Japan next massive online market?
By dave
Japan, up until now bringing up the rear netwise (surprisingly!), will be one of the world's most wired nations by 2007 as low fees boost demand for broadband services, a government report said on Friday.

The Telecommunications Ministry said in an annual white paper that 60 million Japanese -- nearly half the population -- will be surfing the Net on high-speed broadband networks by 2007, compared with 20 million now. Although Japan leads the world in Internet-enabled mobile phones, for many years it has lagged other advanced nations in fixed-line Internet connections, partly due to a lack of competition and some of the world's highest connection charges.

Softbank, Japan's biggest broadband provider, posted a group net loss of 100bn yen in the year that ended on March 31, widening the previous year's loss of 88.8bn yen due to the high cost of promoting and building its service.

Softbank's Yahoo BB, a joint venture with affiliate Yahoo Japan Corp, charges around 2,400 yen a month for unlimited use of that service, and other providers including the giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) have been forced to follow with their own cut-rate offerings.

On Thursday, Softbank said it would launch an online-game portal later this month, betting that a market that is hugely popular in South Korea will also catch on in Japan.

And meanwhile in Korea...

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