Best of the Rest -- Taking Japan's Pulse

Back to Contents of Issue: September 2002

* IY Bank May Let Cellphones Do the ATM Banking
IY Bank says it is considering adopting a system that would let people do their ATM banking via their cellphones. The system would allow people with one of NTT DoCoMo's i504 handsets to use the infrared function to access the ATMs. The online bank, which is an affiliate of retailer Ito-Yokado, makes most of its money on ATM transactions.

* KDDI To Offer IP Phone Service
KDDI has announced that it will launch IP phone services for corporate broadband users this coming fall. It will charge JPY8.5 per three minutes (JPY2.8 per minute) for domestic calls and JPY10 per minute for calls to the US. It will charge an additional JPY2,000 as a basic monthly fee and JPY4,000 for a rental adapter.

KDDI, Japan's second largest telecom company, has already started experimental services and plans to launch full corporate services as early as October. The service may not be as cheap as the one offered by Yahoo! Japan, a KDDI spokesman acknowledged, but the company is more interested in offering complete services than in starting a price war. Yahoo! Japan offers BB Phone service for JPY2.5 per minute for both domestic and international calls to the US.

* SESC Monitors Web for Trading Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission of Japan is now monitoring the spread and effect of online stock rumors on the Tokyo market. The system by Fujitsu has been in effect since April and apparently keeps tabs on Web sites showing spikes in traffic. It was established in an effort to curb stock fluctuations caused by unsubstantiated rumors. Toyo Construction's JPY30 drop is cited as one such example of unfounded rumors drastically affecting stock prices. The SESC has yet to prosecute anyone based on this new system.

* JAL To Offer Inflight Internet Service
Japan Airlines will add Boeing's new high-speed Internet connection to 10 of its planes. The service called Connexion by Boeing relies on satellites and ground-based links to provide in-air Internet connections and broadcast feeds from television networks. According to ZdNet, the company will start the service by the end of 2004.

ZdNet says that the service will allow passengers to view headline news, weather reports and contents that are either sent to and stored on the company's inflight servers or on their own PCs and PDAs. Passengers will also be able to retrieve and send email messages. Some of these services will be charged for, the report says. JAL will be the third airline to introduce the service. British Airways and German airline Lufthansa plan to roll out the service in test programs early next year.

* Toyota, Honda in Tight Race to be First with Fuel-Cell Car
A few weeks after Toyota announced plans to sell its fuel-cell hybrid car to businesses and research centers by the end of the year, Honda made a similar announcement. The race to develop fuel-cell vehicles is kicking into high gear. The automotive industry is focused on fuel-cell technology, which uses clean-burning hydrogen to power cars, and the fact that Toyota moved up its release of the FCHV-4 (see photos) by a year to 2002 is significant. While carmakers, including Toyota, say they don't expect fuel cells to be used widely to power cars until 2010 or so, within the industry there is a fierce race to get the new engines in cars and on the market sooner than that. Clearly, in the early stages of this race Toyota and Honda are out in front of carmakers from other nations.

Note: The function "email this page" is currently not supported for this page.