ESRI announced that it has entered into a joint venture with Pasco Corporation, the longtime distributor of its software in Japan, to form ESRI Japan.

Originally formed in 1953, Pasco has built a dominating position in the Japanese market in geographic information system (GIS) technology, aerial surveying, and construction consulting. In addition, the company has performed many projects in the Middle East, extending its reputation and experience. In 1999, Pasco joined the Japanese-based SECOM group with the intent of expanding the use of its GIS expertise to become a leading company in the information services industry.

The newly formed company will continue as ESRI's international distributor in Japan. Having localized ESRI's new ArcGIS family of software products, ESRI Japan will enhance its services by offering training for the installation and expansion of GIS technology with a goal of helping new users. A consulting service unit will respond promptly to high-level support demands from existing users. Furthermore, to support GIS in education the company will work closely with primary, junior, and senior high schools. The company also intends to enhance its ability to provide solutions and services in fields such as environment, disaster management, medical, social welfare, and education as well as business information systems.