Apple plans to introduce its iTunes Music Store to Japanese consumers by "as early as next year", said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in Tokyo to help launch the company's giant Ginza own-brand retail store there.

The company is "in talks" with Japanese record labels to get their approval to launch a service in the territory. Japan is the world's second-largest music market.

In October, Roxio insiders told Macworld of that company's plans to launch Napster 2.0 in the territory, while Japanese electronics and media giant Sony has already announced its intent to offer digital devices and a music service worldwide.

Jobs told local reporters that the company plans a second store in Osaka next autumn, with more Japanese Apple stores planned to open in future.