No. 344, May 1998

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Japanese Companies in the United States

American Companies in Japan

Index of All Reports aaaa Home

Japanese Companies in the United


Thirteen years after acquiring an American manufacturer of injectable generic drugs used in hospitals, the primary U.S. subsidiary of FUJISAWA PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. sold the never profitable business to AMERICAN PHARMACEUTICAL PARTNERS, INC. of Santa Monica, California for an undisclosed price. With the divestiture, which caused the first-ever loss by the big Japanese drug maker since it became a publicly traded company, Fujisawa Pharmaceutical will focus its U.S. operations on its core proprietary pharmaceutical products through a new corporate entity, FUJISAWA HEALTHCARE, INC., also headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois. These drugs include the immunosuppressant Prograf, the cardiovascular products Adenoscan and Adenocard and the antifungal agent AmBisome. U.S. sales of Fujisawa Pharmaceutical's proprietary products totaled about $230 million in 1997. Fujisawa Healthcare has approximately 350 employees, some of whom are located at the company's Grand Island, New York plant (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 2). The majority of the 550 people involved in the generic drug business were retained by American Pharmaceutical Partners.

Like several other second-tier pharmaceutical companies, ONO PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. has established a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary to oversee clinical trials of promising drug candidates by contract research organizations. One such product is a treatment for cerebral infarction (ONO-2506). The New Jersey unit expects Phase I clinical studies to start next spring.

In a new transpacific alliance, YAMANOUCHI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. has awarded WARNER-LAMBERT CO. the right to market a balanced vasopressin receptor antagonist in the Americas as well as in Europe and Africa. The number-three Japanese drug company is developing YM087 primarily for the treatment of congestive heart failure. In return, it received Japanese sales rights to Warner-Lambert's Atorvastatin, a cholesterol-reduction agent. .....Meanwhile, YAMANOUCHI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. signed a drug discovery deal with STRUCTURAL BIOINFORMATICS, INC. Using its computational molecular modeling and virtual screening technologies, the San Diego, California firm will identify drug development candidates. The goal of the collaboration was not disclosed. SBI's computational screening technique is claimed to greatly speed the discovery process while costing a fraction of high-throughput screening with thousands of actual chemicals.

FUSO PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. and GENVEC, INC. will cooperatively research, develop and commercialize gene therapies for the treatment of cancer in humans. The Osaka company will cover half of the research and development costs for up to five years. It also bought equity in the Rockville, Maryland biotechnology company. In exchange, Fuso Pharmaceutical Industries gains commercialization rights in Japan for any products developed through the alliance. GenVec retains the right to develop and commercialize the products elsewhere.

Having identified some promising leads toward the discovery of new treatments for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, KYOWA HAKKO KOGYO CO., LTD. and Cambridge, Massachusetts-based LEUKOSITE, INC. have extended their collaboration. The partners are developing small molecule antagonists that selectively block a pair of chemokine receptors on leukocytes or white blood cells (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 339, December 1997, p. 2).

The Food and Drug Administration approved a proton pump inhibitor from TAP HOLDINGS INC. for the short-term treatment of heartburn and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Precavid (lansoprazole) blocks the production of stomach acid by inhibiting the enzyme system responsible for acid secretion. The FDA initially cleared it in 1995 for the treatment of erosive esophagitis and duodenal ulcers. Deerfield, Illinois- based TAP Holdings is equally owned by TAKEDA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. and ABBOTT LABORATORIES.

The first offshore holding company formed by ROHTO PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. is located in Orchard Park, New York, where the Osaka firm's wholly owned MENTHOLATUM CO., INC. is headquartered. Acquired in 1988, Mentholatum manufactures and markets deep-heat ointment, lip balm and similar preparations. MENTHOLATUM RESEARCH LABORATORIES, INC. in Horsham, Pennsylvania also comes under the holding company's umbrella.

Tax considerations influenced TORAY INDUSTRIES, INC. to set up a Delaware-based holding company for the seven U.S. subsidiaries in which it has at least an 80 percent interest. These companies include TORAY PLASTICS (AMERICA), INC., a North Kingston, Rhode Island manufacturer of polypropylene and polyester film, and TORAY COMPOSITES OF AMERICA INC. of Tacoma, Washington, which makes carbon-fiber composites.

Divergent business interests between longtime partners MITSUBISHI CHEMICAL CORP. and HOECHST AG have led to an agreement for Japan's top chemical company to buy out the German firm's shares in three polyester film production and marketing joint ventures, including HOECHST DIAFOIL CO. of Greer, South Carolina. Hoechst owns two-thirds of that operation as well as of a company in Wiesbaden, Germany, plus one-third of a Japanese business. The three units have combined annual sales of $600 million and employ roughly 2,000 workers. Together, they produce 15 percent of the world supply of polyester film. The buyout, expected to be finalized in July, reportedly will cost Mitsubishi Chemical $151.5 million. It sees polyester film as a growth business and hopes some day to challenge market leaders E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO., INC. and TORAY INDUSTRIES, INC. Hoechst increasingly is focusing on pharmaceuticals and other opportunities in the life sciences field.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Like the American competition, Japanese-affiliated firms selling notebook computers in the United States announced new products featuring the mobile Pentium II microprocessor the same day INTEL CORP. released the fastest mobile processor yet for portable machines. For instance, HITACHI PC CORP. introduced two additions to its VisionBook Pro line of performance multimedia notebooks, one with a 233-megahertz version of the chip and the other running off a 266-MHz mobile Pentium II. The VisionBook Pro 7330 and the VisionBook Pro 7550, available in early June, include integrated modem and LAN (local area network) support and a choice of several removable storage solutions. Street prices are estimated at $3,000 for the 233-MHz model and $4,000 for the 266-MHz version. FUJITSU PC CORP. likewise previewed the LifeBook 990Tx2 notebook featuring the 266-MHz mobile Pentium II processor. Available in late May for roughly $5,000, the high-end machine also incorporates an AGP (accelerated graphics port) graphics processing interface.

FUJITSU PC CORP. also recently added three other models to its LifeBook family of notebook computers that are DMI 2.0 (Desktop Management Interface) and WfM 1.1 (Wired for Management) compliant and that include management applications that allow administrators to remotely or locally query and configure systems and retrieve asset information. The LifeBook 770Tx and 790Tx, powered respectively by 200-MHz and 266-MHz Pentium processors with MMX technology, also feature ACPI (advanced configuration power interface) advanced power management support. Pricing runs around $2,800 (770Tx) or $3,500 (790Tx). Roughly $4,300 buys the LifeBook 690Tx, which is just 1.5 inches thick and weighs only 5 pounds. Running on a 266-MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology, it has all the bells and whistles that mobile professionals want.

Making a run at the network computer market, MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP.'s subsidiary released the AMiTY VP, a handheld machine weighing only 2.2 pounds. It has a keypad for inputting numerical values, while handwriting recognition software provides reliable written input. The AMiTY VP, which uses a 133-MHz processor from ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC., has up to 48 megabytes of system memory and an 810-MB hard disk drive, plus a 7.5-inch color VGA (video graphics array) liquid crystal display. Various connectors allow access to peripherals.

The MobilePro 700 line of Windows CE 2.0 handheld devices from the NEC Computer Systems division of PACKARD BELL NEC INC. is shipping with pcANYWHERE CE from SYMANTEC CORP. This Windows CE-based communications package provides fast remote access to applications and files on any personal computer, workstation or server. Weighing less than 1.5 pounds, the MobilePro 700 has what is claimed to be the biggest alphanumeric keyboard of any Windows CE 2.0 device as well as a large backlit screen. It is being marketed for electronic mail and Internet access, among other uses.

The world leader in compact disc and software turnkey manufacturing and marketing, KAO INFOSYSTEMS CO., is in the process of ending production of floppy disks and CDs at its Plymouth, Massachusetts plant as well as the turnkey business there. Opened in 1989 and expanded in recent years, the facility employs approximately 200 people on the manufacturing side and in fulfillment and turnkey distribution; that is roughly 15 percent of the KAO CORP. subsidiary's North American work force. The work done in Plymouth is being transferred to Kao Infosystems facilities in Fremont and San Ramon, California and in Bothell, Washington. In 1997, these plants, plus ones in Canada and in Europe, collectively turned out 175 million CD-ROMs (read-only memories). Kao Infosystems' corporate offices will remain in Plymouth.

Under an original equipment manufacturer agreement, RORKE DATA INC. of Eden Prairie, Minnesota is integrating the Beluga AV 2.6-gigabyte Direct OverWrite magneto-optical drive from NIKON CORP. into its line of digital disk recorders, customized rack-mounted systems, optical libraries, high- bandwidth networks, and digital asset and document management systems. The Beluga AV writes data in a single pass, making it as much as twice as fast as earlier MO drives. It provides a sustained data transfer rate of up to 4 megabytes per second, with a burst transfer rate of 10 MB per second at 3,600 revolutions per minute.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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From a plant being built in Tijuana, Mexico, the recently established San Diego, California marketing unit of KOYOSHA CO., LTD. will start shipping printed circuit boards in November to Japanese-affiliated and other customers in the United States. At start-up, the factory will be able to turn out more than 1 million square feet of PCBs a month, including single-sided, carbon and custom boards. Kyoto prefecture-based Koyosha is said to be the first Japanese company to move into the U.S. market for single-sided printed circuit boards. By having a plant in Mexico, it can greatly shorten the supply line compared with shipping products from Asia. MITSUBISHI CORP., AROMAT CORP. and KYODEN CO., LTD. together own 18 percent of Koyosha's California marketing unit.

TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD. has merged TOPPAN WEST, INC., a San Diego, California manufacturer of printed circuit boards and a seller of these products and lead frames for the semiconductor industry, and TOPPAN ELECTRONICS (U.S.A.), INC. of Santa Clara, California, a marketer of photomasks for chip production and color filters. The resulting company, TOPPAN ELECTRONICS, INC., is located in San Diego. The two subsidiaries' overlapping customer bases were a primary reason for the merger.

Japan's largest manufacturer of refrigerators for the home and the world's top producer of refrigeration compressors will work with two big names in the U.S. appliance field to develop compressors that are more environment-friendly and energy efficient. The collaboration brings MATSUSHITA REFRIGERATION CO. together with GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. and WHIRLPOOL CORP. The partners will use Matsushita Refrigeration's Vonore, Tennessee refrigeration compressor plant as their development base, using facilities there to make and test prototypes. By tying up with GE and Whirlpool, the Japanese company hopes to cut development time to a year and reduce development costs. A joint venture between Germany's ROBERT BOSCH G.M.B.H. and SIEMENS AG also is involved in the project, but that firm is collaborating with Matsushita Refrigeration's Singapore operation.

At the end of March, DAIICHIKOSHO CO., LTD., the largest Japanese marketer and lessor of commercial karaoke equipment, liquidated its 10- year-old, money-losing New York City subsidiary. Stiffer competition in this field as well as difficulties in acquiring rights to songs were given as the reasons for the withdrawal from the American market.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Second-tier regional banks continue their U.S. retrenchment. Among the latest to announce that they are ending local operations are BANK OF NAGOYA, LTD., which will close its New York City branch, its only one offshore, in late August and replace it with a representative office, and SHIGA BANK, LTD., which will shutter its Manhattan branch at the end of September, leaving a Hong Kong branch as the only overseas outlet.

Japanese financial services providers are trying to better position themselves to capitalize on the boom expected in asset management as a result of Big Bang financial reforms. For example, IBJ SCHRODER BANK & TRUST CO. acquired DELPHI ASSET MANAGEMENT, also headquartered in New York City, for an undisclosed amount. Delphi manages a reported $1 billion for both individual clients and institutions. It also operates a pair of hedge funds. Through its wholly owned INNOVEST CAPITAL MANAGEMENT subsidiary, IBJ Schroder also manages a number of hedge funds. Part of INDUSTRIAL BANK OF JAPAN, LTD., the company is engaged in commercial and private banking as well as trust and investment management. It handles an estimated $3 billion for clients. Delphi will operate as an independent subsidiary.

NOMURA SECURITIES CO., LTD. and BABCOCK & BROWN INC., a San Francisco-based global leasing and investment banking firm, have restructured a relationship forged in 1986. Babcock & Brown reacquired from Nomura Securities the 20 percent interest Japan's top brokerage house owned, while real estate management company NOMURA LAND AND BUILDING CO., LTD. bought out BBI's 20 percent stake in NOMURA BABCOCK & BROWN. That Japan-based business provides lease investments and other nonsecurities products to domestic investors. Although no reason was given explicitly for the change in the relationship, the former partners said that they would collaborate in the future when joint rather than individual actions made sense, such as leveraged and operating leases in Japan.

Meanwhile, in the largest such deal ever undertaken in the United States, the U.S. subsidiary of NOMURA SECURITIES CO., LTD. securitized loan claims held by its real estate affiliate into just over $3.7 billion worth of commercial mortgage-backed certificates. Institutional investors bought out the issue, for which MORGAN STANLEY DEAN WITTER & CO. was the lead underwritter, almost as soon as it hit the market. The securitized loan claims involved supermarkets, office buildings and housing complexes. More than 70 percent of the commercial mortgage-backed certificates represented bonds with a AAA credit rating.

Deciding to shed an unprofitable, noncore business, UNION BANK OF CALIFORNIA has agreed to sell its credit-card operation to FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF OMAHA. The deal is valued at $270 million or so, equal to the BANK OF TOKYO-MITSUBISHI, LTD. affiliate's outstanding credit- card liabilities.

