Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 356, May 1999

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American Companies in Japan


Semiconductor manufacturers in Japan have a new source of high-purity fused quartz goods now that PYROMATICS, INC. is represented locally. The Willoughby, Ohio producer named TOMOE ENGINEERING CO., LTD. to handle three of its products: molded Pyro 220 fused-quartz crucibles, which come in a broad range of sizes for growing single-crystal silicon ingots; molded PT 77 fused-quartz PyroTanks for stripping, etching, cleaning and other wafer processing steps where the absence of ionic and particulate contamination is important; and molded fused-quartz coil covers for epitaxial reactors. The Tokyo distributor has a modest first-year sales objective of $833,300, but it believes that sales of Pyromatics' products could total $4.2 million annually after three years.

Three types of Scotch-brand double-sided tape are available at home centers across Japan. The SUMITOMO 3M LTD. products, which cost between $1.20 and $1.40 a package, are designed for rough surfaces, external wall use and lightweight objects. The joint venture forecasts that the new tape line will add $83,300 to annual revenues.

Nineteen grades of high-performance Pennzoil engine oil, including GT-Performance products, are available through ITOCHU LUBNET INC., which ITOCHU FUEL CORP. set up specifically to market the PENNZOIL-QUAKER STATE CO. products. The Houston company's line, which is 10 percent less expensive than comparable grades of oil at $25 to $90 per 4.2-quart container, is sold at 1,000 or so Itochu Fuel gas stations across Japan as well as at roughly 200 automotive service centers and tire stores. Itochu LubNet is aiming for sales of $4.2 million a year.

Skiboard manufacturer K2 CORP. has diversified its product line to offset the seasonal nature of its business. Its Tokyo subsidiary introduced the Kick Board skateboard in addition to the Adio skateboard shoes that were put on the market at the end of last year. The company also released about 30 styles of sports shoes under the K2 brand name. The skateboard, which lists for about $320, and the other new products are available at some 100 sporting goods stores. In another move to boost its Japan sales by 10 percent to 20 percent annually, K2 has a promotional tie-in with ISUZU MOTORS LTD. dealers for its skiboards and skateboards.

IWERKS ENTERTAINMENT INC. soon will have 40 ride simulator attractions in Japan. Number 39 just opened, a 44-seat theater called the Hankyu 3D Theater at the Takarazuka Family Land Park outside Osaka. It is using the Burbank, California company's "Dino Island II 3D: Escape from Dino Island" 3D film. The 40th Iwerks installation, a 24-seat theater, will be located at the American Village on Okinawa. It is scheduled to open in March 2000.

Next summer, the INFINI reservations system operated by ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS CO., LTD. will be seamlessly integrated with the Sabre computerized reservations system developed by SABRE GROUP, INC. With Sabre, travel agencies serviced by INFINI will have automated access to carriers and flight schedules as well as automatic authorization of credit cards. They also will gain expanded access to airline distribution networks and sale tools, such as seat maps. Some functions of the Sabre system will be modified specifically for the Japanese market. Fort Worth, Texas-based Sabre and INFINI TRAVEL INFORMATION, INC., which is 60 percent owned by ANA, already are working on the system. The Japanese CRS company expects the project to cost more than $25 million.

An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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