Japanese agencies wetting toes on Web

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[Seoul] Japanese agencies and media are approaching the Internet slowly. Dentsu, the largest agency in the world, has been doing a basic Internet service in Japanese but started its first home page in English on Monday at the International Advertising Association Congress.

Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan's leading business daily, is trying to set a rate card for advertisers on its Web site. "We're at the experimental stage with our Web site," said a marketing exec at the newspaper. "We're deciding what price would be appropriate. The Internet business in Japan is still primitive."

Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun's Asahi.com site gets 1.1 million hits a day, about one-third accessing the paper's data base, said Toshitada Nakae, president-CEO of Asahi Shimbun. Of 117 member newspapers in Japan's newspaper association, 25 have Internet home pages, he said.

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