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E*Trade Launches Japan Brokerage

Making its debut on the day Japan deregulated its brokerage commission rates, E*Trade Group Friday launched an E*Trade Japan online brokerage service.

The site is the sixth international property which E*Trade (EGRP) has added to its increasingly global network.

Internet industry leader Softbank Corp. joins E*Trade in a joint venture which was established last year to create the Japan service. The venture, dubbed E*TRADE Japan K.K., previously established a customer base and a customer support center through the purchase of the Osawa Securities brokerage.

The site will offer Japanese equities and mutual funds,Reuters financial news and stock quotes, Morningstar Japan mutual fund reports, and company reports from Toyo Keizai.

"The introduction of E*Trade-branded online investing in Japan is a significant step in both our global expansion strategy and our ultimate goal of establishing the world's first global, cross-border trading network," said Judy Balint, E*Trade International's president and chief operating officer.

The brokerage follows Charles Schwab, DLJDirect (DIR), and Paribas' Cortal to the region, in addition to numerous Japanese banks which have established trading services in the last year. More brokerages are expected to rush to the market following the deregulation.

E*Trade launched a UK site in July, following similar rollouts in Sweden, France, Australia and Canada.

In July, E*Trade also acquired international financial services company TIR Holdings Ltd. in a stock deal worth $122 million as part of its plans to build the first cross-border trading network for online investors. The initial phase of the platform is expected to be operational by the end of next year.