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03/02/17
Prefecture to Open Multilingual Call Center for Local Hotels
Fukuoka Prefecture plans to open a multilingual call center with telephone interpreting services that local hotels can use to assist foreign visitors who cannot speak Japanese. Hotels and inns that register with the call center will be able to use it to facilitate communication with their foreign guests. Given the increasing number of visitors from Asia, hailing mainly from Korea, Taiwan and China, as well as Europe and the United States, the Prefecture will decide which languages to offer after asking the hotels what services they need the most.

03/02/17
Local Company Establishes New Fund for Kyushu Venture Companies
Fukuoka City-based Dogan Beta, a company that funds venture companies and provides assistance to startups, has launched a new fund, Kyushu Entrepreneur Club Fund II, to fund Kyushu-based venture companies. One unique feature of this fund is that most of the investors are local companies. Dogan has already lined up 10 local companies to invest in the fund, and it will continue recruiting investors until the end of next February. The aim of the fund is not just to provide financial resources, but to encourage growth through cooperation with the investing companies. Dogan plans to manage up to 2 billion by making use of an investment program offered by the Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation. The fund will be managed for a period of 10 years, and Dogan aims to invest in 40 companies over that time.

02/16/17
Auckland Regional Rugby Team Agrees to Exhibition Match in Fukuoka This Summer
At a signing ceremony held in Fukuoka on November 14, 2016, the Auckland Rugby Union of New Zealand and the Dream Rugby Fukuoka Organizing Committee concluded a letter of intent (LOI). With this LOI, both parties agreed that the Auckland regional team will visit Fukuoka to play an exhibition match this August at Hakata no Mori Athletic Field, one of the venues for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

02/16/17
First Phase of Tenjin Big Bang Launched
Fukuoka City has released the details of the Tenjin Business Center Building, the first phase of its Tenjin Big Bang urban redevelopment project. Slated for completion in fiscal 2020, the Tenjin Business Center Building will be erected just east of the Fukuoka Building on a site that is now occupied by five commercial buildings. The quake-proof building will boast 60,250 m2 of floor area over 16 above-ground and two underground floors. The total cost is estimated at 50 billion. In addition to offices and shops, the building will also have a parking lot. Under the Tenjin Big Bang project, City Hall aims to redevelop 30 aging buildings in the Tenjin area by 2024.

02/16/17
Joint Hydrogen Materials Research Center Established at Kyushu University
On Jan. 11, Kyushu University and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) established a joint research center for hydrogen materials. Aiming to realize a "hydrogen-based society," researchers at the new center, dubbed the AIST-Kyushu University Hydrogen Materials Laboratory (or HydroMate), will conduct basic research necessary for the development of materials for the safe, low-cost storage and transportation of hydrogen. By tying up with AIST, the front-runner in basic research on hydrogen materials, Kyushu University aims to leverage its strengths in solar cell research.

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