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Japan Articles

Groupon Apologizes for Deal Gone Bad in Tokyo
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Groupon CEO Andrew Mason apologized to users in Tokyo for a deal that went bad a few days before the New Year’s holiday. The deal involved the delivery of food, and became too popular for the business providing the deal to handle.

They sold 500 "Groupons", and the business was unable to process the orders, leading to late deliveries, and deliveries of product in "terrible condition", as Mason describes it. 

Twitter Sees New Record Of 6,939 Tweets Per Second
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The start of a new year can cause people to think about many things, including family, friends, and personal opportunities.  And Twitter, apparently, as the company announced today that Japanese users set a global record moments after the official end of 2010.

Yahoo Japan-Google Deal Gets Regulatory Approval

A tie-up between Yahoo Japan and Google may sound unlikely for all sorts of reasons, but antitrust regulators in Japan see no reason to stop the deal from going forward.  Earlier today, the Fair Trade Commission declared that the proposed partnership isn’t anticompetitive.

A little background information: Yahoo Japan said in July that it intended to make use of Google’s search tech, which came as a surprise to many since Yahoo and Bing were moving forward together in the U.S.

YouTube Seals Its Biggest “Premium Sports” Deal Yet
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Baseball fans in Japan and four other countries have reason to celebrate today.  A record-breaking deal involving YouTube and Major League Baseball has been struck, and as a result, said fans will gain access to lots and lots of footage.

In an email to WebProNews, a YouTube representative provided some more details in the form of bullet points.  One highlight is that "[f]ull-length, catch-up MLB games [will be] available in Japan 36 hours after they air."  Historic game footage will be offered, too, along with profiles of Japanese players.

Microsoft Doesn’t Plan to Let Yahoo and Google Do Their Thing in Japan
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Microsoft is pissed that Yahoo Japan is going with Google rather than Bing. In fact, the company is reportedly moving to block the deal from going through.

Twitter To Hit Japanese Cell Phones This Summer
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Japan’s third-largest mobile communications company is poised to help Twitter become significantly more popular outside America.  SoftBank has decided to ship a total of 13 different cell phone models with Twitter applications and/or widgets preinstalled.

This will put Twitter in front of a whole lot of people, considering that SoftBank claimed to have 22,092,600 subscribers in April.  Short of a deal with Japan’s first- or third-largest mobile communications company, that seems pretty hard to beat.

Taobao And Yahoo Japan Partner On Ecommerce
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China’s top ecommerce website Taobao and Yahoo Japan have partnered to launch two online platforms to cross sell in each other’s markets.

The partnership will allow Yahoo Japan merchants to list some eight million items in a Chinese-language TaoJapan section.

Taobao, a subsidiary of ecommerce firm Alibaba group, will offer 50 million products from China to Japanese consumers on Yahoo Japan’s China Mall. The two platforms will launch on June 1.

Google Plans Office Tower Move In Japan

Google’s poised for another quantifiable growth spurt, this time in Japan.  Officials have confirmed that the search giant will be moving into a larger office space this year, joining Yahoo Japan, Ferrari Japan, and a number of other interesting companies in Mori Tower.

Watching YouTube Videos on Your Microwave
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There’s a microwave that has been getting some attention this week. It’s called CastOven, and it plays YouTube videos while you cook your food. Not only does it play videos, but it plays videos specifically catering to the amount of time you have the microwave set for.

The CastOven was created by two designers from Keio University in Japan, Keita Watanabe, Ph.D. and Shota Matsuda. Their description of the CastOven reads as follows:

YouTube Launches Promoted Videos In Australia, Japan
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YouTube’s Promoted Videos program has spread again.  In addition to Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S., promoted videos are now available in Australia and Japan.

If you’re not familiar with the Promoted Videos program, the following video does a pretty good job of explaining its purpose (odd motorcycle accident metaphor aside):

Yahoo Games Popular In Japan
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Japan’s online gaming population has increased 28 percent over the past year to 16.5 million visitors in July 2009, and reaching nearly one fourth of Japan’s online population, according to a new report from comScore.

"As a growing number of people turn to the Internet as an entertainment channel, many online gaming sites have seen their traffic levels swell to record numbers," said Maru Sato, managing director of comScore Japan.

Amazon Ordered To Pay $119 Million In Taxes To Japan
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Japan’s tax authorities have ordered an affiliate of Amazon.com to pay $119 million in back taxes for unreported income earned it the country during a three year span that ended in 2005.

U.S. companies that do business in Japan without branch offices are not required to file tax returns or pay taxes to the Japanese government.

YouTube Popular With Japanese Internet Users
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In February, nearly 74 percent of Japan’s online population visited an entertainment site, according to a new study from comScore.

Japanese Internet users spent nearly 15 percent of their total online time during the month on these sites, making the entertainment category one of the most popular and engaging content categories.

Yahoo More Popular Than Google In Japan
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In January, 6.8 billion searches were done in Japan, representing a 9 percent increase compared to a year ago and the highest monthly search volume on record.

Yahoo sites took the top spot in search with 3.5 billion searches during the month, up from 13 percent from the previous year, followed by Google sites with 2.6 billion searches (up 5%) and Rakuten with 153 million searches (up 38%). Excite Japan had the strongest growth of any search property in the top ten, growing 362 percent compared to a year ago to 52 million searches.

Street View Draws More Privacy Trouble to Google
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Google’s Street View feature on Google Maps is certainly no stranger to privacy concerns. It has attracted lawsuits, but it is still moving right along. Google even dismissed one lawsuit bringer as being "out of touch with the real world."

Displaying Images Directly From The Brain

The Pink Tentacle blog writes (update: currently getting a quota exceeded message there):

Japanese Favor Yahoo Music
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Nearly 40 percent of the Japanese online population visited an entertainment music site in August, according to a new study from comScore.

The study found that Japan had the highest penetration of users of Apple iTunes during the month, when compared to users in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

Google Maps Introducing English Labels For Japan
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Visiting a country in which English isn’t the official language can be tricky.  Visiting one in which the Latin alphabet isn’t common can be crazy.  But luckily for some travelers, Google’s trying to sort out the matter on its maps of Japan.

Japan Is Future Internet Ready
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It’s time for our periodic We-Suck-At-Internet rant, which entails comparing and despairing (thanks, Stewart Smalley) over how slow the Internet is in the US. Once again, Japan has us beat and is ready for next-generation applications like high-quality video streaming. But Slovenia? Lithuania? Latvia? They’re faster than us, too?

Japan Wants To Limit Kid’s Mobile Usage
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Japanese children should have limited access to mobile phones to protect them from harmful content according to an advisory panel to the government.

The advisory council on education made the proposal to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda as children become more likely to be exposed to cyber crimes and bullying on Internet school bulletin boards.

Japanese Take Wireless Net To Warp Speed
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Just a reminder: Traffic prioritization and management won’t matter much once we realize the full potential of fiber and other technologies on the near horizon. Second reminder: Those in control of the networks plan on gouging you the whole way via controlled, incremental upgrades in speed and capacity.

Charging 40 times bandwidth? Sure if it’s still 2005. The network providers are looking at a much better rate than that, at least for the foreseeable future, so long as the future can be delayed long enough to maximize profit.