No. 342, March 1998

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Japanese Companies in the United States

American Companies in Japan

Japanese Companies in the United States


In an attempt to build its pharmaceuticals division, midsized chemical manufacturer TOAGOSEI CO., LTD. teamed up with PROTEIN DESIGN LABS, INC. The collaboration includes a $2 million investment in the Mountain View, California firm, which specializes in the development of humanized and human antibodies to prevent or treat a number of problems. PDL also is humanizing one of Toagosei's antibodies that has potential as a cancer treatment. SANKYO CO., LTD. also is working with PDL (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 334, July 1997, p. 2).

The eight-month-old research and development relationship between ONO PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. and TREGA BIOSCIENCES, INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 334, July 1997, p. 2) is on the verge of expansion. Under the pending arrangement, the San Diego, California drug discovery firm will optimize lead compounds discovered by Japan's 12th-largest drug company and screen those compounds in other areas of interest to Ono. The initial agreement focused on melanocortin receptor research for inflammatory diseases. Ono will provide additional research funding for the new work.

NIPPON KAYAKU CO., LTD. also has turned to a U.S. drug discovery company to speed product development. Under a two-year deal, the diversified chemical company will work with SIGNAL PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. to develop and commercialize a small molecule nerve growth factor mimetic, its lead compound for the treatment of peripheral neuropathies. These are disorders resulting from diabetes and other injuries to the peripheral nerves. The strength of the San Diego, California business is its unique human neuronal cell lines, which will be employed to further optimize the Nippon Kayaku compound and characterize its mechanism of action before the start of clinical studies. The partners will share marketing rights to the drug outside Japan. TANABE SEIYAKU CO., LTD. also has a drug discovery program underway with Signal.

Although best known as a producer of over-the-counter drugs, SS PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. has developed the first of a new generation of aceticholinesterase inhibitors for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. T-82 is said to minimize the side effects sometimes associated with the first two AchE inhibitors approved for sale in the United States because it enters the central nervous system more easily. ARENA PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. has won the exclusive right to manufacture and market T-82 outside Japan. The year-old San Diego, California biotechnology company expects to begin clinical testing in the United States and Europe later this year. Arena Pharmaceuticals says that it could take another four or five years before T-82 becomes available for sale.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Direct marketer AKIA CORP. is claiming bragging rights to the first Pentium II-based, all-in-one desktop personal computer. The space-saving Fusion OneBox runs off either a 233-megahertz or a 266-MHz version of INTEL CORP.'s highest-performance processor and offers as much as 6.4 gigabytes of hard disk drive storage as well as other high-end features. Integrated with it is a 14.5-inch color TFT (thin-film-transistor) active- matrix liquid crystal display monitor. The two configurations of the Fusion OneBox are priced at $3,000 and $3,400.

The Austin, Texas unit of AKIA CORP., which is trying to make a name for itself in the crowded American PC marketplace by focusing on small- footprint LCD systems, is billing the new Mystique Complete as the first truly affordable LCD-based desktop package. Priced from $2,700, the high- performance, feature-laden system is powered by a 233-MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology. The separate color TFT AMLCD monitor provides a viewable area of 14.5 inches.

Continuing its push into the portable computer marketplace, HITACHI PC CORP. expanded its Hitachi VisionBook line both up and down. At the high end, the Milpitas, California company introduced the Hitachi VisionBook Pro at estimated street prices of $3,200 to $4,800. Incorporating 200- MHz, 233-MHz and 266-MHz mobile Pentium processors with MMX technology, the new notebooks combine system and multimedia performance with high-speed communications connections via integrated 10/100Base-T local area network support and a U.S. Robotics 56K cellular-ready modem with x2 technology from 3COM CORP. At the market's other end, Hitachi PC is selling the Hitachi VisionBook Plus 5000 value line. The two multimedia-oriented products run off a 166-MHz mobile Pentium processor ($1,700) or the 233-MHz version ($2,300). One feature touted in particular is the extended life (more than four hours) of the line's battery.

Budget-conscious mobile computer users have an alternative in the latest addition to the LifeBook 700 Series from Milpitas, California-based FUJITSU PC CORP. Roughly $1,500 buys the fully configured, high- performance, multimedia LifeBook 765Dx. A 166-MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology gives the 765Dx its power.

The TeamPad 7600 pen-based portable computer from FUJITSU-ICL SYSTEMS INC. now can be integrated with Mountain View, California-based PROMIX, INC.'s RangeLAN2 wireless local area network technology. The combination will give health-care providers access to patient and medical information systems from the point of care or from anywhere in a facility that wireless LAN coverage is available. The TeamPad 7600 weighs just 1.7 pounds and has a large color screen. Dallas-based Fujitsu-ICL is a partnership between FUJITSU, LTD. and ICL PLC of London.

A competing lightweight, compact pen-based computer for the health-care industry is on the market from SEIKO EPSON CORP.'s subsidiary. The EHT- 410 is said to support more accessories and peripherals, including a keyboard and a bar-code scanning wand, than any other system in its class. DOS- and Windows 95-compliant, the unit, which has a 7.7-inch color display, starts at $3,500.

After 15 years of ownership by NIPPON CHEMI-CON CORP., the top U.S. maker of high-resolution medical monitors, DATA RAY CORP., will be sold in April to WELLS-GARDNER ELECTRONICS CORP. for an undisclosed price. Westminster, Colorado-based Data Ray expects to report revenues of roughly $25 million in 1998. Its medical monitor sales have climbed by 26 percent a year for the past two years. Wells-Gardner, headquartered in Chicago, also makes monitors, with sales to the amusement, gaming, leisure and fitness, automotive, intranet and video wall markets.

After a four-year absence, RICOH CO., LTD. expects to reenter the American laser printer market this fall. The big copier manufacturer, which has found success in digital copiers, will take aim at the growing network demand for combination facsimile-printer-copier systems. It began selling laser printers here in 1986 but abandoned the market in 1994 after failing to make an impact.

Recordable compact disc manufacturer MITSUI ADVANCED MEDIA, INC. of Colorado Springs, Colorado is producing for HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. its new brand of Gold on Gold CD-R media. Like the Mitsui Gold CD-Rs that the MITSUI CHEMICALS, INC. subsidiary sells, the HP media is the result of a patented process for applying phthalocyanine dye to the disc so that the gold layer shows through. That is said to provide for more reliable storage of data and to produce a more durable product. The CD-Rs hold up to 650 megabytes of data and can be read by any standard CD-ROM (read-only memory) player, CD-R or CD-RW (ReWritable) drive, or multiread- compatible digital versatile disc drives.

Targeting the next generation of enterprise data storage, HITACHI, LTD. affiliate HITACHI DATA SYSTEMS CORP., a major provider of IBM- compatible mainframe storage products, and DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP., a leader in storage solutions for open systems, have forged a development and marketing agreement. In the initial phase of the alliance, DEC will integrate with its DIGITAL StorageWorks family of products for the Unix platform Santa Clara, California-based HDS's 6700 and 7700 scalable arrays. These are high-capacity storage subsystems designed to support open systems and mainframes.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Although it no longer makes the news, the retrenchment of Japanese investors from the American property market continues. For instance, the Miami subsidiary of contractor JDC CORP. sold the 33-story Brickell BayView Centre Building in Miami for $23.9 million, in the process incurring a loss of $20 million. The affiliate also sold its 25 percent share of the Scottsdale Princess Hotel in Arizona to its partner for $27.3 million. That deal netted a profit of roughly $20 million.

Likewise, condominium developer URBAN LIFE CO., LTD. has pulled out of the U.S. market. The firm sold its wholly owned Bellevue, Washington subsidiary as well as its 49 percent stake in a partnership building 239 units in Seattle to the project's codeveloper. The two transactions produced a net loss of about $1.3 million. Urban Life also is in the process of liquidating a Garrison, New York subsidiary that had a $50 million luxury housing development project underway in the New York City suburb. Both affiliates were set up in 1990.

Perhaps not surprisingly, at least one company sees opportunity in corporate Japan's money-driven need to pull out of the U.S. property market. RECRUIT COSMOS CO., LTD. is providing real estate advisory services to investors looking for buyers in cooperation with DEUEL GROUP, INC. of Laguna Hills, California. Even before the firm made this business a full-fledged operation in January, it already had helped a number of Japanese firms sell their American holdings, including office buildings, condos and apartment complexes.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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One of the biggest manufacturers of television picture tubes in the United States is moving into tubes for computer displays. Horseheads, New York- based TOSHIBA DISPLAY DEVICES, INC. has committed an initial $40 million to launch production of 17-inch minineck color display tubes in August. The reduced size of this tube's neck allows the deflection yoke to be smaller, thereby cutting the monitor's power consumption. In early 1999, TDD will add a 17-inch CDT with a microfilter, which improves brightness, contrast and color fidelity as well as trims power consumption. In the summer of 1999, the company will begin to make a 19-inch CDT featuring a rectangular cone system deflection yoke design that requires 30 percent less deflection power than conventional display tubes and incorporating in addition a microfilter. A wholly owned TOSHIBA CORP. subsidiary since 1988, TDD currently manufactures more than 2 million midsize and super large-size color picture tubes a year with a work force of nearly 1,600 people.

SANYO TECHNOSOUND CO., LTD. and LSI LOGIC CORP. have teamed up to help consumer electronics manufacturers get the second generation of DVD players to the market more quickly and to ramp up production faster. Their solution is a complete manufacturing kit. The year-old SANYO ELECTRIC CO., LTD. subsidiary is contributing its DVD player drive to the kit, which is based on LSI Logic's reference design and includes the company's L64020 integrated DVD audio/video decoder system-on-a-chip. The kit also provides comprehensive software, hardware, debug and test components.

In April, SONY PRECISION TECHNOLOGY INC. will put on the American market the PC-Millman, a computer numerical controller for milling machines. Able to control two or three axes, the product is said to be easy enough to program for a beginner to operate. Moreover, even complicated shapes like circles can be milled automatically. The PC-Millman, which uses a 120-megahertz Pentium processor as the controller chip, will be priced between $12,500 and $15,500.

As part of the turnaround strategy for its North American industrial automation business, YOKOGAWA ELECTRIC CORP. has moved into the plant control market. It has a contract in hand to deliver turnkey systems to automate control of plant operations at two U.S. engineering plastics factories run by GENERAL ELECTRIC CO.'s Pittsfield, Massachusetts- headquartered GE Plastics unit. This order is a first for a Japanese company. To support the new focus as well as its other process control lines, manufacturer YOKOGAWA INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION AMERICA, INC. of Newnan, Georgia (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 337, October 1997, p. 6) plans to strengthen its software development center in Dallas and open up three more service facilities in 1999.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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A partnership formed late last year by trader NICHIMEN CORP. and a Dutch company that is the world's second-biggest producer of wind-generated electricity has acquired for $38 million one of the largest power plants in the United States driven by wind. The facility, located in Livermore, California, was purchased from bankrupt KENETECH WINDPOWER INC. It has a generating capacity of 164,000 kilowatts. GREEN RIDGE POWER LLC will operate the plant. Nichimen, which expects its investment in the Livermore plant to pay off in five to eight years, and its partner are weighing other power-generating operations in the United States.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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MITSUI MINING & SMELTING CO., LTD., the dominant supplier of mercury- free zinc powder in the United States, is doubling the capacity to make this raw material for manganese alkaline batteries at MITSUI/ZCA ZINC POWDERS CO. A second line will be operational in 1999, boosting the factory's annual mercury-free zinc powder capacity to about 13,200 tons. The expansion reflects swelling U.S. demand for long-life batteries as notebook computers and other mobile information devices proliferate, although some of the extra output will be shipped to Europe and South America. Formed in 1992, Mitsui/ZCA is equally owned by Mitsui Mining and ZINC CORP. OF AMERICA.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Buttressing its position in the market for laser welders and precision resistance welding systems, the Monrovia, California subsidiary of MIYACHI TECHNOS CORP. acquired DIRECTED LIGHT, INC. That San Jose, California company does laser contract manufacturing as well as develops manufacturing solutions involving laser systems for everything from welding to cutting. With 35 employees, DLI did about $9 million worth of business last year. The acquisition cost was estimated at $3.3 million. Its new parent is UNITEK MI-YACHI CORP., which the Japanese firm acquired in late 1994. Unitek Miyachi, which has annual revenues of $40 million, makes YAG (yttrium-aluminum-garnet) laser welders and resistance welding power supplies, weld heads and weld monitors. It also sells Miyachi Technos-built resistance weld power supplies and weld monitors.

Smaller Japanese machine tool builders continue to win orders from the American automotive industry. OKK CORP. has a $15 million contract to deliver about 50 horizontal machining centers to an unnamed Tier 1 parts supplier affiliated with one of the Big Three. The buyer will use the HM60s for round-the-clock machining of cylinder heads. Deliveries will start in May and be completed in October. The contract is the largest that Osaka- based OKK has ever won. .....TAIYO MACHINE WORKS, LTD. has a contract to build two vertical CNC grinding machines for GENERAL MOTORS CORP. The Niigata prefecture firm hopes that the $1.6 million order, its first from GM, will lead to other business in the United States. MITSUI & CO., LTD. represents the firm.

Although known as the world's dominant manufacturer of dicing saws for semiconductor wafers, DISCO CORP. also makes industrial diamond-tipped tools. It has moved into that expanding U.S. market through a recently formed sales subsidiary in Athens, Georgia and a satellite office at its Santa Clara, California dicing saw marketing unit. Disco has an ambitious sales target for the new product line, hoping to do $1.5 million worth of business in the first year and to win 5 percent of the U.S. market in the future.

Building on its existing U.S. business of heat treating and rustproofing automotive parts, NIHON PARKERIZING CO., LTD. has established a subsidiary in Urbana, Ohio to market electrostatic powder coating equipment. IONICS ENGINEERING CORP.'s line is the GX5000 Series, which includes a pair of automatic spray units, a control console and a spray booth. iECO also designs coating systems for manufacturers and oversees installation and maintenance. It is projecting revenues of $3.2 million a year.

This spring, KOBE STEEL, LTD. will begin U.S. marketing of a line of made- in-Japan compact hydraulic excavators in addition to the full-size hydraulic excavators it assembles in Calhoun, Georgia. The three products in the Kobelco SR "Beetle" Series, which range in operating weight from 3,700 pounds to 7,700 pounds and can dig to depths of around 7 feet to more than 10 feet, are targeted at contractors that now use backhoes. Kobe Steel's Stafford, Texas construction machinery sales and customer support unit expects to sell between 200 and 300 mini-excavators a year.

After pulling out of the U.S. commercial air conditioning market in 1986, DAIKIN INDUSTRIES, LTD. plans a 1999 return. The company has a yearlong feasibility study underway to decide which products to introduce and how to reenter the market for what is its dominant revenue producer.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Although only weeks old, graphic arts materials manufacturer KODAK POLYCHROME GRAPHICS CO. is poised to make its first acquisition. The Norwalk, Connecticut-based company has agreed to buy for an estimated $80 million INTERNATIONAL PAPER CO.'s Horsell Anitec division, a worldwide supplier of graphic arts film, plates and paper. With sales of some $400 million a year and a work force of about 1,800, the unit has production facilities in Binghamton, New York, Holyoke, Massachusetts, England and Germany. Kodak Polychrome — an equal partnership between EASTMAN KODAK CO. and the SUN CHEMICAL CORP. subsidiary of DAINIPPON INK & CHEMICALS, INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 5) — will take over these plants as well as Horsell Anitec's sales, marketing, distribution and R&D operations. Before the pending acquisition, Kodak Polychrome, which employs roughly 2,600 people, was projecting annual sales of $1 billion or so. International Paper's decision last summer to sell its imaging products group also proved to be a boon to the international marketing ambitions of FUJI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD., which bought the company's Anchor pressroom chemicals division (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 2).

