No More 20GB or 60GB PS3's in Japan SoonIn a similar move to the UK late last year, you will soon only be able to buy the 40GB version of the PS3 in Japan, it has just been announced. From this month they will not be supplied with any more 20GB or 60GB models so once the existing stocks dry up - that's it.
The 40GB version of the console (without PS2 compatibility) was released in Japan in October/November 2007 at 39,800 yen (around £185 which is annoyingly over £100 cheaper than it is sold in the UK - grrrr!) to be sold along side the existing more expensive 20GB and 60GB models (with PS2 compatibility). Upon introduction it had the same effect over there that it did here and gave a huge boost to PS3 sales.
I would think the reasoning behind this decision is to try and move to offering the same model all over the world, at the cheaper and more accessible price. This will mean less management of stock and easier distribution, thus saving money which could eventually lead to more price cuts for us customers - always a good thing ;-)
Sony have added though that it will release new models "to respond to end-user preferences sometime in the future". I suppose this could mean a return of PS2 compatibility if the public demanded it, which would be nice but adding back the ability to play 'old' technology games is probably not a priority any more - unless they started selling them through the PSN (Playstation Network). The 40GB models still play PS1 games though which are available to download through PSN.