Ringer Huw did some research and got the rest of the story for Japanese Tolkien fans:
“It looks like LOTR fans in Japan will have a lot longer to wait for the first movie than in other countries.
The first teaser trailer is only now making an appearance in Japanese movie theaters ahead of current releases such as “Fifteen Minutes”, and a senior source within the local distributor says that FOTR will NOT be released in Japan until next year around 2002 March, if not even later.
The delayed release schedule is totally contrary to New Line’s stated goal of a worldwide simultaneous release on December 19th with the minimum necessary number of countries slipping into the New Year. The exception is particularly striking considering Japan’s status as the world’s second-largest economy and one of Hollywood’s biggest and most lucrative overseas markets.
As an independent New Line historically used a number of distribution companies in Japan including Gaga and Shochiku-Fuji. Despite now being part of AOL Time Warner, New Line continues to use different distributors for each picture rather than Warner Japan, and FOTR is being distributed by Herald Japan
A Japanese LOTR movie site has recently been set up to promote the movie here
A potential reason for the delayed release in Japan is the relative lack of popularity and awareness of LOTR. New Line may get better results if LOTR becomes a phenomenon elsewhere then arrives in Japan as the “next big thing from the West” (an old marketing ploy which continues to work well). Although the delay may make sense commercially, it is a kick in the face for fans who have been waiting in the expectation that FOTR will be shown here on December 19th or shortly thereafter, when it will open in every other market worth mentioning.”