An alliance between NORITSU KOKI CO., LTD., the pioneer of photofinishing minilabs, and PICTUREVISION INC., a manufacturer of photographic digitization systems, will offer operators of traditional minilabs a migration path to one-hour "digitally enabled" minilabs. The first phase of the relationship involves the combination of Noritsu's QSS-23 CRT digital printer with the Herndon, Virginia company's equipment and technology, including the PhotoNet Digital System, which allows photofinishers to produce digital products. Through this pairing, consumers will be able to use, share, view and store their photos on the Internet or a floppy disk. In the future, the minilab manufacturer and PictureVision will work together to coordinate other parts of their product line.

In an attempt to stand out in a crowded marketplace, TOSHIBA CORP. cut the price of its entry-level digital camera to $250 from $400. As a further incentive to users of desktop computers, the company is bundling a parallel port PC card reader with the PDR-2.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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In a move that diversifies its product lines, OYO GEOSPACE CORP. of Houston bought neighboring JRC/CONCORD TECHNOLOGIES, INC. for a reported $4.6 million. The wholly owned OYO CORP. subsidiary, which has expanded over the years by purchasing businesses in the same field, designs and manufactures instruments and equipment used in the acquisition and the processing of seismic data, primarily land-based, for the oil and gas industry. JRC/Concord Technologies specializes in the development and production of marine seismic acquisition equipment. Its 1997 revenues were an estimated $5.8 million.

Shipments will begin this spring of what is described as the world's smallest, adjustment-free, ultrashort-pulse fiber laser. The femtolite 780 was commercialized by Ann Arbor, Michigan-based IMRA AMERICA, INC., a wholly owned subsidiary of automotive parts manufacturer AISIN SEIKI CO., LTD. Unlike previous ultrashort-pulse lasers, which typically require frequent adjustments under normal conditions, the femtolite 780 minimizes vibration- and temperature-induced shifts in positioning, thereby ensuring stability. This feature plus the compact size of the package make ultrashort-pulse lasers practical for such applications as high-resolution three-dimensional spatial measurements, multiphoton imaging and semiconductor inspection. The femtolite 780 will be priced around $120,000.

Effective April 1, HIOKI E.E. CORP., a midsized manufacturer of electric measuring instruments, will start marketing its products in the United States through a wholly owned New Jersey subsidiary rather than a distributor. The Nagano prefecture company is projecting first-year sales of $1.6 million. Through this move, Hioki hopes to lessen its substantial dependence on exports to Asia.

HITACHI, LTD. and PERKIN-ELMER CORP. have teamed up on electrophoresis- based genetic analysis instrumentation. The pair will codevelop automated systems that respond to the movement of genetic analysis from research settings to new industrial and medical applications. Hitachi will manufacture the equipment, which will be marketed exclusively by the Norwalk, Connecticut partner's Applied Biosystems division outside Japan. There, the two companies will cooperate on marketing. Hitachi brings to the collaboration its expertise in high-throughput DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) sequencing technologies as well as its strengths in precision manufacturing. Perkin-Elmer's Applied Biosystems unit pioneered the development of automated genetic analysis systems.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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The long slide in DRAM (dynamic random access memory) prices and corporate financial constraints have upended another Japanese-backed memory production venture in the United States. Just weeks after MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. disclosed that it was ending wafer fabrication in Durham, North Carolina (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 7), HITACHI, LTD. and TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC. announced that they were dissolving their partnership to build 16-megabit and 64-megabit DRAM chips. TWINSTAR SEMICONDUCTOR INC., located in Richardson, Texas, began ramping up production in 1996 just as DRAM prices started to fall. Hitachi and TI each currently have a 36.46 percent stake in TwinStar; INDUSTRIAL BANK OF JAPAN, LTD. and 11 other banks own the remaining shares. TI will form a subsidiary to purchase TwinStar's assets and hire its 600 or so employees. The partnership is capitalized at $250 million. About $500 million was spent on the state- of-the-art wafer fabrication facility. Hitachi will take a reportedly "huge" but otherwise unquantified charge for the liquidation in its FY 1997 financial statement.

The same set of factors apparently have persuaded HITACHI, LTD., MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. and TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC. to postpone for at least a year construction of a joint test production line for 1-gigabit DRAM chips. The three companies teamed up in early 1997 to share the sky-high costs of developing the next-generation memory (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 330, March 1997, pp. 4-5). The $158.7 million line for testing process technology is to be built at Hitachi's Tokyo research center. Work on it was scheduled to begin this spring.

The 1993 collaboration between MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. and SGS- THOMSON MICROELECTRONICS INC. on flash memories will be extended to 64-megabit parts from 16-megabit devices. The new generation of products, targeted primarily at portable applications like handheld computers, will combine the advantages of the DINOR architecture, MELCO's strength, with the NOR-type expertise of Carrollton, Texas-based SGS-Thomson. The partners also plan to advance flash memory process technology to 0.20 micron or even 0.18 micron from the 0.5-micron technology they developed for their 16-megabit flash memory portfolio. Volume production of 64-megabit flash memories is set for 1999.

NEC CORP.'s Santa Clara, California semiconductor subsidiary and NETWORK PERIPHERALS INC. — a Milpitas, California-headquartered manufacturer of Ethernet and FDDI (fiber-distributed data interface) switches — are cooperating on high-speed ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) aimed specifically at 10/100-megabit-per-second Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet switching. The development work is taking place at NPI's NuWave R&D center in Bohemia, New York. The resulting ASIC technology will be implemented in NPI's NuWave family, which is expected to be the first line of 10/100/1000 Layer 2 and Layer 3, stackable, wire-speed/nonblocking Ethernet switches priced at less than $100 per port.

Gate array customers seeking fast-turn, high-performance ASIC chips at a competitive price are the target market for a partnership between SEIKO EPSON CORP. and CHIP EXPRESS CORP. Their codeveloped SLP (Sea-of-Gates Laser Programmable) gate array family is distributed in the United States by the Santa Clara, California company and in Japan by INTEX CORP., an affiliate of TOYO INK MANUFACTURING CO., LTD. Designed for prototyping and low-volume applications, the SLP is a 0.6-micron CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) gate array line with three parts ranging from 20,000 to 100,000 usable logic gates and operating at either 5 volts or 3 volts. To bring these parts to market, Chip Express licensed its QulCk laser micromachining system to wafer foundry operator Seiko Epson. This technology allows gate array prototypes to be made in as little as a day.

Santa Clara, California-based AKM SEMICONDUCTOR, INC., a wholly owned subsidiary of ASAHI KASEI MICROSYSTEMS CO., LTD., has joined two other companies to promote the SuperAMPS Sleep Mode for the new IS-91A standard, which is designed to significantly extend the battery standby time of analog cellular telephones. The combined expertise of the trio will produce an analog cell phone with up to 10 times the battery standby time of today's products. AKM is contributing its AK2336 single-chip base-band IC to the project. AZTECH EMBEDDED SYSTEMS GROUP of Green Bay, Wisconsin brings to the consortium its advanced call processing software, while ASPIRE CORP. of Tiburon, California is in charge of the sleep-mode controller for base stations.

The new FPA-3000EX5 deep-ultra-violet stepper is one key to CANON INC.'s strategy of gaining a bigger share of the world lithography market by the year 2000. Designed for volume production of 64-megabyte and 256-megabyte DRAMs and other devices employing 0.18-micron design rules, the EX5 can produce more than 90 8-inch wafers per hour. That is a 23 percent higher throughput than the current-generation EX4. This gain is the result of the EX5's use of an increased-intensity excimer laser source from CYMER, INC. of San Diego, California. Shipments will start in July.

TOKYO SEIMITSU CO., LTD., a manufacturer of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and precision measuring instruments, has merged its American operations into TSK AMERICA, INC. of Farmington Hills, Michigan. Affected by the consolidation were distributor TOKYO SEIMITSU AMERICA, INC. of neighboring Troy; TSK MANUFACTURING CO. of Tualatin, Oregon, which has assembled precision equipment since mid- 1995; and Oakland, New Jersey-based SILICON TECHNOLOGY CORP., a manufacturer of silicon wafer slicers and edge grinders that Tokyo Seimitsu acquired in 1992. TSK America has annual sales of roughly $50 million and employs about 125 people.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Trader SUMITOMO CORP. has joined MICROSOFT CORP. and INTEL CORP. as a minority owner of CMG INFORMATION SERVICES, INC., investing $10 million in the Andover, Massachusetts-based company for a 3 percent share. A developer of Internet and data base management technologies, CMG has among its subsidiaries such Internet operations as Planet Direct, NaviSite Internet Services and ADSmart. It also has significant interests in search engine companies and home page providers, including LYCOS, INC. and GEOCITIES CORP. Through their alliance, Sumitomo and CMG will explore and develop Internet-related opportunities in Japan and elsewhere in Japan. Sumitomo is the major backer of INTERNET INITIATIVE JAPAN INC., the country's top Internet service provider.

Distance learning, electronic commerce, telecommuting, interactive gaming and entertainment, and on-line communities can be more engaging and visually compelling, says the Palo Alto, California branch of NTT SOFTWARE CORP. about InterSpace Virtual Reality Community Builder. It is claimed to be the first authoring tool package to include the technology that gives multiple users the ability to interact within a three- dimensional environment using text chat, real-time audio and facial image video capture communications over a 28.8-kilobit-per-second or faster Internet connection. Scalable for a large number of simultaneous users, the InterSpace VR Community Builder starts at $2,000 for 16 concurrent users. NTT Software is a subsidiary of NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP.

HITACHI, LTD. software engineers in Japan and the United States are working with their counterparts at DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP. on a variety of projects intended to deliver reliability, performance and manageability enhancements to the Windows NT environment for enterprise computing. One initial focus is value-added software technologies to bolster the capabilities of the Microsoft Cluster Server included in the Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition for both DEC's Alpha architecture and INTEL CORP. platforms. Another effort involves advanced development work on performance tuning of Windows NT-based SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) systems that utilize the Alpha or the Intel architecture. Many of the technologies developed as a result of the Hitachi-DEC tie-up will be integrated into existing Hitachi products.

Mainframe computer supplier AMDAHL CORP. of Sunnyvale, California, a wholly owned subsidiary of FUJITSU, LTD., has teamed up with MICROSOFT CORP. to help customers integrate the Windows NT operating environment with their mainframe data center systems. Through the alliance, which includes Amdahl's professional services organization, DMR CONSULTING GROUP INC., the companies will assist customers in linking Windows NT Server- and Back-Office-based applications with OS/390 mainframe platforms. They also will provide users running the Windows operating system with transparent access to host applications, files, data bases and printers.

TPBroker 3.0 is on the market from the Santa Clara, California office of HITACHI, LTD.'s computer products subsidiary, which describes the middleware product as the first commercially proven transactions processing software for the ORB (object request broker) market. Designed to develop robust transaction-based applications for the Internet or intranets, TPBroker 3.0 integrates transactional technology from the data base and mainframe worlds with object-oriented technology. Hitachi initially is marketing the product to targeted vertical markets, such as financial services companies. Pricing starts at about $2,700 for development copies and $4,200 for versions that are commercially deployed.

As part of the restructuring of its semiconductor business, OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD. sold CASCADE DESIGN AUTOMATION CORP. to San Jose, California's DUET TECHNOLOGIES INC. for an undisclosed price. Oki acquired the Bellevue, Washington-based electronic design automation company in mid-1991. It now has a staff of 130.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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A consortium of two Japanese companies and two American firms will build the first privately owned and operated underseas cable network across the Pacific. The backers of the state-of-the-art, high-capacity, 12,400-mile fiber-optic Pacific Cross-1 are: KDD SUBMARINE CABLE SYSTEMS INC., MARUBENI CORP., GLOBAL CROSSING LTD., the pioneer in developing private subsea cable systems around the world, and Exeter, New Hampshire-headquartered TYCO INTERNATIONAL LTD., the parent of TYCO SUBMARINE SYSTEMS LTD., which has installed more transoceanic fiber-optic cable than any other company. TSSL, formerly part of AT&T CORP., and KDD SCS, a subsidiary of KOKUSAI DENSHIN DENWA CO., LTD., will construct PC-1. It is expected to be in commercial service within 24 months, with two landing points in both Japan and the United States. Marubeni and KDD SCS will cover roughly half of the $1 billion cost of PC- 1, which will be able to handle about 960,000 telephone calls at the same time and move data at a rate of 80 gigabits per second. This capacity will be wholesaled to companies on both sides of the Pacific.

Japan's fourth-largest facilities-based international long-distance carrier is offering American carriers an alternative way to carry their traffic from the United States to Japan. FORVAL INTERNATIONAL TELECOM CORP. has established a subsidiary in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. It will build a U.S. network consisting of DMS 250/300 switches from NORTHERN TELECOM LTD. in New York and Los Angeles. These will be linked with Nortel switches in Japan via FIT's capacity on the TPC-5 transpacific fiber-optic cable. FIT's Japan network currently covers cities where 85 percent of all international calls originate and terminate.

The Federal Communications Commission has licensed INTERNATIONAL DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS INC. to provide facilities-based communications services between the United States and Japan. New York City-based IDC AMERICA, INC. has been providing leased-line services across the Pacific. Competitor JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. was the first Japanese carrier to win FCC permission to build its own network for transpacific service.

Taking their collaborative efforts of the last five years in a new direction, NEC CORP. and CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. tentatively have agreed to work together to integrate voice and data networks. Their initial goal is to deliver a full Voice over Internet Protocol-enabled private branch exchange. At the heart of this effort is NEC's just-introduced NEAX2400 IMX platform. It uses a new transmission signaling protocol compatible with IP networks and Cisco's routers and switches, thereby making it technically possible to add voice networking capabilities to a local area network or a wide area network without having to restructure the network.

Through its Secaucus, New Jersey-based PANASONIC TELECOMMUNICATION SYSTEMS CO. affiliate, MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. will provide a new generation of digital telephone handsets to AT&T WIRELESS SERVICES, INC. under an exclusive two-year contract. The handsets, which will carry the brand names of both companies, will operate on the TDMA (time-division multiple access) standard. AT&T Wireless Services, an AT&T CORP. company, is the largest wireless carrier in the United States, with more than 2.2 million digital PCS (personal communications system) customers alone.

Competing CDMA (code-division multiple access) PCS handsets manufactured by SANYO ELECTRIC CO., LTD. will be distributed exclusively in the United States by BRIGHTPOINT, INC. The Indianapolis, Indiana company, the number-two U.S. distributor of wireless communications equipment, hopes to sell 200,000 Sanyo handsets by March 1999 and 1 million or more units in FY 1999 for revenues of as much as $450 million. Joint production in this country reportedly is under consideration.

NIIGATA SEIMITSU CO., LTD. has signed up the first of what it hopes will be five or six distributors for it analog cellular telephones. QUINTEL ENTERTAINMENT INC. of Pearl River, New York is selling the product under the Quintel Cellular name. The Niigata prefecture-based manufacturer expects that arrangement to produce sales of 300,000 units in the first year. Through additional distribution deals, it hopes to boost volume to 800,000 handsets annually.

