Japan


'Japan' Articles

Apple Facing Investigation in Japan Over Accusations of Anti-Competitive Behavior

Japan's Fair Trade Commission is investigating allegations that Apple pressured Yahoo Japan into pulling back from its Game Plus platform in the country, reports Nikkei. Yahoo last fall submitted complaints about its Game Plus platform, a web-based service first launched in July 2017. Game Plus is designed to let users play games without needing to download a full app. 52 companies were participating in Games Plus at launch, according to Nikkei, including major game makers like Square Enix, and Yahoo initially planned to expand the platform into other areas, like business software. Yahoo cut its Game Plus budget last year and pulled back on promotions for the service. According to Yahoo, it did so because of "pressure behind the scenes from Apple." Such a platform competes with the App Store, where Yahoo also offers apps for sale. Japan's Fair Trade Commission is said to be gathering information on the situation, which it says "may constitute interference in Yahoo's business prohibited by the Anti-Monopoly Act." Nikkei says it's unclear how the investigation will proceed, as Japanese investment company SoftBank, a major Yahoo shareholder has stepped in to mediate. Companies also often hesitate to work with authorities, according to an attorney that spoke to Nikkei, which can make it difficult to prove

Apple Offers Free Repairs of Products Damaged in Japan Floods

Apple has announced that it will repair any Mac, iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, iPod, or Thunderbolt Display directly damaged by heavy rains in Japan in July, free of charge, so long as the product is actually repairable. Affected customers can contact Apple by dialing 0120-27753-5 to arrange for pick up of any eligible products through the end of September, according to a notice on Apple's website spotted by Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Apple will service the damaged products free of charge and then return them to customers, although there may be delays, as delivery services by courier companies are suspended in some areas due to damage from the floodwaters. Record rainfall in southwestern Japan in July resulted in widespread flooding, landslides, burst riverbanks, and collapsed buildings across the

Japan Watchdog Says Apple May Have Violated Antitrust Rules With iPhone Deals

Japan's antitrust watchdog on Wednesday said Apple may have breached antitrust regulations by forcing three major domestic network carriers to sell its iPhones cheaply and charge higher monthly fees (via Reuters). The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said that Apple had forced NTT Docomo, KDDI, and SoftBank to offer subsidies and sell iPhones at a discount. In the eyes of the FTC, this made it hard for the mobile service providers to offer lower rate plans for long-term subscribers and effectively denied consumers a fair choice. FTC anti-monopoly law explicitly forbids such acts as "unfair restraint of trade" that disregards the operations of business partners. Apple and its Japanese arm have told the FTC they will review their contracts in light of these criticisms, according to sources who spoke to Nikkei Asian Review. Japan's FTC started investigating Apple's sales practices in 2016, but didn't punish the company after it agreed to revise its contracts with the carriers, according to Reuters.

Apple Maps Vehicles Begin Collecting Street-Level Data in Japan

Apple Maps vehicles equipped with LiDAR sensors have begun collecting street-level data in Japan for the first time this month. Apple will be surveying the Tokyo and Urayasu areas between June and October of this year, according to a new Apple Maps vehicles page created specifically for Japan, first spotted by Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Japan is the 11th country where the vehicles are collecting data since the initiative began in 2015, alongside Croatia, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. To date, Apple has periodically updated a list of locations where the vehicles will be collecting data on its U.S. website, including other countries, but Japan now has its own localized page, perhaps to satisfy local laws. The verbiage on the page has suggested that Apple could be working on a feature similar to Google's Street View for Apple Maps:Apple is driving vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates. We are committed to protecting your privacy while collecting this data. For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication.In 2015, Mark Gurman reported that Apple planned to launch a 3D street view feature, based on a combination of its existing Flyover mode with street-level data. He also said the data would help Apple shift to an in-house mapping database by 2018, reducing its reliance on third-party sources like TomTom. By the sound of it, Apple's

