2002, Vol. 13, No. 18
Summary by the Chair of the "International
Conference for Asia Broadband Strategy" and the Report of the
"Study Group for the Asia Broadband Program" Announced
|With the target of transforming all of Asia into
a global information hub, in collaboration with other Asian countries,
through information origination toward the rest of the world and
the rapid increase of information distribution within the region
reflecting Asian cultural diversity, MPHPT has been holding the
"International Conference for Asia Broadband Strategy"
(Chair: Mr. USHIO Jiro, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
Ushio Inc.) and the "Study Group for the Asia Broadband Program"
(Chair: Mr. GOTO Shigeki, Professor, Department of Information
and Computer Science, Waseda University), in order to deliberate
necessary measures for creating a broadband environment within
the Asian region. After a series of meetings, the Conference compiled
the "Summary by the Chair" and the Study Group also
compiled its report.
With regard to the "Asia Broadband Program" directed under
the "e-Japan 2002 Program" (adopted on June 18, 2002 by the
Advanced Information and Telecommunications Society Promotion Headquarters:
IT Strategic Headquarters) and the "Basic Policies for Economic
and Fiscal Policy Management and Structural Reform 2002" (Cabinet
Decision of June 25, 2002), MPHPT held the "International Conference
for Asia Broadband Strategy" (Chair: Mr. USHIO Jiro, Chairman of
Ushio, Inc.) as a forum for proposing basic guidelines in developing
the "Asia Broadband Program," hosted by the Minister for Public
Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications. At the same
time, MPHPT held the "Study Group for the Asia Broadband Program"
(Chair: Prof. GOTO Shigeki, Waseda University), hosted by Vice-Minister
for Policy Coordination TSUKIO Yoshio, Ph.D., as a forum for deliberating
an Action Plan in order to develop specific content of the Plan and
to achieve the goals of the Plan, based upon proposals of the "International
Conference for Asia Broadband Strategy."
On December 16, 2002, at the second meeting of the "International
Conference for Asia Broadband Strategy," the report from the "Study
Group for the Asia Broadband Program" was recognized as appropriate
and the "Summary by the Chair" was adopted.
2. Future schedule
MPHPT will, paying due respect to those "Summary" and "Report,"
develop the "Asia Broadband Program" within FY2002.
The "Summary by the Chair" is as follows:
Summary by the Chair
December 16, 2002
International Conference for Asia Broadband Strategy
The Advanced Information and Telecommunications Society
Promotion Headquarters --IT Strategic Headquarters, headed by Prime
Minister KOIZUMI Junichiro-- decided that the "Asia Broadband
Program" should be formulated within FY2002 as one of the concrete
policy measures toward the "realization of an internationally-balanced
IT society such as construction of international Internet networks"
as clearly stated in the "e-Japan Priority Policy Program - 2002"
(adopted on June 18, 2002).
The International Conference for Asia Broadband Strategy convened
by Mr. KATAYAMA Toranosuke, Minister for Public Management, Home Affairs,
Posts and Telecommunications with the purpose of contributing to the
formulation of the "Asia Broadband Program," has been deliberating
thereon. The Conference today compiled the results of a series of
deliberations as the following summary:
1. Basic recognitions, etc.
(1) Basic recognitions at this Conference
a) Each country/economy in the Asian region
has a rich diversity in various ways such as geographical, social,
economic, cultural and linguistic aspects, while at the same time
maintaining closer relationships with each other. In recent years,
active business deployment of the companies in each country/economy
in Asia and vigorous international exchanges/moves, etc. of people
have in progressed. In addition, joint efforts across borders have
been carried out, as exemplified by moves toward conclusion of FTAs,
etc. and symbolized by the success of the 2002 FIFA World Cup
b) Asia is also one of the world's leading regions in terms of broadband.