The New York City subsidiary of HOSOKAWA MICRON CORP. — a producer of powder, particle, plastics and confectionery processing equipment and product recovery systems — filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of more than 3.4 million shares. CREDIT SUISSE FIRST BOSTON CORP. and PAINE WEBBER INC. lead the underwriting syndicate.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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A major expansion is underway of the hog operation that ITOHAM FOODS INC. established near Witland, Wyoming last year with MARUBENI CORP. The big processed pork producer has earmarked $54.5 million to build and equip facilities on land adjacent to WYOMING PREMIUM FARMS L.L.C.'s current property, which houses a starter herd of 5,000 brood sows capable of producing 100,000 hogs a year for shipment to the U.S. market. The goal is to increase the herd to 30,000 sows producing 660,000 pigs for fattening each year. Until Tokyo ends safeguards on pork imports, presumably after 2000, Itoham Foods and partner Marubeni will continue to sell their output in the United States.

In five years, SALAD COSMO CO., LTD. expects to have 5,000 acres near Dixon, California in the Sacramento Valley planted to radishes, soybeans, alfalfa and, especially, mung beans. The Nagano prefecture company came to the area in 1995 to assure a supply of pure, organically grown seed for its sprout operations in Japan. Now, however, it will start marketing sprouts to grocery stores in northern California in addition to shipping seed back home. A facility on the property for seed cleaning, germination, processing and packaging was completed recently.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Work has begun on a plant in New London, North Carolina for NABELL CORP., a Mie prefecture-based manufacturer of bellows for cameras and other optical equipment, medical equipment like computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging beds, machine tools, materials-handling equipment and other industrial applications. The company has earmarked $500,000 for the initial stage of a three-phase project, its first U.S. plant. Production start-up is scheduled for this fall. At that time 25 people will be employed, but after 18 months of operation, NABELL USA CORP. expects to have a payroll of 100.

ISHIKAWAJIMA-HARIMA HEAVY INDUSTRIES CO., LTD. has a $22.7 million contract to supply three coilers to USX CORP., which plans to build the world's biggest hot-rolling mill at its Gary, Indiana works. Trader MITSUBISHI CORP. was instrumental in gaining the contract for IHI, its first from an American steel manufacturer in five years. The equipment is scheduled for delivery in early 1999. The coilers will be installed at the end of the production line to roll the sheet into coils as it is finished. The new hot-rolling mill will be able to turn out 6 million tons of product a year.

An engineering collaboration between ISHIKA-WAJIMA-HARIMA HEAVY INDUSTRIES CO., LTD. and SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INSTITUTE has yielded a method for performing the often difficult inspection of the welds of boiling water reactors inside nuclear power plants. It combines a small, simple underwater inspection robot developed by IHI with the San Antonio, Texas organization's inspection expertise and ultrasonic techniques. The AIRIS 21 robotic scanner weighs under 30 pounds and measures less than 30 inches in diameter. Held to the vessel wall by water suction, AIRIS 21 can maneuver in any direction. A unique tracking system provides location information.

In June, UCHIDA HYDRAULICS CO., LTD. will start shipping 1,000 hydraulic piston pumps to CATERPILLAR INC. for incorporation in its hydraulic excavators. The $6.1 million contract is one way that the Tokyo company's German majority owner for the last year is trying to boost Uchida Hydraulics' lagging business, which has been hurt by cutbacks in production by Japanese construction equipment manufacturers. MANNESMANN REXROTH G.M.B.H., the world's top maker of hydraulic systems, previously supplied Caterpillar from its German plant. Uchida Hydraulics also is supplying pump parts to its parent.

Japan's largest manufacturer of fuel cocks is moving into the American market. TAIYO GIKEN KOGYO CO., LTD. has formed a California subsidiary and will launch marketing in August, targeting producers of outboard engines, personal water craft, snowmobiles and similar products. In preparation for this move, the Nagoya firm expanded capacity at plants in Japan and Thailand. It expects to sell 50,000 fuel cocks in the initial year and four times as many after two or three years.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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SEIKO EPSON CORP.'s subsidiary is hoping that a 26 percent price cut will boost sales in the competitive American digital camera market. The new $500 estimated street price applies to the PhotoPC 600, Epson's top-of- the-line product, which offers 1024 x 768-pixel (XGA) resolution, autofocusing, high-quality glass optics and a built-in 2-inch active- matrix color LCD monitor.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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The number-two Japanese maker of dental materials, SHOFU INC., has signed a development agreement with NORIAN CORP. under which the pair will work on a new formulation of the Cupertino, California firm's proprietary Norian SRS for periodontal applications. Norian SRS is an injectable, moldable bone cement for use in cancellous bone. Commercialized for orthopedic applications, it is replaced over time by living bone. The Kyoto company has exclusive rights to market both Norian SRS for dental applications and the new formulation for periodontal use in Japan and elsewhere in Asia as well as in North America and Europe. As part of the agreement, Shofu will buy $3.4 million of Norian's preferred stock.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Companies designing Windows CE-based products have a processor option for the forthcoming 2.1 version of MICROSOFT CORP.'s embedded operating system. HITACHI, LTD.'s S7750 embedded RISC (reduced instruction-set computing) processor, the first member of the new SH-4 family, has been verified as compatible with Windows CE. It operates at the rate of 360 million instructions per second yet, despite that speed, the SH7750 features low power consumption.

In an attempt to shorten time to market for system chips and, thereby, quadruple sales of these products by FY 2000, SHARP CORP. tied up with MENTOR GRAPHICS CORP. By combining its integrated circuit design and manufacturing expertise with the Wilsonville, Oregon company's software capabilities, Sharp hopes to cut the time required to design system chips for digital still cameras to two or three months. The key is Mentor software that adds a variety of functions to these parts.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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In a move to extend its Arcstar Internet service to the United States, NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. agreed to invest $100 million in VERIO INC. or to buy a 12.5 percent stake, whichever is less, before the Englewood, Colorado company goes public. The acquisition-minded Internet service provider has roughly 80,000 customers, mainly small and midsized businesses, located largely in 33 of the top 50 U.S. markets. Its goal is to develop a nationwide network or backbone. NTT plans to use its affiliation with Verio to target Japanese multinationals operating in the United States, offering to help them build Internet-based virtual private networks. The investment also will give Japan's top carrier first-hand experience with how foreign ISPs operate. Now free to offer services internationally, NTT is selectively investing in U.S. communications start- ups, including putting $100 million into TELIGENT LLC, which plans to build a nationwide digital microwave network (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 337, October 1997, p. 8).

Attempting to leverage all its assets, SONY CORP.'s primary subsidiary reorganized its year-old Internet entertainment site to focus more on offering games and game shows on-line produced by its SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC. movie studio. It also formed SONY ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT INC. to manage The site, which includes such game shows as "Jeopardy! Online" and "Wheel of Fortune," has nearly 1 million registered users.

In a key endorsement, FUJITSU, LTD. will sell and support SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris operating system for Unix servers based on INTEL CORP.'s architecture as opposed to Sun's SPARC platform. The pair will work on enhancements to Solaris, with the goal of offering corporate customers improved reliability, availability and serviceability. To this end, Fujitsu will join Sun's Solaris System Partners Business Council and dispatch a team to the United States to support the collaboration. The partners also will promote the development of applications for the Solaris operating system on Intel servers. Fujitsu is expected to ship the first Intel systems running Solaris in the second half of 1998, focusing on Japan and other Asian market.

HITACHI, LTD. is working with UNISYS CORP. on object-oriented software, starting with the joint development of an object-oriented COBOL compiler for the Blue Bell, Pennsylvania-headquartered company's ClearPath HMP IX system. Adding object-oriented technology to COBOL will enable companies to use effectively in the future the vast number of COBOL applications tied up in their enterprise systems. Under the agreement, Unisys gains worldwide rights to selected Hitachi OOCOBOL technologies, including its compiler front-end, class libraries, object browser, file/record designer and COBOL editor.

High-volume printed circuit board producer SUZUKI MANUFACTURING CO., LTD. acquired SSK TECHNOLOGY, INC. in a stock-for-stock swap. The Scotts Valley, California company is a network software developer and technology sales start-up. It will operate as a subsidiary of the Ibaraki prefecture manufacturer.

CAD (computer-aided design) data conversion software developer ASA SYSTEMS, INC. of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka prefecture has tied up with GLOBAL VISION TECHNOLOGY, INC. It invested $30,000 in the small Burlingame, California company, which develops software for Asian markets, localizes U.S. programs for sale in Japan and provides technical support via the Internet for American firms covering Japan. ASA Systems is using its relationship with Global Vision Technology in part to explore opportunities for expanding its business to new areas.

TOSHIBA CORP. and AVANT! CORP., an IC design automation software developer, are continuing work started last year on three-dimensional simulation of semiconductor fabrication processes. Under a multiyear pact, they will develop CAD software for incorporation in the Fremont, California company's forthcoming Taurus-Process for the design and fabrication of very deep submicron chips. Avant! will make available to Toshiba the simulation technology available in Taurus-Process for performing advanced modeling of 3D as well as 1D and 2D diffusion, oxidation, ion implantation and other processes. In return, the Japanese semiconductor maker will provide experimental data for simulation validation and details about cutting-edge process technology development requirements.

For just $99, anyone with a PC and Windows 95 can create digital content equal to that seen in films and games, says NICHIMEN GRAPHICS INC. about its new Nendo 3D modeling and 3D painting product. It now is available for workstations running SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris, but Windows NT and Windows 95 versions will be released shortly. Nendo is part of the NICHIMEN CORP. unit's N-World 3.2, a complete suite of development tools for interactive content creation.

Since many institutional investors use asset management software from NOMURA RESEARCH INSTITUTE, LTD. and BARRA INC. side by side to manage pension funds and other portfolios, the two companies will make their programs compatible to avoid duplicative data entry. The harmonization effort will begin with equity-related data and later will expand to bonds and other financial instruments. NRI's Pleiades system is used by about 200 financial services providers in Japan, while Berkeley, California Barra's risk assessment model is deployed by roughly 110 companies.

The fusion of PCs and consumer electronics products is expected to get a major boost from an agreement between SONY CORP. and MICROSOFT CORP. The consumer electronics giant will license to the software powerhouse its Home Networking Module for use with certain versions of the Windows CE embedded operating system. Sony's middleware supports the IEEE 1394 communications standard for connecting videocassette recorders with PCs or television set-top boxes, for example. At the same time, Microsoft will license Windows CE to Sony for use in unspecified future products.

Digital television decoder technology developed by HITACHI, LTD.'s Digital Media Systems Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey will be licensed to INTEL CORP. That company will incorporate the All Format Decoder technology with software to enable PCs to decode digital TV signals, regardless of whether they are transmitted in high definition or standard definition or whether they are formatted in progressive scan or interlaced scan. Intel expects the Hitachi technology to be used in DTV trials later this year, with the first broadcast-ready PCs going on the market in 1999.

Pocket Monsters, the Americanized version of the Pokemon video game software so popular in Japan, will be released in the United States in September by developer NINTENDO CO., LTD. for portable GameBoy machines. Nintendo expects to sell 1 million copies of the action game.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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FUJITSU NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS, INC., the Richardson, Texas fiber- optic transmission and broadband switching platform design and manufacturing unit of FUJITSU, LTD., landed two major contracts recently. In a significant win, it will be the equipment supplier for GTE CORP.'s ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service, which will provide Internet connections at transmission speeds ranging from 256 kilobits per second to 1.5 megabits per second over existing copper telephone lines. FNC's SPEEDPORT DSL access multiplexers will be installed in approximately 300 GTE central offices in portions of 16 states. The equipment's core DSL technology was provided by FNC partner ORCKIT COMMUNICATIONS LTD. In customers' homes or offices, GTE will install Orckit-built modems. Starting in June, the company will offer ADSL service in the parts of the five towns where it has been conducting trials: West Lafayette, Indiana, Durham, North Carolina, Beaverton, Oregon, and Redmond and Kirkland, Washington. In the second half of 1998, GTE plans to offer ADSL service in at least 30 additional market clusters.

Moreover, in a contract that could be worth as much as $500 million over its five-year life, FUJITSU NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS, INC. will supply a range of fiber-optic transmission equipment, especially lightwave multiplexers, to BELL ATLANTIC CORP. These products span transmission capacities of 155 Mbps (OC-3) to 10 gigabits per second (OC-192). The latter system will enable Bell Atlantic's local telephone companies to carry more than 129,000 simultaneous telephone calls over a single strand of fiber-optic cable. FNC is the top provider of SONET (synchronous optical network) fiber-optic equipment to the regional Bell operating companies, by one estimate controlling 47 percent of that market in 1997.

In the second such deal, SPACE COMMUNICATIONS CORP. awarded HUGHES SPACE AND COMMUNICATIONS INTERNATIONAL INC. a contract for a communications satellite to be launched in early 2000. Superbird-4 will use a HS 601 HP platform equipped with 23 Ku-band transponders powered by traveling wave tube amplifiers totaling more than 80 watts. It also will have six Ka-band transponders powered by 50-watt TWTAs for broadband and high-speed data services. Two main antennas, one for the Ku band and the other for the Ka band, will be onboard; they will incorporate Hughes' shaped-beam technology. The spacecraft also will use the satellite builder's new ion propulsion system. Superbird-4, which will replace Superbird-B in providing services to Japan and elsewhere in the Asian Pacific, will be launched by ARIANE-SPACE S.A. The first communications satellite that Los Angles-based HUGHES SPACE AND COMMUNICATIONS CO. built for SCC, Superbird-C, was launched last summer.

