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By Dominique Numakura
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EPTE Newsletter: A Long Trip to the U.S.
I left the U.S. for Japan almost seven months ago and finally returned last week. In Japan, business meetings, sales calls, and other work activities are mostly done via the internet. But, some activities in the U.S. require face-to-face interactions so I returned a couple of weeks ago.
Finding a reasonably priced flight from Tokyo to Boston was nearly impossible. Most flights were canceled due to the pandemic, and the few options available were pricey. My journey on a German airline had a total flight time of 28 hours (one stop in Frankfurt). I couldn’t complain because there were no other options.
The U.S. embassy in Tokyo required a PCR test within 72 hours before the flight departure. The test cost US$500 with an expected wait time of five hours at the airport. I visited the check-in counter six hours before the departure time and waited almost two and a half hours in the waiting section.
I checked in at the All Nippon Airways (ANA) counter and was informed the flight was canceled because of new regulations due to COVID-19. The flight was operated by ANA, the code share partner of United Airlines and Lufthansa. Passengers could not enter the U.S. making connections at the other countries, so the ANA representatives booked alternative flights into the U.S. So, my new flight flew directly into Houston, Texas, and then on to Boston. The departure time was Thursday morning, two days later. I decided to stay in a hotel close to the airport because the flight departed so early.
I arrived at the check-in counter three hours before the departure time and had another problem. My ESTA registration in the U.S. expired. I quickly registered online to renew my registration and received a reply mail from the embassy in a few minutes. It said that the embassy has received the application and the certificate would be issued in the next 72 hours. Yikes! Well, the good news is it arrived two minutes after the counter closed. The ANA staff was gracious enough to remain open and complete my check-in; the flight was delayed by 10 minutes.
The flight to Houston was on time. I requested a wheelchair and was assisted by a person who could not speak English very well; I could not understand more than 80% of the things he was saying. When we arrived at the passport control counter, he spoke with the officer. Next thing you know, the officer asked me to go to another room for a detailed interview. I had to wait in the room more than a half hour and was cleared within two minutes after the interview began.
Unfortunately, the Boston flight left without me. The next available flight to Boston was Saturday morning. Oh, my! So, I found another flight that stopped in Denver, Colorado and arrived at Logan Airport at midnight. When I arrived at my home in Massachusetts, it was already 2 a.m. Friday. I spent more than 100 hours for my door-to-door trip between Japan and Massachusetts. Certainly, it is the longest trip between countries in my life.
So, the moral of the story: If you have a plan to fly in or out from the U.S., check the regulations and restrictions from other countries. The governments change rules very frequently and without warning. Even airline companies receive the new restrictions without warning.
Headlines of the week
1. Toppan Printing (Major printing company in Japan) 3/16
Has developed a new flexible TFT (thin film transistor) for foldable equipment. It survives over one million flexing with 1 mm radius.
2. Maxell (Major device supplier in Japan) 4/1
Has developed a new PSB041515L all solid-state sulfur base battery with a ceramic SMT package supplied from Kyocera. Voltage is 2.3V, with a capacity of 8.0mAh.
3. Tohoku University (Japan) 4/5
Has developed a new 3D printing process to build solid state power storage devices managing ink’s viscosities.
4. SMTC (Major semiconductor manufacturer in Taiwan) 4/16
Had a power outage trouble at Plant “Fab14P7” in Taiwan on April 14. The plant has fixed the problem, but analysts expect $10-25 million damage.
5. Idemitsu (Major petroleum chemical company in Japan) 4/21
Has started the field test of recycled lead battery system. The cost of the battery will be one tenth as compared to the lithium-ion batteries.
6. Toyota Motors (Major automobile supplier in Japan) 4/22
Has achieved the industry highest conversion rate (7.2%) of artificial photosynthesis.
7. TDK (Major device supplier in Japan) 4/26
Has released a new CUR4000 current sensor with high precision for monitoring system EV devices.
8. ICAPE (PCB supplier in France) 4/26
Has been entering the Japanese market for all kinds of PCB products with SMT assembling, with online quotations are available for customers.
9. Mitsubishi Electric (Major electric and electronics company in Japan) 4/28
Has been expanding power semiconductor module “X Series” for the large-scale industrial applications such as power supply systems.
10. Renesas Electronics (Major semiconductor manufacturer in Japan) 4/28
Has increased the revenue in first quarter 14% to 203.7 billion yens. The income in the 1Q increased 56.1% to 52.6 billion yens. The damage by the fire accident was minor.
11. Murata (Major device manufacturer in Japan) 4/30
Has developed the PRF03BB541NB7RL chip type PTC thermistor as a mobile equipment temperature measuring device; the size is 0.6 x 0.3 x 0.3 mm.
Dominique K. Numakura is managing director of DKN Research LLC. Contact email@example.com for further information and news.
More Columns from EPTE NewsletterEPTE Newsletter: Travel to Japan During COVID
EPTE Newsletter: A New COVID Surge in Taiwan?
EPTE Newsletter: COVID-19 PCR Test in Japan
EPTE Newsletter: Japan Failing in Vaccine Distribution
EPTE Newsletter: Ten Years After Fukushima
EPTE Newsletter: Taiwan Releases 2020 PCB Production Numbers
EPTE Newsletter: The Printed Circuit Industry in China
EPTE Newsletter: Next-Generation Flex Circuits—Printable Is Compatible With Flexible