No. 343, April 1998

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Japanese Companies in the United States

American Companies in Japan

Index of All Reports aaaa Home

Japanese Companies in the United


Pasadena, Texas will be the location of a $200 million acrylic acid plant built by AMERICAN ACRYL LLC. The year-old, equally owned joint venture between NIPPON SHOKUBAI CO., LTD.'s U.S. production subsidiary and ELF ATOCHEM NORTH AMERICA, INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 331, April 1997, p. 2) will break ground for the facility in the summer of 1999. Operations are scheduled to start in the second half of the year 2000. Nippon Shokubai will provide the production technology. The partners will split the factory's yearly output of 120,000 tons of acrylic acid, with the Japanese company's half going to NA INDUSTRIES, INC. That Chattanooga, Tennessee manufacturer will use the raw material for its output of superabsorbent polymers. NAI is in the process of boosting its SAP capacity to 60,000 tons a year.

ASAHI CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CO., LTD. will have an onshore source of acrylonitrile. It will participate in a project spearheaded by SOLUTIA INC. to build a world-scale acrylonitrile facility at the applied chemistry company's Chocolate Bayou plant in Alvin, Texas. Under the agreement, Asahi Chemical will have the right to purchase about 100 million pounds of acrylonitrile from the new Solutia plant. The St. Louis business has similar arrangements with BAYER CORP. and NOVUS INTERNATIONAL INC., a St. Louis-headquartered firm owned by MITSUI & CO., LTD. and NIPPON SODA CO., LTD.

With its foray at home into plastic compounding not producing the results expected, KAWASAKI STEEL CORP. transferred responsibility for its high- performance reinforced thermoplastic compounds business in Japan to subsidiary KAWASAKI-LNP INC. The big steelmaker bought the heart of the Exton, Pennsylvania-based plastic compounder, LNP ENGINEERING PLASTICS INC., in 1991. K-LNP will take over production of Verton, which is made from polypropylene and long glass fiber, from its parent. It also will work with KAWASHO CORP., KSC's trading company affiliate, to service existing Japanese customers and develop new Verton applications for Japan's market.

An adjuvant for insecticide, miticide and fungicide sprays developed by KAO CORP. is being made and marketed by HELENA CHEMICAL CO. The Memphis, Tennessee agricultural chemicals company is owned by MARUBENI CORP. Hyper-Active, approved for sale by the Environmental Protection Agency, improves spray coverage and penetration on both plant and pest surfaces. Kao is working on four other spray adjuvants that it also hopes to sell in the United States.

In a cost-cutting move, TAKEDA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. merged its U.S. bulk vitamin production and sales units into TAKEDA VITAMIN AND FOOD USA, INC. The new firm is based in Wilmington, North Carolina, where the parent has made vitamin B1 and vitamin C since 1986. Takeda Vitamin and Food employs some 160 people.

CHUGAI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. awarded SCHERING-PLOUGH CORP. exclusive worldwide marketing rights outside Japan to maxacalcitol (22- oxacalcitriol), a vitamin D3 analog for the topical treatment of psoriasis. Under the agreement, the Madison, New Jersey-based company, which is strong in dermatological products, will pay Chugai Pharmaceutical an up- front fee, plus various milestone payments. The drug's developer also will receive royalties on all sales. Schering-Plough will soon begin Phase II clinical trials on the compound.

Hoping to make pharmaceuticals a corporate profit center, big petrochemicals manufacturer MITSUBISHI CHEMICAL CORP. has devised a plan to boost revenues by signing royalty-bearing marketing agreements with foreign drug companies on products in its portfolio and by exporting bulk ingredients for pharmaceutical compounds. As a first step, Mitsubishi Chemical has lined up Philadelphia's SMITHKLINE BEECHAM LTD. to market in the United States its blood clot preventative, Argatroban. Next year, the firm expects to release on the American market an AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) drug.

With the start of operations at a plant in East Windsor, New Jersey, SHISEIDO CO., LTD. now has three facilities in the state turning out skin- care products as well as makeup (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 332, May 1997, p. 2). By the year 2000, the new factory will be able to make 70 million products a year. That volume is key to the cosmetics company's plan to boost American production capacity to 200 million units a year by the start of the next decade from 90 million units in 1997. The balance of the expansion will come from increased output at Shiseido's skin- care/makeup plants in Cranbury and Oakland, New Jersey and at subsidiary ZOTOS INTERNATIONAL INC., a Geneva, New York manufacturer of professional hair-care products.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Under a memorandum of understanding, the leader in the American portable computer market, TOSHIBA CORP., will team up with the originator of the Java programming language, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC., to develop a mobile network computer system. By adapting Java to the mobile market and drawing on Toshiba's expertise in the hardware end of this business, the prospective partners hope to bring greater flexibility to the work of road warriors. For example, sales people in the field could check the status of orders or place orders from a handheld terminal. Although the main target of the collaboration apparently is Japan, Toshiba and Sun Microsystems initially will gear their work to the U.S. market. Toshiba released its first Java-based network computer at home in January.

The customer support center FUJITSU PC CORP. opened last fall in Memphis, Tennessee (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 2) has a new neighbor, a product configuration center. The Milpitas, California company initially is using the facility to configure its LifeBook series of notebook computers and install software. By midyear, however, the product configuration center will add build-to-order capabilities. That will allow LifeBook buyers to specify for their machines operating system, processor speed, pointing device, screen size and type, hard drive and memory size. Fujitsu PC's goal is to ship out products within 48 hours of receiving orders.

Convinced that many Americans want a computer simply to write and communicate rather than compute, BROTHER INDUSTRIES, LTD.'s Somerset, New Jersey subsidiary introduced the Geobook NB-80C laptop. For $800, or about half what a standard low-end notebook costs, buyers gain access to the World Wide Web, the Internet, electronic mail, calendars, spreadsheets and address books via a machine with a 33-kilobit modem, a 1.44-megabyte floppy drive, a full-size keyboard and a color VGA (video graphics array) 10.4-inch display. The pricing differential primarily reflects the fact that the Geobook does not use the Windows operating system, which eliminates the need for a hard drive and an expensive processor.

Hoping that lower prices will jump-start sales of its notebook computers, Milpitas, California-based HITACHI PC CORP. lowered prices on five of its models by as much as 20 percent. Covered by the cuts were the high-end VisionBook Pro 7580 and 7590, the VisionBook Plus 5260 and 5280 value notebooks and the VisionBook Traveler mininotebook. The least-expensive VisionBook now starts at just under $1,600.

HITACHI, LTD. also is trying to gain an early lead in the emerging U.S. market for handheld personal computers running Windows CE 2.0. Its HITACHI HOME ELECTRONICS (AMERICA), INC. subsidiary has on the market what is said to be the first color unit with an oversized screen (8.1 inches measured diagonally) and a desktop-like 74-key keyboard. The $1,000 or so HPW-200EC, which weighs less than 2 pounds with its battery pack, is powered by a 100-megahertz version of the Hitachi SuperH SH3 32-bit RISC (reduced instruction-set computing) processor. Hitachi Home Electronics also is marketing a new monochrome handheld PC, the HPW- 20E8M, for around $600.

Smart cards and flash memory now are used predominantly in digital cameras and personal digital assistants. TOSHIBA CORP. and FISCHER INTERNATIONAL SYSTEMS CORP. of Naples, Florida plan to bring this technology to PCs. They formed SMARTDISK CORP., also headquartered in Naples, to make and market an adapter that allows any PC with a floppy drive to read and write data to and from Toshiba's SmartMedia flash memory cards and smart cards. The Smarty smart card reader/writer and the FlashPath SmartMedia reader/writer will be manufactured in the United States and the Philippines for worldwide sale. Both products have the same dimensions as a floppy disk and work from a floppy drive. Fischer is providing the technology for the adapters, while Toshiba is contributing its manufacturing expertise and international marketing presence. Toshiba currently has a 40 percent interest in SmartDisk, which started up with a staff of 30, but it expects to bring in other Japanese investors.

As part of a strategic alliance, audio equipment manufacturer AIWA CO., LTD. invested an undisclosed amount in CASTLEWOOD SYSTEMS, INC., the developer of the ORB removable disk drive. Incorporating new magnetoresistive head technology, the drive has a storage capacity of 2.16 gigabytes and a sustained data transfer rate of 12.2 megabytes per second, which is claimed to be the fastest speed of any removable media product now available. The Pleasanton, California company will begin shipping four versions of its ORB drive this spring. The two external configurations will be priced around $200 each, while the 2.16-gigabyte disk will go for $30 or so.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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One of the big American names in batteries, RAYOVAC CORP., will continue to receive technical assistance from MATSUSHITA BATTERY INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. through the year 2003. Under the extended technology license, the world's largest producer of portable batteries will provide the latest in alkaline battery designs, technology and manufacturing equipment to Rayovac. The Madison, Wisconsin-based company will buy a state-of-the- art alkaline battery production line from Matsushita Battery for installation at its Fennimore, Wisconsin plant, which currently has four production lines designed and built by the Japanese company. Rayovac has the option of buying other lines from Matsushita Battery during the agreement's life. In addition, it will source certain finished products, battery parts and material to supplement domestic output.

The first DVD (digital video disc) players to incorporate SRS LABS, INC.'s TruSurround are in stores. With this surround-sound technology, PIONEER ELECTRONIC CORP.'s DV505, DV-606D and DVL-909 DVD Players deliver the six channels of Dolby Digital sound encoded on laser discs and DVDs through a pair of standard stereo speakers. These second-generation DVD products have estimated street prices of $400 to $1,100. Pioneer also has on the market the VSX-D507S and the VSX-D457 audio-video receivers, which allow users to take advantage of TruSurround from a Dolby ProLogic input source.

Acknowledging the market power in the United States of NINTENDO CO., LTD.'s 64-bit Nintendo 64 home video game machine and SONY CORP.'s 32-bit PlayStation, SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD. pulled the plug on its Sega Saturn machine. U.S. sales of the Sega Saturn were just an estimated 100,000 units in FY 1997, off a whopping 90 percent-plus from the previous year. That plunge put Sega's Redwood City, California subsidiary deep in the red and forced a retrenchment at the American operation. The company, the largest maker of arcade-type video game machines, says that it will be back in the U.S. home video game market, hopefully next year. It is working with MICROSOFT CORP. on a next-generation product that will feature advanced image processing and networking capabilities.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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After 46 years, SUMITOMO BANK, LTD. will pull out of California's retail banking market. The Osaka-based company has agreed to sell the 47- branch SUMITOMO BANK OF CALIFORNIA to ZIONS BANCORP. of Salt Lake City, Utah for roughly $546 million (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 4). The California bank, which serves small and midsize businesses as well as individual customers, has assets of $5.1 billion or so. The deal is expected to close during the third quarter. Sumitomo Bank said that the sale was part of a strategy to focus its U.S. operations on wholesale commercial banking, particularly for big corporate clients, but the retrenchment also will boost the bank's capital adequacy ratio. .....SUMITOMO BANK, LTD. gave much the same explanation for the decision to close 14 branches in the United States that it bought from DAIWA BANK, LTD. in February 1996. The assets of these offices will be sold off.

A number of major banks, including SUMITOMO BANK, LTD., already have raised capital in the United States by selling preferred shares. Others plan to do that to improve their capital/asset ratios. FUJI BANK, LTD. is in the latter group. It is setting up a Delaware company, FUJI JGB INVESTMENT HOLDINGS INC., that, in turn, will form a subsidiary, FUJI JGB INVESTMENT LLC, to issue dollar-denominated preferred shares. Fuji Bank hopes to raise between $1 billion and $1.5 billion this way.

Japanese banks operating in the United States also are reducing their assets by securitizing loans extended to U.S. companies. For example, SANWA BANK, LTD. expects to securitize $1.7 billion worth of loans with maturities of three to five years for sale to pension funds and other institutional investors. The loans are being packaged by credit rating. Sanwa Bank will buy back those with the equivalent of a junk-bond rating.

DAIWA SECURITIES CO., LTD. reportedly is discussing a tie-up with Wall Street investment banker DONALDSON LUFKIN & JENRETTE INC. to capitalize on the new freedom individual Japanese investors now have to maintain foreign dollar-denominated accounts. Under the proposed deal, individuals would open accounts through Daiwa Securities' New York City subsidiary. A DLJ affiliate would service the accounts, execute trades and handle settlements since the Daiwa Securities unit, which deals mainly with institutional investors and corporate clients, lacks expertise in this area. The DLJ group also would supply information on mutual funds and other U.S. investment vehicles to Daiwa Securities' customers.

The small Boston office of New York-head-quartered FUJI SECURITIES, INC. is closing. The brokerage house is owned by FUJI BANK, LTD.

In April, NIKKO CAPITAL CO., LTD., a venture capital business affiliated with NIKKO SECURITIES CO., LTD., will form an equal partnership with a Menlo Park, California counterpart, SYNERGY PARTNERS INTERNATIONAL. Over the next six years, NIKKO SYNERGY VENTURES USA FUND, L.P. will invest $25 million in promising start-ups, particularly in the medical technology and health-care fields. A Delaware-incorporated company, NIKKO SYNERGY VENTURES, L.L.C., actually will manage the fund as well as handle the investments and their follow-up.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Snack and cracker manufacturer SESMARK FOODS, INC., the top producer of Usuyaki (thin) rice crackers and sesame sticks in the United States, has mapped out a plan to boost revenues to $25 million this year from $20.3 million in 1997. It is adding new varieties of rice-based snacks, such as rice pretzels, to its three production lines in Loves Park, Illinois as well as selling rice crackers imported from ABEKO SEIKA CO., LTD. of Niigata prefecture. For the last year or so, MITSUBISHI CORP. has been the majority owner of the 200-employee company, with a 50.4 percent share. KAMEDA SEIKA K.K. has a 44.5 percent share, with the balance of 5 percent owned by SESACO CORP. Mitsubishi and Kameda Seika acquired minority stakes in Sesmark in 1989.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Whether American or Japanese, major construction equipment manufacturers see compact hydraulic excavators as the next hot product. Some time this year, HITACHI CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY CO., LTD. will join KOBE STEEL, LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, p. 5) and KOMATSU LTD. in the American market for mini- excavators, which are aimed at jobs now performed by backhoes. The company plans to adapt the short rear-end swing radius technology found in its midsized hydraulic excavators to the new products so that they, too, can work in confined areas.

UBE INDUSTRIES, LTD. and its primary customer for large plastic injection molding machines, the Visteon Automotive Systems parts-making operation of FORD MOTOR CO., have renewed a 1992 supply arrangement. Under the new, blanket contract, the Japanese company, which has built equipment in the 500-ton to 4,000-ton class in Ann Arbor, Michigan since the fall of 1996, has the right to supply large injection molding machines to Ford plants around the world.

