Did you get him an 8900 or a Bold (9000). They are not the same. The 8900 is the updated Curve and is NOT 3G (only EDGE). see here: BlackBerry - Specifications - BlackBerry Curve 8900 Specs
The 9000 (Bold) is 3G, but no UMA. I can also verify that it works in Japan (and Korea), having used it there (the Bold, that is).