Overview of Action Plan

Based on the three action principles set forth in the Basic Guidelines, namely private-sector's , initiative, government-led groundwork, and active efforts toward global consensus, we place utmost priority on achieving four immediate goals: propagation of electronic commerce, computerization of the public sector, improved information literacy, and installation of advanced information/communication infrastructure.
In doing so, the government will work together in unison, placing stress on lateral liaison among ministries and agencies, as exemplified by Virtual Agency activities.

Key Policy Measures

Four Immediate Goals Basic Approach Main Policy Measures
Propagation of Electronic Commerce (1) Electronic authentication With regard to electronic authentication, we will promote autonomous private-sector efforts to enable the parties to a transaction to select an electronic authentication method optimally suited to that transaction. In so doing, we will take an active role in establishing fair and neutral international standards while striving to ensure that Japan's authentication methods function in a technologically and institutionally expedient manner overseas. Preparation of an institutional framework for authentication services, in order to establish a legal foundation for the validity of electronic signature (to commence during fiscal 1999)
Formulation of electronic authentication guidelines for electronic commerce
Establishment of an electronic authentication system (based on the commercial registration system) and an electronic certification system (based on the notary system)
(2) Protection of privacy As growing use of information/communication networks leads to explosive growth in information traffic, privacy-related considerations are becoming increasingly important. We will promote efforts by the private sector to develop autonomous privacy protection measures (e.g., by establishing guidelines for different types of personal data), while also striving to ensure conformity of such privacy protection measures with international standards. At the same time, we will deliberate on the need for legislation and/or other forms of public-sector involvement. We will also promote the development of technologies that enhance the effectiveness of privacy safeguards. Establishment of an institutional framework regarding the protection and proper use of an individual's credit and medical data
Establishment of a working group subordinate to the Headquarters (Target date: summer 1999).
Formulation of guidelines
Implementation of a system for registration of personal data protection and issuance of a mark signifying compliance
(3) Measures dealing with illegal/harmful content As the growing availability of communication networks has made it increasingly easy to send/receive information, the dissemination of illegal or harmful content has become a problem. To counter this problem, we will promote not only legislation but also self-regulation by the private sector and technological safeguards. Promotion of formulation of voluntary guidelines by content providers
Development of filtering systems (specifically, highly functional systems with automatic rating functions, etc.)
Appropriate enforcement of the amended Law Regarding Adult Entertainment Businesses
(4) Consumer protection If electronic commerce is to become prevalent, consumer protection safeguards must be elevated to the same level as those for conventional commerce, through improved relief measures, precautions against problems, and information disclosure concerning transactions. In so doing, we will strive diligently to ensure conformity with international standards. Establishment of a system for issuance of an on-line symbol to businesses that conduct transactions fairly
Contribution toward international efforts to establish an environment for consumer protection (e.g., drafting of guidelines by the OECD's Committee on Consumer Policy)
Support for establishment of guidelines by the private sector
(5) Security and anti-crime measures We will deliberate on legislation and other means of controlling unauthorized access to information and related violations. We will also establish technological and institutional safeguards against such violations. Same as the policy measures listed below under "High-tech crime prevention, security measures, and privacy safeguards"
(6) Institutions related to commerce in general In the world of electronic commerce, where trade practices have yet to be established, model agreements and guidelines ? which complement existing laws such as the Civil Law and Commercial Law and also serve to lessen the uncertainty of transactions - play an important role. In drawing up such rules, we will strive to ensure conformity with the prevailing international consensus, including the UNCITRAL Electronic Commerce Model Law. Clarification of transaction rules
(7) Electronic Payment and Electronic Money Electronic Payment and electronic money are in a trial-and-error stage at present. They represent one area where we must fully harness the creativity of the private sector. The government plans to assess how best to establish the minimum required legal infrastructure, from the standpoints of user protection and system stability. R&D for technology to improve the safety and reliability of communications involved in the remittance of electronic money
Deliberation on establishment of the minimum required legal infrastructure
(8) Intellectual property Information/communication technologies enable low-cost transmission of information resources via electronic commerce. However, to promote substantial contents in terms of quality and quantity, it is essential to revise the existing intellectual property system, particularly the copyright system, in light of discussions now taking place in the WIPO and elsewhere. Partial amendment of the Copyright Law and Unfair Competition Prevention Law
Development of an international copyright system; conformity with domestic system
Establishment of an organization to provide copyright information
(9) Domain names To keep pace with the Internet's explosive growth worldwide, we will strive to alleviate the shortage of domain names, establish an international registration and administration organization, and resolve disputes concerning domain names. Participation in international discussions regarding the role of a new international organization for domain-name administration
Alleviation of the domain name shortage through use of national, top-level domain names
Clarification of procedures for handling disputes
(10) Taxes In light of the fact that electronic commerce is conducted on a global scale, we will strive to ensure that Japan's tax code remains in international conformity, based on current discussions in the OECD and elsewhere, particularly where tax loopholes and forms of double taxation are concerned. Deliberation based on the working plan of the OECD Committee on Tax Affairs
(11) Tariffs With regard to the levying of tariffs on electronic commerce, we will make adjustments in relation to the WTO Agreement and strive to ensure conformity with international practices. Deliberation on the relationship between the levying of tariffs on electronic commerce and the WTO Agreement, based on the WTO's working plan
Computerization of the Public Sector (1) Computerization of government administration As part of our efforts to reap the benefits associated with information/communication technology, we aim to improve the quality of public services, improve governmental efficiency, and bring new vitality to communication between the government and the private sector. Introduction, through Virtual Agency, of a one-stop service for procedures related to vehicle ownership, conversion of government procurement procedures to electronic media, and conversion of administrative clerical work to a paperless basis
On-line provision of information about administrative procedures, along with related forms, etc.
