The rise and rise of wireless web access in Japan caused the number of users to soar by 60% in 1999, said Japan's Post & Telecommunications Ministry on Tuesday. The country now claims twenty-seven million people online.

The most popular access point is via the i-mode cellphone service provided by Japan's largest mobile network, NTT Docomo. The total number of people accessing the web through cellphones and other wireless technology now accounts for over one third of all users, reports the ministry. It forecasts that the number of net users will nearly triple over the next five years to 76.7 million, placing Japan neck and neck with the USA in terms of per capita internet use.

Japan's e-commerce market was estimated at $3.3 billion in 1999, with a twenty-fold increase predicted by 2005.

News source: Advertising Age - International Daily