Might be of interest - excerpt about telecoms from a WTO report on the Japanese economy published today.
Enjoy picking it to pieces :)
41. Telecommunications charges have declined considerably during the period under Review , and the number of telecom carriers increased from 10,521 in April 2002 to 12,522 in April 2004. The authorities state that, the average annual growth rate of total factor productivity (TFP) in telecommunications was 3.6% between 1995 and 2001, while the corresponding rate for all sectors was 0.2%. The higher TFP growth in telecommunication may be attributed to the recent liberalization of Japan's telecom sector, which intensified competition. During the same period, the average annual growth rate of labour productivity in telecommunications was 8.7%, the highest among all industries. Nonetheless, the JFTC continues to maintain that the Japanese market for telecom services is oligopolistic (Chapter III(5)(vi)).
42. Telecommunication services accounted for 1.6% of Japan's GDP in 2002, compared with 1.8% in 2001. With regard to cross-border trade, during 2001?02 exports of telecom services increased from ¥87 billion to ¥93 billion, while imports fell from ¥130 billion to ¥115 billion.
43. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) is the main authority regulating Japan's telecommunications, and the Telecommunications Business Law (TBL) is the basis for the main regulatory framework in the sector. Recent regulatory reform initiatives, associated with the amendment of the TBL in 2003, include the abolition of Type?I and Type?II classifications of telecommunications services. The permission requirement on Type?I businesses for entry into and exit from the market was replaced by a notification and registration requirement. Contract terms, which, inter alia, define end-user charges, no longer require prior notification except for certain specified services that are regarded as having significant influence on consumers, and universal telecommunications services. In addition, since July 2003, manufacturers of telecommunications equipment have been allowed to self-confirm their products' conformity with technical regulations, provided that notification is submitted to the MIC; previously, only certain designated agencies were allowed to provide conformity assessment.
44. Ownership restrictions on Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) Corporation's shares are stipulated in the NTT Law; foreign ownership is limited so that the aggregate of the ratios of the voting rights must be less than one third. At least one third of all shares of NTT Corporation must be held by the Government. As of September 2003, the Government held about 46% of NTT Corporation's total shares. In accordance with the NTT Law, the NTT Corporation and the two NTT regional companies are required to provide universal service. In accordance with the TBL, interconnection rules have been imposed to promote "fair" competition; these include requiring the regional NTT companies to allow other carriers to access their networks on an unbundled basis. The TBL stipulates prohibited actions for dominant carriers as well as orders to improve business activities or modify charges. There are no foreign ownership or management restrictions in telecommunications services, except in the case of the NTT Corporation.
45. In November 2001, the Telecommunications Business Dispute Settlement Commission was established under the MIC for the purpose of settling disputes between telecommunications carriers. Between November 2001 and June 2004, 35 cases were settled by the Commission; these cases covered mainly issues of interconnection, shared use, and wholesale telecommunications services, including co-location for telecommunications facilities, charges between IP (Internet protocol) telephones and the public service telephone network, and setting charges for telephone calls from fixed to mobile phones.
46. In June 2004, the Strategic Headquarters for the Promotion of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society, which was established within the Cabinet in 2001, adopted an "e-Japan Priority Policy Programme 2004". The programme includes measures to formulate advanced information and communications networks, to promote education and human resource development, to facilitate electronic commerce, to promote the use of information technology in public areas, and to promote research and development activities, particularly in seven "leading areas" (i.e. medical services, food, lifestyle, SMEs financing, knowledge, employment and labour, and public service). Since 2003, under the IT Investment Promotion Tax Incentive, companies have been allowed to receive either a 10% tax credit of acquired assets as their IT investment for own use, or depreciation corresponding to 50% of the value of assets acquired as IT investment.
Received on Tue Jan 25 15:38:16 2005