AOL Japan About to Reach 400,000 Members

AOL Japan Inc., the Japanese joint venture that offers a localized version of the America Online service in Japan, is about to sign up its 400,000th member.

John Barber, managing director of the company, told IDG News Service that this landmark is expected to be passed in late January or sometime in February.

AOL Japan launched its service in Japan in April 1997 but it was not until June 1998 that the company attracted its first 100,000 users. In 1999 the company managed to hit both the 200,000 and 300,000 subscriber marks aided by renewed marketing efforts that have targeted niche audiences.

In recent months, the company has been most strongly targeting the increasingly large number of career women in their 20s and 30s who have been buying notebook computers to access the Internet. It has run a series of joint promotions with women's magazines to attract the new users -- often tying in a cover disk with online shopping or content from the magazine.

AOL Japan is a joint venture between America Online Inc., which holds a 50 percent stake, general trading company Mitsui & Co., which holds a 40 percent stake, and newspaper and magazine publisher Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc., which holds the remaining 10 percent.

AOL Japan, in Tokyo, can be reached at +81-3-5353-6000 or online at

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