Nippon Keidanren, Japan's largest comprehensive economic organization, is composed of approximately 1,300 leading Japanese companies. Nippon Keidanren endorses the objectives of the IGF, a forum for free multi-stakeholder discussion toward the sound development of the Internet and has continued to send out opinions since its first meeting.
On behalf of the Japanese industrial and business community we wish to express the opinions set out below in anticipation of the scheduled holding in November this year of the fourth annual IGF meeting in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
All countries share the goal to recover from the global economic crisis that has persisted since the autumn of last year. Investment in the Internet and information and communication technology (ICT) will make a major contribution to future socioeconomic developments, and in view of this it is incumbent upon all countries to continue making such investment, even during the economic crisis. With regard to industrialized countries in particular, since ICT-related industry accounts for a large proportion of their GDP, the revitalization of the Internet and ICT industries is an important key to recovering from the recession.
The Tunis Commitment of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which led to the establishment of the IGF, emphasized the importance of the role played by ICT to economic growth. To assist our recovery from the economic crisis, active discussions should be devoted anew to promoting the use of ICT in such fields as e-government, the environment, healthcare, agriculture, disaster prevention, and education, and also to new computing technologies provided through the Internet.
With regard to global environmental issues and energy problems, which are faced by all humankind, the Internet and ICT should have a major role to play. For example, not only the use of ICT for energy-saving in electrical products and transportation equipment, but also the use of the Internet is important for enhancing the entire energy efficiencies such as those constituted by clusters of buildings and transport networks. It is also essential to ensure energy conservation in ICT equipment itself, which is projected to expand explosively as the volume of information in circulation expands.
It is to be hoped that the gathering, analyzing, and visualizing of data concerning global environmental problems and the effects of countermeasures will be conducted by means of ICT and the Internet, and that the information will be shared globally with common metrics, thereby realizing equitable and effective measures by all countries to counter global warming.
Today, the Internet has become indispensable social infrastructure for the activities of both people and companies. In order to ensure that it addresses changes in the social environment and technical innovation in a prompt and flexible manner, and that a free, efficient, and highly convenient Internet environment is maintained, it is essential that the Internet's current private-sector-led management structure be maintained. The healthy diffusion of the Internet should be expanded by utilizing the Dynamic Coalitions of various interested parties collaborating together that have come into being as a result of the IGF activity. If the governments of individual countries and international institutions intervene excessively in the management of an Internet that by its very nature transcends time and distance, we fear that its diffusion would be obstructed by individual countries' political opinions or other biases, and that would have a major impact on the global economy and society.
Given that the world of the Internet straddles national borders, it is difficult to prevent Net-based crime by using the laws of individual countries. To counter abuses such as the dissemination of harmful or unlawful information, the fraudulent obtainment of information, and cyberterrorism, it is important for individual countries' experts to join together to create globally harmonized norms. It is essential, also, to improve the education of the youth with regard to the desirable forms of wholesome Internet usage.
It is also desirable that concerned parties in different countries deepen their collaboration with regard to the development and diffusion of filtering and other technologies, and make continuous efforts to enhance the safety of the Internet.
On the other hand, to ensure that excessive action on security does not harm Internet openness and privacy, the parties concerned should join together to continue their dialogue concerning the sound development of the Internet society.
The ongoing increase in Internet usage has made the present exhaustion of IP addresses an issue that must be addressed urgently, and for that reason we hope to see the rapid spread of IPv6. The industrialized countries should take the initiative in accelerating its diffusion and in disseminating new usage methods and other supportive measures.
Since the Internet is fundamentally important social infrastructure like a lifeline, it is essential to foster infrastructural development in developing countries, by way of investment by industrialized countries. To that end, investment-friendly deregulation and international cooperation should be encouraged. In parallel with infrastructure development, support at the personal level should also be undertaken, such as the provision of education on the healthy and wholesome use of the Internet.
The fifth IGF meeting, in 2010, will be the last (within its five-year mandate). We applaud the collaboration that has been conducted by all parties concerned and the forum's other fruits, such as the Dynamic Coalitions that have been formed through the IGF and the sharing of best practices. We hope that the IGF mandate will be extended pursuant to the evaluation for those outcomes.