Toyota today announced a $1 million contribution to the American Red Cross and other nonprofit organizations to support relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy in the regions worst-hit by the storm. In addition, Toyota will match employee contributions to the American Red Cross and other non-profits doing relief and recovery work in affected communities. Commenting on the donation, Shigeki Terashi, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor North America, Inc., said, "On behalf of Toyota, we express our sincere condolences to the families affected by Hurricane Sandy. Since we have operations and many dealerships in the affected regions, we felt a special responsibility to lend a hand. In addition to this contribution, many Toyota employees are already involved in volunteer activities to support those in need. We very much appreciate their support."
Hawaiian Airlines has launched flights between Honolulu and Sapporo in Japan. The capital city of the island of Hokkaido, Japan’s second-largest and northernmost island, Sapporo, is Japan’s fourth-largest city with a population of 1.9 million. Sapporo is renowned for its ski resorts – the city hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics – and the world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival, which annually attracts millions of visitors each February to see its spectacular snow and ice sculptures. Hawaiian’s Honolulu-Sapporo service is adding 41,000 new air seats to the market annually and the benefit to Hawaii’s visitor industry will be significant, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “Today’s launch of Hawaiian Airlines’ new Sapporo route is great news for Hawaii’s tourism economy and will generate an estimated $61 million in visitor spending and $6.7 million in state tax revenue” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “The flight will also provide residents of Hokkaido with its only direct access to Hawaii. We remain committed to working with Hawaiian Airlines to ensure the success of this flight and providing visitors greater accessibility to our state.” Hawaiian’s Flight HA 441 departs Honolulu International Airport on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 14:45, crosses the international dateline, and arrives at Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport at 19:00 the following day. The return flight HA 442 departs Sapporo on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 21:30, crosses the international dateline, and arrives in Honolulu at 09:55 the same day. Hawaiian will operate its Honolulu-Sapporo flights with wide-body, twin-aisle Boeing 767-300ER aircraft seating 264 passengers, with 18 in Business Class and 246 in the Main Cabin.
Major Japanese Internet Shopping Website Launches Sale of Low-Price Solar Panels for Home Use Rakuten Inc., one of Japan's major Internet shopping site operators, launched on July 17, 2012, a new service called "Rakuten Solar," where it sells home-use solar panels. The company partnered with solar panel system company Ecosystem Japan Co. to provide integrated services spanning from solar panel sales to installation without the use of intermediaries. It offers seven types of models that provide electricity ranging from 2.77 kilowatts (kW) to 3.33 kW, 3.88 kW, 4.44 kW, 4.99 kW, 5.55 kW, and 6.29kW. Rakuten established a structure where it can provide low-cost systems without compromising in terms of quality by limiting the choice of lineup, buying in bulk, and dealing with a part of the service procedure on the website. It first started this service in the prefectures of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama, and now expands nationwide to except isolated islands and areas of heavy snowfall. Source: JFS
Registration for 2013 Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon to Open 24 October 2012 The first phase of registration for the 17th Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, featuring the Marathon, Half Marathon and Wheelchair Races, will start tomorrow, 24 October 2012 at 7am. Registration for the 10km will commence on 31 October 2012. Entry quotas will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, and the registration deadline is 30 November 2012. The 17th Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon will take place on 24 February 2013. Chairman of the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2013 Organizing Committee, William Ko, said, "We expect the majority of participants will register through our online system. To avoid online traffic congestion, two separate registration periods are offered to participants joining different races. We hope this will smooth out the enrollment process." The entry fee is HK$300, and applicants registering online via the official website will receive instant confirmation upon successful application. Marathon participants are reminded to assess their own fitness prior to registration to decide which race category to enter, and to allow themselves adequate preparation and proper training to achieve optimal performance on race day. Web: http://www.hkmarathon.com
