#2022 / A Long Trip Due To COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt every aspect of life on a global basis. I could not travel from Japan for the last four months and most of my business appointments were postponed with the exception of a few Webinar meetings. The internet has kept me engaged and active with many of my associates, but still a lot of business opportunities are put on hold. A couple of decades ago, customer and business engagement would be impossible without web based video software. Unfortunately, I am not in the best of health these days. I travel to the U.S for doctor visits and treatments in Massachusetts.
International travel is fluid, and is hit or miss. Many countries change their protocols frequently depending on any hot spots for Covid-19. My scheduled visit to the doctors in Massachusetts was overdue, and my physician in Japan was not very optimistic with my trip. But, I had to fly to the US.
First, I checked international flight restrictions. Surprisingly, the U.S. allowed foreign visitors from most countries. The second step was to find a flight to Boston from Narita/Tokyo. The selection was thin. Air Canada had the lowest price but the longest duration time – two connections, total duration 34 hours. Lufthansa offered a flight with the same duration, but only one connection in Frankfurt, Germany. The prices from American Airline and United Airline were much higher, but the duration was half the time. So, I decided to be frugal and chose Air Canada.
A few days before my departure, I received an email notifying me that the Montreal connection was moved to Toronto. No big deal, there was not fee increase and the travel duration was the same – easy, right? No quite a seamless change, I ran into a problem at Narita Airport.
I arrived at the check-in counter four hours in advance, and spent more than an hour with the agent at Air Canada trying to get a boarding passes. They explained that I could not issue boarding passes fly to Canada for me because of a new COVID-19 regulation. Passengers had to have special VISA to stay in Canada. I did not plan to stay in Canada. But there were two connections in Canada. They were recognized as domestic flight in Canada. The agent advised me seek an alternative flight through travel agent in Japan. I explained my medical condition and asked for some additional assistance. She was very accommodating and promised to get me on another flight to Boston. Not only was she successful, but she accompanied me to the check-in counter at United Airlines with minutes to spare. Staffs of the airlines provided a wheel chair with a helper to move to the gate. The helper knew short-cut route for security check and passport control. When I arrived at the gate, passengers were boarding the plane, and I jumped in line. I was surprised with the number of passengers – over 90% of the plane was empty!
The flight to Newark was extremely comfortable and I could lie down. We arrived at Newark Airport a half hour early. Another helper was waiting me at inside of the gate with a wheel chair. Actually, she managed the whole grand transportation to the next gate. The immigration agent asked me a couple of questions, mostly about the purpose of my trip. I passed it in two minutes. The helper picked my luggage up quickly and checked it quickly for the next flight. The second leg of my journey to Boston was also smooth. The seats of the airplane were almost empty. And we landed at Logan Airport much earlier than scheduled.
The last leg of my journey was securing ground transportation. This was impossible. I had to rely on a friend to pick me up.
The trip was stressful, but it is now a distant memory. I completely exhausted when I arrived at home. I had to stay in the bed next few days. Anyway, I appreciate the staffs at Air Canada and United Airlines. I could not complete the trip safely without your help.

Dominique K. Numakura, dnumakura@dknresearch.com
DKN Research, www.dknresearch.com

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Headlines of the week
(Please contact haverhill@dknreseach.com for further information and news.)

  1. Nippon Koei (Major consulting firm of construction industry in Japan) 8/5
    Has co-developed the Fly Wheel type energy storage device “Flystab” with STORNETIC, A German company. Capacity: 3.6 kWh per unit.
  2. Kaneka (Major material supplier in Japan) 8/12
    Newly developed photovoltaic cell based on multi-crystal silicon was certified by Toyota as the roof power source of “e-Patette”, new model of the auto-drive EV.
  3. On-Semiconductor (Semiconductor manufacturer in the U.S.) 8/11
    Is considering to sell its manufacturing plant in Niigata, Japan. The company is looking for a capable company to continue the supply for the current customers.
  4. JEITA (Industry organization in Japan) 8/12
    Has unveiled the 2019 version of the roadmap for the printed circuit industry in Japan. Semiconductor package will lead the technology of fine lines.
  5. Kawasaki Heavy Industry (Major heavy equipment supplier in Japan) 8/17
    Has started the field test of the all plastic secondary battery based on the next generation lithium ion battery technology designed for unmanned submarines.
  6. Molex Japan (Major connector supplier in Japan) 8/18
    Has unveiled a new high retention force connector series HRF 7S and HRF 7L with 0.4 mm pitch for SlimStack boards.
  7. Tohoku University (Japan) 8/19
    Has developed a new power generation device. It generates electric power using the temperature difference. It works in dark circumstances at room temperature.
  8. Tokyo University (Japan) 8/25
    Has co-developed a new high performance organic semiconductor “C10-DNS-VW” for low cost tag and sensor devices.
  9. Littel Fuse (Component supplier in the U.S.) 8/26
    Has rolled out new PPTC (Polymer Positive Temperature Coefficient) series “Poly Switch zeptoSMDC Series” in Japan for portable equipment.
  10. SMK (Major connector supplier in Japan) 8/26
    Has rolled out a new connector series “RB-1 Series” for the BtoB connections of 5G antenna boards. Pitch: 0.35 mm, Height: 0.6 mm. Capable up to 12 GHz.
  11. TSMC (Major semiconductor manufacturer in Taiwan) 8/27
    Has developed the N4 manufacturing process as the post N5 process. The company plans the production in 2021 and volume production in 2022.
  12. JDL (Major display supplier in Japan) 8/26
    Has agreed to sell the company and manufacturing facilities to Apple and Sharp, a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision in Taiwan.

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