Kobo eReader Touch Edition packs bags for Japan, books flight for July

Rakuten's $315 million buyout of Kobo will bear some e-reader fruit come July. The e-tailer's CEO and chairman, Hiroshi Mikitani, announced plans to release the Kobo eReader Touch Edition in Japan next month for 10,000 yen (on par with its $130 US sticker price). Timing is key, of course -- murmurs of the Kindle Touch's Japanese debut haven't escaped Mikitani's notice. "As a Japanese company, we cannot lose (to overseas rivals)," he told The Asahi Shimbun. Rakuten hopes to use the e-reader to export Japanese content, and aims to have 50,000 titles available by the end of 2012. Pre-orders kick off on July 2, with more details to come next month.