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E*TRADE to Launch Japanese Edition

Internet investing services provider E*TRADE Group, Inc. and Japanese software distributor SOFTBANK Corp. today announced they have joined to form the E*TRADE Japan K.K joint venture.

The new entity will provide securities investing products and services to the Japanese market through its Internet site.

Under the agreement, SOFTBANK will retain a 58% stake in the venture, with E*TRADE owning 42%. In addition, the companies said E*TRADE Japan will be initially capitalized at about $20 million. E*TRADE said it will also be responsible for duplicating its U.S. site's technology in the Japanese version.

"The overhaul of the Japanese financial system, coined 'Big Bang' reform, which began April 1, has opened the door for an innovative, customer-driven company like E*TRADE Japan to capture its segment of business as the Japanese look to invest some 1,200 trillion yen ($9.2 trillion) in private financial assets," said Masayoshi Son, President and CEO of SOFTBANK Corp.

"With approximately 10 million Japanese using the Internet, further liberalization of the sale of securities and mutual funds and the abolition of the securities transaction tax set for 2001, we view Japan as an ideal location for E*TRADE to expand and thrive," said Christos M. Cotsakos, President and CEO of E*TRADE Group Inc.

SOFTBANK Corp. claims to be the largest software distributor in Japan. Its U.S. holdings include 72% ownership of technology publisher Ziff-Davis, a 29% stake in portal player Yahoo! Inc., and 80% of the Kingston Technology Company.

Palo Alto, CA-based E*TRADE is an online investing site for independent investors, providing stock quotes, options and mutual fund information and order placement and real-time market analysis and news.