This Japanese politician is crowdfunding a personal trip to the US to study Bitcoin

Mineyuki Fukuda, a member of Japan’s House of Representatives, has taken a novel approach to fund an overseas Bitcoin research tour. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker and head of the central government’s IT Strategy Committee has launched a crowdfunding campaign  that will send him to the US as a private citizen – without using taxpayer funds – to author a report on American Bitcoin businesses.

Line takes aim at Rakuten and Amazon, to launch five new ecommerce services

Line, the messaging app that has nabbed 490 million registered users in three years, announced its plans for becoming a major player in the ecommerce industry at a news conference in Tokyo today. The strategy marks an interesting inflection point for Line. The service gained popularity for it’s colorful stickers, grew its revenue base with mobile games , and now has its sights set on ecommerce.

KDDI to Build New Telehouse Data Centers in Tokyo and Osaka

NEW YORK, NY — (Marketwired) — 08/27/14 — KDDI, the global telecommunications provider, announces today that it will invest $270 million (28 billion yen) investment in the building of two new Telehouse data centers, “TELEHOUSE OSAKA 2,” and “TELEHOUSE TOKYO Tama 3,” scheduled to open in August 2015 and February 2016 respectively. These additional facilities will take the total amount of global TELEHOUSE data center space to approximately 4.0 million square feet, provided by 46 sites across 13 countries/territories and 24 major cities.

NTT Com Offers Enterprise Mail From Singapore

NTT Communications has unveiled its webmail-based Enterprise Mail cloud service which will be delivered from a newly constructed platform in Singapore. The company said it will be used to serve customers in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. NTT Com said the Singapore platform will ensure it continues to offer highly reliable and competitively priced enterprise communication services for mail, scheduling, file sharing, among other services, throughout the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.

Cloud in a box, Fujitsu launch VMWARE EVO: RAIL solution

VMWare announced EVO:RAIL on the first day of VMWorld in San Francisco and Fujitsu immediately announced their first VMWare specific hardware appliance. There were a total of six vendors named by VMWare who will produce the SDDC appliance (Software Defined Data Centre): Fujitsu, Dell,  Supermicro, EMC, Inspur and Net One. Of the six vendors, Fujitsu are the only one to have their appliance available immediately. Dell is due in September while Supermicro, EMC, Inspur and Net One have no ship date yet.

Sony: Hackers target game sites, Playstation users’ information safe

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 25 — Sony Corp said hackers had taken down its PlayStation Network without compromising its 53 million users’ personal data, while the FBI was investigating a bomb scare on a flight carrying a top Sony executive in the United States. The hackers behind the PlayStation attack said they had also targeted the servers of World of Warcraft video gamemakers Blizzard Entertainment, whose website was down, and threatened to attack Microsoft Corp’s Xbox Live network which was also experiencing problems.

Japanese Mobile Games Giant gumi Inc. Launches U.S. Studio

Today gumi Inc., a leading developer and publisher of mobile games, is announcing its first major North American expansion plans since the close of a $50 million round of funding. The company is officially expanding into the U.S. with the opening of a games studio and the hiring of former Microsoft Game Studios GM AJ Redmer. The U.S. studio, combined with others across the world, plan to release thirty new titles worldwide, including Chain Chronicles–a SEGA game, which is already a top grossing mainstay on both iOS and Android in Japan – soon to be released in the U.S.

KVH Brings New Private Cloud To Market In Japan

Tokyo-based service provider KVH has launched a new cloud-based network virtualization service called Private Cloud Type-S – a new private cloud service. Type-S makes use of Midokura’s MidoNet network virtualization software, which is based on OpenStack and supports software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) to provide open and flexible next-generation cloud environments.

The future of Gree as told by its founder and CEO

Every tech community has its heroes. In Japan, Gree founder and CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka is one such individual. When Forbes named him, at age 32, the world’s second youngest self-made billionaire  – trailing only Mark Zuckerberg – he became proof that young Japanese entrepreneurs can reach the upper echelons of the industry. Tanaka’s stellar success is an inspiration not only for young techies, but also for the Japanese government. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a team working expressly for the purpose of supporting Japanese startups.

$12M in sales for user-generated stickers on LINE

Line’s DIY sticker shop is proving to be a respectable hit. The company behind the popular messaging app is reporting that user-created stickers hit JPY 1.23 billion (just under US$12 million) in sales for the three-and-a-half month period ending August 7. While that is still a small fraction of LINE’s overall revenues – US$177 million from April to June 2014 – it still shows remarkable growth.

Konica Minolta Redefines Document Security and Compliance With the Launch of Konica Minolta Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

SINGAPORE – Konica Minolta Business Solutions Asia is proud and excited to launch its Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Solution, a dynamic system to help offices manage content across enterprise to maximise how data can be used, in Singapore and Malaysia. Konica Minolta understands that as content continues to grow, enterprises need help to process the data securely and use it effectively. The company’s ECM Solution addresses the rising concern of security and compliance while optimising the process flow, making it productive and secure from the entire document lifecycle.

