Japan's first domestically produced rocket carrying a commercial satellite lifts off from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture on Nov. 24. (The Asahi Shimbun)
1st Japanese rocket with commercial payload launched
The first Japanese rocket with a commercial payload headed into space on Nov. 24 in a bid by Japan to enter the market for international satellite launches.
Weather forecasters from around Asia attend a training session on numerical weather predictions provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency on Nov. 17. (Itsuhiro Suzuki)
Japan plays leadership role in predicting weather in Asia
Japan has been exporting the results of one of its most advanced technologies for free, giving dozens of countries information that could save millions of lives.
The prototype Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) takes off from Nagoya Airport in Toyoyama, Aichi Prefecture, on Nov. 11. (Taku Hosokawa)
UPDATE: MRJ's maiden flight heralds game changer for Japan's aviation industry
TOYOYAMA, Aichi Prefecture--Japan’s first domestically produced passenger jet was put through its paces on its maiden test flight from Nagoya Airport here on Nov. 11.
Visitors to the Super Welfare Expo try out mobility scooters in Tokyo's Shibuya district on Nov. 10. (Takeshi Tokitsu)
Expo brings high-tech devices for the disabled to trendy Shibuya
A trade fair showcasing the coolest cutting-edge technology to assist people with disabilities got under way in Tokyo’s hip Shibuya district on Nov. 10.
A thermal sensor embedded in an ultra-thin film can be bent and attached to the skin. (Provided by the University of Tokyo)
Attachable ultra-thin thermometer boasts high accuracy over entire body
Researchers at the University of Tokyo and other institutions have developed a plastic, supple thermal sensor, thinner than human hair, which can be attached to the skin to monitor body temperature.
Seiji Ogo, a professor of bioinorganic chemistry at Kyushu University (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Breakthrough to pave way for cheaper fuel cells requiring no platinum
FUKUOKA--Fuel cells are expected to become less expensive thanks to a new type of electrocatalyst for cathodes that does not require costly platinum, according to a team of scientists.
Sumio Iijima, an honorary lifetime professor at Meijo University (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
High-purity nanotubes to roll off Zeon production line in world first
Chemicals manufacturer Zeon Corp. said it will become the world's first company on Nov. 11 to begin mass production of a high-purity carbon nanotube for use in cellphones and other electronic devices.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s Executive Technical Advisor Gill Pratt, left, and President Akio Toyoda, right, shake hands during a news conference on artificial intelligence in Tokyo on Nov. 6. Toyota is investing $1 billion in a research company it's setting up in Silicon Valley. (AP Photo)
Toyota invests $1 billion in artificial intelligence in U.S.
Toyota is investing $1 billion in a research company it's setting up in Silicon Valley to develop artificial intelligence and robotics, underlining the Japanese automaker's determination to lead in futuristic cars that drive themselves and apply the technology to other areas of daily life.
The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Nuclear regulator: Agency 'unfit' to operate Monju fast-breeder reactor
The Nuclear Regulation Authority is set to demand sweeping changes at the operator of the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor, a money-guzzling, problem-plagued project considered vital in the government’s program to recycle spent nuclear fuel.
An autonomous car undergoes testing on public roads in July 2014. (Provided by ZMP Inc.)
Kanagawa residents to get test runs with driverless taxis
Tokyo-based Robot Taxi Inc. and the Cabinet Office will start a demonstration test of driverless cabs as early as January in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Ingredients pushed into the air with gas synthesize to form a new type of glass. (Provided by the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science)
Scientists develop 'unbreakable' glass almost as tough as steel
Japanese researchers have developed a new type of glass almost as hard as steel, a breakthrough that could lead to the development of substantially tougher windows and tableware.
Japanese eel (Provided by Mie Prefecture)
'Environmental DNA,' a safer, more efficient way to study marine life
Japanese researchers are increasingly using “environmental DNA” to unlock the mysteries of the sea, protect endangered species and promote methods to keep certain delicacies on the tables of Japanese consumers.
Honda Motor Co.’s new fuel-cell vehicle that will be marketed in March 2016 (Provided by Honda Motor Co.)
Honda to showcase environmental, sporty concepts to regain reputation
Honda Motor Co. will exhibit a fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) and sports cars at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015 in hopes of restoring its image that was shattered by a worldwide scandal over faulty air bags.
The Kuseki (empty seats) radar feature has been added to the Yahoo Yoyaku Inshokuten (Yahoo reservation at eateries) smartphone app. It displays restaurants that have free tables. (Provided by Yahoo Japan Corp.)
Smartphone app helps score a last-minute restaurant reservation
You're looking for a bite to eat and suddenly a table becomes available at a popular restaurant in the part of town you happen to be in. How do you know this? Because you're using the new feature on the Yahoo Japan Corp.'s restaurant booking app.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and onlookers watch a demonstration on Oct. 19 of a scorpion-shaped robot that will be deployed at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant at the Naraha Remote Technology Development Center in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture. (Chikako Kawahara)
JAEA opens Fukushima R&D center for decommissioning reactors
NARAHA, Fukushima Prefecture--The Japan Atomic Energy Agency officially christened its new facility here on Oct. 19 that will develop technologies to decommission the reactors at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The Tokai University team’s solar-powered car leaves Darwin, Australia, on a 3,000-kilometer journey in the World Solar Challenge 2015 on Oct. 18. (Fusako Go)
Solar cars charge off in transcontinental race Down Under
DARWIN, Australia--Sleek little racers powered by the sun began their grueling 3,000-kilometer transcontinental journey here on Oct. 18 as the world’s largest solar car race got the green flag.
Honda Motor Co. chief engineer Terukazu Torikai with the new Honda CR-Z in Tokyo in August (Ken Sakakibara)
A blast from the past as automakers make quiet engines noisy
The roar of exhaust, music to the ears of petrol heads, almost seems like a thing of the past now that electric and hybrid cars dominate the scene.
Akira Hiruma, president of Hamamtsu Photonics KK, shows a 20-inch photomultiplier tube designed for the Super-Kamiokande neutrino detection facility at his company's offices in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Oct. 7. (Tomohiro Yamamoto)
Tech firm proud of role in Nobel-winning research
HAMAMATSU, Shizuoka Prefecture--The head of the world’s leading light technology company is thrilled that his firm played a part in Nobel Prize winning research.
The younger sister of Aico Chihira, on display at the Tokyo metropolitan government building, can provide information to tourists in three languages and eventually be able to respond to direct questions. (Kenji Matsuzawa)
Humanoid receptionist's sister raises the robotic bar with 3 languages
Receptionist Aico Chihira created quite a stir when she first went to work last spring, but her younger sister will have an even wider repertoire of skills.
An artist’s rendition of an ultra-small satellite to be launched by Astroscale Pte. (Provided by Astroscale Pte.)
By getting hit, satellite to shed light on mystery of space debris
With the help of a satellite in a crowded orbit, a venture company and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plan to survey tiny space debris that threatens the International Space Station (ISS) and other objects.

More AJW