NEW YORK - American Express Co. cardholders will be able to use their cards at many more merchants in Japan, starting this week, under a deal with JCB Co. Ltd., Japan's largest card issuer and merchant-acquirer.

A global partnership agreement the two companies announced in June 2000 gives merchants on the American Express network in Japan, Mexico, India, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia the chance to begin accepting JCB cards. American Express is acting as the merchant-acquirer for JCB and assuming responsibility for processing and serving all new merchants.

On July 31 Amex began allowing many travel, entertainment, and high-volume retail merchants in Mexico on its network to accept JCB cards. It also began acquiring, processing, and serving new merchants in that country on JCB's behalf.

In the next 12 months Amex is to begin providing these same services for JCB in the other markets, the companies said.

In addition, in the United States, American Express has begun working to give JCB technical access to Amex-owned merchant terminals.

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