Meanwhile, the second of a pair of satellites that HUGHES SPACE AND COMMUNICATIONS CO. built for BROADCASTING SATELLITE SYSTEM CORP. has been launched onboard an ARIANESPACE S.A. rocket. BSAT-1b, an in- orbit backup to the year-old BSAT-1a, features four active and four spare high-power Ku-band transponders powered by 106-watt TWTAs. It provides home entertainment broadcasting services to more than 10 million customers.

In another major endorsement of its DVCPRO digital broadcast product line, ABC INC. selected MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. equipment for its high-definition television facility in New York City. MEI affiliate PANASONIC BROADCAST & TELEVISION SYSTEMS CO. says that the studio will be ready for the November rollout of terrestrial digital television broadcasting. It also will equip key ABC affiliates in time for the advent of digital TV. Of the competing DTV standards, ABC chose the 720 progressive scan format. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

Broadcasters migrating to digital television using MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. equipment will have available DVCPRO-capable SILICON GRAPHICS, INC. servers. PANASONIC BROADCAST & TELEVISION SYSTEMS CO. will offer systems integration of SGI's Origin servers interfaced to DVCPRO recording, news editing and robotic archive library system products. That will give DVCPRO news and production system customers scalable, end-to-end solutions.

SONY CORP. has made up some ground in the race with MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. to equip networks and their affiliates for the November launch of terrestrial digital television broadcasting. Among other recent wins, it will supply $14.8 million worth of Betacam SX equipment based on the MPEG (motion picture experts group) standard for digital video compression to TIME WARNER INC.'s Cable News Network for use by its field crews around the world. CNN now uses analog Betacam equipment.

In its first contract for high-definition remote broadcast vehicles, SONY CORP. will build a pair of HDTV-capable broadcast vans for NATIONAL MOBILE TELEVISION. One of the codeveloped trucks will be stationed in Los Angeles to provide the entertainment industry with full-service digital high-definition production. The other will be located in New York City to cover sporting events in the area. Both trucks will begin operations in September. NMT also is adding two Sony-equipped standard-definition TV trucks this fall to its existing fleet of five Sony digital trucks. The new ones will be used for sports coverage.

While acknowledging that entrenched American competition will make it difficult to succeed, HITACHI ELECTRONICS, LTD. hopes to gain experience in the U.S. market for terrestrial digital broadcast transmission equipment that it can use when this type of broadcasting starts in Japan in 2001. Its Woodbury, New York subsidiary has three products available. The Multi-Level Digital FM Microwave Link System consists of a transmitter adapter and a receiver adapter to transmit up to 60 Mbps of compressed HDTV signals using existing microwave links. As its name suggests, the 16/32 Level Quadrature Amplitude Modulated Microwave Link for Digital HDTV Transmission employs quadrature amplitude modulation-enabled modulators and demodulators to transport high-bit- rate HDTV signals over microwave links. The third product is the RM- 2100E/RM-2100D MPEG2 Real-Time Codec, which combines an encoder and a decoder for 4:2:2 digital video compression.

The 1100 series of HDTV and SDTV encoders and decoders as well as HDTV multiplexers and demultiplexers from MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. is being marketed exclusively in the United States by TEKTRONIX, INC. under the Tektronix-Grass Valley-Mitsubishi brand name. The second-generation products are claimed to be the first for coding signals according to the Advanced Television Systems Committee DTV standard adopted by the Federal Communications Commission. MELCO's 1100 line includes a variety of input/output options, 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 operation and the ability to compress 1920 x 1080 images to well below 19 Mbps while maintaining excellent picture quality.

Codevelopers MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. and IGS TECHNOLOGIES, INC. have announced what they say is the first truly flexible set-top box platform. Instead of a standard group of functions, the product comes with two core applications: electronic mail and World Wide Web browsing. OEMs then have the option of adding other features, including video phone, Web- casting and picture in a picture. The $1,000 platform combines MELCO's M32R/D processor — a 32-bit RISC chip with 2 megabytes of embedded DRAM (dynamic random access memory) and a 128-bit internal bus — and the Santa Clara, California company's CyberPro2010 single-chip encoder/accelerator, which incorporates flicker-free technology in its TVDirect interface. The integrated memory features of the M32R/D processor and the direct interface to the CyberPro2010 result in a product measuring just 5 inches by 7 inches.

Beginning in June, PACIFIC TELECOM CO., LTD. will wholesale publicly switched telephone capacity to 16 foreign carriers, including SPRINT COMMUNICATIONS CORP. and WORLDCOM INC., at a cost lower than if privately owned cables were used. The key is the application of time- division multiplexing to the switching system, which compresses the audio signal without compromising the voice quality. Tokyo-based PTC is the first Type II firm or company that does not own transmission circuits to enter the resale business. It projects revenues of $39 million over five years.

Competition from the Internet as well as from firms offering similar services has forced INTEC INC. to close its wholly owned international fax subsidiary in New York City. The company was set up in the fall of 1987.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Although production of TOYOTA MOTOR CORP.'s new full-size T150 pickup truck will not begin until December at the company's Princeton, Indiana factory, which still is being built, the automotive maker announced a major expansion of the plant. At a cost of $500 million, it will add 50,000 units of annual capacity to the 100,000 T150s expected to be turned out yearly. That will bring Toyota's investment in TOYOTA MOTOR MANUFACTURING INDIANA, INC. to $1.2 billion. As many as 2,300 people will be employed at the plant when the extra capacity goes on-line, now scheduled for late 2000. Roughly 1,300 workers are being hired to build the T150. Toyota was mum, however, on what the second product would be. Industry analysts speculate that it will be a large, truck-like sport- utility vehicle, in part because TMMI executives say that the new vehicle will be built on the same line as the T150 and use many of the same components. These sources also note that Toyota is one of the few automotive suppliers without a North American-built SUV or current plans to introduce one.

Production of the first mass-produced car powered solely by natural gas is underway at HONDA OF AMERICA MANUFACTURING, INC. in East Liberty, Ohio. HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD. engineers boost that the Civic GX has the world's cleanest internal combustion engine. It emits just one-tenth the pollutants allowed under California's strict emissions standards. The Civic GX, which has a 110-horsepower engine, can travel about 200 miles on a tank of compressed natural gas. Federal, state and local government agencies and utility companies are the most likely buyers of the car.

Having already test-manufactured an electric vehicle powered by an advanced fuel cell, MAZDA MOTOR CORP. plans to work with an alliance involving FORD MOTOR CO., its principal owner, Germany's DAIMLER-BENZ AG and BALLARD POWER SYSTEMS INC. of Canada to develop fuel-cell technology for future cars, trucks and buses. Today's electric vehicles use an onboard battery for power. Mazda's Demio has an electric generator that consumes hydrogen as fuel. Unlike the three other companies, which together will invest about $700 million in the consortium, Mazda will not provide capital for the project nor assign engineers to it on a permanent basis.

Transaxles for Altimas built in Smyrna, Tennessee have been added to the output of NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD.'s powertrain assembly plant in Decherd, Tennessee, which started building four-cylinder 2.4-liter Altima engines last year (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 333, June 1997, p. 7). This summer, the factory will begin to make transaxles for Nissan Quest/Mercury Villager minivans assembled by FORD MOTOR CO. in Avon Lake, Ohio. Nissan has the capacity to turn out about 300,000 transaxles a year at the Decherd facility in addition to 200,000 engines. The expansion boosted employment to roughly 380 people from 200. Transaxles combine the transmission and the front axle in front-wheel-drive vehicles.

ENKEI CORP., which has built aluminum wheels for GENERAL MOTORS CORP. cars in Columbus, Indiana since 1987, will open an aluminum wheel plant in the spring of 1999 in Jacksonville, Florida. The company has earmarked about $11.4 million for the project. The new facility is projected to make 360,000 aluminum wheels in its first year of operation for sale to Japanese transplants. It will employ about 100 workers. The Indiana plant turns out 2 million wheels a year for GM. It had FY 1997 revenues of approximately $75.8 million.

With contracts in hand to supply window regulators to GENERAL MOTORS CORP. for a 1999 pickup truck and to MITSUBISHI MOTORS CORP.'s Normal, Illinois plant for the new Galant sedan, NIPPON CABLE SYSTEM INC. will expand capacity at its Litchfield, Michigan window regulator plant to 10 million units a year. The addition of the MMC factory means that the company's HI-LEX CONTROLS, INC. subsidiary and its HI-LEX CORP. affiliate, which makes control cables in Mexico, now do business with all the transplants. That should help Nippon Cable meet its goal of boosting U.S. sales of control cables and window regulators to $230 million in 2000 from about $150 million last year. Also supporting the planned sales expansion is the construction of a new, twice-as-large Hi-Lex Automotive Center in Troy, Michigan. Work on the R&D facility will start this summer and be finished next spring.

Having landed an order from GENERAL MOTORS CORP. for 80,000 automatic transmission gear shifters a year for a new Cadillac set to debut in the 2001 model year, DOUGLAS AUTOTECH CORP. will spend about $3 million to double capacity at its plant in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. That facility, in operation since mid-1995, will be able to make 600,000 gear shifters and other steering parts a year from this fall. Shipments to GM will begin in 1999. The main plant of Douglas Autotech, a wholly owned subsidiary of FUJI KIKO CO., LTD., is located in Bronson, Michigan. Since 1990, it has supplied steering parts to CAMI AUTOMOTIVE, INC., an Ingersoll, Ontario joint venture between SUZUKI MOTOR CORP. and GM that builds cars and SUVs. Douglas Autotech is projecting sales of $90.9 million in FY 2001 versus about $47 million in FY 1997.

A new five-year contract from GENERAL MOTORS CORP. starting in 2000 is behind the announcement by MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. that it will build a new line at its air-conditioning system plant in Franklin, Indiana. Equally important, MHI CLIMATE CONTROL INC. plans to launch integrated production of these units. Now, the factory makes scroll compressors and combines them with heat exchangers and evaporators purchased in the United States and control systems imported from Japan. The new line, to be completed in 1999, will have the capacity to make 800,000 units a year. The order from GM, a current customer, covers 2.5 million AC systems. Testing facilities also will be added at the Indiana complex.

To better serve their customers around the world, FUKOKU CO., LTD., a manufacturer of rubber products for the automotive industry, and Plymouth, Michigan-based SIMPSON INDUSTRIES, INC. will work together to develop a common design for antivibration products for car and truck engines. The partners' plants at home and abroad will be available to manufacture the unified design.

In a similar arrangement, CHUO SPRING CO., LTD. has tied up with TRIDENT AUTOMOTIVE CORP. on control cables. Through its ACK CONTROLS, INC. production unit in Glasgow, Kentucky, the Nagoya-headquartered company is providing its control cable technology to the worldwide plants of the Detroit-area company. Chuo Spring hopes its connections with Trident will allow it to supply car and truck makers in Europe and Latin America without the risk involved in building plants in those regions. The Big Three automotive manufacturers are ACK Controls' main customers.

SUMITOMO CORP. and rolling stock manufacturer NIPPON SHARYO, LTD. have won a $35 million contract to build 19 passenger cars for the Caltrain commuter rail line, which serves the San Francisco Bay Area. Deliveries of the double-decker cars, which will be wheelchair accessible, will start in the fall of 1999 and continue through 2000. The new cars will be used to increase capacity on existing trains. The trader has headed consortiums that have supplied most of the cars bought by Caltrain since the mid- 1980s.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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The prime contractor for Japan's new support fighter, MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD., has awarded top subcontractor LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP. a contract to build components for an additional eight F-2 aircraft. Work continues at the company's Fort Worth, Texas complex on the aft fuselages and other components for the first 11 F-2s, which are based on the F-16 (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 8).

A second plant soon will start making thermal transfer ribbons for fax machines and bar code printers at DAI NIPPON PRINTING CO., LTD.'s Concord, North Carolina factory. The additional capacity cost $6.5 million. DAINIPPON IMS (AMERICA) CORP., which started production in mid-1995, had sales of $50 million in the year through March 1998. With the new facility, that figure is expected to double by FY 2001.

After 10 years, the MUNEKATA CO., LTD. plant in Dalton, Georgia is being closed. The factory made television and computer housings and other plastic injected molded parts for the electronics industry. The shutdown was attributed to the fact that many of the plant's largely Japanese- affiliated customers had shifted North American manufacturing to Mexico, where the Osaka prefecture-based company already has a production unit. Munekata's U.S. sales operation was relocated to San Diego, California.

The Curel line of skin moisturizing products and the Soft Sense brand of hand and body lotion now are owned by ANDREW JERGENS CO. The wholly owned KAO CORP. subsidiary paid BAUSCH & LOMB INC. $135 million for its skin-care business. The acquisition positions Cincinnati, Ohio- headquartered Jergens as the second-largest maker of hand and body lotion in the United States. Kao bought the manufacturer of moisturizing, cleansing and facial-care products in 1988.

Blaine, Washington-based EDIROL CORP., which is majority-owned by digital synthesizer maker ROLAND CORP., has bought the largest distributor of music software in North America. The purchase of San Francisco's THINKWARE will give Edirol a network of specialty dealers to expand sales of Roland Desk Top Media Production systems, which are bundles designed to upgrade the sound performance of computers as well as standard MIDI music files for interactive playback. Through a catalog and a Web site, Edirol markets music hardware, software and music file arrangements.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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American Companies in Japan


Biaxially oriented polypropylene film production technology developed by MOBIL OIL CORP. will be used by DAICEL CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. in a plant that is scheduled for operation in the third quarter of 2000. The license agreement, limited to sales in Japan, covers coated as well as uncoated and white opaque BOPP films for packaging and labeling applications. Until DCI starts production, it will distribute locally BOPP films manufactured by MOBIL CHEMICAL CO.'s Pittsford, New York- headquartered films division.