Apple to Close Last Remaining Apple Watch Pop-Up Shop Next Month

Apple is set to close its last remaining pop-up shop dedicated to Apple Watch next month. Signs displayed at the Tokyo shop, located in Shinjuku's high-end Isetan department store, were shared on Twitter announcing the closure. やっぱり伊勢丹のApple Watch Storeは閉店か… pic.twitter.com/moYjXCfYRp— Shotaro Akiba (@ShotaroAkiba) April 21, 2018 The message reads, "This is a notice that Apple Watch at Isetan Shinjuku will close as of Sunday, May 13. Thank you very much for your continuous patronage." The closure of the pop-up shop follows last month's opening of Apple's Shinjuku store, which is situated directly opposite Isetan and offers the full range of Apple products and services, including Apple Watch. Japan's pop-up shop is notable for being the first of its kind to open, coinciding with the launch of the original Apple Watch in 2015. Apple has only operated three pop-up shops worldwide selling Apple watches and bands. The other two operated out of Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Selfridges in London. Both closed in 2017. The closures appear to be part of Apple's recent strategy of promoting Apple Watch as a health and fitness accessory first and a haute couture fashion detail second. The pop-up shops specialized in selling Apple Watch Edition models, gold versions of which sold for at least $10,000 and up to $17,000 when they hit the market. The pop-up shops were essentially outlets for Apple's remaining inventory of 18-karat Gold and Rose Gold Apple Watch Edition models, which were discontinued in 2016 and replaced with the ceramic Edition models the

Japanese Company Develops Mobile Payment System That Scans Your Palm Using Smartphone Camera

Following authentication processes like thumbprint scanning, facial recognition, and QR code entry, a company in Japan this week has shown off a smartphone-based payment system that uses your unique palm print to confirm transactions (via Nikkei). Japanese credit card company JCB created the system in conjunction with Tokyo company Universal Robots, with a trial run aimed at company employees beginning next month. This isn't the first time palm scanning technology has been used for mobile payments, with U.S. companies Biyo and Keyo each launching their own versions of similar systems recently, although on a small scale. Those technologies require merchants to purchase special terminals that include palm-scanning cameras so that customers can pay with a hand wave at their stores, but JCB's system only needs a smartphone camera and requires no specialized equipment. Image via Nikkei Customers would be able to leave wallets and phones in their pockets with a palm-based payment system, developed by credit card company JCB, that merchants could use with just an everyday smartphone camera. After users register by snapping a picture of their palm from a smartphone camera, merchants or stores could scan customers' palms by smartphone to match them against registered data. With no specialized equipment needed, it would be easier for stores to incorporate the system, unlike a previous dalliance by JCB into palm-based payment that required a special terminal. JCB's system works by identifying registrants' hands based on the surface of their palms and the "distribution of

Apple's All-New Downtown Brooklyn Store Opens Next Weekend

Apple today announced that it is opening an all-new retail store in Downtown Brooklyn next weekend following several months of construction. 300 Ashland The store is located in the new 300 Ashland building in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, with an official address of 123 Flatbush Avenue. The grand opening will occur Saturday, December 2 at 10:00 a.m. local time. The store will be Apple's second in Brooklyn alongside its Williamsburg location opened in July 2016. It will also be Apple's 11th store in New York City, with seven locations in Manhattan, one in Queens, and one on Staten Island. The store is situated near the LIRR's Atlantic Terminal and Barclays Center, home to the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and the NHL's New York Islanders. Apple has also announced that its store in the Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo has temporarily closed for renovations. Apple recommends customers visit its nearby Omotesando store during the modernization process. In related news, Japanese blog Mac Otakara claims that Apple is planning to open a store in Kyoto, Japan by 2019, and possibly two other stores in Tokyo in time for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in the city. Apple Downtown Brooklyn is the company's 499th retail store location around the world if the new Visitors Center at Apple Park is

Supplier Ibiden Commits to 100 Percent Renewable Energy For Apple Manufacturing

Apple has announced that component supplier Ibiden has become the first company in Japan to guarantee all of its Apple manufacturing will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Ibiden is planning to invest in more than 20 new renewable energy facilities, including one of the largest floating solar photovoltaic systems in the country. "We're proud to partner with suppliers like Ibiden who recognize that renewable energy investments are good for the environment and good for business," said Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. "As we continue our push to power our global operations with 100 percent renewable energy, it is more important than ever that we help our manufacturing partners make the same transition to cleaner sources, and set an example for other companies to follow."The renewable energy projects set up by Ibiden, which manufactures printed circuit boards and integrated circuit packaging used in Apple devices, will reportedly produce over 12 MW of solar power and support Japan's efforts to limit its carbon emissions. Apple and its suppliers are aiming to generate over 2.5 billion kilowatt hours per year of clean energy for the manufacturing of Apple products by the end of 2018, which Apple claims is equal to taking over 400,000 cars off the road for a year. More than 93 percent of Apple's worldwide operations are said to be powered by renewable energy. In August last year, Apple announced that Chinese supplier Lens Technology had committed to power all of its glass production for Apple with 100