Like many other companies whose exports to East Asia have been hurt by the region's economic turmoil, NACHI-FUJIKOSHI CORP. is putting more emphasis on sales in the United States. To support this strategy, the manufacturer of ball and roller bearings, cutting and machine tools, robotic equipment and hydraulic equipment is relocating its main U.S. marketing subsidiary from Carlstadt, New Jersey to Indianapolis, Indiana to be closer to its automotive customers. It also will open a fifth marketing office. Nachi-Fujikoshi makes bearings in Greenwood, Indiana and machine tools through its NATIONAL BROACH & MACHINE CO. subsidiary in Macomb, Michigan.

The first Japanese producer of digital picking systems is moving into the U.S. market. CAP AI SYSTEM CO., LTD., an affiliate of SEKISUI JUSHI CORP., will open a subsidiary in the Atlanta area in June to market the CAP 7000 Series and, at some undisclosed time, the new CAP10 model. The company expects to be doing $15.5 million worth of business in four years. In preparation for the launch of sales, the manufacturer formed a technical support company, AIOI SYSTEMS USA CORP., in San Jose, California last year.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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PANASONIC CONSUMER ELECTRONICS CO., a U.S. marketing unit of MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD., hopes to stand out in the increasingly crowded market for digital cameras by introducing in May a product that produces pictures closer in resolution to film-based photographs. Photos taken with the PV-DC1580 PalmCam digital camera are comprised of 1 million pixels thanks to a megapixel charge-coupled device like camcorders use. The camera's reusable, removable CompactFlash memory holds the equivalent of 152 images in standard resolution and 40 in high resolution. The pictures can be downloaded to a PC in one of three ways.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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The dive in the prices of dynamic random access memory chips continues to reverberate through Japanese-affiliated semiconductor plants in the United States (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, p. 6). MATSUSHITA SEMICONDUCTOR CORP. OF AMERICA has indefinitely delayed opening a wafer fabrication facility at its Puyallup, Washington production complex that was built at a cost of $600 million. The new front end has the capacity to produce 12,000 8-inch wafers a month for microcontrollers as well as DRAMs. An older fab at the site continues to turn out these products. MASCO is an affiliate of MA-TSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. .....Meanwhile, Irving, Texas-based HITACHI SEMICONDUCTOR (AMERICA) INC. is restructuring operations, putting more emphasis on products other than mainstay DRAMs. By the end of 1998, executives of the HITACHI, LTD. subsidiary project, microcontrollers, ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) and other nonmemory components will represent 40 percent of output versus 18 percent now. In the process, though, roughly 200 employees will lose their jobs, leaving around 500 people on the payroll.

NEC CORP. has opened its seventh semiconductor design center in the United States. The new facility, located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is charged with design and development of NEC ELECTRONICS, INC.'s microcontroller products. That mission sets it apart from the company's other design centers, all of which are dedicated to ASICs. These facilities are in Santa Clara, California; Chicago; Natick, Massachusetts; Raleigh, North Carolina; Portland, Oregon; and Dallas.

The first NEC CORP. chip designed entirely in the United States is on the market worldwide. The MIPS-compatible Vr5400 Series of microprocessors also has the distinction of being the first MIPS devices with on-chip multimedia instructions, making them similar to INTEL CORP. processors with the MMX instruction set. The series spans the Vr5432, a 167-megahertz device that is said to consume just 2.5 watts of power but generates up to 347 million instructions per second using a 32-bit input/output bus; the 200-MHz Vr5464, which uses a 32-bit/64-bit I/O bus; and the 250-MHz Vr5466, a 519-MIPS device that also features a dual I/O bus. The parts are priced at $45, $70 and $95, respectively, in quantities of 10,000 units.

The world supply of silicon-on-insulator wafers produced by a process known as SIMOX (short for separation by implantation of oxygen) will expand as a result of the latest phase of a 1994 business relationship between MITSUBISHI MATERIALS CORP. and IBIS TECHNOLOGY CORP., a supplier of SIMOX-SOI wafers. The big Japanese maker of standard silicon wafers, which has exclusive rights to sell the Danvers, Massachusetts company's SIMOX-SOI wafers in Japan, will purchase an Ibis 1000 oxygen implanter and launch production via subsidiary MITSUBISHI MATERIALS SILICON CORP. of SIMOX-SOI wafers for the home market and elsewhere in Asia. Mitsubishi Materials also is discussing with Ibis a licensing agreement covering the U.S. firm's new ADVANTOX process for making SIMOX-SOI wafers. In addition, MITSUBISHI SILICON AMERICA CORP., a Salem, Oregon maker of silicon wafers, will work with Ibis to develop the market in the United States and Europe for SIMOX-SOI wafers.

Production of metal CVD (chemical vapor deposition) and PVD (physical vapor deposition) or sputtering equipment has started at TOKYO ELECTRON ARIZONA, INC. in Gilbert Arizona with a staff of 240 people. Parent TOKYO ELECTRON LTD. acquired the plant in December from SONY CORP. subsidiary MATERIALS RESEARCH CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 7). The factory has the capacity to turn out monthly four CVD systems and 10 PVD machines.

Collaborators for a decade-plus on deep ultraviolet technology for photolithography equipment, CANON INC. and CYMER, INC., the world's top supplier of excimer laser illumination sources for DUV photolithography, have signed an agreement to provide worldwide support to their joint DUV stepper customers. A key feature of the arrangement is to ensure that all Canon service personnel are trained on the Cymer lasers used in the company's DUV systems.

Meanwhile, CANON INC. is taking orders for its latest i-line wafer stepper. The FPA-3000i5+ offers an enhanced optical performance, better overlay and higher throughput. Based on the FPA-3000i5 platform, which is in use at WHITE OAK SEMICONDUCTOR INC. among other places (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 7), the new stepper can print features smaller than 0.35 micron. That makes it suited to volume production of 64-megabit and higher DRAMs. It also can handle more than 100 200-millimeter (8-inch) wafers an hour, a 25 percent improvement on its predecessor. Canon said that it designed the FPA-3000i5+, which is priced around $3.7 million, as a mix-and-match companion to its FPA- 3000EX5 DUV stepper.

A tie-up between SHARP CORP., said to be the world's largest producer of chip-scale packages, and AMKOR ELECTRONICS INC., the top semiconductor assembly subcontractor, aims to lower the cost of film-based, wire- bonded CSPs. This technique is designed for cellular telephones, laptop computers, digital cameras and other portable electronics products that require a thin package with a reduced ball pitch. As part of the agreement, Sharp and West Chester, Pennsylvania-headquartered Amkor will serve as second sources for each other's wire-bonded CSPs. Amkor's product, known as fleXBGA, will be in volume production by early fall.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Another Japan-U.S. consortium plans to lay an undersea fiber-optic cable across the Pacific to handle the demand for capacity caused by surging Internet traffic and other communications services. Spearheaded by JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD., the initial members of the group are: WORLDCOM INC., its pending partner, MCI COMMUNICATIONS CORP., GTE CORP., BELL ATLANTIC CORP. and Britain's CABLE & WIRELESS PLC. They expect to sign up additional investors, including possibly NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP., to help finance the project's estimated $775 million- plus cost. Like the privately owned transpacific cable network that was announced recently (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, p. 7), the proposed system would have a throughput of 80 gigabits per second, the equivalent of 960,000 simultaneous phone calls. Operations are tentatively set for around the year 2000.

The Federal Communications Commission has licensed KDD AMERICA, INC. to provide facilities-based communications services between the United States and Japan — subject to the proviso that it cut its interconnection rate to 15 cents per minute. The KOKUSAI DENSHIN DENWA CO., LTD. subsidiary previously had won the right to provide leased or resale services across the Pacific as well as any type of service from the United States to third countries.

The Hitachi Internetworking unit of HITACHI COMPUTER PRODUCTS (AMERICA), INC. has previewed a pair of entry-level ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) backbone switches that complement the high-end AN (advanced node) 1000 Enterprise ATM switch introduced a year ago (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 332, May 1997, p. 7). The AN1000-3 and the AN1000-5 support 2.5 gigabit-per-second and 5-gigabit-per-second bandwidth, respectively, in fully redundant architectures. The first one scales to 16 Optical Carrier-Level 3 ports, while the other model can accommodate double that number of OC-3 ports. The base model of the AN1000-3, available in late June, will cost $10,000 or $1,800 per port for a fully configured system. The AN1000-5, which already is on the market, starts at $17,000. A 32 OC-3 port switch is priced at $1,500 per port.

With the era of digital television broadcasting arriving at the end of 1998, PANASONIC BROADCAST & DIGITAL SYSTEMS CO. is unveiling a raft of products designed to ensure that MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. is the dominant supplier of high-definition television broadcast studio and field equipment. Among other products, the company has introduced second-generation extensions of its top-selling DVCPRO family. The DVCPRO50 product line features 4:2:2 signal processing as well as 50-megabit-per-second switching versus the original 4:1:1 signal/25-megabit-per-second switching. The first DVCPRO50 products to ship are the AJ-D950 studio editing video tape recorder and the AJ-D900W camcorder.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Designers of high-end clothing have a domestic source of supply for a new circular knit fabric known as bemberg (cupro ammonium rayon) that is characterized by a brilliant luster, a soft hand and a beautiful drape. ASAHI CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CO., LTD. — which refined the knitting techniques and the dyeing and finishing methods for the fabric as well as developed a bemberg/polyester blend — transferred its production knowledge to an unnamed knitter in Los Angeles. Asahi Chemical also is supplying that company with bemberg yarn. About 1,100 tons of U.S.-made bemberg fabric should be available in the first year.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Industry sources speculate that the first product jointly designed and engineered by MAZDA MOTOR CORP. and its de facto parent, FORD MOTOR CO., will be a 2,000-cubic-centimeter sport-utility vehicle. Although the interiors and the exteriors of the SUV reportedly will differ, the two automotive makers will be able to cut development and manufacturing costs by using a common platform and sharing parts. Production could start in the spring of the year 2000, with Ford building 200,000 units the first year and Mazda having an initial run of 10,000 SUVs.

The yen's weakness has persuaded UNISIA JECS CORP. to postpone indefinitely the launch of drive shaft production at a new plant in Piedmont, Georgia. Instead, the company will continue to build drive shafts in Japan for supply to the SUBARU-ISUZU AUTOMOTIVE INC. plant in Lafayette, Indiana. The Georgia plant will open as scheduled in January 1999, but other products will be made there.

Aluminum automotive wheel manufacturer ALUMITECH, INC. now is wholly owned by HAYES LEMMERZ INTERNATIONAL INC. The Romulus, Michigan- based supplier of wheels and brake components, which initially put up half of the Somerset, Kentucky manufacturer's capital, bought out partners ASAHI TEC CORP. (40 percent) and TOMEN CORP. (10 percent) for an undisclosed price. Alumitech, in operation since 1989, has annual sales of around $50 million.

TOYO RADIATOR CO., LTD. has dissolved AMERICAN TRS, INC., a company set up in 1988 in Indianapolis, Indiana to oversee production of fuel tanks for transplant vehicles by an unidentified American manufacturer and to handle marketing and after-sale service. The Japanese parts maker, which attributed its move to fierce competition in the U.S. market, will continue to provide technical support to its former business partner and supply it with some parts.

With European, American and Japanese car and truck makers building plants in such Latin American countries as Brazil and Argentina or expanding their existing operations, audio equipment supplier CLARION CO., LTD. sees the opportunity to do more business in the region. It accordingly is setting up a company in Miami to manage Latin American sales. Previously, this job was handled by Clarion's Gardena, California subsidiary.

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A digital, interactive simulator ride system like no other is the lofty goal of a tie-up between HITACHI, LTD. and ENTERTAINMENT DESIGN WORKSHOP, LLC. The electronics giant, which created an amusement system planning department 18 months ago, brings to the project its strengths in computer graphics and virtual reality, while start-up EDW of Sheffield, Massachusetts will contribute its film-making expertise. The blueprint for the simulator ride system calls for a new generation of interactivity, enhanced player VR-image immersion, and improved system expandability and flexibility. The partners, which plan to have products ready for demonstration by November, also will coproduce middleware for quick, low-cost production of story-based interactive contents.

Essentially abandoned by its parent, BANDAI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT CORP. is trying to make a go of it on its own. Tamagotchi virtual pet developer BANDAI CO., LTD. decided to liquidate its Japan-based Bandai Digital subsidiary after sales of the Pippin Atmark, a home video game machine with Internet capabilities developed in conjunction with APPLE COMPUTER INC., failed to live up to expectations. The Cypress, California outfit will refocus its business to develop and market products leveraging the Internet and such emerging technologies as the Windows CE operating system while continuing to market a line of CD-ROMs. It plans to launch Surf Monkey, a children's Internet site, and to come up with a Windows CE version of DigiMon, a digital monster toy that is a follow-up to Tamagotchi.

Financial pressures at home have prompted ITOCHU CORP. to sell a block of its stock in TIME WARNER INC. to CITIBANK N.A. The trader acquired a stake of roughly 3 percent in the media conglomerate in September 1995 after exchanging shares it had bought in 1992 in Time Warner's entertainment subsidiary for convertible preferred stock in the parent. This stock has soared in value since then. Itochu reportedly sold about 30 percent of its shares, but executives say the company's ties with Time Warner will not be affected. TOSHIBA CORP., which also acquired approximately 3 percent of Time Warner's shares in the same way as Itochu did, is said to be mulling the sale of part of its holding as well.

Airlines on both sides of the Pacific are quickly taking advantage of the unrestricted code-sharing arrangements possible under the February U.S.- Japan aviation agreement. Soon after JAPAN AIRLINES CO., LTD. and AMR CORP.'s American Airlines announced a tie-up (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, p. 10), ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS CO., LTD. and UAL CORP.'s United Airlines agreed to form an alliance. Starting in late October, Japan's biggest domestic airline and United will put each other's flight numbers on a total of 118 weekly flights on 11 routes across the Pacific and to selected destinations within the United States and Japan. Code-sharing will be extended in the future to all transpacific flights as well as to additional destinations in the two countries. In time, United will code-share on ANA flights beyond Japan to Asia, while ANA will code-share on United flights beyond the United States to Central and South America.

