Interenational Affairs Department, Telecommunications Bureau MIC Communications News Vol.17 No.12 September 29, 2006 Biweekly Newsletter of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications(MIC), Japan

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MIC Announces the Outline of Digital Japan Creation Project (ICT Hatoyama Plan)

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has compiled and announced the outline of Digital Japan Creation Project (ICT Hatoyama Plan). The Project Outline sets priority policies that will be implemented intensively over the next three years based on the emergency proposals of the Panel on ICT Vision.

Information and communications technology (ICT) industries are key industries that account for approximately 40% of economic growth. The comprehensive use of ICT will be extremely important in producing immediate effects in response to the current economic crisis and for enhancing future growth.

The global recession triggered by the financial crisis that occurred in the autumn of last year is ongoing, and economic conditions in Japan have declined rapidly as well. In order to recover from the current economic crisis ahead of other countries and achieve private-sector-driven and sustainable growth over the medium to long term, Japan must respond promptly by generating short-term economic recovery effects through investment in information and communications technology (ICT) and actively implementing measures designed to increase medium- to long-term growth, such as accelerating and moving up ICT investment, and release the latent potential of the Japanese economy.

In light of these circumstances, MIC has compiled the Digital Japan Creation Project (ICT Hatoyama Plan) Outline as a statement of priority policies to be implemented intensively over the next three years based on the emergency proposals, "ICT New Deal," of the Panel on ICT Vision (hosted by Kunio Hatoyama, Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications and chaired by Oka Motoyuki, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Sumitomo Corporation) on February 23, 2009.

MIC is committed to working closely with other ministries to carry out this project.

Project Objectives

The ICT market currently has a total scale of a little less than 100 trillion yen. The Digital Japan Creation Project seeks to create new ICT markets in the range of several trillion yen and to generate 300,000-400,000 new jobs over the next three years (on a cumulative basis) by encouraging ICT capital investment based on a new growth strategy for ICT industries. Through these measures, the plan also aims to double ICT industries over the medium term through 2015-2020 (creating new markets of as much as 100 trillion yen).

The project comprises the nine action items set forth below. By implementing these action items, investment in all ICT fields will be accelerated, and environments in which domestic users can experience true prosperity, safety, and security through ICT will be created. Thorough application of ICT will also lead to innovations in industrial structures nationwide and enhance international competitiveness.

Specific Policies

(1) Tapping the Potential of Industry: Creating New Digital Industries
Creating new digital industries that are driven by domestic demand and are internationally competitive is an urgent necessity for generating new economic growth. ICT is recognized as an international strategic field. By focusing on technologies in which Japan excels and introducing them to markets quickly, new digital industries will be established, leading to the revitalization of industry, enhancement of international competitiveness, and improved consumer services.

The project seeks not only to create new digital industries but also to revitalize the Japanese economy by maximizing use of the potential of ICT supported by world-leading broadband infrastructure, increasing efficiency and creating high added value in existing industries, and generating new value by strengthening collaboration among different industries.

(a) Creating new industries through effective use of the radio spectrum
Effective use of the radio spectrum, which is a shared national resource, is expected to lead to the creation of new industries with a scale of tens of trillions of yen over the medium to long term. Research and development on next-generation wireless communications technologies will be accelerated so that the frequencies formerly used by analog television and new frequency allocation can be used to create cars that do not crash (the next-generation intelligent transport systems [ITS]), broadband for safe and secure lifestyles (public broadband), and convenient cordless living environments (wireless super broadband).

In addition, the use of white spaces (frequencies that are allocated for broadcasting or other specific purposes but can be used for other purposes depending on temporal, geographic, and technological conditions) will continue to be encouraged.

