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No. 358, July 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


PRECISION AND MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

Convinced that two minds are better than one, ANDO ELECTRIC CO., LTD. and HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. signed a three-year contract to develop and market products for the expanding high-bandwidth DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) and SONET/SDH (synchronous optical network/synchro-nous digital hierarchy) functional test equipment market. This is a market in which both electronic test equipment manufacturers already are active. The partners' first product is expected to be released in nine to 12 months. It and its successors will be marketed outside Japan by HP, thereby giving Ando Electric access to a broader base of network equipment makers and long-distance carriers than it has now. The Japanese company will handle marketing in Japan.

A $5 million purchase of the preferred stock of INTUITIVE SURGICAL, INC. gave MARUBENI CORP. and its primary U.S. subsidiary a small minority interest in the Mountain View, California developer of the computer-enhanced, minimally invasive da Vinci Surgical System. It also gave the trader exclusive sales rights in Japan to the endoscopic system, which is nearing Food and Drug Administration marketing approval. The da Vinci Surgical System consists of a viewing and control console through which the surgeon has a high-resolution, three-dimensional image of the surgical field and a surgical arm unit that holds and manipulates detachable microsurgical instruments. These pencil-size instruments, which are equipped with Intuitive's EndoWrist computer-enhanced mechanical wrist technology, provide the dexterity of the surgeon's hand and wrist at the operative site through tiny ports.

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