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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 August 2005, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Japan launch for iTunes downloads
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs at iTunes' Japanese launch
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs was in Tokyo to launch iTunes
Apple has launched its iTunes music download service in Japan, the world's second-largest market for albums.

Japanese fans can access a million songs, most priced at 150 yen ($1.35, 75p) to download.

With iTunes and its iPod portable player, Apple dominates digital music and is credited with revolutionising the way songs are bought and heard.

The iTunes store is now available in 20 countries, reaching 85% of the global music market, Apple's Steve Jobs said.

Apple hopes the introduction of iTunes will help drive sales of iPods - which are bigger money-makers than its download service - in Japan.

'New age'

iPods currently account for more than 70% of all digital music players sold in the US but only 36% in Japan.

Mr Jobs, Apple's chief executive, said: "We think this is going to change the experience of discovering and buying and enjoying music in Japan.

"Together with the iPod, we think we are ushering in a whole new age of digital music."

Meanwhile, iTunes' competitor Napster has announced plans to set up its own Japanese download service in partnership with CD shop Tower Records.

Napster said the service would be "carefully tailored to local tastes and rich in Japanese repertoire" and would be launched in the next 12 months.

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