Apple has denied claims that it will launch an iTunes Music Store in Japan this August.

The rumour surfaced after a report appeared in Japanese newspaper the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. It was claimed that Apple had contractual agreements with most major labels in Japan, apart from Sony.

Apple Japan president Yoshiaki Sakito claimed in April that iTunes Music Store Japan will launch by the end of the year. According to The Register the launch has been hindered by the reluctance of local labels to allow it to offer music downloads in the way its US and European stores do.