July 20, 2004,Vol. 15, No. 7
ISSN 1346-5317

Results of the Asia-Pacific Broadband Summit

-- Toward accelerated deployment of broadband platformsand realization of a ubiquitous network society --

On July 1 and 2, 2004, the "Asia-Pacific Broadband Summit (ABS)"was held in Bangkok, Thailand, in commemorating the silver jubilee of theAsia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT).  Ministers, etc. in charge of telecommunicationsfrom 32 countries, including Rep. ASO Taro, Minister for Public Management,Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications of Japan, attended the ABS. 

[Outline of the Summit]

  1. 1. At the ABS, in order to widely spread broadband in the Asia-Pacificregion, an agenda consisting of the five pillars, including awareness aboutthe significance of broadband, human resources development and human capacitybuilding, and a concrete action plan for collaboration among APT countrieswere adopted.
  1. 2. Minister ASO in his statement presented a variety of measures for realizingthe agenda to be taken by Japan in accordance with the "Asia BroadbandProgram," introduced the "u-Japan Initiative," and highlighted the importanceof realizing a ubiquitous network society.
  2. 3. In addition, Minister ASO held meetings separately with Pol. Lt. Col.Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand; Dr. SurapongSuebwonglee, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Thailand;Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mr. DayanidhiMaran, India; and others, exchanging opinions for strengthening futurecollaborative ties in the ICT field including deployment of broadband platforms.
  At those meetings, Minister ASO was requested to attend the ASEAN+ 3 Ministerial Meeting (TELMIN) to be held in Bangkok in August 2004,and the ministers reached an agreement that Japan would actively participatein and collaborate regarding the ASEAN + 3 TELMIN.
Note: Asia Pacific Telecommunity is a regional international organizationin the Asia-Pacific region specializing in telecommunications.

Address by Minister ASO at APT Ministerial Conferenceon Broadband & ICT Development

Minister ASO gives an opening address at APT Ministerial Conferenceon Broadband & ICT Development.

[1. Preamble]
Your Excellencies, Honorable Government Representatives, DistinguishedParticipants and Guests:
It is my great honor, today, to have the opportunity to address theAPT Ministerial Conference on Broadband & ICT Development.  Itis always a pleasure to visit this city.  On behalf of the Governmentof Japan, I'd like to express my gratitude for the warm hospitality extendedby Your Excellency Surapong SUEBWONGLEE and government officials of Thailand,as well as the citizens of Bangkok.  I would also like to pay my deepestrespects and gratitude to the people who have worked effortlessly to convenethis APT Ministerial Conference, including Mr. Amarendra Narayan, the ExecutiveDirector of the APT.

[2. Development of ICT in Asia-Pacific regionduring the 25 years since the beginning of the APT]
As you are well aware during the 25 years since the beginning of APT,the economy of the Asia-Pacific region has undergone significant socioeconomicdevelopment, especially in the essential manufacturing industry. Today, the GDP of this region exceeds eight trillion dollars making itthe center of the world's largest production bases.  Additionally,the information and communications technology (ICT) has been developingat a dramatic pace and as such ICT is now an indispensable tool in ourdaily living.  I believe that the ICT revolution matches the industrialrevolution of the 18th century.  I also believe that riding on thewave of this ICT revolution, is the key for the further development ofeconomic activities and just as the role of ICT for the development ofsocial economy is, therefore, significant.

[3. Diffusion and promotion of broadband environment]
In January of 2001, Japan developed its national ICT strategy called"e-Japan Strategy."  The goal of the Strategy is "Japan shall becomethe world's most advanced ICT nation by 2005" and therefore, Japan hasbeen actively building both network infrastructures and implementing competitionpolicies.  As a result of such efforts we have already realized andalmost achieved our goal for 2005: that is, a world's highest-speed andlowest-priced broadband platforms for users.  Furthermore, the "e-Japanstrategy II" was developed in July 2003 in order to focus on the promotionof actual use of broadband infrastructures.  The goal of "e-JapanStrategy II" is "for Japan to become the world's most advanced ICT nationby 2005, and continue to be the world's most advanced ICT nation beyond2006."  To this end, both the public and private sectors in tandemhave been working to attain the goal.