In a cost-cutting move, JAPAN AIRLINES CO., LTD. will outsource passenger and cargo ground services at the New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Honolulu airports. The switchover, which will start in June, will cause 200 of the 300 people JAL employs at these airports to lose their jobs. The airline expects this move to save it $19.4 million over the six years through March 2004.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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American Companies in Japan


DUPONT DOW ELASTOMERS L.L.C. has added ASAHI CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CO., LTD. as an INSITE licensee. This DOW CHEMICAL CO.-developed technology is a constrained-geometry, single-site olefin polymerization catalyst. It is said to provide superior polymer design flexibility compared with other metallocene catalyst technologies because better control has been gained over the molecular architecture. In fact, polymers can be computer- modeled before they are produced. Asahi Chemical will use the INSITE technology at its high-density polyethylene plant in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture. Following test-marketing of INSITE-produced HDPE later this year, the company will launch volume production in 1999.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare has approved for marketing Viracept (nelfinavir mesylate), an HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) protease inhibitor codeveloped by La Jolla, California-based AGOURON PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. and the pharmaceutical division of JAPAN TOBACCO INC. JTI is responsible for marketing Viracept, with YOSHITOMI PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. handling sales in Tokyo, Osaka and other major metropolitan areas and the Hoffman-La Roche unit of ROCHE HOLDING AG elsewhere in the country. Agouron and JTI do not expect Viracept to be profitable in Japan because of the limited number of HIV- infected people. They are counting on big sales in the United States, where the HIV protease inhibitor was cleared for sale in March 1997, and in Europe.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Production of DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP. desktop PCs for the local market has been switched to the company's Tama plant in Tokyo from Taiwan. The move is designed to make DEC a more nimble competitor in Japan's sluggish PC market. For better inventory control, its subsidiary will shift to a build-to-order system. At some unspecified time, DEC Japan will add production of minitower models and machines with liquid crystal display monitors to the output of the Tama factory, which was renovated before DEC gave it a new mission.

IBM JAPAN LTD. is taking several steps to better support companies marketing its symmetric multiprocessing RS/6000 servers, which use PowerPC RISC processors and run the AIX operating system, the in-house version of Unix. Among other changes, RS/6000 systems now are manufactured to order at IBM Japan's Fujisawa plant in Kanagawa prefecture. The company also has formed a technical support task force to backstop its RS/6000 business partners, as its distributors are called.

Managing other companies' computer systems is turning out to be a growth business for IBM JAPAN LTD. In just the last few months, DAIWA BANK, LTD. and SNOW BRAND MILK PRODUCTS CO., LTD. decided to outsource most or all of their information technology work to IBM Japan (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 12, and No. 341, February 1998, p. 12). Now, OMRON CORP., adopting the same strategy as Daiwa Bank, has formed a joint venture with IBM Japan to oversee the development, operation and maintenance of the Kyoto manufacturer's IT system and those of its affiliates. Omron put up 65 percent of the capital for the new company and supplied 60 of the firm's 70 employees. Despite the joint venture structure, IBM Japan will be responsible for operations and maintenance. In time, the partners hopes to win outsourcing contracts from non-Omron Group companies.

Also climbing on the outsourcing bandwagon, UNISYS CORP.'s subsidiary is offering two specialized services. Netman, a network operating management support service, provides remote monitoring of a company's network. Helpman, a distributed system operations management support system, offers technical support, such as help desk service and multivendor service. Unisys sees Netman and Helpman developing into a $19.4 million business in the first year.

Distributors of HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. PC servers that also do system construction as well as system integrators using HP Japan products can get help on two fronts from the company. Through the Preinstall Service, HP Japan basically will build PC servers to order, including the necessary software. That work costs about $195 per machine. The company also will check the operation of servers once they are installed. The Start-up Service is priced at roughly $390 per PC server. HP Japan expects the new services to cover 10,000 systems a year.

HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. and its business partner of seven years, OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD., have set up the OLTP Competence Center to provide technical support services to customers of both companies that are building on-line transaction processing systems. The 40 engineers on staff, who have been detailed in equal numbers from the two parents, bring to their design work HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s expertise in Unix servers and Oki Electric's Tuxedo middleware. The center is projecting revenues of $232.6 million in three years. Among other linkages between the two firms, Oki Electric sells various HP Unix servers on an original equipment manufacturer basis.

In an efficiency-enhancing move, the local product development unit of APPLE COMPUTER INC.'s subsidiary has been integrated into the Tokyo parent. Although owned by Apple's subsidiary, the former Apple Technology Inc. received funding from the American parent and maintained a separate administrative apparatus. Some 50 people transferred to headquarters as a result of the merger.

To protect its position in the high-end enterprise, engineering and scientific computing market, HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. released in Japan as well as in the United States the HP 9000 V-Class Enterprise and Exemplar Server. Running on HP's new 240-MHz PA-8200 64-bit RISC microprocessor, the HP 9000 V2250 is billed as the industry's most powerful, cost-effective high-end computing solution. Japan pricing begins at $292,200 for a base system, which includes one central processing unit, 256 megabytes of memory and an unlimited license to the 64-bit HP-UX operating system. .....The 240-MHz PA-8200 microprocessor also is at the heart of HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s simultaneously released HP 9000 K380 and K580 Enterprise Servers. These midrange additions, designed for such applications as data warehousing and Web hosting, offer performance boosts over existing K-Class models. In Japan, the Model K380 base system with a single processor and 128 megabytes of memory starts at $118,600, while the entry-level Model K580, which also has one MPU but 256 megabytes of memory, goes for $141,900. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. is projecting combined sales of the three new machines at 6,000 units a year, including shipmemts by OEM marketing partners HITACHI, LTD., MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP., NEC CORP. and OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD.

Internet service providers and Web supersites have a new high- performance option in the WebFORCE Origin200 QuickCache server from SILICON GRAPHICS, INC.'s subsidiary. In company tests, the system, which benefits from expanded secondary cache and a faster cache speed, posted Web-serving performance records in both a two-processor and a four- processor configuration. Like other members of the Origin family, the $16,200-and-up WebFORCE Origin200 QC is powered by MIPS R10000 64- bit RISC processors.

Braving the recently inhospitable corporate PC market, HEWLETT- PACKARD CO. announced in the United States and elsewhere the HP Vectra VL Series 7. The Pentium II-powered five-member family replaces the HP Vectra VL Series 5 and Series 6 PCs. In addition to refreshing the features of the Series 6 with an Ultra ATA interface, synchronous DRAM memory and an advanced configuration and power interface for power management, the desktop and minitower models use AGP (accelerated graphic port) graphics technology and can be turned on and off remotely using LAN (local area network) cards from any major vendor. Windows NT 4.0 is preloaded, but the systems are Windows NT 5.0-ready. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has priced the high-end model with a 333-MHz processor at $3,400. The entry-level HP Vectra VL Series 7 starts at $2,800.

Although sales of laptops remain strong, competitors are adding one or more features that they hope will make their machines stand out in a crowded market. For COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary, a big selling point of the top-of-the-line Armada 1598DMT is a 13.3-inch color active- matrix display with 1024x768 resolution and up to 64,000 colors. The notebook, which uses a 266-MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology and features a 4-gigabyte SMART hard drive and a USB port, is priced at $4,700. .....For its part, UNISYS CORP.'s affiliate is touting the extended battery life of the Aquanta EN/M notebook line, which uses a mobile Pentium processor with MMX technology running at speeds up to 266 MHz and features 512 kilobytes of Level 2 pipeline burst cache, a PCI (peripheral component interconnect) local bus, an active-matrix display and integrated stereo speakers. In tests, the battery lasted nearly 6 hours between charges.

A second-generation subnotebook is on the market from RIOS SYSTEMS CO., LTD., a Yokohama-based partnership between IBM JAPAN LTD. and RICOH CO., LTD. The Chandra II incorporates a 166-MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology, plus a 9.2-inch active-matrix display and a 2.16-gigabyte hard drive. It is smaller and lighter (just 2.6 pounds) than the original Chandra, which had sales of 35,000 units in 1997. The $1,900-or-so Chandra II is available on an OEM basis through HITACHI, LTD. and two other companies.

Going up against NEC CORP. and some other big-name Japanese competitors, HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has introduced a handheld PC running the Japanese-language version of Windows CE 2.0. The second- generation HP620LX, which uses a SuperH SH3 32-bit RISC processor from HITACHI, LTD., is priced around $930. Despite the competition, which includes Hitachi, HP Japan expects to move 15,000 units a month. It previously had tested the water for handheld PCs by selling the American version of the HP620LX.

The prime promoter of network computers, ORACLE CORP., has launched a campaign to persuade business to try the less-expensive alternative to PCs. Its subsidiary has enlisted some 30 systems integrators, including FUJITSU, LTD. and NEC CORP., to sell corporate Japan on the idea. FUNAI ELECTRIC CO., LTD. and UNIDEN CORP. are supplying the hardware for Oracle's NCs, which went on sale at the end of March. The company is optimistic that it can sell 100,000 units in the first year of marketing.


IBM JAPAN LTD. is hoping that Japanese-language speech recognition software will help it sell home PCs in the sluggish market for these machines. Two additions to the Aptiva E Series come with ViaVoice Gold, which allows users to open files and e-mail, format text, surf the Internet and do other jobs just using a normal speaking voice. Powered by a K6 processor from ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC., the E1AV and the E2AV have estimated street prices of $1,600 and $1,900, respectively.

A new family of SPARCengine CompactPCI embedded-board computers is on the market from SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary. The SPARCengine CP 1200 board, which utilizes a low power-consuming, high- performance 100-MHz microSPARC processor, is designed for applications that normally require rack-mounted systems with high-speed backplane bus architectures. Typical uses for the $1,800 board are embedded computing applications, telecommunications controllers, and industrial automation and control. The $7,700 SPARCengine CP 1500 board is targeted at mission-critical jobs that demand high performance and integration in a single-slot CompactPCI design, including communications, military and industrial control applications. It is powered by a 64-bit UltraSPARC IIi V9 superscalar processor.

First-year sales of 500 units are projected for the CPCI-16-1, a high- speed, high-precision, multifunction, plug-in data-acquisition system for CompactPCI from ANALOGIC CORP. The board uses a 16-bit, 200-kilohertz sampling analog/digital converter. INTERNIX, INC., the Peabody, Massachusetts firm's distributor since last October, is touting the $1,900 board's easy user access, excellent heat dissipation and secure mounting — features required for rigorous industrial and mobile applications.

Internet security with a twist is being offered by SONIC SYSTEMS INC. and marketing ally MITSUBISHI CORP. The Sunnyvale, California firm's Interpol hardware/software solution provides standard firewall security features but also can filter Internet sites based on a predefined list of URLs or content-checking rules. While its low cost — $2,700 — and ease of use will appeal to administrators of small networks, the built-in content filter will attract attention from educational institutions worried about students accessing inappropriate Web materials. A remote access server from SONIC SYSTEMS INC., QuickStream Pro, is described as simple to install, configure and use because it supports a wide variety of clients and offers Web browser-based remote administration tools. The less than $1,400 system is available through distributor MITSUBISHI CORP.

A new Intelligent Storage Network architecture is key to SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s drive to double the size of its worldwide storage business by the year 2001. Based on a Unix SMP server running an operating system that controls storage functions, this technology allows buyers to build storage networks matched to their application server, whether it is built by Sun Microsystems or another company. In Japan, the first product to incorporate the new architecture is the high-end StorEdge A7000 Intelligent Storage Server, which uses two quad-processor Unix computers instead of more typical fixed-function controllers. Its data- sharing and remote copy features allow customers to actualize their data separate from the original repository.

Through its new Tokyo office, COMPUTER NETWORK TECHNOLOGY CORP. introduced the UltraNet Storage Director, a high-speed switching platform that allows users to move and share data among servers and mainframe, Windows NT and Unix storage system platforms. It does this by establishing a direct connection between storage devices via a SAN or storage area network technology. In addition to shared storage and shared data, the UltraNet Storage Director supports disk mirroring, backup/restore, archive/retrieve and data migration functions. Available in 12-slot or six-slot models, the product is priced from $124,000. Minneapolis-based CNT hopes to sell 20 systems in Japan.

The subsidiary of one of the leaders in high-capacity storage solutions, STORAGE TECHNOLOGY CORP., will soon release a disk subsystem that addresses the requirements of Windows NT and Unix servers alike. The 9153 OPENstorage offers complete redundancy. Its disk controller can be configured for either Ultra-SCSI (small computer system interface) or Fibre Channel host attachment. The deskside version can handle five to 10 drives, each providing 9 or 18 gigabytes of storage. A stackable rack- mounted 9153 subsystem can be loaded with anywhere from five to 40 drives in 10-drive increments for a maximum capacity of 720 gigabytes in one unit or 1.4 terabytes in two.

In an attempt to boost its 3.5-inch hard disk drive business, MAXTOR CORP.'s subsidiary will increase its now eight-person marketing staff. Their mission is twofold: to expand the volume of OEM sales to Japanese desktop PC manufacturers and suppliers of external upgrade drives and, at the same time, to persuade more PC retailers to stock Maxtor's own brand-name products. The San Jose, California company hopes that a new product will make the marketing job easier. The DiamondMax 2880 is a 3.5-inch EIDE (enhanced integrated drive electronics) drive that supports Ultra DMA Mode for up to a 33-megabit-per-second data transfer performance and has an average seek time of 9 milliseconds. Although available in a range of capacities, the first DiamondMax 2880 released in Japan stores 11.5 gigabytes of data. It is priced at $480.

Sample shipments will start in June of what IBM JAPAN LTD. claims is the highest-capacity 2.5-inch slimline hard disk drive for notebook computers. The Travelstar 6GT holds 6.4 gigabytes of data, thanks to the first implementation of INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s GMR (giant magneto-resistive) head technology in a notebook computer hard drive. A 5.4-gigabyte version of the Travelstar 6GT, which is about the size of a deck of playing cards, also will be available. The higher-capacity model will be sample-priced at $935.

The first licensing agreement for the production and sale of IOMEGA CORP.'s Clik! portable storage drive has been signed. CITIZEN WATCH CO., LTD. will manufacture Clik! drives for use in its own portable electronics products. It also will sell them to OEMs and consumers worldwide (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 339, December 1997, p. 12). Through ultrasmall 40-megabyte Clik! disks, the drives bring affordable removable storage to existing and future portable digital products, including digital cameras, handheld computers, personal digital assistants and smart cellular phones. Both the retail and the OEM versions of the drive are expected to be available in the United States in the second half of 1998.


PEERLESS SYSTEMS CORP. has helped yet another Japanese manufacturer bring a color laser printer to market. KYOCERA CORP.'s FS-5800C is the first product to use the El Segundo, California firm's new QuickPrint 1800 coprocessor as part of its imaging system. It also incorporates optimized versions of the PeerlessPage object-based imaging system and the Peerless-Print 5C, an emulation of HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s PCL5C. The FS-5800C prints 3.5 pages a minute in four colors with a resolution of 600 dots per inch. It is designed for corporate environments.

An external print server compatible with HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s printers and its Web JetAdmin network printer management software is being sold by its subsidiary for roughly $350. As its name suggests, the JetDirect 300XEthernet 10/100TX provides automatic switching for 100- megabit-per-second 100Base-TX networks. If the print server is attached to the printer through a Centronics parallel connection, data only is transferred from the network to the printer. If the printer supports a bidirectional connection, the print server also can receive printer identification and status information. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. projects first-year sales of the box-type product, which is preset for optimum network speed, at 50,000 units.

CALCOMP CORP.'s subsidiary, which has been moving aggressively in recent months to build sales, is touting the improved performance, print quality, ease of use and reliability that the CrystalJet brings to ink-jet large- format printing compared with thermal printers. The key to these advances is piezo ink-jet technology. Able to print 720 dots per inch for photorealistic-quality images in just 10 minutes, the two models of the CrystalJet print media either 42 inches in width or 54 inches. Both automatically pick the correct ink droplet size for the resolution and the media selected.

