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By Dominique Numakura
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EPTE Newsletter: COVID-19 PCR Test in Japan
Last November, I had a COVID-19 PCR test at Narita Airport upon arrival from the U.S. This test was administered prior to passport control and took almost an hour and a half (my test result was negative). The test was free, but transportation from the airport to my home was over $300. The Japanese government did not allow passengers to use public transportation—no buses, trains, or cabs. My house was reasonably close to the airport, but transportation cost to Tokyo is more than $500.
Return flight expenses to Boston from Tokyo added up quickly. Ground transportation was $30, luggage transportation was $50, and the cost for the PCR test came in at a whopping 48,500 yen, about $450. This was almost half the cost of a round-trip air ticket. The airport staff explained to me that the test was so expensive because the report must be written in English in under four hours.
I was required to have an appointment at the lab at least seven hours before check-in. I am super careful with travel and showed up 11 hours before check-in just in case anything went wrong, and something went wrong. The test was delayed, so I had to change my flight (two days later), and check into a hotel at my expense. The laboratory was not operated by the government but was part of a medical school in Tokyo. Their annual revenue from this cushy gig should be enough to run the operation smoothly, but that is not the case.
So during my downtime, I checked the cost of a PCR test from a public laboratory in Tokyo; $50 per test if the client sends the sample via snail mail. The report is returned via email. The lab from the airport will gouge and make as much money as they can, but this will not last once the pandemic is over. Vaccine cards will possibly replace COVID-19 PCR tests.
In my opinion, demand for personal electronic monitoring devices will spike over the next couple of years. This device will continuously check body temperature, blood pressure, sugar concentration in the blood, oxygen levels, and more. Our industry will reap the benefits of these new-generation products while being proactive with keeping people safe and healthy.
Headlines of the week
1. Murata (Major device supplier in Japan) 5/27
Has co-developed a new thin heat sink material (200 micron thick) vapor chamber for high-speed mobile devices. A cooling liquid removes the heat with a function similar to that of a heat pump.
2. NIMS (Major R&D organization in Japan) 5/31
Has developed a new TFT device using an all-printed process with LCSS materials. The sintering temperature is below 90°C; therefore, the circuit can be built on plastic films.
3. Tokyo University (Japan) 6/1
Has partnered with Kobelco Research Institute to develop a memory device capable of building 3D integration using IGZTO material. IGZTO was originally developed as a thin insulation layer for flat-panel displays.
4. TSMC (Major semiconductor manufacturer in Taiwan) 6/7
The production line of TSMC’s N5 (5 nm) process produced 14% of the company’s Q1 revenue in 2021. The 7 nm line produced 35%, with 16 nm lines responsible for 14% and the 28 nm line 11%.
5. TSMC (Major semiconductor manufacturer in Taiwan) 6/10
Plans to build 2 nm line in Hsinchu Taiwan. Company is optimistic to keep Moore’s Law beyond 2 nm, but there is no plan in the latest roadmap for lines under 2 nm.
6. Taiyo Ink, Korea (Major ink material supplier in Korea) 6/11
Has rolled out a new white dry film, PSR-400 WD17NB, for reflection boards of the mini LED backlight unit designed for tablet PCs.
7. Alps Alpine (Major device manufacturer in Japan) 6/11
Has developed a new environmental sensor module that detects carbon dioxide in the air. It will be a valuable device for controlling coronavirus. Alps will begin volume production in 2022.
8. Fujitsu General Electronics (Module manufacturer in Japan) 6/15
Has commercialized a new high-voltage GaN power module. The device features a two-story construction of FR-4 substrates. Size is 34 x 63 x 12 mm for six chips.
9. TPCA (Industrial organization in Taiwan) 6/15
Taiwanese PCB manufacturers’ May shipments totaled $NT58.78 billion, a 16.80% increase from the same month of the previous year, and a 1.1% increase from the previous month.
10. Toshiba (Major electric and electronics company in Japan) 6/15
Has developed a new light detection system for solid-state LiDAR, two-dimensional silicon photo multiplier. The module has a better resolution at 200-meter distance.
11. Fuji Keizai Group (Market research firm in Japan) 6/15
Has released a new global market research report of power semiconductors. The market size of silicon base power semiconductors was 2.75 trillion yen in 2020. It will grow to 3.80 trillion yen.
Dominique K. Numakura is the 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: Japan Failing in Vaccine Distribution
EPTE Newsletter: A Long Trip to the U.S.
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