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(b) Accelerating innovative technology research and development to create new industries
In addition to the next-generation wireless communications technologies discussed above, research and development on a range of other new technologies will be accelerated to achieve early application and market entry of technologies that have been honed in Japan. Among these technologies are next-generation optical communications, such as ultra-high-speed, energy-saving all-optical communications, and innovative networking technologies that boast the world's highest data transfer speeds, high reliability, and ultra-low power consumption, including secure and reliable next-generation cloud networking technologies, three-dimensional video technologies that do not rely on special glasses, and automated voice translation technologies that can overcome language barriers. This research and development will serve as the seeds for creating new ICT industries and will enhance Japan's international competitiveness.

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(c) Creating open innovation
By creating ICT funds, the integration of and collaboration between communications and broadcasting will be accelerated, and collaboration using the knowledge of different industries, including collaboration between ICT and other industries, will be supported to create open innovation. In addition, venture capital subsidy systems will be improved to accelerate the development of new industries by startup companies.

(2) Tapping the Potential of Government: Creating the Kasumigaseki Cloud
Accelerating the use of ICT nationwide will require the government to take the initiative in implementing measures. To this end, the government is providing the world's most efficient services in a manner that is highly convenient to the public with the aim of actively introducing new technologies to create an innovative electronic government.

(a) Creating innovative electronic government
Government information systems are using innovative technologies, such as cloud computing, to develop the Kasumigaseki Cloud (tentative name) in stages by 2015. The Kasumigaseki Cloud will enable various ministries to collaborate to integrate and consolidate hardware and create platforms for shared functions. Efforts will be made to efficiently develop and operate information systems with the aim of greatly reducing electronic government-related development and operating costs while increasing the pace of processing by integrating shared functions, increasing collaboration among systems, and providing secure and advanced governmental services.

In addition, the various ministries are working to use uniform corporate codes to reduce workloads in the private sector (by reducing the number of documents that must be attached to various filings and similar measures).

Efforts are also being made to expand online applications by making public personal certification systems more convenient from the perspective of users and expanding their use, encouraging the use of digital devices that have become common in the day-to-day activities of the public, such as mobile phones, and establishing and improving support systems for online applications.

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(b) Building a National Digital Archive
A National Digital Archive (tentative name) will be constructed to digitize government documents, books and scholarly articles, cultural property information, geographic and time-space information, statistical information, and other information for which there is high demand and to standardize formats and meta data to provide the highest degree of access to the public. New information and communication services will also be developed and fostered.

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(3) Tapping the Potential of Regional Communities: Promoting the Ubiquitous Town Concept
Regional economies are becoming impoverished, and local governments are in a state of crisis. Because of this, revitalizing regional communities by using the power of ICT to make connections is an urgent task. ICT is playing a major role in reinforcing weakened ties among individuals and restoring links between individuals and communities. ICT will be used to renew local communities based on the autonomous settlement region concept espoused by the MIC.

(a) Promoting the ubiquitous town concept
The ubiquitous town concept will be implemented on a national scale with the aim of encouraging new development and testing to raise the level of ubiquitous computing technologies by supporting ubiquitous computing special region businesses, while making full and focused investment from various perspectives in ubiquitous computing technologies that are currently shifting from the testing to application phase, to create safe and secure towns.

Specific measures will include accelerating the development of infrastructure for connecting local public bodies implementing the autonomous settlement region concept, as well as universities, hospitals, libraries, public offices, and so on using broadband networks. This infrastructure will then be used as the foundation for focused implementation of a variety of projects, including monitoring systems for children and seniors, tourism and road information systems, installation of meteorological and disaster response systems using sensors, development of safe and secure public areas for local residents through various media that integrate local safety information, revitalization of local communities using regional social networking services, encouragement of mobile services designed for rural areas (services designed to address local problems using the networks of mobile phone carriers), and development of spatial code infrastructure. This will result in the development of environments in which local residents can directly experience the true value of ICT.

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(b) Increasing convenience to local residents by encouraging the use of ICT
The various ministries will collaborate in connection with the ubiquitous town concept to promote the comprehensive use of ICT in health and medicine, education, and agriculture, areas in which enhanced convenience to local residents can be expected through increased computerization.

