Seems the recent news that the iTunes Music Store would finally hit Japan in 2005 was right on the nose: according to this morning's Nikkei Shimbun (which will only print stuff like this if it's damn near a dead cert), Apple has most of the major labels signed up and is planning to launch iTMS Japan in August this year. No surprise about who won't be coming to dinner, though: Sony Music Entertainment has yet to ink a contract, presumably because it runs a (soon-to-be-doomed?) rival service, Mora. Price per song is unsurprisingly going to be higher than $0.99, with the Nikkei reckoning Y150 (about $1.40). However, that still lops a healthy chunk off the Y210 SME is charging for its ATRAC3-only badness.
UPDATE: Or maybe not. Apparently Apple Japan says this story is "completely untrue".