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OSAKA — Osaka Messe-Bition ’98, a six-day trade show that will introduce products and services from more than 61 countries to local consumers, opened April 24 at Intex Osaka.

Organized by the Osaka International Trade Fair Commission in cooperation with the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the fair includes a number of international events, including two special exhibitions, the first on business opportunities in and products from China, and a Made-in-the-USA display.

Designed to introduce products directly to consumers in Japan, the Made-in-the-USA pavilion is a joint initiative of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and the U.S. Consulate General of Osaka-Kobe.

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Foley, making his first trip to Osaka since taking up the post last autumn, along with pro basketball players A.C. Green of the Dallas Mavericks and Lasalle Thompson of the Indiana Pacers, were among those on hand to open Osaka Messe-Bition and promote American products at the Made-in-the-USA pavilion.

This year, the focus of Osaka Messe-Bition is on lifestyle themes. Exhibitors came from the home design, fashion, recreation and leisure, food and travel industries. Osaka also has a special booth to promote the city’s 2008 Olympic bid.

Osaka Messe-Bition ’98, which ends April 29, is expected to draw nearly half a million people, organizers said.

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