Just as IBM is desperately trying to pare costs to the bone, the company has been presented with a supremely embarrassing demand from its major Japanese users, reports our Tokyo correspondent. Nomura Securities and other major users with big bases in the US and Europe are demanding the same level of support from the local IBM subsidiary as they get from IBM Japan back home in Tokyo. Nomura recently set up a computer centre on the outskirts of New York for 24-hour dealing operations. Technical problems such as those that arise in kanji character processing can only be solved by reference to the Japan office. The demands imply that IBM service is not as uniformly superb at all locations around the world as IBM would like to believe, and acceptance of the demands, which include the secondment of Japanese support staff to the US, and the setting up of international support centres in Tokyo, London and New York to handle multinational operations, will involve IBM in substantial expense – to satisfy hard-won Japanese users it can very ill afford to lose.