JIN-141 -- Sayonara from Steve!

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. 141
Wednesday, July 25, 2001


+++ Viewpoint: Sayonara from Steve!
+++ Noteworthy news
- Fiber-optic broadband the most desired Net access in Japan
- Japan game exports hit record high
+++ Worth a read



Well, you won't see many more of these written by Steve Mollman. I'm
moving on! If you've enjoyed the Viewpoints I've written over the
past few months and would like to reach me, feel free to email me at
avantsteve@yahoo.com anytime.

The best part of writing this newsletter has been the feedback, and
that's what I'll miss the most. Thanks for your active readership.

As we put the finishing touches on the September issue of J@pan Inc
magazine -- my last as editor in chief -- it occurs to me how much
has changed since I came to Tokyo in December 1999. The browser
phone was barely on the radar screen then (a bit like L-mode is now,
I suspect). Tech ventures were dot-coms, not dot-bombs, and Bit
Valley was about to hit the big time (before quietly fading away).
Foreign VCs were tripping over themselves to invest here; now
they're pulling out.

But the story of technology innovation in Japan -- from startups,
entrepreneurial professors, research labs, or established giants --
is a strong one, and I hope J@pan Inc continues to tell it. I
believe it's a story the world wants to hear.

I thank the company behind the magazine and newsletter -- Linc Media
-- for allowing me to head up a great new publication, and I wish it
the best of luck in these difficult times. I thank the staff for
all their hard work (I'll miss you guys!). I thank the readers for
their patronage (keep JI on its toes!). Lastly, I thank all the
wonderful writers, who through their enthusiasm, diligence, and
creativity have made the magazine a great read. Thank you!!!


-- Steve Mollman


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** Fiber-optic broadband the most desired Net access in Japan

Extract: Nikkei NetBusiness issued findings from its "Internet
Active User Survey," a questionnaire-based market survey conducted
every six months since December 1995. The item "Fiber Optics" was
for the first time listed as an option to the query on "your choice
of Net connection services in the future." The result was that it
won the respondents' interest, appearing at the top spot with a rate
of 51.7 percent. It also was found that the rate of respondents who
had experienced electronic commerce had reached 70.1 percent, an
all-time high. Despite rumors about Net-related businesses being in
the doldrums due to the collapse of the Net bubble economy, Internet
users all over Japan have a definite growing interest in purchasing
goods through e-commerce.

Commentary: Broadband and e-commerce are both taking off in a big
way, strengthened even further by the growing use of cellphones for
m-commerce. The high demand for fiber access bodes well for Japan,
which hopes to become the No. 1 IT nation within five years,
according to the government's e-Japan initiative. Another good sign
is the amount of competition among **types** of broadband access, if
not the variety of companies offering it. NTT is still far too
powerful, and the only truly encouraging sign in terms of business
competition has been the entry of Yahoo and Softbank into Japan's
broadband market.

Source: "Fiber Optics Highly Desired for Broadband Service: Survey
"AsiaBizTech, July 23, http://www.nikkeibp.asiabiztech.com/wcs/

** Japan game exports hit record high

Extract: The value of Japan's game exports, including software and
hardware, reached a record high last year, according to an industry
survey. Total game shipments surged from $8.2 billion in 1999 to $9
billion in 2000, a new study by Japan's Computer Entertainment
Software Association found. Japan has emerged as the undisputed
hotbed of the game industry, commanding over half of the world's
game software business and virtually the entire game console and
hardware sector. The survey stated that Japan's game software
reached $4.6 billion in exports in 2000, up from $4.5 billion in
1999. The hardware business hit $4.34 billion in 2000, up from $3.65
billion the previous year.

Commentary: Who but Microsoft would dare take on Japan in an arena
so clearly dominated by Japanese companies? The X-Box vs. PS2 battle
will be of truly mammoth proportions. They should turn **that** into
a game. We often speak of Japan's weakness in software development,
but that clearly doesn't apply to games. And while Japan isn't big
in movies, its gaming industry is becoming equally powerful -- and
has momentum. And we're seeing more and more videogames turned into
movies. Japan as entertainment powerhouse? Don't rule it out. In
number terms, it's already happened.

Source: "Japan game exports hit record high: survey," July 24, CNN,


** iLocus Show, the Biggest IP Telephony Trade Show, Hong Kong

Scheduled to be held on 31 July - 3 Aug 2001, iLocus Show (Asia
2001) which is the biggest IP telephony trade show in Asia, will
build on the success of the previous year's event. The show will be
a mixed exhibition and conference and will be devoted entirely to
the IP telephony industry, offering the best opportunities to
network with the right people in the industry in Asia. There will be
some 30 exhibitors and over 100 speakers at the event.

For further information, access http://www.ilocus.com/asia2001.htm,
email asia2001@ilocus.com, or call +852-2413-0918.


"Capital, labor, brains fleeing Japan"

The headline says it all. And they'll keep fleeing until Japan --
big business, the government, universities and other educational
institutions -- implement true structural reform across the board.
See our July cover story on the Shuji Nakamura, who invented the
blue laser but fled to California:

In the meantime, it's undeniable that remarkable technologies, like
the blue laser itself, are coming out of Japan. Imagine what this
country will be capable of, then, when -- or if -- it emerges from
the other side of structural reform.


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

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