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. 126
Wednesday, March 28, 2001

- News in Japan
- Yen watch
- International news
- Jobs roundup
- Worth a read
- Upcoming events
- P.S.
- News credits


* * * * * * * Digital Magic Labs * * * * * * * * * * * *
From mapping out regional Internet strategies, through
initial implementation and beyond, we take our clients
into Asia's diverse digital marketplaces. Our Web
Technology Services, Strategic Consulting, and Creative
Design services will place you at the heart of the new
Asian digital economy. Email us: info@dml.com or find
detailed information at: http://www.dml.com
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *


- New Access Browser can read both i-mode and WAP sites
- Toshiba introduces tiny high-capacity hard drive
for mobile terminals
- Aggregate number of Net users exceeded 66 million in 2000
- NEC develops personal robot with human-like characteristics
and expressions
- Tokyo set to offer larger patent fees for scientists

-> New Access browser can read both i-mode and WAP sites
(Nikkei BP AsiaBizTech, March 23, 2001)

EXTRACT: The latest browser from Access, called Compact
NetFront Plus, will be able to read WML, the markup
language used for WAP phones. The Compact NetFront
browser before this could read only compact HTML, the
markup language used for i-mode phones. Compact NetFront
has been widely adopted by i-mode handset makers in Japan,
and Access is confident that European handset makers
will adopt the new browser so that their phones will
be able to read both i-mode and WAP content.

COMMENTARY: One reason, though not the biggest, for
i-mode's success has been the huge number of sites and
services offered by third-party developers, the
non-official content providers working in c-HTML.
For those developers, the new browser means their
offerings will now be viewable by the millions of
customers using i-mode's competitors in Japan. While
this added compatibility may help i-mode extend its
brand name in Europe, it could also give competitors
KDDI or J-Phone the upper hand in the domestic market.
Keep this in mind: the Japanese companies that succeed
globally are ultimately the ones that survive the cut-throat
competition back home ... and that competition is just
getting started. For more reading on the domestic competition
factor, see "What's Wrong With PHS?" at
(JI subscribers only)


On April 2, the New English-Language Newspaper IHT/Asahi Debuts.

The IHT will cover international news while The Asahi Shimbun will
cover Japan and Asia. The IHT sold for 500 yen. The new combined
paper will sell for only 150 yen.

Special new subscriber discounts are available until June 2001.
Email us: H-A@mx.asahi-np.co.jp


-> Toshiba introduces tiny high-capacity hard drive
for mobile terminals
(Translated PR, 3/22/2001, courtesy Digitized Information)

EXTRACT: On March 22, the company launched two built-in 1.8-inch
hard drives offering high capacity, fast performance, and a small
footprint. The MK5002MAL, which measures 54.0x78.5x5.0mm and
weighs 50g, can store 5GB of data. The MK1002GAH, which is 8mm
high though with the same footprint, is a 60g unit with a 10GB
capacity provided on two platters. Both drives feature an areal
density of 22.38 gigabits per square inch and power consumptions
of 1.3W in active mode and 0.5W in standby mode. The technology
is expected to help take high capacity and high grade performance
beyond portable PCs and into handheld mobile terminals, wearable
computers, and digital camcorders among other applications.
Shipment is slated for April.

COMMENTARY: Hard drives that give wireless Web devices high storage
capacity and fast performance will be in huge demand. Could they pose
a threat to Memory Sticks and other such stand-alone storage devices?

-> Aggregate number of Net users exceeded 66 million in 2000
(IDC Japan, translated PR, 3/22/2001, courtesy Digitized Information)

EXTRACT: The aggregate number of Japanese Internet users reached 66.3
million in 2000, 36.1% of which were home users, followed by mobile
users who accounted for 35.3% of the total. The company forecasts
that the number of mobile users will continue to increase and surpass
that of home users in 2001. The number of aggregate Internet users
will grow 28.5% per annum on average until 2005 when there will be
230 million users. By then, there will be 86.3 million mobile and 73
million home users. The company also reported that the number of
online shoppers hit a record 19 million in 2000, of which 48% were
home users. An increasing number of people use mobile terminals to
shop online, and the number is expected to reach 26 million in 2003.
An aggregate number of online shoppers will continue to grow at an
average annual rate of 37% and surpass 92 million in 2005.

COMMENTARY: Interesting that Japan?fs Net shoppers are divided
evenly among home and mobile use. Those two very different
shopping experiences will become more so as m-commerce gets
more sophisticated and location based. Makes you wonder if
they should be grouped together at all.