Apple Pay Japan 'New Life' Promotion Brings Support For Six New Credit Cards

Apple today posted a limited-time promotion on its Japanese site for its "New Life" campaign, which allows customers using certain company-issued credit cards to receive cashback and other benefits on Apple Pay purchases and store rewards. As noted by Japanese blog Ata Distance, the Apple Pay promotion runs between March 1 and April 30 and takes in app purchases and online services including Japan Taxi, Toho Cinemas, Demae-Can, Jalan, Minne, Base, and Giftee. The available online rewards range from coupons to free shipping on orders, while purchases from brick-and-mortar convenience stores are also touting similar benefits. As part of its "New Life" campaign, Apple has added more firms to its list of participating card issuers: APLUS, EPOS, JACCS, Cedyna, POCKETCARD and Life all now offer some sort of reward as part of the promotion. UCS integration has also been confirmed but a timeline for activation has not been announced. Apple Pay debuted in the Japanese market last October following the release of iOS 10.1, making it available for use at all locations that accept the Suica prepaid money card, QuicPay, or iD. Apple Pay in Japan also works with credit and debit cards issued by American Express, JCB, Mastercard, Aeon Financial, Orico, Credit Saison, SoftBank, d Card, View Card, MUFG Card, and more.

Apple Launches 'Back to Uni' Promotion in Australia and New Zealand, Offers Up to $100 Apple Store Gift Card

Apple today launched its annual "Back to Uni" promotion in Australia and New Zealand, offering students and select other educational employees a $70 to $100 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a qualifying new Mac or iPad Pro. Apple is offering a A$100 or NZ$105 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a new Mac, including the iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and built-to-order versions of those models. Refurbished models and the lower-cost Mac mini do not qualify for the offer per usual. Meanwhile, students and teachers who purchase any new iPad Pro model will receive a A$70 or NZ$75 Apple Store gift card. In Australia, the promotion is available to full-time or part-time students aged 18 or over studying at an accredited Australian university or other Apple-approved institution. Lecturers and staff members at accredited Australian universities or Apple-approved educational institutions are also eligible. In New Zealand, the promotion is available to students attending or accepted into a higher education institution, faculty members and staff members of higher education institutions, any employee of a public or private K–12 institution, and parents purchasing on behalf of a current or accepted student. The promotion runs between February 7 and March 17 in both countries on Apple's website and at Apple Stores in Australia. Eligible customers can also call 133-622 in Australia or 0800-692-7753 in New Zealand. The promotion can be combined with Apple's standard educational pricing discounts. Apple today also launched a similar

Apple to Hold New Year's Sale in Japan Starting January 2

Starting on January 2, Apple plans to hold a special New Year's Sale both online and at all of its retail locations in Japan, continuing a long tradition of offering something special on January 2 in the country. Up until 2016, Apple took part in the Japanese tradition of offering "Fukubukuro" or "lucky bags" to customers. Fukubukuro used to contain an assortment of random Apple products at a price of approximately $300. Some bags contained things like backpacks, speakers, and other small accessories, but there was always a chance to win a larger product, like a MacBook Air or an iPad. The Fukubukuro tradition is still ongoing in Japan, but 2015 was the last year that Apple participated, opting instead for in-store sales and doing away with the long lines retail locations used to see as people hoped to snag one of the limited edition bags. It is not clear what kind of discounts Apple will be offering on January 2, but it could be similar to the Black Friday event in the United States, which saw the company offer Apple Store gift cards up to $150 with the purchase of Macs, iPads, iPhones, and more. Apple is also likely to offer additional sales in various countries around the world ahead of Lunar New Year, set to take place on Saturday, January 28.

Apple Possibly Looking to Japanese Expertise to Improve Siri

Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that Japan has a big part to play in the company's ongoing development of AI, as he continued his travels around the country via bullet train on Monday. Speaking to Nikkei Asian Review, Cook revealed that Apple's new advanced R&D center in Yokohama, currently scheduled for completion in December, would focus on "deep engineering" and would be "very different" from the R&D base Apple is building in China, without giving away specifics. Photo via Tim Cook However, Cook intimated that one of its main focuses would be on developing Apple's artificial intelligence services – which recently drew some criticism in the press – and emphasized that the company wanted to leverage specifically Japanese expertise in the field. "AI is horizontal in nature, running across all products, and is used in ways that most people don't even think about," said Cook. "We want the AI to increase your battery life, to recommend music to Apple Music subscribers... [to] help you remember where you parked your car."Japan's robotics heritage is legendary, coming on the back of years of successfully building industrial robots, however the state of its AI research remains ambiguous, given its relative lack of investment in deep learning from large amounts of analyzed data, which U.S. companies like Facebook and Google are already heavily researching. To improve on this front, Japan has just opened a Center for Advanced Integrated Intelligence Research in Tokyo (RIKEN), which specifically aims to develop systems of AI that will be able to solve problems using "Big Data"

