Blue laser book with Shuji Nakamura – how this book came about

Shuji Nakamura Gerhard Fasol The Blue Laser Diode

The Blue Laser Diode, by Shuji Nakamura and Gerhard Fasol, Springer Verlag

The story and physics background of the discovery and development of the GaN LEDs and lasers

Since I have been working for many years on GaAs research, as soon as I heard Shuji Nakamura’s talk at one of Japan’s applied physics conferences, I understood the importance, visited Shuji Nakamura in Anan where he was working at Nichia Kagaku Kougiyou, and became friends with Shuji Nakamura. Shuji Nakamura also introduced me over curry lunch to Founder and Chairman Nobuo Ogawa (小川 信雄), who at that time was about 83 years old.

I asked Chairman Nobuo Ogawa why he had agreed to pay for Shuji Nakamura’s proposed research on GaN blue LEDs, and pay for Shuji Nakamura learn MOCVD at the University of Florida in Professor Ramaswamy’s group. Nobuo Ogawa’s answer: “How did you chose your wife?”

I wrote a number of articles about Shuji Nakamura’s development of GaN LEDs and lasers in SCIENCE Magazine and the Deutsche Physikalische Blätter.

“Physikalische Blätter” initially rejected the first report on GaN LEDs – German experts had never heard about this discovery before, therefore rejected it as incredible

I also wrote an article for the Journal of the German Physical Society, at that time “Physikalische Blätter”, for which I was regularly writing articles and reports from Japan. The Editor initially rejected my article. He told me that he had consulted with German experts, and these experts had told him that they had never heard about a successful blue GaN LED, and that this was therefore impossible, and wrong. The Editor asked me rhetorically: “Do you think these German experts are wrong?” – I answered “Yes, they are wrong – you should publish this article”, and sent him some background information in support of my article. He finally published the article, and you can find it online here:

  • Gerhard Fasol: "Die blaue GaN Leuchtdiode: Auftakt für einen neuen Industriezweig (The blue GaN light emitting diode: the beginning of a new industry)" Physikalische Blätter, 51, p. 925-926 (October 1995)
  • Gerhard Fasol: "Japanische Herbstkonferenzen in Angewandter Physics (Japan’s autumn conferences on applied physics)" Physikalische Blätter, 50, p. 1118-1119 (December 1994) (my first report on Shuji Nakamura’s GaN work in Germany’s Physikalische Blätter)

Through my articles in Science Magazine and Physikalische Blätter, Claus Ascheron, Physics Editor of Springer Verlag became aware of my work in Tokyo, and asked me if I can help him win Shuji Nakamura’s agreement to write a book on his GaN work.

Blue laser book – how it came about

Claus Ascheron and myself went to visit Shuji Nakamura, and we had a lunch with Shuji Nakamura, Chairman Nobuo Ogawa, Claus Ascheron and myself. During lunch Claus Ascheron asked Shuji Nakamura, if he would be interested to write a book for Springer Verlag. Shuji agreed, but said that he needs Chairman Ogawa’s agreement. He asked Chairman Ogawa straight away, and Chairman Ogawa said “No. You can’t write this book, I don’t give my permission”. So I intervened and asked Chairman Ogawa for the reason of this refusal. Chairman Ogawa said: “Nakamura-san is researcher, he must do research and develop new products, he cannot waste his time writing books”. So I offered to help as a co-author, so that this would take less of Shuji Nakamura’s time. Chairman Ogawa agreed to this arrangement, and gave his permission.

As a result, Shuji Nakamura and myself worked many night-sessions over Christmas and New Year 1996/1997, and the first edition of the Blue GaN Laser book was published in January 1997, to be ready for the annual Book Fair in Frankfurt.

  • "The Blue Laser Diode : The Complete Story" (2nd Edition),
    S. Nakamura, S. Pearton, G. Fasol
    (Springer-Verlag, October 2000, ISBN 3-540-66505-6)
    Press here to order “The blue laser diode” from amazon.com

  • "The Blue Laser Diode – GaN based light emitters and lasers" (1st Edition),
    S. Nakamura, G. Fasol
    (Springer-Verlag, January 1997, ISBN 987-3-662-03464-4)

You can also read some of the background of Shuji Nakamura’s invention and the development of the solid state lighting industry in our Solid State Lighting report.

