Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 345, June 1998

Issue Index

American Companies in Japan


A variety of ONE-WRAP straps from VELCRO USA INC. is being sold by the Manchester, New Hampshire company's longtime marketing partner and licensee, KURARAY CO., LTD. Reusable, self-gripping ONE-WRAP straps are available for small appliances, personal care products, power tools and other small, corded products. Another line is designed to be used as self-gripping fiber-optic and cable control straps. They come in widths up to 12 inches and in virtually any length. Kuraray also is marketing for cord and cable control a ONE-WRAP back-to-back fastening system featuring a polyethylene hook laminated to a nylon loop.

A heat-insulating material developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and licensed to THERMA-COAT, INC. is being marketed by TAIYO P.U.S. CO., LTD. T.S. Temp Guard costs about $330 for a 5-gallon can. The Osaka distributor formed an association with roughly 45 members to promote T.S. Temp Guard and to develop new uses for it.

SUMITOMO 3M LTD. is selling heat-resistant, flexible tubing for filtering ashes from incinerators. Made of specially treated inorganic fibers, MINNESOTA MINING & MANUFACTURING CO.'s FM900 filtering bag can withstand temperatures as high as 480 degrees. Its predecessor was limited to temperatures below 250 degrees. The product, which reduces the cost of cooling flue gases from incinerators, is priced around $275 per square yard. Sumitomo 3M expects the FM900 to generate revenues of $740,700 in the first year on the market.

The company whose name is synonymous with whirlpool baths, JACUZZI INC. of Walnut Creek, California, has developed a product specifically for the Japanese market. Including installation, the Relaxation Bath Time whirlpool bath costs $3,700. It is available from Tokyo's NICHIEI INTEC CO., LTD., as is a $7,400 model that combines a whirlpool bath and a shower. Jacuzzi projects sales of the new product line at 1,000 units in 1998.

Renton, Washington-headquartered EAGLE HARDWARE & GARDEN, INC., which operates a chain of 30 home-improvement stores, is helping a counterpart move into the kitchen and bath design business. BETTER LIFE CO., LTD. plans to launch its first kitchen and bath design center in a new do-it-yourself store opening later this summer in Nara prefecture. The 8,900-square-foot in-store shop will stock American-made kitchen and bathroom products.

Two of the big names in home and corporate security services in Japan, SECOM CO., LTD. and HUCOM INC., are using a tie-up with the International Computer Security Association to move into the business of helping companies protect their computer networks against unauthorized access. That protection is seen as critical to the spread of electronic commerce. The pair will check the security safeguards firms have in place and investigate suspected instances of unauthorized access. Companies certified as having well-protected networks will be able to display the ICSA logo.

ACTLINK USA CORP., an environmental consulting firm based in Phoenix, Arizona, is bringing its expertise on recycling both industrial and home waste products to Japan. The company hopes to interest local governments and commercial recyclers in the construction of a reprocessing plant expected to cost between $22.2 million and $29.6 million to serve the requirements of a population of roughly 300,000. If it is successful in winning backers, Actlink will oversee construction of the facility as well as manage operations. The company plans to open a subsidiary in Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture in the spring of 1999.

The Project Management Institute, a nonprofit membership association for project managers located in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, has started a Japan chapter. PMI establishes project management standards, provides seminars and other educational programs, and certifies project management professionals. In November, the Tokyo organization will begin to offer a project management professional authorization certification program as a prelude to certifying people.

An exchange rate of ¥135=$1.00 was used in this report.

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