March 2000 Issue

On the cover: Many Japanese consumers are anxious about using credit cards... about running up big bills and about security online. Cash remains the preferred means of payment.

March 2000
No. 5

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March 2000 Issue


  As Easy As One, Two, Three?
Our intrepid reporter ventures online and on foot to find out which is the easiest way to buy a computer in Japan. Her results may surprise you. Also: the writer's guide to Akihabara, Tokyo's electronics mecca.
  Convenient, Connected
An overview of the convenience store industry, from the opening of 7-Eleven's first outlet in 1974 to the most recent e-commerce mega-deals.
  Short Cuts: B2B in Japan Gets Net-Worked
How EDI implementation has transformed -- and continues to transform -- the way businesses do business with each other in Japan.
  Stock Exchange Showdown
With Nasdaq Japan coming along, the Tokyo Stock Exchange is quickly signing up companies to get a head start. But is it being too lax in its listing requirements? And with companies required to offer relatively few shares, is the market liquid enough? Expect a bust, say some analysts.
  Interview: Takashi Tachibana
The famous investigative journalist, an icon in Japan, gives his thoughts on the Net's impact on his country.
  How Convenient to Be a Konbini
An introduction to this month's focus on convenience stores and their tie-in with e-commerce.


  Cell Phone Security Slow To Catch On
Since launching last February, NTT DoCoMo's i-mode service has acquired more than 3 million users and 240 official content providers -- a success by anyone's standards.
  "Nomunication" -- Places to Network -- Ubusuna
It probably won't immediately strike you as the kind of place to get smashed in -- it's more conceptual than casual -- but a new bar in Shibuya called Ubusuna is a great place to network with Bit Valley types.
  Those Pricey Free PCs
In Japan, free-PC pioneers are so far faring better -- probably because their free PCs aren't quite as free.
  Coffee to Stay
Doutor, one of the big coffee chains in Japan, could probably use a caffeine jolt right about now.
  Bankruptcy Rises Following New Rules
Corporate bankruptcy cases in Japan rose over the previous year for the first time in 13 months last November, as the changing conditions for securing funding took their toll on the nation's smaller companies.
  Possible IPOs on Mothers This Year
  A Ray of Hope for Japan's Net Users
This looks to be the year of ADSL in Japan's Net-access scene. Maybe. ADSL is a form of flat-monthly-rate, high-speed Net access catching on bigtime in the US. Credit for it being about to take off in Japan -- where per-minute charges have stifled the industry -- goes in part to a feisty Net access provider called Tokyo Metallic Communications, which overcame resistance from powerful NTT operating companies to permit the technology to run over their networks.
  E-commerce Goes Postal
7-Eleven versus the post office. Where else but in Japan? But when it comes to e-commerce, this strange-sounding rivalry is a reality.


Married at Last: the PDA and Keitai
Big Blue Showers Help on Startup
Net auto trader Reo burns rubber
Japan's media empires think Net
  Joi's Diary
The VCs commit, the board sings


  Japan Studies
Are today's Japanese children -- the next Internet generation -- going to hell in a hand-basket?
(PDF-formatted file, Acrobat 4.0 or later required)
Telecom usage in Japan

In Parting

  Art Department
Scan Art
In contrast to this magazine's tagline, Kyoto-based performance group Dumb Type's might be People Art Technology.
Why is that girl glowing in the dark? Sunshine, an Osaka-based maker of specialty paint materials, launched sales of an artificial fingernail that flashes when its owner's cell phone receives a call. The nail incorporates an LED with a sensor that causes it to flash when a nearby phone receives an incoming call. Available in red and blue LEDs, it's sold with nine non-flashing nails and nail adhesive for JPY 3,500.

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