Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 350, November 1998

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American Companies in Japan


PRECISION AND MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

Two market newcomers have lined up GUNZE SANGYO, INC. to handle their products. From January 1999, it will distribute 10 different models of ACUMEN, INC.'s heart-rate monitors for fitness enthusiasts, or what the Sterling, Virginia company calls Performance Accelerators. The line of sports watches, pedometers and other consumer-oriented heart-rate monitors is priced between $115 and $290. The diversifying Tokyo-based textile trader also is distributing four types of Atlas-brand cohesive bandages developed by KIMBERLY-CLARK CORP. and distributed in the United States by OZYMANDIUS TRADE GROUP, INC. of Nashville, Tennessee. These latex-free, disposable, self-adhering wrap products, which cost between $3.30 and $6.60, hold dressings, splints or ice packs in place. Alternately, they provide uniform compression during exercise or keep skin clean and dry while allowing air to circulate. Gunze Sangyo is projecting combined sales of the two companies' products at $1.7 million in the first year but at $8.3 million in three years.

Mountain View, California-based ARCTURUS ENGINEERING, INC. — which shares credit for turning the laser capture microdissection procedure into a commercial laboratory instrument for the extraction of pure subsets of cells from tissue specimens and cytological smears — has given an OLYMPUS OPTICAL CO., LTD. marketing affiliate the right to distribute its LM-100 LCM System. Like the current-generation PixCell II LCM System, the LM-100 combines a standard laboratory microscope with a low-energy laser and a transfer film to provide a convenient, one-step, aim-and-shoot method of harvesting cells of interest. The main difference between the two systems is that the LM-100 has a slightly lower resolution. LCM technology can be applied to any disease process that is accessible through tissue sampling, such as premalignant cancer lesions, multiple sclerosis, arteriosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.

The slower-than-expected penetration of flat panel display technology into the desktop computer market and its impact on FPD production equipment orders is one of the reasons APPLIED KOMATSU TECHNOLOGY INC. gave for restructuring its operations. The equally owned partnership between APPLIED MATERIALS, INC. and KOMATSU LTD. will focus in the future on chemical vapor deposition equipment for FPD production, ending development and sales of physical vapor deposition and etch equipment for making FPDs. However, Kobe-based AKT will continue to support and service its installed base of PVD and etch equipment. The company also will lay off some employees and consolidate certain facilities to cope with the market downturn.

An exchange rate of ¥121=$1.00 was used in this report.
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