blamed the shortfall on the strategy to center core business on the smart phone segment--revenue never reached the estimated forecast.

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Japanese Economy Shrinks by 30%


The yen's depreciation does not strengthen exporting power for the Japanese electronics industry. What's scarier is that more than one-third of the fortune made in Japan during the last half century (about US $5 trillion) was lost through currency depreciation. Japan has lost its buying power.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Yen Slides to Record Low


Japanese-based companies with overseas business are reaping the benefits of a weakening yen. Automobile manufacturers will post record profits for fiscal year 2013. They are spreading the wealth amongst their employees by paying out year-end bonuses.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: 2013 Printed Circuit Industry


Japan had a very bad start this year. Revenue for January and February were dismal compared with the same period last year and 2012 was almost as bad as the year of the worldwide recession in 2008. The year started off so badly that some feared a total collapse for the Japanese PWB Industry.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: CEATEC Japan 2013


More than one-third of floor space was occupied by automobile manufacturers and module manufacturers. These companies showcased their products and demonstrated the use of electric vehicles (EVs) and telematics technologies (car electronics). A large section of space was reserved for concept vehicles of the future.

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EPTE Newsletter: New "Developments" in Digital Cameras


All good things must come to an end: The global recession that began in 2008 had a negative impact on the digital camera market. From that point on, annual shipments have declined 10 to 20% each year and shipments in the latter part of 2012 fell even more.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: PCB Industry Takes a Hit


The Japanese electronics and circuit board industry show no signs of recovery. Sales of core products that include flat panel TVs, cellular phones, and digital cameras continue to show weakness and are down compared to the previous year.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Can Organic Electronics be Printable and Flexible?


Researchers from universities and material companies are extremely optimistic for the future of organic materials and their sensational performances. These researchers all claim that the new organic material is printable. But in my opinion, their projections are too optimistic.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Trends from JPCA Show 2013


Dominique Numakura reports that the electronics industry in Japan is currently suffering its worst slump in history. He was hoping to see new and innovative products at JPCA 2013to snap the country out of its funk.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: What to Expect at JPCA 2013


Market conditions for both consumer electronics and printed circuits in Japan remained soft in the first quarter. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) reported a slight rebound for PWB shipments during March compared with the previous month. Unfortunately, volume is showing a double digit decline when compared year-over-year.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Industry Trips Out of the Gate


The Japanese yen continues to depreciate against other foreign currencies, while the Tokyo Stock Exchange reaches new highs every week. Dominique Numakura wishes he could say the same about the electronics industry. Unfortunately, the remarkable decline the electronics industry suffered during year end continues into 2013.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: 2012 Ends on a Bad Note


Industry trends were all over the place in 2012 for the global electronics industry. Industry analysts are not sharing any good news for 2013. Build-up multilayer boards, double-layer and multilayer flex circuits, and semiconductor substrates all show the same downturn in business in Japan.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Watches Made in China


Dominique Numakura says, "It was nearly 40 years ago when I got my first job as a freshman in Japan, and to celebrate my success, I bought a high-end watch made by Seiko--a large watch manufacturer in Japan."

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: PCB Industry on the Ropes


Previously, Japanese manufacturers were very profitable with their double-sided and multilayer flex and rigid module substrate product lines. Their overseas customers preferred high performance and a high-quality product produced in Japan. But Korean and Taiwanese PCB manufacturers have greatly improved the quality of their products in recent years.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: TPCA Show 2012


The last TPCA Show Dominique Numakura attended was in 2008, and he says the PCB industry has changed drastically in that time. He explains that for some countries, the PCB business is good, and for others, well, not so good.

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EPTE Newsletter: Using Smart Phones in Not so Smart Places


Sure, you use your smartphone or tablet in the usual places: The subway, in the car, and while relaxing on the sofa. What about the bathtub? You'd be surprised where some people take their valuable electronic devices.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Social Network Games Flourish


Very few segments in the Japanese electronics industry are flourishing; in fact, many companies are barely hanging on as they try to weather the economic slowdown. Conversely, revenue predictions for social network games are expected to be well over $10 billion in the next few years.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: The Galapagos Syndrome


The isolation that Japanese manufacturers once enjoyed is gone and several electronics products from other countries have flooded their markets. Now, the country's media has jumped all over Darwin's theory by comparing recent business trends for the electronics industry to the "Galapagos Syndrome."

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: PCB Industry Running out of Options


Japan's PCB industry does not have many options left. Incremental improvements will not rescue the entire industry. Management teams must generate long-term survival plans and execute strategies as soon as possible. Time and money are running out...

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EPTE Newsletter: Are Things Really This Gloomy?


The month of May is quickly winding down and the June trade show season is fast approaching. On June 13, 2012, the JPCA Show will open its doors at Tokyo Big Sight. The three-day event is the largest trade exhibition for the printed circuit industry.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: JPCA Show 2011, Part II


More than 1,000 new products and technologies were presented at JPCA Show 2011. Most of these products were connected to the consumer electronics market in some way--materials, equipment, PCBs, designs, IC packaging, application or assembly. Vendors seemed to concentrate on two consumer products: Smart phones and tablet PCs.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: JPCA Show 2010, Part VII


Materials are the most purchased items in the PCB industry for both business and technology customers. Material suppliers occupied the majority of the space at the show; however, many suppliers considered to be large players in the industry were absent. Why did they pass on this year's show?