- Providing peace of mind to the public in health and medicine fields
Measures will be taken in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to improve healthcare sites and enhance patient services through the use of ICT to provide peace of mind to the public with respect to health and medicine. Specific measures will include implementation of remote healthcare, implementation of measures to improve health through the sharing and use of health and medical information, increasing the efficiency of healthcare services by using ASP, SaaS, and ubiquitous network technologies, and increasing the public's peace of mind and safety.

- Creating educational sites that are beneficial to each student
In order to create educational sites that are beneficial to each student, measures will be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to develop and spread new educational methods that use ICT, support improvements in information literacy among students and educators, and reduce the administrative workloads of educators. Specific measures will include accelerating the development of in-school LANs, distributing terrestrial digital televisions, developing and distributing educational materials on media literacy, educating students about information morals to promote the safe use of ICT, and computerizing school administrative work by using ASP and SaaS.

- Revitalizing agriculture through the use of ICT
The MIC will collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in taking measures designed to maintain the sustainability of agriculture in Japan and ensure stable food supplies not only in Japan but worldwide by revitalizing agriculture through the use of the world's most advanced information and communications infrastructure and related technologies. These measures will include measures against crops damaged by wildlife using monitoring cameras and sensors tied in with Hometown Mobile Projects, monitoring market conditions for agricultural products and placing and accepting orders over networks, and gathering information on and managing production history using wireless tags. Through these measures, efforts will be made to establish and spread knowledge and expertise concerning the use of ICT in agriculture from the perspectives of increasing agricultural productivity, expanding distribution and sales channels, and ensuring the safety of agricultural products.

(c) Using ICT to display the vitality of small and medium businesses
ICT will be used to develop infrastructure that will facilitate joint procurement of materials, joint training, and joint sales by regional small and medium businesses and sole proprietorships and enable them to expand their marketing areas nationwide and even globally. In addition, collaboration and use of ASP and SaaS in such areas as construction will be encouraged to expand the use of these technologies, which are expected to play a major role in raising corporate productivity.

(d) Reinforcing the dissemination of regional information
Support will be provided for broadcast stations and programming production companies to prepare programming about the local products and tourism assets of individual regions and distribute them nationwide so as to enhance regional programming production capabilities and stimulate local economies. Support will also be provided for distributing such content overseas through international broadcasts, by overseas broadcast stations, and via broadband, IPTV, and other media.

In addition, the diffusion will be promoted of a system to transmit local contents via wireless communications to car navigation equipment and displays set up in taxis and trains, on streets, and so on.

(e) Building electronic local governments
The MIC will identify issues concerning differences in measures for the introduction of electronic local government and accelerate the development of environments intended to eliminate those differences while reinforcing collaboration between the electronic national government and electronic local governments.

Specifically, the MIC will encourage the use of shared systems that make use of ASP, SaaS, and cloud computing for front-office services, such as online applications, and for back-office operations, such as personnel matters and wage calculations. Information systems will be updated to comply with standard specifications (a regional information platform) to foster collaboration among the systems of regional public bodies, efficient electronic local government will be expanded, and collaboration among the systems of regional public bodies, the national government, and private organizations will be encouraged to support the development of infrastructure for creating convenient and efficient services.

These measures to increase administrative efficiency will make possible reductions in administrative costs and focused investment, leading to improved resident services.

(4) Constructing Advanced Digital Networks
Japan offers the world's most advanced broadband services, but residents in some regions are not able to enjoy these services. In addition, leading developed countries have started to focus their efforts on information and communications infrastructure that can serve as a driving force behind the creation of new industries and economic growth, meaning that there is no guarantee that Japan's prominent position can be maintained indefinitely. In response to this situation, the development of information and communication infrastructure that will enable Japan to always stay one step ahead of the rest of the world is being accelerated.