The PowerStorm 4D50T graphics accelerator, new from DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary, provides direct acceleration of OpenGL three-dimensional applications. It is optimized for such technical tasks as mechanical CAD (computer-aided design) and geographic information systems. However, the PowerStorm 4D50T also is designed to handle a full range of visualization applications, including computer animation, since it delivers trilinear perspective-corrected texture maps for outstanding realism. This performance is the result in part of the use of a 64-bit Alpha processor. PowerStorm 4D50T is fully supported by Windows NT as well as DEC's version of Unix.

With the JetEye PC infrared adapter from EXTENDED SYSTEMS INC., users of Windows-based mobile computing devices — portable PCs, PDAs, Windows CE handheld computers or digital cameras — can quickly move data to desktop computers without cables. The product works with Infrared Data Association-compliant software to establish the infrared data link. JetEye PC also includes QuickBeam, a file-transfer program that allows users to transfer files with a single click of a mouse button. It is being handled by Tokyo-headquartered CF CO., INC., a distributor for the Boise, Idaho manufacturer since 1995.

Two-button and three-button models of the PilotMouse from LOGITECH, INC. are available. Tokyo-based distributor LOGICOOL CO., LTD. has priced the Fremont, California firm's products at $27 and $35, respectively. The extra buttons can be customized.

If its purchase of INTERMART SYSTEMS K.K. goes through, Los Gatos, California-based SCM MICROSYSTEMS, INC. will gain the in-country engineering, marketing and product support capabilities that it believes are necessary for doing business with Japanese OEMs. Intermart Systems develops, manufactures and sells PC-based devices that provide access to various small form factor digital media, including PCMCIA, CompactFlash and SmartMedia. That business is similar to SCM Microsystems'. Under a letter of intent, SCM Microsystems will pay $8 million for the company, although the price could be $4 million higher if Intermart Systems meets certain performance criteria in the first year after acquisition. Intermart Systems, which has OEM relationships with a number of big-name local companies, had revenues equivalent to $3 million in the April-December 1997 period.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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DP PROPERTIES INC., a Tokyo real estate subsidiary of MORGAN STANLEY & CO., will buy some 1,200 condominium units from DAIKYO INC. The 50 buildings containing the units, located in metropolitan areas across Japan, were built in 1992 and 1993. Unable to sell them, Japan's top condo builder has rented a reported 95 percent of the units. No contract price was disclosed, but industry sources estimate that Morgan Stanley is paying $108.5 million — about 40 percent of the cost that Daikyo is carrying on its books. The condo builder will use the proceeds to pay down part of its huge debt. Rather than securitize them for sale to investors, DP Properties plans to hold onto the condos because of the strong cash flow they generate.

By the spring of 2000, Westin Hotels & Resorts will have five properties in Japan. The wholly owned operating subsidiary of STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE, INC. signed a franchise agreement with YUME BUTAI CO., LTD. for the Westin Awaji Island, Resort & Conference Center on Awaji Island off the coast of Kobe in the Inland Sea. The owner of the $139.5 million hotel — which will have 201 guest rooms, an international conference center, five restaurants and lounges, banquet and wedding facilities, and retail shops — is Hyogo prefecture along with 47 businesses. Westin Hotels & Resorts will support the hotel in the areas of sales and marketing, service standards, design and operations guidance. The hotel management arm of AOKI CORP., the Seattle-headquartered chain's former owner, will manage the property. The other Japan Westin hotels are located in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Despite a promising sales start, WHIRLPOOL CORP. has pulled out of Japan's appliance market. The Benton Harbor, Michigan supplier of refrigerators, microwave ovens, washing machines, dryers and similar products cited the country's prolonged economic slump and the currency and financial crises elsewhere in East Asia for its withdrawal. In June 1996, Whirlpool tied up with DEODEO CORP. (formerly Daiichi Corp.) to sell large refrigerators and other appliances through the discount retailer's 300 or so stores in western Japan. Their agreement also included joint product development and sales in other Asian countries. When it called it quits, Whirlpool had sold 6,500 refrigerators, 3,000 freezers and 20,000 microwaves in Japan.

IBM JAPAN LTD. partnered with FUJI BANK, LTD. and OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD. on an automatic teller machine that costs $23,300, about half of other multipurpose ATMs. The big commercial bank begins installation of the machine this month. Among other novelties, the ATM has a videophone that allows customers to receive financial product information as well as apply for loans.

The Honeywell Hi-Spec Solutions unit of HONEYWELL INC. has a contract to install its Profit Controller advanced control technology on oil refiner SHOWA YOKKAICHI SEKIYU CO., LTD.'s residual fluid catalytic cracking unit in Yokkaichi, Mie prefecture. Among other benefits, Profit Controller is said to increase plant throughput, improve quality consistency and reduce energy consumption. Project implementation will be handled jointly by Phoenix, Arizona-based Honeywell Hi-Spec Solutions and YAMATAKE- HONEYWELL CO., LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 13). Showa Yokkaichi Sekiyu is the first local refiner to install Profit Controller.

With more of its factory automation customers migrating to PC-based networked environments, the subsidiary of robot manufacturer ADEPT TECHNOLOGY, INC. introduced the AdeptWindows industrial controller. It enables PC connectivity at what is said to be a dramatically reduced cost by providing built-in, plug-and-play Ethernet connectivity. The $14,000 AdeptWindows controller, which is compatible with all Adept robots, motion controllers and vision systems, also is as much as 50 percent smaller than the San Jose, California company's legacy controller products, saving factory space. It also features solid-state mass storage for ease of serviceability. Sales are forecast at 100 units a year.

Market newcomer OPTRAND INC., a manufacturer of fiber-optic pressure sensors, has signed FUCHINO MANUFACTURING CO., LTD. of Toda, Saitama prefecture as its exclusive distributor in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. Designed for monitoring and control as well as testing and diagnostics, the Plymouth, Michigan company's products are used in such applications as internal combustion engines, braking, transmission and exhaust systems, plastics molding and die-casting. Sensors for combustion use are sample-priced around $1,600 each. Fuchino Manufacturing expects to sell 100,000 units in the first year of marketing.

The STARsine line of high-efficiency frequency changers and AC power sources from LING ELECTRONICS, INC. of Anaheim, California is available exclusively from MICRON KIKI CO., LTD. Designed to simulate nearly any form of AC power, the products cover 50 hertz, 60 Hz and 400 Hz and everything in-between. STARsine AC power sources are claimed to have no match among locally manufactured products. A 60-kilovolt-ampere unit costs $62,000. The Tokyo-based distributor expects to sell 20 units in the initial year of marketing.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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The largest foreign-owned consumer finance company in Japan, the AIC CORP. subsidiary of ASSOCIATES FIRST CAPITAL CORP., soon will also have the title of the nation's sixth-biggest finance firm based on total receivables. The company has a pending agreement to buy 90 percent of DIC FINANCE CO., LTD., which ranks ninth in the local market, from DAIEI, INC. and some of its related businesses for around $620.2 million. Associates First Capital also will repay a $387.6 million loan that the supermarket chain made to the consumer lender. Although Osaka- headquartered DIC Finance, which has 204 branches and 1,100 employees across the country, was profitable in the year through February 1997, Daiei said that consumer finance fell outside its core retailing business. DIC Finance will continue to operate under its current name and management. With the acquisition, Associates First Capital, which has operated in Japan since 1979, will have more than 600 locations and 3,000-plus employees. Its Japanese net receivables will total $4.1 billion. It is the largest publicly traded finance company in the United States. FORD MOTOR CO., the Dallas firm's majority owner, is the process of spinning off its remaining Associates First Capital shares to the public.

American financial services providers continue to find growth opportunities in the problems of their Japanese counterparts. Investment manager FIDUCIARY TRUST CO. INTERNATIONAL, which said last year that it would move into the Japanese market to take advantage of the Big Bang financial deregulation, has tentatively agreed to buy SANYO INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT CO., LTD. from failed SANYO SECURITIES CO., LTD. Details of the takeover still have to be finalized. Sanyo Investment, capitalized at $3.1 million, managed $248.1 million worth of investments at the end of 1997. It is expected to be renamed FIDUCIARY TRUST INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT ADVISORY INC. The prospective New York City parent manages close to $40 billion for individual and institutional investors.

Los Angeles-based CAPITAL GROUP INC., the number five in the U.S. investment management business, will help DAI-ICHI MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE CO. affiliate DAI-ICHI SEIMEI CAPITAL MANAGEMENT CO., LTD. develop mutual funds invested in foreign stocks for sale through local brokerage houses. The partners later plan to add mutual funds based on Japanese stocks. They project close to $1.6 billion in annual sales. Capital Group, which managed roughly $350 billion in investments at yearend 1997, will also invest $387.6 million in foreign stocks for Dai-Ichi Mutual.

With the ban on wrap accounts scheduled to be lifted in the near term, SALOMON SMITH BARNEY INC. and NIKKO SECURITIES CO., LTD. have moved forward on their plan to offer this service to individual investors (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 335, August 1997, p. 12). First, they
formed GLOBAL WRAP CONSULTING GROUP CO. in Tokyo to assess the performance of mutual funds (or investment trusts, as they are known in Japan), particularly those offered by local managers, and to design wrap accounts, which give a brokerage house or an investment advisory firm the discretion to invest a client's money in a variety of financial instruments. Then, Salomon Smith Barney and Japan's second-biggest securities firm set up GLOBAL WRAP SERVICES CO., also based in Tokyo, to market wrap accounts to institutional investors. Customers who sign up for the service will have to give Nikko Securities roughly $38,800 to invest. They will be charged an annual commission based on the total amount invested.

The Ministry of Finance granted a brokerage license to the Tokyo branch of BRIDGE INFORMATION SYSTEMS INC. The New York City company's main business is providing global financial information to institutional investors, brokers and dealers, exchanges and corporations. It offers a Japanese-language financial news service to corporate customers in Japan as well as the original in English.

Two of the many name American companies reported to be interested in picking up properties serving as collateral for Japanese banks' nonperforming loans (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, p. 15) presumably are the unnamed firms buying the equivalent of $3 billion or so in bad loans from SAKURA BANK, LTD. under a complex deal that is still relatively untested in Japan. Known in the United States as a loan participation plan, the big commercial bank will move a large portion of its soured loans off its books. However, these loans will remain in its name, and the bank still will be responsible for collecting on them. The U.S. participants are gambling that the value of the underlying real estate will recover in value rather than continue to fall.

With foreign exchange transactions projected to boom because of changes in the legal environment that occurred April 1, CITIBANK N.A. expects to find a ready market among banks, nonfinancial corporations and institutional investors for its on-line service that helps process the paperwork from foreign exchange trading. The FX Match system links clients' trading rooms through a network and automatically sorts buy/sell orders and checks them for clerical errors. That obviates the need for traders to verify orders by phone or fax and then exchange written confirmation. The Citibank service is said to save money for any client that makes more than 10 forex transactions daily.

MERRILL LYNCH & CO., INC. has the distinction of being the first foreign brokerage house to launch a yen-denominated commercial paper program in Japan. The Wall Street firm, which is in the process of building a nationwide retail brokerage business (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, pp. 14-15), said its decision to issue the equivalent of $775.2 million in CP represented part of a strategy to diversify the company's global fund-raising. It also is a demonstration of Merrill Lynch's long-term commitment to Japan and local financial markets. The securities company noted that Japan's CP market has shown considerable strength. Japanese banks are underwriting the CP. .....For much the same reasons, MORGAN STANLEY & CO. announced plans for a big yen- denominated CP program. The major investment bank expects to raise the equivalent of more than $1.9 billion. It also is capitalizing on growth opportunities in Japan's financial services market. A consortium of eight American and European banks led by CITIBANK N.A. has set up a revolving credit facility equivalent to $542.6 million for NEC CORP. The electronics giant is able to draw on the line of credit at any time, thereby helping it to deal with the credit squeeze that has resulted from Japanese banks' reluctance to lend because of the impact loans have on capital/asset ratios at a time when they are trying to dispose of bad loans. While syndicated revolving credit facilities are common in the United States, they still are rare in Japan. BANKAMERICA CORP., CHASE MANHATTAN CORP. and MORGAN GUARANTY TRUST CO. are among the other syndication participants.

Having received a nonlife insurance business license from the Finance Ministry, ALLSTATE PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE JAPAN CO., LTD. plans to begin operations in October. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO. Last November, the big American nonlife insurer sold most of its half interest in a local property and casualty insurance business to its partner, the Saison Group, having decided that an independent operation would better enable it to take advantage of opportunities emerging in Japan's insurance market (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 339, December 1997, p. 13).

The same possibilities persuaded GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE CO. to open an office in Tokyo. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based nonlife insurer will study the casualty market before applying to MOF for a license to conduct business.

The top seller of cancer and elder-care insurance policies also is the first foreign insurer to have offices in all of Japan's 47 prefectures. On April 1, AMERICAN FAMILY LIFE ASSURANCE CO. opened branches in Nara, Saga, Shiga and Tottori prefectures. That gave Columbus, Georgia-based AFLAC, which moved into the Japanese market in 1974, 73 branches across the country.

Nonsmokers now can buy lower-cost life insurance policies from AMERICAN LIFE INSURANCE CO. The subsidiary of insurance giant AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP, INC. is the first company to offer such a policy. Club Nonsmoker reflects ALICO's strategy of using innovative products to capture business in Japan's currently slow-growth insurance market. It is the sixth new-to-the-market product ALICO has introduced in Japan.

TCW ASSET MANAGEMENT CO. is helping YASUDA FIRE & MARINE INSURANCE CO., LTD. develop new investment products for the Japanese market. The Los Angeles-headquartered company brings to the tie-up with Japan's number-two nonlife insurer its expertise in asset management as well as operations and management know-how.

Just 57 companies will be listed on the foreign section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange after LINCOLN NATIONAL CORP. ends trading of its stock in mid- June. At the peak in 1991, 127 offshore companies listed their shares on the TSE. The Ft. Wayne, Indiana writer of property casualty, health and other insurance policies, which listed its shares in December 1987, cited the now-familiar reasons of low turnover and high listing costs for its move.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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The Nicole Miller line of designer clothing is available at a freestanding Nicole Miller boutique in Osaka under a 10-year arrangement between the brand's manufacturer, New York City-based KOBRA INTERNATIONAL LTD., and SANKYO SEIKO CO., LTD. Another boutique will be opened shortly in Tokyo. The two shops are intended to give the partners a firsthand feel for the design direction in Japan and the demand for Nicole Miller-designed clothing. They will decide at some unspecified time whether to open more boutiques or in-store shops selling imported merchandise and/or to have Sankyo Seiko, which represents a number of other high-end clothing brands, start manufacturing Nicole Miller products under license for local sale. Sales the first year are projected at nearly $1.2 million.