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DKN Research: Is A Ubiquitous Internet Practical?


Not too long ago, visionaries predicted a "ubiquitous Internet," in which Internet access would be available anytime and any place on the earth. Their vision has almost come to fruition as more and more of us log on daily to get our Internet fix.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: NEPCON World 2009, Part I


One of the major conventions for electronic packaging and assembling was held at the Tokyo Big Sight for three days beginning January 28, 2009. The show had a name change this year and is now called NEPCON World. Each year, the exhibition grows larger and larger and continuously adds new events. The huge floors of the East and West Hall were fully occupied with more than 1,200 exhibitors.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Good Riddance 2008


Bad financial news continues to pour in everyday. The global economic meltdown is probably the worst slump felt in many years--and far worse than analysts expected. The crisis is widespread and Asian countries, whose economic engines seemed indestructible, are now grinding to a halt.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Nanotechnology-Another Trendy Phrase


More than a thousand companies, universities and research organizations dedicate resources toward business applications or R&D activities for nanotechnologies.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: June PWB Production in Japan


The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) recently released June's production data from Japan's printed circuit industry. We now have a six month snapshot for 2008 and can review market trends for this period and forecast performance for the remainder of the year.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: JPCA Show 2008, Part VI


As with previous years, the majority of attendees at the JPCA show were Korean and Taiwanese; however, one difference with this year's melting pot was the increase in North American and Western European visitors.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan--JPCA Show 2008, Part V


Numakura spoke with one manager from a machine manufacturer who explained that small- and mid- sized assemblers, as well as prototype EMS companies from Japan, the U.S. and Europe, do not focus on high speeds, but, rather, a flexibility to manage many different products from a small line.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan--JPCA Show, Part IV


Materials are always a significant detail to consider in the printed circuit industry, and most of the major material suppliers reserved relatively large booths at the JPCA exhibition. The material manufacturers displayed their new items; unfortunately, I could not find very innovative or novel products during the show.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan--JPCA Show, Part III


The benchmark isn't set for the high-density fine line circuit segment from the Japanese printed circuit industry. The front runners featured their fine line capabilities during the exhibition in a very competitive fashion.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan--JPCA Show, Part II


Embedded components seems to be a very "fashionable" trend, started last year, and most of the major rigid board companies and flexible circuit manufacturers paraded their latest achievements from their technological departments at the show.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan--JPCA Show 2008, Part I


This year's show grabbed honors as the largest exhibition ever for the printed circuit industry, and the JPCA Show is arguably the greatest exhibition in terms of size and technology level.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan--The iPhone Has Landed


Last week, Soft Bank, one of three wireless phone carriers in Japan, announced the launch of the first iPhone entry into the Japanese cellular phone market. Apple granted Soft Bank an exclusive contract as the sole provider of iPhones in Japan.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan--First Quarter 2008 PWB Production in Japan


The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trading and Industry (METI) recently released PWB production data for March. Total revenue in March was 81.12 billion yen; a 2.5% increase from February, but 1.5% lower than January's numbers--we are hopeful that this is simply a seasonal adjustment.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - SEMICON JAPAN 2007


Although the number of semiconductor trade shows held in the U.S. and Europe are continuously declining, Semicon Japan has opposed this trend and continues to expand the scope of their event; SEMICON JAPAN 2007 registered over 1,500 exhibiting companies and organizations.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - Productronica 2007 (Part III)


The target audience at Productronica is primarily printed circuit board manufacturers, and the majority of the exhibition was dedicated to materials and manufacturing equipment vendors and dealers who supply this segment.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - Productronica 2007 (Part II)


Productronica 2007 showcased products from both circuit board manufacturers and assembly houses; however, representation from the assembly sector exceeded that of the PCB manufacturers.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Samsung Retreats


Samsung did not provide specifics about its redeployment away from the Japanese market. However, industrial media reports suggest that Japanese customers cannot forget the old image of Korean products, "Cheap but low quality."

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - The Analogy Between Ichiro Suzuki and Toyota Motors


Toyota does not produce a flashy sports car, but does provide reliable sedans and trucks to a consumer market that demands quality.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - TPCA Show 2007 - Continued


There are now many reliable machine suppliers in Taiwan that can meet the needs for printed circuit manufacturing and the assembling processes.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - TPCA Show 2007


One unlucky bit of timing for the exhibition was the historically huge typhoon approaching the Taipei area during the week.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - After Motorola Shock


The slowdown at Motorola has sent ripples throughout the electronics industry, especially in Asia.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - Japan PWB Production - First Half of 2007


Total revenue from PWB production for the first half was 494.9 billion yen (about 4.3 billion U.S. dollars), an 8.6% growth compared to the same time-frame of the previous year.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - Toyota Will Be Number One in 2007


After decades of being king of the mountain, a claim held since 1931, General Motors' title as the number 1 automaker in the world will soon slip away, and Toyota Motors will be crowned the new king.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - Next Generation Semiconductors


There is a lot of prognosticating and discussion surrounding the next generation semiconductor material that will replace silicon in the electronics industry.

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - Nano-technology


People believe that nano-technologies will generate some business opportunities in the future. What exactly are the Nano-Technologies?

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EPTE Newsletter from Japan - An Old Clock Radio (Plated Through Holes)


The GE engineers during the 1950s have provided their great design concept and reliability with the new technologies introduced for consumer products

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