I left the US for Japan almost seven months ago and finally returned last week. Business meetings, sales calls and other work activities is mostly done via the internet in Japan.

But, some activities in the US 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 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 US embassy in Tokyo required a PCR test within 72 hours before the flight departure. The test cost $500 with an expected wait time of 5 hours at the airport. I visited the check in counter 6 hours before the departure time and waited almost two and a half hours in the waiting section.

I checked in at the 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 US making connections at the other countries, so the ANA representatives booked alternative flights into the US. So, now my new flight flew directly into Houston and then onto 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 early on Thursday morning.

I arrived at the check in counter three hours before the departure time and had another problem. My ESTA registration in the US expired. I quickly registered on line 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 will 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 half hour and was cleared within two minutes when 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 morning. 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 fly out from the US, check the regulations and restrictions from other countries. Governments change rules very frequently and without warning. Even airlines receive the new restrictions without warning.

Dominique K. Numakura, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. DKN Research, www.dknresearch.com

DKN Research Newsletter #2110, May 2, 2021 (English Edition) (Micro Electronics & Packaging) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.dknresearch.com

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Headlines of the Week 

1. Toppan Printing (major printing company in Japan) developed a flexible TFT (thin film transistor) for foldable equipment. It survives over one million flexes and has a 1mm radius.

2. Maxell (major device supplier in Japan) developed a all-solid-state sulfur base battery “PSB041515L” with a ceramic SMT package supplied from Kyocera. Voltage: 2.3V, capacity: 8.0mAh.

3. Tohoku University (Japan) developed a 3-D printing process to build solid-state power storage devices managing ink viscosity.

4. SMTC (major semiconductor manufacturer in Taiwan) had a power outage at Plant “Fab14P7” in Taiwan on April 14. The plant has fixed the trouble, but the analysts expect $10 millon to $25 million in damages.

5. Idemitsu (major petroleum chemical company in Japan) started field tests of recycled lead batteries. The cost of the battery will be one-tenth compared to lithium ion batteries.

6. Toyota Motors (major automobile supplier in Japan) achieved the industry highest conversion rate (7.2%) of artificial photosynthesis.

7. TDK (major device supplier in Japan) released a new current sensor “CUR4000” with high precision for monitoring system EV devices.

8. ICAPE (PCB supplier in France) has been entering Japanese market for all kinds of PCB products with SMT assemby. Online quotation is valuable for  customers.

9. Mitsubishi Electric (major electric & Electronics company in Japan) 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) increased the revenue in the first quarter 14% to 203.7 billion yen. Income increased 56.1% to 52.6 billion yen. The damage by the fire accident was minor.

11. Murata (major device manufacturer in Japan) developed a chip type PTC thermistor “PRF03BB541NB7RL” as a temperature measuring device of mobile equipment. Size: (0.6 x 0.3 x 0.3 mm)

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