Apple is said to have plans to launch a music download service in Japan by March 2005.

Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai reports that Apple intends to offer more than 100,000 songs, with an emphasis on Japanese music.

Apple Japan has not yet confirmed the claims however.

Nine music download services already operate in Japan. Currently prices per download are high, starting at 100 yen ($3.84 per song) reports Reuters.

The iPod currently accounts for 50 per cent of the Japanese MP3 player market.