TRADE BRIEFS

TRADE BRIEFS

JAPAN TRADE MINISTER

MAKES PARTY BIDTrade Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, one of Japan's most popular politicians, on Monday launched a long-awaited bid for his party's presidency, a post which would make him a strong contender to be the next prime minister.

Current Liberal Democratic Party president, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, was also expected to declare he would seek a second two-year term in the Sept. 22 party election.

Mr. Hashimoto, who gained considerable kudos from his tough approach to an auto trade row with the United States that was settled in June, said on Monday: "Our party has come under severe criticism from the people in the Upper House elections.

"I will seek the presidency to recover trust in our party."

REPORT: HOTELIERS PLAN

CAMBODIAN INVESTMENTS

SINGAPORE - Major international hoteliers the Hyatt group, ITT Sheraton and Club Med are planning to invest in Cambodia despite worries about its political situation, Singapore's Business Times reported on Monday.

The newspaper carried an interview with Norodom Ranariddh, Cambodia's first prime minister, who said the Hyatt group and Sheraton, along with France's Club Med, had all identified areas where they wanted to set up hotels.

U.S. power firms Westinghouse and Beacon Hill were also on the verge of signing a major contract with Cambodia, it said.

Cambodia is seeking international investment to rebuild its infrastructure, which has been shattered by more than two decades of civil war between the government and Maoist Khmer Rouge guerrillas loyal to deposed rebel leader Pol Pot.

SONY, BBC LINK UP

ON DIGITAL TELEVISION

TOKYO - Japan's Sony Corp. agreed to cooperate with the British Broadcasting Corp., British Telecommunications PLC and other companies to introduce digital terrestrial television in Britain, Sony said Monday.

A spokesman for the Japanese electronics conglomerate said other members of the development group would include U.S. electronics firm Motorola Inc. and two private British TV stations, Channel 4 and ITV.

Digital TV broadcasts allow the provision of more channels than conventional analogue methods because of compression technologies. Interactive television services will also be possible, Sony said.