The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan



Steakhouse Earns Its Chops

press-1The Tokyo American Club’s Decanter restaurant has received an award from the New York-based Wine Spectator magazine for the second year running (press release, August 4).

The steakhouse won the Best of Award of Excellence, the second-highest of the wine authority’s annual accolades.

Only seven restaurants from Japan figured in the list, including Hotel New Otani’s La Tour d’Argent and Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo’s Piacere. The award category featured just 650 restaurants worldwide.

The honors recognize restaurants that offer outstanding wine selections, several vertical offerings of top wines, excellent breadth across several wine regions, as well as distinctive, rare wines.

New Trans-Pacific Cable System

A consortium of six global technology companies, including Google Inc., has been formed to create and operate a high-speed Internet cable between the United States and Japan (Silicon Valley Business Journal, August 11).

The $300 million initiative is called “Faster,” and aims to connect the countries across the Pacific Ocean.

The system will link two areas of Japan—Chikura, in Chiba Prefecture, and Shima, in Mie Prefecture—with major hubs on the US West Coast. The six-company consortium also comprises China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI, and SingTel.

Tech Firm Gets Startup Support

The first Japanese company has been accepted into the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program in London (press release, July 25).

Fove, Inc. has announced its development of the world’s first eye-tracking head-mount display for consumers.

The new product has potential applications in gaming and other fields, and the Japanese firm is looking into a potential collaboration with Xbox.

Microsoft Ventures partners with promising startups around the world, to “help smart companies take flight.” There are currently seven accelerators in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris, Tel Aviv, and Seattle.

Makers Team Up for Battery Plant

Tesla Motors Inc. has announced a tie-up with Panasonic Corp. to construct a major battery manufacturing plant in the United States (, July 31).

The new $5 billion facility is expected to create 6,500 jobs and be built in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, or Texas.

The plant will produce cells, modules, and battery packs for the US automaker’s electric vehicles, and for the stationary energy storage market.

Osaka-based Panasonic will manufacture and supply the lithium-ion battery cells and invest in equipment. Tesla is banking on reducing its battery costs to support the development of a new, lower-cost model.

ANA First to Fly Stretch Plane

press-2All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. became the world’s first airline to operate the Boeing 787-9 stretch Dreamliner in early August (, August 7).

Commercial Service Japan coordinated an event to commemorate Boeing’s delivery of the new model to ANA on August 4. U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy highlighted the strong bilateral business embodied in the 787, about 35 percent of which comprises Japanese materials.

The first flight, a round-trip from Tokyo International (Haneda) Airport to Mt. Fuji and Kyoto, had onboard 70 American and Japanese schoolchildren.

The 787 stretch model is able to accommodate 60 more passengers than the standard Dreamliner, and will ply domestic routes linking Tokyo, Fukuoka, Osaka, and Matsuyama.