Six firms to make satellite company

Six major Japanese firms said Wednesday a joint company will be established Friday to offer next-generation communications services via satellites to be launched in 2008.

The firms are Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Itochu Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and NEC Toshiba Space Systems Ltd. They said 31 other companies will contribute funds to the joint venture.

The new company, with capital of 100 million yen that will rise to 10 billion yen by the start of operations, will provide location and weather information for airplanes and ships, emergency information, broadcasting and other services, the six partners said.

The service will use three new satellites that will cover airspace over Japan all the time.