Like other big consumer electronics companies, MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. will put on the market this summer a set-top box that will enable today's analog television sets to receive digital programming. TV stations are scheduled to start broadcasting in the digital format in November, but the first-generation sets capable of displaying this programming directly are expensive. Although pricing has not been determined, set-top boxes from MEI, HITACHI, LTD., SHARP CORP., SONY CORP. and TOSHIBA CORP. are expected to provide a more affordable alternative.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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The American unit of high-end lingerie manufacturer WACOAL CORP. will develop lines of women's and men's underwear, sleepwear and lougewear under license from New York designer DONNA KARAN INTERNATIONAL INC. These products will be distributed in North America and Europe. The women's lines will debut in the spring of 1999. The launch date for the men's lines has not been decided.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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A decade after its first American factory became operational, automotive parts supplier ASMO CO., LTD. started production at its fifth plant. ASMO APPALACHIAN CORP. is making power window motors, primarily for CHRYSLER CORP. and FORD MOTOR CO., at a $3.2 million plant outside Statesville, North Carolina. AAC is expected to do $16.7 million worth of business in 1998 and $22.2 million in 1999. It technically is a subsidiary of ASMO NORTH CAROLINA, INC., which also is in Statesville and has made direct-current motors for automotive applications since 1989. Asmo turns out the same product line at a plant in Greenville, North Carolina that opened in mid-1995. It has another factory devoted exclusively to power window motors in Thomasville, North Carolina; that facility started in the spring of 1996. Asmo's original U.S. factory is in Battle Creek, Michigan, where such products as windshield washer units and windshield wiper motors are manufactured. The company projects that its five American production subsidiaries will have combined 1998 sales of $283.3 million and will employ more than 2,000 people by yearend.

Expanding demand for ignition parts from the Big Three U.S. automotive makers has persuaded MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. to shift the supply of ignition coils from Japan to the United States. The company is spending close to $31.7 million to build a plant for this product at its Maysville, Kentucky production site, where automotive audio equipment and engine control units now are made. The new factory, part of MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC AUTOMOTIVE AMERICA, INC., will be operational sometime in the second half of 1998. MELCO expects production of ignition coils to generate revenues of $150 million over five years.

Perryville, Missouri-based TG (U.S.A.) CORP. has added GENERAL MOTORS CORP. and FORD MOTOR CO. as customers for its steering wheels. In January, the TOYODA GOSEI CO., LTD. affiliate started shipping steering wheels without airbags to GM for use in Pontiac and Oldsmobile small cars. This contract covers about 400,000 cars a year. In June, TG will begin delivering the first of what are expected to be 200,000 airbag- equipped steering wheels a year to Ford. Until it received the GM and Ford steering wheel contracts, the main customers for TG's steering wheels and other interior and exterior plastic parts were Japanese transplants and CHRYSLER CORP.

Automatic transmission manufacturer JATCO CORP. has established a marketing and engineering support subsidiary in Farmington Hills, Michigan, replacing a Detroit liaison office that had been in business for more than eight years. The company already is a supplier to NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD.'s U.S. operations. Through its majority owner, MAZDA MOTOR CORP., JATCO hopes to win orders from FORD MOTOR CO., Mazda's parent.

In an effort to expand its already considerable brake components business with GENERAL MOTORS CORP. and FORD MOTOR CO., AKEBONO BRAKE INDUSTRY CO., LTD. has launched work at its Farmington Hills, Michigan engineering center on brake modules. The Big Three U.S. automotive makers increasingly are buying such parts as brakes and suspensions as assemblies rather than as individual parts that they put together. Akebono's immediate goal is to be among the suppliers Ford considers when it selects a brake module supplier.

Within FY 1998, KOYO SEIKO CO., LTD., which makes power steering systems in addition to its mainstay business of bearings for automotive and other applications, plans to set up a research base in the Detroit area. This pending $19.8 million move is in response to the motor vehicle industry's demands for faster responses from its suppliers. Anywhere from 30 to 50 engineers will be hired to staff the new center. Koyo Seiko already is building a R&D center for power steering systems and other automotive parts in Nara prefecture. A similar facility is planned for France by the year 2002. All three R&D centers will be linked by satellite communications.

In its latest plan to end the the losses run up by its U.S. operations, which now total $100 million, YOKOHAMA RUBBER CO., LTD. will spend $23.8 million to expand onshore production capacity and to build five distribution centers. Capacity at YOKOHAMA TIRE CORP.'s Salem, Virginia car and light truck tire plant will be raised to 8.5 million tires a year from 7.5 million currently. About half of the extra output will be for strong-selling sport-utility vehicles. Once the new distribution centers in Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia and two other states are operational, Fullerton, California-headquartered YTC will close four existing facilities, including ones in Texas and Tennessee. With these changes, Japan's number-two tire manufacturer expects YTC to be profitable in 1999.

TOKAI RIKA CO., LTD. has reorganized its American businesses. The TOYOTA MOTOR CORP.-affiliated parts manufacturer made its Plymouth, Michigan subsidiary, renamed TRAM, INC., the parent of three manufacturing companies. These are the newly christened TRMI, INC., a Battle Creek, Michigan maker of switches that employs 780 people; TAC MANUFACTURING, INC., which produces steering wheels and airbag assemblies at a Jackson, Michigan plant; and Ashley, Indiana-based TRIN, INC., another switch maker. The new structure is intended in part to strengthen Tokai Rika's North American design engineering capabilities, which will include new prototype and testing facilities.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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In a major expansion of its U.S. building materials business, ITOCHU CORP. will buy PRIMESOURCE, INC. and its PrimeSource Building Products subsidiary for about $200 million, including assumed liabilities. The Carrollton, Texas-headquartered company ranks among the eight biggest sellers of building materials in the United States, with 1997 sales of $530 million. Its 34 distribution centers, nine packaging plants and a nail mill employ approximately 925 people. The trading company plans to spend an additional $20 million or so to upgrade PrimeSource's operations. Through its ITOCHU BUILDING PRODUCTS CO., INC. subsidiary, which was formed in 1981, Itochu had U.S. building materials sales of $120 million last year. IBP has 11 distribution centers and three packaging plants. The combined PrimeSource and IBP will rank fifth in the industry, with projected sales of more than $700 million in 1998. Although the two operations will be managed separately, they will cooperate on such things as purchasing.

Deciding that it wanted to concentrate at home and abroad on its Kampo (Chinese medicine) business, TSUMURA & CO. has put its U.S. subsidiary up for sale. Secaucus, New Jersey-based TSUMURA INTERNATIONAL INC. handles imported and domestically made bath products, fragrances and toiletries. Its American manufacturing and distribution operations, acquired in 1989, are located in Shakopee, Minnesota. Tsumura International employs approximately 500 people.

This summer, SHISEIDO CO., LTD. will launch a new line of cosmetics under the 5S brand rather than the Shiseido name used for sales of its products through department stores. The reasonably priced products will debut at a store in Manhattan that Japan's top cosmetics company will open. The 5S line is targeted at women in their 20s and 30s who live in metropolitan areas.

For $600,000, SAILOR PEN CO., LTD. bought PDM ADHESIVES CORP. of Fayetteville, Georgia, which had distributed the firm's lower-priced lines of writing instruments to wholesalers. The renamed SAILOR CORP. OF AMERICA will deal directly with retailers, the standard practice in the U.S. office supplies business. That channel is hoped to lead to higher sales.

Following four years of declining profits, NAMCO CYBERTAINMENT INC., the largest operator of game amusement centers in the United States, has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. The Bensenville, Illinois subsidiary of video game supplier NAMCO LTD. operates 370 amusement centers, mostly in shopping malls, and supplies games to 170 other locations. It reportedly will shut down around 30 percent of its directly run centers and try to restructure the leases on the remaining ones. New centers will be located in entertainment complexes and will include sports simulators and other larger game equipment.

The restructuring of SOFTBANK CORP.'s varied American holdings, mostly acquired at what analysts considered a steep premium, continues. Just weeks after selling an Internet advertisement marketing company (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No.341, February 1998, p. 8), the company announced that it would sell through an initial public offering $460 million worth of stock in ZIFF-DAVIS INC. Softbank bought the world's largest publisher of computer magazines in early 1996 for a reported $2.1 million. Other than indicating that it would remain the majority owner of Ziff-Davis, Softbank gave no indication what share of the company is represented by the planned IPO. Before the stock offering, Japan's largest wholesaler of PC software apparently plans to complete the merger of Ziff-Davis with two of its other American units: SOFTBANK COMDEX INC. and SOFTBANK FORUMS INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 339, December 1997, p. 9). Those two companies were merged at the end of December. The expanded operation will be named ZD COMDEX & FORUMS INC.

KINTETSU WORLD EXPRESS, INC., which provides integrated transportation, distribution and logistics services from more than 80 North American locations, opened a distribution terminal in Carrollton, Texas. The facility warehouses and distributes ultrapure chemicals used in the fabrication of semiconductors and related products. .....MITSUI & CO., LTD. inaugurated a distribution facility in Houston. It handles imported generators and exploration, drilling and refining equipment for the petroleum industry.

A month after the United States and Japan worked out an aviation agreement that includes unlimited code-sharing between carriers on both sides of the Pacific, JAPAN AIRLINES CO., LTD. and AMR CORP.'s American Airlines announced a tie-up. Starting this fall, American will put JAL's flight numbers on its transpacific flights as well as on flights within North America and to Latin American destinations. At the same time, JAL will add American's flight numbers to its flights across the Pacific and within Japan and the rest of Asia. Initially, the code-sharing arrangement will be limited to 15 or so routes, but by the summer of 1999, it is expected to cover more than 100 so-called city pairs.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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American Companies in Japan


SCHERING-PLOUGH CORP. and YAMANOUCHI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. are all but ending their cross-marketing arrangement. Effective April 1, the Osaka subsidiary of the Madison, New Jersey drug company no longer will sell any Yamanouchi products. Those now include Atock, a bronchodilator, and Elen, a drug for senile dementia. Meanwhile, the big Japanese pharmaceutical company will stop sales of Schering-Plough's Intron A, an interferon Alpha for C-type hepatitis, although it will continue to market one of the firm's antibiotics in Japan. These changes are not expected to have a significant impact on either company's financial results since sales of each other's products are relatively small. For example, Schering- Plough sold $91.3 million worth of Intron A in the year through March 1997, while Yamanouchi's sales of the same drug totaled $23.8 million. The numbers were basically reversed for Yamanouchi's Elen.

Hoping to cut the time and the cost of bringing to the market a drug it licensed from GELTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INC. for controlling elevated phosphate levels in chronic kidney failure patients, CHUGAI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. will work with KIRIN BREWERY CO., LTD. Waltham, Massachusetts-based Geltex Pharmaceuticals gave Chugai Pharmaceutical rights to develop, make and market PB-94 (known in the United States as RenaGel) in Japan and elsewhere in Asia at the end of 1994. Phase II clinical trials of PB-94 are getting underway in Japan. Eliminating excess phosphate levels in people with chronic kidney failure is critical to preventing renal bone disease.

A once-a-month heartworm preventative for dogs developed by MERCK & CO., INC. is on the market through DAINIPPON PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. The world's largest maker of veterinary drugs signed the midsized pharmaceutical firm as the distributor of its veterinary products in 1995. For the last two years, Dainippon Pharmaceutical has marketed Cardomek Chewable FX for feline heartworm. Cardomek Chewable P for dogs is expected to generate sales of $7.9 million in 1998.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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What it claims is the widest range of price/performance solutions for Windows NT enterprise computing is on the market from DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s local operation. The unified DIGITAL Server line brings together all of DEC's 32-bit Intel-based servers, which run from entry- level systems to mainframe-class units, as well as its 64-bit Alpha- based enterprise servers for the Windows NT market. Some of the products are new, including Windows NT-only Alpha-based servers; others previously were part of the Prioris family of Pentium Pro-based systems. For companies requiring multiple operating system platforms, DEC continues to offer its entire line of AlphaServer systems for Digital Unix, OpenVMS and Windows NT.

Broadening its offerings for the data warehousing market, NCR CORP.'s subsidiary introduced two additions to the WorldMark server line. The entry-level WorldMark 4700 is designed for small information warehouses or data marts. Eight nodes, each employing four 200-MHz Pentium Pro processors, can be clustered to create a platform scalable up to 600 gigabytes. The massively parallel WorldMark 5150 server is NCR's new high-end model. Scalable up to 128 connected nodes, it can handle data bases that range in size from 600 gigabytes to more than 100 terabytes. Like other WorldMark servers, the new models are optimized for NCR's parallel processing relational data base management system, Teradata. A fully configured WorldMark 4700 costs about $634,900, while a typical WorldMark 5150 system for large data bases goes for $1.3 million.

For businesses with high-volume networks that place priority on maximum availability, the local operation of UNISYS CORP. is touting the Aquanta HS/6 server. This model, which starts at $43,700, can handle as many as six 200-MHz Pentium Pro processors. The top configuration can supply the processors required for such tasks as clustering while still having a minimum of four available for data processing jobs. For companies whose requirements are demanding but not quite as stiff, Unisys has the Aquanta QS/6. Designed for up to four 200-MHz Pentium Pro processors, its operating environment also is Windows NT Server or Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition. Pricing for the Aquanta QS/6 begins at $25,400. For $19,800, corporate buyers can get a sister product, the Aquanta QS/6U, which comes with Novell NetWare, SCO MPX and UnixWare System management software.

IBM JAPAN LTD. added two models to the RS/6000 series for companies looking for a multiuser application, data base and Internet server. The RS/6000 Enterprise Server Model H50 and its sister, the F50, are one-way to four-way SMP systems. Both are powered by 332-MHz PowerPC 604e RISC (reduced instruction-set computing) processors with X5 Level 2 cache and use the AIX operating system, the in-house version of Unix. The Model H50 is a rack-drawer unit, while the Model F50 is a deskside system.

The year-old Octane series of Unix-based graphics workstations from SILICON GRAPHICS, INC. has a powerful new member, the Octane/MXE. The extra performance comes in part from a 250-MHz version of the 64-bit MIPS R10000 RISC processor. It also is the result of SGI's new GeometryEngine and its E-Series graphics, which is said to deliver as much as a 40 percent jump in speed. Geared toward complex design, analysis and modeling problems, the single-processor Octane/MXE starts at $35,600, while the dual-processor model costs $68,000 and up.

HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. also has beefed up its Unix-based graphics workstation line with the release of the HP VISUALIZE Model J2240. The deskside J-Class system is powered by one or two 235-MHz PA-8200 64- bit RISC processors. To maintain its strong position in the technical workstation market, HP Japan priced the 2D-capable version of the Model J2240 at $52,100 and the 3D version at $67,900. As with a number of the other products in the extended HP 9000 family of Unix servers and workstations, HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. is shipping the HP VISUALIZE Model J2240 on an original equipment manufacturer basis to HITACHI, LTD., which is selling it as the Hitachi 9000V Series Model VQ2240, and to OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD., which named the system the OKITAC9000 Series Model J2240.

