Japan has joined the US, UK, Germany, and India as the fifth country where Alexa and Amazon Echo devices are available. Just as Amazon has done with every new country where Alexa is launched, Echo devices in Japan are currently available by invite only while they work out potential issues and quirks with Alexa before releasing the voice assistant to all Japanese customers.
As is often the case with Alexa’s launch in a new country, Amazon is offering Prime members heavy discounts on Echo devices for early adopters in Japan. The Amazon Echo is being sold for ¥11,980 (~$105) in Japan but Prime members receive ¥4,000 (~$35) off, bringing the price down to ¥7,980 (~$70). The Echo Dot is ¥5,980 (~$53) in Japan with ¥2,000 (~$18) off for Prime members, making it ¥3,980 (~$35). The Echo Plus is ¥17,980 (~$158) in Japan but does not offer a discount for Prime members. The Echo and Echo Dot discounts for Prime members are available through November 17th.
In addition to the Prime member discounts, offering Echo device buyers credit that can be used towards an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription. On top of the standard 30-day free trial, buyers of the Echo Dot in Japan will receive a ¥980 (~$9) credit towards a music subscription. Buyers of the Echo get a ¥1,960 (~$17) credit and buyers of the Echo Plus get a ¥2,940 (~$26) credit.
Amazon says Alexa in Japan will use a new Japanese voice and will have local knowledge of the country. There are also already 250 Alexa skills from Japanese developers and Amazon is opening the doors for all developers to begin submitting additional Alexa skills for Japanese customers. Both the Alexa Skills Kit and the Alexa Voice Service has been expanded to support Japanese for developers and hardware makers to begin crafting Alexa experiences customized for Japanese customers.
Alexa is not yet available on Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks in Japan. No word yet on when that will change.