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Update: Apple issued an official press release Wednesday morning announcing the expansion of the iPad 2 to 12 new countries. The second-generation device will be sold in Japan on Thursday, while the remaining countries will be able to purchase it this Friday.
The IPad 2 will be available at Apple retail stores at 9 a.m. local time, select Apple Authorized Resellers, and online through the Apple Store beginning at 1 a.m.
The iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will also be available in China beginning Friday, May 6.
Earlier Wednesday, business daily Nikkei (subscription required) said the iPad 2 is set to be available this week at the seven retail stores run by Apple in Japan. In addition, customers in the Land of the Rising Sun will also be able to buy the touchscreen tablet at SoftBank stores, and via Apple's website.
The iPad 2 was originally set to launch in Japan along with 25 other countries on March 25, but Apple delayed that launch after the deadly earthquake disaster. The company said the delay would allow its teams to focus on recovery, rather than launching a new product.
Following the massive tragedy in Japan, Apple's retail stores were said to have become a rallying point for citizens. Crowds reportedly flocked to Apple's stores to gain INternet access, and recharge their phones so they could make calls and reach loved ones.