Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 354, March 1999

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American Companies in Japan


The world's largest supplier of consumables to the graphic arts industry got bigger April 1. That date marked the formation of KODAK POLYCHROME GRAPHICS JAPAN LTD. through the merger of parts of the Japan-based graphic arts businesses of EASTMAN KODAK CO. and DAINIPPON INK AND CHEMICALS, INC. Kodak and DIC subsidiary SUN CHEMICAL CORP. are the equal owners of Norwalk, Connecticut-headquartered KODAK POLYCHROME GRAPHICS CO., which was established at the beginning of 1998. The Tokyo company combines Kodak's Japanese graphics operations, including sales, marketing and distribution of graphic arts films, printing plates, digital proofing products, chemicals and equipment, and DIC's Gunma prefecture plate manufacturing facility. That factory has added production of thermal plates for CTP (computer-to-plate) printing solutions to its line of conventional lithographic plates. The joint venture also will handle Kodak Polychrome plates manufactured around the world. The creation of the Japanese company is expected to boost Kodak Polychrome revenues to nearly $2 billion in 1999.

METACREATIONS CORP. has licensed MINOLTA CO., LTD. to make and market a 3D digital camera incorporating the Carpinteria, California company's new MetaFlash technology. The camera, the two companies say, will enable Web developers to easily and affordably capture photorealistic 3D images for interactive use on the Internet and in other applications. MetaFlash combines a flash attachment and software that reconstructs digital pictures into high-quality, texture-mapped 3D wire-frame models, which then are outputted in the MetaStream 3D file format for transmission over the Internet. With the MetaStream client-side engine, Web users can view and manipulate the models.

An easy-to-operate, fully automatic, portable camera designed for medical and dental documentation, manufacturing, quality control, law enforcement and other uses that require close-up pictures is on the market from POLAROID CORP.'s subsidiary. The Polaroid MACRO 5 SLR (single lens reflex) camera produces photographs on Polaroid self- developing instant color film at 20 percent, 40 percent, 100 percent, 200 percent and 300 percent magnification through self-contained lenses for each reproduction size. The $840 system also has two built-in electronic flash units and a microprocessor-controlled exposure system.

An exchange rate of ¥117=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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