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Softbank Corp. and News Corp. of the U.S. said Tuesday they are teaming up to launch a Japanese version of the MySpace.com social networking Web site.

News recently acquired the popular Web site in the United States.

Softbank and News will set up a 50-50 joint venture later this month, MySpace Japan KK, with capital of 590 million yen.

The venture will initially offer services for personal computers. Later, people will be able to use mobile phones to post photos, write Web logs and download music.

Partial services were available starting Tuesday on a trial basis at jp.myspace.com

“I’m very happy to announce today that I am starting a business with (News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert) Murdoch, whom I really respect and who is one of the world’s most well-known businessmen. I’m very excited to explore a new era of the Internet with him,” Softbank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son said at a joint news conference.

“We are confident of this partnership and tremendous success” because of Japan’s huge Internet market and tech-savvy culture, Murdoch said.

The tieup is the News Corp. group’s first new venture in Asia, Murdoch said, adding he is confident of success here given that the U.S. site has drawn 125 million registered users in the last three years.

Son said the new company aims to be No. 1 in the field.

The Japanese social networking site Mixi, launched in 2004, had more than 5 million users as of July.

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