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Feed in tariff Japan for renewable energy: approvals drying up?

Feed in tariff Japan for renewable energy are about three times higher than in Germany. Approvals peaked in just before reduction in March 2013.

Feed in tariff Japan for renewable energy are about three times higher than in Germany

Approvals peaked just before the latest feed in tariff reduction

The figures below show an overview of renewable energy sources currently installed and operational in Japan (the majority of which is water power), and also renewable energy projects approved by Japan’s industry ministry METI under the renewable energy feed-in-tariff (FIT) law, which started in July 2012.

Approvals peaked just before March 31, 2013

The figures below clearly show that approvals peaked in March 2013, and dropped off dramatically from April 2013. The reason is most likely the decrease of FIT-tariffs from April 1, 2013: it seems that many applications were rushed in order to take advantage of the higher FIT-tariffs for projects approved up and until March 31, 2013.

Renewable energy capacity approved so far under the FIT-law will increase renewable energy capacity in Japan approximately by 70%, including water power. 94% of renewable energy projects approved under Japan’s feed-in-tariff programs are for solar energy generation (see our past blog analyzing FIT approvals).

The figures below show, that almost no fresh generation capacity was approved during March, April and May 2013: the approval of new renewable energy capacity is drying up.

Thus, companies seeking to build solar power stations in Japan based on pref-approved METI-projects, are faced with a fixed pool of approved projects, with almost no additional projects being added until May 2013.

More details in the latest 6th edition of our Renewable Energy Report.

Feed in tariff Japan for renewable energy: Approvals for renewable energy projects under the feed-in tariff law until May 2013 in comparison with installed renewable energy in Japan
Accumulated total generation capacity of approvals for renewable energy projects under the feed-in tariff law until May 2013 in comparison with installed renewable energy in Japan. Approvals seem to have dried up: almost no new capacity has been approved during March-May 2013.
Feed in tariff Japan for renewable energy: Figure shows solar energy projects approved by Japan's Industry Ministry METI under the renewable energy FIT law.
Figure shows the accumulated generation capacity of solar energy projects approved by Japan’s Industry Ministry METI under the renewable energy FIT law. Approvals seem to have dried up: almost no new capacity has been approved during March-May 2013.
Feed in tariff Japan for renewable energy: Approvals under Japan's renewable energy feed-in-tariff law per month
Approvals under Japan’s renewable energy feed-in-tariff law per month. Figure shows that approved generation capacity drops to a low level after March 2013 – the most likely explanation for the dramatic drop of approvals after March 2013 is the reduction of FIT-tariffs from April 1, 2013: it looks likely that many applications were rushed to meet with the higher FIT tariffs available for projects granted at the higher rates up to March 31, 2013 (42 yen/kWh in case of large scale solar)

Preview “Renewable energy Japan” research report

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Masayoshi Son threatened to set himself on fire in Japan’s Postal Ministry?!

Source iPhone 3G Masayoshi Son Masaru Kamikura

Masayoshi Son threatened to set himself on fire in Japan’s Post and Telecommunications Ministry? Is it really true?

Masayoshi Son is known for his unbreakable will to achieve his business goals – rather the business goals for his companies.

Masayoshi Son threatened to set himself on fire in the Ministry?!? Spectrum allocations for KDDI and SoftBank:

Currently Masayoshi Son, Founder of Softbank, is battling for a revision of a decision by Japan’s Ministry of General Affairs (Soumu-Sho) to award a new tranche of radio wave spectrum to KDDI’s subsidiary UQ, rather than sharing the spectrum equally with SoftBank‘s subsidiary Wireless City Planning.

Masayoshi Son threatened to set himself on fire in Japan’s Post and Telecommunications Ministry? Asking Masayoshi Son directly:

For a long time, I knew of a story about Masayoshi Son threatening to set himself on fire inside Japan’s Postal and Telecommunications Ministry (now merged into Japan’s Ministry of General Affairs (Soumu-Sho) since administrative reforms some years ago) in order to underline his request for a particular telecommunications license, or access to NTT exchanges, or similar matters Masayoshi Son was applying for at the time. I was long puzzled whether this story is true or not, so some years I go I had the chance to check this story out directly with Masayoshi Son, via the Chief- Editor of BusinessWeek, Mr David Rocks.

