In the first case of itskind in Japan, local police havearrested a street vendor for selling pirated DVDs.

Among the 1,000 DVDs seizedfrom 35-year-old Shigeyoshi Oshio were 300 copies of Howl's Moving Castle,the Hayao Miyazaki animation currently on release.

Others included pirated DVDsof Spider-Man 2 and other recent Hollywood films, including 50 titlesthat have yet to be released in Japan. Oshio was selling the DVDs at a stall inthe grounds of Nishinomiya Shrine, one of many set up for a national Festivalon January 10.

The DVD of Howl's MovingCastle was made from a video shot in a cinema and was priced at Y1,000($9.71) per copy or Y1,500 ($14.56) for two. This compares with Y1,800 ($17.48)for a standard adult cinema admission.

Oshio is now subject to apossible $50,000 (Y5m) fine and up to five years in prison. Street vendors ofpirated DVDs are becoming more common in Japan's major cities, but Oshio wasthe first to be arrested.

Previously, in November 2003a Japanese businessman was given a suspended sentence for making a pirated filmavailable on the internet.

Yoshihiro Inoue, 42, wasarrested in November 2003 for distributing the Oscar-winning film ABeautiful Mind via an internet peer-to-peer network.