The diffusion rates of broadband in Hongkong, Japan, the Republic
of Korea and Taiwan are ranked high in the leading countries/economies
of the world. Furthermore, Japan has become a country that offers
broadband services (DSL) at the world's most inexpensive price level.
c) The advantages of broadband platforms are "constant connection"
and "flat rates." Broadband platforms provide people with
a new environment, thus dramatically overcoming time/space restraints
in social communications compared with the past. Broadband platforms
with such features will contribute to improvement of the quality of
life, stimulation of creative activities, invigoration and improved
efficiency of corporations, NGOs, administrations, etc. They will
also contribute to the shared understanding of a broader range of
diversified cultures, promotion of science, etc., and encourage further
development of society, economy and the cultures of Asia. In particular,
the significance of facilitating cross-border activities and exchanges
is highly appreciated.
d) However, from the viewpoint of sufficient utilization of such effects
of broadband, Asia as a whole is still in a developing stage. Even
in countries/economies with comparatively higher diffusion rates of
broadband, some point out that it is difficult to say that available
circuit capacities are fully utilized because of insufficient broadband
demand. Meanwhile, in developing countries/economies, the most urgent
task is to construct basic and conventional telecommunications infrastructures,
let alone broadband. The digital divide still remains intact.
At present, the amount of international information distribution among
the countries/economies in the Asian region is small in comparison
with those in the North American and European regions. While trade
amounts between the tripolar hubs of Asia, North America and Europe
are nearly equal, the amounts of information distribution between
the "Asian and North American regions" and the "Asian
and European regions" respectively are extremely smaller than
those between the "North American and European regions."
e) In Asia, henceforth, it is considered that the cross-border activities
of individuals, corporations, NPOs, etc. will gain much more significance
through FTAs, etc. Thus, further development of societies, economies
and cultures should be encouraged as an axis of such invigorated activities.
Broadband will be one of key infrastructures for development of such
an Asia in the 21st century. In order to utilize the effects of broadband
to the fullest through introduction and diffusion of broadband, countries/economies
in Asia are requested to make efforts to implement measures for constructing
network infrastructures and promoting their use, as well as for closing
the international digital divide.
The results of these efforts will be extremely meaningful in that
multifaceted activities would flourish, the amounts of information
distribution within the Asian region and between Asia and the rest
of the world would increase, and Asia would become one of the key
information transmission bases (international ICT hubs).
f) In the years ahead, it is vital that such common recognitions be
shared and mutually concerted actions be taken by citizens, governments,
private companies, NPOs, and international organizations, etc. in
(2) This time, the Study Group for the Asia Broadband
Program, established by MPHPT for the purpose of deliberating details
of the "Asia Broadband Program," has compiled its outcome
as a report [see annex]. This Conference, based on the above-mentioned
basic recognitions under (1), hereby understands the contents of this
"Report" as appropriate.
This Conference, based on the report of the "Study Group for
the Asia Broadband Program," hereby proposes the following:
Upon promotion of introduction/diffusion of broadband in Asia, setting
2010 as a tentative target year, a common goal in Asia is to invigorate
information distribution within the Asian region and make the Asian
region as a whole a global information hub. Specifically, paying respects
to the diversity of Asia, it is appropriate that domestic efforts
and international support be directed at, for instance, the following
1) In each country/economy in Asia, the goals on the
number of broadband users, etc. for each country/economy should be
set forth at the earliest possible stage. When targets already exist,
the targets are to be achieved ahead of schedule. Thus, people in
Asia should be allowed to have access to broadband including access
from various public facilities, and to use applications utilizing
broadband advantages to the fullest (e.g., e-governments at central
and local levels, distance learning, etc.).
2) In response to broadband diffusion in Asia, construct international
intra-regional broadband networks with sufficient bandwidths for directly
linking countries/economies in Asia.
3) Increase amounts of information distribution (network bandwidth)
between "Asia and North America" and "Asia and Europe"
to the same level as those between "North America and Europe."
