Unconfirmed media reports say Apple Computer is holding talks with Japanese mobile carriers as it prepares for the expected launch of the iPhone in Japan next year.

According to the reports, major Japanese telecoms NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank Mobile are seeking exclusive domestic marketing rights for the iPhone. Their talks with Apple are said to be running into difficulties because of Apple's apparent insistence that it control the subscriber base through its iTunes Music Store as well as getting a cut of subscription revenue from iPhone users.

The reports also hint at the possibility of Apple doing non-exclusive deals with more than one Japanese carrier.

Apple Japan and iTunes Music Store Japan both said they had no comment to make regarding the reports, as did NTT DoCoMo and Softbank Mobile. A DoCoMo spokesperson confirmed that NTT DoCoMo president/CEO Masao Nakamura and Apple CEO Steve Jobs met recently.

Meanwhile, Japanese media reports say Tadashi Onodera, president of Tokyo-based mobile carrier KDDI, has rejected the idea of tying up with Apple to launch the iPhone in Japan.

Onodera reportedly said KDDI and Apple have discussed a possible deal. He added that KDDI decided not to pursue it because he had not heard of any U.S. mobile carriers that had experienced subscriber growth after starting to sell iPhones.