I'm not surprised about Nintendo, both the initial rejection and now the reversal, but I am kind of surprised about Microsoft. They were actually going after the Japanese market back then. I guess maybe they thought it was tooo Japanese.
Good on the producer for sticking to his guns. The Japanese gaming industry trying to replicate what the west was doing was a mistake.
The JPN push came with the 360 and not so much the original Xbox, which is where it would have released had ms said yes.
So it's not that surprising.