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Japan engineers create robot that transforms into car with men on-board

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Transformer robot “J-deite-RIDE”

Japanese engineers unveiled on Wednesday, April 25 a robot that transforms into a car that can actually carry people on board, in what they said was the first-ever such accomplishment in the history of robots.

The 3.7-metre (12.1-feet)-tall two-seater robot “J-deite RIDE” can transform into a sports car in a process that takes about a minute. It can technically walk at 30 km/h (18.6 mph) or run on its four wheels but developers said they’ve never really tested it outside the factory cargo bay area.

CEO of Brave Robotics, Kenji Ishida, who initiated the co-project with Asratec, an affiliate of the Japanese mobile phone giant SoftBank, and a roller coaster manufacturer Sansei Technologies, said he was motivated by his childhood transformer heroes in anime movies.

While admitting that it may seem like an expensive toy, Ishida said the robot is an attempt to inspire others and broaden the human imagination. Developers said they will begin with utilizing the technology in the entertainment industry, such as amusement park and street parades. — Reuters

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Activists urge Japan to apologize for forcing women to work in wartime brothels

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

 

A protester wearing a mask representing ‘comfort women’ | Reuters

 

Over 50 activists wearing white face masks joined a sit-in protest in front of Japan’s de facto embassy in Taipei on Tuesday (August 14), asking for a formal apology and demanding monetary compensation for Taiwanese women who were forced to work in its wartime brothels.

In drizzling rain, women’s rights activists wore black shirts and masks representing the “comfort women” – a euphemism for girls and women forced to work in Japan’s wartime brothels – who have already passed away. They also held reeds to symbolize the tenderness and endurance of comfort women over the years, inspired by the documentary film “Song of the Reed” which pays tribute to the women.

Before the sit-in protest, Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation Chairperson Huang Shu-ling handed a letter of protest addressed to the Japanese government to a Japanese official. Police hovered nearby and declared the protest a violation of the assembly and parade act, though they allowed it to continue until the event was over.

Like other Asian nations including South Korea and China, Taiwan has an ongoing dispute with Japan over the treatment of women during the war. — Reuters

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Japanese Princess Ayako officially gets engaged to a commoner

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, August 13th, 2018

Japanese Princess Ayako. | REUTERS

 

Japanese Princess Ayako was officially engaged to commoner Kei Moriya on Sunday (August 12) in an imperial engagement ceremony held at Tokyo’s Imperial House.

Princess Ayako, a daughter of Akihito’s late cousin Prince Takamado, attended the traditional Japanese engagement ceremony with her mother, Princess Hisako, accepting the official marriage proposal and a list of gifts including Japanese sake and clothes that were delivered by a messenger sent by Moriya.

Princess Ayako’s engagement follows Princess Mako’s path to marry a commoner. Last year, Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Japanese Emperor Akihito, announced she would postpone her wedding to Kei Komuro to 2020 until after her grandfather Emperor Akihito abdicates next year.

The couple is planned to hold their wedding on October 29th this year. — Reuters

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Japan’s Emperor pushes boundaries to reach out to Asia

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, August 13th, 2018

 

Japan’s Emperor Akihito. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

 

The popular Japanese Emperor Akihito, 84, is abdicating next year.

On August 15, he will for the last time as reigning emperor take part in an annual memorial ceremony honoring war dead in a role he has carved out as a symbol of peace, democracy, and reconciliation after the death of his father, Hirohito, or the Showa Emperor.

Makoto Watanabe, a former imperial grand chamberlain, or aide to the emperor for 13 years until 2007, has seen first hand how the Emperor reached out to the Japanese people and beyond.

“In my mind, more specifically the first thing he did was to console the soul of the war dead. Not only the Japanese but the Americans and local people, people all over the world,” Watanabe said in an interview with Reuters.

Although he cannot directly influence government policy, Akihito has created a broader consciousness of Japan’s wartime past, experts say. That is a sharp departure from the legacy of his father, once revered as a “living god” in whose name Japan fought World War II.

It was a change that had no precedence in Japan.

“He has no role model, not only about the question of the war but about the role of the emperor as a whole. And so I think what he has been doing is on the one hand, to try to find out what people expect of him,” Watanabe said. — Reuters

 

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