Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 352, January 1999

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American Companies in Japan


In its second tie-up of the month with HAKUTO CO., LTD., Irvine, California- headquartered NEWPORT CORP. named the Tokyo company to distribute the Elite3 Series of what it calls active isolation workstations. Equipped with digital controllers that actively cancel low-frequency floor vibrations, these $21,400 tables provide an ultrastable work surface. That characteristic makes them suitable for wafer fabrication, metrology and microscopy applications in semiconductor facilities and other precision work. Hakuto is projecting Elite3 AIW sales at $854,700 in 1999 and $2.1 million in 2000.

STEP2 CO., a Streetsboro, Ohio maker of a variety of plastic products for the home and outdoors, has given ASAHI CORP. exclusive rights to distribute its entire line of some 40 products. Kawaguchi, Saitama prefecture-based Asahi, which is in the same type of business as Step2, believes that it can sell $8.5 million worth of products a year to such retailers as home centers and children's/toy stores. A Step2 product that could be a bigger seller is the $60 Grass Hopper, a wheeled work seat for gardening that has a 6-inch- deep storage compartment under the lid. Among other Step2 products is a $340 jungle gym.

In a move that will boost its bottom line, TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX FILM CORP.'s Tokyo subsidiary has started to distribute movies directly in Japan rather than using TOHO-TOWA CO., LTD.'s distribution channels. That will save the company the 10 percent or so normally paid to distributors. Fox, the maker of "Titanic" and several other recent hits, took in an estimated $145.3 million in distribution revenues in Japan in 1998, making it the number-one distributor.

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

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