-> NEC develops personal robot with human-like characteristics
and expressions
(Translated PR, 3/21/2001, courtesy Digitized Information)

EXTRACT: The company has developed PaPeRo, a personal robot
designed to partner people in their homes with the underlying
aim of improving human-machine interface through introducing
robots into our everyday lives. Standing for Partner-type
Personal Robot, PaPeRo is unlike anything seen so far in robot
development, with its natural expressions and ability to
remember its owners' interests and preferences. The robot can
recognize and speak 650 and more than 3,000 phrases, respectively.
Using the latest image recognition technology, it can recognize
peoples' faces as well. PaPeRo has two cameras for "eyes" that
provide a stream of visual data, analyzed in real-time, enabling
it to recognize people and avoid bumping into objects such as
furniture. Its "ears" are comprised of four microphones. Three
microphones are used so the robot can detect voices, and the
forth is used to understand instructions. Movement is based on
mechatronics specially developed for the robot, and consists
of a simplified control structure and modularized components.
Its ability to interact naturally with people opens up a variety
of application possibilities for home automation systems
including: support for implementing safety measures, support
for the elderly, emergency communications systems, and home

COMMENTARY: A personal robot that can recognize your face?
Act as an emergency communications system? Help the elderly?
We?fre living in the future, folks.

MORE READING: "I, Robot Maker: A build-your-own-droid store
points to an interesting new trend in Japan."

-> Tokyo set to offer larger patent fees for scientists
(Asahi Shimbun, March 21)

EXTRACT: Scientists at national universities who develop
new industrial processes could be offered larger sums for
their industrial patents under a plan aimed at promoting new
technology. Government patent officials have said that the
government plans to remove the ceiling on its awards from the
present 6 million yen available to academics who are granted

COMMENTARY: That?fs another step in the right direction.
In Japan, lack of industry-academia cooperation in technology
innovation has suppressed/discouraged who knows how many
bright ideas. The government realized a few years ago it
was shooting itself in the foot, and here?fs its the latest
move to encourage universities to contribute their creativity
to the economy. This is the kind of headline you gloss
over, but in two years this seemingly minor event could
lead to an innovation that changes everything.

MORE READING: ?gUniversity-Industry Cooperation: There's not
much of it in Japan, but recent developments could lead to
terrific profits for those in the know.?h

+++ YEN WATCH (at close of market each weekday)

19Mo 20Tu 21We 22Th 23Fr
US 124.25 -- 123.40 124.55 124.60
UK 180.25 -- 180.11 180.64 179.65
Eur 112.06 -- 112.95 112.05 111.02
Can 80.19 -- 79.79 80.07 80.41
Aus 63.44 -- 63.59 62.40 63.07
Ind 2.84 -- 2.82 2.71 2.84
* Figures courtesy of Tokyo-Mitsubishi bank.
Tuesday was a public holiday.

- TI backs fingerprint sensors for wireless Web
- US, European wireless execs point to spectrum woes
- Top US retailers ignoring Japan?

-> TI backs fingerprint sensors for wireless Web
(Reuters via News.com, March 26)

EXTRACT: Texas Instruments has provided $5 million of
financing for AuthenTec to help it sell fingerprint-based
sensors for wireless Web access. TI said "biometric"
security measures such as the fingerprint-based measure
developed by Florida-based AuthenTec will become
increasingly important features for wireless Internet

COMMENTARY: Very cool idea. What better way to turn a
cellphone into an electronic wallet? Your wireless
Web device could be activated by your unique fingerprint
pattern. Our advice to AuthenTec: Get thee to Japan, quick.


We have other email newsletters!
Subscribe to Wireless Watch and Gadget Watch at


-> US, European wireless execs point to spectrum woes
(News.com, March 21)

EXTRACT: At the Cellular Telecommunications and
Internet Association annual convention in Las Vegas,
wireless execs from the US and Europe made pleas
to government regulators to change the way wireless
spectrum is being sold. Telecoms have already spent
what they thought it would take to launch a
third-generation phone system on the spectrum rights

COMMENTARY: Spectrum woes will get worse before they
get better. The wireless industry is moving way too
fast for national governments to digest the importance
of all this. Entire new industries will blossom around
the wireless Web. The question is, in which country
will they blossom first? Whoever has the least-dumb
government gets first-mover advantage, and the first mover
will get a head start in the international arena. Think
there's anything technically brilliant about i-mode, which
is now trying to expand worldwide? There isn't. NTT DoCoMo
simply had a cooperative government that decided to share
future revenues instead of auctioning off spectrum to
the highest bidder, the result being the world's richest
cellco instead of a company crippled with debt. But there's
so much more that innovative companies could be offering if
they had more spectrum, and that goes for Japan, too. Huge
chunks of spectrum are set aside by governments for military
purposes, and much of it goes unused. If just a small percentage
of that were freed up, new sectors of the economy would arise.
To get an idea of just some of the possibilities, see
"Exploring the Possibilities of Wireless P2P"

-> Top US retailers ignoring Japan?
(Building2 PR posted on Yahoo Finance, March 20)