David Rocks, Editor of BusinessWeek in 2004 came for three weeks to Japan because BusinessWeek’s technology correspondent had tragically died of illness, in order to fill the gap of reporting about Japan. On the first day of his three weeks work in Japan he had Chinese dinner with me in Hibiya. Next day around noon he phoned me for advice of which questions to ask Masayoshi Son during an interview, and one of the questions that I suggest was: “Is the story true, that you (=Masayoshi Son) threatened to set yourself on fire in the Japanese Telecommunications Ministry”. A day later David Rocks told me, that Masayoshi Son’s answer was: “Yes, the story is true, I did threaten to set myself on fire inside the Telecommunications Ministry, but I did not take any petrol along!”.

Read this story in more detail here. This story became the headline of David Rocks’ BusinessWeek article “Setting fire to the cell-phone market“, published on October 31, 2004 in Businessweek.

More about Softbank and Masayoshi Son in our report.

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More in the Japan Telecommunications industry report

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Copyright notice:

The photograph of Masayoshi Son is used under Creative Commons license according to Wikipedia.
Copyright details are:
Description English: Masayoshi Son on July 11, 2008
Date 11 July 2008, 12:11:02
Source iPhone 3G Masayoshi Son Masaru Kamikura (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kamikura/2658524938/)
Author Masaru Kamikura (http://www.flickr.com/people/20119192@N00) from Japan
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en) license.

Copyright(c) 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Cloud computing trends

Keynote article about Cloud computing impact and trends in the RENESAS ELECTRONICS customer magazine and website “Renesas Edge Global Watch”

Gerhard Fasol: “Cloud computing impact & trends” (English language)
Gerhard Fasol: “Cloud computing impact & trends” (Chinese language)
Gerhard Fasol: “Cloud computing impact & trends” – 世界のクラウド・コンピューティング事情(1):クラウド・コンピューティングとは? (Japanese language)

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How many banks are there in Japan?

Japan banks

Japan’s banking system: Tokyo Banks, Trust Banks, Foreign Banks, Regional Banks – and The Bank of Japan

Japan banks need to register with the Ministry of Finance, so we know exactly how many banks there are in Japan, and we know address and all details about each one (contact us if you need help)

One of our clients asked us, how many banks there are in Japan, when discussing possibilities for obtaining finance.

Banks in Japan need a license, therefore all Banks are registered, and details are published, there is a straight answer to this question: 198 + 1 (as of July 1, 2013).

Note that Japan’s banking sector is consolidating, especially regional banks, so there is some change over time.

How many banks in Japan? – Quick answer:

198 (as of July 1, 2013) + The Bank of Japan

How many banks in Japan? – Detailed answer:

Total number of banks in Japan = 198 (as of July 1, 2013) (not including The Bank of Japan)

Since a banking license is required, the number, names, addresses etc of all banks of Japan are easy to find.

For historic reasons the number of banks in Japan is quite large, and the Bank of Japan and the Government of Japan have mentioned recently, that they consider the number of banks too large, and consolidation of local banks is under consideration.

Bank of Japan

Not included in the listing above is the Bank of Japan.

The Bank of Japan is the central Bank of Japan, and has three main responsibilities:

  • issue bank notes (not the yen coins, the coins are minted by the Mint of Japan)
  • carry out currency and monetary control
  • act as settlement banks between all Japanese banks: “to ensure smooth settlement of funds among banks and other financial institutions, thereby contributing to the maintenance of stability of the financial system.”

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Japan Galapagos effect (Galapagos syndrome)

eurotechnology.com

Japan Galapagos effect

Globalizing Japan

On the Galapagos islands, Charles Darwin noticed a number of species which were extremely beautiful, had evolved on the Galapagos islands locally, and were not able to live anywhere else.

Similarly, due to language, culture, comparatively small interchange between Japan’s markets and foreign markets, some technologies and some products evolved in Japan differently than in other markets.

In part, Japan chose unique Japanese technology standards (e.g. PDC and PHS for mobile phones, 1-seg for mobile TV, FeliCa for RFID contactless and mobile payments) in the hope to achieve global adoption of these Japanese standards, and at the same time to make market penetration of Japan’s markets more difficult for foreign companies in these fields – thus giving an competitive advantage to Japanese companies in their home market Japan.