[4. Toward realization of a ubiquitous networksociety]
In addition, I have recently announced an initiative entitled "u-Japan."("u" is an abbreviation of the word "Ubiquitous".)  Under this initiative,new policy measures are included for construction of an invigorated Japanby 2010, which will enable active participation in our society by all people,from children to the elderly and also for people with disabilities. In the age where senior citizens are increasing and the number of childrendecreasing, the initiative aims to utilize ICT to make an environment wherepeople who require nursing care can lead the same vigorous lives as thosewithout.  I expect that a new information society will be createdthrough the realization of the ubiquitous network society, in which socioeconomicactivities are supported by "networks available for anyone at anytime,anywhere."  I believe that people in such a society will enjoy "sustainableeconomic growth" and a "secure and safe society."  To this end, incollaborating with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the Governmentof Japan will make efforts to realize the ubiquitous network society.

[5. Development of the "Asia Broadband Program"]
Currently, although the trade volume between Asia, North America, andEurope is almost balanced, the volume of information transmission betweenAsia and North America, Asia and Europe, are smaller than that betweenNorth-America and Europe.  The Asia-Pacific region, with its hugepopulation and cultural diversity, shows immeasurable potential for growth. Accordingly, it is necessary for us to transmit information from the Asia-Pacificregion ourselves.  This will enable us to turn ourselves into a worldinformation hub as well as the industrial hub in this 21st century. To this end, in March 2003, MPHPT developed an action plan to realize the"Asia Broadband Program" upholding goals for preparing a broadband environmentin the Asia-Pacific region.  MPHPT has already begun specific activitiesin this region, including the "North-South Submarine Fiber-Optic CableLink Project" in Vietnam which connects 2,000 km from north to south byfiber-optic cable.  In addition to the network infrastructure, Japanhas been making efforts to promote broadband applications and human resourcesdevelopment.  I am confident that the promotion of this Program willcontribute, not only to the development of the Asia-Pacific region, butalso to the future development of other regions, as a model for internationalharmonization in the ICT field.

[6. Contribution of Japan through APT]
The Government of Japan holds the view that the role of APT is significantin making the Asia-Pacific region an information hub.  Japan willfurther continue to contribute to invigorating APT activities.  Specifically,I would like to propose three support measures; namely, first, is an increasein human capacity building; second, support for international joint researchprojects; and, third, support for pilot projects including tele-centersin rural areas.  These support measures will be accorded higher prioritiesin implementation.  With regard to training courses, I am aware ofthe importance of Human Resources Development (HRD).  In additionto the existing technical courses, MPHPT will employ new fields such asICT policies, broadband, security and e-Government.  Furthermore,MPHPT will, not only receive trainees into Japan, but also will activelyintroduce distance learning, or e-education, and hold seminars in countriesin the Asia-Pacific region, to enable as many people as possible to participatein the training courses.  In implementing ICT researcher and engineerexchange programs for fostering advanced researchers in the ICT field,MPHPT will actively add new programs focusing on broadband as themes. This will further thereby contribute to the development of broadband inthe Asia-Pacific region.  Aside from those efforts, since the narrowingof the digital divide is still a very important matter to be solved, MPHPTwill carry out activities to support pilot projects such as rural tele-centers,as part of efforts to ensure accessibility in rural areas.  I stronglyhope and recommend that these activities will be included in the BangkokAgenda which will be adopted tomorrow.

[7. Conclusion]
I firmly believe that activities of the APT, the only internationalorganization specializing in telecommunications in the region, based uponthe strong collaboration between the APT and other organizations will greatlycontribute to the realization of a broadband society and ubiquitous networksociety in the Asia-Pacific region.  In Thailand, as the proverb says"Khwamsamakhi Khuu Palang," in English, they say "United, they get morepower," it is very important that we in the Asia-Pacific region challengeand collaborate together in the new information and communications field. Together with relevant organizations, Japan will strive to bridge the digitaldivide in the region.  I would like to conclude my address by expressingmy hope for the coming day when the Asia-Pacific region leads the worldand I will also promise to cooperate as much as possible in the realizationof the agenda items included in the Bangkok agenda.
Thank you.

