Stories by Michele M. Yamada

Softbank Launches 'New Japan Index'

Softbank Asset Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Softbank Finance, released Thursday its "New Japan Index", a new stock price index designed to track Japan's trend in changing new economy, including 61 stocks such as NTT DoCoMo Inc. (9437) , Toyota Motor Corp., Sony Corp. (SNE) and Seven Eleven Japan Co. Ltd.

Japan Looking Hard at NTT

Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications emphasized Friday its desire to re-evaluate the holding company structure of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) , the nation's dominant telecommunications company.

E-Trade Rears Its Head on Nasdaq Japan

E-Trade Japan, a joint venture between Softbank Finance, a subsidiary of Japan's largest Net investor, and E-Trade Group in the U.S., made its debut Friday on Nasdaq Japan, ratcheting up what promises to be fierce price competition among Japan's online financial-services companies.

The Decline of the Roman Empire

Here's a look at the future of the With non-English speakers poised to become the majority on the Web, the Internet's address system is beginning to accommodate languages that aren't based on the Roman alphabet. Think Japanese.

Women Hold Up Half the Sky

Chieko Kimura thought she was on to something three years ago when she founded a school to teach Japanese women how to become entrepreneurs.

Report: FBI Approves NTT-Verio Deal

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has resolved national security concerns over a Japanese telecom giant's US$5.5 billion deal to buy the Web-hosting company Verio Inc., the Wall Street Journal Interactive reported Friday.

Monex Brokers a Public Success

Monex, a 10-month-old Japanese online stock broker, made a roaring debut Friday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's "Mothers" market for high-growth stocks, becoming the first Japanese online brokerage firm to go public. The company also conducted what it called "the world's first major Web-based IPO," issuing more than half of the new shares to individual investors online.

Sony Dips into Red Ink

Sony Corp. reported Wednesday that it tumbled into the red for the quarter that ended June 30. The company incurred losses of about 88.3 billion yen (US$807.7 million), which it attributed to a one-time charge, in compliance with U.S. accounting rules, that covered Sony's movie marketing costs.

U.S., Japan Reach Key Telecom Agreement

The U.S. and Japan reached an agreement late Tuesday night on Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.'s interconnection rates, capping an intense bilateral negotiation that had gone on for four years, a U.S. government official announced Wednesday.

NTT-Verio Merger Target of U.S. Investigation

NTT Communications, the long distance and International unit of Japan's telecommunications giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) , confirmed July 3 that the U.S. government is investigating its proposed takeover of Verio Inc. (VRIO) , the U.S. Internet hosting company.

Japan May Ask NTT to Cut Telecom Fees Earlier

Japan's telecom minister warned Friday that the country must be prepared to compromise with the U.S. government in the ongoing dispute over interconnection fees charged by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone.

Sony takes a broadband partner

Sony announced Friday that it has reached an agreement with Tokyu, one of Tokyo's major private railways, and Tokyu's 94-percent owned subsidiary, Tokyu Cable Television, to jointly develop a high-speed broadband network in Japan.

Softbank Seals NCB Deal, Plans Net Moves

Japan's largest Internet investor, Softbank Corp., signed the final agreement Friday with two of its partners and the Japanese government to buy the failed Nippon Credit Bank. The group hopes to create an innovative bank appropriate to the Internet era, capable of offering a mix of online financial services and conventional banking services.

Japan Deal to Put Ads on Cell Phones

Japan's cellular phone giant, NTT DoCoMo Inc., and the nation's largest ad agency, Dentsu, say they have created a joint venture to handle advertisements for DoCoMo's mega-hit mobile-phone Internet service, i-mode.