4) Facilitate transition of IPv4 networks to IPv6-ready networks in
5) Digitalize and archive cultural assets in Asian countries/economies,
share them via broadband and transmit them to the rest of the world.
6) In order to encourage economic activities and human resources exchanges,
etc. among Asian countries/economies, develop machine translation
technologies, etc. suitable for the multilingual environment in Asia.
7) With regard to human resources development, drastically increase
the number of engineers/researchers in the ICT field. To this end,
establish ICT training centers in each Asian country/economy, especially
Japan should make efforts to at least double the number of trainees
to be accepted and that of experts to be dispatched.
(2) Measures to be taken
In order to contribute to achievement of the above-mentioned goals
under (1) through facilitation of broadband introduction/diffusion,
it is vital to i) construct network infrastructures, ii) stimulate
user demand for attractive broadband applications and digital content,
etc., iii) prepare common key infrastructures including legal schemes
and technologies, etc. for ensuring secure and smooth use of broadband,
and iv) foster human resources and promote exchanges of human resources.
Measures should be taken from these viewpoints.
In this case, each government including the Japanese Govenment, private
corporations, NPOs, international organizations, etc. should make
concerted efforts in a well-collaborated manner.
a) Major policies
1) Developing the national strategy, legal platform, policy and appropreately
Preparation of network infrastructures in each country/economy in
Asia should, in principle, be led by the private sector. To complement
such endeavors, it is essential for each government, etc. to develop
a national strategy including the setting forth of goals, legal platforms,
etc. such as pro-competitive policies, and to appropriately enforce
these. In order to support those efforts and cooperate thereon, it
is vital to specify priority countries/economies, further strengthen
existing measures for dispatching missions to conduct policy dialogues,
etc., experts, etc. as well as to implement these programs in a comprehensive
and well-organized manner.
2) Preparation of international network infrastructures
It is anticipated that international traffic will sharply increase
along with diffusion of domestic broadband in each country/economy.
In response to such traffic increase, it is critical to prepare international
broadband network infrastructures, international IXs, and hubs suitable
for these in Asia. To this end, in addition to R&D on key technologies,
etc., relevant private providers, etc. in collaboration with governments,
etc. should facilitate such preparation on the basis of international
harmonization and cooperation.
3) Preparation of network infrastructures in developing countries/economies
It is vital to prepare network infrastructures in developing countries/economies
and rural areas, from the viewpoint of bridging the digital divide.
It is desirable that IP networks including broadband, which can realize
lower-priced IP telephony service, be prepared. Because IP networks
cannot be sufficiently prepared by private businesses, it is indispensable
for public organizations, etc., including governments and international
organizations, to support such efforts. To this end, the official
development assistance (ODA) budget, etc. should be further increased.
4) Facilitation of transition to IPv6
In response to the diffusion of broadband in each country/economy
in Asia, the transition of networks to IPv6-ready ones becomes an
important task. Each government should i) set forth goals concerning
introduction/diffusion of IPv6-ready networks, ii) promote the transition
to IPv6, iii) stimulate demand for IPv6 through R&D/verification
experiments pertaining to IPv6-ready applications, digital content,
ICT equipment, etc., and iv) carry out awareness campaigns through
the holding of international fora, etc. for deepening understanding
on IPv6. Furthermore, closer relationships among sectors, including
governments, private businesses, NPOs, etc., should be established.
5) Development and commercialization of network technologies
Considering the reality of Asia--dotted with areas in which fiber-optic
networks are hardly laid because there are many mountainous areas
and islands--new infrastructure technologies suitable for Asia should
be developed and put into practical use, such as fiber-optic, satellite
communications technologies, including the ultrahigh-speed Internet
satellite (WINDS: Wideband InterNetworking engineering test and Demonstration
Satellite) and Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, and other radio communications
6) Preparation of technologies/rules comprising broadband platforms
In order to facilitate distribution of digital content over broadband
platforms, i) rulemaking concerning intellectual property rights,
etc. should be established with appropreate applications, ii) security
measures should be actively promoted through verification experiments
on authentication technologies, etc.
