Following the news that United International Pictures (UIP) Japan will close at the end of 2007, Paramount Pictures International (PPI) has announced that it will start its theatrical distribution buisiness in Japan at the start of 2008.

PPI Japan will be combined with the existing Paramount Home Entertainment Japan.

Andrew Cripps, president of PPI said: 'This is a truly important development for Paramount. The Japanese market is challenging and exciting with real potential for growth and this move represents Paramount 's next step in our international program of expansion. I want to pay special tribute to the work done over many years by UIP. Joining together with PHE Japan will help give PPI the strength and depth of talent which we will need to build on this.'

Meanwhile, Universal plans to have its films distributed in Japan through Toha-Towa.