SoftBank still merger hungry despite T-Mobile flop: analysts

TOKYO–Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank’s failed bid for T-Mobile marked a rare defeat for its brash billionaire founder, but few expect it to sideline a man intent on building “the world’s number-one company.” After years of scooping up companies big and small, Masayoshi Son’s voracious appetite for acquisitions hit a snag amid reports earlier this month that the firm’s U.S. unit had abandoned a US$32 billion offer for T-Mobile in the face of regulatory opposition.

Toshiba Joins the Wearable Tech Race

Toshiba’s take on wearable technology offers no global positioning system, heart rate sensor, or an LED or LCD display to tell a user what’s happening. The only sensor the smart band has is an accelerometer. Toshiba’s smartwatch is dropping everything unnecessary for it to do its basic job, which is to monitor the wearer’s activities and send information to a paired mobile device such as a smartphone or a tablet. This data can be inspected and analyzed at a later time.

China Mobile, China Telecom Participate In Google’s Optical Cable Project

Google announced that carriers from various countries, including China Mobile, China Telecom, and France’s Global Transit, will jointly invest in a trans-Pacific high-speed Internet cable system named “Faster”. The total investment of this Faster project is estimated to be about USD300 million and participating companies include China Mobile, China Telecom, Global Transit, Google, Japan’s KDDI, and Singapore’s SingTel. This project is expected to be completed and put into operation before the second quarter of 2016.

Here’s what Docomo and KDDI are doing to promote startups in Asia

Our smartphones connect us to the internet and millions of apps, but it is our telecommunications providers that allow the connection to take place at all. It makes perfect sense that the companies behind our handsets would be keen to aid tech startups, because people don’t just buy smartphones for specs – they buy them to access the must-have apps that keep us glued to our screens. NTT Docomo and KDDI – Japan’s first and second-largest wireless carriers by user base, respectively (or first and third , if one accounts for group companies) – are on the front-lines of startup investment with multi-million dollar funds and seasoned incubation programs.

Gree admits failure with browser-based mobile gaming, shifts half of workforce to make native games for iOS and Android

Gree (TYO:3632  isn’t leaving gaming. That was the message from today’s earnings report which covered the company’s entire 2014 fiscal year. Revenue and net income continued to slide both for the quarter and for the year. Revenue fell JPY 26.64 billion to JPY 125.6 billion (US$1.23 billion) and net income dropped JPY 5.1 billion to JPY 17.35 billion (US$169.6 million). Although it’s a far cry from the heady days of 2012 when the company scored JPY 47.97 billion (US$469 million) in yearly net income, Gree appears fully determined to return to its former glory.

Hot or not? App Annie’s guide to worldwide app trends

We’re now precisely three weeks away from the kick-off of Startup Asia Tokyo 2014 , our first ever Japan conference, on September 3 and 4. Amidst all the opportunities for networking, there’ll also be plenty of insights and chances to learn. For app developers and startups of all sizes, Yuji Kuwamizu (pictured below), the Japan GM at App Annie, will present a keynote (in English) on the subject of Japan and worldwide app trends. His presentation will be on the afternoon of the first day.

Japanese gaming giant Gree continues to diversify with launch of new babysitting app 3cloud #cloudcomputing

Ahead of announcing its latest quarterly results later today, Gree (TYO:3632  surprised the gaming and childcare industries by unveiling Smartsitter , a babysitter matching service for Japan. It promises to act as a one-stop-shop for finding a reliable sitter, arranging the appointment, and handling the payment. Babysitting is a tricky business in Japan. Childcare is typically left to new mothers  with some assistance from other family members. As chronicled by Goldman Sachs’ chief Japan equity strategist Kathy Matsui in her seminal study on women in the workplace  (PDF file), the rarity of babysitting creates a difficult situation for new mothers who do not want to give up their working careers.

CTC, SilverSky Partner, Eye Global Managed Security Services Expansion

Cloud-based managed security service provider (MSSP) SilverSky today announced a new partnership with ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corp. (CTC), a Tokyo-based IT solutions provider. CTC will leverage SilverSky’s technology to deliver managed security services to its customers as part of the agreement. SilverSky said the partnership also will enable both companies to capitalize on the rapidly growing managed security services market in Japan and the Asia Pacific region.

Rakuten Super Logistics accepts bitcoin

Rakuten Super Logistics U.S, a company that provides order fulfillment services for online retailers, has accepted bitcoin after requests from customers. The company has already begun accepting bitcoin payments via BitPay. “We are working to apply this new technology to the benefit of market participants, especially those who can’t now easily access the global e-commerce marketplace,” says Joseph DiSorbo, CEO of Rakuten Super Logistics, referring to the majority of people in emerging markets who are not using credit cards and online payment facilities.