Two more large Eddie Bauer casual lifestyle clothing, accessories and home furnishings stores are open in the Tokyo metropolitan area. One has a floor space of 10,600 square feet, and the other covers 9,900 square feet. They join the first Eddie Bauer store in Japan, opened in September 1994 by a joint venture between SPIEGEL INC., the parent of Redmond, Washington-based EDDIE BAUER INC., and OTTO-SUMISHO INC., plus a number of smaller shops. Eddie Bauer merchandise also is available through Japanese-language mail-order catalogs.

The partnership that operates L.L. BEAN INC. stores in Japan has mapped out a two-part plan to expand the market reach of the Freeport, Maine mail-order giant's products. SEIYU LTD. (70 percent) and MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. (30 percent) expect to open between five and 10 L.L. Kids stores a year in metropolitan areas after testing this retail format. These children's clothing shops will have a selling area of about 1,800 square feet. The joint venture also will open stores in nonmetropolitan areas that have roughly half the floor space (5,300 square feet) and do have half the volume ($3.1 million annually) of the typical L.L. Bean outlet in big cities. If a test store proves successful, four or five midsized shops will be built each year. Eleven L.L. Bean stores now are in operation. They did an estimated $69.8 million worth of business in FY 1997.

The flagship store of outdoor clothing retailer PATAGONIA, INC. is open for business in Tokyo's Shibuya area. The 3,900-square-foot shop carries about 350 items. It is the fourth outlet managed directly by the Ventura, California company's subsidiary in Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture.

GAP INC. now has 19 Gap or combination Gap/GapKids stores in 12 locations in Japan. During April its subsidiary opened a 6,500-square-foot Gap in a Nagoya department store, a freestanding Gap/GapKids store in the Ikebukuro section of Tokyo with a selling area of 6,000 square feet, and another Gap with a GapKids area in a shopping center in Yokohama.

Adding fast-food restaurants has been a typical way for gasoline stations to try to attract customers in the current era of stiff competition. MOBIL SEKIYU K.K. is trying a different tactic. In a tie-up with the subsidiary of Cincinnati, Ohio-based MARTIN FRANCHISES INC., it has opened a service station in Yokohama that has an on-the-premises dry cleaners offering one-hour service. Over the next five years, Mobil Sekiyu expects to open a total of 20 such combination stations. The operators will pay royalties to the Martin subsidiary, which has 56 franchised Martinizing dry cleaners in the country.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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After supplying several HITACHI METALS, LTD. divisions with specialty metal powders over the years, ULTRAFINE POWER TECHNOLOGY, INC. has named HITACHI METALS TRADING CO., LTD. as the exclusive distributor of its UltraFine gas-atomized products. In FY 2000, the trading company expects to sell nearly $1.6 million worth of the Woonsocket, Rhode Island company's products to electronics and precision equipment makers. Hitachi Metals' Purchase, New York subsidiary is the liaison between the two firms.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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A team of 35 engineers has been assembled at VICKERS JAPAN, LTD. in Tokyo to develop by the year 2000 electronically controlled hydraulic equipment for use with construction machinery. KOMATSU LTD. and its KOMATSU ZENOAH CO. affiliate bring to the project their high-pressure hydraulic technology. Partner VICKERS, INC., a half owner of Vickers Japan, is contributing its expertise in electronic control. If all goes according to plan, Vickers, a subsidiary of Maumee, Ohio-headquartered TRIVONA CORP., will start volume production of electronically controlled hydraulic equipment in the United States in 2002, while Komatsu and Komatsu Zenoah will launch production in Japan. Last spring, the three companies formed a wide-ranging international alliance in the mobile hydraulic equipment field (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 332, May 1997, p. 15).

Through parent KOMATSU LTD., the Haulpak division of KOMATSU MINING SYSTEMS, INC. has delivered a 150-ton mechanical rear dump truck to FUJISAKA HASEKI INDUSTRY CO., LTD. of Tochigi prefecture. The 530M, engineered for the mining industry, features a a high-performance, durable drivetrain with a 1,450-horsepower, 16-cylinder diesel engine from CUMMINS ENGINE CO., an all-electronic seven-speed transmission, advanced electronics and an all-hydraulic system for improved power and control. The Vernon Hills, Illinois manufacturer and Komatsu codeveloped the 530M, which is priced between $2 million and $2.5 million per unit.

SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. is projecting first-year sales of 80 units for the CAT PF-290B pneumatic compactor for road construction. The amount of compactive force exerted by the machine, which has large rubber tires and a high static weight, on either soil or asphalt can be varied by altering the weight of the ballast. Oscillating front wheels seek out soft spots and compact them evenly. Designed for operator comfort, the PF-290B has a rolling width of 89 inches. The $96,900 machine is powered by a four-cylinder Cat 3054T turbocharged diesel engine.

An elevator for the home that can carry three people is on the market from codevelopers OTIS ELEVATOR CO.'s subsidiary and MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. Although 10 to 12 percent smaller than previous models, the $19,400 system has room for a wheelchair. Powered by an energy-saving 0.5-kilowatt motor, the elevator can be battery-operated in case of power failures.

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Retailers now are carrying Kodak Advantix color film in speeds of 100 and 200. Like other Advanced Photo System-based film from EASTMAN KODAK CO., the film cassette just drops into the camera. Information exchange between film and camera records scene information on the film, which is used during developing to yield a better print. Moreover, new magnetic film technology automatically corrects for lighting and exposure.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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By the year 2001, police stations across Japan will be equipped with systems that digitally scan suspects' fingerprints and palm prints for transmission to the automated fingerprint identification system at National Police Agency headquarters in Tokyo. Livescanner was developed by UNISYS CORP.'s subsidiary in collaboration with a local company for project manager MITSUI & CO., LTD. Systems already have been delivered to NPA and police in several prefectures. Priced between $38,800 and $46,500, Livescanner sharply reduces the time needed to check suspects' prints against records. The current manual identification system using ink and paper takes several weeks. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has released a CDMA (code-division multiple access) mobile station test set that helps service providers and repair centers reduce the cost of mobile phone testing without sacrificing quality or thoroughness. The HP 8924E is designed for incoming inspection, failure verification, repair verification and customer return testing of both CDMA cellular and PCS (personal communications services) phones. It also can be used for trouble-shooting and verification on manufacturing lines. The HP 8924E mobile station test set is priced at $29,000. The software card, which can be configured to run preselected automated tests, costs $2,000. HP Japan expects to sell 250 units a year.

Printed circuit board assembly manufacturers challenged by shorter product life cycles, greater product miniaturization and advanced chip packaging technologies are the target customers for HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s HP 3070 Series 3 test system. Priced at $58,100 and up, the product automatically generates full in-circuit tests, including complete diagnostics, with as little as 50 percent electric access. It also is claimed to deliver test throughput speeds up to twice as fast as existing in-circuit systems. Shipments are expected to start in July.

Several unnamed Japanese electronics device manufacturers have installed Shuttlelock 770 thin-film plasma processing systems built by PLASMA-THERM, INC. The equipment will be used to develop and fabricate leading-edge MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) devices through deep silicon etching using etch technology licensed from Germany's ROBERT BOSCH GMBH. MEMS devices are expected to find use in such products as automotive sensors, ink-jet head cartridges and magnetic disk drives. The Shuttlelock 770 incorporates the St. Petersburg, Florida supplier's inductively coupled plasma technology.

An active differential probe for use with oscilloscopes is available through Chestnut Ridge, New York-based LECROY CORP.'s subsidiary. The 500-MHz AP033 is said to offer unusually extensive gain and attentuation factors, low noise and excellent common mode rejection. The wide offset range of the $3,100 system enables it to capture and measure very small signal characteristics riding on top of larger signals. Applications for the AP033 are testing hard disk drives and heads, telecommunications equipment and high-speed digital and analog designs. LeCroy's affiliate is projecting annual sales at 200 units.

The combination of SCS CORP.'s radio frequency identification technology and HITACHI MAXELL, LTD.'s ultrathin manufacturing capability has yielded a feature-rich contactless smart card that is just 0.25 millimeter thick for the San Diego, California company's i2 (interactive identification) System (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 333, June 1997, p. 14). The cards, which contain a complete read/write data base capable of storing 1,024 bits of information, will run through virtually any printer, whether bar code, laser or commercial. They are targeted at such applications as airline and mass transit ticketing, debit cards and parcel distribution. Hitachi Maxell not only will manufacture the contactless smart cards but market them outside Japan. There, JAPAN INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. is in charge of marketing.

CAPITAL CONTROLS CO., INC. of Colmar, Pennsylvania has tapped ATAKA CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING CO., LTD. as the sole distributor of its ultraviolet disinfection products for the control of waterborne microorganisms. The Osaka company, which is strong in the engineering and construction of water and wastewater treatment facilities, is handling the Model 8300 Scorpion open-channel ultraviolet disinfection system for outdoor operation and the Model 8101 closed-vessel ultraviolet disinfection system for installation on the water feed to a dwelling or a facility. Ataka has forecast 1998 sales of Capital Controls products at $7.8 million.

For unstated reasons, HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. dropped NEC CORP.'s medical systems affiliate as the exclusive marketer of the ImagePoint multispecialty ultrasound system. The various imaging modes of what otherwise is known as the M2410A allow it to be used for abdominal, cardiac, vascular, pediatric and a long list of other ultrasound applications.

In their third distribution agreement, INTEGRA LIFESCIENCES CORP. gave CENTURY MEDICAL INC. the right to distribute two neurosurgery products currently in the development phase. They are a dural regeneration device and a peripheral nerve regeneration conduit. The wholly owned ITOCHU CORP. subsidiary will pay an up-front licensing fee of $1 million and invest $4 million in the Plainsboro, New Jersey company's preferred stock. Century Medical also will underwrite all costs associated with clinical trials in Japan and the regulatory approval process. The other two Integra products it distributes are hemostatic devices and INTEGRA Artificial Skin.

Start-up ENDOLOGIX INC., which has developed an alternative to surgical bypass for the treatment of aortic aneurysms, has formed an alliance with COSMOTEC CO., LTD. That company will have exclusive rights to distribute the PowerWeb System, an endoluminal prosthesis that enables people with aortic aneurysms to be treated via a percutaneous, nonsurgical procedure. Cosmotec also will make a "substantial" investment in the Irvine, California company. The partners will work together to gain Ministry of Health and Welfare marketing approval for the PowerWeb System.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Shipments of flash memories have started from FUJITSU-AMD SEMICONDUCTOR LTD.'s second wafer fabrication facility in Aizu- Wakamatsu, Fukushima prefecture. At full capacity, the factory will be able to produce approximately 6,500 8-inch wafers a week. Currently, it is turning out 16-megabit flash devices using 0.35-micron processing. By the end of 1998, FASL plans to ship the first sub-0.25-micron flash devices. Since launching the joint venture in April 1993, equal partners ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC. and FUJITSU, LTD. have invested more than $2 billion in plant and equipment.

In what may become a trend, CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC. purchased for an undisclosed price an IC design shop — EXCELLENT DESIGN, INC. — from its sales and support channel, INNOTECH CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 333, June 1997, pp. 18-19). About 50 chip designers from EXD will reinforce the existing services operations of the San Jose, California firm's worldwide Cadence Design Factory Network, focusing on system-on-a-chip projects and ASICs. EXD had revenues of $12 million in 1997. Japan represents one-fourth of Cadence's total revenues. It is the world's top supplier of electronic design automation software.

With Japan sales generating roughly one-fourth of its revenues, SYNOPSYS, INC. has decided that the time has come to open a local design center. To be located in Okinawa prefecture, the center will open in October 1999 with a staff of 15. They will work on chips for multimedia-related and information/communications systems. The Mountain View, California company's main business is EDA software (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, p. 25).

The latest Japanese licensees of RAMBUS INC.'s high-bandwidth semiconductor interface technology are MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. and its MATSUSHITA ELECTRONICS CORP. subsidiary. Their licenses cover both logic and DRAM products. The Mountain View, California firm's interface technology now is used mainly for speeding data transmission between chips in computers, telecommunications equipment and video game consoles. The Matsushita Group companies plan to apply it to semiconductors for consumer products as well as other applications. Initially, they will manufacture image signal processing chipsets for use in consumer electronics. By March 2000, however, Direct Rambus DRAMs are expected to be available.

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC.'s subsidiary is shipping a bridge link controller IC that supports the IEEE 1394 standard for high-speed digital transmission. The part, which is at the core of a chipset linking memory devices and PCs, transmits a world-record 400 megabits of data per second. That performance was achieved by combining a controller IC, a transceiver and a flash memory-embedded digital signal processor chip.

In a worldwide release, INTEL CORP. announced the i960 JT processor, a higher-performance version of the popular i960 Jx series of 32-bit RISC chips for embedded applications. Priced at about $43 in quantity, the i960 JT processor offers up to a 100-MHz performance in addition to increased on-chip cache. It is available in a new miniplastic ball grid array package.

The newest and densest member of ALTERA CORP.'s FLEX 6000 family of programmable logic devices is the EPF6024A. It offers 1,960 logic elements, 24,000 programmable gates and 0.35-micron, triple-layer metal static RAM process technology for 3.3-volt operation. In quantities of 1,000, the part is priced at $29.45. The San Jose, California company says that the price per logic element of the EPF6024A makes it the most cost- effective gate array replacement.

Beginning this summer, the subsidiary of LSI LOGIC CORP. will start taking orders for chips incorporating the company's new G12 system-on-a-chip technology. By offering a total of 26 million usable logic gates, or 65,000 per square millimeter, the G12 technology is expected to lead to new classes of communications and consumer products. Initial production of G12 parts will start in the second quarter of 1999.

More of the 400 or so people who work for LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES INC.'s subsidiary will be assigned to market chips for mobile phones. A recently developed voice compression/decompression chip for CDMA cellular phones is the initial focus of this effort. The device integrates voice compression/decompression with digital signal processing and 72 kilobytes of read-only memory — double what has been available up to now. It also performs 100 million instructions per second, a record speed for mobile phone applications. The part is sample-priced at $50.

Samples of what developer TERALOGIC, INC. describes as the first low- cost, high-performance graphics and video processing IC for digital television set-top boxes and receivers are available through MARUBUN CORP. Priced at $10 per part in volume, the TL750 should facilitate the development of affordable, international standards-compliant DTV products capable of displaying graphics-rich data services and attractive user interfaces on analog or digital TV monitors. To lower development costs and shorten time to market for manufacturers, Mountain View, California-based TeraLogic came up with a complete software development platform called Puma that incorporates the TL750 with widely available components.

A development tie-up between PC-TEL INC. and YAMAHA CORP. has yielded an IC that combines the Milpitas, California company's Host Signal Processing Modem technology and its 56-kilobit-per-second data/fax modem functionality with the Japanese firm's digital audio expertise. The part, the partners say, will enable OEMs to build affordable PCs with rich sound quality and an advanced telecommunications capability. The chip utilizes the PCI bus for fast, efficient transmission of audio and modem data. Yamaha will start sampling its new digital audio chip in 1998's third quarter, with volume production scheduled for the end of the year.