The market in Japan for Windows NT-based 3D workstations is becoming crowded, but IBM JAPAN LTD. is convinced that the new IntelliStation M Pro will stand out. Its optimism is based on the claim of the world's fastest Windows NT 3D workstation, an achievement attributed to the advantages of the Intense 3400 graphic card used in the 333-MHz Pentium Pro system. The aggressive pricing of the IntelliStation M Pro, which starts at under $4,800, also makes IBM Japan believe that it has a winner.

IBM JAPAN LTD. also is protecting its turf in the market for enterprise servers with the introduction of the Netfinity 3500. Targeted at small and midsized businesses that want to harness the power of the Internet and electronic business while protecting their investment, the new system supports one or two 233-MHz, 266-MHz or 333-MHz Pentium II processors and up to 512 megabytes of ECC (error checking and correcting) synchronous DRAM memory and provides as much as 22.7 gigabytes of internal storage. With a starting price of $3,700, the Netfinity 3500 also is designed to appeal to the value-conscious firm.

The subsidiary of NCR CORP. is offering a Windows NT/Pentium II server solution to its many customers in retail and financial industries that are automating store and branch operations. These companies also can use the dual-processor-capable NCR S26XLPII, which starts at $9,100, as a LAN server, a file/print server or a back office server.

Other companies also are hoping that servers built around powerful Pentium II processors will attract general corporate customers in a market where desktop PC sales are going nowhere. For instance, COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary introduced a pair of ProLiant 1600 server models powered by one or two 266-MHz or 300-MHz Pentium II. These systems, priced respectively from $6,700 and $7,100, also offer 512 kilobytes of Level 2 ECC cache memory and as much as 512 megabytes of EDO (extended data-out) ECC memory. For small and midsized businesses looking for a feature-rich but value-priced workgroup server, Compaq has four versions of the ProSignia 200, including one with a 166-MHz Pentium II chip that lists for $3,000 and others with either a 233-MHz, 266-MHz or 300-MHz Pentium II. The latter product costs $4,800. ECC memory and SCSI (small computer system interface) drive support are standard for all four.

Although selectivity remains the operating strategy, a few companies are introducing new commercial desktop systems. IBM JAPAN LTD., for one, added four models to its year-old IBM PC 300GL series, including units powered by a 233-MHz or a 266-MHz Pentium II processor and a pair featuring a 200-MHz Pentium chip with MMX technology. INTEL CORP.'s 440LX chipset is standard on all the systems, which also offer the simplified LAN management of their predecessors, such as INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s Wake on LAN and LANClient control Manager and Intel's LANDeskClient Manager. The new entry-level model lists for $1,800.


For its part, DELL COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary put on the market a new top-of-the-line OptiPlex system. The $1,900 OptiPlex GXa 6333EM has many of the same features as the IBM PC 300GL, including remote LAN management and the architectural advances delivered by the new industry-standard AGP (accelerated graphics port), but its engine is the 333-MHz Pentium II processor with MMX technology.

IBM JAPAN LTD. is hoping that systems with all the multimedia bells and whistles and the power of Pentium II processors with MMX technology will appeal to demanding home enthusiasts, who are among the buyers missing from the PC market. The six-model Aptiva S Series also features a split system design, with a compact, pop-up media console for fingertip access to the power button, CD-ROM drive and diskette drive and storage for the keyboard when not in use. The minitower can be placed up to six feet away. All these capabilities come with a fairly reasonable price tag. The entry- level Aptiva S costs around $2,500.

With new marketing partner CANON SALES CO., INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 12), COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. is ready to make another run at what in the United States is called the sub-$1,000 home computer market. Although pricing of the Presario 2240 has not been disclosed, the Japan-tailored system will have twice as much memory and a faster modem for connecting to the Internet than the Presario 2210. That consumer-oriented model, introduced last fall, reportedly met with little success. The key to the affordable pricing of the Presario 2240 is the use of a K6 processor from ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC. in place of the far more expensive Pentium with MMX technology.

A K6 processor from ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC. also is central to the aggressive pricing of the Presario 1621 notebook computer that CANON SALES CO., INC. is distributing exclusively for COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. The unit has an estimated street price of $2,000, but it is going up against a number of similarly low-priced notebooks from Japanese companies. On the plus side, sales of notebooks, which represented more than 40 percent of PC shipments in Japan in 1997, apparently continue to rise at the same time that the slump in the desktop end of the market goes on.

HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. is testing the waters of the handheld computer market with the American version of the Windows CE Version 2.0-based HP620LX before releasing a Japan-tailored product. Priced around $1,200, the machine reportedly is the first handheld system using Version 2.0 of the Windows CE operating system to feature a color display.

By introducing a lower-priced line of chassis and starter kits based on the CompactPCI (peripheral component interconnect) architecture, MOTOROLA INC.'s subsidiary hopes to extend its CPX computer platform to a broader range of industrial control and telecommunications applications. The first two chassis members of the CPX2000 family — which incorporate a "hot- swap"-enabled backplane that allows integrators to plan future systems upgrades — are targeted at process control, robotics, electronic imaging, medical analysis and simulation among industrial applications and interactive voice response, PBX adjunct processing, network servers, protocol gateways and IP telephony among computer telephony uses. Motorola's local operation plans to expand the CPX2000 series later this year with models offering different levels of hardware redundancy, fault resilience and telephony features.

Although PCs might not be selling well, apparently enough people need their machines repaired to convince NCR CORP.'s subsidiary to franchise its Quick Garage PC repair business. Operating as GLOBAL SOLUTION SERVICES CORP., the new company starts off with 15 nationwide locations that repair machines made by APPLE COMPUTER INC. GSS technicians will work not only on Apple equipment but PCs made by other companies, including COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. and IBM JAPAN LTD., as well. Owners either can bring in their PCs or technicians will service the machines in their homes or offices. Five more shops are expected to be opened within a year. GSS's executives and the company's 80 or so former NCR employees have a 25 percent stake in the new business.

Before the end of 1998, APPLE COMPUTER INC. will begin direct sales of its products over the Internet in Japan and elsewhere in Asia in addition to its traditional retail channels. Equipment purchased this way will be built to order. At some still undecided time, the company also will switch the rest of its Asian business to a build-to-order system. .....To strengthen sales of Macintosh equipment to graphics and publishing professionals, a key user group, APPLE COMPUTER INC.'s subsidiary has organized a marketing team to backstop retailers and other distributors. Composed of 20 or so sales and customer-support specialists, the group is providing hardware and software advice so that packages can be customized to users' requirements.


The data storage requirements of upscale department store operator TAKASHIMAYA CO., LTD. are being handled by an automated cartridge system built by STORAGE TECHNOLOGY CORP. Suitable for large Unix, supercomputer and mainframe systems, the current generation of the Louisville, Colorado company's PowderHorn can hold nearly 6,000 cartridges, providing up to 300 terabytes of uncompressed storage. Moreover, it can exchange 450 cartridges per hour.

IBM JAPAN LTD. introduced two new versions of the 3527 SSA Entry Subsystem for PC Servers, which, on its release in the fall of 1996, was the first product to bring serial storage architecture to the PC server environment. One disk-drive tower can store a maximum of 4.5 megabytes of data; it is priced at $3,000. The other, costing $17,500, has a capacity of 45.5 gigabytes, double what was available initially.

The Zip high-capacity removable drive from IOMEGA CORP. is standard equipment with a new high-end Aptiva home computer from IBM JAPAN LTD. This is the first time that IBM Japan incorporated the 100-megabyte Zip drive in any of its desktop PC products.

Through its subsidiary, IMATION CORP. is offering OEMs removable SuperDisk Drives and Diskettes for notebook and desktop PCs. This technology, otherwise known as LS-120, can store up to 120 megabytes of data per diskette, or 83 times more than the conventional 3.5-inch floppy, and the drive can read and write both LS-120 and 3.5-inch diskettes. The SDD-120PCC for notebooks costs about $275, while the SDD-120PPT for desktop systems goes for $315. Oakdale, Minnesota-based Imation was a codeveloper of the LS-120 technology.

With the market for Universal Serial Bus peripheral devices expected to take off once MICROSOFT CORP. releases Windows 98, PHOENIX TECHNOLOGIES LTD. teamed up with SHARP CORP. and TEAC CORP. to develop a USB-enabled portable floppy disk drive. The San Jose, California company supplied the synthesizable core component for the USB function to Sharp, which integrated it into its USB/FDD chip. That part is at the heart of TEAC's FD-05PU floppy drive. Phoenix also provided the necessary FDD firmware for the USB interface. USB's beauty is that it simplifies adding new disk drives and other peripherals to a computer. It also has other advantages over conventional serial and parallel ports, such as faster data transmission.

CALCOMP CORP.'s subsidiary has developed and put on the market what is said to be the fastest LED (light-emitting diode) plotter for A1-size paper. The black-and-white 55424 is six times faster than the Anaheim, California company's previous plotters and two to four times faster than the competition's. The local Calcomp unit is projecting that developed-in- Japan products will generate 30 percent of its revenues in 1998 and as much as 50 percent at some unspecified time in the future. The subsidiary has started to develop and manufacture LED-based plotters for computer- aided design use because its parent exited this business.

Extending a relationship that started with products for Europe and then the United States, PEERLESS SYSTEMS CORP. helped MINOLTA CO., LTD. introduce in Japan the first color laser printer equipped with PostScript Level 2 priced below $4,000. The Color PagePro PS, equipped with interfaces for printing both Windows and Macintosh documents, prints three full-color pages a minute with a resolution of 600 dots per inch and 12 pages in black and white. The machine incorporates the El Segundo, California firm's embedded color controller. That uses the PeerlessPage Imaging System with a high-performance i960 RISC processor and the Peerless QuickPrint coprocessor to accelerate graphics, color rendering and printing functions.

The 17-inch color Multiple Scan 720 display is on the market from APPLE COMPUTER INC.'s subsidiary. Among other advanced technologies found in this affordably priced display is software that allows users to switch between resolution modes without restarting the computer. A software control strip at the bottom of the screen also allows precise and easy adjustment of the display controls, such as display format and color depth.

Big Japanese computer makers continue to turn to American suppliers for graphics accelerators for machines destined for the local market. For instance, FUJITSU, LTD. tapped DIAMOND MULTIMEDIA SYSTEMS, INC. to provide its AGP-based Fire GL 1000 Pro graphics accelerator for four models in the Deskpower line. The 4-megabyte version of the San Jose, California firm's accelerator will be used in a pair of home desktop systems, while the 8-megabyte model is going into two corporate desktop systems. In addition, NEC CORP. chose for its MateServer NX servers DIAMOND MULTIMEDIA SYSTEMS, INC.'s AGP-based Viper V330 accelerator, which features the RIVA 128 3D processor from NVIDIA CORP. of Sunnyvale, California.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Although Japan's population is rapidly aging, senior citizens, particularly those who need help with daily life, do not have as many options in living arrangements as their American peers. EMERITUS CORP., a Seattle- headquartered company that operates residential-style assisted-living communities across the United States, hopes to partially fill this void. It formed an equally owned business in Osaka with SANYO ELECTRIC CO., LTD. to build assisted-living projects. SANYO EMERITUS CORP. hopes to complete its first residential-based assisted-living community by the year 2000.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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As one part of the drive to bolster its position in Japan's nonresidential building control systems market, JOHNSON CONTROLS, INC. increased its ownership of YOKOGAWA JOHNSON CONTROLS CORP. to 55 percent. The joint venture with YOKOGAWA ELECTRIC CORP. had been equally owned since its founding in 1989, the same year the two companies formed a since-dissolved 50-50 partnership in the United States (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 337, October 1997, p. 6). Milwaukee, Wisconsin- headquartered Johnson Controls also put on the market the Metasys Facility Management System. It monitors and controls not only HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), fire, lighting and security systems from JCI but also integrates equipment and systems from more than 100 manufacturers. A Metasys system, which communicates with BACnet, LonWorks and numerous other protocols, can be customized to all types and sizes of buildings.

With HONEYWELL INC. distancing itself from longtime partner YAMATAKE- HONEYWELL CO., LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 13), the Tokyo-based company, which has about 70 percent of the local building systems control market, is forging new relationships. For example, it signed an exclusive, multiyear distribution agreement with DAYTON GENERAL SYSTEMS CORP. The Dayton, Ohio firm is a leading supplier of real-time LonWorks graphical programming tools for interactive building control systems. This technology helps to save energy and, in turn, reduce operating costs in both offices and manufacturing plants.

The world's leading independent manufacturer of high-voltage power supplies now has an office in Osaka to complement the one it opened in 1995 in Kawaguchi, Saitama prefecture. SPELLMAN HIGH VOLTAGE ELECTRONICS CORP. of Hauppauge, New York hopes that its expanded geographic reach will boost sales of the new-to-Japan SL Series, a family of 1 kilovolt to 130 kilovolt products that occupy two to three times less space than comparable models. The complete line features a resonant high-frequency inverter with proprietary controls to provide fault-free operation in extreme transient and arcing environments. That characteristic is key to such applications as analytical X-ray, CPT/CRT testing, electrostatics, electron-beam systems and capacitor charging. The pricing of the SL Series for Japan has not been disclosed, but in the United States the line starts at $1,615.

With the IEEE 1394 serial bus interface expected to be standard in the future for transferring data between computers and peripherals as well as consumer electronics products, AMP INC.'s subsidiary has started to sell a pair of IEEE Serial Bus Connectors. The four-position and six-position interconnection systems are capable of accommodating data rates up to 400 megabits per second.

New on the market from SUMITOMO 3M LTD. is the 3M Lighted Guidance Tube, which is designed to increase traffic safety at potentially hazardous locations by providing motorists with a "line of light" delineating the curvature and the elevation of the road. The LGT system is housed in a clear, impact-resistant polycarbonate tube, 4 inches in diameter and 20 feet in length, that contains 3M Optical Lighting Film. The tubes are connected to form 100-foot sections, each of which is illuminated by a single 35-watt high-intensity-discharge lamp activated by a photocontrol. The LGT system is a product of the Traffic Control Materials division of MINNESOTA MINING & MANUFACTURING CO.

The IntelliScan family of high-speed industrial document scanners from SIEMENS ELECTROCOM L.P. is on the market through NISSHO ELECTRONICS CORP. One model, priced at $174,600, can process up to 120 letter-sized images per minute. The other can handle twice that volume. This $238,100 machine is designed for environments that process at least 20,000 documents a day. The IntelliScan system is claimed to be the only scanner capable of both scanning images and reading either machine type or handwriting without relying on other specialized workstations. It also is designed to process bar codes and patch codes and to sort and index documents based on content.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Nothing better demonstrates how American financial services providers are capitalizing on both the problems of their local competitors and market liberalization to expand their presence in Japan than the announcement by MERRILL LYNCH & CO., INC. that it would launch a nationwide retail brokerage business this summer staffed by as many as 2,000 ex-employees of failed YAMAICHI SECURITIES CO., LTD. and operating out of approximately 30 offices of the defunct company (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 13). The business will be operated by a new company tentatively named MERRILL LYNCH JAPAN SECURITIES CO., LTD. It will offer individual investors a diversified selection of financial products, including investment trusts (mutual funds), domestic and foreign stocks, convertible bonds, warrants and fixed income securities. Through its existing MERRILL LYNCH JAPAN INC. subsidiary, which employs about 1,000 people, the big brokerage house provides a wide range of services to corporate and institutional clients. It also is expanding its local asset management capabilities.