(2) Computerization of cultural and sports-related sectors We will progressively utilize information/communication technology as a means of disseminating information about cultural assets, regional cultures, sports science, etc. Establishment of an integrated cultural information system (i.e., an information system concerning cultural assets, fine arts, regional cultures, etc.)
Promotion of digitalization of information about cultural assets
Construction of a National Sports Science Center (to be completed during fiscal 2000)
(3) Computerization of research sector (including scientific computerization) In promoting science and scientific technology, we will make particular efforts to develop an environment in which information about leading-edge research is easily accessible to researchers and others. We will also upgrade the networks connecting research institutes, universities, and related facilities, and expand such networks to the international level. R & D Program for Fusion of Life and Information
Promotion of dissemination of scientific and technological information
(4) Computerization of the health, medical, and welfare sectors We will progressively utilize information/communication technology to improve health, medical, and welfare services as well as the means used to disseminate information in these areas. Construction of health/medical information systems using basic technology (e.g., medical image electronic storage systems, etc.)
Augmentation of broadcast programming for the hearing- and sight-impaired (e.g. closed-captioned programs, explanatory programs)
(5) Computerization of the road, transportation, and vehicle sectors We will promote intelligent transport systems (ITS), which are expected to generate a wide range of societal and economic benefits, including improved traffic flow, greater efficiency of physical distribution, and the creation of new industries. R&D on ITS-related information/communication technologies
Promotion of vehicle information and communication systems (VICS)
Introduction of "smartways" (starting nonstop automatic toll collection systems)
(6) Computerization of the public transport sector We will actively utilize information/communication technology with the aim of making public transportation more efficient, as well as safer and more convenient for users. Promotion of widespread use of universal electronic passes
Development of information provision systems for persons with restricted mobility
Conversion of port procedures to EDI
Improvement of air traffic control capabilities through establishment of an aeronautical satellite system (with the first multi-purpose satellite to be launched during fiscal year 1999)
(7) Computerization of the disaster-prevention and meteorology sectors In addition to utilizing information/communication technology for disaster monitoring, we will construct disaster-prevention information/communication systems that link the national government, local authorities, and citizens - even during times of emergency. Augmentation of the Central Disaster-Prevention Radio Network to ensure the availability of communication channels during times of emergency
Upgrading of disaster-prevention radio
Construction of an integrated disaster-prevention information/communication network
(8) Computerization of the environmental sector Using information/communication technology, we will monitor the global environment and provide information enabling the data thus obtained to be reliably ascertained via a network. Expansion of environmental information-provision systems (provision of easily comprehensible information, hearing of opinions from the public regarding environmental measures, etc.)
Global environmental observation by satellite
(9) Computerization of the labor and employment sector Utilizing information/communication technology, we will provide help-wanted and position-wanted information on a timely basis, help workers to develop vocational skills effectively and efficiently, and provide comprehensive labor-related information. We will also promote the widespread adoption of telecommuting, a new mode of employment that utilizes information/communication technology. Promotion of projects to establish telecommuting centers
Provision of employment information via the Internet
Promotion of vocational skills related to information/communication technology
Comprehensive provision of labor-related information
(10) Promotion of establishment/reciprocal use of Global Information Systems (GISs) GISs help to enhance the efficiency of work-related activities and services in both the public and private sectors. To promote GISs, we will work with the private sector to create an environment that enables access to diverse data (including geographic and governmental data) and to establish a technological foundation for the use of such data. Establishment of a base of national geographic data
Propagation of GISs
Deliberation on rules concerning control and dissemination of basic national geographic data
Development of GIS-related technologies
Improving Information Literacy (1) Improving information literacy and the cultivation of human resources The development of a highly networked society requires more than mere improvements in information/communication technology: the human resources that use this technology must be developed as well. By establishing an environment in which everyone can master the basic skills of information utilization, we will strive to improve information literacy and to cultivate human resources capable of advancing leading-edge research and development activity. Model projects for utilization of information equipment
Implementation of a training program for 3,000 teachers (during fiscal 1999 - 2001)
Development of instructional capabilities among social education supervisors, personnel involved in audio-visual education, etc.
