(tentative version)

Summary of Keidanren's Proposal on Promotion of Information Development

— as a Tool for Structural Reform —

Keidanren (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations)
July 22, 1997

  1. Fundamental View
  2. Five Viewpoints Relating To Information Development Policy
  3. Specific Topics for Promoting Informatization
    1. Developing an environment for the informatization of industry
    2. Promoting informatization of the public sector
    3. Improving information literacy and computer literacy


In the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), Committee on Information and telecommunication Policy, reform of the information communication market has been undertaken to create new business opportunities and unceasingly foster varied and inexpensive services through deregulation and the establishment of rules to promote competition in the telecommunication and broadcast market as one part of the effort to give concrete expression to Keidanren's long-term vision "Creation of an Attractive Japan". In the future, it will be necessary to promote free and equitable competition beginning with further deregulation, in addition to preparing an environment for securing the international competitiveness of Japanese industry and improving people's quality of life by freely using information and telecommunication services as tools in structural reform. Hence, a fundamental view concerning the promotion of information development in Japan and concrete plans for progress are compiled below as a proposal, centered around informatization of industry and in the public sector starting with the administration.

  1. Fundamental View
    1. It is necessary to utilize informatization as a tool of structural reform
    2. Realizing structural reform such as reform of economic structures and administrative reform is indispensable in creating an "attractive Japan". To this end, it is necessary to promote reform utilizing to the utmost the new possibilities being created by information and telecommunications technology.

    3. Corporations must swiftly advance informatization in order to achieve structural reform in economy
    4. In order to strengthen the competitiveness of Japanese industry and cope with the arrival of a borderless, mega-competition age, executives must exhibit strong leadership and must aim for further sharing and utilization of information by building in the near future a seamless information network not only within corporations but also between corporations including small-to-medium-sized enterprises.

    5. Corporations must overstep the existing framework and actively participate in preparing the environment for development of information systems in business to promote rapid realization of this.
    6. As an opportunity for economic development with private sector leadership, corporations should promote informatization actively, overstepping their own frameworks. Above all, preparing an environment for electronic commerce, which is in its infancy, and developing foundations for mutual utilization and common utilization of various types of information are important. These are things which can be prepared through concrete trial and error by the concerned parties, and it is necessary for corporations to actively participate in this.

    7. Informatization of the administration should be hastened from the viewpoint of promoting administrative reform and eliminating restrictions on informatization by corporations
    8. Drastic reform of administrative organizations and administrative processes, reduction of administrative costs, improvement in administrative services and elimination of sectionalism should be realized, fully using informatization in the public sector as a tool in administrative reform. In addition, it is necessary to accelerate informatization at points of contact between the administration and the private sector, such as procedures for applications, so as to avoid becoming an obstacle to the informatization of industry. In addition to promoting informatization of the central government and informatization of local branch offices, informatization should also be hastened in local governments that have numerous points of contact with the private sector. To this end, outsourcing to the private sector should be actively promoted.

    9. Administration for promoting information development in a comprehensive and integrated manner should be realized in order to promote the rapid progress of informatization
    10. Realization of a government informatization promotion system that accelerates informatization in an integrated, comprehensive and speedy manner is necessary. In order to advance actions cutting across ministries/agencies on the basis of strong political leadership, it is necessary to establish a minister for an extraordinary delegated mission equivalent to the rank of vice-premier, and to undertake comprehensive preparation of an informatization policy including budgets and repositioning of staff among ministries/agencies accompanying the informatization of administrative processes. "The Guiding Principle Toward an Advanced Information and Communication Society" should be reevaluated without delay taking into consideration the rapidly changing conditions nowadays.

  2. Five Viewpoints Relating To Information Development Policy
  3. It is necessary to take into account the following five viewpoints in order for the government to promote an informatization policy such as informatization of the public sector and preparing an environment for the informatization of industries.

    1. Bringing the private sector's originality and creativity into full play
    2. In order to foster the exhibition of originality and creativity by the private sector, it is vital to avoid new regulations to the extent possible and to entrust to the independent and autonomous actions of the private sector, in addition to promoting the creation of a framework and environment that make various testbed projects by the private sector easy to conduct.

    3. Timely utilization of the results of technological innovation
    4. In order to make adapted to advanced use of information and telecommunications technology, they (rules and systems) should be restricted to only that which is absolutely necessary so as to reflect the effects of technological innovation with flexibility, in addition to allowing flexible review.

    5. Development of a transparent, simple and effective administration
    6. It would be desirable for the government to clearly inform people and corporations of a schedule for informatization and the investment efficacy of introducing information and telecommunications. Technology relating to informatization of industry should take as a premise the utilization to the utmost of the principle of competition. In order to determine provisions and policies relating to informatization, the basic plan should be widely published and opportunities created for the people and corporations to express and discuss their opinions.