If this announcement had a rival, it was the news that GE CAPITAL SERVICES CORP. was establishing a new life insurance company in partnership with financially struggling TOHO MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE CO. Each company will put up $571.4 million to form GE CAPITAL EDISON LIFE INSURANCE CO., which will take over all new policy writing from Japan's 12th-largest life insurer effective April 1 and hire 9,500 of its sales agents and other personnel. The deal will give GE Capital Services' insurance subsidiary, GE FINANCIAL ASSURANCE CO., an instant nationwide marketing network in the world's biggest market for life insurance at what analysts consider to be a bargain price. Through a complex financial arrangement, GEFA, the 13th-largest insurer in the United States, will own 90 percent of the new company. Toho Mutual Life will continue to exist as an independent company. It will be solely responsible for its existing policyholders' contracts and investment assets.

Protests from Washington and American insurance companies have forced YASUDA FIRE & MARINE INSURANCE CO., LTD. to postpone once more its purchase of a majority interest in CIGNA CORP.'s INA LIFE INSURANCE CO., LTD. subsidiary (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 335, August 1997, p. 12). As matters now stand, the Japanese property and casualty insurer will not boost its stake in INA Life to 60 percent from the current 10 percent until after the year 2001. That is when the December 1996 transpacific insurance agreement will allow the life insurance subsidiaries of Japanese nonlife insurers to handle so-called third-sector products, which include medical insurance policies, one of INA Life's major offerings.

CARGILL INVESTMENT JAPAN LTD. agreed to take over roughly $2.2 billion in loans from YAMAICHI FINANCE CO., LTD. shortly before the YAMAICHI SECURITIES CO., LTD. nonbank finance affiliate declared bankruptcy (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 14). With this portfolio plus loans it has bought from Japanese commercial banks, the subsidiary of the world's largest grain trader is expected to launch full- scale lending operations in Japan.

With Japanese banks finally starting to dispose in bulk of their asset- backed nonperforming loans, Wall Street investment banks, U.S. equity funds, real estate investment trusts and other American institutional investors are picking up properties at deeply discounted prices or are ready to do so. By one count, more than $7.9 billion worth of real estate- related bad loans was sold in 20 packages to U.S. investors in the year through March 31. Among Wall Street heavy hitters already in the market or prepared to take the plunge are affiliates of GOLDMAN, SACHS & CO. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 14), BANKERS TRUST OF NEW YORK CORP., LEHMAN BROTHERS INC., J.P. MORGAN & CO., MORGAN STANLEY, DEAN WITTER, DISCOVER & CO. and SALOMON SMITH BARNEY INC.

Lesser-known names also are extremely active. For instance, SECURED CAPITAL CORP., which previously acquired three nonperforming loan portfolios with an estimated book value of $500 million, said that it hoped to buy $1 billion in property by the end of March 1999. The Los Angeles company, a big purchaser of bad loans from the Resolution Trust Corp. in the early 1990s, expects to take over properties for just 5 percent to 30 percent of their face value. Secured Capital also is working with CREDIT SUISSE FIRST BOSTON CORP. The real estate investment unit of the New York City bank is talking about acquiring loans worth $7.9 billion over the next year just on its own. Secured Capital will manage these purchases and perhaps put up some money.

To help these and other companies, ERNST & YOUNG LLP's Los Angeles- based E&Y Kenneth Leventhal real estate unit is setting up systems to value loans, create marketing strategies and provide financial advisory services to both buyers and sellers of loan portfolios. The company already has used its Japan-tailored valuation model to assess more than $4 billion worth of nonperforming loans for clients.

KENNEDY-WILSON INC., which opened a subsidiary in Tokyo in 1995 to advise Japanese companies how to handle their real estate-related problems at home and abroad, is doing a booming business assessing property-backed nonperforming loans for U.S. investors. In just the first two months of 1998, the Santa Monica, California firm's Japanese loan acquisition division reviewed more than 250 distressed real estate loans for clients. The group also completed and won bids on behalf of U.S. investors for the acquisition of office buildings in Japan. Because of the swelling demand for its services, the largest U.S. real estate marketing and investment services company licensed to operate in Japan is rapidly expanding its staff.

Sometime early in the year 2000, CITIBANK N.A. customers in Japan will be able to switch money between their bank accounts and their savings accounts at the nation's 20,000 or so post offices. The arrangement is the first between a bank and the postal savings system. Next January, Citibank automatic teller machines and cash dispensers will be linked with those operated by the post office. Again, the big American bank will be ahead of its local competitors.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Green Giant, Old El Paso and other well-known processed food brands owned by PILLSBURY CO. no longer are being sold by the Minneapolis-head- quartered multinational's subsidiary. That operation was sold to JAPAN TOBACCO INC., which also received a marketing license for all Pillsbury products except Haagen-Dazs ice cream. The big food products company continues to be involved in R&D and product development for the Japanese market. It also still manufactures the products sold there.

With nearly two years of experience in the local market behind it, sausage manufacturer JOHNSONVILLE FOODS INC. has switched product strategy. It now is focusing on three varieties of uncooked frozen products — Johnsonville Fresh Raw Sausage Plain, Basil and Mushroom — rather than on smoked sausages, where there is much more competition from Japanese companies. A package of 10 sausages is priced around $3.10 in major supermarkets. The Kohler, Wisconsin firm, which works exclusively with SUMITOMO CORP., expects to ship close to 80 tons of sausage to Japan this year.

After stopping sales of Easy Fiber last November, the Tokyo unit of AMERICAN HOME PRODUCTS CORP.'s Whitehall Laboratories division has given marketing and trademark rights to the food fiber-based product to KOBAYASHI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. The Osaka-based drug company expects sales to total $3.2 million the first year, or double the business Whitehall Labs was doing in the second year of selling Easy Fiber. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical will take over production in the near future.

Samuel Adams beer has arrived in Japan. BOSTON BEER CO., INC. signed NIPPON BEER CO., LTD., one of the top distributors of imported beer, to handle sales of its flagship product, Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

SHOWBIZ PIZZA TIME INC., the franchiser of the children-oriented Chuck E Cheese's restaurants, now says that it will be early 1999 before any of its outlets open in Japan. The Irving, Texas company originally hoped to have several Chuck E Cheese's restaurants in operation last fall. The facilities will feature the same attractions and menu as the American original.

Through genetic engineering, MONSANTO CO.'s local operation hopes to commercialize a high-yielding soybean variety suited to Japan's soils and climatic conditions for use in tofu and similar products. Seeds for the weedkiller-resistant soybean will be brought in from the United States and crossbred with seeds from soybean varieties indigenous to Japan. The work is taking place at Monsanto's research farm in Ibaraki prefecture.

Big formula feed manufacturer KYODO SHIRYO CO., LTD. hopes to boost its sales in the face of declining demand with technical assistance from AKEY, INC. The Lewisberg, Ohio company, which got its start as a swine feed supplier, has helped Kyodo Shiryo develop a more efficient feeding program for hogs featuring higher nutrient values. The NT Series, planned for marketing at the end of March, consists of seven starter and eight grower products. With this line, hog farmers can match a pig's nutritional requirements with its age. That precision is said to yield a 5 percent to 10 percent improvement in the feed conversion ratio, or the amount of feed needed to produce a specific carcass weight.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Over the near term, the subsidiary of LEVI STRAUSS & CO. will focus much of its retail expansion on the Tokyo metropolitan area. It expects to open two Original Levi Stores in the region. These jeans specialty stores can range in size from 2,200 square feet to 10,800 square feet. The company also has plans for six more Levi Concept Shops, in-store shops with a selling space of 1,000 square feet or less. At least two of the six will be in Yokohama and Nagoya.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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RoboGrip Pliers now are available in Japan. Made by Warrendale, Pennsylvania-based ALLIED CONCEPTS, INC., a division of EMERSON ELECTRIC CO., they are distributed to hardware stores and similar outlets by FUJIWARA INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. of Hyogo prefecture. The two sizes of the automatically adjusting pliers are priced around $16 and $24.

Three vertical panel saws made by SAFETY SPEED CUT MANUFACTURING CO., INC. of Anoka, Minnesota are available through SUNKI CO., LTD. Priced from $2,200 to $7,100, the models range from a small-frame saw for small shops to a heavy-duty saw for production needs. The popular full- size middle model costs $4,100. The Nara prefecture-based distributor expects to sell 100 units in the first year of marketing.

Through direct sales from its office in Yokohama, SPIREX CORP., a manufacturer of plasticating components and software for the plastics processing industry, hopes to win business from local companies by holding down costs. The Youngstown, Ohio company's mainline products are plasticating screws for plastic injection molding and extrusion, including the Pulsar Mixing Screw. In the future, Spirex plans to introduce a version of The Maintenance Professional for injection molding and extrusion. This software provides comprehensive maintenance and inventory control.

Extending the line of rapid prototyping systems it sells in Japan, STRATASYS, INC. has added the FDM Quantum. Designed for companies in the aerospace, automotive and consumer goods industries that need functional prototypes, tooling patterns or masters, the FDM Quantum provides fast throughput and precision, thanks to MagnaDrive technology. Able to make plastic models measuring up to 23.6 x 19.7 x 23.6 inches, it also offers an extra-large build capacity. MARUBENI CORP., the Eden Prairie, Minnesota company's exclusive distributor, has priced the FDM Quantum at $634,900. It expects to sell 10 units a year.

The MM-T Series of compact hydraulic excavators from SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. now includes seven models ranging in operating weight from 3,300 pounds to 9,900 pounds. The latest additions are the 8,800- pound MM40T, priced at $59,100, and the 9,900-pound MM45T, which costs $66,800. The equally owned joint venture expects to sell annually 300 MM40Ts and 200 MM45Ts.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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EASTMAN KODAK CO.'s subsidiary and CANON INC. collaborated on the development of a digital camera for professional photographers. Sold as the Professional DCS520 Digital Camera (Kodak) or the EOS D2000 Professional Digital Camera (Canon), the $15,700 system works with every one of the 80-plus EF autofocus lenses that Canon has introduced since 1987 as well as EOS system accessories.

The family of Advanced Photo System-based cameras from EASTMAN KODAK CO.'s local unit now includes the Advantix 1600 Auto Camera. The line's new entry-level model is priced at an affordable $100 or so.

EASTMAN KODAK CO.'s affiliate is marketing a new line of 35-millimeter color negative film for photojournalists. The Kodak Professional Ektapress Film PJ series includes the PJ100 for close-up work, the PJ400, a general-purpose 400-speed film, and the PJ800, Kodak Professional's first 800-speed film. Prices run from $33.50 (PJ100) to $40.30 (PJ 400) to $42.85 (PJ800) per roll in packs of five and 20 rolls.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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The Health Industry Manufacturers Association — a Washington, D.C.-based trade association that represents more than 800 manufacturers of medical devices, diagnostic products and medical information systems — has opened an office in Tokyo. HIMA will work with the government on finding ways to care effectively for a rapidly aging population while controlling health-care costs. Its specific agenda includes concentrating cutting-edge procedures in fewer facilities, improving the purchasing practices of health-care providers, expediting product approval, introducing greater competition in the market and reducing the cost of doing business in Japan.

With its parent's purchase of the medical devices division of Ohmeda, the health-care business of BOC GROUP PLC, the local affiliate of BECTON DICKINSON AND CO. will take over Ohmeda's Japan MDD operations. These include intravenous catheters for infusion therapy as well as such critical-care products as central venous catheters and pulmonary artery catheters. Those products complement Becton Dickinson's. The Franklin Lakes, New Jersey-based company manufactures a broad line of medical supplies and devices and diagnostic systems. Its subsidiary expects the addition of Ohmeda's MDD division to add 20 percent to its sales, which totaled $129.4 million in the October 1996-September 1997 period.

In a move designed to better support its customers, VARIAN ASSOCIATES, INC. acquired the assets of the distributor of its cancer therapy equipment for an undisclosed price. All of CYBERNISTY CORP.'s Varian-related operations and employees were transferred to its subsidiary's new Oncology Systems division. The Palo Alto, California company believes that the new arrangement also will facilitate integration of operations with NIPPON ONCOLOGY SYSTEMS, LTD., a joint venture between Varian and NEC FIELD SERVICE, LTD. that provides radiotherapy services.

ASPECT MEDICAL SYSTEMS, INC. has signed NIHON KOHDEN CORP. as the exclusive distributor of its stand-alone anesthesia monitors. Japan's top manufacturer of patient monitoring systems and disposable products for hospital operating rooms and intensive care units also will develop a module that incorporates the Natick, Massachusetts firm's Bispectral Index technology for a patient monitoring system that it plans to market worldwide. Aspect expects its BIS monitor to be commercially available in Japan this summer.

With reimbursement approval in hand from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP. has started marketing its Rotablator system. This high-speed, diamond-tipped rotational device for the treatment of atherosclerosis in coronary and peripheral arteries selectively removes atherosclerotic plaque and opens clogged arterial passages. It is said to be especially effective for use on complex and highly calcified lesions, a problem that is relatively more prevalent in Japan than elsewhere.

After more than a year, BIO-VASCULAR INC. also received reimbursement approval from MHW for its Peri-Strips when used in lung volume reduction surgery for emphysema patients. The St. Paul, Minnesota supplier says the product prevents leaks and helps patients recover more quickly from the surgery.

A noninvasive glucose monitoring system manufactured by TECHNICAL CHEMICALS & PRODUCTS, INC. will be distributed and marketed in Japan and Taiwan by DAIICHI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. The Pompano Beach, Florida company's TD Glucose Monitoring System uses a transdermal patch to provide diabetics with a painless, bloodless and fast way to monitor their glucose levels. After the patch has been in place on the forearm for about five minutes, a compact electronic meter is held up to the patch for an instant reading. Daiichi Pharmaceutical will pay Technical Chemicals an up-front initial fee and a $10 million license fee, plus royalties on sales.

The Lasette laser finger perforator, which is used to draw blood for glucose and hematocrit testing in diabetic patients, will be distributed by codeveloper CELL ROBOTICS INTERNATIONAL, INC. of Albuquerque, New Mexico and SANWA KAGAKU KENKYUSHO CO., LTD. The Nagoya company controls about half of the market for blood glucose measuring strips. A handheld, battery-operated laser device, the Lasette produces a small hole in the finger with a single pulse of laser light. BIG SKY LASER TECHNOLOGIES, INC. of Bozeman, Montana codeveloped the product and will manufacture it. SKK has agreed to buy a minimum of 500 Lasettes in the first year after sales start.

Life insurance companies in Japan have started to use EPITOPE, INC.'s OraSure oral specimen collection device for cotinine testing of applicants. Cotinine is a nicotine derivative that indicates whether the applicant is a smoker. The Ministry of Finance's Insurance Bureau recently allowed life insurers to charge lower premiums for nonsmokers. The Beaverton, Oregon company received an initial order for 20,000 OraSure devices through its Tokyo joint venture.

A Kodak Digital Science DC120 Zoom Digital Camera is at the core of the Kodak Digital Science Clinical Kit for medical use that EASTMAN KODAK CO.'s subsidiary has on the market. Designed mainly for recording operations, the system includes three different close-up lenses, image management software and cables for just $2,500 for both Windows-based PCs and Macintosh machines. The world's first 1.2-million-pixel point- and-shoot camera, the DC120 provides an exceptionally detailed picture. It also has a color LCD so the image can be checked before it is recorded.