Tim Cook Confirms Yokohama Facility in Japan Will Be Completed by December

While on a trip that's taken him to Shenzhen, China and Nintendo's offices in Kyoto, Japan, Apple CEO Tim Cook today met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussing topics related to the importance of the country in Apple's ongoing market strategy. Specifically, Cook was said to confirm that an advanced R&D center in Yokohama was on track to complete construction by December (via Xinhua). The Yokahama facility has been two years in the making, and was originally reported to "center around health." During the meeting, Cook said he and Abe discussed "doing great things together," and reiterated "how important the country is to Apple." "We talked about the future and doing great things together. I shared with prime minister Abe our love for Japan and how important the country is to Apple," Cook, who is currently on a tour of Asia, was quoted as saying at the prime minister's office following their meeting. Abe said that he hopes Apple will continue to generate relationships with other companies and manufacturers in Japan, in order to contribute to the overall technological boom in the country. On the same topic, Cook mentioned that Apple is aware of "a number of manufacturers of all sizes" that could result in a mutually beneficial partnership moving forward. After the original announcement in 2014, Abe described the upcoming Apple facility as "among the largest in Asia," where Apple plans to "conduct the most advanced research and development in Japan." According to sources near the site's development, Apple's plans for Yokohama "are evidence the maker of the

Apple Supplier Foxconn Launching Low-Cost Smartphone Line in Japan Next Year

Apple supplier Foxconn Electronics is reportedly gearing up to launch its own line of smartphone devices in Japan, using its recent acquisition of Sharp to help manufacture and distribute the handsets (via DigiTimes). Over the past few years, Foxconn has been a major supplier for Apple device manufacturing, including for the iPhone SE and iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The company is said to be working on entry-level and mid-range options for the lineup, with an expected launch date in the first quarter of 2017, according to sources within the Japanese manufacturing industry. The sources mentioned that it "remains unclear as to which brand Foxconn will use" to market the devices, although it is "highly possible" for the handsets to be sold under a Sharp branding. However, it remains unclear as to which brand Foxconn will use to market the smartphones it produced in-house in the Japan market, said the sources, adding that it is highly possible those smartphones will be sold under the Sharp brand. Foxconn's move to introduce cheaper models of smartphones could offset Sharp's Aquos line of devices, which corner the high-end market in Japan but leave the company open to introduce entry-level and mid-range devices for consumers. According to the sources knowledgable of the launch, the addition of Foxconn's smartphones "will enrich Sharp's product portfolios," if the company is indeed the brand attached to the new handsets. Foxconn has produced its own smartphones under different branding before, but today's report suggests the company is attempting to launch its new

Apple Pays $118 Million Tax Bill in Japan After Underreporting Profits

Apple has paid some 12 billion yen ($118 million) to Japan after underreporting income in the country, according to broadcaster NHK (via Reuters). The company has yet to comment on the matter. Japanese tax authorities determined that Apple failed to pay withholding taxes on profits it earned from subscribers in Japan and shifted to its Irish subsidiary to pay for software licensing.The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau determined that the unit, which sends part of its profits earned from fees paid by Japan subscribers to another Apple unit in Ireland to pay for software licensing, had not been paying a withholding tax on those earnings in Japan, according to broadcaster NHK.The news comes just over two weeks after the European Commission ordered Ireland to collect 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) from Apple in unpaid taxes. The executive body said Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland, allowing it to pay a less than 2 percent tax rate between 2003 and 2014. Apple said it is confident the decision "will be reversed," and Ireland has also vowed to appeal. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Apple SIM Partners With SoftBank in Japan, Expands to Three More Countries

Following today's iPhone-centric event, Apple has quietly announced that Japanese carrier SoftBank is the latest Apple SIM partner. Apple SIM has also expanded to three additional countries and territories: Guam, Kenya, and Mauritius. Apple SIM is embedded in the latest cellular iPads and enables users to easily switch between different short-term data plans from select carrier partners without needing multiple SIM cards. It is particularly useful for traveling abroad. Through an existing partnership with GigSky, Apple SIM is available in over 140 countries. Other Apple SIM partners include AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the United States, EE in the United Kingdom, Deutsche Telekom in Germany, Three in Hong Kong, and au by KDDI in Japan. AlwaysOnline Wireless also offers pay-as-you-go LTE data plans in at least 45 countries, with the option to pay by hour, day, or megabyte. Apple SIM can be purchased from Apple retail stores in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United

Apple Working on Special Version of iPhone for Japan, Will Include FeliCa Tap-to-Pay Chip

