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No. 352, January 1999

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American Companies in Japan


FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

Year-old OPTIMUM QUALITY GRAINS, L.L.C., which uses biotechnology to develop value-added grains and oilseeds, will make a major push into the Japanese market in 1999. The Des Moines, Iowa joint venture between E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO., INC. and PIONEER HI-BRED INTERNATIONAL, INC. hopes that corn and soybeans produced in the United States with its technology eventually will capture 10 percent of the Japanese market for these commodities. DuPont's subsidiary already has applied to the Ministries of Health and Welfare and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for marketing approval for genetically engineered Optimum high oleic soybeans. Optimum Quality also plans to sell its Optimum high sucrose soybeans and Optimum high-protein soybeans in Japan along with its Optimum high oil corn, which has twice the oil of typical corn. ITOCHU CORP. is handling imports.

The National Nutritional Foods Association will use its just-established subsidiary to work with MHW to liberalize the import and sale of dietary supplements. The Newport Beach, California-based trade group, which represents suppliers of health foods, dietary supplements and natural- ingredient cosmetics as well as health food stores, hopes to enroll as local members the growing number of U.S. dietary supplement and health foods companies with a corporate presence in Japan.

Starting in February, CANANDAIGUA WINE CO.'s Inglenook red, white and rose wines will be available through an affiliate of TAKARA SHUZO CO., LTD. The Richmond, California vintner is shipping its product in 750-milliliter, 1.5-liter and 3-liter containers. A 750-ml bottle costs about $7.40. Canandaigua is the second American wine company that sake brewer Takara Shuzo represents.

As many as 76 TGI Friday's restaurants could be opened over the next 10 years as a result of a development agreement between TGI FRIDAY'S INC. and WATAMI FOOD SYSTEMS CO., LTD. The Dallas company, a subsidiary of CARLSON RESTAURANTS WORLDWIDE INC., and the operator of more than 100 Japanese-style restaurants formed a joint venture in which TGI Friday's is a minority partner (20 percent) to bring the Friday's version of American- style casual dining to Japan. The first Friday's could be open as soon as June in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

An exchange rate of ¥117=$1.00 was used in this report. aaaaaa

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