RHK TECHNOLOGY, INC. of Rochester Hills, Michigan has tapped ULVAC-PHI, INC. to market its scanning probe microscopes and related products. Used primarily in research, the UHV-STM300 ultravacuum scanning tunneling microscope costs $111,100, while the SPM1000/2000 is priced around $76,200. The Kanagawa prefecture-based distributor is projecting sales of RHK products at $1.6 million in the first year of marketing and double that in the second.

As part of an agreement to strengthen their business relationship, LECROY CORP., a manufacturer of electronic test instruments, bought for an undisclosed price a 4 percent interest in publicly traded IWATSU ELECTRIC CO., LTD. The Chestnut Ridge, New York company and Iwatsu Electric, a midsized maker of telephones and other telecommunications equipment as well as measuring instruments, have cooperated on the sale of oscilloscopes in Japan since the end of 1993. They now will collaborate on the development of oscilloscopes and other measuring equipment by combining LeCroy's expertise in digital signal conversion and Iwatsu Electric's communications technologies. These products will be marketed worldwide by both partners.


The first all-solid-state, near-infrared industrial process analyzer is available in Japan. Manufactured by BRIMROSE CORP. OF AMERICA, the Luminar 2000 spectrometer is based on the Baltimore company's AOTF (acousto-optic tunable filter) technology. The compact product includes a powerful onboard computer and a variety of data and peripheral interfaces. It is designed for laboratory applications, including quality control, as well as for process control in a stand-alone configuration or remote, automated control of plants or production lines when networked. Tokyo- based OPTO SCIENCE INC., Brimrose's distributor for more than five years, has priced the Luminar 2000 at $119,000. It expects to sell 20 units by the year 2000.

High-speed image and data-capture equipment from SCAN-OPTICS, INC. is used to process all medical claims forms in Japan (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 17). Now, MITSUBISHI TRUST & BANKING CORP. is using a pair of the Manchester, Connecticut company's Series 9000 systems to read, image and process stock certificates each trading day. The equipment is designed to locate stock certificate serial numbers, which can be on any of the four margins of intermixed document sizes, and process them regardless of the paper-fed direction at a rate of 10,000 to 15,000 certificates an hour. TOYO OFFICEMATION, INC., a MITSUI & CO., LTD. affiliate, is Scan-Optics' longtime distributor.

The subsidiary of machine vision leader COGNEX CORP. has on the market a system for detecting optical defects and flaws on the surface of materials on a moving web. Fine-Line is a product of the Natick, Massachusetts company's new surface inspection systems division, which was formed after it bought MAYAN AUTOMATION INC. Available as either a stand-alone single camera or a multicamera system, Fine-Line inspects the complete area of any flat material — foils, paper, films, nonwovens — in continuous motion. The single-camera configuration starts at just $31,700. Cognex is projecting sales at $7.9 million a year.

What is billed as the first manufacturing test solution for ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) modems is available from HEWLETT- PACKARD JAPAN LTD. The system can handle three testing requirements for ADSL modem manufacturing: comprehensive parametric testing, transmission testing and digital input/output testing. Four modems can be tested concurrently. On the new HP 79000 FCT platform, the test solution costs $317,500. ADSL technology, now in field trials in Japan, allows copper telephone lines to be used simultaneously for regular voice traffic and high-speed data transfer.

Portland, Oregon-headquartered ELECTRO SCIENTIFIC INDUSTRIES, INC. has shipped to an unnamed manufacturer of electronic components multiple Model 3300 multilayer ceramic capacitor testers and Model 3001 IR MLCC testers. The order was worth $3.1 million. The equipment is designed to increase throughput and test functionality, thereby helping the big manufacturer of passive components lower costs.

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC.'s subsidiary and industrial gas supplier TAIYO TOYO SANSO CO., LTD. codeveloped a system for removing impurities from hydrogen peroxide used in the semiconductor production process. Housed in an onsite plant, the system already has been installed at TI's Inashiki, Ibaraki prefecture plant. It can clean about 55 tons of hydrogen peroxide a month. Taiyo Toyo Sanso plans to sell the equipment to other companies in the future.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Seeing telecommunications equipment as a major growth market for its analog integrated circuits, ANALOG DEVICES, INC. plans to more than double the design and development division at its subsidiary's Shiroyama, Kanagawa prefecture headquarters. Chips for modems will be a primary focus of this work. In the year through last October, parts for telecommunications equipment represented just 15 percent of the Norwood, Massachusetts firm's Japan sales.

The latest product on the local market from LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORP. is the LTC1422, a controller chip that allows a board to be safely inserted and removed from a live backplane. The subsidiary of the Milpitas, California manufacturer of analog circuits has priced the device at $3.00 or so in volumes of 1,000 units.

MOTOROLA INC.'s ColdFire family of embedded microprocessors has a new member. The MCF5307, the first implementation of the company's Version Three core, performs 70 million instructions per second at 90 MHz, or as much as three times more than the MCF5202. The 32-bit RISC part also offers basic DSP (digital signal processor) functions and expanded built-in peripherals. These features, plus the MCF5307's aggressive pricing, should help system designers develop new generations of high-performance, low- cost computer peripherals and consumer electronics products.

A fabless semiconductor company backed by a number of Japanese corporate investors is sampling its superscalar DSP chip in Japan. The ZSP16401 from ZSP CORP. incorporates the Santa Clara, California-based company's 10X DSP architecture, which applies advanced techniques developed in the RISC microprocessor field to digital signal processing. The part's superscalar design is said to yield 10 times the performance available using most conventional uniscalar DSP architectures. That reduces the number of DSP chips required to meet increasing digital communications demands. The ZSP16401's architecture also is claimed to simplify programming. Production of the chip is scheduled for the second half of this year. It will be priced at $50 per unit in volume quantities.

In a worldwide release, LSI LOGIC CORP. started shipping to GSM (general system for mobile communications) wireless handset manufacturers the industry's first customizable, single-chip GSM baseband processor. In place of multiple chips to cover the relevant baseband functions, LSI Logic integrated all mixed-signal functions and digital baseband logic, including the OakDSPCore DSP and TinyRISC processor cores, onto a single CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) chip. The GSM baseband processor is priced at $15 in volume quantities.

The ADDZEST automotive navigation system that CLARION CO., LTD. is introducing this spring in Japan uses the Zodiac chipset from ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL CORP. in its GPS (global positioning system) receiver. The two-chip Zodiac chipset provides the core of a 12-channel GPS receiver that can accurately calculate geographic position from signals received from a network of orbiting GPS satellites.

Lower-price VideoCD karaoke players are on the way, thanks to the first single-chip controller from OAK TECHNOLOGY, INC. The Sunnyvale, California firm's OTI-257, priced at $15 in volumes of 10,000, combines an integrated 32-bit multimedia RISC architecture, a multistandard TV encoder with composite and S-video output, a full-screen, 64-color on- screen display, and a full-featured multilingual karaoke playback function with integrated DSP supporting high-fidelity sound effects.

3DFX INTERACTIVE, INC., the San Jose, California developer of the popular Voodoo 3D graphics accelerator chipset, has a second-generation product on the market. The Voodoo 2 Graphics chipset, designed for systems powered by Pentium, Pentium Pro and Pentium II processors, boasts a threefold performance improvement over the initial Voodoo Graphics product. It also brings to PC game players technologies that 3Dfx developed originally for arcade customers. The AGP-capable Voodoo 2 is retailing for $300 or so. .....INTEL CORP.'s subsidiary also has released a 3D graphics accelerator. Priced at about $36 per part in quantities of 10,000, the Intel 740 is AGP-capable.

In a wide-ranging agreement, INTEGRATED SILICON SOLUTION, INC. is licensing certain flash memory patents and intellectual property to ASAHI KASEI MICROSYSTEMS CO., LTD. The fabless Santa Clara, California developer of memory products and AKM, which specializes in mixed-signal chips, also will work together on products utilizing technology from both companies. The licensing arrangement includes several patents covering ISSI's FN Tunneling Flash cells, or NexFlash technology. It allows AKM to embed these memory blocks in its products.

PHILIPS SEMICONDUCTORS, INC. and HITACHI, LTD. are working on ICs for contactless smart cards using the Sunnyvale, California firm's MIFARE technology. That platform is said to be at the heart of 90 percent of the smart cards in use. Under the agreement, Hitachi has unrestricted rights to produce, market and sell products based on the MIFARE technology.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Hoping to keep adding to its subscriber rolls, AMERICA ONLINE, INC.'s local operation is offering the Easy AOL Starter Kit. For about $4.00, buyers get a CD-ROM with all the software needed to connect to the Internet, open an AOL account and view or hear some of the Web's more advanced technologies. They also get 100 hours of on-line time free. Thanks to the roughly 6,500 convenience store locations of marketing partner LAWSON CO., LTD., a DAIEI, INC. company, AOL hopes to reach customers all across the country.

As Web access spreads in Japan, so does interest in Web site filtering software. SECURE COMPUTING CORP. of Roseville, Minnesota has tied up with Tokyo-based LEASE ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. to localize, market and support Smart Filter, a package that meets this demand.

ADSMART NETWORK CORP., an Internet advertising company affiliated with CMG INFORMATION SERVICES, INC., is following its parent's lead by partnering with SUMITOMO CORP. Andover, Massachusetts-based ADSmart will franchise its business processes, methodology and technology to the trader's CROSSBEAM NETWORKS CORP. subsidiary, enabling that firm to build a local Internet advertising network. ADSmart's affinity networks — such as Generation-X, College Finance/Investing, Sports and Travel — make it easy for advertisers to reach their target audiences.

The Newstand news server software from IMAGINA, INC. of Portland, Oregon gives Web surfers much greater access to the Internet's 30,000- plus Usenet forums through its fully localized, user-friendly interface. Available through exclusive distributor IMME LTD. of Tokyo, the Usenet server software also can be used by corporations as a collaborative workgroup solution by creating secure cyberforums for project teams. Newstand runs on Power Macintosh machines, but the partners plan to release a version for the Windows NT operating system later this year.

The local unit of Sunnyvale, California POINTCAST INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 18) has released PointCast Intranet Broadcast Manager, PointCast Caching Manager and PointCast Administrator, the latest versions of its American parent's information- push tools for corporate intranets. Together, the three tools allow administrators to filter news and information content, deliver it directly to employees' desktops via customizable channels and manage PointCast network bandwidth resources.

Boston-headquartered INSO CORP. licensed its Outside In HTML Export conversion software to NEC CORP. for use in the electronics giant's WebPublic information publishing tool. HTML Export automatically converts more than 200 proprietary document formats in either English or Japanese into HTML documents accessible by any Web browser. WebPublic is an optional feature of NEC's StarOffice, a groupware solution for business.

A more general-purpose Internet information publishing toolset, localized for Japan, is available from OPEN MARKET, INC. of Burlington, Massachusetts. Folio 4.1 (Japanese) encompasses Folio Publisher for making business information available on the Web, Folio Views, which lets clients retrieve and view this information, and Folio Builder to automate the process of securing, compiling and converting professional information. The localized version handles English and Japanese information with equal facility. Folio Builder and Folio Publisher are both priced at $2,500, while Folio Views lists for $190.

Coming at the data access problem from the other direction, INFOSPACE, INC. and MITSUI & CO., LTD. have localized the San Mateo, California firm's Web-based data access and analysis tools for business. With the Infospace tools, users can query, view and interact with data from almost any data base, data mart or data warehouse on the Internet using a Web browser. Infospace's scalable, multithreaded Java server also allows firms to give secure data access to customers and suppliers via the Internet. Mitsui is Infospace's primary backer.

Hoping to make feasible on-line transactions for amounts less than the equivalent of $3.97, DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary has launched an electronic funds transfer system, MilliCent. The experimental service is open to all vendors, but it likely will appeal to software, news and music companies, which could charge users a small fee every time they play a network game, hear a music recording over the Internet or read a news article with their Web browser. The system keeps track of a user's clicks and tallies the bill at the end of a session.

Digital certificate software from GTE CYBERTRUST SOLUTIONS INC. has been selected by Japan's largest consumer credit-card issuer as a key component of its electronic commerce system. JCB CO., LTD. wants to provide complete e-commerce solutions for establishments worldwide that honor the JCB card as well as for its own Internet malls. GTE CyberTrust's agent is CYBERTRUST JAPAN, INC., a joint venture between the Needham, Massachusetts company and a number of local corporations (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 330, March 1997, p. 15).

A competing electronic commerce payment system, CAFIS, is undergoing trials. NTT DATA CORP. is running the test. It is one of a number of Japanese investors in VERISIGN, INC.'s subsidiary. The Mountain View, California company's digital authentication system is a key component of CAFIS. NTT Data claims that CAFIS is the largest Japanese on-line credit and payment verification system that complies with the SET security standard.

IBM JAPAN LTD. is offering an enterprise-level, turnkey intranet/Web server package at prices from $8,900. The TX Series combines Domino Go Webserver with Encina CICS transaction-processing software for intranets.

New from the subsidiary of INTERNET DYNAMICS, INC. is the latest version of the Lombard, Illinois developer's Conclave Internet/intranet integrated network security system. Written for the Windows NT operating environment, the package is priced from $4,000 for a 25-user license. Internet Dynamics' local operation, a joint venture with DATA CONTROL LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 334, July 1997, p. 19), expects sales of 300 packages the first year.

Although spawned with the Internet in mind, the Java language is expanding its range of applications through the Web and beyond. For instance, NOVITA COMMUNICATIONS, INC. of Santa Clara, California is supplying its Novita Mail 100%-Java e-mail software to INTERCOM CO., LTD. .....For its part, SYBASE, INC.'s unit is promoting its jConnect for JDBC 3.0, a pure Java data base connectivity software. The program allows Java-based applications to access Java-based and non-Java data bases. The enterprise version of jConnect starts at $2,800, while the single-user one costs $680.


Java-based business applications can be created with a package from SILVERSTREAM SOFTWARE, INC. The Burlington, Massachusetts firm's self- named software lets users create and implement Internet/intranet/extranet applications with sophisticated business logic, full JDBC/ODBC data base access, comprehensive security and agent-based push content distribution technology. NICHIMEN DATA SYSTEMS CORP. has marketing rights to the Japanese-language version of SilverStream, which is priced from $10,300 for the server version and $780 for the single-user package. The distributor is projecting revenues of $8 million in the first year of marketing. As part of the distribution tie-up, Nichimen Data Systems invested in SilverStream Software.

Finally, SYMANTEC CORP. updated its general-purpose Java application development environment with professional programming and data base tools. Visual Cafe v2 runs on Macintosh machines and complies fully with the Java Development Kit 1.1 standard. The professional programmer's version retails for $285, while the data base edition lists at $620.

APPLE COMPUTER INC. continues its effort to revitalize its core software, releasing through its subsidiary the latest version of the Macintosh operating system. Priced at $190, Mac OS 8.1 sports new interface features as well as greater stability.

UNISYS CORP.'s local operation has landed KYODO COMPUTER SERVICE CO., LTD. as a customer for its System Nu middleware (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 19). The Tokyo firm will use the software as the core of its Summit View secure information distribution system. Together with the middleware, Unisys delivered to Kyodo Computer Service a Unix-based server, PCs, a disk array and networking software.

Separately, the UNISYS CORP. subsidiary became the fifth marketing agent for IBM JAPAN LTD.'s MQ Series middleware (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, October 1997, p. 17). Unisys expects the middleware's strong messaging features to appeal to a wide range of local customers, generating $7.9 million in sales this year.