In time, all respiratory and allergy products developed by RHONE-POULENC RORER INC. will be marketed in Japan by FUJISAWA-FISONS K.K. rather than FUJISAWA PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. alone. Jointly owned by the Collegeville, Pennsylvania global pharmaceutical company, Fujisawa- Fisons previously assumed responsibility for promoting Intal (cromolyn sodium) to general practitioners. Now, it is handling sales to hospitals. Fujisawa Pharmaceutical gained this right in 1971 under a distribution agreement with FISONS PLC, now part of Rhone-Poulenc Rorer.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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In a U.S.-style tender offer, NCR CORP. bought the publicly traded 30 percent share of NCR JAPAN, LTD. that it did not own directly or indirectly for around $300 million. The Japanese unit, which posted a revenue gain of 9.8 percent in 1997 to $841.7 million, was the only NCR subsidiary in which the Dayton, Ohio data warehousing and computer company did not own all the shares. NCR Japan is reported to have about 60 percent of the rapidly expanding local market for data warehousing. It also is strong in computerized point-of-sale systems for supermarkets. Following the takeover, NCR Japan was delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Osaka Securities Exchange.

In the wake of the collapse of HOKKAIDO TAKUSHOKU BANK, LTD. last year, IBM JAPAN LTD. made previously jointly owned SYSTEM FRONTIER CO., LTD. of Sapporo a wholly owned information services subsidiary. The renamed IBM GLOBAL SERVICES JAPAN SOLUTION AND SERVICES CO., LTD. added to its staff of 190 some 300 people formerly employed by a computer affiliate of the Hokkaido bank. By October, it will hire 160 ex-employees of the bank's systems department for an eventual work force of 650. The IBM Japan unit designs, develops and maintains information technology systems for corporate customers as well as handles outsourcing of computer operations.

A NonStop Himalaya S7000 server is at the heart of the data warehousing system that COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary constructed for SNOW BRAND ACCESS CO., LTD., a Tokyo food wholesaler affiliated with SNOW BRAND MILK PRODUCTS CO., LTD. The first such system deployed in Japan's food wholesale business, it stores data on nearly 700 million nationwide sales transactions. This information can be retrieved and analyzed on a PC spreadsheet. The fault-tolerant, high-availability and scalable NonStop Himalaya S7000 server is a product of Compaq-owned TANDEM COMPUTERS, INC.

In its first such arrangement with a local distributor, the subsidiary of COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. named OTSUKA SHOKAI CO., LTD. a build-to-order partner for PCs. The world's top PC seller will deliver components to Otsuka Shokai's facility in Tokyo so that it can customize machines for its corporate customers. The turnaround is between three and five days. Compaq will continue to assemble PCs for its other Japanese distributors, although it is open to authorizing additional companies to be BTO firms.

IBM JAPAN LTD. is marketing a new solution for big corporations with such demanding applications as data warehousing, enterprise resource planning, server consolidation and on-line transaction processing. It is a RS/6000 SP Unix parallel server bundled with ORACLE CORP.'s Oracle8 relational data base management software, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s TXSeries and IBM Serial Storage Architecture disk subsystems. It set world records for the number of transactions per minute and the number of concurrent users performing transactions on the system. These capabilities are not inexpensive. The smallest configuration of the new RS/6000 SP, which runs off multiple PowerPC 604e processors, costs $143,300.

Internet service providers and other organizations that need to manage massive amounts of data quickly and efficiently are the target customers for the latest iteration of SILICON GRAPHICS, INC.'s Origin2000 Unix server. Like other members of the series, it can scale from one to 128 MIPS 64-bit RISC processors. This model, though, is powered by a 250-MHz version of that engine. The same processor is available in the Cray Origin2000 from SGI subsidiary CRAY RESEARCH, INC. A machine with two processors and 4 megabytes of system memory starts at $101,400, including annual support. SGI's local operation is projecting sales of 250 units annually.

Technical customers running Unix or Windows NT applications have a new option in the Digital Ultimate Workstation 533a2 and 533au2 from DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary. Although featuring a pair of 533- MHz 21164 Alpha 64-bit RISC processors, the machines are priced below workstations with a single, slower chip. The list price of the 533a2 starts at $43,900 with 64 MB of system memory, a 4.3-gigabyte disk drive and Windows NT Workstation 4.0, while a similarly configured 533au2 running Digital Unix 4.0B begins at $45,800.

The Digital Personal Workstation 333MHz i+ also is shipping from DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s local unit. It features the most powerful INTEL CORP. processor on the market, the 333-MHz version of the Pentium II, as well as Intel's new 440LX AGP chipset, which supports AGP and synchronous DRAM for a significant boost in 3D graphics performance. The 333MHz i+ also runs a variety of industry-standard graphics accelerators. The base model has an estimated street price of $4,900, while the high-end version goes for $8,600 or so. Both have Windows NT Workstation 4.0 preinstalled.

Competing products, the Kayak XW PC Workstations from HEWLETT- PACKARD JAPAN LTD., are on the market. They, too, use Pentium II processors running at 333 MHz. Equipped with HP Visualize fx4 graphics, the machines are touted as outperforming all other Windows NT-based 3D workstations. The entry-level member of the line, priced around $7,100, supports dual 333-MHz Pentium II chips and a 440LX AGP-based system architecture. HP Japan is projecting yearly sales of 25,000 Kayak PC Workstations.

DELL COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary is going after the same customer base with the PowerEdge 2200, which also can support one or two 333-MHz Pentium II processors. The basic configuration of the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 machine is priced at $3,100. HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s OpenView NNM Special Edition is standard.

A pair of aggressively priced entry-level servers is one way SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. is trying to capture the business of small workgroups. Both the Sun Enterprise Ultra 5S server and the Sun Enterprise Ultra 10S server feature the UltraSPARC-IIi 64-bit RISC processor and the Solaris enterprise operating environment and have high-performance PCI (peripheral component interconnect) buses for fast data transfer. Equipped with a 270-MHz UltraSPARC-IIi processor, the 5S model costs $4,500 for 64 MB of memory and 4.2 GB of storage. The base minitower 10S system, which uses a 300-MHz version of the chip but otherwise has the same capacities as the 5S, lists for $6,400.

Budget-conscious customers of Windows NT machines are the target market for DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s Digital Server Family. Less than $1,800 buys branch offices, enterprise workgroups or small businesses the Digital Server 500, which is powered by a 233-MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology. With one or two 266-MHz Pentium II processors, the Digital Server 1205 provides a platform for file/print, BackOffice or Web services for $2,900. The pedestal Digital Server 3205 and the rack- mounted Digital Server 3205R, which offer a choice of one or two Pentium II or Pentium Pro processors, are departmental servers at what is labeled a file/print server price: $4,000 and $5,500, respectively.

COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary has bundled MICROSOFT CORP.'s Small Business Server software with its ProSignia 200 PC server for $5,800. The server runs off a 300-MHz Pentium II processor.

Virtually alone among American competitors, GATEWAY 2000, INC. has out a new desktop PC machine in what is still a flat market for these systems. As the model number suggests, the GP6-233 is powered by a 233-MHz Pentium II processor. Like other desktops with this engine, it offers 32 MB of system memory, a 4-GB hard drive, a 32X CD-ROM drive, a x2 modem and Microsoft Office 97 for $1,200.

Although the network computer market has been slow to develop in Japan, prime backer NETWORK COMPUTER, INC. keeps plugging away. Among other moves, the Redwood Shores, California company signed an agreement with FUJI ELECTRIC CO., LTD. to manufacture NCs incorporating NCI's NC Administration Server and NC Desktop enabling software. The NC-10 is targeted at Fuji Electric's industrial customers for running manufacturing, plant automation and factory operation applications.

SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary had a June release date for its own Java Station network computer, which uses the Java network language for operations. Expected to retail for between $760 and roughly $1,200, the company is marketing the systems for specific applications, including reservations and data entry.


Continuing the rollout of products built around the performance-enhancing PowerPC G3 processor (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 12), APPLE COMPUTER INC.'s subsidiary introduced the Macintosh Server G3. Designed to boost workgroup efficiency with high-capacity storage and state-of-the-art software, the server is available with a 233-MHz, a 266-MHz or a 300-MHz PowerPC G3. That processor is the first optimized for the Mac OS. Pricing is open, but the base server configuration is expected to have a street price around $3,800.

A second-generation Macintosh PowerBook 2400c has been released. Like the original (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 333, June 1997, pp. 10- 11), the smaller, lighter-weight notebook computer was developed by APPLE COMPUTER INC. and IBM JAPAN LTD. and is manufactured by the latter. However, it is designed exclusively for the Japanese market, where the PowerBook 2400c/180 was well-received. The PowerBook 2400c/240 sports a 240-MHz PowerPC 603e processor in place of the initial 180-MHz version. It is going for $1,500 or so.

In a concurrent United States/Japan release, EMC CORP. launched the world's highest-capacity disk storage system. Through the use of as many as 128 47-GB disk drives, the Symmetrix 5700/3700 Enterprise Storage system can deliver 6 terabytes of storage capacity housed in just 17.3 square feet of floor space. The Hopkinton, Massachusetts company is the first to implement 47-GB drives. The system provides simultaneous connectivity to all major mainframe, Unix, Windows NT, AS/400 and other hosts as well as supports existing EMC software solutions. The base configuration of the Symmetrix 5700/3700 with the 47-GB drives costs $1.6 million. A version of the system with 18-GB drives also is available for a starting price of $1.1 million.

This and other new products designed to meet the skyrocketing storage requirements of today's data-intensive applications is one part of EMC CORP.'s strategy for boosting Japan revenues by 40 percent in 1998. Another is the start of consulting services to help firms running data centers to cut costs through, for example, more efficient disk management and backup technology. EMC's subsidiary also opened a demonstration center equipped with mainframes and servers from various makers to show customers how Symmetrix Enterprise Storage systems can work with their equipment.

SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY, INC., the world's largest manufacturer of disk drives, has lined up a big-name distributor, SOFTBANK CORP. Known for its aggressive diversification through mergers and acquisitions, the software distributor will handle the full range of the Scotts Valley, California company's products.

For roughly $300, laptop and desktop PC users can get a 1 GB removable cartridge drive that manufacturer SYQUEST TECHNOLOGY, INC. claims is as fast as a hard drive. The Fremont, California company named a NICHIMEN CORP. affiliate to sell the SparQ. The distributor is projecting sales of 10,000 units.

A second Japanese manufacturer has received a license to manufacture IOMEGA CORP.'s Clik! portable storage device for such products as digital cameras and personal digital assistants. NEC CORP. will start Japan shipments this fall. The Clik!'s ultrasmall floppy disk offers 40 MB of storage. CITIZEN WATCH CO., LTD. was the first Clik! licensee (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 343, April 1998, p. 11).

Windows NT and Novell networks as well as a variety of other distributed computing environments have a new backup option, the Imation ITL 4115 Travan NS Tape Library System from IMATION CORP.'s subsidiary. The system's Travan NS 8 drive has room for up to 15 cartridges, each having 8 GB of compressed capacity for a total of 120 GB. It also transfers up to 7.2 GB of data in compressed form per hour and offers read-while-write capability, eliminating a separate verification pass. The ITL 4115 is priced around $6,800.

Workgroups that need to print documents in black and white that measure up to 11 x 17 inches are the target customers for HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD.'s pair of HP LaserJet 5000 Series printers. Both print 16 pages per minute with a resolution of 1,200 dots per inch and include HP Web JetAdmin printer management software and HP JetDirect 600N internal print servers. The base model costs $2,000. About $600 more buys a printer with a larger-capacity paper tray and twice the memory, among other extras. .....Meanwhile, with demand for plotters flat, HEWLETT- PACKARD JAPAN LTD., which is said to control 90 percent of that market, is switching its marketing push in large-format output equipment to printers. The high-definition, full-color HP DesignJet ink-jet printers initially introduced last spring are its primary vehicle.

IBM JAPAN LTD. has on the market a flat-bed color scanner that can input information on legal-size paper into PCs. The roughly $300 product does not require an expansion board to connect with the desktop.

The Impressa 2 digital label and decal press from FARGO ELECTRONICS, INC. is being distributed to the printing industry by Tokyo-based HIRO CORP. The $2,200 system allows operators to print and cut labels or decals in any color, size or shape on a wide variety of substrates from a desktop computer. To do that, the Impressa 2 uses the Eden Prairie, Minnesota company's resin thermal and dye-sublimation ribbon-based printing technologies to fuse images permanently onto the print media through heat and pressure.

BITFLOW, INC. has tapped T&T CO., LTD. of Yokohama to import and market Road Runner, a PCI-based framegrabber board used to interface sophisticated cameras to PCs. The $4,500 or so product is capable of transferring data at a constant rate of 132 MB per second. It is used in such applications as inspection systems for the semiconductor and circuit board industries, web inspection for the paper, cloth and lumber industries, and traffic control and monitoring systems. Tokyo-based LINX CORP. also distributes the Woburn, Massachusetts manufacturer's products.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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In what is thought to be a first for a U.S. developer, ODAKYU ELECTRIC RAILWAY CO., LTD. has contracted with AMERICAN MALLS INTERNATIONAL INC. to redevelop one of its three department stores into a high-end outlet mall featuring international brands. The project involves close to 108,000 square feet of retail space. AMI will lead, design, conceptualize and operate the store, which is scheduled to reopen in September. An affiliate of Washington, D.C.-based WESTERN DEVELOPMENT CORP., it formed a Tokyo subsidiary in the spring of 1996 to handle the negotiations necessary to set up superregional malls around Japan.

