In order to read (and write) Japanese on a computer which has the English Version of Microsoft Windows as its operating system, it is necessary to install software support files known as the Japanese Language Pack and the Global Input Method Editor, commonly abbreviated "Global IME."

After you install Global IME, Windows displays the Language bar icon on the task bar whenever a supporting application is active. To write in East Asian characters, you just have to click the Language bar icon, select the desired East Asian language, and start typing.

Microsoft states that Global IME works on any computer running on Windows 2000*, Windows Millennium, Windows 98, Windows 95, or Windows NT 4.0 with Internet Explorer 5.01 or greater. There is a Global IME available for XP users as well. Note that Global IME 5.02 is not supported on computers running Office XP and should not be installed. Office XP users must instead install the Global IMEs for Office XP.

test image The IME and appropriate language pack may be downloaded free from Microsoft

Beginning with versions 4.72 and 6 of Composer and Netscape respectively, Netscape started to support Global IMEs, but there are, apparently, numerous known limitations to such support.

test image Consult Netscape's web site for more details.
*Netscape advises that

On Windows 2000 Global IMEs are not needed and must not be installed since Windows 2000 CD
ships with its own improved IMEs for CJK input.

A Global IME module should not be installed if the operating system already has its own IME for that language. That is, you should not install Japanese Global IME on Japanese Windows, Traditional Chinese Global IME on Traditional Chinese Windows, etc.