Release of "Information and Communications in Japan: White Paper 2004"

The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications(MPHPT) presented a report on the "Information and Communications in Japan:White Paper 2004" to the Cabinet meeting held on Friday, July 6, 2004 andreleased the White Paper to the public.
Since 1973, the White Paper on information and communications has beencompiled by MPHPT annually in order to gain national understanding of thecurrent status of information and communications in Japan and the trendsof the Japanese information and communications policies.  The "Informationand Communications in Japan: White Paper 2004" marks the 32nd issue.
Japan is seeing rapid progress in improvement of the information communicationsinfrastructure, such as the availability of the world's lowest-priced andhighest-speed broadband services.  Terrestrial digital televisionbroadcasting was inaugurated in the three major metropolitan areas of Tokyo,Nagoya and Osaka in December 2003, and intelligent home appliances andRFID tags that utilize networks are gradually coming into use.  Thesedevelopments are leading toward the realization of ubiquitous networksto which all users can freely access and exchange all types of informationanytime, from anywhere and from any appliance.
In light of this situation, MPHPT featured the building of a ubiquitousnetwork society spreading throughout the world in this year's White Paper,and analyzes the current status of evolving network infrastructure, theexpectations of individuals and businesses for ubiquitous networks, andthe issues concerning the realization of an optimal ubiquitous networksociety in the future and its economic impact.

Results of the 2004 Session of the ITU Council

The 2004 session of the ITU Council was held at the ITU Headquarters inGeneva, Switzerland, from June 9 through 18, 2004.  46 Council MemberStates and some 230 observers attended the ITU Council, including Mr. ISHIDANaohiro, Director-General of International Affairs Department, TelecommunicationsBureau, and Mr. NISHIHARA Akira, Director of International OrganizationDivision, MPHPT.

The 2004 session of the ITU Council

[Outline of the Council]
1.  ITU Reform
i) Establishment of a "Council Oversight Group (COG)"
A new COG was established that oversee the implementation status ofthe Group of Specialists (GoS) concerning the ITU Reform, including thereview of the process of preparing the budget, the execution of a CHF 4.8-millionbudget.  Japan was elected as an Asia-Pacific administrative regionmember of the COG.  Henceforth, it is expected that incentives ofMember States for defraying contribution units would be heightened throughimproved transparency of common expenditures and the clear accounting forthe satellite network filing cost recovery, etc.
Americas: Brazil, Mexico
Western Europe: France, Spain
East Europe/CIS: Romania, Russia
Africa: Morocco, Uganda
Asia-Pacific: Japan, Iran
Current chair of the COG (Portugal), Chair of the GoS (U.S.), Chairof the Council Group on the Financial Regulations (Canada)
ii) Reorganization of the ITU budget
The GoS recommendation proposes to reorganize the ITU budget into abiennial regular budget, primarily financed by contributions to cover thecore expenses; and a biennial supplementary budget, funded by variableincome, such as the satellite network filing cost recovery.  Japan,however, expressed concerns that in the current financial crisis of theITU, such reorganization would cause a serious problem.  Other MemberStates also showed concerns about the reorganization.  In responseto such concerns, the Council concluded that at this session, the Councildid not adopt the reorganization plan.

2.  Reform of TELECOM (exhibition andforum)
Since the first TELECOM in 1971, the TELECOM WORLD has been held inGeneva.  The private sector-led ITU TELECOM Board decided to holdthe next TELECOM WORLD in 2006 in Hong Kong, China.  European Members,however, presented a question on the credibility of the TELECOM Board,proposing that a Council Group should be set up for deliberating upon TELECOMevents.  To this proposal, Japan, Korea and other Members stated thatsince the TELECOM events are supported by the private-sector participations,the Council should diligently pay due respect to the decision of the TELECOMBoard.  The Council concluded that the Board should be deliberateupon the TELECOM reform as in the past.

3.  Schedules of major conferences ofthe ITU
i) 2005 Council
With respect to the schedule for the Council in 2005, the Secretariatproposed that the next session of the Council would be convened in Juneas in the past.  To this proposal, European Members including France,Australia and the U.S. insisted September for a cause of the GoS recommendationon the review of the process for preparing the budget.  Against this,Japan, Russia and African Member States expressed that June or July shouldbe preferable because September would conflict with the WSIS preparatoryperiod.  After discussions on the schedule, the Council reached anagreement to hold the next session in July 2005 (July 12 through 22, 2005).
ii) World Radiocommunication Conference 2007 (WRC-07)
Iran proposed that because the year 2006 is a busy year for the preparationof the Plenipotentiary Conference, etc., the schedule for the ConferencePreparatory Meeting (CPM) should changed to March 2007.  After discussionson the schedule, the Council reached an agreement to hold the CPM in March2007, and the Radiocommunication Assembly (RA) and WRC in October 2007.
iii) Plenipotentiary Conference 2006 (PP-06)
Turkey expressed that Turkey would host PP-06.  Subsequently,the Council reached an agreement that details should be coordinated withthe Secretariat.
iv) World Telecommunication Development Conference in 2006 (WTDC-06)
It was presented that Qatar had invited WTDC-06.  The Councilagreed to convene WTDC-06 from March 7 through 15, 2006.

