Key Points of the Action Plan

1. Three Action Principles and Four Immediate Goals

Working through such means as prioritized allocation of budget funds and establishment of the requisite institutional framework, we will vigorously proceed toward accomplishing our four immediate goals (i.e., propagation of electronic commerce, computerization of the public sector, improved information literacy, and installation of an advanced information/communication infrastructure) based on the three Action Principles (i.e. private-sector's initiative, government-led groundwork, and active efforts toward global consensus) set forth in the Basic Guidelines. In so doing, the government has determined to work together in unison, placing stress on lateral liaison among ministries and agencies, as exemplified by Virtual Agency activities.

2. Key Policy Measures

[Propagation of Electronic Commerce]

(1) To establish a legal basis for electronic signatures to be at least as widely accepted as handwritten signatures and seal impressions, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Ministry of Justice, and Ministry of International Trade and Industry will begin collaborating to prepare an institutional framework for authentication services during fiscal 1999.

(2) By summer 1999 (target date), a working group will be established under the Headquarters for Promoting an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Society to study how best to protect personal data.

(3) In addition to studying how personal credit data can be best protected and employed, we will also commence research in fiscal 1999 regarding protection of personal medical data, including personal authentication. Based on the results of this research, we will then deliberate on the necessary extent of public-sector involvement, including legislation.

[Computerization of the Public Sector]

(4) We will vigorously promote one-stop service (e.g., by offering one-stop governmental services on an experimental basis at post offices) to enable citizens and companies to receive governmental services via personal computer or at a convenient location. We will also endeavor to introduce, through Virtual Agency, one-stop service for procedures related to vehicle ownership. Virtual Agency would also be responsible for converting government procurement procedures to electronic media, and administrative clerical work to a paperless basis.

(5) We will research and develop information/communication technologies to support the introduction of Intelligent Transport Systems.

[Improving Information Literacy]

(6) We will connect all public schools to the Internet by fiscal 2001.

(7) During fiscal 1999, we will formulate, through Virtual Agency, intermediate- and long-term policy measures for the computerization of education.

[Installation of Advanced Network Infrastructure]

(8) We will construct a gigabit satellite network.

[High-Tech Crime Prevention and Security Measures]

(9) During fiscal 1999, the National Police Agency, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, and Ministry of International Trade and Industry will jointly prepare legislation prohibiting unauthorized access to the network.