Japanese Government Proposes Pandemic Tracking System By Cellphone GPS


Japan’s Ministry of Affairs and Communications (MIC) calls several projects starting in 2009 as part of the ICT Standard Development Project.

Among the three big categories [J], one of the 11 themes in the “Cyber District” operation is “Cellular phone Lifelog”, which targets to draw up the rules for time-space data utilization.

In particular, as proving tests, it is suggested to utilize cellular phone GPS data for pandemic prevention.

According to Asahi.com, which reports more detail than MIC’s release, this experiment involves around 2,000 cellphone users both in urban and rural towns. All monitors’ location are recorded in database with time information, then, by assuming one of them gets infected with disease, the system is supposed to track down the possible encounters on the same train and bus, then send an e-mail alert to those suspects’ cellphone.

Promotion Character Battle: Digital Deer vs. Analog Bear

NAB's Logo

Since Tsuyoshi Kusanagi stepped down from the role promoting digital terrestrial TV service (see this for more details), NAB,  the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan, were forced to introduce a new promoter, which is Chide-jika[J], punning the words of digital TV and deer.

In opposition to the deer’s activity, users of Japan’s largest Internet forum 2 channel[J] together created an anthropomorphic bear character in parody, named Analoguma[J], and a number of geeks following the boom launched sites introducing his profile and fight song all around Japanese blogosphere.

NAB announced it would accuse fan-art reproduction without permission to the prosecutor as violating the original’s copyright, which caused an ironic burst in popularity of the deer promoting a new broadcast system and his tough opponent who wants to conserve the current system.

Some people composed a fight song for the bear, containing vocal made by the singing synthesizer Hatsune Miku(pdf), and those were uploaded and introduced on Japan’s CGM-based video sharing site “Nico Nico Douga[J]“.

The embeded video shown below is quoted from YouTube, since its original stored on Nico Nico Douga is prohibited to be quoted.

The other people launched a parody site having the domain name of “chidejika.jp”, which takes you to a set of many fan-art drawings on the illustration SNS pixiv[J].

Chide-jika Analoguma's Logo

Chidejika’s Profile
Date of Birth Dec. 1st, 2003
Due Date to be completed by July, 2011
Habitat Private Broadcasters in Japan
Height 1 meter (3.3 feets)
Weight 15 to 20 kilograms (33 to 44 lbs)
Specialty Good at making a straight look at camera
Strong Point Never feel rushed
Weak Point Meddlesome
Favorite Food Salad
Infavorite Food Deer Courtesy Cracker
Analoguma’s Profile
Date of Birth Apr. 27th, 2009
Due Date to be postponed from July, 2011
Habitat TV Viewers in Japan
Height 1 meter (3.3 feets)
Weight 15 to 20 kilograms (33 to 44 lbs)
Specialty Sitting hight
Strong Point Peekaboo-like laughing at the opponent
Weak Point Never swallow the bait
Favorite Food Deer
Infavorite Food Salad

via IT Media News [J]

See Also:

Lunarr Closes Company With Its Two Unique Web Services


An unique web startup founded and run by a successful Japanese entrepreneur in Portland, Oregon, declared its end of services this month.


LUNARR will be discontinuing our Elements and Themes services as of Sunday, May 10th, 2009. You may continue to use both services until that date, at which time your LUNARR Terms of Service will be terminated and content will no longer be accessible.

We would like to sincerely thank you for being a part of the Themes and Elements beta experiments!

The LUNARR team


Lunarr Themes, named “Themes” after their second service Elements launched, started in 2007. The concept of the service is to introduce “back side” to every single page on the internet, on each of the back you may leave memo, start discussions with e-mail. It is a collaboration tool as same as Toru’s first product Cybozu groupware with unique flip idea.


Lunarr Elements, which is the other service by Lunarr, is a communication service around user posted images, just launched early January 2009, this year.


Toru Takasuka, who is a legendary software entrepreneur who made an independent enterprise package software company Cybozu by leaving Panasonic/Matsushita around his 30, left his CEO job and sold all his stock in 2005, expatriated himself to Portland with bringing his capital gain.

He told me before that his intention to move to rather small city instead of the Silicon Valley, is to get a good attention without hard competition both for promotion and hiring, which exactly traced his first success in Japan started from Ehime, small town in Shikoku island, then moved to Osaka, then Tokyo.

On his blog [J], he occasionally explained that he would have not made his first child Cybozu be a global company. Even though Cybozu is beating IBM/Lotus and Microsoft in market share in Japan, it is “only in Japan” phenomenon. Instead of using IPO-ed Cybozu, he rather wanted to begin again from scratch with his full of control.

On his announcement on his Japanese blog, Takasuka writes “I am not giving up my way to the global-level startup, global-level service”.

Different from many Japanese software companies who hold a small branch with 1-2 persons in valley by doing nothing substantial but so-called “local research”, mainly to show their pose of globalization to their Japanese customers, he is the few serious person who has his own strategy and policy.

In USA, he seems to meet a lot of influential people in industry and makes a good network. He also held an English bloggers tour in Tokyo, of course as a part of Lunarr’s promotion, but also to help other Japanese local startups linked to influential people in English blogosphere.

It is sad to hear their close but I wish I hear a news on his next service soon.

[disclaimer] Akky Akimoto worked as an engineering director of Cybozu USA under Toru Takasuka, when he was a CEO of Cybozu HQ, San Francisco.

See Also:

Failing to snag users, Lunarr decides to shut down » VentureBeat reports Lunarr’s services and interesting promotion history in USA.

Portland local news reports on Toru and Lunarr’s journey from their point of view

Lunarr Is Going Dark . . .