4. Satellite network cost recovery
With respect to the huge amount of non-payment of the processing chargesfor satellite network filings under the satellite network filing cost recoverymethodology, the Ad Hoc Group proposed a draft charges.  However,since sufficient discussions were not made on the draft, the U.S., Japan,Australia and Thailand showed opposition to the draft.  Subsequently,the Council concluded that the amount of charges should remain intact. The handling of cancelled filings was decided to be continuously deliberatedupon.

5. World Summit on the Information Society(WSIS)
In order to accelerate the preparation for WSIS, the Council adoptedresolutions to i) expedite efforts of the ITU and Member States for implementingthe Plan of Actions developed at the WSIS Phase I, and ii) encourage theITU, Member States and the private sector to participate in the preparatoryprocess for the Phase II.  Japan presented a question about the inputmethod to WSIS from host countries of regional preparatory conferences,etc.  A chair (Russia) of a Council Working Group replied that suchhost countries are allowed to directly input into WSIS.
In addition, Japan during coffee break made explanations on the holdingof meetings on a variety of themes concerning a ubiquitous society to Asiancountries including China, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia, the U.S. and France,and gained their understandings and supports.

6. Internet
At the Council, Internet-related activities of the ITU in the pastyear were reported on ENUM, domain names, IP networks, holding of relevantworkshops, participation in organizations of ICANN, the Internet governance,etc.  Japan stated that i) the ITU had played and would play a significantrole in the telecommunications field in the past, at present and in thefuture, ii) Japan recognizes the significance of discussions at the WGIGon the Internet governance, and iii) Japan expects ITU's contribution tothe Internet governance.

"Promotion Conference on 21st Century Network Key Technology Research"Convened

MPHPT convened the first meeting of the "Promotion Conference on 21st CenturyNetwork Key Technology Research" on June 15, 2004.  The purpose ofthe Conference is to establish at the earliest possible stable key technologiesnecessary for realizing an innovative and high-performance ultrahigh-speed/large-capacitynetwork in the 21st century that would respond to a sudden rise in thetraffic volume of the future ubiquitous network society and can be usedconveniently by consumers with ease-of-use anytime, anywhere without restraints.
At the Conference, "quantum info-communications technology," "nano-ICTnetwork technology" and "next-generation photonic network technology,"and ICT technologies across boundaries between and converging those threefields are positioned as the "21st century network key technology." While developing interactions among technologies, the Conference will,with regard to high-performance network key technologies to be realizedduring the period from 2010 through 2015, deliberate upon a comprehensiveR&D strategy from the short- to mid-term viewpoints.
Concrete themes to be deliberated upon in each field are as follows:
With regard to the "quantum info-communications technology" that wouldenable ultralarge-capacity communications surpassing conventional opticalcommunications and cryptographic communications ensuring absolute security,the Conference will deliberate upon i) how to deploy practical quantumcryptography, and ii) priority R&D themes to be addressed in the nextfive years toward realizing quantum info-communications network.
With respect to the "nano-ICT network technology," R&D will, makingactive use of effects based upon nano-scale structures and materials, becarried out on ultrahigh-performance network technologies, etc. targetingdrastic advancement in performance of high transmission capacity, highprocessing capacity, low power consumption, miniaturization, etc. For instance,an R&D strategy will be deliberated upon transmission and node technologies,etc.
Regarding the "next-generation photonic network technology," the Conferencewill deliberate upon i) high-speed and large-capacity photonic networksto be required in the ubiquitous network era, and ii) R&D themes, etc.for realizing thereof.
The Conference will set up three working groups corresponding to thosethree fields for strategically deliberating upon such R&D themes. Subsequently, considering outputs of deliberations upon interactions amongthe three fields, the Conference will compile its findings by around June2005.

Personnel Change 

(Limited to telecommunications-related assignment)

The following personnel change was made on July 2, 2004: 
Mr. HORIE Masahiro, Director-General of the Information and CommunicationsPolicy Bureau (former Councilor, Cabinet Secretariat; Advisor to AssistantChief Cabinet Secretary)

InternationalPolicy Division,
InternationalAffairs Department,
Ministryof Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications
1-2,Kasumigaseki 2-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8926, Japan
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