Wal-Mart’s international division may be due for expansion, with Japan and China the most likely target for the US supermarket giant. The division is believed to be scouting for sites in both countries and has been active in recruiting employees, according to press reports coming out of the region.

Wal-Mart will reportedly announce its Japanese subsidiary this summer and could be ready to open its first store as early as 2002. International retailers, Boots, Costco and Carrefour recently opened stores in Japan, and Wal-Mart are understandably interested in capturing the market.

China’s entry into the WTO will open up the market there further, and Wal-Mart expects to double its presence from eleven to twenty two stores. The company also has a footing in South Korea.