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One last thing... recently there was released a software package to unlock the iPhone once you have upgraded to the iPhone 3.0 software via iTunes. I can walk you through that process as well. Main point: your Japanese iPhone IS NOT a paper weight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Did you figure out your issue? I had a Softbank iPhone (3G), had to leave Japan for job reasons, and was able to jailbreak (this means hack the iphone so you can change appearance, add new apps that apple hasn't approved, etc.) and unlock (this means allow use on ANY carrier, in my case I use AT&T in the states) the iPhone.
If you're still stuck, email me at [email protected]. Hope I can help!