A low-cost, low-power, complete two-axis accelerator with a digital output on a single monolithic IC chip is available from ANALOG DEVICES, INC.'s subsidiary for $9.95 in quantities of 10,000 units. The ADXL202, the first 3-volt integrated accelerometer, is designed for a variety of applications that need to measure gravity (tilt), vibration, shock and motion.

As part of a worldwide release, KLA-TENCOR CORP. introduced the ILM- 2230 laser-imaging, patterned wafer inspection system for production line monitoring. It is the first system to combine oblique angle dark-field illumination with the San Jose, California company's small-pixel, high data-rate image processing. This combination enables the ILM-2230 to capture a wide range of yield-critical defect types on 0.25-micron and smaller-geometry devices, including high-density DRAMs. It also is optimized for advanced interconnect process inspection applications, including chemical mechanical planarization. KLA-Tencor's subsidiary has priced the system at $3.1 million. It is projecting first-year sales of 10 units.

HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has priced the latest addition to the HP 94000 family of mixed-signal testers, the Model 160XL, at $372,100. That marks a new level in cost-effectiveness for testing devices that constantly are becoming faster and more complex. For this and other reasons, the company expects to sell 30 systems.

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The ferment shaking up the U.S. market for Internet search services has reached Japan. YAHOO! JAPAN CORP. has announced that it will link its Internet search service with the one sponsored by NTT ADVERTISING, INC., a unit of NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. If a search fails to turn up a match in Yahoo!'s data base, the user request will be relayed automatically to NTT Advertising's engine. Results will be displayed on a jointly operated Web page. The partners hope the link will attract more users and lead to higher advertising revenues. The majority owners of publicly traded Yahoo! Japan are Sunnyvale, California YAHOO! CORP. and SOFTBANK CORP.

Trying to recapture some market share, NETSCAPE COMMUNICATIONS CORP.'s subsidiary is distributing free CD-ROM copies of its Communicator Internet browser suite as a supplement to local computer magazines. In addition, Netscape has struck agreements with 10 software companies, including the local unit of SYMANTEC CORP., to bundle Communicator with their business products. It also has initiated talks with PC makers to preinstall the browser on their machines.

AUTODESK INC.'s subsidiary is offering a family of programs to create, distribute and display map information via the Internet. The San Rafael, California firm's MapGuide Server and MapAgent — which costs $13,400 for a 20-user license up to $26,900 for an unlimited license — delivers map data to users equipped with MapGuide Viewer. The $1,800 MapGuide Author creates intelligent interactive Map Window Files. Autodesk predicts first-year sales will hit 300 units.

Big firms in search of a highly scalable, modular Internet e-mail server can turn to the Sun Internet Mail Server from SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s software division. The $2,300 package is targeted at the demanding needs of Internet service providers. .....An alternative "industrial-strength" e- mail server from SEATTLE LAB, INC., SLmail v2.5, is said to be easy to install and configure. It also is adaptable to the needs of small office/home office users as well as multinational corporations. Tokyo- based NETMARKS CO., LTD. is handling local sales of the Bothell, Washington firm's product.

To expand global sales of its Posta Internet document delivery solution, TUMBLEWEED SOFTWARE CORP. of Redwood City, California has tied up with CANON SALES CO., INC., SYNERGY INCUBATE INC. and the local unit of Taiwan-headquartered DYNALAB. Posta can deliver any type of document to any end-user securely and with full delivery tracking. Once Dynalab has completed localization, Canon Sales will offer the secure Internet document conversion and distribution system through all five of its sales divisions. Tokyo-based Synergy Incubate will provide consulting and integration services, while Dynalab will operate the local Posta data center.

Going head-to-head with Posta is Net-It Central from San Francisco's NET-IT SOFTWARE CORP. Simply by dropping files into folders and arranging the hierarchy of folders, Net-It Central automatically creates carbon-copy Web documents, updates all necessary document repositories and distributes the documents to lists of users specified by the administrator. The standard version of Net-It Central retails for $5,800, while the professional edition starts at $7,600. The package is distributed locally by DIGITAL MAGIC LAB CO., LTD. of Tokyo.

With sponsorship by MICROSOFT CORP., New York City-based EARTHWEB INC. has launched a localized version of its Web site for Internet developers. Japan offers on-line reference texts for Java, JavaScript, ActiveX, Virtual Reality Modeling Language and Internet channel technology as well as a constantly updated pool of applets in Japanese for downloading. In exchange for helping EarthWeb port to Japanese and several European languages, Microsoft gets exclusive advertising rights on the overseas sites.

FINE.COM CORP. has teamed up with MITSUI & CO., LTD. to test the local market for its interactive-response marketing and Web site construction services. The Seattle firm's complex, data base-driven Web sites offer a new level of user involvement and sophistication to Japanese firms interested in Internet marketing.

A new service from IBM JAPAN LTD. will help Japanese Web masters evaluate and improve the effectiveness of their handiwork. Based on SurfAid — a software package that analyzes and interprets the behavior of visitors to a Web site — IBM Japan will help Web masters develop one-to- one marketing Web pages as well as generate and mine business intelligence about customers.

With only a few mouse clicks and no programming, WebBurst from POWER PRODUCTION SOFTWARE creates interactive Java applets that bring sound, animation and motion to a Web site. WebBurst exports an HTML file of Java applets for quick and easy insertion into Web pages. The Hermosa Beach, California firm has selected MARUBENI CORP. as the exclusive distributor of the applet tool.

Now available from ITOCHU TECHNO-SCIENCE CORP. is a middleware utility that makes existing mainframe applications available to intranet and extranet users. The kanji edition of SmartTran from Campbell, California- based ENTERPRISELINK TECHNOLOGY CORP. — a start-up backed by Itochu Techno-Science, ITOCHU CORP. and an American venture fund — recognizes and interprets for Web users applications written for INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s MVS and FUJITSU, LTD.'s MSP operating systems that use any Japanese character set. SmartTran already is being used by HONDA R&D CO., LTD. to give its 5,000 employees secure intranet access to a travel and expense system, while SHARP CORP. is using it to deliver its legacy human resources applications via its network.

Beyond making legacy mainframe applications Web-savvy, IS managers wanting to integrate disparate systems and data, scale business-critical applications, manage distributed systems and boost productivity can create Net-native applications with NetDynamics 4.0. The enterprise network application development platform from NETDYNAMICS, INC. of Menlo Park, California is based entirely on open standards, including Java, JavaBeans, CORBA and DCOM. Distribution of the 4.0 version is being handled by Tokyo-based TERILOGY CO., LTD., a switch from the company in charge of earlier editions (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 333, June 1997, p. 16).

INFORMATION RESOURCE ENGINEERING, INC., a Baltimore-based provider of virtual private network security services, has formed a strategic alliance with MITSUBISHI CORP. and new common carrier OSAKA MEDIA PORT CORP. OMP will use IRE's NetSafe software to add a VPN option to its World Computer Network Internet access service. Mitsubishi not only will help market the enhanced, secure service, but it will be OMP's first VPN subscriber. VIDEOMAIL JAPAN INC. also distributes IRE's network security utilities (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 20).

The subsidiary of Mountain View, California-based VERISIGN, INC. has launched two initiatives to keep it ahead in the competitive market for electronic-commerce security software. First, it lowered the price of issuing digital identification certificates by 10 percent to about $630 and made it easier for firms to apply for digital IDs. Second, it introduced a local version of its parent's NetSure Protection Plan, which will pay customers up to $77,500 if they suffer from a fraudulent e-commerce transaction that used Verisign's digital ID services. Of the 40,000-odd digital ID certificates issued by Verisign, 1,500 or so have gone to Japanese users.

In a natural extension of their exclusive local marketing pact (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, pp. 21-22), CYLINK CORP. of Sunnyvale, California announced that MITSUI & CO., LTD. will use its PrivateWire Internet security system to safeguard its Internet, intranet and extranet traffic. PrivateWire's advanced, public-key encryption, digital ID authority and firewalls rely on mutual certification instead of one-sided safeguards.

CYBERGUARD CORP. has plunged into the Japanese e-commerce and network security competition, opening a subsidiary in Tokyo to direct local marketing efforts. In addition, the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida firm has landed a spot in the PC NT Solutions Mall, a virtual showcase for EC software cosponsored by IBM JAPAN LTD. and MICROSOFT CORP. CyberGuard Firewall r4 for Unix comes bundled with IBM Japan's PC servers. A version for Microsoft's Windows NT operating system is expected shortly. .....CyberGuard Firewall faces stiff competition, including from the Japanese-language version of SessionWall-3 v2.1 from ABIRNET, LTD. The latest update of the Dallas firm's Internet/intranet firewall — marketed for $3,900 to double that amount by FORVAL CREATIVE, INC. — provides greater defenses against Web pages and e-mail messages that might corrupt or damage the receiving system.

As part of its campaign to promote network computers, the subsidiary of ORACLE CORP. is shipping a localized operating system for NCs developed by its parent's wholly owned NETWORK COMPUTER, INC. unit. Oracle NCOS is a scalable, robust operating system for standard INTEL CORP. hardware. It is priced from $390 to $540. Orders for Oracle NCOS already have been received from FUJITSU, LTD., NEC CORP. and NTT DATA CORP. Oracle's subsidiary also has released NC Administration Server 1.4 for SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris operating system, with editions for other versions of Unix as well as Windows NT on the way. This package provides all the software corporations need to deploy NCs.


A Japanese-language version of MICROSOFT CORP.'s Windows CE 2.0 has been released. The company is aiming the operating system not only at the market for handheld computers but also at automotive, appliance and communications applications. To that end, Microsoft's subsidiary has organized a 10-person team to promote Windows CE 2.0. So far, five computer makers — CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD., HITACHI, LTD., NEC CORP. and the subsidiaries of COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. and HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. — have become OEM customers for the localized version of Windows CE 2.0. .....Separately, MICROSOFT CORP. signed a deal with the Microtec division of MENTOR GRAPHICS CORP. that makes it a one-stop source for Windows CE software and support in the United States as well as in Japan. Microtec has ported its industry-standard XRAY Debugger to Windows CE and optimized its C, C++ and Java compilers for the OS. Licenses for the Microtec Toolkit for Windows CE were to be available in April for roughly $4,600.

By the end of the summer, ORACLE CORP.'s affiliate expects to be marketing a version of the Oracle Lite 3.0 relational data base for Windows CE. Besides traditional RDB applications, the company thinks that the package could be used to boost the functionality of point-of-sale systems. Pricing will start at $300 for a single-user license.

Helping MIS staff bridge the gap between Unix and Windows NT systems, OPENNT r2.1 from SOFTWAY SYSTEMS, INC. of San Francisco adds 25 new commands and utilities to its Unix-on-NT shell to ease networking and interconnection issues. OPENNT brings more commonality to managing mixed Unix and Windows NT configurations, plus it eases the porting of Unix applications to Windows NT. Distributor SUMISHO ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. expects a ready market among large firms for the $295 program.

MIS staff also have access to a new toolbox for bringing older applications up to date and developing new client applications. UNISYS CORP.'s PowerClient lets programmers update older screen-based applications by adding a graphical-user interface and Windows compatibility. The basic $1,800 package can be enhanced by adding a distribution/management module priced at $240 or a Web Agent module that costs $9,700. PowerClient also works with third-party client builder tools, including PowerBuilder and Visual Basic.

The Japanese arms of METROWERKS, INC. of Austin, Texas and APPLIED MICROSYSTEMS CORP. of Redmond, Washington are working together to promote their software debug and test tools for embedded systems. By melding their individual products together, the two hope to present a more complete software development environment. Metrowerks' CodeWarrior software authoring package is widely used for desktop applications (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, p. 25), but it should be more attractive to programmers in the embedded market with the addition of Applied Microsystems' CodeTAP and PowerTAP hardware/software emulators for the embedded versions of MOTOROLA INC.'s PowerPC processors.

Through its newly established subsidiary, EMBEDDED SUPPORT TOOLS CORP. of Canton, Massachusetts is offering a competing family of test and debug tools. Using the Background Debug Mode built into every MOTOROLA INC. processor, EST's hardware and software emulators cover the full range of 683xx, PowerPC 8xx and ColdFire 520x embedded processors. They also offer easy integration with other programs. The tools are priced from $5,400 to $15,500 for a complete system.

A new package from INSTALL SHIELD SOFTWARE CORP. of Schaumberg, Illinois helps authors of applications for Windows PCs develop automatic software installers. InstallShield 5.1 Professional Edition uses Visual Basic to develop complete installations in a few easy steps, yet it is powerful enough to handle automatic customization with third-party software components. Tokyo-based NETSERVE INC. is handling distribution of the $1,400 utility. It expects to ring up sales of 5,000 packages the first year.

One of the competitors in the red-hot market for Year 2000 conversion software, REASONING, INC. of Mountain View, California, has formed a subsidiary to promote its Reasoning/2000 Transformation Service to computer makers and software houses. Based on the Reasoning Transformation Software Architecture, the company can update COBOL, PL/I, NATURAL, C, FORTRAN and ADA programs. .....Meanwhile, "old-timer" COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. announced that its CA- Fix/2000 has been chosen by ISUZU MOTORS LTD. to hack its legacy COBOL code into shape for the new millennium. The truck builder chose CA's Y2K solution after successful trials at its American subsidiary.

MANGOSOFT CORP. and NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. are offering the SOHO market easy entrée into the world of networking and the Internet. Using the Westborough, Massachusetts firm's Mango98 Internet-savvy networking software as the core, NTT will provide all the needed hardware, software and integration services to give small businesses an internal network with gateways to the Internet. The alliance was made possible with the help of MangoSoft's distributor, SVA JAPAN CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 20). Mango98 is marketed as Medley outside Japan.

A similar network software service is being offered by IBM JAPAN LTD. Based on the Netfinity family of network servers and Lotus Domino software, the Quick Solution service offers SOHO customers turnkey answers to their networking and Internet access needs.

Not to be outdone, the subsidiary of network operating system powerhouse NOVELL INC. has released an improved, localized version of the NetWare package. Version 3.2J not only works better with third-party software but addresses Y2K problems with earlier versions of the NetWare network operating system.

Austin, Texas-based PERVASIVE SOFTWARE INC. is working with MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. and the subsidiary of Santa Clara, California- based INTEGRATED SYSTEMS, INC. on a project to boost office network efficiency. MELCO's Toward Seamless service integrates servers, PC clients, office equipment, remote terminals and other remote devices more tightly to eliminate network inefficiencies and overlap.

