Yahoo! Japan, which operates that country's most-visited Web portal, started an online audio-streaming service that lets users listen to...

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Yahoo! Japan, which operates that country’s most-visited Web portal, started an online audio-streaming service that lets users listen to full songs for free to attract customers to its music sites.

Yahoo! aims to lure customers to buy CDs from the shopping portal or download music for a fee after they listen to the sample songs, the company said today. Customers can’t save the music files onto their computers from the streaming service.

Competition in Japan’s online music-distribution service is intensifying after Apple Computer started an iTunes online music store Aug. 4.