The first Marriott-flagged hotel is in business in Japan. MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. acquired what was the then-new Ramada Hotel Tokyo Kinschicho-Tobu in 1997 when it bought RENAISSANCE HOTEL GROUP. The property, which has 383 rooms, three restaurants, two lounges and a variety of other amenities, has been renamed the Tokyo Marriott Hotel Kinschicho-Tobu. Marriott operates five other hotels locally: the 192- room Renaissance Gifu Hotel, the 206-room Renaissance Tokyo Hotel Ginza Tobu, the 323-room Renaissance Sapporo Hotel, the 209-room Renaissance Naruto Resort and the 392-room Renaissance Okinawa Resort.

Just a year after CINEMARK INTERNATIONAL INC., one of the big U.S. operators of multiplex movie theaters, formed a company with movie producer and distributor SHOCHIKU CO., LTD. to help it get its multiplex theater business off the ground, the Japanese partner has called it quits. It cited differences in approach with the Sherman, Texas-headquartered company. Shochiku will buy out Cinemark's 26.6 percent interest in the joint venture.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Expanding its line of made-in-Japan products, the Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture subsidiary of big connector maker AMP INC. has added production of internally developed connectors for CompactFlash Association-compliant memory cards and Smart Cards used in a variety of electronic devices. The company plans to turn out annually 1 million CompactFlash card connectors and twice as many Smart Card connectors.

In a plan to leverage their complementary expertise in uninterruptible power supply systems, EXIDE ELECTRONICS GROUP, INC. and SANKEN ELECTRIC CO., LTD. tentatively have agreed to codevelop UPS products for desktop computers for worldwide sale. They also will collaborate on parts purchases. Raleigh, North Carolina-based Exide is strong in large-capacity UPS systems, while Sanken Electric, the leading Japanese UPS maker, has an extensive lineup of smaller products. Two other aspects of their pending tie-up involve OEM sales by Sanken Electric of Exide-built UPS systems and the supply of Sanken Electric-manufac-tured semiconductors to its American partner. UPS systems are used primarily to prevent the shutdown of computer networks in the event of a power failure.

GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. has reappointed NIHON GENERAL APPLIANCE CO., LTD. as the exclusive distributor of its refrigerators, washing machines, dryers and other appliances. The Tokyo company had this job from 1984 until the spring of 1991 when GE formed a since-restructured company with TOSHIBA CORP. to import and sell large appliances. Nihon General Appliance is forecasting sales of $7.6 million in the year through April 1999.

The first television sets incorporating the G-Guide interactive program guide from GEMSTAR INTERNATIONAL GROUP LTD. are available in Japan. HITACHI, LTD. is the originator, although it now is incorporating G-Guide in only one of its models. Other consumer electronics makers have expressed interest, however, and Hitachi plans to expand the models with G-Guide capability. Content for supporting G-Guide is supplied by TOKYO NEWS CO., LTD., the local publisher of TV Guide. In the Tokyo area, TOKYO BROADCASTING SYSTEM, INC. transmits the information. Pasadena, California-based Gemstar is the developer of VCR Plus+.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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In a move to expand its Japanese business, insurance giant AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP, INC. is studying the possibility of taking over AOBA LIFE INSURANCE CO. Forty-three members of the Life Insurance Association of Japan formed that company in June 1997 to service policies sold by NISSAN MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE CO. before it failed in April of last year. Aoba Life had assets of $16.2 billion and 455 employees when it began operations in October. It only collects premiums and pays claims; no policies are sold. The life insurance trade association has given AIG permission to examine Aoba Life's books. At the same time, it hired MORGAN STANLEY DEAN WITTER & CO. to help calculate an appropriate sales price for Aoba Life. New York City-based AIG has a long-standing presence in Japan through AIU INSURANCE CO., AMERICAN HOME ASSURANCE CO. and AMERICAN LIFE INSURANCE CO., but it has failed to make much headway in the mainstream markets of life insurance and nonlife insurance.

UNUM CORP. has enlisted two heavyweights to sell its long-term disability policies and related products. Through an affiliate, CHIYODA MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE CO. is offering the Portland, Maine company's long-term disability policies to corporate buyers of its life insurance policies. Meanwhile, Unum coverage that guarantees five years of mortgage payments if the policyholder becomes unable to make the payments for any reason is available through the nationwide branches of DAI-ICHI KANGYO BANK, LTD. Since 1994, wholly owned UNUM JAPAN ACCIDENT INSURANCE CO. has sold long-term disability policies through its own agents and smaller Japanese property and casualty insurers, but it, too, has found the going tough, even though local nonlife companies do not have a comparable product.

American firms are starting to take advantage of the end last December of Japan's ban on reinsurance arrangements. For instance, REINSURANCE GROUP OF AMERICA INC. has a deal with DAIHYAKU MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE CO. Under it, the St. Louis company will guarantee the payment of the equivalent of $38.6 billion worth of whole life and term life insurance policies sold by the midsize insurer between 1989 or 1990 and 1997 in return for part of the future premiums on these contracts. Daihyaku Mutual Life benefits by reducing its potential liabilities and also because RCA will make an up-front payment to it of $75.8 million.

As many as 10 of the investment management firms under UNITED ASSET MANAGEMENT CORP.'s umbrella will help TOKIO MARINE & FIRE INSURANCE CO., LTD. develop an array of investment trusts (mutual funds) for sale to Japanese investors beginning in the fall. The funds will consist mainly of non-Japanese assets and will include global equity, global tactical allocation and U.S. equity portfolios. Japan's top nonlife insurer also will offer equity and fixed-income investment trust portfolios managed in- house. Both groups of products will be marketed through a variety of distribution channels, including Tokio Marine's own agents, direct sales and brokerage houses. Boston-based UAM's operating firms managed more than $213 billion worth of assets for clients, primarily institutions, as of March 31, 1998.

Investors interested in buying these or other mutual funds have a new source of investment information available. MORNINGSTAR, INC., the provider of data on mutual funds, U.S. and international equities, closed- end funds and variable annuities, formed a company with SOFTBANK CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 26). The joint venture, in which the Chicago-based firm has a 60 percent interest, initially is redistributing existing Morningstar print and software investment information products. However, it plans to produce a line of Japan-tailored products for the professional financial community as well as individual investors.

The Tokyo office of STANDARD & POOR'S CORP. is offering a credit-rating evaluation service. Banks, brokers, insurers, manufacturers and other companies can consult S&P staff on the strategic moves they are planning, such as mergers, debt restructuring and share repurchases, and receive a confidential assessment of the implications of the proposed action for the firm's credit rating.

Although the details still need to be finalized, FUJI BANK, LTD. will provide securities custodial services in Japan for CHASE MANHATTAN CORP., while the New York City bank will do the same overseas for the Japanese bank. The prospective partners apparently decided that they could cut costs by tying up. Fuji Bank recently became the top custodial agent in Japan (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 15).

With the help of U.S. companies, financial deals in Japan are becoming increasingly sophisticated. As a case in point, CREDIT SUISSE FIRST BOSTON CORP. securitized the future revenue stream from tenants renting office space in YAMATO MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE CO.'s headquarters building in a prime location in central Tokyo. The investment bank then sold all the rights to receive part of the rental income to GOLDMAN, SACHS & CO. for a reported $454.6 million. It is expected to earn an annual return of 5 percent since the Yamato Mutual Life building is fully leased, with companies renting 80 percent of the floor space and the life insurer occupying the rest. The proceeds from the deal enabled Yamato Mutual Life to write off all of its bad loans.

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Early this fall, JC PENNEY CO., INC. and DEODEO CORP. (formerly Daiichi Corp.) plan to open a second JC Penny Home Collections store, this one in Tokyo. An in-store shop was opened in the major appliance retailer's main Hiroshima location in August 1996. The partners originally planned to have more home furnishings stores in operation by now, but they discovered that their initial product selection was not well-matched to buyers' interests. Consequently, they have spent the last two years refining their marketing strategy. If all goes according to plan, five more JC Penney Home Collections stores could be open by next March.

Seeing what it believes is a promising casual apparel market in Japan, GAP INC. plans to open 14 Gap or combination Gap/GapKids stores this year, double 1997's number, and 20 new outlets a year beginning in 1999. Three of the 14 scheduled for 1998 already are in business (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 343, April 1998, p. 15). Another outlet in Tokyo is expected to open in October, this one with a floor space of 17,600 square feet, and an equally big store will open its doors in Osaka in November. By mid-March 1999, Nagoya also will have another Gap store.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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To better serve its automotive and other industrial customers, BINKS SAMES CORP., a manufacturer of spray finishing and coating application equipment, has opened a technical sales center in Toda, Saitama prefecture. The facility outside Tokyo offers a complete range of testing capabilities in both liquid and powder applications. It also serves as the Franklin Park, Illinois company's base of operations in Japan, housing its sales force and repair facilities as well as providing warehouse space.

Building on a 10-year-plus business relationship in the United States, CAMPBELL GROUP's Campbell Hausfeld unit and ANEST IWATA CORP. have formed a company in Yokohama to market the Harrison, Ohio firm's air compressors, air tools, airless paint sprayers, pressure washers, welders and accessories to both contractors and homeowners. The American company owns a third of ANEST IWATA CAMPBELL K.K., the name under which the products will be marketed through home centers, hardware stores, rental shops, tool and equipment stores and other outlets. The joint venture, which currently has distribution facilities in Tokyo and in Oyama, Tochigi prefecture, is projecting first-year sales of $2.3 million and 2000 revenues of $7.6 million. Campbell and Anest Iwata, which is a major maker of compressors as well, are partners in POWEREX-IWATA AIR TECHNOLOGY, INC., also located in Harrison, Ohio. That company specializes in commercial-grade clean air systems for hospitals, dentist offices and similar settings.

OUTBOARD MARINE CORP. has agreed to license its proprietary FICHT fuel- injection technology to KAWASAKI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. for use in its personal water craft. The Waukegan, Illinois company's technology was designed specifically for use in two-stroke engines, the source of power for KHI's products. OMC claims that its FICHT fuel-injection system provides improved fuel economy, quicker starts, greatly reduced smoke, improved throttle response and up to 80 percent fewer hydrocarbon exhaust emissions than carbureted engines. Selected Johnson and Evinrude outboard engines sold in Japan for the past year have incorporated the FICHT technology.

Japan's top maker of taps, dies, end mills and other precision cutting tools has acquired the rights to manufacture Walled Lake, Michigan-based T.C. TAPSAVER INC.'s NibTap. With this technology, OSG CORP. of Aichi prefecture has developed a new line of taps measuring between 4 millimeters and 28 mm in diameter.

A technology tie-up between PARKSON CORP. of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a manufacturer of water and wastewater treatment equipment, and TSUKISHIMA KIKAI CO., LTD., which is in the same general business, has yielded a system for treating wastewater that uses membrane aeration. The Tokyo-based partner has started sales of the equipment. It is touting the energy efficiency of this treatment method compared with other technologies. The electricity savings is said to be 40 percent.

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Fun Colors by Kodak, a Japan-only disposable camera, is on the market from EASTMAN KODAK CO.'s subsidiary. The camera comes in five colors. It uses 800-speed Kodak Gold film.

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Through its local unit, MTS SYSTEMS CORP. delivered testing equipment to MAZDA MOTOR CORP. to support the Mazda Digital Innovation Project. The $7.6 million contract included the Model 329 Multi-Axial Road Simulator, which, depending on the configuration, can be used for whole vehicle testing using rough road surfaces or for suspension testing. Via controller options, the Model 329 integrates with the Series 323 Multi-Axis Simulation Table. It is used for noise and vibration testing of components as well as durability testing. The Eden Prairie, Minnesota manufacturer also shipped to Mazda the Model 833 for fatigue and characterization testing of elastomers and components. Mazda joins a number of other Japanese automotive makers that have turn to MTS to expedite time to market for new vehicles.

The world leader in machine vision systems, COGNEX CORP., will ship more than $5 million worth of equipment to NIKON CORP. over the next two years for integration into a new generation of wafer steppers used in the semiconductor production process. The Natick, Massachusetts company's 4000 Series machine vision systems will ensure that wafers are positioned to submicron accuracy so that the integrated circuit patterns are transferred to the correct location. This precision will allow chip manufacturers to shrink wafer geometries, thereby yielding more and faster circuits from each wafer. Nikon is the top supplier of wafer steppers to the IC industry.

A Japanese company described only as a major manufacturer of data storage magnetic heads has bought a production dielectric ion-beam deposition system from COMMONWEALTH SCIENTIFIC CORP. The Alexandria, Virginia supplier's Millenion multimodule cluster tool deposits custom dielectric materials for improved gap dimensions on low-flying heads. The system incorporates CSC's inductively coupled radio-frequency ion sources, self-aligning ion optics and fully integrated software automation.

With the growing acceptance of Fibre Channel technology in Japan, XYRATEX expects to find a ready market for its Fibre Channel Protocol Analyzer Plus. The PA+ consists of a full-sized PCI card, two electrical interfaces and Windows 95-based XyraVIEW Pro software. It helps developers and integrators of Fibre Channel storage subsystems and peripheral devices design, test and debug products and ensure the interoperability of system components. NISSHO ELECTRONICS CORP. serves as the San Jose, California company's exclusive distributor.

In a deal that could be worth more than $42 million to MOLECULAR BIOSYSTEMS INC., the San Diego, California company signed an exclusive licensing agreement with CHUGAI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. for the development and sale of two ultrasound contrast agents in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. FS069 is the only commercially available perfluorocarbon-based cardiac ultrasound contrast imaging agent, while ORALEX is an oral ultrasound agent designed to distend the stomach and to displace gases so that doctors can gain a better view of the upper gastrointestinal anatomy. Under the arrangement, Chugai Pharmaceutical will pay up front a $14 million licensing fee. It also will buy 3.7 percent of MBI's stock for $8.3 million. In addition, the big Japanese drug company will make milestone payments of up to $20 million and pay royalties on sales.

