Maneo to introduce p2p lending in Japan aims to be the first active p2p lending service in Japan. Their mission statement (from a press release):

maneo Inc. plans to offer a user friendly and highly secure online community for people to borrow and lend money through an online auction system. maneo is about helping people lend and borrow money with each other, sidestepping the expense and inconvenience of traditional banks and consumer finance companies. People who want to borrow money register with maneo and create loan listings. Potential lenders register with maneo and bid on the loan listings they are interested in. maneo aggregates the bids with the lowest rates to fund the relevent loans and handles all of the administrative matters relating to the loans

Maneo received venture capital from J-Seed Ventures Inc. and Yasuda Enterprise Development Co., Ltd. The last funding round was in April 2008 for 80 million Yen (approx. 0.75 million US$). The first funding round was in April 2007.

The company website currently says “Coming in Summer 2008”. Zopa and Prosper also have announced plans for Japan, but no launch date has been set so far.

(Sources/further reading: 1, 2, 3 – all in japanese)

maneo screenshot date 08/01/2008