Furthermore, standardization of technology in Asia should be actively
7) Preparation of infrastructures for international collaboration
(testbeds, etc. for application development, etc.)
Preparation of an international broadband testbed for technological
development and verification experiments pertaining to broadband,
including applications, digital content, ICT equipment, etc. among
researchers in Asian countries/economies through use of the ultrahigh-speed
Internet, should be promoted as a broadband infrastructure for international
8) Promotion of applications utilizing broadband
In order to encourage the introduction/diffusion of broadband and
utilize broadband to solve problems, various applications utilizing
broadband features such as transmission of video with realistic sensations
should be promoted.
To this end, public applications such as distance learning systems
linking educational institutions, etc. in Asia, e-governments at central
and local levels contributing to improved transparency, etc. of administration,
e-commerce, international exchanges, etc. should be actively promoted
by each country/economy. At the same time, international support and
cooperation through technical cooperation, international joint projects,
etc. are to be carried out.
9) Digital archives of cultural assets in Asia
The diversified cultures formulated in the long history of Asia are
not only Asian assets but also the world's assets. It is vital to
preserve and utilize these for a long time, from the viewpoint of
deepening the mutual understandings of different cultures and invigorating/developing
local economies. To this end, it is vital to promote the construction
of "digital archives," including virtual museums archiving
the cultural heritage, traditional performing arts, films of Asian
countries/economies, etc. An environment should be prepared in which
such archives can be shared via broadband by people in Asia and the
rest of the world, actively presenting attractive Asian cultures.
Governments and international organizations should actively support
such activities through ODA, etc.
10) Efforts to respond to the multilingual environment in Asia
In Asia, there are many languages. In some cases, the multilingual
environment in the Asian region may become an obstacle to mutual exchanges
and the provision/acquisition of important information. To this end,
R&D on machine translation/retrieval technologies between multiple
languages in Asia should be promoted.
11) Human resources development/exchanges in the broadband age
Considering the current status that Asia lacks human resources in
the ICT field, it is vital to make greater effort than before to carry
out human resources development and exchanges through technology transfer,
including ICT engineers and researchers with advanced and specialized
knowledge and skills.
Specifically, governments and international organizations should drastically
expand efforts to hold training courses and dispatch experts focusing
on broadband, actively promote additional construction of ICT training
centers, etc. in Asian countries/economies and support for such efforts.
In addition, efforts at various levels including the private sector,
NPOs, etc. should be strengthened and collaboration with each other
12) Bridging the digital divide
Considering the significance of bridging the digital divide, toward
developing countries/economies and rural areas, developed countries
and international organizations should further accelerate and expand
efforts to support them through assistance by official funds such
as ODA, etc.
Japan's ODA has been conducted on a request basis from recipient countries/economies.
Some point out that Japan's ODA has many problems such as lack of
functions for sustainable development, and fewer economic development
effects. Thus, transition of ODA from a request basis to an active
project-forming scheme should be considered. When considering the
significance that networks link Asian countries/economies, Japan should
actively offer ODA to multiple countries/economies, currently being
treated as a few exceptions. In addition, implementation of ODA projects
utilizing information and communications technologies, such as distance
learning, telemedicine, etc. should be actively promoted.
In particular, at the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit meeting held in July
2000, the Japanese government stated that Japan would prepare a comprehensive
cooperation package with a total of about 15 billion dollars. Japan
should steadily implement the package toward achievement of the goals.
b) With respect to other initiatives, these should
be implemented in line with the report of the "Study Group for
the Asia Broadband Program."
As regards details of individual concrete initiatives, it is appropriate
that these be studied further.
c) Deliberations at this Conference cover the Asian
region to date. It is appropriate that initiatives applicable to island
countries in the Pacific should be promoted.
