We already know that one of the big goals of Windows Phone in 2011 is expansion: more languages, more markets. In fact, it was stated by Andy Lees that they want 88% of the languages covered this year. Japan is obviously a huge part of that market, so it is not too shocking that Microsoft plans to launch there this year.
In an interview with one of Japan's largest papers, Sankei, Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International said "Japan is next on the list" for support. The big hurdle if implementing the Kana/Kanji writing system, something that takes some time. Adding Japan to the Windows Phone roster will help tremendously to WP7 expansion and adoption.
Meanwhile, there are some 3rd party solutions for those wishing to use Japanese now in an unofficial capacity--see 'Flickpad X2' (homebrew) and 'JPinput' (Marketplace).
Source: Sankei; via Nanapho.jp; Thanks, tezawaly
Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.
Add this to the list of new things coming with the "7.5" update later this year. Just hope it's sooner rather then later. I bet it's MS's goal to have it ready and out in Nov so they can timing it with the 1 year release of WP7 and also launch a new batch of phones.But hey, we might also see one or more updates between NoDo and Mango like some rumors say.
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