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

No. 346, July 1998

Issue Index

American Companies in Japan


By next spring, the technology will be in place to authorize access to automatic teller machines and home security systems by identifying a person by his or her facial features. Developer EYEMATIC INTERFACES INC. licensed exclusive Asian rights to its verification system to OMRON CORP. The Santa Monica, California firm's system takes less than a second to verify a person's identity by checking a data base. Moreover, it works whether the person is standing still or moving. Omron expects to launch sales next April. By 2001, it is looking for annual revenues of $71.4 million.

In an international launch, TEKTRONIX, INC. released its first digital phosphor oscilloscope. Designed to help engineers debug and verify the performance of their designs by dealing with the complex signal behavior of today's electronic products, DPOs display, store and analyze signals in real time. They use three dimensions of signal information in the analysis process: amplitude, time and the distribution of amplitude over time. Analog real-time oscilloscopes also display these three dimensions, but they cannot store or analyze them. While digital storage oscilloscopes can do that, they work only with amplitude and time information. Despite these drawbacks, ARTs and DSOs are priced in the same range as Tektronix's seven DPO models, which are equipped with up to 2 gigahertz of bandwidth on four channels. In Japan, pricing runs from $10,600 to $38,400. The Wilsonville, Oregon manufacturer expects SONY TEKTRONIX CORP. to sell 3,000 of the 10,000 units it hopes to sell worldwide on an annual basis.

Troubleshooting problems on LANs and wide area networks has gotten easier thanks to a pair of Series 900 expert protocol analyzers from DIGITECH INDUSTRIES INC. For greater ease of use, the Danbury, Connecticut manufacturer's exclusive distributor, IWATSU ELECTRIC CO., LTD., has localized the products so that the analysis appears in Japanese. A PC Card-type device for LANs costs $5,800, while a PC-integrated, portable model for both LANs and WANs lists for $17,100. Iwatsu Electric expects to sell a combined total of 500 Digitech Series 900 protocol analyzers a year.

The Model 8200 SMT (surface-mount technology) inspection system made by VIEW ENGINEERING, INC. is available from distributor SHINWA CORP. Through 3D laser inspection, the system identifies solder paste printing defects and component placement errors on printed circuit boards measuring up to 10 x 16 inches. While catching problems early in the SMT process reduces rework, scrap and field-failure costs, the Model 8200 is not inexpensive at $178,600. Shinwa is eyeing sales of three systems in the first year and 30 over three years. View Engineering is a Simi Valley, California subsidiary of GENERAL SCANNING INC.

Initial-year sales of $1.4 million are being projected for a benchtop thermal tester from TEMPTRONIC CORP. The model TPO4100A ThermoStream system provides controlled temperatures for the testing of components and devices at the tester site and/or on the PCB. The user-adjustable air-flow rate produces a temperature range from zero up to 225 degrees. HAKUTO CO., LTD., the Newton, Massachusetts company's distributor, has priced the system at $16,800.

B-TREE SYSTEMS INC. has named INNOTECH CORP. to distribute its Validor SC product and to oversee all sales and support activities. The Minnetonka, Minnesota company's system allows microprocessor, chipset, motherboard and PC manufacturers to test and verify the compatibility of their products with existing PC software, including operating systems, application programs and games. Innotech has priced Validor SC between $21,400 and $35,700.

Clinical studies have been completed of the transmyocardial revascularization procedure using the Heart Laser System from PLC SYSTEMS, INC. of Franklin, Massachusetts. This surgical process is designed for patients with chronic, severe coronary artery disease who have no other treatment alternatives. The company's exclusive distributor, the local subsidiary of IMATRON INC. of South San Francisco, California, managed and funded the clinical trials. It will apply shortly to the Ministry of Health and Welfare for marketing approval.

In the first such product approval, MHW has cleared for sale MATRITECH, INC.'s NMP22 test kit for monitoring as well as for testing people at high risk for bladder cancer. The test is based on the Newton, Massachusetts company's proprietary nuclear matrix protein technology, which correlates levels of NMPs in body fluids to the presence of cancer. KONICA CORP. is distributing the test.

Through a recently established subsidiary in Tokyo, COLLAGEN CORP. of Palo Alto, California has launched direct sales to physicians of its Zyderm and Zyplast injectable collagen implants for the treatment of wrinkles and scars. For the last 13 years, LEDERLE JAPAN LTD., a unit of AMERICAN CYANAMID CO., has handled sales of Collagen's aesthetic product line, building it into a $12-million-a-year business.

Mail-order sales of JOHNSON & JOHNSON's disposable contact lenses have started. Covered by the new service are one-week Acuvue, two-week Surevue and One-Day Acuvue. Customers can order up to a three-month supply at one time. Disposable lenses now represent about 30 percent of Japan's contact lens market. J&J is the dominant player in the disposable lens business with 70 percent of sales.

An exchange rate of ¥140=$1.00 was used in this report.

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