Japan Galapagos effect: Telecom industry

Japan’s telecommunications industry for a long time used wireless communication standards, and mobile data standards, and frequency bands quite different than those used in other parts of the world. This had several effects:

  • Foreign companies hoping to enter Japan’s market, had to invest and develop mobile phone and other equipment specifically for the Japanese market, which could not be marketed anywhere else. Thus competing Japanese mobile phone makers and base station makers had a (temporary) competitive advantage in their home market, Japan. However, because of Japan’s limited market size, this competitive advantage in their home market seduced these Japanese companies to neglect global business development. As R&D costs, and especially software development costs increased, lack of global scale made it more and more difficult for these companies to continue viable business.
  • Because of high investments, and the will of consumers to spend large amounts on mobile communications, and because of Japan’s innovative power and other factors, many mobile technologies and business models were invented in Japan, or came first to market in Japan. These include:
    • camera phones
    • mobile internet (i-Mode)
    • mobile payment
    • commercial 3G mobile broadband services
  • Japanese handset makers and mobile phone base station makers were until recently protected in Japan’s market, Japanese mobile phone operators preferentially purchased Japanese equipment. Japanese mobile phone handset makers and base station equipment makers were not able to compete in the much larger global market.
  • Necessary consolidation did not take place, so Japanese mobile phone handset makers and base station equipment makers did not scale globally.

As a direct consequence of the Galapagos issues, NEC recently decided to exit the production of smartphones – NEC was the former No. 1 leader in Japan’s mobile phone market.

Japan Galapagos effect: Galapagos phones (Galake, ガラケ)

Japan introduced mobile internet in February 1999, much earlier than any other country. “Galapagos phones” (Galake, ガラケ) are mobile phones (“feature phones”) typically based on the legacy Symbian operating system, and including a very rich set of features:

Galapagos-phones are losing market share against iOS/iPhone and Android smartphones, and we expect Galapagos-keitai (galake) to disappear from the market within a few years to be replaced by iOS, Android, and other smartphones.

As a consequence of the Galapagos effect, NEC recently decided to exit the field of smartphones, and focus exclusively on “Galake” type feature phones.

Japan Galapagos effect: Automotive industry

Kei car, K-car, 軽自動車 (meaning “light automobile”) is an automotive class, which exists only in Japan. Kei-cars enjoy tax advantages, and Japanese automobile manufacturers are creating very innovative and attractive Kei-cars, however this class of automobile is only restricted to Japan at this time, and cannot achieve global scale at this time.

Positive aspects: Japan Galapagos effect as an opportunity

Mobile internet, electronic money, camera phones and many other advanced technologies were invented and/or first brought to market in Japan, earlier than in all other countries, because of the positive aspects of the Galapagos effect. Japanese companies could develop and bring these new products to market without being slowed down by global standards. Creativity can run free in Japan because of Japan’s Galapagos effect.

Japan post-Galapagos effect working group

The “Post-Galapagos working group” was organized by Takeshi Natsuno (one of the three developers and long-years manager of DoCoMo’s i-Mode mobile internet service) during the years 2008-2009.
The Post-Galapagos working group consisted of about 15 Committee members (Gerhard Fasol was the only non-Japanese Post-Galapagos working group member), met once a month for about one year, and in mid-2009 prepared an released a set of reports with recommendations for

  • Japan’s telecom operators
  • Japan’s electronics manufacturers
  • Japan’s contents industries

A Japanese article about the Post-Galapagos working group can be found here:
超ガラパゴス研究会リポート:海外目線で見る、日本のケータイメーカーの弱点とは
And an English language article here:
ACCJ-Journal: The Galapagos Effect

Japan Galapagos effect – References

Download Gerhard Fasol’s lecture slides at Stanford University: “New opportunities vs old mistakes – foreign companies in Japan’s high-tech markets”

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NEC revenues shrink from YEN 5000 billion in 1998 to YEN 3000 billion in 2012

NEC 日本電気株式会社 NEC revenues shrink from YEN 5000 billion in 1998 to YEN 3000 billion in 2012

NEC is one of NTT’s traditional four equipment suppliers

NEC is one of NTT’s traditional suppliers of telecom equipment, and one of Japan’s flagship electronics companies. In the early days of the PC age, NEC dominated Japan’s PC market with the 98 series of PC, which had a NEC-proprietary variation of MicroSoft’s MS-DOS operating system.

