Arnhem, the Netherlands-based Akzo Nobel's International Paint business, has officially commenced full business operations in Japan. After more than 25 years of indirect involvement in Japan, the company staged an inauguration ceremony in Tokyo in November to formally announce the creation of International Paint Japan and confirm its status as a full member of the Japanese marine community.

Speaking at the event, David French, International Paint's general manager for Japan, Australasia and Korea, said, "Our commitment is to provide the level and quality of service which Japanese and worldwide marine customers have come to expect both locally and globally."

The most recent addition to the International Paint family, International Paint Japan K.K. was established as a legal entity on April 5, 2004, and has 23 employees.

In other Akzo Nobel news, Akzo Nobel Car Refinishes signed a technology cross-licensing agreement for automotive plastic coatings with Origin Electric Co. Ltd. (Tokyo). This agreement enhances Akzo Nobel's access to the Japanese vehicle manufacturing market for the supply of coatings used on plastic car parts, such as dashboards, bumpers and wing mirrors. In return, Origin Electric will benefit from better access to the European market, as well as Akzo Nobel's state-of-the-art waterborne technologies.

Automotive manufacturers have stringent rules that state that the paint products from their suppliers must have specific technical approval. Origin Electric has acquired this technical approval and the new agreement gives Akzo Nobel access to their particular technology, so opening the door for the company's automotive plastic coatings to be sold to car makers.

The cross-licensing agreement relates to both the Japanese and European markets and includes interior, as well as exterior, plastic coatings technology for the automotive industry.