(a) Eliminating the digital divide
Efforts are being accelerated to eliminate areas without broadband access and regions without mobile phone reception by the end of fiscal 2010 to promptly create an environment in which all members of the public can access broadband services and enjoy the conveniences they provide. In addition, ultra-high-speed super broadband that is faster than current systems will be developed and introduced.

(b) Implementing policies to ensure the smooth transition to digital terrestrial television broadcasting
Current support systems are being reinforced and implementation of necessary measures is being moved up on both the transmission and receiving sides to ensure the smooth transition to digital terrestrial television broadcasting, which will be completed by July 2011.

(5) Fostering and Reinforcing Creative Industries
Support will be provided for reinforcing the distribution of regional programming and increasing the domestic and overseas distribution of domestically produced programming that is well received overseas, such as anime and television programs. In addition, efforts will be made to greatly expand markets for digital programming by fostering and reinforcing creative industries, including consumer generated media (CGM), digital signage used as a new advertising medium by businesses and government, and programming created on a daily basis in the educational and government fields.

(a) Supporting the integration of communications and broadcasting and the distribution of integrated content
The MIC will support the standardization of technical and operational rules and the adoption of open standards for distributed media, as well as the development of environments for the efficient implementation of business, to encourage the distribution of programming that leads to the integration of and collaboration between communications and broadcasting. With respect to IPTV services that distribute high-quality programming to digital televisions via the Internet, measures will include the development of environments that enable programming providers to select IPTV service networks and the development of technical standards for digital televisions compatible with IPTV services.

In addition, as networks become more diverse, technical infrastructure will be developed to allow efficient sharing of content relating to education (courses and texts), business, government, and so on via both communications and broadcasting services.

(b) Developing content transaction markets
In order to encourage the development of broadcast programming transaction markets for the overseas and Internet distribution of broadcast programming and other content, measures will be taken to create systems for the efficient handling of rights by enabling centralized management of information relating to copyright holders and the scope of licenses concerning broadcast programming and for access by businesses wishing to distribute content overseas and in other markets.

(c) Reinforcing measures to prevent unauthorized distribution of content
Measures for preventing the unauthorized distribution of content will be reinforced through drastic measures, including the development of systems to monitor the unauthorized distribution of content that harms legitimate content businesses and to provide warnings, so that creative industries can enjoy healthy development.

(d) Promoting the use of digital content in education
Digital content in educational fields, including broadcast programming, will be improved and archived, and distribution to classrooms using digital infrastructure, such as terrestrial digital television broadcasting and IPTV, will be encouraged.

(e) Encouraging wide-area collaboration among cable television networks
Wide-area collaboration among cable television networks will be encouraged, distribution infrastructure to support prefectural and nationwide distribution of regional programming and programming production will be developed, and collection sites to reinforce regional information distribution capabilities will be created.

(6) Enhancing the International Competitiveness of ICT Industries: Accelerating Global Development
The international competitiveness of Japan's ICT industries is declining. Nonetheless, there are many fields in which industry possesses world-leading technological capabilities and has the potential to address a wide range of problems that countries around the world are currently facing. Consequently, efforts will be made to create environments in which business can develop with an eye toward global markets and to reinforce international competitiveness in ICT industries. Collaboration with countries in Asia and other regions will be supported in the international development of Japan's ICT industries.

(a) Reinforcing the Ubiquitous Alliance Project
Digital broadcasting, wireless technologies, and next-generation IP networking have been positioned as priority areas for raising international competitiveness in ICT fields, and the Ubiquitous Alliance Project (a project to construct model systems tailored to the needs of partner countries and to make those systems visible; the project is scheduled to begin in fiscal 2009) will be conducted to accelerate international deployment of these technologies.

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(b) Supporting the Digital Silk Road Concept
The MIC will study concrete implementation of the Digital Silk Road Concept. This concept is intended to accelerate joint research and development, human resource development, and exchanges using ICT with universities and research organizations in India, the Middle East, and Africa.

