May 13, 2021 Appeal for Opinions on Draft Revisions, including Draft Ministerial Ordinance to Partially Revise Ministerial Ordinance Regulating Radio Equipment

Extension of the frequency expiration date for convenience radio stations in analog mode

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has drafted a ministerial ordinance to partially revise existing ministerial ordinances, including the Ministerial Ordinance Regulating Radio Equipment, along with a relevant notice and an official directive to revise the Examination Standards related to the Radio Act. Accordingly, MIC will make an appeal for opinions on the drafts from Friday, May 14 through Monday, June 14, 2021.

1. Background and overview

Radio waves are a finitely rare resource and are used in various applications, including mobile phones, television and radio broadcasting, fire and emergency radio communications, and railroad radio communications. It is expected that the need for using radio waves will continue to increase for data transmission and other applications, and it is necessary to promote the effective use of radio waves. The digital communications mode enables improvements in communications quality and makes it possible to use radio waves efficiently. The superiority of the digital communications mode includes good sound quality compared with that in analog communications mode, and the transmission speed will be increased even if the occupied frequency bandwidth is narrowed. Therefore, it is required to promote the digitalization of communications proactively.
In August 2008, convenience radio stations in analog mode using the 350 and 400 MHz bands (hereafter, “analog convenience radio stations”) were newly assigned with frequencies originally prepared for convenience radio stations in digital mode as a result of the revision of the frequency assignment plan (under MIC Notice No. 463 of 2008). This decision was in prompt response to growing radio wave usage needs. The decision aimed to promote the introduction of digital wireless systems, in which the expiration date of the frequencies for analog convenience radio stations was set to November 30, 2022.
In this connection, it is necessary for analog convenience radio stations to promptly complete the migration to newer radio stations, such as convenience radio stations in digital mode, and effectively use radio waves. However, due to the socio-economic impact of novel coronavirus infections, it is expected that the migration to convenience radio stations in digital mode will be delayed. Therefore, as a measure to mitigate drastic changes, MIC has decided to make a limited extension of the expiration date of the frequencies assigned to analog convenience radio stations for two years, with consideration of the period of the medium-term management plans of companies (around three years). In other words, the current expiration date (November 30, 2022) will be extended to November 30, 2024. As shown in Attachments 1 to 3, MIC has prepared draft revisions to the relevant ministerial ordinances, along with the relevant notice and the Examination Standards related to the Radio Act, and looks forward to opinions.

Outline of the draft revisions

  • The frequency expiration date for analog convenience radio stations in the 350 and 400 MHz bands shall be extended to November 30, 2024, from November 30, 2022.
  • On and after the date of enforcement of the amendment, only re-licenses shall be granted to analog convenience radio stations in the 350 and 400 MHz bands.
  • In addition, necessary transitional measures shall be provided.

2. Procedure of appeal for opinions

1. Subjects

Draft ministerial ordinance

  • Draft ministerial ordinance to partially revise both MIC Ordinance No. 96 of 2008 (Ministerial Ordinance for Partial Revision of the Ordinance Regulating Radio Equipment) and MIC Ordinance No. 97 of 2008 (Ministerial Ordinance for Partial Revision of the Ordinance Concerning Technical Standard Conformity Certification of Specified Radio Equipment)

Draft Notice

  • Draft notice to partially revise MIC Notice No. 411 of 2020 (Notice for Partial Change of Frequency Assignment Plan)

Radio Act-related Examination Standards

  • Directive to partially revise MIC Directive No. 67 of 2001 (Examination Standards related to the Radio Act)

2. Submission period

From Friday, May 14 and no later than Monday, June 14, 2021

3. Future plans

MIC will revise the relevant ordinance, notice, etc., with consideration of the opinions submitted on the draft revisions and a report from the Radio Regulatory Council in response to MIC’s inquiry.

Contact

For further information about this press release, please fill in the inquiry form and submit it to MIC on the website
https://www.soumu.go.jp/common/english_opinions.html

International Policy Division, Global Strategy Bureau, MIC

TEL: +81 3 5253 5920

FAX: +81 3 5253 5924

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