BlackBerry has been the subject of quite a bit of good news lately with the launch of BlackBerry 10 and record Z10 sales in Canada and the U.K. Things are a little different today, though, as Japanese publication Nikkei is reporting that BlackBerry plans to stop selling smartphones in Japan. It's said that part of the reason for the decision is that BlackBerry can't justify the cost of accommodating its operating system for the Japanese language. Another likely reason is that BlackBerry's Japanese market share has dropped from 5 percent down to 0.3 percent. BlackBerry is expected to continue to offer support to its existing users in Japan.
While BlackBerry has yet to officially comment on today's report, pulling out of Japan could may not be a bad idea for the company. I'm sure that BlackBerry would like to release its new hardware and software in as many countries as possible, but considering that adapting its software for the Japanese language likely wouldn't be cheap, and its 0.3 percent market share in Japan would make such an effort tough to justify. Because of that, Thorsten Heins and Co. would probably rather cede the Japanese market and focus their efforts and money on other markets. Stay tuned and we'll give you a shout if BlackBerry decides to issue a statement on this matter.
UPDATE: BlackBerry has confirmed to AllThingsD that it has doesn't intend to release any BlackBerry 10 handsets in Japan, explaining that the country "is not a major market" for the company. However, BlackBerry does say that it'll continue to offer support to its existing Japanese customers. The full statement from BlackBerry is below:
“We are in the process of launching BlackBerry 10 globally in key markets and we are seeing positive demand for the BlackBerry Z10 in countries where it has already launched. Japan is not a major market for BlackBerry and we have no plans to launch BlackBerry 10 devices there at this time. However, we will continue to support BlackBerry customers in Japan.”