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America Online to launch Japanese Internet service

March 25, 1997

TOKYO (AP) _ America Online Inc. said Tuesday it will launch a Japanese-language Internet service next month in cooperation with a major Japanese newspaper and trading company.

The new service, which will begin April 15, will have the same features as America Online’s English service, which currently dominates the U.S. market.

``We expect to see the same mass-market phenomenon happen in Japan that we are seeing with AOL in the United States,″ said AOL Japan President Shigeki Nishioka.

America Online joins the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper and Mitsui and Co. trading company in launching the service. AOL Japan is owned 50 percent by AOL, 40 percent by Mitsui and 10 percent by Nikkei.

Users will be charged 980 yen ($8) for three hours of usage and 480 yen ($4) for each additional hour.

For the first month, AOL members will receive a free 10-hour trial subscription.

The company will set up 34 access sites nationwide, covering about 80 percent of the population. In addition, a toll-free number will be set up, at a 10-yen (8-cent) surcharge per minute.

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