JIN-200 -- Kirk Rueter's Autograph for 100 Yen -- Any Bidders?

J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
T H E J @ P A N I N C N E W S L E T T E R
Commentary on the Week's Business and Technology News

Issue No. 200
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Tokyo

CONTENTS

++ Viewpoint: Kirk Rueter's Autograph for 100 Yen -- Any Bidders?

++ Noteworthy News
- Toshiba to Launch Fuel-Cell PC by 2004
- Alps Electric to Form Intellectual Property Subsidiary
- McDonald's May Bring Krispy Kremes to Japan

=============================EVENT====================================
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======================================================================

++ Viewpoint: Kirk Rueter's Autograph for 100 Yen -- Any Bidders?

For those of you asking, "Who's Kirk Rueter," obviously October means
little more to you than a month when the leaves turn. But for those of
you who are ready to pay that 100 yen for an autographed baseball card
on the odd chance that Rueter may be the most valuable player of the
World Series baseball championship, which begins this weekend in
California, then all you need to do is log on to iAuctioNet, Japan's
latest online auction, and place your bid.

IAuctioNet is the brainchild of Sho Hara, formerly in charge of
marketing and customer support at eBay Japan KK. Hara left eBay when
it pulled out of Japan back in March, but he's been working on
launching a smaller site ever since. He told Nikkei BP that his
experience with eBay -- especially the many, many phone calls to the
US head office to sort out operational problems and system
modifications -- taught him a valuable lesson: Let Yahoo have the
lion's share of the online auction market in Japan and go after the
**otaku** (fanatics) instead.

IAuctioNet is filled with oddities that some would find worthless or
even absurd. But for everyone who scorns a plastic godzilla, Canadian
silver dollar or Mel Hall baseball card -- there is someone who has
been searching for just that very thing to round out his or her
collection, or at least that is what Hara is banking on.

So if rare movie posters, coins, baseball cards and magazines are your
thing, check out Sho's new site at the link below. But beware: it's
all in Japanese. So when you start looking through the katakana names
for that Rueter card, remember his name is pronounced "Reeter." I'll
be holding out for Kenny Lofton myself.

-- Bruce Rutledge

Source:
Nikkei Business Publications
http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/wcs/leaf?CID=onair/asabt/intvw/211009

Link:
iAuctioNet home page
http://www.iauctionet.co.jp/auction/cgi-bin/category

"Auctions Booming, But So Are The Crooks" from April 2002 issue
http://www.japaninc.com/article.php?articleID=776

=============================EVENT====================================
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======================================================================

++ NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

** Toshiba to Launch Fuel-Cell PC by 2004

In Brief: Toshiba announced this week that it would put a PC with a
fuel-cell powered battery on the market no later than 2004, Kyodo
reported. The company aims to have the battery last 10 hours, or three
times longer than conventional batteries.

Commentary: Last week we reported on the race between Honda and Toyota
to be first to market with fuel-cell powered cars. This week's report
shows just how widespread the use of fuel cells is likely to be in the
next couple of years. PCs, PDAs, cars, bikes -- you name it and pretty
soon fuel cells will be powering it.

Source:
Kyodo
http://home.kyodo.co.jp/all/news.jsp?news=technology&an=

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** Alps Electric to Form Intellectual Property Subsidiary

In Brief: Alps Electric said it will set up a wholly owned subsidiary
to buy, evaluate and sell intellectual property rights, the Nikkei
reported on Wednesday. The company will be formed on Nov. 1. It will
immediately begin to sell unused patents from Alps and buy dormant
patents from other companies. Alps estimates that there are 130,000
dormant patents in Japan, according to the Nikkei.

Commentary: For years, Japan has been a leader in patent filings. Look
for the buying and selling of intellectual property rights to really
take off in Japan soon -- some government officials even
think it will be the key to an economic turnaround here.

Source:
Nikkei Net (password protected)
http://www.nni.nikkei.co.jp/AC/TNKS/Nni20021016D15JSN12.htm

Link:
"Unused Patents Could Prove a Boon to Japanese Companies" from August
http://www.japaninc.com/article.php?articleID=856

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** McDonald's May Bring Krispy Kremes to Japan

In Brief: The facts are still a bit cloudy, but Salomon Smith Barney
analyst Mark Kalinowski has mentioned the possibility of McDonald's
Japan partnering with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts of the US, Dow Jones
reported on Tuesday. Kalinowski wrote that the move would be in
keeping with Krispy Kreme's recent push abroad and that McDonald's
would be a good partner because of its vast knowledge of Japan's real
estate market, but neither company would confirm the report.

Commentary: A recent study showed that nearly one-third of Americans
-- or 59 million people -- are obese. But that couldn't be because of
too many Big Macs and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, could it? Japan, watch
your waistline!

Source:
Dow Jones
http://biz.yahoo.com/djus/021015/1024000620_1.html

Link:
"Wireless and Fries" from the September 2002 issue of J@pan Inc
http://www.japaninc.com/article.php?articleID=880

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STAFF
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