The end of the exclusive distribution relationship between HEWLETT- PACKARD JAPAN LTD. and NEC CORP.'s medical systems affiliate on the ImagePoint multispecialty ultrasound system allowed GE-YOKOGAWA MEDICAL SYSTEMS, LTD. to line up the electronics giant and its subsidiary to market ultrasonic diagnostic systems built by GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. The four LOGIQ Series machines and the RTfino system are being distributed nationally through 53 NEC MEDICAL SYSTEMS, LTD. channels. It is projecting annual sales of $7.6 million.

An alternative to invasive pulmonary artery catheterization procedures should be available soon in Japan. The product is the BioZ System from CARDIODYNAMICS INTERNATIONAL CORP. It uses thoracic electric bioimpedance technology to obtain data on cardiac output. The San Diego, California firm claims that the BioZ System can dramatically reduce hospital stays and postoperative complications while enabling faster diagnoses, more effective treatments and reduced labor costs. Tokyo- based distributor B.C.S. SYSTEMS, INC. has applied to the Ministry of Health and Welfare for marketing approval.

Clinical trials have started on AMERICAN BIOMED, INC.'s OmniCath atherectomy catheter, which is designed to remove atherosclerotic plaque from obstructed blood vessels throughout the body. Tokyo-based MEDICAL LEADERS LTD. has joined K'S PROJECT as a distributor of the Woodlands, Texas firm's product (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 17). .....Clinical evaluations also are underway on IRVINE BIOMEDICAL, INC.'s Super 4 cardiac ablation system. Designed for the treatment of atrial arrhythmias, including atrial flutter, and atrial fibrillation, the Irvine, California company's system consists of a 150- watt high-output ablation generator and a multielectrode ablation catheter. Ablative therapy can be delivered simultaneously or sequentially from four separate electrodes on the Super 4 catheter.

MHW has cleared for marketing EXOGEN, INC.'s second-generation Sonic Accelerated Fracture Healing System. Like its predecessor, the SAFHS Model 2000 is a low-intensity, pulsed ultrasound device that speeds the healing of fresh bone fractures. However, it is smaller, portable and more cost-effective than the original SAFHS. TEIJIN LTD. is the Piscataway, New Jersey company's marketing partner.

STIRUS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INC. tentatively has agreed to make Aichi prefecture-based YUTAKA ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY CO., LTD. the exclusive distributor of the STIRUS II second-generation hypodermic needle incinerator in Japan as well as in Laos and Sri Lanka. The Palm Beach, Florida firm has worldwide rights to market the French-manu- factured microprocessor-controlled, single-process hypodermic needle sterilizer. It also develops and markets a complementary line of products designed to prevent blood exposure for medical personnel.

Dental practices in Japan have a low-cost source of supply of brand-name equipment and consumables, thanks to an agreement between DARBY DENTAL LAB SUPPLY CO. INC. and ALPHA MEDICAL CO., LTD. A cross section of the Rockville Centre, New York discount mail-order supply house's 40,000-plus products is available through the Yokohama company, which is in the same business. Alpha Medical expects to deliver orders from Darby Dental within six days of their placement. It handles all import- related procedures. Sales are forecast at $2.3 million in three years.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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System-on-a-chip supplier LSI LOGIC CORP. has earmarked more than $757.8 million to add a third wafer fabrication facility at its production complex in Tsukuba, Ibaraki prefecture. Work on the front end will begin in 1999. At capacity operation, it is designed to turn out 20,000 200- millimeter (8-inch) wafers a month with line geometries as narrow as 0.19 micron. Key to this capability is the use of cutting-edge argon- fluorine excimer wafer steppers. The chips will go into digital appliances. Milpitas, California-headquartered LSI's NIHON SEMICONDUCTOR INC. operation, a joint venture with KAWASAKI STEEL CORP., has produced wafers since 1987.

Come next January, industry sources say, TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC.'s subsidiary will launch volume production of a digital signal processor chip for its advanced multimedia display processor for next-generation applications. This product combines the high-performance DSP with four microprocessors. The part converts images into digital signals at a rate of nearly 5.8 billion operations per second, roughly 10 times more than standard microprocessors. Output of the DSP is projected at 3 million units in 2000. .....Meanwhile, TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC.'s local unit will sample in the second half of this year a floating-point DSP that provides up to 10 times the performance of current-generation counterparts operating at 1 billion floating-point operations per second at 167 MHz. Both pin- and code-compatible with TI's fixed-point TMS320C62x DSP, the new TMS3206C6701 will allow manufacturers to reduce the system chip count from as many as 10 DSPs to just a single 'C6701. The part will be sample-priced at $379.

Japanese computer manufacturers wasted no time announcing new servers and workstations built around INTEL CORP.'s just released 350-MHz Pentium II and 400-MHz Pentium II microprocessors, which bring advanced 3D image processing capabilities to these Windows NT machines. Builders of notebook computers were equally fast to introduce products incorporating new mobile Pentium II processors operating at clock speeds of 233 MHz or 266 MHz. In quantities of 1,000 units, Intel's subsidiary has priced the slower engine for portables at $460; the other costs $685.

System-on-a-chip products are the new design focus of OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD. To help the company make the transition to what it calls the Silicon Platform Architecture, electronic design automation expert CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC. will provide consulting services and EDA tool support. The main focus of the partnership is the development, sharing and reuse of intellectual property blocks for SOC designs so that Oki Electric can deliver advanced chips tailored to meet a particular customer's needs in a short amount of time.

LSI LOGIC CORP. has two more design wins to its credit. SONY CORP.'s two second-generation DVD (digital video disk) video players incorporate a DVD decoding engine that integrates all key DVD player functions into a single device. The L64020 chip includes a MPEG-2 audio/video decoder, plus Dolby Digital and Linear PCM audio decoders and subpicture units. Meanwhile, CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD. is using LSI's digital-still-camera- on-a chip solution, the DCAM-101, in its new QV-5000SX digital camera, which has a resolution of 1.3 million pixels.

The first single-chip DVD drive solution is sampling at $22 per part in quantities of 10,000. The highly integrated, mixed-signal CR3700 DVD Drive Manager is a product of Fremont, California-based CIRRUS LOGIC, INC. The part delivers the functionality currently performed by several chips. It also provides a direct interface to MPEG-2 audio and video decoders for DVD players. Volume production of the CR3700 is scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

Users of notebook computers that have a built-in CD-ROM drive will be able to listen to CDs without plugging their machine in if the motherboard is equipped with the Audio DJ Chip from O2 MICRO CORP. The Santa Clara, California semiconductor start-up has tapped KANEMATSU SEMICONDUCTOR CORP. and TEKSEL CO., LTD. to market the IC. Sales of the $5.00 or so part are scheduled to start in July.

IGS TECHNOLOGIES, INC. of Santa Clara, California and SHARP CORP. have codeveloped a standardized, reusable design block for graphics controllers used in liquid crystal display panels. The IP Core is said to cut in half the development time for graphics controllers. In July, the Japanese partner will begin to sample a chip with the embedded IP Core. The controller accelerates graphics processing while lowering power consumption. Sharp plans to use the IP Core to promote its ASIC (application-specific IC) business.

A pair of new power controllers is on the market from NATIONAL SEMICONDUCTOR CORP.'s subsidiary. The LM2630, which costs $3.00 apiece in units of 500 parts, provides all the active functions for step-down switching converters. The other part, the LM2635 high-speed synchronous step-down power controller, is fully compliant with INTEL CORP.'s latest voltage regulator module DC-DC converter specifications. It is priced around $1.50 per part when 1,000 are purchased.

HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. is touting the power-saving features of its parent's HSDL-2300 Infrared Data Association-compliant infrared transceiver, which is designed for portable equipment data communications applications. The reduced power consumption is the result of the use of adjustable optical-power management, a first for a HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. transceiver. The part also is extremely compact. HP Japan has priced the HSDL-2300 at $5.70. It expects to sell 10 million units a year.

The world leader in ion implanters, VARIAN ASSOCIATES, INC., is refining its Japan strategy 10 months after setting up a wholly owned subsidiary in the wake of the demise of its longtime manufacturing and marketing relationship with TOKYO ELECTRON LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 333, June 1997, p. 15). The local operation of the Palo Alto, California manufacturer is switching to direct marketing of both ion implanters, in which it controls about 60 percent of the world market, and sputtering equipment. It also plans to open two more service facilities within 1998. Equally important, Varian will spend roughly $15.2 million to build a R&D facility somewhere in Kanagawa prefecture. Scheduled to be ready by September 1999, the center will focus on ion implanters for 300-mm (12-inch) wafer processes.

In an unusual arrangement, LAM RESEARCH CORP., which ranks among the world's largest manufacturers of semiconductor production equipment, has outsourced production of a new dry etch system to YOKOGAWA ELECTRIC CORP. Shipments of the Alliance system to Japanese chip producers will start in the second half of this year. The Fremont, California company's subsidiary will handle marketing. The etcher will be exported in the future, although no timetable has been decided. YEC expects to build 30 or so Alliance systems a year.

Rapid thermal processing equipment supplier AG ASSOCIATES, INC. is in the process of filling follow-on orders for multiple Heatpulse 8800 systems totaling $2.5 million from a major but unnamed Japanese semiconductor maker. The RTP equipment will be used for various annealing and salicidation applications in volume production of DRAM and logic devices using 0.35-micron and 0.25-micron design processes. The San Jose, California company credited the new contract to the superior performance, high throughput rates and low cost of ownership of Heatpulse 8800 systems. It also said that the strong customer support capabilities of distributor CANON SALES CO., INC. were instrumental.

Start-up CUTEK RESEARCH, INC. has tapped KANEMATSU SEMICONDUCTOR CORP. to market its equipment for electrochemical deposition of copper on IC wafers. A prototype system will be available in June. The San Jose, California company's technology can be used with 200-mm (8-inch) and 300-mm (12-inch) wafers that have line geometries down to 0.25 micron. Given the technical challenges of packing more chips on a wafer, Kanematsu Semiconductor expects strong industry demand for CuTek's product.

As part of its worldwide product development strategy for semiconductor test equipment, SCHLUMBERGER LTD.'s Automated Test Equipment unit established a technology center at the Sagamihara, Kanagawa prefecture facility of its subsidiary. The new operation's mandate is to develop high- speed but cost-effective systems for testing next-generation devices by working closely with Japanese semiconductor manufacturers as well as with Schlumberger ATE engineers around the world. A team of engineers already has been hired to staff the development center.

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YAHOO! INC. has joined DENTSU INC. and SHARP CORP. in backing CYBERMAP JAPAN CORP., a digital topographic information search service founded by TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD. and NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. Cybermap searches for companies or stores, then displays their location on an interactive Web map. Yahoo!'s 11.1 percent stake in Cybermap makes it a junior partner to Toppan Printing (51.1 percent), NTT (17.8 percent) and Dentsu (13.3 percent) but ahead of Sharp (6.7 percent).

Following the successful beta test of a Japanese version of its Internet search service, LYCOS, INC. has teamed with SUMITOMO CORP. and INTERNET INITIATIVE JAPAN INC. to build a full-scale, localized Internet portal. The trio also formed a joint venture in which the Waltham, Massachusetts firm has a 40 percent stake versus a 50 percent share for the trader and a 10 percent interest for Japan's top Internet service provider. The Lycos Japan site offers Internet search and navigation tools as well as feeds from news, sports, financial and other information services. Through advertising on the site and commissions, the new operation, which expects to have a staff of 30 by the end of 1998, hopes to have revenues of $3 million in the first year and $30.3 million in FY 2000.

Tokyo-based CORPORATE SOFTWARE LTD. K.K., a company formed at the end of 1994 by STREAM INTERNATIONAL INC. (40 percent) and FUJITSU, LTD. (60 percent) to provide telephone technical support, is bringing the Canton, Massachusetts partner's Mail Manager to Japan. This system lets companies respond automatically via electronic mail to technical support questions, tailoring answers to specific users, programs and the questions asked. Corporate Software will localize Mail Manager with common Japanese software products in mind. Stream International offers technical support via the Internet from its headquarters and eight call centers in the United States and Europe.

In an adaptation to the Internet Age, UNITED PARCEL SERVICE OF AMERICA INC. has begun offering an electronic document delivery service in Japan through its Web site. Not only are electronic documents double-encoded for security, but senders receive a confirmation when the electronic goods are delivered. UPS launched the service in the United States in March. .....Targeting a slightly different customer, E-PARCEL, LLC and TOYOTA TSUSHO CORP. have launched a secure Internet-based electronic data delivery service designed especially for large file transfers. Using the Newton, Massachusetts firm's e-Parcel Digital Delivery Service as a model, the two plan to charge as little as $2.25 to deliver 10 megabytes of data and $29.50 to send a 650-MB chunk of information. Trader Toyota Tsusho expects the new service to generate revenues of $3.4 million in the first year and $7.6 million within three years. e-Parcel is affiliated with MITSUBISHI ELECTRONIC AMERICA, INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 339, December 1997, p. 18).