Utilization of the knowledge of senior citizens and others in cultivating human resources
Support for improving information-utilization skills among leaders engaged in corporate computerization
(2) Computerization of education We will strive to create a comprehensive information environment for school education. In terms of hardware, we will provide schools with access to computers, the Internet, and related infrastructure. In terms of "soft" measures, we will formulate curricula conducive to the cultivation of children's creativity and thinking faculty through use of the hardware provided. Connection of all public schools to the Internet by fiscal year 2001
Establishment of curricula for information education
Introduction of the LearningNet System, intended to provide information on lifetime learning on a nationwide basis by fiscal 2000
Implementation of demonstration projects for education using advanced networks
Installation of Network Infrastructure Our immediate goal is to build "Total Digital Network". As part of this plan, we will promote widespread installation of existing digital technologies, as exemplified by the installation of a nationwide optic fiber network. At the same time, we will steadily implement policies that contribute to technological advancement, as exemplified by our next-generation Internet project. R & D on gigabit satellite
Establishment and promotion of an optic fiber network for subscribers
Establishment and utilization of installation spaces for optic fiber cable for management of public facilities
Promotion of digitalization of terrestrial broadcasts
R&D regarding an ultra-high-speed, high-capacity, next-generation Internet
Introduction of next-generation portable telephones
Research on ultra-high-speed mobile communication technologies for multimedia applications
R&D regarding an Internet for schools that utilizes combined access networks

Other Tasks Basic Approach Main Policy Measures
Revision of systems in response to advances in information/communication technology In response to the recent rapid advances in information/communication technology, we will strive to expeditiously revise existing systems from the standpoint of users (i.e., the public). Promotion of amendments to existing laws under the jurisdiction of two or more ministries/agencies to permit electronic storage of documents
Conversion of application and reporting procedures to an electronic/paperless basis
Basic and leading-edge research and development Because information/communication technology has a broad range of applications and contributes greatly to industries as well as daily life, we must conduct basic and leading-edge R&D on an ongoing basis, in an effort to open new frontiers. Toward this end, we will promote competition and strive to create an environment conducive to R&D, through such means as facilitating commercialization of R&D results and promoting international cooperation and collaboration between industry, academia, and government agencies. R & D on gigabit network technology
Development of ultra-advanced electronic technologies
Projects to subsidize development of next-generation information technologies
Projects to lay a foundation for the computerization of industry and society
R&D on more advanced modes of communication for the next-generation Internet
Promotion of systems for advancing basic research in the information and communication sectors
High-tech crime prevention, security measures, and privacy safeguards We will enact legislation and implement other measures to ensure that progress toward an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Society is not impeded by invasions of privacy or by high-tech crimes committed using information/communication technology. We will also strengthen international cooperation in order to ensure the effectiveness of all measures implemented. Enactment of legislation prohibiting unauthorized access (during fiscal 1999)
Establishment of an organization to strengthen high-tech crime prevention measures
Development of tracing technologies to identify the source of unauthorized access
Strengthening of cooperation with industry regarding high-tech crime prevention
Establishment of a legal framework for preventing the unlawful use of encryption technologies (during fiscal 2000)
Software supply It is necessary to promote the development of more advanced, diversified software able to make full use of today's improved hardware. We will create an environment conducive to development of such software. Development and propagation of specified programs
Implementation of a debt-guaranty system
Reserves for development of general-use software programs (tax code)
Repletion of information resources (content) As the installation of network infrastructure advances, it is necessary to augment, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the information resources (i.e., content) disseminated via this infrastructure. We will create an environment conducive to such augmentation. Projects to lay the groundwork for a multimedia content market
Promotion of secondary usage of broadcast programming
Cultivation of human resources having the necessary skills to process video data (including investigation and consideration of internship programs)
Ensuring interoperability and interconnectivity Interoperability and interconnectivity are essential to obtain full performance from diverse information/communication equipment and systems, and hence to improve the operational efficiency of business. Toward this end, we will strive to expeditiously establish de facto standards to be used as official domestic standards. We will also promote international standardization as necessary. Development of common systems for next-generation IC cards
Promotion of interoperability experiments by the ITU
Promotion of activities by telecommunication standardization organizations in the Asia/Pacific region
Projects to research and promote the widespread adoption of circulation standards and EDI
Multimedia platform technology R&D