(3) On the "Asia Broadband Program"
a) An action plan of the Japanese government,
the "Asia Broadband Program," should be formulated within
FY2002 in accordance with (2) above.
b) With regard to implementation of the "Asia Broadband Program,"
taking into consideration that the IT comprehensive cooperation package
of the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit for bridging the digital divide states
cooperation with official funds of a total of about 15 billion dollars
within a five-year term, Japan should implement priority initiatives
listed in 1) through 12) above during three years from FY2003 through
c) Upon implementation of the "Asia Broadband Program,"
international promotion schemes should be prepared, including utilization
of the existing schemes, such as the Japan-China-Korea ICT Ministerial
Meetings, ASEAN + 3, Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT), Asian-Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Asian Info-communications Council
(AIC), etc. In addition, in Japan a system for implementing those
initiatives should be prepared including those for private companies,
3. In conclusion
In order to prepare broadband environments
in the Asian region, it is critical that Japan take leaderships in
many aspects including implementation of the "Asia Broadband
For example, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) will
be held in December 2003 and in 2005. At a WSIS Asian regional conference
to be held in Tokyo in January 2003, it is considered vital that Japan
introduce proposals for gaining the understanding of Asian countries/economies,
thus, contributing to WSIS. WSIS, a United Nations event, is a good
opportunity to present the "Asia Broadband Program," an
Asian initiative for constructing a broadband environment, to the
world and to contribute to development of the world. We sincerely
desire that these proposals and the "Asia Broadband Program"
will lead to prosperity, peace and stability of Asia and the world.
addresses the International Conference for Asia Broadband Strategy.
Advanced Radio Technology Symposium
-- UWB (Ultra-Wideband) wireless system --
MPHPT, under the joint auspices of the
Communications Research Laboratory (CRL), Independent Administrative
Institution and the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB),
held the "Advanced Radio Technology Symposium 2002" on December
9, 2002, under the theme of ultra-wideband (UWB) wireless system.
For details refer to the Japanese web site
Along with the serious shortage of available frequencies, MPHPT has
been implementing measures for promoting efficient use of radio spectrums
so that frequency resources can be provided on a stable basis.
The objective of this symposium, as one such policy measure, is to promote
efficient development of frequency resources through presentations and
lectures on the latest trends, etc. in advanced radio use technologies
by front-line policymakers, researchers, etc. from Japan and overseas.
At this symposium, under the theme of "UWB (Ultra-Wideband) wireless
system," the following lecturers were invited:
- Dr. Michael J. Marcus, Associate Chief for Technology, Office of Engineering
and Technology, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the U.S.
- Dr. Robert J. Fontana, President, Multispectral Solutions, Inc.
- Prof. Maria-Gabriella Di Benedetto, University of Rome La Sapienza
- Prof. KOHNO Ryuji, Ph.D., Division of Physics, Electrical and Computer
Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Yokohama National University,
and UWB Technology Group of CRL
- Dr. WAKANA Hiromitsu, Director, Yokosuka Radio Communications Research
Dr. Marcus and Dr. Fontana introduced various aspects of UWB radio communications
systems in the U.S., including policy matters, case studies, applications,
Prof. Benedetto presented Ultra-Wideband Concepts for Ad-hoc Networks
(UCAN), a Research and Technological Development (RTD) Project sponsored
by the EULs Information Society Technologies program (IST-Program)
of the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5), and a study on UWB radio communications
systems at the University of Rome La Sapienza.
Prof. KOHNO explained R&D trends of UWB radio communications systems
and necessity for introduction thereof in an easy-to-understand manner.
Dr. WAKANA introduced the latest progress in research on radio communications
systems such as UWB, High Altitude Platform System (HAPS) and Intelligent
Transport Systems (ITS) at CRL.
This symposium with some 300 participants surpassing the official capacity
of seats showed the high interest in UWB radio communications systems.
