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Yahoo! to Open Engineering Hub in Fukuoka
Yahoo! Japan will open an engineering hub in Fukuoka City in November. The new office will be home to between 10 and 20 software engineers in charge of payment processing and financial services. This will be the fifth such hub in Japan and the second in Kyushu after the company's Kitakyushu Center, which is in charge of screening advertisements. With this move, the company aims to expand its footprint in Fukuoka City while reducing the overconcentration of engineers in Tokyo and contributing to the hiring of mid-career professionals.

Fukuoka Growth Next Launches Business Matching Service
Fukuoka Growth Next, a public-private startup support center, has launched Growth Pitch, a service to help newly founded companies find business partners. The first session was held on Aug. 10., and representatives from about 20 companies met with smartphone app developer Good Luck 3 to discuss potential investment and partnerships. Going forward, sessions will be held monthly to encourage growth in both new companies and their potential partners.

Kyushu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry Establishes Kyushu IoT Community
The Kyushu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry established the Kyushu IoT Community, a public-private body aimed at promoting the use of the Internet of Things (IoT). Composed of 170 organizations and 80 individual members, the group will hold tours of cutting-edge companies, open an IoT Lab to offer hands-on experience with IoT devices, provide space for experiments and create frameworks for human resources development and financial support. The aim is to connect IT companies providing IoT services with local governments, companies and other users in order to create new businesses and solve issues faced by society.

City to Develop Traditional Handicrafts Targeting Foreign Visitors
To help further promote Fukuoka's traditional handicrafts, Fukuoka City will begin a new project to develop Hakata-ori textile products and Hakata Dolls targeted at foreign visitors. The number of foreign visitors coming to Japan via Fukuoka Airport and the Port of Hakata continues to rise, reaching a record-high 2.57 million in 2016. After peaking in the late 1970s, sales of Hakata-ori textiles and Hakata Dolls have fallen off. Under this new project, the City will survey foreign visitors to see what designs they prefer and to consider optimal price points. Ultimately, it hopes to boost the sales of traditional handicrafts by developing products aimed specifically at foreign visitors.

Okinoshima and Related Assets Recognized as World Heritage Sites
The Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The UNESCO advisory committee had previously decided to exclude four out of eight locations in the area from the list. But consideration of the region's long history of interaction with East Asia, and the archaeological importance of many locally excavated items, brought about a change of heart resulting in recognition for the entire group of sites. Okinoshima's historical ruins and the insight they provide into ancient rituals were acknowledged, as was Munakata Taisha's religious significance. This news means there are now 21 World Heritage Sites in Japan (17 cultural heritage and four natural heritage sites).

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