It is our pleasure to have the privilege to publish "Regional Development of Information and Telecommunications in Japan," part of the English Language Series on the local government system in Japan.
Construction of a highly developed information system has recently become an urgent matter for the government from a variety of viewpoints, such as wide-area prevention of disasters, simplification of governmental systems and so on.
Based on this situation, this booklet analyzes the status and trends of regional information and telecommunications in Japan.
The Japanese manuscript was edited by the Information Systems Policy Division of the Minister's Secretariat of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The translation into English was made by staff members of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Our thanks are due for the status effort they put into the work.
Finally, we would like to express our appreciation to the Japan Shipbuilding Industry Foundation (The Nippon Foundation), not only for their financial support for the publication, but for their continuous assistance.
Executive Board of the
Japan Center for Local Autonomy
(Jichi Sogo Center)
Tokyo, March 1998
In recent years, dramatic advances have been made in technologies relating to data processing and telecommunications. In particular, personal computers have reached a high level of advancement and miniaturization and communications media have become markedly diversified.
Furthermore, as this progress has been linked to large-volume communications networks such as optical fiber networks, a multimedia society based on digital networks is rapidly being built in Japan.
In this situation, both the national and local governments are endeavoring to take appropriate measures to deal with the changing circumstances surrounding administration, to further promote administrative reform through simplification and greater efficiency, and to cope with the wide range of demands from citizens, by introducing advanced data processing and communications technology. They are also expected to take the necessary action to redress the regional gap in information and communications infrastructure which threatens to become wider if ignored.
This paper aims to describe the efforts of local government concerning regional development of information and communications and the policies of the national government in support of those efforts, based mainly on the research data of the Ministry of Home Affairs.