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This Japan City Is Apple’s Next Research Hotbed

October 14, 2016, 10:08 PM UTC
Tim Cook speaks in front of a Mario Bros. image during an Apple media event in San Francisco
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks in front of a Mario Bros. image during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 7, 2016. Reuters/Beck Diefenbach - RTX2OJ60
Beck Diefenbach — Reuters

A new Apple research and development facility is coming to Japan.

A spokesperson representing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday during a press conference in Tokyo that Apple plans to finish construction of a new development center in Japan’s second largest city Yokohama, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The Chinese news service reported that the new facility should open in December. Japanese electronics manufacturer Panasonic previously occupied the site of Apple’s (AAPL) new development center.

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Tech blog Apple Insider reported in April on Apple’s plans to open the Yokohama center, citing a Japanese blog that said the space will contain several buildings as opposed to one large facility. Apple Insider reported that Apple would hire researchers in the “materials science, vehicles, and health industries.”

The news of the opening of Apple’s new facility comes during a visit from Apple CEO Tim Cook to Japan to meet with the prime minister, which Bloomberg News said was Cook’s first visit to Japan since become Apple’s top executive.

According to Cook’s Twitter page, the Apple CEO also visited Nintendo (NTDOY) video game producer Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the popular Mario video game series in addition other admired video games.

In September during an Apple event in San Francisco, Cook invited Miyamoto on stage to demo a new Mario game for Apple mobile devices. The upcoming game, to be released in December, is noteworthy for being the first legally sanctioned Mario app to be available on iOS devices.

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“The magic of Mario is that anyone can pick up a game and everyone can start playing,” Miyamoto said at the time.