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By Ingrid Lunden

In October, Amazon (AMZN) added Japan for the first time to the list of markets where it sells its Kindle and Kindle Fire tablets, which will go on sale Dec. 19. Today, it’s giving those products a bit of services support: The Cloud Drive is now live in Japan, too.

Although Amazon has been running its main e-commerce site in Japan for years now, selling books, electronics, and the many other goods that it sells everywhere else, Japan is a relatively new market for Amazon when it comes to the company’s later generations of products. It was only last year that Amazon added Japan to its network of regional data centers. And the Kindles are only arriving there this year. But as Amazon increasingly looks to scale up products like its cloud services and Kindles, and they become an increasingly important part of its business, offering them in regions where it already has a strong brand name is an essential part of its growth.

On the other hand, the Cloud Drive should add another incentive for users considering buying the Kindle tablets, which themselves do not have lots of storage. As in other markets where the Cloud Drive is available, users will be able to upload and store all their digital files, and will be able to access them using the company’s Cloud Drive PC, Mac and Android apps, and from web browsers. Amazon says that it will also soon be adding the ability to access Cloud Drive files also from Kindle Fire and Fire HD tablets -- further driving those products into the direction of being PC replacements.

Customers will be getting free storage -- as in the U.S., up to 5 GB -- with additional plans starting at ¥800 ($9) per year for 20 GB more. "Cloud Drive offers a simple, secure and convenient option for managing important digital content like photos, videos and documents," said Russell Dicker, director of Cloud Drive for Amazon, in a statement. "With Cloud Drive, you don’t have to worry about hard drive crashes or not being able to access files that are stored on physical devices. All of your content is stored safely on Amazon’s servers and is accessible from any PC, Mac or Android device -- and coming soon in Japan, Kindle Fire."

The full press release is below:

Amazon Cloud Drive Comes to Japan SEATTLE -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Nov. 15, 2012

Amazon.com, Inc. today announced the launch of Amazon Cloud Drive in Japan. Customers in Japan can now easily upload and securely store all of their digital files in the Amazon Cloud, and access them using the Cloud Drive PC, Mac and Android Apps, or from any web browser – and soon, from Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD. All customers get 5 GB of free storage with additional plans starting at ¥800 a year. For more information visit www.amazon.co.jp/clouddrive.

Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD will begin shipping to customers in Japan on December 19. The new family of Kindle Fire devices, combined with Cloud Drive, enables customers to easily and safely store and enjoy their photos in stunning high-resolution anywhere they are, plus arrange personal photos beautifully, with a mosaic view. Customers can also use their Kindle Fire to view their favorite photos on their TV using HDMI out, which enables them to connect an HDMI cable from their Kindle Fire to any device that has an HDMI port. Kindle Fire owners can also quickly and easily import their Facebook photos to Cloud Drive.

'Cloud Drive offers a simple, secure and convenient option for managing important digital content like photos, videos and documents,' said Russell Dicker, director of Cloud Drive for Amazon. 'With Cloud Drive, you don’t have to worry about hard drive crashes or not being able to access files that are stored on physical devices. All of your content is stored safely on Amazon’s servers and is accessible from any PC, Mac or Android device -- and coming soon in Japan, Kindle Fire.'

Earlier this month, Amazon announced the Cloud Drive Photos App for Android, enabling Cloud Drive customers to upload, store, access and enjoy their photo libraries using their Android phones and tablets. In addition, Cloud Drive customers using Macs can easily upload their iPhoto albums to Cloud Drive in as little as two clicks using the Cloud Drive Desktop App. Users can select the events they want to upload and the Cloud Drive Desktop App seamlessly uploads photos so they can be enjoyed instantly on Kindle Fire or from any web browser.

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Source: Amazon's Cloud Drive Now Live In Japan To Beef Up Its Kindle And Content Business There