Keidanren (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations)
April 21, 1998
As the economic slowdown drags on, hopes continue to grow for telecommunications as a tool in promoting administrative reform and economic structural reform and in helping to improve citizens' lives and to rejuvenate the economy. Telecommunications also contribute to regional self-reliance and rejuvenation of regional economies, in addition to aiding in creating a rich country. At Keidanren, efforts have been made for some time to prepare an environment for both the supply and demand of telecommunications, such as activating the telecommunications market and promoting informatization of businesses, government and society, and last July the "Proposal on Promotion of Information Development" was compiled and efforts toward informatization of the public sector such as the government and preparation of an environment for informatization of industry were undertaken. This time, a proposal on plans to rejuvenate Japan's Information and telecommunications market has been compiled.
As a result of inexpensive and numerous services being supplied thanks to competition among businesses in the industry, information communication demand has been stimulated and the market is expanding, making it desirable to create good circulation to promote further competition.
Services that are numerous and inexpensive are being dynamically supplied in response to user needs so that users can enjoy the benefits of innovations in Information and telecommunications technology.
In the telecommunications market, free competition wherein a large number of businesses can implement creative measures in terms of the price and quality of service is being realized in addition to equitable competition as these businesses compete to acquire users by supplying inexpensive, high quality services, so the market is expanding. In addition, businesses are undertaking appropriate information disclosure, and at the government level, transparency has been secured in policies and regulations in addition to decision making procedures. The government observes the market from the standpoint of the user, and takes judgments based on transparent procedures.
The pace of technological innovation is fast, and in the field of telecommunications, where forecasts about market trends are extremely difficult to make, it is desirable to promote competition among businesses and for businesses to develop freely creative methods based on the principle of self-responsibility of the individual in order to expand the market and increase convenience to users. In the future, policies to promote competition that will become models for foreign countries are anticipated, and at the government level, it will be necessary to promote deregulation, implement thorough explanation responsibilities to prevent and correct anti-competitive actions that use market domination, and to strengthen the establishment of rules and judgement functions. Support for efforts by Japanese telecommunication businesses at overseas development would also be welcomed as an aid in global development of users.
In order to further promote competition in local telecommunications markets, it is necessary to make it possible for all businesses to utilize simultaneously indispensable facilities for rational fees at arbitrary points where technologically feasible, and to study how to make basic rules of connections more concrete and to reevaluate these in an open manner and from a standpoint of promoting competition. Furthermore, it is necessary to undertake reevaluation of agreement restrictions and to ease restrictions on Type I and Type II businesses in order to enable a variety of services to be provided.
It is necessary to reevaluate current Telecommunications Business Law and to convert to a framework based on rules and ex post facto regulations the objective of which is to improve convenience by promoting competition. When this occurs, it would be best to prepare a structure that responds through swift and transparent procedures to the opinions of users.
The transmission formats of communications and broadcasting, which have developed independently, are becoming the same because of technology innovations, and sectors that fuse communications and broadcasting are being developed even on the service front. It is necessary to reevaluate the system and its operation so as to not hinder the providing of a large number of services that make use of the fruits of technology innovations.
In fields where telecommunications and broadcasting have been fused, the creativity of businesses should be enabled and freedom in principle should be encouraged in order to increase convenience for users. At that time, from the standpoint of securing freedom of expression, the government should not intervene in information content, relying instead on the private sector's self-imposed controls and social responsibilities.
In order to rejuvenate the telecommunications market, it is necessary to enable businesses to respond to user needs freely on the basis of the principle of self-responsibility of the individual in the midst of free and equitable competition, and at the same time it is necessary to undertake fundamental preparations for information development in industry, such as reevaluating systems that do not assume informatization and use of networks to spur telecommunications demand, preparing an environment for electronic trade, and developing a next-generation Internet, in addition to planning for improvement in information literacy and information development in the public sector such as making government processes electronic, making government procedures and government services electronic, informatizing education and accomplishing regional informatization. Above all, for information development in the public sector, the effects of market stimuli are large and should be promoted.