Apple is developing a version of the iPhone for Japan that includes one of Sony's FeliCa chips to enable contactless transit payments, reports Bloomberg. FeliCa is a tap-to-pay format developed by Sony and built into cards that are used to access Japan's railway and bus system. FeliCa is faster than Apple Pay, allowing transactions to occur in a fraction of a second, which makes it suitable for use in a fast-paced transit environment. It's also able to store e-money that can be used at vending machines and cafes across the country. Apple plans to work with several transit card providers to create virtual versions of FeliCa transit cards that can be stored in the Wallet app on the iPhone and used in place of a physical card. The FeliCa chip will let customers in Japan store their public bus and train passes on their iPhones. Users would then be able to tap their phones against the entrance scanners instead of using physical cards. While the FeliCa chip is the standard technology underlying the service, there are several different providers of transit payment cards based on the type of transit and areas within Japan.The addition of a FeliCa chip to the iPhone will help Apple make inroads into the mobile payment market in Japan, which is dominated by the standard. 1.9 million payment terminals in the country have already adopted FeliCa and FeliCa terminals saw 4.6 trillion yen ($46 billion) in transactions in 2015. The FeliCa payment feature could be available as soon as next month, built into the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus that Apple plans to unveil in early

Apple Expands iTunes Carrier Billing to Japan as Rollout Gains Pace

Apple today added Japan to its list of countries eligible for iTunes carrier billing, suggesting the company is set to fast-track its expansion of the payment feature to regions across the globe (via Mashable). Japan becomes the fifth market to accept the transaction method, which allows users to charge iTunes content purchases directly to their cellphone bill instead of registering a bank card or using a gift coupon. The feature got its launch in Switzerland and Taiwan yesterday, following its debut in Germany and Russia last year. According to an anonymous source who spoke to CNBC, customers with Japan's second largest mobile company KDDI will be able to use the payment mode, which has yet to be officially announced in the country. Apple has posted instructions on how to use the convenience feature, which can be found in the Payment Information section of the iTunes Store after users have signed in with their credentials. Users in Japan make up the third largest market for App Store transactions, behind China and the U.S., indicating Apple's willingness to make carrier billing its next go-to online purchase method behind Apple Pay. There's no word as yet regarding which countries will be next to get Apple's approval for the feature, but the company has several more countries in the near-term pipeline, sources said. Apple appears ready to go the way of Google, which already offers mobile billing to users of its Google Play store in 45 markets, including deals with Japan's top three cellular carriers. Apple's more deliberate rollout has likely been

Apple Maps Gains 30 New Flyover Locations Around the World

Apple today updated its iOS feature availability page with 30 new Flyover locations around the world, including cities in the United States, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Flyover is an Apple Maps feature that provides photo-realistic 3D views of primarily large cities and landmarks. In satellite view, users can zoom, pan, and rotate to get a closer look at notable points of interest in supported regions. The full list of new Flyover locations is available below, but some areas may only now be reflected on Apple's website: United States Catalina Island, California Pinnacles National Park, California Porterville, California Visalia, California Tallahassee, Florida Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts Springfield, Massachusetts Omaha, Nebraska Poughkeepsie, New York Rochester, New York Allentown, Pennsylvania Columbia, South CarolinaInternational Leipzig, Germany Naples, Italy Palermo, Italy Akita, Japan Hagi, Japan Hakodate, Japan Hamamatsu, Japan Kumamoto, Japan Tsunoshima, Japan Acapulco, Mexico Cuernavaca, Mexico Hermosillo, Mexico La Paz, Mexico Oaxaca, Mexico Puebla, Mexico Gijon, Spain Vigo, Spain Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom Additionally, Apple Maps traffic data is now available in Chile, Hungary, and Vatican

Apple Announces 2016 Summer Camps for Kids at Retail Stores

Apple has opened registration in the U.S. and a number of other countries (links below) for its annual Apple Summer Camp, where kids aged 8 to 12 can attend a company retail store and learn how to create interactive books and movies using Apple products and software, ranging from iBooks Author on Mac to iMovie on iPad. Apple's summer workshops will be hosted between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. local time, on various dates between July 11 and August 12, in the United States, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Parents are recommended to sign up early due to limited spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis. This year's free workshops are called "Stories in Motion with iMovie" and "Interactive Storytelling with iBooks." A third workshop will be offered in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom called "Coding Games and Programming Robots," in which kids will learn visual block-based coding for games, apply logic skills and problem solving, learn to program their own robots, and more. Apple notes that children attending Apple Summer Camp 2016 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian for the duration of each workshop. Once their initial registration is confirmed, parents can register another child. All campers will receive a complimentary youth-size Apple Summer Camp