Another company tightening its focus on the market for business-oriented middleware solutions is BORLAND INTERNATIONAL, INC. Its subsidiary now is marketing the company's Entera intelligent middleware directly, having dissolved a business formed in 1995 with CSK CORP. that had exclusive rights to market and sell Entera. About 15 sales, consulting and support staff formerly employed by the joint venture transferred to the Scotts Valley, California company's subsidiary.

Trying to leverage its still-strong position in the object-oriented programming field, APPLE COMPUTER INC.'s subsidiary rolled out OpenStep 4.2J. The client-server application development environment begins at $1,000 for a single-user package and goes up to $5,500 for a full developer system.

Eugene, Oregon-based ROGUE WAVE SOFTWARE, INC. is offering its expertise in writing reusable software modules, helping clients to use these modules and teaching them how to write their own modules through a full line of application development environments. Distributor TOYO INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. expects sales of the C++ and Java tools to hit 600 units the first year, bringing in revenues of $515,900.

A new debugger from MENTOR GRAPHICS CORP. aims at the growing market for embedded systems using MOTOROLA INC.'s 68000 and PowerPC families of microprocessors. XRAY BDM 4.0 cuts development costs by allowing engineers to connect target processors directly to a PC running under the Windows NT operating system. That eliminates the need for an I/O port or a software monitor to be resident in the target application. XRAY BDM 4.0, a product of Mentor's Microtec division, goes for $4,000 and up.

A more specialized software development tool is on the market from ENGINEOUS SOFTWARE, INC. of Morrisville, North Carolina. The iSIGHT family of modules helps manufacturing firms optimize their production software. Built into the products is an expert system that automates visualization, simulation and analysis of manufacturing processes. Distributor CRC RESEARCH INSTITUTE, INC. has priced iSIGHT from $63,500. It is projecting first-year sales of 50 copies.

Eight months after being opened, the Tokyo office of CAMBRIDGE TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS INC. signed its first big contract, tying up with NEC CORP. to offer systems integration services to financial institutions. CTP and NEC expect that clients will be attracted by the same features — rapid application development services and fixed-time/fixed-price contracts — that have made the Cambridge, Massachusetts firm one of the fastest-growing companies in the systems integration business.

The giants of the network server software business are battling it out in Japan. Having swept the market for big corporate customers with Windows NT, MICROSOFT CORP.'s subsidiary now is focusing on smaller companies with a specially tailored package. Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server v4.0 brings together Windows NT, Exchange groupware and the SQL Server data base manager. The turnkey package is available in two versions, one for five users and the other for 25, with prices starting at $2,400. The package is being channeled through local systems integrators, including SOFTBANK CORP. and OTSUKA SHOKAI CO., LTD.

For its part, the affiliate of NETSCAPE COMMUNICATIONS CORP. is pushing the latest version of its SuiteSpot networking and business solution package. SuiteSpot 3.5 eases the deployment and the operation of intranets and extranets by helping clients to more effectively manage information, communicate and collaborate, all within a secure administration infrastructure. SuiteSpot 3.5 pricing starts at $4,500 for a 50-user license.


Not to be outdone, NOVELL INC.'s subsidiary has announced a new pricing policy and a direct-sales strategy for corporate customers that buy in quantity. Previously relying on sales through dealers and PC makers, the company is offering big buyers volume discounts of 30 percent to 50 percent on its Intranetware network server software.

Market newcomer PEOPLE NETWORK, INC. is distributing its network packet analysis tool through KOMATSU, LTD. The Los Altos, California firm's low-cost ($780) NetAnt analyzer lets network administrators monitor and decode packet traffic — especially at key segment boundaries — from their desktops or out in the field.

Once a network traffic problem is identified, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Sun Bandwidth Allocator gives network managers the tools to work around the bottleneck by monitoring and apportioning system bandwidth to individual applications, users and organizations. The company's subsidiary has priced the new utility from $5,900.

CHECK POINT SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGIES LTD. is offering two network utilities through NIPPON STEEL INFORMATION COMMUNICATION SYSTEM CO., LTD. The Redwood City, California firm's Check Point FloodGate-1 tool monitors and configures an intranet's or a network's physical layer, while Check Point FireWall-1 secures access to the intranet/extranet/Internet. NSICS joins a long list of local firms in handling FireWall-1 (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 337, October 1997, p. 21).

Continuing its steady pace of product releases, the local unit of NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. (formerly McAfee Associates, Inc.) launched a new antivirus software and service for corporate networks. Intercorp Total Virus Defense automatically guards against network-borne computer viruses. It comes with round-the-clock technical assistance. The basic fee for the software and support is $24 a month, plus 79 cents a month per client.

Norton AntiVirus for Lotus Notes is a new utility for the popular network groupware from SYMANTEC CORP.'s subsidiary. Given the large Notes user community in Japan, the company expects 270,000 copies to fly off the shelves in 1998, even with prices starting at $2,000 for a 49-user setup.

A new network facsimile utility from the subsidiary of COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. — FAXserve J5.0 — promises to ease the fax needs of large corporations. FAXserve for Windows NT offers centralized administration of multiple fax servers, batch setup of large numbers of users, comprehensive inbound fax routing services, broadcast/narrowcast capabilities and support for many popular PC fax boards.

A network utility from SEAGATE SOFTWARE, INC. has been updated. Version 7.0J of Backup Exec works closely with MICROSOFT CORP.'s Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server to automatically back up all data over the network. Versions of Backup Exec previously were released for other Microsoft and NOVELL INC. products (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 336, September 1997, p. 21).

Japanese chief information officers have the benefit of a growing list of software options to meet their varied needs. For example, COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s local arm has sold a Concept Base Search 1000 system to JUSTSYSTEM CORP. The software maker's rapid growth has made it a challenge to provide every employee with the latest corporate information over its intranet. The new Compaq system avoids the need for key word searches, relying instead on natural language queries. A 20-client Concept Base Search 1000 system costs $18,300.

EXCALIBUR TECHNOLOGIES CORP. released a native Japanese version of its RetrievalWare through SONY MARKETING (JAPAN) INC. The Vienna, Virginia firm's product uses neural network technology and adaptive pattern recognition processing to search and retrieve all data types, regardless of the information's location and format.

The latest enterprise data storage and retrieval programs from EMC CORP.'s subsidiary focus on both the physical and the operational aspects of corporate information systems. Symmetrix Manager for Open Systems offers point-and-click displays of data storage system throughput and resource usage, helping administrators to resolve bottlenecks and plot usage trend lines. EMC's PowerPath, priced from $11,300 to $51,200, maximizes the operations of data storage systems by seamlessly handling multiple I/O paths, balancing workloads and ensuring redundant/failsafe data paths.

Two new software packages from American companies will help Japanese executives prepare up-to-the-minute financial reports based on international accounting standards. IBIS21, a unique product from UNISYS CORP.'s subsidiary, is tailored to the needs of financial institutions facing Big Bang deregulation and liberalization. Running under Windows NT, IBIS21 tracks all transactions according to rules set by the Bank for International Settlements and provides BIS-compliant reports. A basic system license starts at nearly $1.7 million. Optional add-ons cost about $1,700 and up a month. .....A more generalized administrative and accounting package is available from NCR CORP.'s subsidiary. By drawing data from purchasing, production and sales departments, NCR's RAPID system generates reports in real time using international accounting standards. The system can be set to flag questionable transactions and postings, helping managers maintain internal control. SEKISUI CHEMICAL CO., LTD. is the first buyer of the RAPID data warehouse and financial analysis package.

Through its subsidiary, NOVELL INC. is shipping GroupWise WorkFlow Professional 5.2J. The graphical version of GroupWise WorkFlow lets users create, manage and store information about business processes. Using a shared electronic "canvas," they can place and link icons representing various steps or operations, institutionalizing ways to structure, process and respond to tasks.


Building on last year's introduction of its integrated corporate information reporting system, Crystal Report 6.0 (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 339, December 1997, p. 20), the new subsidiary of SEAGATE SOFTWARE, INC. announced a Japanese-language version of an integrated decision support package, Crystal Info 6.0. Combining Crystal Report's features with new on-line analytical processing capabilities and Internet browser channel standards, Crystal Info allows managers to monitor and analyze globe-spanning corporate operations in real time and via a friendly Web browser interface. To be available in the second quarter, Crystal Info's pricing begins at about $3,300 for a five-user client-server package. First-year sales are projected at $4 million.

In conjunction with the opening of a Tokyo subsidiary, Atlanta- headquartered MAPICS, INC. announced a Japanese-language version of its MAPICS XA enterprise resource planning tool. MAPICS XA is widely used by discrete and batch-process manufacturers. More than 65 companies in Japan already run the English version of MAPICS on their INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. AS/400 platforms. IBM JAPAN LTD., GB SOLUTION CO., LTD. and ALPS SYSTEM INTEGRATION CO., LTD. are the company's distributors. One of the first businesses to implement the Japanese version of MAPICS XA is OKI DATA CORP., which has installed the ERP solution at its plants in Japan, Thailand and Great Britain.

MANUGISTICS, INC. has freshened up its competing ERP and supply chain management product. The Japanese-language version of Manugistics5 helps firms better manage distribution, manufacturing and supplier logistics. Depending on the configuration, the SCM software costs anywhere from $4,000 to $158,700. Since opening a wholly owned subsidiary last summer (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 334, July 1997, p. 21), the Rockville, Maryland company has signed FUJITSU, LTD. and NEC CORP. as resellers.

Lower down the complexity scale, SHERPA CORP. is offering its product data management system through YOKOGAWA DIGITAL COMPUTER CO., LTD. The Milpitas, California firm's SherpaWORKS 97 turnkey package lets firms implement a complete, scalable PDM system in as little as 30 days. SherpaWORKS 97 can create and manage product structures, structured parts, processes and baselines as well as provide multiple views of bills of material. YDC has priced the software from $14,300.

Integrating ERP systems and electronic data interchange systems with existing corporate applications is the specialty of Mercator, a product of Wilton, Connecticut-based TSI INTERNATIONAL SOFTWARE LTD. Without special coding, Mercator automatically handles the interface reconciliation and data transformation necessary to link these complex systems. MITSUI & CO., LTD. has signed on as Mercator's distributor in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. It plans to have a Japanese-language version of the program on the market by the end of 1998. The trader also will use Mercator in-house.

Enterprise system management specialist TIVOLI SYSTEMS INC., an INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. company based in Austin, Texas, has released through IBM JAPAN LTD. versions of its TME10 Information/Management v1.1 for Web servers from MICROSOFT CORP. and NETSCAPE COMMUNICATIONS CORP. TME10 I/M is an integrated set of tools and services for customizing and automating help desks, call centers, problem management, reengineering management and configuration management.

Targeting call center operations more specifically is Redmond, Washington-based MOSAIX, INC.'s Call Management Solutions line of programs. They are available through value-added reseller NIPPON INFORMATION SERVICE INC. Mosaix 500 Predictive Dialer, Guide scripting package and Campaign Analyst (for analyzing telephone drives) will be in use and on display in NIS's own Tokyo call center.

In the wake of last summer's agreement to work more closely, MICROSOFT CORP. has released a Japanese-language version of Internet Explorer 4.0 for APPLE COMPUTER INC.'s Macintosh family of computers. A localized edition of Microsoft Office 98 for Mac equipment will be available in the April-June quarter. Both applications take full advantage of the Mac OS 8.1 operating system. They have a real Macintosh "look and feel" while retaining full file format compatibility with Microsoft's applications for Windows systems.

A.D.A.M. SOFTWARE INC. has followed up on the recent introduction of its interactive human anatomy software (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 24) by commissioning Japanese versions of three medical information and diagnostic programs it recently acquired. KAINOS LABORATORIES, INC. will localize and market exclusively Iliad, Medical HouseCall and Pediatric HouseCall. The Nagoya pharmaceutical company is familiar with the three packages since it handled local marketing of them for their previous owner, APPLIED MEDICAL INFORMATICS, INC. Iliad is an on-line and off-line drug and medical information encyclopedia for doctors and medical researchers. The HouseCall programs are aimed at laymen, helping them understand medical conditions and the drugs that treat them.

Market newcomer VIDEONICS INC. of Campbell, California tapped KOMAMURA CORP. to distribute its desktop video editing program for Windows environments and its video device controller plug-in for ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC.'s Premier video image editing package. Video ToolKit 3.0, which lists at $475, adds Internet connectivity and the ability to control up to seven source and postproduction devices through one PC serial port. The $315 Media Motion 3.0 allows users to control videocassette recorders and camcorders from within Adobe Premier with unprecedented accuracy and flexibility.


AVID TECHNOLOGY, INC. of Tewkesbury, Massachusetts has signed up a seventh distributor of its nonlinear video editing programs. DAINIPPON SCREEN MANUFACTURING CO., LTD. will handle both the high-end MediaComposer, which costs anywhere from $39,700 to $95,200, and the midrange MCXpress, which ranges in price from $31,700 to $55,600. With its 200 sales channels, Dainippon Screen sees its revenues from Avid programs hitting $39.7 million in the year 2000.

Known for its popular screen-saver utility, BERKELEY SYSTEMS, INC. has agreed to work with entertainment producer YOSHIMOTO KOGYO CO., LTD. on a local version of the award-winning "You Don't Know Jack" trivia game. To be available for both Windows and Mac OS systems, Yoshimoto Kogyo expects the game's quiz-show format to appeal to a Japanese audience. It plans to amplify this appeal by using Japanese material and the voice of a popular Japanese comedian as the game's emcee.

To keep pace with operating system developments, INSIGNIA SOLUTIONS INC. of Santa Clara, California rolled out a new, localized version of its PC emulator for Macintosh computers. SoftWindows95 5.0 lets Mac users run Windows 95 programs more quickly and with fewer crashes. The $350 program is available through MC PERSONAL COMPUTER CO., LTD., a unit of MITSUBISHI CORP. and Insignia's exclusive distributor for the last four years. Roughly 50,000 copies of the previous edition of SoftWindows were sold in Japan.

Since being acquired by NATIONAL SEMICONDUCTOR CORP., Fremont, California-based MEDIAMATICS, INC. has pressed ahead with its DVD software for PCs, DVDExpress. The software encoder/decoder is optimized for use on Pentium processors with MMX technology. It has been integrated into Windows 95. Mediamatics is pushing Japanese electronics makers to incorporate the software into their set-top DVD boxes and other multimedia appliances.

Imaging forms and other nontext data just became easier thanks to a new PC utility from the Japanese arm of UNISYS CORP. Entry Key/Viewer handles things like completed application forms, sales slips, invoices and other forms, checking automatically for errors and problems as the data is scanned. Unisys expects to sell 1,000 copies a year of the $3,300 program.

SYMANTEC CORP.'s subsidiary is offering updates for three of its popular PC utility programs: the $94 Norton Utilities and Norton CrashGuard and Norton Uninstall Deluxe, both of which have a street price of $54. The popularity of the Windows operating system underpins Symantec's first- year sales projections of 400,000 copies for Norton Utilities and 600,000 combined units for the other two packages.

Close on the heels of NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD.'s decision to make the I- DEAS Master CAD program and the Metaphase Enterprise product data management software from STRUCTURAL DYNAMICS RESEARCH CORP. the heart of its global engineering and production system (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 22), the Milford, Ohio supplier of mechanical design automation and PDM software announced that NISSAN DIGITAL PROCESS, LTD. will be the prime local distributor of these products to Nissan's supplier base in Japan. The deal has an estimated end-user value of $65 million. DIPRO and SDRC will jointly support Nissan suppliers outside Japan.

