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Twitter Appoints Its First Country Manager, in Japan

Twitter has appointed its first country manager, another sign of its continued expansion of presence and popularity around the world.

James Kondo has been named to head the company's operations in Japan, where it is operated through a partnership with local Internet investment company Digital Garage. Digital Garage is also an investor in Twitter.

Kondo's appointment was announced on the Twitter Japan blog, where the company explained the move.

"Japan has been an important country for Twitter for several years," the blog posting said. "It is one of the first countries that really took to Twitter outside of the U.S. in creative and innovative ways. And, better yet, Twitter usage in Japan continues to quickly grow."

Indeed, Twitter use in Japan does appear to be climbing fast and the country is one of its most important markets.

Twitter's presence in Japan was cemented after the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster when affected municipalities created Twitter accounts to distribute information to residents who couldn't access their home page. The service has also been used by newspapers, government agencies and Tokyo Electric Power to rapidly distribute information -- something the company touched upon in the blog posting.

"Most recently, we've been humbled to have played a role in helping connect the country after the tsunami and earthquakes," the company said.

Kondo, the new country manager, worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. for 15 years until 2005. A year later he co-founded Table for Two, a Japanese charity that encourages people to pay an extra few cents when buying lunch so that a meal can be provided to a person in the developing world. He has also worked at the Japanese Prime Minister's Office as a policy advisor and director of global communications strategy.

"James is perfect for the job," the blog posting said.

He will be building a team to push Twitter in Japan. The company is already advertising for an advertising account manager and executive, a business development manager covering mobile platforms, and a public relations chief for its Japanese operation.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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