[Breaking] 2-channel Founder Hiroyuki Nishimura’s Drug-deal Aid Case Sent To Prosecutor

Asahi briefly reports [J] that Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has sent today a case to the public prosecutor’s office for possible violation (inciting, instigation) of the Anti-drug Law.

2-channel has been accused by leaving some posts around illegal drug deals. Hiroyuki, who influenced US 4-chan, which is an indirect homage of 2-channel, told his ownership of the site was handed over to a Singaporean company Packet Monster in January 2009, and has been guiding Niconico group.

[Update]

CEO of Dwango (runs Niconico Douga services) said “no comment, as I have not heard the news.” on Dwango’s press conference, ITMedia reports [J].

Naver Line Is Down

Naver LINE is down after the midnight, October 31st. The official’s Twitter account says,

“All functions of both Apps and PC versions LINE are not working now. We are investigating now and will let you know as soon as we recover.”

at 01:17 a.m.

Twitter’s top trends in Japan now ranks “Line”, though 6 of top 10 are Halloween related terms.

Line’s Facebook page is providing the same information in English.

Naver Japan recently announced [J] the number of LINE users exceeded 70 million, 32 million of which are in its homeland, Japan.

[Update] The recovery was announced at 2:28 a.m.

The Nikkei: KDDI To Start Offering The iPad Mini From November

The existence of a smaller version of the iPad hasn’t even been confirmed by Apple yet, but here is something fresh from the rumor mill in Japan: according to a report published in The Nikkei today, KDDI is currently “finalizing a deal” under which the company will start offering the “iPad Mini” from November.

So far, rival SoftBank has been the sole 3G service provider for the iPad in Japan. The country’s third largest carrier also monopolized the domestic iPhone market until Apple tied up with KDDI, too, in October last year.

One year later, it looks like history repeats itself, but this time with a tablet.

If the Nikkei report is to be believed, KDDI asked Apple to sell the current generation of the iPad in Japan earlier this year as well, but the deal fell through.

The paper is not ruling out the possibility that SoftBank will offer the iPad Mini along with KDDI.

As a reaction to the rumor, KDDI stock rose today at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, while shares of SoftBank fell.

For $12.8 Million: Yahoo Japan Acquires Decopic Creator Community Factory

Acquisitions are relatively rare in Japan’s tech startup scene, but today Yahoo Japan caused a splash when the country’s biggest web company announced it acquired Tokyo-based Community Factory (which launched in 2006).

TechCrunch Japan is reporting that the price stands at around 1 billion yen, which currently translates to US$12.8 million.

Community Factory runs a number of social services and apps, but in its press release, Yahoo Japan singles out Decopic, a multi-lingual photo sharing application that currently boasts 7 million downloads on Android and iOS (profile on Asiajin from last year).

According to TechCrunch Japan, the so-called Mixi Fund, set up by Japan’s largest real-identity social network Mixi back in 2009, is the biggest shareholder in Community Factory (40%).

Yahoo Japan’s move isn’t surprising: the company’s new CEO Manabu Miyasaka said in April (when he took over from Masahiro Inoue) that he plans to strengthen Yahoo Japan’s position in the mobile and social fields.

Just a few days ago, Yahoo Japan also announced it has set up the YJ Capital fund (capitalized at 1 billion yen) to invest in promising startups.

Amazon Japan Mistakenly Teases Kindle Pages, But No Japanese E-Books

Amazon Japan, who has not been able to launch its long-awaited e-book reader/platform Kindle for years, leaked something related with Kindle on its website around September 3, just a couple of days before US Amazon’s press event planned on September 6 (7th in Japan timezone).

According to a blogger ArtSalt [J], the link appeared fist at 2-channel [J], an huge anonymous bulletin board service.

At around 3 a.m. September 4 (Japan Standard Time), an anonymous 2-channel user posted, “(New) Amazon Kindle will be sold on September 7 in Japan”, then on the following comment, s/he posted a link pointing a page on Amazon Japan.

When the link was posted on 2-channel, the page showed several “English” digital books with the page title including “Kindle Store” (Store was in Japanese). As Amazon has different contents in each countries, and the page’s domain was amazon.co.jp, that page and other pages linked from it were the pages for Japan.

Those pages were quickly taken down but you may see some on Google cache. There are several English e-books there but no Japanese titles. And the number of those English books are less than 20. So 2-channelers said that the page might be a testing page for Kindle device in Japan for Japanese market.

If that is their final test as 2-channelers guessed, new Kindle and Kindle Store will hit Japan as well as US and other countries who already enjoyed Kindle. However, as they should see Rakuten Kobo’s launch troubles around Japanese language issues, testing it without Japanese e-books is unlikely if their launch involves Japanese language e-books. Test all with English e-books may mean that Amazon Japan gave up launching Kindle for Japanese language readers for this time, but starts it for English readers living in Japan at this timing when Amazon globally releases new model of Kindle.