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Rakuten Selling Low-Price Solar Panels for Homes

Oct 23 (Tue ), 2012

 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

HK Marathon Registration Opens Oct. 24

Oct 23 (Tue ), 2012

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

Oct 10 (Wed ), 2012

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

Oct 03 (Wed ), 2012

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

Sep 06 (Thu ), 2012

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.”  

Sony E-books Support Forest Conservation in Sumatra

Aug 07 (Tue ), 2012

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

Aug 03 (Fri ), 2012

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

Jul 30 (Mon ), 2012

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.  

Peace Boat works to promote peace and human rights

Jul 16 (Mon ), 2012

 Peace Boat works to promote peace and human rights   Peace Boat, a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace and human rights through a study program via ocean voyages, invited ECPAT International to facilitate a workshop in Phuket for its participants on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Thailand.   The workshop was attended by approximately 50 participants of Peace Boat. The workshop aimed to create a better understanding of the different manifestations of CSEC: prostitution of children, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, and child pornography, and what actions have taken place by the Thai government and NGOs, especially initiatives by The Code and ECPAT.   After the workshop, the participants held a meeting the next day to discuss what actions they could do and decided to hold a “workshop” base on the one in Phuket for other participants of the Peace Boat (the boat has about a thousand passengers/participants).   Leading up to their workshop, a showing of the Japanese movie, “The Children of Darkness” took place to stir discussion (the movie focuses on the prostitution and trafficking of children in Thailand). Then the participants held their own workshop to approximately another 80-100 participants, which was divided into smaller groups to encourage discussions.   For example, one male participant shared that he worked in the tourism industry in Bangkok about 10 years ago, and he shared how many Japanese tourists came to ask “where they can play” as he was a front desk personnel. He admitted his ignorance to the issue then, but shared that he was encouraged that more people are aware, talking about the issues, and can clear action against the crimes by reporting now.   Source: thecode.org

AirAsia Launches ‘World’s Best Ever Sale!’

Jul 16 (Mon ), 2012

 AirAsia Launches ‘World’s Best Ever Sale!’   AirAsia has launched another ‘World’s Best Ever Sale!’,  with all-in-fares from as low as RM24 one way to domestic destinations in Malaysia such as Penang, Alor Setar, Johor Bahru, Kota Bharu, Kuching, Sibu, Kota Kinabalu and more.   All-in-fares to exciting international destinations such as Singapore, Phuket, Bangkok, Bali, Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou, Guilin, Chennai, Kochi and others start from RM54 for one way travel.   All-in-fares from Clark International Airport to Kalibo, Puerto Princesa and Davao in Philippines are going from as low as RM36 one way; while domestic flights within Thailand are from as low as RM26 one way. Indonesian domestic flights start from as low as RM34 one way   The promotion is running from 16 – 22 July 201å2 for travel between 4 January and 22 May 2013. Terms and conditions apply.   Travellers can take advantage of these low fares and fly long-haul with AirAsia X from Kuala Lumpur to Japan (Osaka, Tokyo) from as low as RM 284 one way and from as low as RM 294 one way to China (Hangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu) and Taiwan (Taipei).   Other hot long-haul destinations offered are Korea (Seoul) with fares from as low as RM324 one way and Australia (Perth, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney) from as low as RM354 one way.   Travellers can also enjoy long-haul Fly-thru deals from Australia to Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and China from as low as A$ 259 or vice versa.   Alternatively, guests from Australia, China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan may also hop on to Kuala Lumpur and connect to ASEAN and beyond, leveraging on the AirAsia’s low cost carrier network with affordable low fares.   Fly-thru deals to ASEAN and beyond start from as low as A$ 229 from Australia, JYP 14 900 from Japan, KRW 170 900 from Korea, CNY 709 from China and TW$ 3 990 from Taiwan.   AirAsia has just won the World’s Best Low Cost Airline award by Skytrax for the fourth consecutive year. Kathleen Tan, AirAsia’s Regional Head of Commercial said, “Yes, we did it again, and we could not be more excited about being awarded World’s Best Low Cost Airline again for the fourth consecutive year! We have our guests to thank for all their support, and throwing this ‘Thank You’ sale is our way of showing our gratitude to everyone who voted for us again in the Skytrax survey.”   Source: Asia Travel Tips