Will Japan be Apple’s (AAPL) second-best market for the iPhone 3G? In a survey published today by TechOn, 8.9% of Japanese respondents said they planned to purchase an iPhone. Nearly half of those were already subscribers to SoftBank, the no. 3 Japanese carrier that Apple has announced a distribution deal with.
As of this Spring, Japan had 103 million mobile subscribers — so 9% of that represents 9.3 million potential iPhone sales in Japan. Even a fraction of that would be a huge victory for Apple, whose public goal is to sell 10 million iPhones worldwide — 1% of the market — this year.
Update: Arnold Kim at MacRumors brings up some good points criticising the accuracy of this survey; it’s not clear how representative the study is of the overall Japanese mobile market. That said, our point still stands — even a fraction of 9% of the market would be a huge victory for Apple.