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August 31, 2005

Japanese Stars With an International Future

Entertainment agency Hori Pro recently formed a capital tie-up with Japan International Education Center Inc. (JIEC), a company with a 20-year history of teaching English through an international approach. In a recent third-party allocation of shares, Hori Pro invested almost ¥24 million in JIEC, acquiring 20% of voting rights in the company. The contract also allows Hori Pro to acquire up to 49% of the company over the next four years. The major talent agency represents dozens of established female celebrities, including Akiko Wada, Mami Yamase and Yuka and the tie-up reflects the agency's move towards preparing young stars for the international stage. The companies will also cooperate in producing children's educational programs and promoting the educational ideas of JIEC founder Ikuko Newell Tsuboya. Tsuboya opened the first English Studio in Mita in 1985, and incorporated this and several other businesses as JIEC in 2001. There are currently three English Studio schools in Tokyo, with about 800 students. JIEC also runs ES Consulting and the International Secondary School and has annual sales of around ¥450 million.
JIEC website
Hori Pro website (Japanese)
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