(7) Development and Implementation of Ubiquitous Green ICT
ICT can contribute to improving energy use efficiency, reducing the transport of people and goods, raising production and consumption efficiency, and enhancing environmental measurement and forecasting technologies. For example, estimates indicate that environmental measures using ICT (known as "ubiquitous green ICT") can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of 38 million tons in 2012, about half of the 6% reduction from 1990 specified in the Kyoto Protocol. Consequently, the MIC will support the use of ubiquitous green ICT to spur low-carbon innovation.

(a) Supporting the development of energy-saving networks
In response to rapid growth in the development of broadband environments and the use of video and other programming, collaboration between industry, universities, and government will be promoted to create energy-saving networks by developing energy-saving network control technologies that can be used for the Internet, eco-Internet technologies for performing traffic routing control, and photonic network technologies that are both high-speed and energy saving.

(b) Developing Green Cloud Data Centers
Network use is increasing rapidly, and in response the development of Green Cloud Data Centers will be promoted to reduce data center energy consumption by locating them in cold regions, utilizing wind and solar power, employing low-loss direct current, and using tunnels and other underground sites with strong earthquake resistance and stable temperatures. Also, this concept will be employed to support the construction of the Kasumigaseki Cloud Data Center (tentative name) as infrastructure for government information systems, such as the Kasumigaseki Cloud.

(c) Adopting environmental measures using open sensor networks
The MIC will support the development of open sensor networks that collect comprehensive environmental data, such as information on sudden downpours, traffic congestion, and landslides, from sensors that use IPv6 technology installed over wide areas. The collected data will be used to plan and implement environmental measures, such as electric power control at public facilities, and to develop green ICT services for the private sector.

(d) Quantifying household CO2 emissions
The MIC will test an "environmental household account book" that automatically calculates carbon dioxide emissions generated from purchasing and consumption activities in the day-to-day lives of consumers by using ASP and SaaS to encourage responses to environmental problems by individuals. Such a system will make household carbon dioxide emissions more apparent.

(e) Supporting new work styles using telework
Model businesses will be implemented to support new working styles using information and communications technologies and services that achieve high levels of both security and convenience to increase telework and thereby lower environmental impact by reducing the transport of people, increasing paperless offices, and raising the efficiency of office space use.

(8) Nurturing Highly Skilled ICT Human Resources

(a) Nurturing highly skilled ICT human resources Novel ideas and innovation are crucial in ICT fields. As a result, the comparative quality of human resources is directly linked to international competitiveness. This means that fostering highly skilled ICT human resources who can use ICT to create high added value is essential.

Consequently, the MIC will support the construction of national center functions that coordinate among universities and supporting businesses to foster highly skilled ICT human resources by encouraging practical remote education and training systems that use cloud computing based on collaboration between industry, universities, and government.

In addition, the development of test networks will be supported to acquire operating technologies for IPv6 (the successor to the IPv4 currently in use). Also, improvement of the information literacy of children will be supported, and high-quality personnel who can support programming production and distribution capabilities will be fostered.

(b) Training in ICT fields
The current economic crisis has resulted in a decline in employment, but there is a chronic shortage of qualified personnel in ICT fields. In response to this situation, the MIC will support the training necessary for ICT personnel.

(9) Creating Safe and Secure Networks
Encouraging the widespread use of ICT in various fields requires the creation of safe and secure networks. As a result, the necessary measures are being conducted on a broad scale, including prevention of the improper disclosure of personal information and implementation of measures to counter unlawful and harmful information, pursuant to the Secure Network Development Promotion Program (launched in January 2009).

As new technologies spread rapidly in ICT fields and use environments change, information security threats are becoming more advanced and complex. In response to these threats, network and terminal technologies will be developed, information security personnel will be trained, and information security measures will be reinforced by strengthening information sharing systems.

 

Reference

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