    7. Development of conditions allowing wide-spread and confident use by the people and corporations
    8. In addition to aiming for the creation of rules and systems relating to informatization from the viewpoint of the user's side, it is also necessary to develop information literacy, to secure interoperability of facilities and systems relating to informatization, and to support small-to-medium-sized enterprises on the aspects of software including development of human resources. In addition, it is necessary to provide protection of consumers, preservation of privacy, and security measures along with instructing consumers on the principle of self-responsibility of the individual so that it is possible for most people and corporations to utilize the sophisticated electronic network with confidence.

    9. Securing international compatibility
    10. It is necessary to make sure that the rules and regulations of Japan relating to informatization are in harmony with those of the international community, and to secure international compatibility of both technologies and systems.

  4. Specific Topics for Promoting Informatization
    1. Developing an environment for the informatization of industry
      1. Establishment of a system in line with informatization
        1. Promoting electronic storage of documents requiring preservation
          A future implementation schedule should be clearly announced for each individual item which requires documents to be preserved, to review for allowing preservation by electronic media.

        2. Review of systems tied to the creation of new business
          The existing system under the premise of exchanges by documents and face-to-face interviews should be reviewed, coping with informatization, to ease business burdens and to promote new business in line with informatization.

          [Review of systems under the premise of exchanges by paper and face-to-face business]
          Document transfer obligation (example: laws on dealing lands and buildings) face-to-face business obligations (example: laws on pharmacy) personal certification by documents (example: antique sales)

          [Review of systems to keep up with technological advances]
          Legal acknowledgment of remote medical care and establishment of compensation for examination and treatment utilization of electronic media in issuing medical prescriptions

        3. Development and introduction of means for promoting network utilization by people
          Concerning multi-purpose IC cards equipped with functions such as personal certification, settlement of accounts and interface with the administration, when each ministry/agency plans to develop and introduce such individually, it is necessary to take into account that investigation be conducted from the side of improving the economy and the convenience of users, and endowing the cards with mutual compatibility, in addition to planning common uses with private sector transactions.

      2. Preparation of environment conducive to electronic commerce
      3. In consideration of electronic commerce being in its infancy, it is necessary to be led by the private sector based on the philosophy of "free in principle" and the "principle of self-responsibility of the individual", and to be based on competition in the marketplace led by the private sector. Even given reliability guarantees relating to electronic commerce, new regulations should be avoided to the extent possible, and for the time being should preferably be entrusted to the independent actions of the private sector, such as standard agreements and independent guidelines.
        For the government's part, the "Cabinet Headquarters to Promote Establishment of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Society" should demonstrate leadership, taking international discussions into consideration, and the government as a whole should promote electronic commerce, in addition to each ministry/agency actively proceeding with reevaluation under the Cabinet Headquarters to Promote Establishment of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Society concerning rules and regulations and administrative sectors unique to each ministry/agency.

        [Rules and regulations governing electronic commerce]
        Response should not be established through hasty legislation, but rather through contracts and standard agreements arranged by the concerned parties, and self-guidelines and means on the technological level. Concerning legislation of electronic certification, a study covering the needs of users and the operation of electronic commerce is necessary. It is vital that the various certification authorities perform various services, and that appropriate disclosure be performed under self-guidelines. Interoperability of digital certification between public authorities and private authorities is necessary. The outsourcing to the private sector of business performed by public authorities should also be studied. The necessity of legislating the legal ramifications of digital signatures should be determined for each field.

        [Promotion of EDI]
        Concerning EDI, development is necessary which takes into account the needs of industry and the compatibility of rules and regulations with international standards. Unified actions between the public and private sectors should be accomplished which conform to trends toward creating international standards for trade finance EDI.

        [Preparing an environment conducive to the introduction of electronic money]
        It is necessary to prepare an environment that enables the exhibition of ingenuity by the private sector concerning electronic money. Consumer protection policies should be studied while the private sector conducts testbed projects. Disclosure and instructing consumers on the principle of self-responsibility of the individual are vital. The introduction of criminal penalties for unfair conduct should be considered. Various subjects including general companies should be able to issue electronic money.

        [Encryption Policies]
        Concerning the export of general products which make use of encryption technology, the definition of encryption apparatuses that should be regulated and the criteria for permitting exports should be made clear. Encryption key recovery systems should be widely discussed, taking into consideration the trends of various nations and the protection of privacy and corporate secrets.

        [International Taxation]
        Discussions should be conducted which give consideration to international discussions concerning the state of international taxation and tax systems governing electronic commerce.

