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Amazon begins online video distribution

Kyodo

Major online shopping site operator Amazon Japan K.K. has started an online video distribution service, enabling customers to purchase or rent Japanese and foreign films and TV shows from a selection of more than 26,000 titles.

Content providers for Amazon Instant Video include film production and distributing houses Shochiku Co. and Toho Co. as well as major broadcasters NHK and Fuji TV.

Since Tuesday, videos can be downloaded from the Amazon Japan website for as little as ¥100 for rent and ¥1,000 for purchase.

In Japan, U.S. companies Apple Inc. and Google Inc. are offering on-demand video services in addition to local services such as GyaO and Tsutaya TV.

The competition is likely to intensify because Amazon has one of the largest online customer bases in Japan.

Rakuten on first section

The Tokyo Stock Exchange has approved Internet mall Rakuten Inc.’s shift to its first section from the JASDAQ market for startups next Tuesday.

Rakuten said it will take advantage of the shift to improve its corporate brand, expand its shareholder base and secure excellent human resources to grow further.

The current company’s predecessor entered the JASDAQ market in April 2000. Its market capitalization at Tuesday’s close totaled ¥1.90 trillion, accounting for about 17 percent of the JASDAQ market.

Rakuten also said it will pay a special dividend of ¥1 per share for this year to commemorate the shift to the TSE’s first section and the pro baseball team Tohoku Rakuten Eagles’ victory in the Japan Series.