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Nifco to sell Japan Times to PR firm News2u Holdings

Nifco Inc., a major Japanese plastic parts maker, said Monday it
will sell all shares in its wholly owned English-language newspaper
company The Japan Times Ltd. to Tokyo-based public relations firm
News2u Holdings Inc. by the end of June.

Nifco said it is selling the daily to focus on its core plastic
automotive parts business, while not disclosing the selling price.
News2u said that through the acquisition it hopes to "utilize our
know-how in digital platforms and our group's customer base to make
The Japan Times fitter for the digital age."

The publication of the newspaper is expected to continue under
News2u, which distributes corporate news online. A News2u official
said the company is not ready to announce any changes in the
management of The Japan Times, but that the newspaper's some 120
employees are expected to stay on.

Established in 1897, The Japan Times is the country's oldest
running English-language daily with a circulation of over 40,000
copies. In addition to publishing news articles in print and online,
the daily also publishes books and a magazine.

Sales in recent years have fallen to half of their peak of about
5 billion yen ($45.3 million) due to a shrinking readership as more
people get their news online, according to an official of Nifco,
which made the newspaper its subsidiary in 1996.

News2u was founded in 2001 as an online corporate press release
provider. In a statement on Monday, the company said that by tapping
into The Japan Times' know-how, it will develop an overseas
information dispatch service for its corporate clients.

The Japan Times, which jointly publishes an English-language
newspaper with The New York Times Co., is one of more than 50 news
organizations that together finance Kyodo News, a nonprofit
cooperative, with membership dues. (June 12)