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Thanks for the tip.
Finally it worked after I rebooted, without doing anything.
This is using LXDE.
In the meanwhile I installed the same OS (Debian 6.0.6) on a different computer, this time with KDE and I got a related but slightly different problem.
I can use Japanese input based on Ibus-anthy, but this time the icon does not show up in the panel as it should, that prevents me from choosing the options I would like to use with anthy.
Well, after I installed it, Ibus got an entry. I do not think it could have had one before.
But in any case this entry gives me the choice between [several] possible method[s] to use with Ibus (in my case only anthy, since this is the only one I installed). Nevertheless it does not let me set the way anthy itself works.
And this is my very problem. Normally I would set the options for anthy using its icon (which is now missing).
For those who might encounter the same problem. Here is the solution I just found.
In the General tab of Ibus Preferences, set Show language panel: to When active and it will make the icon appear when needed.
The previous setting was Embedded in menu and I do not quite know what that means.
(The icon was probably hidden somewhere in some menu)