LINK will be First Airline in Japan to Fly ATRs Japan's new regional carrier LINK will be the first airline to fly the ATR 72-600 in Japan, one of the last Asian countries where ATR aircraft have not yet entered. LINK will start operations in 2013 with the introduction into its fleet of three leased ATR 72-600s. The aircraft will be delivered starting in late 2013. The three 70-seat ATR 72-600 aircraft will be equipped with new Pratt & Whitney 127M engines and new full-glass cockpit developed by Thales. They will also be equipped with the new Armonia cabin, developed by Italian designer Giugiaro, featuring the most modern layout and most advanced technologies in the field of passenger comfort. Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Koichi Sugiyama, Chief Executive Officer of LINK, said, “The ATR 72-600 perfectly fits with our requirements in terms of low operating costs, most updated technologies and optimal comfort. This is the most-recently certified 70-seat aircraft on the market, and we are proud to start our operations with such a modern, successful and well-reputed aircraft.” Filippo Bagnato, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, added, “We are entering a new and huge market which may bring us substantial commercial opportunities in a country with some 130 million inhabitants. The introduction of these ATR 72-600s with LINK will give us the opportunity of further consolidating our newest 70-seat aircraft as the reference for regional operations. We will make sure for offering all the supports Link will need for its future success in Japan and commit to this important market. The ATR 72-600 features the lowest operating and maintenance costs of the market, as well as the newest navigation aid tools for optimal performances. In addition, we are pleased to bring into Japan an aircraft which is largely recognized as the greenest one among all regional planes.”
Toshiba Launches Household Fuel Cell That Operates Independently Even During Blackouts Major Japanese electronics manufacturer Toshiba Corp. and Toshiba Fuel Cell Power Systems Corp. announced on June 25, 2012, the development of a new type of Ene-Farm, a household fuel cell, which operates even during blackouts by employing a self-sustained operation function. Shipping of the product to city gas companies and liquefied petroleum gas distributing companies is now underway. The new product uses a combination of the conventional model, which was released in March 2012, and the self-sustained operation function. When the Ene-Farm is in operation during blackouts, power can be supplied through an independent outlet from the Ene-Farm. Another type of the Ene-Farm equipped with a selection switch box automatically changes the power source for water heaters from commercial power sources to the Ene-Farm during blackouts. Source: JFS
AirAsia X Launches Promotion AirAsia X is offering fares from as low as MYR349 to Japan (Osaka, Tokyo) and MYR 369 to Australia (Perth, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Sydney) in conjunction with the MotoGP races which will be held in Japan and Australia in October 2012. AirAsia X’s special fares will also take you from Kuala Lumpur to China (Beijing, Hangzhou, Chengdu) from as low as MYR349 and Taiwan (Taipei) from as low as MYR449. The discounted fares are available until 9 September, 2012 for immediate travel until 15 November 2012. Terms and conditions apply. Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X said, “In conjunction with the MotoGP, AirAsia X is offering low fare deals for sports enthusiasts to affordably travel with us to witness the MotoGP races in Tokyo and Melbourne live! And, as an icing on the cake, we are extending this awesome deals across our other destinations in Australia, including China, and Taiwan.” AirAsia X long haul Fly-thru destinations on offer in conjunction with the awesome deals include destinations from Australia (Perth, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Sydney) to Japan (Osaka, Tokyo) and Taiwan (Taipei) from as low as A$289 and vice versa. Also available are our fly-thru service from Australia, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan to AirAsia popular destinations in Thailand, Indonesia, China, Singapore, Indochina, Hong Kong, and Macau. The Fly-thru service allows passengers to purchase two flight sectors with transit via Kuala Lumpur seamlessly. Azran added, “We will continuously improve our products and services to meet guests’ expectations and comfort. Our most recent ancillary offerings include our new inflight entertainment system - the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which features the latest Hollywood movies, games, digital magazines and music all with lifelike sound and excellent screen quality. Guests may pre-book online for extra savings or purchase the tab onboard our flights.”