      4. Development of an inexpensive and easy to use information and telecommunications infrastructure
      5. In order to promote informatization, increasing information transmission speeds and expanding circuit capacities, making communication fees less expensive and increasing the variety of services are being hastened. Consequently, it is necessary to promote further deregulation in the information telecommunications market.

      6. Preparing a foundation for content enrichment
      7. In order to provide for appealing content with high utilization value, corporations should supply opportunities for employees rich with creative talents to be active. The digitalization of administrative information should be advanced while taking user's needs into consideration, and in addition a data foundation for encouraging common use and mutual use of information and mutually usable technology should be established. Attention should be given to balancing protection of the rights of copyright holders and the smooth flow of content, and reevaluation of the copyright system as a whole should be undertaken.

      8. Expanding the depreciation system
      9. Shortening of the legal length of information-related equipment and boosting the small asset damage deduction limits should be conducted.

    2. Promoting informatization of the public sector
      1. Making administrative processes electronic
      2. From the viewpoint of making the administration as a whole streamlined and more efficient, it is necessary to hasten the effort to make administrative processes within public administration such as information transfer, circulation of consensus-building forms and approval procedures, electronic.

      3. Electronic provision of administrative procedures and administrative services
      4. In order to promote the informatization of industry, it is necessary to promote the provision of administrative procedures and administrative services, that are the points of contact between the public sector and the private sector, using information and telecommunications technology. In particular, introducing electronic applications and reports, establishing electronic procedures on annual revenue and expenditure, establishing databases of administrative information, promoting administration EDI and providing electronic administrative services are urgent.

        1. Introducing electronic applications and reports
          In addition to indicating the work schedule until realization for each individual project, formal standardization should be undertaken.

        2. Establishing electronic procedures on annual revenue and expenditure
          [Regional Tax Collection Work]
          Efforts should be made to convert the requested data to electronic media and to unify nationally standards and forms for payment.

          [Annual revenue work]
          Efforts should be made to convert requested data to electronic media and to unify standards and forms for documents such as to Bank of Japan OCR format.

          [Annual expenditure work]
          Efforts should be made to convert National Treasury monetary payment request documents and National Treasury monetary payment explanations to electronic media.

        3. Establishing databases of administrative information
          Establishing electronic databases of statistical surveys and various kinds of administrative records (fixed asset ledgers, securities reports, etc.) Establishing a system that allows for mutual use and common use.

        4. Promoting administrative EDI
          Preparing a promoting system for the government as a whole, and setting schedules and numerical goals for government to purchase electronically.
          Making electronic applications and registration relating to procurement and bid procedures, and consolidating receiving offices by developing a network of national and local government organizations.

      5. Promoting informatization in local governments
      6. The informatization of local governments that have points of contact between the people and the administration should be promoted. In particular, creation of nationwide networks for local governments, which has been delayed, is urgent. In addition, it is necessary to promote the development of networks between local governments and central government agencies. In addition to immediate review of network connection regulations through the Private Information Protection Act, fostering the creation of a regional information network is needed.

      7. Promoting outsourcing to the private sector
      8. From the viewpoints of keeping up with progress in technology innovations and reducing administrative costs, outsourcing to the private sector should be promoted.

      9. Comprehensive and planned promotion of informatization of the public sector
      10. In addition to promoting review of the current "Basic Plan for Promoting Administrative Informatization", efforts should be made to follow-up concerning the "Guideline Regarding Promotion of Informatization of the Administration in Local Government", and furthermore, opportunities should be created for consultations between national and local government, so that the preparation of a common foundation and implementation schedule for informatization, and the creation of rules can be organized. Quantitative evaluation of asset efficiency for existing informatization investment should be released to the people.

    3. Improving information literacy and computer literacy
    4. Because Japan is opening a new frontier as the 21st century approaches, it is necessary to build a society that can make independent, creative human resources active, and it is anticipated that informatization will provide the impetus for achieving this. Consequently, human resources are now sought which have computer literacy including mastery of information equipment, in addition to information literacy that includes the ability to select useful information and to add value to that information. Furthermore, creation of an environment which nurtures human resources with a high capacity for supporting the information telecommunications technology of Japan is also vital.
      Hence, in the administration and education fields, reevaluation of curriculums, utilization of internets and use of multimedia education materials should be promoted. Efforts should be made to increase the number of circuits in schools and to improve the computer literacy and information literacy of educators. In addition, it is also necessary to promote interchange between educators and their students and education-related people and industry, including the utilization of business people.
      In the business world, executives should work to improve the computer literacy and information literacy of their companies as a whole by following their own management strategies and promoting computer training for officers, in addition to reevaluating inflexible company systems and promoting reform awareness in the companies.

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