Lecturers gave valuable and informative presentations on UWB radio communications
systems. MPHPT expects this symposium to encourage deliberations on
introduction of UWB radio communications systems in Japan, at the same
time, MPHPT will continue to implement measures for promoting efficient
use of radio spectrums.
OECD Secretary-General Donald Johnston
Pays Courtesy Visit on Senior Vice-Minister KATO
On December 6, 2002, Mr. Donald Johnston,
Secretary-General, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD), paid a courtesy visit on Mr. KATO Norifumi, Senior Vice-Minister
for Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications,
Member of the House of Councilors. At the meeting, the Senior Vice-Minister
and the Secretary-General exchanged opinions on information and communications
fields in Japan.
The outline of the meeting was as follows:
1. At first, Senior Vice-Minister KATO referred to the Economic Survey
of Japan 2002 of the Economic and Development Review Committee (EDRC),
that states "In the network sectors, the regulatory framework
is most advanced in the telecommunications sector. In some segments
strong competition has developed and prices have come down from levels
which were around the highest in the OECD area." He expressed
thanks to the Secretary-General that OECD appreciated policy measures
including such pro-competitive policies as collocation and unbundling
in Japan's telecommunications field and promoted competition/rate
reductions as a result of those pro-competitive policies. Then, Senior
Vice-Minister KATO explained the current status of sharp decrease
in charges for broadband and drastic increase in the number of broadband
users by presenting graphs, etc.
Secretary-General Johnston, in response to the explanation, commented
that Japan's achievement and progress in diffusing broadband is very
impressive and will encourage such endeavors around the world.
2. Then, the Senior Vice-Minister introduced the Asian Regional Conference
for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (to be held
in January 2003 in Tokyo) and the "Asia Broadband Program"
to the Secretary-General. In particular, Senior Vice-Minister KATO
explained that the "Asia Broadband Program" is an initiative
for promoting information transmission from the Asian region and contributing
to the development of the Asian region. He added that the progress
report of deliberations on the Asia Broadband Program will be presented
at the WSIS Asia Regional Conference and the OECD-APEC Global Forum
to be held in Hawaii immediately after the Asia Regional Conference,
so that a broader range of opinions will be exchanged.
3. Furthermore, both sides exchanged opinions on the establishment
of the Postal Services Corporation, a new government-owned public
4. In closing the meeting, the Senior Vice-Minister and the Secretary-General
confirmed that collaborative ties between the two parties shall be
Survey of Japan 2002 (excerpt)
of network sectors needs to be further developed with attention
given to enforcement and appropriate staffing of the regulatory
the network sectors, the regulatory framework is most advanced
in the telecommunications sector. In some segments strong competition
has developed and prices have come down from levels which were
around the highest in the OECD area. Lower prices will help
the government in its policy to promote the use of information
and communications technologies. A more complex and competitive
market is, however, highlighting regulatory issues that need
to be addressed. The abuse of dominant market position by the
incumbent remains a problem, requiring greater use of ex ante
measures and stronger powers of investigation. Above all, more
effective enforcement is required. It is also evident that the
regulator (in this case the previous Ministry) needs to respond
to the evolving market by hiring specialists rather than relying
on rotation within the civil service. This issue will also be
important in the electricity and gas sectors where deregulation
is much less advanced and is one consideration the other being
the need to clearly establish impartiality in moving to independent
regulators. Lack of progress in the electricity sector stems
from the excessive influence by the existing integrated companies
over the government's policy-forming bodies. In all the network
sectors, structural measures to establish competition must remain
on the agenda. Continued prudential-vigilance may also be required
to address problems in the insurance sector and the development
of the capital markets should be promoted.
Donald JOHNSTON Pays Courtesy Visit on Senior Vice-Minister
International Policy Division,
International Affairs Department,
Ministry of Public Management, Home
Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications
1-2, Kasumigaseki 2-chome, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 100-8926, Japan