New Sony E-book Store Project Adds to Support for Forest Conservation in Sumatra Sony Corporation launched a new project called "Read Books and Protect Forests" in April 2012. The company has been supporting a forest conversation project conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Japan on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, since 2011. With the new project, Sony will donate part of the revenue from sales of e-books at its e-book store (Reader Store) to the project. The donations will support activities such as tree planting at Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in Sumatra and the Elephant Patrol program, as well as strengthen communication activities to inform a wider group of people about the situation in the park. Sony is aiming to plant about 5,000 trees during the project's first fiscal year. It will also continue efforts to support the project by providing an online library "corner" with more environment-related e-books at Reader Store, and posting reviews from WWF Japan staff. Web: http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/csr/ForTheNextGeneration/sumatraforest/ Source: Japan For Sustainability
AirAsia Japan Launches Flights to Sapporo and Fukuoka AirAsia Japan, the newest low-cost carrier (LCC) based at Narita International Airport, has launched daily flights to Fukuoka and Sapporo. To celebrate the launch, travellers can enjoy celebratory low fares from 100 yen one way between Sapporo, Fukuoka, Okinawa and Tokyo until 23:59 on 5th August 2012 for travel between 28 August and 27 October 2012. “AirAsia and ANA entered into a joint venture only about a year ago and the response has been overwhelming. I am delighted and emotional to see our first flights take off today to Fukuoka and Sapporo,” said Kazuyuki Iwakata, CEO, AirAsia Japan. “I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported and assisted us. We hope to get your continuous support as we take all effort to ensure that we provide the best quality service and affordable air travel for everyone.” AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes added, “This is a dream come true for all of us at AirAsia. I have always believed in dreaming the impossible, but seeing AirAsia Japan’s inaugural flights take-off today puts a smile on my face. It has only been one year since we announced AirAsia Japan’s establishment and now we already have 2 aircraft, 243 staff in Japan and 3 domestic routes on the day we start our operations. Congratulations to Kazuyuki and his team for pulling this off.” Source: Asia Travel Tips
Number of visitors to Japan exceeds pre-disaster level The number of visitors to Japan has, for the first time since the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, exceeded the pre-disaster level. The figure for June 2012 was 686,600, an increase of 1.4% over the level recorded in June 2010, according to statistics published today by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). The Earthquake severely decreased the number of foreign visitors, driving the figure down to 295,800 in April 2011, which was a sharp drop of 62.5% from a year earlier. Despite a gradual recovery, the number of foreign visitors to Japan for 2011 as a whole was 6,220,000, down 27.8% from 2010, and the worst rate of decline on record. It gives us great pleasure to report that foreign visitor numbers have bounced back to the pre-earthquake level in a little more than a year. This result has only been possible through the tremendous support and cooperation that we have received from everyone around the world. We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincerest gratitude for such heartwarming support. On 9 July, Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), commented: “It is very encouraging to see demand returning to countries such as Japan, Egypt and Tunisia. These are long standing tourism destinations ready to fully welcome back the millions of tourists that each year chose to visit them.” The recovery of Japanese tourism was given a further boost in April this year, when the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit 2012 was held in Japan. Again let me express my deepest appreciation not only to these organizations but to everyone associated with tourism around the world. On 9 July, the American travel magazine “Travel+Leisure” listed Kyoto among the top ten in its 2012 World’s Best Cities rankings. Even since the Earthquake, Japan or Japanese cities like Tokyo or Kyoto have already ranked at or near the top of many world rankings such as Britain's The Guardian newspaper's Travel Awards and Wanderlust magazine's Travel Awards. There has been a spate of new tourist spots, among them the TOKYO SKYTREE, which opened in May. The Japan Tourism Agency has put together “Three Reasons to Visit Japan,” so be sure to take a look (click here to see the document). The Japan Tourism Agency and the JNTO continue our efforts to encourage even more people to visit Japan. Our prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda has stated, “Tourism is precisely the frontier for Japan.” We sincerely hope that as many people throughout the world as possible visit Japan, including the Tohoku region which was hit by the disaster but has already recovered to welcome you. Source: See Japan U.K.