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No. 365, February 2000

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Japanese Companies in the US


The cosmetics business in the United States is a tough one for all but the biggest players, as even SHISEIDO CO., LTD. has discovered (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 363, December 1999, pp. 14-15). That has not deterred KANEBO, LTD. The number two to Shiseido in Japan has established a subsidiary in New York City in preparation for launching sales this spring. Run by the company that controls Kanebo's cosmetics marketing operations in 15 European countries, the new unit hopes by FY 2005 to have counters at 163 locations across the United States, mainly upscale department stores. At that time, retail sales are projected at $49.5 million a year. The Sensai brand of cosmetics marketed in Europe will be the first line introduced in this country.

Already the world's biggest maker of ceramic packages for the semiconductor and communications markets, KYOCERA CORP. expanded its technical reach by buying for an undisclosed price VISPRO CORP. The 60-employee Beaverton, Oregon manufacturer supplies low-temperature co-cured multilayer ceramic substrates and structural ceramic components. It has the expertise to produce packages with more than 100 circuit layers and 84,000 vias, the tiny pathways that carry signals from one layer to another. VisPro will operate as a division of San Diego, California-based KYOCERA AMERICA, INC., which actually made the purchase. VisPro was spun off from TEKTRONIX, INC. in 1994.

Verification testing has wrapped up for the main propulsion system for the National Space Development Agency's HOPE-X prototype reusable, unmanned space shuttle. AEROJET, a GENCORP INC. company, is developing the HOPE-X's orbital maneuvering engine under contract for ISHIKAWAJIMA-HARIMA HEAVY INDUSTRIES CO., LTD., the shuttle's propulsion system contractor. The test engine will be refurbished for use as a spare. Sacramento, California-based Aerojet will deliver two new flight engines to IHI later this year.

A six-company team headed by MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. will represent Japan in work with the United States on a sea-based theater missile defense system. Washington and Tokyo agreed to research such a system last year (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 361, October 1999, pp. 13-14). The other participants on the Japanese side are FUJITSU, LTD., ISHIKAWAJIMA-HARIMA HEAVY INDUSTRIES CO., LTD., KAWASAKI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD., MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. and NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. The project's American prime contractor is RAYTHEON CO., which is in charge of the Navy's Theater Wide missile defense program, the basis for the collaborative transpacific effort.

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