Boulder, Colorado-headquartered SPATIAL TECHNOLOGY, INC. has finalized a deal that will make its ACIS 3D solid-modeling technology the central component of SONY CORP.'s global engineering needs. The capability of the ACIS engineering data exchange server to work with a wide variety of CAD/CAE/CAM systems was a key issue in Sony's decision.

Targeting the large installed base of users of SolidWorks for PC-based 3D CAD, MECHANICAL DYNAMICS, INC. of Ann Arbor, Michigan made its add-on virtual prototyping module — ADAMS — available through KUBOTA SOLID TECHNOLOGY CORP. ADAMS takes SolidWorks designs and turns them into virtual mechanical systems for simulation, testing and evaluation. KUSCO is the exclusive distributor of SolidWorks, a product of Concord, Massachusetts-based SOLIDWORKS CORP.

MENTOR GRAPHICS CORP. is working closely with ZUKEN INC. to bolster both companies' CAD/CAM resources for printed circuit boards. The Yokohama-based firm has considerable experience designing PCBs, while Mentor brings its electronic design strengths to the table. The two will develop PCB CAD/CAM systems for sale in Japan and Asia.

To meet the complex demands of designing systems-on-a-chip, SYNOPSIS, INC.'s subsidiary has released the industry's first formal verification tool for million-gate-plus designs, Formality. As the number of gates in a chip's logic design has skyrocketed, verification times by gate-level simulation have increased to unacceptable lengths. For $134,900, Formality's static verification solves this problem with multiple verification algorithms, powerful diagnostic analysis, schematic debugging and integration with synthesis-based design flow processes.

Separately, the local arm of Mountain View, California-based SYNOPSIS, INC. released the latest iteration of its synthesis design tool, Design Compiler '98. Also targeted at million-gate-plus designs, the $76,200 DC98 features enhancements that make designs run up to three times faster than previous efforts and that produce a 13 percent improvement in critical-path-timing quality of results. Better overall project management also has been incorporated in DC98.

As Japanese educational methods adapt to modern technology, LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary hopes that its LearningSpace r2.0 will be a part of the change. Besides providing a comprehensive set of course creation and management tools, LearningSpace's Internet-based ability to bring together instructors and students face-to-face "anytime, anywhere" should appeal to academic and business users. Lotus has priced a single- user version at $6,300.

Students or anyone interested in learning the basics of computer programming will welcome METROWERKS, INC.'s latest offering of CodeWarrior Discover Programming for Macintosh Japanese r2.0. The $22 program covers basic and advanced object-oriented programming topics in four languages: C, C++, Java and Pascal. Plus, the package teaches how to create programs with the unique Macintosh "look and feel." The San Jose, California company's subsidiary is in charge of distribution.

On the Macintosh software marketing front, the Japanese unit of CLARIS CORP. will follow its parent's lead and recreate itself April 1 as FILEMAKER JAPAN INC. The new firm will return all responsibility for Macintosh programs to APPLE COMPUTER INC.'s subsidiary and focus entirely on developing and marketing the popular FileMaker series of data base programs.

On the other side of the operating system divide, MICROSOFT CORP. has agreed to end its poorly performing PC game venture with SOFTBANK CORP. At some point this year, the wholesaler of PC software will buy Microsoft's 40 percent stake in GAMEBANK CORP. and revamp the game development company on a smaller scale. Gamebank was created in 1995 in anticipation of the release of Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system. Although its revenues run about $15.9 million a year, the company has a cumulative debt of roughly $5.6 million.

Separately, MICROSOFT CORP.'s subsidiary has struck a mail-order software marketing pact with several firms that supply small businesses, such as office equipment vendor ASCLE CORP. The new partners will include Microsoft products in their catalogs. That, the software giant hopes, will stimulate sales of upgrades and add-ons without high marketing costs to the tune of at least $317.5 million a year within two years.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Companies interested in offering employees and business partners access to their corporate network remotely via the Internet have a new option in a pair of extranet access switches from BAY NETWORKS, INC.'s subsidiary. The NOC 4000 supports large organizations with as many as 2,000 simultaneous remote users, while the NOC 2000 can handle up to 200 concurrent remote users. These products were developed by NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS, INC. of Acton, Massachusetts, which Bay Networks acquired in January. They combine virtual private networking services with authentication, bandwidth management, routing, firewall and directory-enabled access in a scalable platform. NET ONE SYSTEMS CO., LTD. is the exclusive distributor of the NOC series.

Security-conscious businesses are the target market for ASCEND COMMUNICATIONS, INC.'s Pipeline 220 remote access router. It is designed for organizations that need to maintain a tightly protected LAN for internal data transactions but want to give outsiders access to their Web servers and other "public" resources. The Pipeline 220 connects a frame relay or a point-to-point WAN to two independent Ethernet LANs. It uses the Alameda, California company's integrated Secure Access Firewall to safeguard all network connections.

The Shadow IPserver from NETWORK TELESYSTEMS, INC. automates the job of assigning and tracking IP addresses on corporate intranets. The platform integrates three network services: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, which centralizes network configuration and automates address assignment; Dynamic Domain Name System, which maintains the changing mapping of names to addresses for intranet clients; and Net BIOS Name Service, which provides name-to-address mapping for Net BIOS-based client-server applications. Sunnyvale, California-based Network TeleSystems tapped TERILOGY CO., LTD. of Tokyo to distribute the Shadow IPserver. Its pricing starts at $2,200.

A San Jose, California start-up funded by NEC CORP. in July 1996 turned to its founder to market in Japan its first product, a switch-based load balancer that manages traffic flows to Web and application servers. HOLONTECH CORP.'s HyperFlow SP800, which NEC is selling as the C&C-NET SS100e/H800, features the developer's ClusterXL flow-control software integrated with eight-port Ethernet 10/100-megabit-per-second dedicated-bandwidth switches. By weighing a number of variables, the product distributes incoming client requests to the most available server. NEC has priced the SS100e/H800 at $28,600. It expects to sell 1,000 units annually.

CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary is marketing Local Director for high- traffic Internet sites. The product load-balances TCP/IP traffic across multiple servers. These can be automatically and transparently placed in or out of service.

Building on a relationship that dates from last summer (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 334, July 1997, p. 24), PACKET ENGINES INC. is supplying three products to SUMITOMO ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES, LTD. on an OEM basis. They include the Spokane, Washington firm's G-NIC Gigabit Ethernet network interface card for 32-bit and 64-bit PCI bus computers. Priced at $2,000, the card is said to provide workstations and servers 10 times the bandwidth of Fast Ethernet. SEI also is marketing a pair of FDR Gigabit Ethernet hubs, which ensure fair allocation of 1,000-Mbps bandwidth and 12.1-gigabit-per-second broadcast capability among ports. The FDR6t2, priced at $19,800, includes a six-port module that provides six full-duplex 1000Base-SX ports. The $30,200 FDR12 contains two of these modules. .....NEC CORP. also has a Gigabit Ethernet switch on the market that it is getting on an OEM basis from 3COM CORP. The IP8000/500, a Layer 3, chassis-type switch, starts at $14,200.

The BayStack 350 Autosense Switch line from BAY NETWORKS, INC. has been expanded. In addition to the BayStack 350F-HD, a switch with 24 10/100-Mbps ports plus two 100Base-FX ports for high bandwidth traffic to the network core (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 24), the company's local operation is marketing a stripped-down model that just provides the 24 10/100Base-TX ports. The BayStack 350T-HD lists for $5,400.

The subsidiary of Largo, Florida-based PARADYNE CORP. has an April introduction date for a xDSL modem, which allows a regular telephone line to be used for both high-speed data transfers and conversations. The Hot- Wire MVL can transmit data at speeds of up to 788 kilobits per second. In the fall, the company plans to cut the modem's price to what it is in the United States now — about $300.

As part of a global introduction, MINNESOTA MINING & MANUFACTURING CO. launched the Volition-brand Fiber Optic Cabling System in Japan through affiliate SUMITOMO 3M LTD. This product, 3M says, addresses the criticism that fiber-optic cabling is too expensive, fragile and complex to deploy to the desktop despite its ability to ease a LAN's bandwidth constraints. At least in the United States, the Volition system is priced at half the cost of current fiber-optic cabling solutions.

GENERAL DATACOMM, INC.'s subsidiary has a product on the market that it says finally delivers to service providers and enterprise users the original promise of ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) technology — the ability to handle video, data and voice traffic over a single platform — while cutting voice network costs by as much as half. The APEX VSM, short for voice service module, is a standards-based voice over ATM product that offers both standards-based variable-bit-rate and constant-bit-rate capabilities in a single hardware platform. Pricing is open, but in the United States the Middlebury, Connecticut company started the APEX VSM at $12,000 at release last fall.

Over the next two years, the local operation of UNISYS CORP. expects to sell 300 of what in the United States is called the FBA Call Center. This Windows NT-based solution, designed to help banks create an advanced call center operation, integrates computer telephony components, data bases and customized applications software. The computer telephony integration software comes from Unisys partner GENESYS TELECOMMUNICATIONS LABORATORIES INC. of San Francisco. A 12-line FBA Call Center costs $95,200, while a system with 48 lines goes for around $222,200.

A Washington state start-up that is proposing a mobile communications system using less-expensive blimps as relay stations in place of low- earth-orbit satellites has attracted the attention of TOMEN CORP. The trader plans to launch the service in Japan after the year 2001, which is when SKY STATION INTERNATIONAL INC. anticipates starting operations in the United States. Floating roughly 12 miles above earth, each airship is expected to cover a 310-mile radius and serve 350,000 customers.

Within a year, FUJITSU, LTD. will take a 25 percent stake in what now is the wholly owned subsidiary of Palo Alto, California-based WEBTV NETWORKS INC. WebTV Network service, which enables people with the appropriate set-top box to access the Internet through their television sets, began in Japan last December.

Direct satellite broadcaster DIRECTV JAPAN INC. continues to line up heavyweight investors. The latest is leasing company ORIX CORP., which will invest about $1.6 million in the business in April. DIRECTV INTERNATIONAL INC., part of HUGHES ELECTRONICS CORP., remains the single largest shareholder in DirecTV, which launched a 63-channel service at the beginning of December.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Encouraged by the success to date of its line of shoes for children, the subsidiary of REEBOK INTERNATIONAL LTD. will add the 19 styles in the Classic Nylon Velcro family in April. That will give the company a selection of 46 models priced from $23 to $110 a pair. Children's shoes, which now account for about 10 percent of the local Reebok unit's sales, are available in specialty shoe stores as well as in department stores.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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NISSAN TRANSPORT CO., LTD. now is handling all transportation-related operations for CHRYSLER JAPAN SALES LTD. vehicles. The NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. affiliate is in charge of everything from overseeing the unloading of Chrysler sport-utility vehicles, minivans and cars from ships to delivering them to dealers. At the end of last year, CHRYSLER CORP. ended its distribution agreement with HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD. on Jeep products (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 337, October 1997, p. 25). Sales of Chrysler vehicles dropped 10.7 percent in 1997 to 14,432 units.

American automotive parts suppliers see the chance to do more business with Japan's vehicle manufacturers if car and truck producers move toward modular assemblies. In this production system, parts suppliers build sections of a vehicle and deliver these modules to the final assembly plant. ITT CORP.'s ITT Automotive unit, a major supplier of brake systems, opened a wholly owned subsidiary in Tokyo as part of its effort to boost annual sales to local vehicle makers to $555.6 million in three years from roughly $79.4 million in 1997. From its new base, ITT Automotive will explore joint development possibilities with NISSHINBO INDUSTRIES, INC., its partner in the area of antilock braking systems. The Tenneco Automotive unit of TENNECO, INC., which already has a Japanese subsidiary, is scouting prospective partners for collaborative development of such parts as shock absorbers. It also plans to strengthen the development capabilities of its subsidiary in the area of modular systems.

In April, BRIDGESTONE CORP. will start marketing Firestone Wilderness radial tires for four-wheel-drive vehicles. Japan's top tire manufacturer owns Nashville, Tennessee-headquartered BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE, INC., the maker of the Firestone brand of tires.

Although the civilian version of BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON INC.'s tilt- rotor aircraft still is in the engineering design stage, distributor MITSUI BUSSAN AEROSPACE CO., LTD. signed a preliminary agreement to buy three of them. The Bell Boeing 609 is a six-to-nine-passenger plane that combines the vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of a helicopter with the speed and the range of a turboprop plane. Depending on the configuration, the aircraft will cost between $8 million and $10 million.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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The world's dominant supplier of slurries used in chemical mechanical planarization for semiconductors — the Aurora, Illinois-based Microelectronics Materials division of CABOT CORP. — will build a plant for CMP slurries in Geino, Mie prefecture. Groundbreaking for the $9.5 million facility is set for May, with full operations expected by the end of 1998. The complex, which will employ more than 40 people, will have the capacity to supply the Asian Pacific's entire CMP slurry demand. The plant will be the fourth Cabot facility making high-purity semiconductor polishing compounds, with two in the United States and one in Wales. Boston-headquartered Cabot already makes carbon black at four locations in Japan: Ibaraki, Chiba, Fukushima and Yamaguchi prefectures.

JPS ELASTOMERICS CORP., a manufacturer of commercial roofing and environmental lining systems, has licensed its technology to TSUTSUNAKA PLASTIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD. For an undisclosed amount, the Holyoke, Massachusetts company gave Japan's oldest producer of plastic and thermoplastic sheeting the right to manufacture ethylene-propylene- based roofing membranes and environmental geomembranes using proprietary JPS Elastomerics technology and to sell these products in Japan under its own brand name. In the United States, the company's flexible membrane roofing systems are sold under the Stevens Hi-Tuff name. For the first three years or so, Tsutsunaka Plastic Industry plans to sell imported products. By then, it will have the required equipment in place to make the products.

High-end golf equipment developer and marketer LYNX GOLF, INC. of Carlsbad, California has formed a wholly owned subsidiary. The new operation is providing Japan-specific product development support to distributor KINDAI GOLF CO., LTD. as well as helping it with sales and marketing.

Big discount office products catalog seller VIKING OFFICE PRODUCTS will move into the Japanese market this summer. First, though, it will build a distribution facility and set up a customer service center, most likely in cooperation with a local telemarketing firm. The Los Angeles business will offer 11,000-plus items, including computer equipment, furniture, cleaning supplies as well as more run-of-the-mill office supplies. About 90 percent of the products in its catalog will be bought from local manufacturers.

In June, packaging and shipping services, mail box rentals and such business support services as faxing and copying will be available in Nagoya through the first PAK MAIL CENTERS OF AMERICA, INC. franchise. This Pak Mail Center will be operated by SAWADA SANGYO CO., LTD., the Aurora, Colorado firm's master franchiser for Japan. Beginning in the fall, Sawada will start recruiting franchise partners, focusing initially on the Tokyo and Osaka areas.

THE HOFFMAN AGENCY, a San Jose, California-based public relations business that focuses on the high technology industry, has an office in Tokyo. The new organization, a partnership with F.L. NETWORK K.K., will support the Japan marketing efforts of American computer hardware and software companies.

An exchange rate of Y126=$1.00 was used in this report.

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