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March 03, 2003

ELT Shake Up -- Yohan, Tuttle Shokai to Merge

In a major reshuffle of the English book distribution business in Japan, the two main players - Yohan and Tuttle Shokai - have agreed to merge from June 1st. The merger will give the new company -- to retain the name Yohan -- 70% of the general-interest Western book market, excluding specialty publications. With Internet book sales increasingly eating into the bricks-and-mortar business, the company will try to add direct sales routes to schools teaching English. The merger has been discussed behind closed doors since September of last year. Tuttle Shokai President Hiroshi Kagawa will become President and CEO while current Yohan boss Nori Watanabe will be appointed as Chairman.

Yohan is Japan's largest distributor of foreign books, including ELT materials, and has major contracts with such publishers as Longman, Oxford etc.

Tuttle Shokai specialize in the import of foreign books to Japan. Categories range from business and computers to children's and photo books. It also publishes books on Japan under the imprint of ICG-Muse, which bought the company from Tuttle Publishing in 1999.

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