In a similar vein, HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s HP OpenView ManageX 3.0 gives managers of Windows NT-based networks advanced management functions previously available only to Unix systems. Not only does the network management software optimize use of network resources, but it greatly enhances network availability and stability. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. expects to sell a combined annual total of 10,000 copies of the $3,900 base package and the $2,200 additional server module. Only the English-language version of HP OpenView ManageX 3.0, which the company acquired from NUVIEW INC. last November, is available now, but a localized version will be released in July.

Software from ORACLE CORP. now is available to handle connections at the remote device end of the client/server equation. Oracle Mobile Agents is an asynchronous, secure, store-and-forward messaging system for mobile devices. Besides being based on open standards and supporting a wide variety of wireless network standards, the product handles poor or intermittent connections by creating a software agent on the server to act as a proxy for the remote user. Users thus need to be connected only to send requests and receive answers; they need not run up expensive connect charges waiting for the server to process their requests. Pricing of a standard Oracle Mobile Agents package starts at $200.


Several new packages have come on the market to manage the client side of the client/server relationship. LANDesk Client Manager from INTEL CORP.'s subsidiary, which is bundled with PCs from IBM JAPAN LTD. and other local manufacturers, monitors both hardware and software on client computers. It also conducts diagnostic routines, alerts administrators to problems and provides on-line help for hundreds of hardware and thousands of software problems. .....Bellevue, Washington-based ATTACHMATE CORP.'s NetWizard combines software distribution, software and hardware inventory, software metering and licensing, remote software control, software policy management, execution and configuration into a single package. NetWizard will be the main tool used by a new client management service offered by YOKOGAWA DIGITAL COMPUTER CO., LTD. That company expects to sell 40,000 copies of NetWizard this year for revenues of $6.2 million.

Updating the antivirus data files of client PCs is a snap with the Me!SiteExpress package from NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. The Santa Clara, California firm has created automatic links between its popular VirusScan package and its SiteExpress software distribution engine, focusing on enterprise-wide distribution of the latest data on computer viruses. Me!SiteExpress starts around $525 for a 10-user license.

Separately, NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. will sell its CyberCop network- access security system through trader TOYO TECHNICA CO., LTD. CyberCop monitors network-access activity round the clock, providing undetectable, real-time alerts of unauthorized traffic. It then determines which network elements are under attack and captures evidence of the intrusion. A basic CyberCop installation costs $20,100, while a version with more powerful management, analysis and reporting features starts at $27,900. Toyo Technica is gearing up to sell and support (one year of support is included with the basic package) six deluxe installations a year.

Even though it changed its name to PERVASIVE SOFTWARE INC., the Austin, Texas firm has held on to its roots by continuing to improve and sell its former namesake product, the Btrieve relational transactional data base. Version 7.0J is a fully localized data base engine that Pervasive Software thinks can be embedded in finance, accounting, marketing, human resources and management analysis programs written specifically for Japan's market.

Combining Internet/intranet technologies and the Java programming language, SYMANTEC CORP.'s $680 dbAnywhere advances the state of the art in network relational data bases. Instead of needing special client software, dbAnywhere's features can be tapped by anyone with any Java- enabled Web browser. All processing is done on the client side via downloaded Java applets. Connectivity out-of-the-box is provided for MICROSOFT CORP., ORACLE CORP. and SYBASE, INC. SQL servers, among others.

New products keep entering the market for data warehousing and data mining software. For $10,100, users who want their data to add directly to the bottom line can buy BROADBASE INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC.'s Broadbase v1.2 datamart server. Fully localized, the Menlo Park, California firm's flagship product is a turnkey system that combines data transformation, on-line analytical processing tools, data mining and administration tools in one package for Windows NT servers. BIS has just added a fifth company, COMPUTER ENGINEERING & CONSULTING LTD., to its list of distributors. They are: BEACON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INC., OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD., TEIJIN SYSTEM TECHNOLOGY LTD. and the subsidiary of DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP. BIS hopes to line up additional sales channels in the near future.

Data warehouse pioneer PRISM SOLUTIONS, INC. of Sunnyvale, California has brought its complete line of enterprise-class products to Japan through a partnership with HITACHI, LTD. By the third quarter of this year, Hitachi will adapt Prism's products for local users and add support for Hitachi operating systems and data management systems. The electronics giant will target installations using its own mainframes as well as Unix and Windows NT shops.

To keep pace with the new competition, RED BRICK SYSTEMS, INC. signed up a fifth distributor for its Red Brick Warehouse package (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 330, March 1997, p. 17). The SHARP CORP. affiliate adds its systems integration know-how to the agreement. It is aiming to line up more than 100 data warehouse customers this year. The Los Gatos, California company's product handles a wide range of legacy data and hardware platforms.

Leading the likely wave of deals generated by Japan's financial market Big Bang, TRIPLE POINT TECHNOLOGY, INC. licensed its financial futures trading software to MARUBENI CORP. TEMPEST 2000 and PHYSICAL Booster will be deployed at the trader's Tokyo and Singapore offices as a front-to- back office trading system for the physical and derivative energy commodity markets. The Westport, Connecticut company's PHYSICAL Booster add-on provides in-depth coverage of physical oil trading operations, including blending, processing, inventory forecasting and tank inventory management.

SIEBEL SYSTEMS, INC. continues to expand the market for its sales force automation software by tying up with MITSUBISHI CORP. The two will promote Siebel Sales Enterprise, which ties together a company's support, marketing, sales, manufacturing and research departments more tightly via the Internet to field representatives equipped with handheld PCs.

The Series 6 enterprise-wide customer management suite from DENDRITE INTERNATIONAL, INC. of Morristown, New Jersey came out on top of a competition held by TAKEDA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. to select its sales force automation software. The electronic territory management package's modules can absorb huge amounts of customer data, analyze it and make it available to all levels of the company as well as staff in the field. Series 6 is used by many of Takeda's domestic and international competitors, including KISSEI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. and SANKYO/PARKE-DAVIS CO.

NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS and OMRON CORP. have tied up to integrate the Menlo Park, California company's sophisticated speech-recognition system into automated call centers, making them more customer-friendly and less costly. The Nuance 6.1 conversational speech-recognition engine — set to debut in the second quarter of this year — will be the core of Kyoto- based Omron's software solutions that can handle Japanese, English (both American and British) and Spanish.

Through its subsidiary, Pleasanton, California-headquartered PEOPLESOFT, INC. will roll out a new version of its enterprise resource planning suite this June (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 333, June 1997, p. 17). Besides being fully localized, PeopleSoft 7.5/Japanese version will offer strengthened supply chain management functions as well as handling developments that affect the management of a global enterprise, such as the impending European Monetary Union. Following up on the opening of a subsidiary (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 21), PARAGON MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS has debuted a Japanese version of its Paragon Applications supply chain management software. The SCM suite is tuned for global manufacturers, helping improve customer responsiveness, lower inventory costs and trim production costs. The Los Angeles firm plans to add Chinese- and Korean- language versions, meaning that Japanese companies with operations in these countries could standardize around Paragon Applications. .....A competing SCM option from Irving, Texas-based I2 TECHNOLOGIES now is available through ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary. i2's RHYTHM family provides comprehensive, intelligent support for planning and scheduling functions for both intra-enterprise and inter-enterprise supply chains. The two companies will cooperate on integrating RHYTHM with Oracle's line of data base and ERP products.


Before SCM, there was (and still is) electronic data interchange. GE INFORMATION SERVICES, INC. and KOKUSAI DENSHIN DENWA CO., LTD., Japan's top international telecommunications carrier, have teamed up to offer an EDI service in step with the Internet Age. The Rockville, Maryland company's GE Network already allows users in 110 countries to exchange data, make transactions, place orders and settle accounts, but the partners will use KDD's frame-relay TCP/IP service to make GE Network accessible by anyone with an Internet connection. KDD plans to charge users a basic start-up fee, $77.50 a month for an electronic mailbox, and 23 cents for every kilobite of data transmitted over the network.

POMS CORP. (formerly INCODE Corp.) of Herndon, Virginia has landed a major new customer for its manufacturing execution system, POMS MES. At a cost of more than $1 million, HOECHST MARION ROUSSEL INC.'s Japan unit will integrate POMS MES with SAP R/3 at its solid-dose manufacturing plant, bringing the facility's software up to par with HMR's North American operations. POMS MES not only controls and manages plant-floor processes but works seamlessly with other enterprise applications, such as ERPs.

Manufacturers that want state-of-the-art industrial controls with low- cost Windows NT machines have two new options. RADISYS CORP.'s INtime package has been chosen by the electronics division of KOMATSU LTD. as the core of a new generation of deterministic, real-time factory automation systems. Komatsu was attracted to several features of the Hillsboro, Oregon company's product: protected architecture, extensive user-level development tools and strong debugging capabilities. .....The second option comes from OBJECTAUTOMATION of Santa Ana, California. OAenterprise, which is based on open standards, brings the ease of object- oriented programming to the field. It integrates (OAframework) state-of- the-art process visualization (OA2view), control (OA2control), alarm (OA2alarms) and history (OA2history) tools. From its new offices in Tokyo, Taiwan and Singapore, ObjectAutomation hopes to make OAenterprise the standard for the latest generation of factory automation around the Pacific Rim.

Continuing to update its wide range of products, MICROSOFT CORP.'s subsidiary rolled out a new version of its desktop publishing program, Publisher 98. With an expected street price of $115, Publisher 98 not only lets amateurs create professional-looking newsletters, flyers, brochures and business cards, but it creates Web pages as well.

A new version of its industry-standard digital image manipulation package is available from ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary. Priced at $99, Photo Deluxe 2.0J simplifies the creation of many complex image effects besides offering a host of new tools. The Mountain View, California company expects to sell 1 million copies of Photo Deluxe a year in Japan.

In the wake of the national craze for virtual pocket pets, PF.MAGIC, INC. of San Francisco has forged a strategic partnership with PC game and magazine publisher ASCII CORP. to bring its virtual Petz, Dogz and Catz for desktop machines to the local market. ASCII has localized Virtual Petz. It hopes their artificial intelligence and three-dimensional graphics will appeal to Japan's finicky consumers.

To handle the new, more efficient hard disk format available from APPLE COMPUTER INC.'s latest Mac OS 8.1 operating system, SYMANTEC CORP. has updated its best-selling Norton Utilities for Macintosh. Version 3.5.3J, priced around $175, now can inspect and repair hard disk problems in both old and new formats besides performing its tasks more quickly.

Since the threat from computer viruses is changing constantly, NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. continues to update its popular VirusScan product. VirusScan for Windows 95/98 will be available in May from the Santa Clara, California firm's subsidiary. It offers faster scanning and more flexible responses to suspected problems.

A new version of MicroStation Modeler is available from Exton, Pennsylvania-based BENTLEY SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary. The 5.5.4J update, like its predecessor (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 334, July 1997, p. 22), is fully localized but offers a much broader library of 3D functions and greater connectivity with other programs and the Internet. Despite these improvements, Bentley has cut the price by 21 percent to $5,800. Given all the features available for this price, the company forecasts MicroStation Modeler sales at 500 units in 1998.

TRANSOM TECHNOLOGIES, INC. has won a contract to supply TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. with its Transom Jack human-centric visual simulation software. Japan's top automotive maker chose the Ann Arbor, Michigan firm to supply and install the human-modeling software after exhaustive benchmarking of competing products. It will use Transom Jack to evaluate the ergonomics of its car and truck interior designs. Mountain View, California-based DUCTUS, INC. has licensed a Verilog HDL (hardware description language) version of its ClearView anti-aliasing rasterization technology to MATSUSHITA ELECTRONICS CORP. MEC will incorporate Ductus' patented know-how to improve the visual quality of graphics and text generated by its planned line of low-cost, two- dimensional image processors. It is aiming the chips at PC graphics cards, Java devices and consumer electronics products — any application where a low-cost, high-quality graphical-user interface is needed.

SYNOPSYS, INC. is selling a melded tool for verifying million-gate-plus IC designs. The Mountain View, California EDA firm has taken its Cyclone cycle-based simulator, which lists for $65,900, and integrated it with the $65,300 Eagle hardware/software coverification tool developed by the former Viewlogic Systems, Inc., which now is part of Synopsys. The melded product can handle designs that are too large for event-based VHDL simulators.

The new Asia division of VERISITY DESIGN, INC., also based in Mountain View, California, has moved quickly to bolster sales of its Specman high- level verification automation solution, appointing CYBERTEC as its exclusive representative. Specman is a specification-based verification system that automates tasks traditionally done by hand, such as creating functional tests, checking test results and measuring verification progress against a functional-test plan.

A localized version of XILINX, INC.'s Alliance Series 1.4 software for designers of field-programmable gate arrays is available through the San Jose, California company's subsidiary. The program is said to deliver up to 85 percent faster compile times and a 25 percent boost in clock-speed performance for programmable logic devices. It supports the industry's highest-density FPGA, the Xilinx XC40125XV with as many as 250,000 system gates. Pricing of Alliance Series 1.4J starts at $480 for PCs and goes up to $5,800 for high-end workstations. Xilinx is the world's top maker of FPGAs.

Expecting a business boom from telecommunications market deregulation in Japan, APEX VOICE COMMUNICATIONS has rolled out a Japanese version of its OmniVox for Windows NT computer telephony and call-processing application development, run-time and management environment. Not only does OmniVox for Windows NT/Japan handle all Japanese character sets, but it properly states money amounts in "yen" and "cen" and gives dates according to either of two Japanese conventions (year/month/day or year of an imperial reign). OmniVox was localized with the help of ACCURA CORP., the Sherman Oaks, California company's value-added distributor.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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For approximately $32 million, wireless services provider NEXTEL COMMUNICATIONS, INC. of McLean, Virginia acquired a 21 percent stake in J-COM CO., LTD., which later this year will launch iDEN (integrated digital enhanced network) services for business customers. MOTOROLA INC. is the prime mover behind the Tokyo-based company. It now provides specialized digital mobile radio services in the 1.5-gigahertz frequency band to about 40,000 corporate customers. Trader NICHIMEN CORP. and leasing company ORIX CORP. are among the other investors in J-COM (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 23).

To boost sales of its ATM, remote access servers, Internet telephone servers and other networking equipment, LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES INC.'s subsidiary formed a data networking system operations group. Lucent marketing people are in charge of sales to Internet service providers, while distributors handle sales to other business customers. A major focus of the in-house unit is the new Internet Telephony Server SP, which allows phone-to-phone, fax-to-fax, computer-to-phone and phone-to- computer communications over the Internet. This is possible because the ITS SP platform merges the publicly switched telephone network with packet-switched data networks. Lucent's subsidiary has priced the ITS SP at $67,400 for communications carriers and at $46,500 for corporate use. By yearend, the company expects to have sold 1,000 platforms to each group of customers.

Offering faster links to the Internet is one way the local affiliate of ISP PSINET INC. hopes to sign up more corporate customers, especially SOHO subscribers. Through NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP.'s new 128- kilobit-per-second dedicated leased line OCN service, it is offering businesses in the Akasaka area of Tokyo fast connections for about $370 a month. By July, PSINet's 128-Kbps service is expected to be available throughout Tokyo along with the standard 64-Kbps service. In time, the Herndon, Virginia company's subsidiary plans to offer businesses with high-volume communications requirement a choice of Internet links at 256 Kbps, 512 Kbps or 1.5 gigabits per second.

