Mobile network Softbank is keeping its silence on claims it will be Apple's iPhone launch partner in Japan.

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son this week revealed plans to release new mobile phones with entertainment features to see off competition from rivals. He "declined to comment" on the notion that one of its planned launches would be the Apple iPhone, Reuters reports.

Son, who is described as a "personal friend" of Apple boss Steve Jobs and was in attendance at Macworld Expo last week, did observe that Japan's wireless standard is different than the EDGE support introduced in iPhone v 1.

The rumours, of course, may be no more than wishful thinking: Apple has already said it will not launch the iPhone in the Far East until 2008.