Presaging much wider use of the Internet, SPYGLASS INC. of Naperville, Illinois has rolled out a localized version of its Spyglass Device Mosaic embedded Web browser. With its small memory footprint (just 400 kilobytes), full support for basic Internet standards and its extendibility to include Java and Secure Socket Layer, distributor INTERCOM CO., LTD. is targeting Device Mosaic 3.0/J at a wide range of non-PC applications. .....A showcase for such an application is NEC CORP.'s choice of SPYGLASS INC.'s Spyglass Device Mosaic 3.0/J as the kernel for its new line of NETJACS industrial network computers. NETJACS is a new generation of factory- floor control panels that will use the embedded browser to display real- time manufacturing information to workers, replacing higher-cost, proprietary factory automation solutions.

LIVE PICTURE CORP.'s subsidiary is demonstrating that a picture is worth a thousand words. The San Francisco firm's Reality Studio immersive Web site construction kit lets Web surfers zoom into Web site images, explore all sides of virtual rooms, and "pick up" and rotate virtual objects and images. The $970 package includes PhotoVista for creating 360° images, Object Modeler to build 3D objects and movies, Image Server to deliver and manipulate high-resolution images quickly, Viewer to download and display Reality Studio content, and plug-ins for ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC.'s Photoshop. Live Picture's local unit also is selling for $740 the Image Server program. Its server-side rendering speeds up the delivery and the interactivity of high-resolution images, providing a "being there" experience. Target customers include on-line catalog, real estate and travel businesses as well as galleries and museums.

Making it possible for small businesses to create, deploy and manage an intranet out-of-the-box is the goal of Domino Intranet Starter Pack 2.0 from LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary. The $1,300 kit includes Domino server software, Lotus Notes 4.6 client, a choice of Web browsers, e-mail, fax server, group scheduling and calendaring, plus 12 ready-to-run business applications. Midsized companies are the main marketing focus.

North Carolina's HART SOFTWARE INC. has agreed to let a subsidiary of HITACHI, LTD. handle marketing of its HartSite intranet construction suite. HartSite 3.1, which starts at $10,600, combines three separate products: a Web page development tool, a server application development environment and an intranet server package. The Hitachi unit expects to release a localized version of HartSite 3.1 for Windows this summer and plans a Unix release in the fall.

A new electronic commerce suite from ORACLE CORP. is available through INTRANET SYSTEMS, INC. and CSK CORP. With Oracle Internet Commerce Server Release 1.1, virtual storefronts can be created easily that offer sophisticated promotions and personalized pages as well as easy integration with existing data and business systems to handle order entry, inventory, payment, taxes and shipping. Oracle Payment Server 1.0 adds secure electronic payment functions to new or existing Web-based applications. The server comes bundled with third-party packages to handle credit-card verification and authentication.

To buttress sales of its GENTRAN:Server electronic commerce/electronic data interchange package, the local unit of STERLING COMMERCE will open a software support center in Osaka and seek additional value-added reseller partners. The Dallas firm now is working with KAWATETSU SYSTEMS CO., LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 337, October 1997, p. 19).

Hoping to capitalize on the increasingly sophisticated needs of Japanese customers, ADVANCED COMPUTER COMMUNICATIONS INC. is offering communications network service providers its $7,600 Virtual Port Service Manager. These operators can easily partition and lease their networks using VPSM, allowing Internet service providers to set up virtual private networks and other Internet services. The Tokyo operation of NEWBRIDGE NETWORKS LTD. is handling local sales of the Santa Barbara, California firm's product.

SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary has localized the JavaBeans assembly environment, Java Studio, to help the language penetrate the corporate software market. Java Studio, which costs about $125 for a single-user license, comes with a basic library of JavaBeans for creating multimedia, information access and information visualization applications within an intuitive graphical user interface. .....A similar product from the local operation of LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP., eSuite DevPack, lets IT managers quickly deliver and deploy strategic applications on their intranets. eSuite DevPack's prebuilt, pretested, cross-platform applets can be "snapped" together into applications. The 100% Pure Java programs are easily modified to meet changing or growing needs. A single-server eSuite DevPack license costs $1,900.

Meanwhile, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Java will be the programming language of choice for SONY CORP.'s next generation of digital audio- visual equipment. Sony initially will embed PersonalJava into its digital cable television equipment to make the products Web-savvy. Future uses include "smart" televisions and other home electronics devices.

Continuing a decade of successful ties, PHOENIX TECHNOLOGIES LTD. has renewed its technology licensing pact with MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. The San Jose, California firm is a leading supplier of basic operating and applications software for IBM-compatible PCs. Under the new agreement, MEI has access to Phoenix Technologies' line of mobile computing software, including NoteBIOS, ACPI, PowerPanel, NoteDock, Pen, MultiKey, CardManager and Card Executive 2.0 for NT. It will embed the software in its full line of notebook, business and home computer products.

California's XSCALE INC. and LTECH CO., LTD. of Yokohama have formed a 52 percent/48 percent joint venture to provide PC software/hardware compatibility testing. With an initial staff of 10 and the American firm's know-how, the new operation hopes to generate revenues of $1.5 million its first year and $7.6 million over three years.


Oak Brook, Illinois-based SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEMS, INC. has licensed MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. to port its C/C++ software debugger, SingleStep, to MEC's M32R microprocessor family. The open development and real-time debugger works closely with third-party compilers to speed up the software writing process.

Japanese programmers in Java, Visual C++ and Visual Basic will appreciate COMPUWARE CORP.'s TrueTime automatic performance and analysis tool. Developed by what now is the Farmington Hills, Michigan firm's NuMega Lab (formerly NuMega Technologies, Inc. of Nashua, New Hampshire), TrueTime locates performance bottlenecks in code, third- party components, just-in-time compiled code, operating systems or virtual machines. NICHIMEN DATA SYSTEMS CORP. is handling local sales duties for TrueTime, with versions ranging in prices from $970 to $2,200.

Together with its subsidiary, HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. is working with MITSUI & CO., LTD. to promote the OpenView series of network management solutions. HP hopes to leverage the trader's sales network for Windows NT products. Mitsui will set up an OpenView Center in July staffed by 20 people, including six from HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. It also will market OpenView directly to major corporate accounts while providing technical and marketing support for the product to its distributors.

Software from LEVEL 8 SYSTEMS, INC. of New York City extends the functionality of MICROSOFT CORP.'s Message Queue Server to non-Windows platforms. FalconMQ includes client software, application programming interfaces for Unix, AS/400, Digital VMS, CICS/MVS and UNISYS CORP.'s ClearPath HMP operating systems as well as FalconMQ Bridge software, which allows MSMQ to trade messages with platforms running INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s MQSeries software. Marketing partner MI-TSUI & CO., LTD. is in charge of localization.

Delivering video over a corporate network or intranet is a simple matter with CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s Cisco IP/TV software. The package includes live and prerecorded broadcast and streaming features as well as program scheduling, schedule distribution and client viewer modules. Cisco's subsidiary has priced a five-client license at $3,500.

On the market from IBM JAPAN LTD. is a new version of its PC-remote control software, Desktop On Call. Priced around $75, the product embraces the Java language as well as its OS/2 Warp roots. Network mangers can use Desktop On Call to download files and upload, install and configure software to remote PCs from any Internet/intranet connection.

Companies needing fail-safe servers can use VINCA CORP.'s Co- StandbyServer for NT to provide server mirroring. The program allows clustered servers to be fully active but provide fail-over security for each other. It also provides clustering in a primary or a secondary server architecture. LANCEPT K.K., which has distributed the Orem, Utah firm's StandbyServer 2.0 for nearly two years, will handle localization and marketing of Co-StandbyServer.

SECURE COMPUTING CORP. of San Jose, California has added MITSUI & CO., LTD. as a distributor of its family of network security products, including SafeWord, BorderWare, SideWinder, SmartFilter and Secure Computing FireWall for NT/Japanese version. The trader expects to sell in the first year $7.6 million worth of Secure Computing software, which costs as much as $15,500 for an unlimited FireWall license. .....Separately, MITSUI & CO., LTD. is targeting first-year sales of 500 copies each of two additional SECURE COMPUTING CORP. network security products. SecureZone starts at $9,200 for a 50-client license, while a five-server license for SecureWire costs $17,500.

A competing product, CiscoSecure access control server 2.2 for Unix, is available from CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary. The network security package, which is priced between $3,800 and $9,400, uses a central data base of user and group profiles to conduct authentication, authorization and accounting functions for very large numbers of users.

MICROSOFT CORP.'s subsidiary has rolled out a localized version of the latest SNA Server package. Version 4.0 ties together Internet, intranet and client-server technologies for AS/400 and mainframe systems. In addition to the usual gateway tasks of linking legacy minicomputer/mainframe resources to client-server networks, the SNA Server 4.0 leverages existing appli-cations with the most current object-oriented technologies. The street price is estimated at $2,000 for a five-client license.

To combat MICROSOFT CORP.'s BackOffice suite, IBM JAPAN LTD. has issued First Step Kit Plus for Lotus Domino. Besides Domino Server and Notes groupware, the $2,700 package includes INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s DB2 Universal Database Workgroup Edition v5.0 and other applications for Windows NT servers.

Another option in this market segment, ORACLE CORP.'s Oracle8 Workgroup Server r8.0.3, emphasizes its data base heritage. Beginning at $1,700 for a five-user license, the workgroup package provides powerful tools to tap legacy data bases and develop group-oriented business solutions.

Also going up against the MICROSOFT CORP. juggernaut is the team of LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary and JUSTSYSTEM CORP. The two will develop and market a search engine that links all information contained in Lotus' products. Justsystem's Ichitaro word processor is locked in a struggle with Microsoft's Word, just as Lotus faces a challenge from Microsoft's Windows NT family of products.

With the growing popularity of SAP AG's R/3 enterprise resource planning package, OBERON SOFTWARE, INC. of Cambridge, Massachusetts expects a ready market for its Prospero Enterprise Edition 2.0 application integration package. The totally new version of Prospero provides tools to turn existing business applications and new ones, like R/3, into "building blocks" that can be rearranged and combined into enterprise-level solutions. Oberon Software's sales agent and parent, TOYO INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD., helped localize the first version of Prospero, which went on sale in January 1997, and will provide similar support for the new release.

Targeting companies that rely on stable data bases to support large transaction volumes and data warehousing needs, ORACLE CORP.'s Oracle8 Enterprise Edition 8.0.4 provides a solid base for serving highly distributed and dynamic Web applications to users. Oracle's subsidiary has priced the Windows NT version at $12,100 and up and the Unix edition from $24,200.

For firms needing to link a wide range of data types, including Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange, there is the DataDirect OLE DB technology from INTERSOLV, INC. of Rockville, Maryland. RIKEI CORP. will add the data base middleware to its software product line, including Connect ODBC Drivers, SequelLink, Connect OLE DB and DataDirect Reflector. Rikei expects the standards-based, distributed data base products to appeal to a wide range of customers.


PARAMETRIC TECHNOLOGY CORP.'s new Windchill family of enterprise product information management modules, scheduled for a June release in Japan, combines a unified approach to information management with a Web-centric architecture. Windchill Foundation provides a framework to handle a variety of corporate information management problems. Windchill Document Manager handles vaulting, workflow and life-cycle management tasks. Windchill Configuration Manager addresses product structures, alternate views and change management. And Windchill Information Modeler develops conceptual views of a company's information infrastructure.

To expand its presence both locally and elsewhere, San Jose, California- based CLARIFY INC. has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with NEC CORP. Not only will they jointly distribute products in Japan and overseas, but the two will work to integrate their software offerings and provide comprehensive systems integration for enterprise solutions. NEC will contribute its Star Office groupware and its J Topic information search engine, while Clarify brings its call-center software expertise to the effort.

Through its subsidiary, ORACLE CORP. has fine-tuned its enterprise resource planning package, Oracle ApplicationR10, for the local market. The ERP package, which starts at $172,300 for a 20-use license, includes accounting, production management, supply-chain management and human resources modules. All of them are accessible to clients through any Java- compliant browser. Versions for Windows NT, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris and INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s RS/6000 AIX are available immediately.

Eager to meet the expected boom in demand for medical services as Japan's population ages, HEALTH DATA SCIENCES CORP. has signed up a SUMITOMO ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES, LTD. affiliate to distribute its HDA UltiCare health-care information system. The unit of Atlanta-based MEDAPHIS CORP. is touting UltiCare as an ideal way for medical caregivers to optimize delivery of services because it gives users direct access to real-time, integrated patient information.

With 30-plus local installations of its One World ERP package, J.D. EDWARDS & CO.'s subsidiary is hoping to expand its market share by setting up a customer service center with DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s local operation. The new organization will support installation of One World on DEC's Alpha servers. The two expect the move to add $15.2 million to $18.9 million to One World sales this year and $60.6 million over the next three. The Japanese-language version of One World was released in August 1997. .....Similarly, ERP provider BAAN CO. of Menlo Park, California opened a service center in Tokyo to encourage use of its package by Japan's automotive industry. The Automotive Solutions Center is Baan's fourth specialty support center in Asia; the three others are based in Hong Kong and target the electronics/electric, defense and heavy industry sectors.

Following up on the August 1997 sale of its Fac-toryCAD manufacturing plant layout and design software to DAIFUKU CO., LTD. of Osaka, ENGINEERING ANIMATION, INC. announced a contract with the Japanese manufacturer to develop smart object models tailored to Daifuku's integrated materials-handling equipment. The Ames, Iowa company will create an object model library of Daifuku equipment, letting Daifuku engineers focus their time on designing plant processes rather than making equipment illustrations.

To stay ahead of the competition, CNC SOFTWARE, INC. of Tolland, Connecticut has beefed up its best-selling Mastercam computer-aided design and manufacturing package by adding features not usually seen on PC-based CAD/CAM systems. Mastercam v7 includes several multisurface machining techniques, such as pencil tracing, remaining stock removal and steep/shallow scallop removal. It also has advanced 2D machining functions and can associate toolpath and object geometry, making pocketing, contouring and drilling operations more flexible and efficient. Mastercam is available locally through GENETEC CORP. of Tokyo and JBM CORP. of Osaka.