The InterJet all-in-one Internet solution for small businesses from WHISTLE COMMUNICATIONS CORP. has received a powerful endorsement. It is part of NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP.'s just-released Multinet Debut III Mini Internet solutions package for small and midsized companies. In addition to the InterJet, which integrates internal and external e-mail, Web access and Web publishing for the whole office into one device, the NTT package includes a digital service unit, a four-port hub and the OCN economy service. Systems integrator OTSUKA SHOKAI CO., LTD. is importing and supplying the Foster City, California company's product to NTT. RICOH CO., LTD. also distributes InterJet (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 24). It recently released a fully localized product, aiming for sales of 5,000 units a year.

The ADC Kentrox subsidiary of Minneapolis-based ADC TELECOMMUNICATIONS INC. signed a worldwide OEM agreement with NEC CORP. for the AAC-3 Multi-service Access Concentrator. As the name suggests, the Portland, Oregon company's product integrates multiservice protocols over private enterprise and public networks, concentrating voice, video and data traffic from customers' premises to public networks. NEC is selling the AAC-3 as the ATOMIS 2/2050 and the ATOMIS 2/2051. The electronics giant said that the new product strengthens its ability to supply customers with a cost-effective and comprehensive end-to-end ATM networking solution for native ATM and legacy "non-ATM" services.

A competing product is on the local market from CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary. The Cisco MC3810 lists for $5,600 and up. Given this aggressive pricing and the product's functionality, the world's networking equipment leader is projecting sales of 3,000 Cisco MC3810s in Japan this year.

Market newcomer TORRENT NETWORKING TECHNOLOGIES CORP. has selected SOLITON SYSTEMS K.K. to sell its IP9000 Gigabit Router family, which is claimed to be the first in the industry to combine gigabit-scaled performance and comprehensive routing functionality with the ability to deliver guaranteed service to individual traffic flows. Torrent's full fast- path architecture forwards all packets of data via a nonblocking, low- latency fabric. Wire-speed Internet Protocol routing is available for 128 Fast Ethernet ports, 16 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 64 OC-3 ATM ports. In addition to the technical advances of the IP9000 Gigabit Routers, Torrent is touting their aggressive pricing, which starts at $52,500.

Sales will start in the second quarter of what developer BERKELEY NETWORKS describes as a new class of internetworking switches, one that integrates for the first time the Windows NT operating system onto a high-performance intelligent switching platform. The Milpitas, California company named NISSHO ELECTRONICS CORP. as the first local distributor of the exponeNT family. Two models will be available: the e8, an enterprise backbone switch with 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 384 Fast Ethernet ports, and the e4, a modular, stackable switch with 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports or 192 Fast Ethernet ports. That model starts at $38,800.

For between $5,000 and $8,000, network managers can buy the capabilities their companies need now and migrate to next-generation technologies when they are ready using the same chassis. That capability is available with the OmniSwitch from XYLAN CORP.'s subsidiary. This multilayer switching platform provides integrated LAN and ATM switching, wide area network connectivity, high-speed routing, virtual LANs and IP firewalls. The Calabasas, California maker projects that the five OmniSwitch campus backbone models marketed in Japan will generate combined sales of $7.8 million.

INTEL CORP.'s subsidiary is backing up its push into the networking equipment market with a steady stream of new products. Among the latest are the Intel Express 550T and 550F scalable routing switches for Fast Ethernet campus backbones. The 550T, priced at $4,600, supports eight 10/100-TX autosensing ports, while the 550F, which lists for around $11,600, supports eight Fast Ethernet ports. Both models are stackable, supporting up to 84 network segments with a scalable, high-speed backplane. .....Also new to Japan from INTEL CORP. is the Intel EtherExpress PRO/100 Intelligent Server Adapter. Part of a family of adapters for networking Pentium, Pentium Pro and Pentium II processor-based PCs and servers on Ethernet and Fast Ethernet LANs, the board costs $690.

Targeting the LAN and WAN networking requirements of small businesses and branch offices, CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s local operation has introduced several products in the Cisco Networked Office stack. These modular, scalable products are designed to work with a company's existing equipment, such as network interface cards, PCs and printers, as well as with major network operating systems, including NetWare, Windows NT and OS/2. The members of the Cisco Networked Office stack sold in Japan are: the Cisco 1500 Micro Hub with eight 10Base-T ports; the Cisco 1528 Micro Hub 10/100 for the desktop, which provides eight autosensing 10Base-T and 100Base-TX Ethernet ports for about $900; the Cisco 1548 Micro Switch 10/100, an affordable ($1,800) desktop Ethernet switch that delivers 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps of dedicated bandwidth to servers and workstations; and the Cisco Micro Webserver 200 for Internet and intranet Web publishing on a 40-MIPS PowerPC platform at a cost of $1,900.

Meanwhile, CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. announced for the American and Japanese markets a WAN interface card for its modular Cisco 1600 and 3600 Series routers. The card simplifies the deployment and the management of Internet and intranet connectivity by incorporating a fully managed, T1 DSU/CSU (data service unit/channel service unit) solution. The Cisco WIC-1DSU-T1 WAN interface card is priced at $1,000.

Portable computer users can get fast connections to corporate networks, the Internet and other on-line services with XIRCOM, INC.'s CreditCard Modem 56. The Calabasas, California company tapped Tokyo's CF CO., INC. to market the 56-Kbps data/fax PC Card modem.

In June, ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary will launch a campaign promoting Internet access via set-top boxes hooked to television sets and a server. NCTV will allow users to browse the Internet and send e-mail while watching television programming. Oracle affiliate NETWORK COMPUTER, INC. developed the software for the digital cable TV set-top boxes, which will be manufactured on an OEM basis by Taiwanese companies for Japanese electronics suppliers. The boxes are expected to cost around $390.

Internet telephone service from AT&T JENS CORP. now is available in major cities in the Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu areas. Hiroshima- headquartered consumer electronics retailer DEODEO CORP. is helping to market the service, which uses regular telephones. Domestic calls are priced at 18 cents a minute regardless of distance, while calls to the United States cost 26 cents a minute. These charges undercut NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. and KOKUSAI DENSHIN DENWA CO., LTD. pricing by anywhere from 20 percent to 70 percent, yet the quality of the calls is said to rival those over the publicly switched network. AT&T Jens has offered Internet telephone service since last August in Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo and other cities in eastern Japan.

In late September, the Japanese affiliate of Washington, D.C.-based IRIDIUM LLC will begin global mobile voice and data services using a constellation of low-earth-orbit satellites. The launch will come within months of the start of a similar service by a consortium backed by ORBCOMM GLOBAL L.P. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, pp. 24-25). NIPPON IRIDIUM CORP. will charge a flat, dollar-based price per minute for all international calls. It hopes to sign up between 100,000 and 120,000 subscribers in the first year. Iridium cellular handsets will cost about $3,000, while pagers will be priced around $600. They will be supplied to the MOTOROLA INC.-spearheaded group by KYOCERA CORP., which, along with its affiliate, long-distance carrier DDI CORP., is the biggest shareholder in Nippon Iridium.

The 500 directly owned or franchised stores worldwide run by aftermarket automotive parts retailer AUTOBACS SEVEN CO., LTD. will be linked with headquarters in October via one of PANAMSAT CORP.'s satellites (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 25). The Osaka prefecture-based company reportedly is the first local business to contract with a non-Japanese satellite operator to host its information network. The cost to use Greenwich, Connecticut PanAmSat's PAS-II satellite is 20 percent to 30 percent lower than for a Japanese-operated satellite.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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New York City fashion design house DONNA KARAN INTERNATIONAL INC. and its Singapore partners sold the local Donna Karan subsidiary to ONWARD KASHIYAMA CO., LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 26). That deal complements a strategic alliance between the designer of women's and men's apparel, sportswear, accessories and shoes and the big clothing manufacturer. Under it, Onward Kashiyama received exclusive, long-term rights to import, make, license and retail Donna Karan New York and DKNY products in Japan. It will open 12 freestanding boutiques, including three for the Donna Karan New York designer collection and nine carrying the DKNY "bridge" brand, backing this move with a multimillion-dollar advertising and marketing campaign. The terms of the arrangement were not disclosed. In 1997, Donna Karan's business in Japan generated $66.8 million at the wholesale level, accounting for 12 percent of the design house's wholesale revenues.

Trial production has started in Japan of a wool/polyester fabric called Wool Supriva codeveloped by E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO., INC. and the International Wool Secretariat. The soft-drape, machine-washable fabric is the result of duPont's fine-denier polyester expertise and the IWS's technical wool knowledge. The pair will license production to local spinners and fabric manufacturers. Sales of clothing made from Wool Supriva are expected to start in the fall of 1999.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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CHRYSLER JAPAN SALES LTD. now is wholly owned by CHRYSLER CORP. For an undisclosed price, the automotive maker bought the remaining 30 percent of its local distribution unit from J. OSAWA & CO., LTD. The Seibu Saison Group member put up 85 percent of the capital to launch Chrysler Japan in 1988. In 1995, Chrysler increased its ownership to 70 percent. Company executives said that making Chrysler Japan a wholly owned operation demonstrated the U.S. automotive maker's long-term commitment to the Japanese market. The company's distribution network now consists of 53 dealer principals that operate 128 stores.

Price cuts and a right-hand-drive model set to debut in the fall are how GENERAL MOTORS CORP. plans to boost sales of the Chevrolet Blazer sport- utility vehicle. The company's import unit is projecting 1998 Chevrolet sales at 6,300 units, up 23.6 percent from last year's results, because of strong sales of the Blazer as well as the Camaro. The Blazer's sticker price now is 14.3 percent lower at about $23,300.

By early 1999, major automotive parts supplier DANA CORP. expects to have an Asia Engineering Center somewhere in Japan. Intended to help the Toledo, Ohio company better serve its original equipment customers in the Asian Pacific, the $15.5 million facility will work on the development of modular systems and assemblies incorporating Dana's axles, driveshafts and structural components as well as provide engineering support in the application of these core products. The center also will strengthen the computer-aided design and global communications services currently provided by the company's subsidiaries in Tokyo and Seoul.

HARLEY-DAVIDSON INC. motorcycles, parts and accessories now are available at 137 locations across Japan. The newest outlet is in Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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The Japan Defense Agency has taken delivery of two of the four AWACS (airborne warning and control system) planes it has on order with BOEING CO. The first such aircraft in the Air Self-Defense Force's fleet, the E- 767s, which are based on the 767 platform, track all aircraft, ships and ground troops within a 500-mile radius and send this information to command headquarters. Compared with the 10 or so E-2C Hawkeyes that the ASDF now uses for surveillance, the AWACS planes cover a larger area and provide much better monitoring at low altitudes. They also can be in the air for 12 hours without refueling. Each E-767 costs between $418,600 and $441,900. The other two AWACS planes are scheduled for delivery before March 1999.

A unique perforated, pressure-sensitive plastic film for advertising and signage that provides a one-way vision effect when applied to a transparent surface is on the market from developer and manufacturer CLEAR FOCUS IMAGING, INC. Clear Focus SuperVue is available in two sizes of 100-foot rolls: 54 inches (close to $1,200) and 36 inches ($735). Tokyo-based ACTION CO., LTD., the Santa Rosa, California company's distributor since late 1996, is handling sales.

Starting in April, selected JOMO service stations, a chain owned by oil distributor JAPAN ENERGY CORP., are offering a vehicle exterior coating service with technical support and product supply from SUMITOMO 3M LTD. The service, expected to be available at 1,000 JOMO gas stations in five years, costs between $155 and double that. It is said to make a car or truck look brand-new. Sumitomo 3M not only is providing its know-how and MINNESOTA MINING & MANUFACTURING CO. waxes but also is in charge of training service station personnel.

The Mad Cobra roller coaster at the Suzuka Circuitland theme park outside Tokyo should appeal to people seeking new thrills. Built by PREMIER RIDES of Millersville, Maryland, the state-of-the-art roller coaster uses linear induction motors to catapult riders from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3 seconds. It takes riders upside-down four times and speeds them through 30 vertical curves and 25 horizontal curves during the 144-second ride. KAWASHO CORP. was the deal's intermediary.

Less adventurous types might be interested in the TredWall, a stimulated rock face for climbing from BREWERS LEDGE INC. of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. NISSHO IWAI CORP. is importing the $14,300 product. A local company will rent TredWall for $775 the first day and $155 a day thereafter. The trader could buy as many as 100 TredWalls the first year.

Foothill Ranch, California-based OAKLEY INC. now is distributing its high- end sunglasses directly to retailers of surfing equipment and snowboards. It previously established direct operations in the snow ski, bicycle, sunglass specialty and sporting goods retail channels.

With the government now covering part of the cost of home health care, BEVERLY JAPAN CORP. is moving into this business. The company — a 13- year-old joint venture between retirement community operator BEVERLY ENTERPRISES, INC. of Fort Smith, Arkansas (41 percent), general contractor SHIMIZU CORP. (42.7 percent) and seven other Japanese companies — already has established a home health-care unit at one of its nine retirement centers and plans to do the same at two others. They will send aides or nurses to people's homes to assist them with bathing, dressing and similar everyday tasks or to provide more specialized help. BJC also is offering consulting services to nursing homes. The eight BJC facilities open at the start of 1998 (seven of which are located within an hour of Tokyo by train) had a total of 1,423 apartments. The company also had 103 nursing home-type beds at four of the retirement facilities. Five of the centers had clinics with 83 beds, and two had assisted-living units with 55 beds.

Like American financial services providers, big accounting firm KPMG PEAT MARWICK LLP sees opportunity in Japan's Big Bang. It launched a financial services consulting company in Tokyo that will have 10 experts on board by June and a staff of 100 within three years. The firm will advise banks, brokers and insurers on internal management systems and capital asset management strategies as well as on how to cope with changing regulations at home and abroad.

The local consulting arm of accountant PRICE WATERHOUSE LLP has established a unit to provide management consulting services to companies in the entertainment, media and communications industries. Part of Price Waterhouse's global Entertainment, Media and Communications Group, the new organization will help clients with industry-specific strategic planning, technology planning and implementation, and business process design and reengineering. Price Waterhouse has more than 400 employees in Japan.

Information technology industry tracker and analyst GARTNER GROUP, INC. formed a Tokyo-headquartered company with NIPPON WILSON WORLDWIDE, INC. to develop and distribute computer- and Internet-based IT training products in Japan. WILSON GARTNER GROUP K.K., in which the Stamford, Connecticut business has a 51 percent interest, has more than 40 people on staff to localize and develop products. It is releasing on average two new course training titles a week. Prior to the partnership, Gartner Group's affiliate had released more than 40 Japan-adapted course titles.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.

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