Each week, here at Osaka.com, we bring you a selection of some of the top stories about Osaka making the local and national news here in Japan. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s funny, but it’s always direct to you, from Osaka.
Here’s a look at some of the stories hitting the headlines in Osaka this week.
Amazon Announces Major Investment in Osaka
Osaka’s growing technology sector received a welcome investment boost this week. Amazon, one of the world’s largest online businesses, announced an expansion plan for their data centers in Osaka and Tokyo.
As cloud computing (the storage of data online as opposed to in physical hard drives) undergoes continual growth, Amazon wants to maximize this aspect of its business. To that end, Amazon Web Services Japan announced moves to upgrade Japan’s cloud computing infrastructure. It hopes to have the new system fully up and running by fiscal 2027. The cornerstone of Amazon Web Services’ plans is further investment in their Data Centers in Osaka and Tokyo. The plan will see an overall investment of 2 trillion yen over the next 3 years. This will bring economic benefits to Osaka both in the creation of new jobs, and the enhancement of existing technologies.
Growth of AI Driving Amazon Investment
Speaking to local media in Tokyo this week, Amazon Web Services Japan President, Tadao Nagasaki, outlined the investment plan. “Generative AI is in huge demand across Japan’s business sector. We hope this new investment plan will enable further innovations in this area.”
The latest tranche of investment is in addition to the 1.51 trillion yen Amazon Web Services has already spent in Japan since 2011.Amazon would not comment directly on exactly how many jobs the new investment will create in Osaka. However they said the plan will have “significant benefits” for Osaka and for Japan’s IT sector as a whole.
Generative AI has exploded in popularity globally over the past 12 months. This is largely due to the commercial success of ChatGPT, an automated AI Bot that communicates directly with users. Amazon recently launched Amazon Q, an AI Bot targeted at corporate users. The investment plan for their data centers will, in all likelihood, see Amazon also offer their own spin on generative AI directly to consumers in the near future.
Heavy Snow Leads to Delays
Much of Japan was blanketed under heavy snow over the past few days. Osaka has, thus far, been spared the worst of it. However, forecasters warn that heavy snow could come to Kansai over the next week or so, as cold fronts continue to drift in from the northwest.
Meanwhile, some business owners and distributors in Osaka had to contend with delays this week. Heavy snow led to massive traffic jams on the Meishin Expressway, a key road linking central and eastern Japan. Two trucks became stuck in drifting snow, requiring the intervention of Self-Defense Forces personnel. Many deliveries scheduled to arrive in Osaka on Thursday morning still hadn’t arrived at the time of writing. With more snow due over the weekend, Central Nippon Expressway Corp will have a hard time keeping logistics flowing.
Train services between Osaka and Tokyo remain unaffected thus far, but this could change if the weather situation deteriorates further. In an unrelated incident, a number of Shinkansen Lines north of Tokyo were temporarily halted on Tuesday when electrical lines were damaged. The outage did not impact services heading south, to the likes of Osaka, Hiroshima and Hakata.
Osaka sports fans had plenty to celebrate this week. First, on January 23rd, a boxing event in the city’s Edion Arena saw two Japanese champions emerge victorious.
In the headline bout of the evening, Kenshiro Teraji retained his WBC and WBA World Light-Flyweight belts. Teraji battled hard to a points victory over Venezuela’s Carlos Canizares. In a tense, and extremely close fought match, Teraji earned the approval of two of the three judges. They both gave Teraji the win by a margin of 114 to 112. The third judge scored the contest a 113 to 113 draw.
Indeed, even Teraji himself looked visibly relieved to have made it out of the ring with the belts still around him. In a tremendously entertaining bout, where both fighters knocked each other down in the early stages, both fighters earned a standing ovation from the crowd.
There was further success on the boxing undercard for Seigo Yuri Akui. Akui overcame Ukraine’s Artem Dalakian by a unanimous points decision in their WBA World Flyweight title match. It was Akui’s first world title, an achievement made all the more impressive coming against a previously unbeaten opponent.
Finally, soccer provided further cause for celebration in Osaka on Wednesday evening. After losing 2-1 to Iraq in their previous match, Japan’s men’s national team had to avoid defeat against Indonesia to progress in the Asian Cup. In the end, the Samurai Blue ran out 3-1 winners. However, Iraq’s 3-2 win over Vietnam means they top the group. Japan will have to wait until the weekend to find out their next opponents. Jordan and South Korea both sit on 4 points atop their group going into their final matches. Whoever wins by the highest margin will top the group, and set up a mouthwatering clash with Japan next week.
That’s all for now but be sure to check back again same time next week for another round of this week in Osaka!