ICT forms the basis of all social and economic activity, and is an essential strategic field that holds the key to continuous economic growth and the resolution of social issues.
The ICT sector is giving rise to new technologies and innovations one after another, with new business models that utilize these appearing in a continuous succession.
Moreover, knowledge and information have come to be actively exchanged in various social and economic contexts over digital broadcasting and broadband networks. The construction of societies in which the sharing, application, and accumulation of this knowledge and information produces new value is progressing around the world.
As ICT continues to drastically change the face of society in this manner, to revive the country from the recent earthquake disaster and continue to achieve its economic revival, Japan must promote the thorough application of ICT in all areas of society and the economy in an effort to create new industries and markets and enhance its international competitiveness. It must also use and apply ICT to contribute to addressing the various social problems facing Japan, and to help the Japanese people experience improvements in their lifestyle and society.
Against this background, the MIC is working on the comprehensive planning, drafting, and promotion of ICT measures that the government should be addressing in a prioritized manner in order to achieve a lifestyle for its citizens that is affluent, convenient, and also safe and secure. This is to be done by achieving economic growth and enhancing international competitiveness through ICT.
Specifically, "Council for Driving ICT Strategy and Policy for Growth" was held to ensure the steady advancement of "ICT Growth Strategy", which was compiled last year, as well as to deliberate on a new strategy: "ICT Growth Strategy II".
In addition, with a view to considering measures to further Japan's international competitiveness and global outreach in the field of ICT, the MIC launched "Commission on Intensification of International Competitiveness and Global Outreach in the Field of ICT". The commission also compiled "Initiative on Intensification of International Competitiveness and Global Outreach in the Field of ICT".
MIC has prioritized "ICT Growth Strategy II" as domestic strategy, and "Initiative on Intensification of international Competitiveness and Global Outreach in the Field of ICT" as international strategy. Finally, "Smart Japan ICT Strategy", which is comprised of these two strategies, was announced in June 2014.
In addition, from the perspective of comprehensive ICT policy planning, we survey and analyze current state of ICT and policy trends. The results are compiled into an annual report called the "White Paper on Information and Communications in Japan".
The MIC promotes ICT research and development that maintains and expands the vitality of Japan's ICT industry, while also promoting the seeds for next-generation businesses that will achieve sustainable economic growth and create employment. Specific examples that could be mentioned for this include the network infrastructure technologies accommodating the era of big data, communications platform technologies for smart grids, high-speed large-capacity and low-power optical network technology, electromagnetic wave sensing technologies, neural information communications technologies, technologies for achieving ICT networks that are resilient to disasters, space communication technologies, and more.
Furthermore, MIC has implemented "INNOvation Program", (INNO means unusual talent in Japanese) which promotes the challenges by disruptive-creative persons who are not bound by traditional thinking, under "Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Programme (SCOPE)" which invites the submission of research topics to supports innovative research. It also established a research and development structure that is always accepting applications that gives support to concretely instantiating the technical outcomes from universities, venture companies, and others. The MIC has also widely opened its testbed network that integrates elemental technologies for next-generation networks to drastically resolve problems such as security and energy consumption, and has supported research and development through industry-academic-government cooperation.
It also promotes international standardization activities designed to broadly disseminate joint international research through partnerships with foreign governments and the results of research and development internationally with a view towards strengthening international competitiveness.
The field of ICT is one of the principal engines for Japan to realize sustainable economic growth. Accordingly, the promotion of the international development of Japan's industries is an important matter of policy, and the MIC is implementing various initiatives in this regard. For example, the MIC is proactively working to promote the adoption of ISDB-T, which is the digital terrestrial TV broadcasting system of Japan. In addition, the ministry is using this opportunity to engage in the development of related businesses centered mainly around regions in which Japanese-style digital terrestrial TV broadcasting has been adopted. In specific terms, it holds intergovernmental meetings and international seminars where it promotes and supports sales for broadcasting-related equipment, such as transmitters and receivers, as well as broadcast content.
The MIC also proactively works to support Japanese companies in advancing into the ICT sector (such as with distance learning), in order to expand the cooperative relations cultivated through terrestrial digital into cooperation across the ICT sector as a whole. Particularly in the Asian region, which has seen remarkable growth in recent years and is of increasing importance to Japan, the MIC is working to use ICT, which is one of Japan's strongpoints, to resolve social problems (like redressing disparity, etc.), while also promoting the deployment of Japanese ICT systems. As an example, it is promoting the ASEAN Smart Network Initiative, which supports installing broadband covering the entire ASEAN region and disseminating applications that promote the use of ICT in order to contribute to strengthening ASEAN connectivity in this same region. Based on this initiative, the MIC has been moving forward with installing ICT infrastructure suited to the challenges of each partner country, as well as the deployment of disaster prevention ICT systems, disaster prevention and environmental monitoring systems, and healthcare networks for expectant and nursing mothers.
The MIC is furthermore working to provide an environment to advance the overseas development of ICT and the smooth distribution of information in this manner. Specifically, it aims to create trade frameworks that supplement the needs of Japanese industry, such as by abolishing or mitigating regulations on foreign capital in partner countries in various EPA negotiations such as over the TPP and at the WTO. It also holds policy discussions in multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations, APEC, ASEAN, OECD, ITU, and APT in aiming to realize a cyberspace in which information can circulate freely, safely, and securely. This year, in light of the fact that Japan is marking its 50-year anniversary since joining the OECD, the MIC plans to hold high-level meetings in Japan around themes such as the use of big data.
Most economic activities, civil activities, natural phenomena, and so forth are associated with the particular location or place where they occurred, and information associated with these locations is called geospatial information. For example, information from rain gauges and seismographs in particular locations constitutes geospatial information, as does information muttered by people taking cover from the rain under the eaves of a building. In particular, geospatial information technology is referred to as one of the three major fields along with nanotechnology and biotechnology that will achieve innovations and vastly increase employment opportunities. Therefore, there are hopes that "Geospace × ICT," which combines geospatial information with the ICT that is rapidly creating new value, will create new innovations in our daily lives.
By way of example, for safety and security, which is an important issue for our everyday lives, one of the most pressing challenges is creating a society that is resilient against disasters that can reliably save the lives of those that can be saved. The hope is that through Geospace × ICT we will be able to accurately predict and determine disasters based on the information from various different meteorological sensors, thereby realizing disaster prevention systems that can accurately convey this information to citizens.
Moreover, in the industrial arena geospatial information is expected to be utilized in various different sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, and commerce. It is estimated that the size of the market related to geospace will grow from roughly 20 trillion yen (in fiscal 2012) to about 32 trillion yen by fiscal 2020. But it has been calculated that this could grow to as much as roughly 62 trillion yen by means of setting in place structures that allow for the easy use of geospatial information, and by demonstrating forward-thinking models for Geospace × ICT.
Given such circumstances, the MIC will work to erect forward-thinking models for Geospace × ICT via demonstration projects through partnerships between industry, academia, and the public sector in order to strengthen disaster preparedness and underpin economic activity.