In July 1997 Keidanren issued its Proposal on Promotion of Information Development: As a Tool for Structural Reform. In it, Keidanren pointed to the need to develop enhanced information systems as a way of strengthening industrial competitiveness and achieving qualitative improvements in national living standards. A determined commitment to the development of electronic commerce is the surest way to move from a high-cost structure, to encourage the emergence of new businesses, and to enhance Japan's overall international competitiveness.
Electronic commerce means the use of computer networks by government, business, and consumers to engage in economic activities through the seamless exchange of goods, money, and information.
Electronic commerce will entail the reform of traditional business operations. Corporate managers must properly recognize the significance and benefits of electronic commerce and provide leadership by promoting the concept from the top down.
An Environment Conducive to the Emergence of New Businesses
We must create an environment in which both major corporations and venture companies find it easy to take up the challenge of entering into new business areas. Specifically, this will require the development and full use of human resources, the introduction of flexible management systems, and attitudinal reforms to create a culture in which challenges are valued.
Promoting Inter-Company Electronic Commerce Outside of Traditional Frameworks
We need to encourage inter-company electronic commerce beyond existing group and industry frameworks through the medium of open networks, such as the Internet. The emphasis should be on lowering costs and enhancing convenience for users, including small and medium-sized businesses. Efforts at standardization and enhanced compatibility beyond group- or industry-based frameworks should be accelerated.
Participation in Development of Global Electronic Commerce Structures
The private sector should play an active and leadership role in the development of global electronic commerce frameworks.
Being major users of electronic commerce themselves, the central and regional governments should endeavor to create a simpler, more efficient public sector by taking the initiative in using electronic technology in such areas as government procurement, expenditure and revenue processing, and administrative procedures.
The promotion of electronic commerce in the private sector is basically a task that businesses should undertake through their own initiatives. The task of government is to create an environment in which enterprises are free to use their ideas and creativity to develop their business activities. Over the next two years, a government-wide effort should be made to effectively fulfill this role through the intensive implementation of programs designed to increase the use of electronic commerce.