A Tokyo-based computer software joint venture set up by a pro-Pyongyang firm and a South Korean company will team up with a North Korean government agency to develop software capable of the simultaneous interpretation of mobile phone conversations between Japanese and Korean speakers, company officials said Wednesday.

Unikotech Co. was set up in July by South Korean personal computer monitor maker IMRI and CGS Co., a computer software developer with close ties to the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan.

Unikotech will cooperate with the Korean Computer Center, a Pyongyang-based government institution, to develop the software, they said.

In addition, Unikotech plans to offer a translation service in various languages via the Internet, next-generation mobile phones and personal digital assistants.

The company envisions beginning the services in time for the 2002 World Cup soccer tournament, to be jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea, they said.

Unikotech, capitalized at 100 million yen, wants to list its shares within three years. IMRI, whose new PC monitor factory in Pyongyang started operations in January, has been exporting its displays since 1998.

CGS and KCC have been exchanging technological cooperation over the past decade.

CGS currently sells computer software that enable users to compose text files in hangul, the script in which Korean is written. The software is used on computers running the Japanese version of the Windows operating system.

CGS President Ryang Yong Bu said, “The excellence of North Korean technology is little recognized in Japan.”

“We would like to ask for understanding and cooperation from Japanese businesses and investors,” Ryang said.

Unikotech plans to organize a seminar at a Tokyo hotel Oct. 6 to promote KCC’s technology and its computer software, the officials said.

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