The latest week of Jump magazine has confirmation regarding Kingdom Hearts 2's release…and the word is 2005. Square has yet to set any definite timeframe, so we could be looking at a Q1 Winter 2005 release or maybe even a Q4 Fall 2005 release. It wouldn't be wrong to anticipate that Kingdom Hearts 2 will be released during the first half of 2005, so the Winter-Summer 2005 timeframe is a much more likely candidate. All of the past characters who've made cameos in the first Kingdom Hearts will return for the sequel; and that is including Squall, Yuffie, Aeris and Auron (who will be making his first appearance).
Square will be hosting a premiere party in Japan on August 26th to demonstrate Kingdom Hearts 2 in fully playable form. Unfortunately the event is invite only, but people will be able to actually play Kingdom Hearts 2 at this event; unlike E3 where it was demonstrated in video form.