Japan Online Securities Delays Launch Again

Japan Online Securities Inc., an online brokerage in which Itochu Corp. holds a majority stake, has announced a second delay to its launch.

In a statement posted on the company's Web site at http://www.kabu.com the company says its planned launch, on Jan. 21, is being delayed until mid-February because testing of systems has yet to be completed. The company, which has already attracted around 6,000 registered members, was due to begin offering trading services in November but postponed the start until January.

It was formed by a consortium led by trading company Itochu, which holds an almost 59 percent stake. Other shareholders in the venture include Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Co., Daiichi Kangyo Bank Ltd., Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co. and Microsoft Corp. Through the link with Microsoft, the company will offer trading through the Microsoft Money 2000 software.

Online trading effectively began in Japan in October last year when the trading commissions that brokerages charge clients were deregulated and brokerages were free to set their own charges. With the restrictions lifted, online brokerages were able to enter the market with lower charges than high-street chains.

Japan Online Securities Inc., in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.kabu.com/.

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