NEC was the first ever Japanese joint-venture company with foreign capital: NEC started as a joint-venture with Western Electric Company

Interestingly NEC originally started as a joint-venture with Western Electric Company of the United States – NEC was the first Japanese joint-venture company with foreign capital.

NEC revenues and income overview

Here is an overview of NEC’s financial performance over the last 15 years, the period FY1998 – FY2012 – NEC’s business shrunk from YEN 5000 billion in FY1998 to YEN 3000 billion in FY2012, while on average reporting annual net losses of YEN 39 billion (US$ 390 million)/year over these 15 years.

For detailed discussion of NEC and Japan’s “Big 8” electronics manufacturers and component makers see our report: “Japan’s electronics industries: mono zukuri

NEC revenues: During the 15 years FY1998-FY2012, NEC revenues declined from YEN 5000 Billion to YEN 3000 Billion, while reporting on average annual net losses of YEN 39 Billion/year.
During the 15 years FY1998-FY2012, NEC revenues declined from YEN 5000 Billion to YEN 3000 Billion, while reporting on average annual net losses of YEN 39 Billion/year.

Japan electronics industries – mono zukuri. Preview this report:

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NEC smartphone termination, discussions with Lenovo failed

NEC

NEC smartphone – admits losing against competition from Apple and Samsung

NEC smartphone – NEC used to be No. 1 in Japan’s “Galapagos keitai” market

Just a few years ago, NEC was No. 1 in market share of Japanese pre-smart phone “Galake” (Galapagos-keitai, for a review of Japan’s Galapagos effect click here) super-feature phones.

Recently NEC attempted negotiations with Lenovo, to jointly manage a new NEC-Lenovo smart phone joint-venture company, into which the NEC smartphone division would be merged.

NEC reported that these negotiations with Lenovo had failed, and NEC now reports that it will terminate NEC smartphone production, but will continue to manufacture “Galake” feature phones. Our expectation is that NEC Galake feature phone production will also be terminated at some point in the not too distant future.

NEC smartphone failure: What has caused NEC’s fall from No. 1 to an impending exit from the mobile phone sector? Several factors in our view:

  • NEC focused mobile phone production on Japan’s domestic market, especially NTT-docomo, since NEC is one of the NTT-Groups traditional suppliers, NEC thought that NEC will also remain among NTT-docomo’s preferred suppliers.
  • NEC failed to build viable global mobile phone business outside Japan. NEC hoped to ride NTT-docomo’s global introduction of i-Mode, supplying NEC-i-Mode phones via NTT-docomo to the world. However, since i-Mode’s global introduction failed, this strategy fell flat.
  • NTT-docomo recently decided to focus on two core handset suppliers: Samsung and SONY. Since NEC is not included in NTT-docomo’s two core handset suppliers, NEC essentially lost docomo’s sales support.
  • Unlike Google/Motorola and Apple, NEC does not control the OS-software, and therefore always depended on others to supply the OS software, which is of course an achilles’ heel type vulnerability. Still, Samsung is successful without using its own OS, although Samsung is working hard along various paths hoping to create a viable OS and ecosystem, such as Tizen.
  • Patents: NEC does not have a strong mobile phone patent position to stand up to Apple, Google or Samsung in the mobile phone patent wars.
  • Lack of scale: while NEC was a temporary No. 1 in Japan, NEC never had sufficient scale on a global level in mobile phones or smartphones.
  • Lack of focus: NEC is active in a large number of business areas, and smartphones is a small part of total activities of NEC. Thus NEC does not have the focus on smartphones which would be necessary to create global success. Probably NEC considers smartphones and feature phones a secondary business.
  • Neither has NEC sufficient financial strength to build a global smartphone business at this stage.

Here is an overview of NEC’s financial performance over the last 15 years, the period FY1998 – FY2012

NEC smartphone: During the 15 years FY1998-FY2012, NEC revenues declined from YEN 5000 Billion to YEN 3000 Billion, while reporting on average annual net losses of YEN 39 Billion/year.
During the 15 years FY1998-FY2012, NEC revenues declined from YEN 5000 Billion to YEN 3000 Billion, while reporting on average annual net losses of YEN 39 Billion/year.

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Sony earnings boosted by weak yen – BBC interview about SONY earning results

Helped BBC with the article “Sony earnings boosted by weak yen and smartphone sales

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