TRIMBLE NAVIGATION LTD. of Sunnyvale, California and JEK CO., LTD. have codeveloped an automatic surveying system utilizing Global Positioning System technology. A complete kit, which costs $79,500, includes four Trimble GPS transceivers, a PC and data-gathering and analysis software. It cuts surveying times to a fraction of the usual. Osaka-based JEK, which is in the survey and civil engineering business, sells Trimble's GPS systems on an OEM basis.

Japanese executives can spice up their presentations with ERDAS, INC.'s MapSheets mapping and geographic data program. Running under Windows 95/NT and DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s NT/Alpha operating systems, MapSheets offers more than a gigabyte of geographic and demographic data to easily create informative maps. The Atlanta firm's software is compatible with MICROSOFT CORP.'s Office and other OLE-compliant programs. Distribution of the $1,100 package is being handled by Tokyo- based PASCO CORP.

Voice-recognition software developed by CONVERSE TECHNOLOGY INC. of New York City and Yokohama-based ANIMO LTD. will be distributed by the Japanese firm's parent, FUJITSU, LTD. The $3,600 VoiceSync, which runs on Windows 95/NT machines, is 95 percent accurate after listening to a speaker for only 10 seconds and 99 percent accurate after 10 minutes. Fujitsu expects the booming electronic commerce market to generate sales of 2,000 units the first year and 100,000 units over three years.

To help loyal Macintosh owners survive in a Wintel world, CONNECTIX CORP. of San Mateo, California has brought out a localized version of its PC emulator software, Virtual PC 2.0. The latest release provides faster performance. It also handles programs written for Windows 3.x/95/NT, DOS and OS/2. SYSTEMSOFT CORP. and MEDIA VISION INC. are distributing the $300 or so utility.

A CAD package for the housing industry is available from the local arm of UNISYS CORP. Digid embodies Japanese housing codes and costs as little as $1,500 for a 2D system or as much as $9,100 for a suite that creates blueprints, calculates cost estimates and manages the construction process. Unisys is aiming for sales of 1,000 copies the first year and 10,000 over four.


To take full advantage of the Actua 2100 3D printer for CAD networks, 3D SYSTEMS CORP. has issued an update of its Allegro printer driver. Version 2.0 of the utility improves the printer's resolution by 300 percent and smooths its reproduction of downfacing surfaces by 50 percent. Moreover, the new driver cuts the time from CAD design to 3D model by 20 percent. INCS INC. of Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture is the Valencia, California firm's distributor.

VERTEL CORP. has signed up NIHON SOGO RESEARCH CO., LTD. to distribute its telecommunications management solutions. The Tokyo firm expects the ongoing deregulation of the communications market to boost sales of the Woodland, California company's products, which include modules for communications infrastructure management, network management and switching software.

To meet strong demand for its open standards-based server and microbrowser software for wireless communications, UNWIRED PLANET, INC. opened a wholly owned subsidiary in Tokyo. The Redwood City, California firm's UP.Link Platform allows wireless service operators to add new and enhanced services, such as Internet and intranet links. The local operation not only will target the Japanese market but will be responsible for the entire Western Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand.

In a first for the Japanese software industry, MICROSOFT CORP. has signed pacts with seven PC leasing companies allowing them to rent machines with Microsoft programs preinstalled. Windows NT and Microsoft Office are the most likely candidates for the leased PCs, with rental terms of one to six months.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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In a coup for CISCO SYSTEMS, INC., the world leader in networking equipment has recruited JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. as a member of the Cisco Powered Network. That affiliation means that the domestic long- distance carrier will provide ATM (asynchronous transfer mode), frame relay and Internet access services to business customers based mainly on Cisco equipment and software. The two will focus on using intelligent Internet Protocol and broadband networking technology to deliver enhanced connectivity and network-based applications. Japan Telecom, which operates a nationwide fiber-optic backbone network, is the first Cisco Powered Network member in Japan.

A cable TV company that plans to commercially launch a data-over-cable service in December will use the ComUNITY Access System from COM21, INC. for this business. The Milpitas, California company's cable modem system enables cable operators to provide high-speed, cost-effective Internet access to telecommuters, SOHO (small office/home office) customers and residential users. FUJIKURA LTD., a Com21 systems integrator, received the order from HEKKAI KATCH NETWORK, INC., which has close to 59,000 subscribers in Aichi prefecture. KOTO CABLE TELEVISION CO., LTD. and SUZUKA CABLE CO., LTD. are among the other CATV operators that are using Com21 equipment to provide data-over- cable services.

Market newcomer VERILINK CORP. has enlisted INS ENGINEERING CORP. as the exclusive distributor of its access products, which link corporate networks to the Internet and other wide area network services. The San Jose, California supplier's Access System 2000 will be the first product introduced. It provides data transmission in ATM, frame relay and Internet networks from a single platform. INS Engineering, which offers network systems integration and sales and support for networking hardware and software, was formed in 1985 by NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP., MITSUI & CO., LTD. and NEC CORP. FUJITSU, LTD. and HITACHI, LTD. subsequently invested in the company. Its clients include NTT and other big corporate accounts.

A new carrier-class universal access server is available from CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary. The AS5800 is designed specifically to meet the requirements of common carriers, inter-exchange carriers, large Internet service providers and other companies operating complex-dial points of presence. Priced from $35,700, the remote access system provides the high availability and the carrier-class management that big service providers require. It also allows them to offer services beyond Internet dial, including virtual private networks, multiple service levels, detailed billing and network gaming. In addition, the AS5800 is able to provide voice-over-IP and fax-over-IP.

The second generation of ADVANCED COMPUTER COMMUNICATIONS INC.'s Tigris carrier-class access server will be on the market in June through the local operation of NEWBRIDGE NETWORKS LTD. Like the initial offering, the new platform allows carriers and ISPs to add services by offering private dial-in access for corporate intranets and other remote access applications. However, at $13,600, the new Tigris model costs far less than its predecessor.

Building on an intellectual property licensing agreement announced last year (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 334, July 1997, p. 24), PACKET ENGINES INC. gave SUMITOMO ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES, LTD. the right to manufacture on an OEM basis its FDR Gigabit Ethernet hub and G-NIC Gigabit Ethernet network interface cards. These products are being marketed as the GigaStream Hub 12000 and the GigaStream Network Interface Card. The OEM relationship could be expanded to include other products, the Spokane, Washington company says. Under the initial arrangement, SEI is using Packet Engines' PE-GMAC Gigabit Ethernet media access controller and PE-MAC110 dual-speed 10/1000-megabit-per- second media access controller in its own development effort.

New products from BAY NETWORKS, INC.'s subsidiary include the BayStack 250 Series Autosense Hubs, which enable seamless migration from 10- Mbps to 100-Mbps connections via 10/100 autosensing on all ports. The three products, including a pair with 12 ports and one with 24 ports, are priced from $1,700 to $2,700. The Santa Clara, California company's affiliate also is marketing the BayStack Advanced Remote Node access router. The ARN design integrates the functions of multiple transmission devices into the chassis, thereby reducing the complexity of remote network management. Moreover, its four LAN interfaces offer flexible connectivity, while its two WAN adapter module slots provide options for integrating devices for primary and backup WAN connectivity. The pair of BayStack ARN models costs either $3,500 or $4,000.

CABLETRON SYSTEMS INC.'s marketing unit has introduced a line of switch routers, a relatively new technology that combines wire-speed performance with full-function routing features. According to the Rochester, New Hampshire company, that merger of capabilities makes it possible to simplify network designs without sacrificing performance, manageability or security. Cabletron acquired the products comprising the SmartSwitch Router family when it bought switch router pioneer YAGO SYSTEMS, INC.

For $26,400, the cost of CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s UBR7246 Universal Broadband Router, CATV operators can offer their subscribers new, differentiated services, including high-speed Internet access, streaming video, secure data services and VPNs. The product combines in one platform the functionality of Cisco's high-end 7200 router and a head-end cable data modem, thereby giving cable providers a cost-effective, scalable and feature-rich interface between their subscribers' cable modems and the backbone data network.

BAY NETWORKS, INC. expects to be among the first companies to market in Japan residential cable modems based on the Data-over-Cable Service Interface Specification. Managed by backers of the Multimedia Cable Network System, the standards-based DOCSIS is designed to ensure the wide-scale availability of low-cost, interoperable cable modems for delivering high-speed data services to homes and businesses. CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. and COM21, INC. are two of the MCNS partners. Cisco's UBR7246 is DOCSIS-compliant. The Bay Networks product will be on the market in September.

Network telephony has arrived in Japan. Lake Bluff, Illinois-based SPHERE COMMUNICATIONS INC., which is helping to pioneer this field, has named INNO MICRO CORP. and RIKEI CORP. as the exclusive distributors of Sphericall, a software-based "virtual" PBX (private branch exchange) with built-in computer-telephony features. Inno Micro localized the Windows NT application. A basic Sphericall configuration costs about $37,900. Between them, the two distributors hope to sell 100 units in the first year, targeting mainly small and midsized businesses looking for affordable, flexible phone systems.

As a result of a licensing agreement with TDK CORP., owners of MOTOROLA INC.'s data-enabled digital cellular telephones in Europe and in the United States will be able to use the handsets as data communications devices. TDK will develop PC Card products that are fully compatible with Motorola's proprietary GSM (general system for mobile communications) and PCS (personal communications services) handset data interface, which is found in the latest StarTAC, SlimLite and MicroTac phones. With the PC Card, users of laptops or PDAs can link the devices to a cellular phone to send and receive e-mail and faxes, browse the Web or access corporate networks.

State-of-the-art electronic retailing is coming to Japan, thanks to an agreement between QVC, INC. and MARUBENI CORP. The two jointly acquired a majority interest in MALL OF TV CORP., which operates a home shopping channel on PERFECTV CORP.'s digital satellite broadcasting service. West Chester, Pennsylvania-headquartered QVC, the world's leading cable retailer, and the trader will launch a 24-hour shopping channel for both satellite and cable TV subscribers, drawing on QVC's expertise. The COMCAST CORP. affiliate owns 19 percent of Mall of TV, which now reaches 3.6 million homes and has annual revenues of $7.6 million. Marubeni has a 45.1 percent stake in the company.

The competition has made its expertise available to a rival home shopping channel. HOME SHOPPING NETWORK, INC. of St. Petersburg, Florida provided help on inventory management, customer discounts and program scheduling to an affiliate of JUPITER PROGRAMMING CO., LTD. That company is equally owned by TELE-COMMUNICATIONS, INC. and SUMITOMO CORP. With this help, the Jupiter shopping channel hopes to triple sales in 1998 to $45.5 million.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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Although it manufactures in Japan, turbocharger maker GARRETT AUTOMOTIVE INC. like other American automotive parts suppliers, sees an in-country development center as one key to boosting business with local car and truck manufacturers. The company will set up such a facility in Tokyo, transferring to it the 30 or so technical specialists now working at its plant in Saitama prefecture. Within three years, the company hopes to have 50 people working at the development center.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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An Arizona consulting firm has developed nonferrous metal waste recycling technology for CHICHIBU ONODA CEMENT CORP., which plans to use it to build up its environmental business. In this process, ammonia and sulfuric acid are used to separate metals from burned ash in incinerators. Japan's top cement maker will sell the recovered scrap to nonferrous metals dealers and use the ash as a cement raw material.

Another high-performance composite building material developed by Mankato, Minnesota-based PHENIX BIOCOMPOSITES, INC. is available through distributor ECO SIGMA INTERNATIONAL CO., LTD. The BIOFIBER Wheat Composite board uses fiber left over from crop harvesting. The lightweight, durable and strong material has a smooth surface that is golden in color. It is suited for cabinets, door cores, wall panels, shelving and similar applications. Eco Sigma, headquartered in Yonezawa, Yamanashi prefecture, has renamed the product EcoBoard and priced a sheet measuring roughly 35 inches by 70 inches between $15.15 and $22.75, depending on the thickness.

Revamping its Japan marketing strategy, the PhotoCard division of Santa Barbara, California's U-SEAL-IT CO., INC. has tied up with G.R. ASSOCIATES, INC. to distribute its self-laminating, credit-card-size frame for photographs. The Tokyo firm, in turn, named GALLIA 21 CO., LTD. to market the $1.90 PhotoCard. They are projecting the sale of 1.6 million sheets.

Bellevue, Washington SONICARE INC. appointed MITSUI & CO., LTD. the exclusive distributor of its sonic toothbrush. The electric-operated Sonicare, priced at $150, combines high-speed brushing and sonic wave action to remove plaque bacteria from between teeth and below the gum line. Mitsui is projecting sales of 500,000 Sonicares over five years.

World Wrestling Federation action figures and related products from JAKKS PACIFIC INC. of Malibu, California are being marketed exclusively to retailers by TSUKUDA ORIGINAL CO., LTD., one of Japan's big toy distributors. The country's action figure market is said to be still relatively undeveloped but is expanding quickly.

Beginning in July, manufacturers and retailers of computers, printers, monitors and other peripherals will have a new source of monthly information on sales in Japan. INTELECT ASW L.L.C. of Port Washington, New York will compile data on sales as well as brand share and pricing from the point-of-sale records of major retailers, dealers and mail-order sellers. These reports will be consistent with those covering the information technology market in the United States and Europe. Intelect ASW is a joint venture of three leading marketing information providers: NPD GROUP, INC., GFK AG and AUDITS AND SURVEYS WORLDWIDE, INC.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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