EXTRACT: Top US online retailers are doing little to support
sales to Japanese consumers, according to a report from
Building2 Information Group published yesterday. Fifty-two
percent of the Top 100 US online retailers researched by
Building2 prohibit the sale of their products outside
the US. Only 18 percent have Japanese language versions
of their Web sites and related services for Japanese-language

COMMENTARY: Madness. Yes, the Japanese market is a bit
difficult to enter, and the economy has been stagnant
for the past decade and could be in trouble, but this
country is filthy stinking rich. In fact, take out the
US and it?fs the world?fs biggest, most important economy
(a fact that only The Economist magazine seems to
consistently recognize). We wrote about how to enter the
Japanese market back in October 2000, and showcased
the success of Land?fs End. Read it.
?gSelling to Japan Online?h:

+++ JOBS ROUNDUP (Advertisement)

For more listings, visit WorkinJapan.com at

Criterion Software Ltd.
>Research Engineer JPY 5~8m
>Tools & Game Demo Programmer JPY 3.6~6m

Robert Walters Japan K.K.
>Unix Administrator - Hda11 JPY 10~16m
>C++ Developer, ahe1 JPY 10~14m
>Senior NT/Exchange Administrator - ahe3 JPY 8~13m

gedas Japan
>R/3 Consultant All of Kanto JPY 4~15m
> Consultant All of Kanto JPY4.5~15m
>Web consultant All of Kanto JPY4.5~15m
>ABAP programmer All of Kanto JPY4.5~10m


-> Paradise Lost?
NEC's U.S. lab is a great place to pursue pure science.
But Tokyo says, "Feed the bottom line."
(Business 2.0)

-> Quibble All You Like, Japan Still Looks Like a
Strong Winner
(International Herald Tribune)

-> Can the World Escape Recession?
(The Economist)

+++ UPCOMING EVENTS (Advertisement)

-> Kaisha Ball - Fund Raising for the Children's Cancer
Association of Japan

The Kaisha Society invites you to the liveliest Ball on
April 7 at the Shintakanawa Prince Hotel. Event includes:
special appearance by Miss Universe Japan 2001, champagne
and dinner with live band, and raffle and auction fund
raising. Fees are 16,000 yen. For more information,
To register, visit:

-> iLocus.com Show (India 2001), Le Meridian Bangalore,
April 17-19 2001

The event will happen to be the first IP Telephony Event in
India. It will be an ideal time for IP Telephony companies
to forge relationships with carriers and OEM relationships
with hardware/software companies and VARs in India. With a
mix of workshops and 14 exhibitors and 60+ speakers, this
will be an ideal opportunity to interact and exchange views
with the telecom evangelists. For more detailed
information, please email iLocus.com at india@ilocus.com
or call +852 2413 0918. Conference agenda can be found at

-> LISA's Global Strategies Summit - Pan Pacific Hotel,
Singapore (May 2-4, 2001)

Planning for the Asia-Pacific web globalization
opportunity, and following through successfully. Learn how
companies are using the Internet to increase revenues,
automate websites, manage B2B cost, and leverage language
and culture. Panels examine the changes in the region and
what it means to the development of global business. The
program offers business/technical guidance on how to
structure eBusiness globalization, including organization,
implementation and measurement issues plus best practice
and case studies.

-> Asia-Pacific e-Commerce Summit 2001

May 18-20, 2001 The Orchid at Mauna Lani, Hawaii, USA
The Asia-Pacific e-Commerce Summit is an event exclusive to
senior-level Asia-Pacific e-commerce executives who are
intent on implementing strategies for the next generation
of advanced e-commerce infrastructures. Program includes
workshop sessions, case studies, and keynote presentations
from industry leaders such as Tomohiro Nishihata, Director,
e-Business Planning and Marketing, Japan Air Lines; Tim
Kasbe, Vice President e-Business Large Enterprise
Extranets, IBM; Alex Kong, Chairman and CEO,
Asiatravelmart.com Event URL: www.AsiaPacificEcomSum.com
Email: marketing@marcusevanssf.com Presented by marcus
evans, a world leader in business intelligence.

+++ P.S.
A survey by Roper Starch International shows that
63 percent of Americans regard Nokia as a Japanese company.
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/bitbybit/bbb01/132403.htm (Yomiuri)

We wish to thank the generosity and cooperation of the
following news sources:
- Digitized Information (daily Japanese news)
A. Tsukioka, 03-3465-7069, diginfo@gol.com
- Computergram (daily International)
A.Byrnes, 03-5232-0647, unigram@decisionjapan.co.jp
- CNet (random International news) http://www.news.com


Written by Steve Mollman (steve@japaninc.net)
Assistance with news compilation:
Richard Ochero (richard@japaninc.com)

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