Topic(s) of the month

Every month we pick up a topic(s) from our practice area which should be interesting.
  1. December 2017    Spectrum user fee's annual usage was presented
  2. November 2017    Interconnection rate dispute arbitration standard was announced
  3. October 2017    Tele-work day contributes to prevent traffic congestion
  4. September 2017    Fequency assignment regulation will be renovated
  5. August 2017    Space & ICT strategy roadmaps is relased
  6. July 2017    5th generation mobile communications systems' regulatory framework is proposed
  7. June 2017    IP network's interconnection charge is proposed 
  8. May 2017    Current usage of relevant frequency band is disclosed
  9. April 2017    Government is pushing forward IoT R&D
  10. March 2017    New IoT wireless technologies' specifications were defined
  11. February 2017    Tokyo Olympic Game's spectrum plan was proposed
  12. January 2017    Classified corporation database under the overnment starts its operation


December 2017    Spectrum user fee's annual usage was presented


On December 20, 2017, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) announced an annual paper of how spectrum user fee is administrated. Spectrum user fee is annually collected from each radio station user including a mobile phone user annually paying JPY 200 (nearly equal to USD 1.8) and the total amount collected JPY 62 billion (nearly equal to USD 550 million).

The spectrum user fee system was established in 1993 and its objective is for the administrator to provide measures beneficial to all radio station users. Initial measures were operating radio monitoring, radio station management system, and with the increase of collected spectrum user fee along with the increase of the number of radio stations recently, measures for R&D of efficient spectrum usage and promoting specific radio systems are becoming more important. Out of the total amount of JPY 62 billion, spectrum monitoring is 9%, radio station management system is 12%, R&D of efficient spectrum usage is 19% and promoting specific radio systems is 50%. 

Recently, with the increase of governmental debt, it is becoming difficult for each ministry and agency to have its own budget source. Spectrum user fee is one of a few remaining own budget sources in the MIC. From the MIC’s viewpoint, this budget source must be defended and so watching its creativeness to administer this system will be an interesting topic.

[Topic(s): spectrum policy, spectrum user fee.]

November 2017    Interconnection rate dispute arbitration standard was announced


On November 14, 2017, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) announced a draft arbitration standard for interconnection rate dispute. The MIC is now asking for public comments to this draft. 

A study group about interconnection charge calculations under the MIC presented its report on September 8 and recommended that the MIC should announce arbitration standard. The report said that interconnection rate should be basically determined between operators, but also said that cost based rate calculation is the most effective and so the MIC should present arbitration standard along with this calculation.

Such a standard will lead to smoother collaboration between operators, and help new operators entering the market. In addition, when facing disputes, telecommunications operators can consult with the Telecommunications Business Dispute Settlement Commission, which was established in 2001 under the MIC. Thinking about preparing this commission and the arbitration standard, telecommunications business environment in Japan can be said becoming more competitive where disputes are often occurring.

[Topic(s): interconnection, wireline network, public comment.]

October 2017    Tele-work day contributes to prevent traffic congestion


On October 13, 2017, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) announced an analysis of tele-work day. Tele-work is a buzzword of the Japanese government meaning working at home having telecommunications connections with office. The MIC made July 24, which is the opening day of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a tele-work day and this year, on this day, large-scale tele-work was done with 60,000 participants. 

One of the objectives of tele-work day is to lower traffic congestion expected in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the MIC, with the help of mobile telecommunications operators, analyzed the effectiveness of tele-work day. For example, the number of subway users in the peak hour (8 o’clock in the morning) decreased by 5 – 10 %, to be compared with the same day of last year.

The number of participants for the tele-work day this year is not few, but the effect of lower traffic congestion is significant. This result shows that large-scale tele-work realization will contribute to more relaxed work experiences and so the MIC should continue to push forward this realization. 

[Topic(s): IT environment promotion.]


September 2017    Fequency assignment regulation will be renovated


On September 11, 2017, an advisory council to the Prime Minister held a meeting and presented three most important agenda items about regulatory reform, whose solutions should be presented within this year. One of the three agenda items is frequency assignment regulation’s renovation and a working group under the council has started detailed discussions about this agenda item.

The council presented a recommendation report on May 23, 2017, which includes hundreds of necessary regulatory reform items. These items are classified into the following sectors: cost-cut of administrative procedure, agriculture, human resource, healthcare and nursing, and investment. The frequency assignment regulation’s renovation was presented as an item in the investment sector.

The main recommendations will be from disclosure of spectrum usage in the public and private sectors, and redesign of the Spectrum User Fee System. Some recommendations will be implemented in the earliest revision of the Radio Law, which is expected in the first half of 2018. It should be very interesting to expect how public sector resists to the disclosure. 

[Topic(s): government regulatory reform, spectrum policy.]


August 2017    Space & ICT strategy roadmaps is relased


On August 8, 2017, a study group about space and ICT, which is created under the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), presented its report. This report is presenting what ICT related space innovation brings to our societies.

This report defines Space & ICT General Promotion Strategy, which is made up of four important sectors: space data utility business, broadband satellite communications business, wireless space resource exploration business, and space environment information business. For each business, road map of R&D and related preparations is also presented.

This report also presents that the MIC and National Institute of information and Communications Technology (NICT), which is a so-called MIC’s R&D right arm, should lead the activities necessary to promote implementing the road map. This means that, in terms of space & ICT related administration, the MIC will allocate necessary budget to the four sectors and its main part will be spent on R&D activities by the NICT. It would be very interesting if the MIC can lead the innovation of space and ICT as described in this report, and each business in the four sectors can become a next big business.

[Topic(s): government R&D, space ICT.]


July 2017    5th generation mobile communications systems' regulatory framework is proposed


On July 28, 2017, an advisory committee about new generation mobile communications systems, which is created in the Information and Communication Council, which is an advisory council to the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, presented its draft final report. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), is now asking for public comments to this draft final report.

Mobile communications systems have evolved and now so-called services of the 4th generation mobile communications systems have just started in the Japanese consumer market. The MIC started its regulatory development for the 5th generation mobile communications systems and this advisory committee has been working on requirements for the 5th generation mobile communications systems since October 2016.

The requirements include basic concept of the 5th generation mobile communications systems, how to acquire required spectrum, interference efforts, and technical specifications for three specific mobile communications systems: LTE-Advanced (FDD), LTE-Advanced (TDD) and WiMAX/XGP systems. How and when these systems start regulated are still unknown, but detailed regulatory developments for the 5th generation mobile communications systems will be done on these three specific systems and so relevant stakeholders should fully understand this report and subsequent discussions. 

[Topic(s): new technologies, mobile communications, technical regulations.]


June 2017    IP network's interconnection charge is proposed 


On June 30, 2017, a study group about interconnection charge calculations, which is created under the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), held its 6th meeting and presented its draft final report. The MIC is now asking for public comments to this draft final report.

IP technology has been introduced into telecommunications networks and, in the wireline network in Japan, IP network is becoming the mainstream. In November 2015, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) announced that traditional switching system would face maintenance difficulties around 2025 and so the current traditional PSTN network should be migrated to IP network. Since then, the MIC, including this study group, has studied this migration issue. 

Based on this draft final report, the MIC will revise more than 10 relevant regulations under the Telecommunications Business Law around this autumn. Interconnection charge is core of wireline network business and understanding the direction of IP based wireline network in Japan should be mandatory for operators doing consumer telecommunications business in Japan.

[Topic(s): interconnection, wireline network, public comment.]

May 2017    Current usage of relevant frequency band is disclosed


On May 12, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) presented current usage of relevant frequency band (714 MHz to 3.4 GHz) and its evaluation to this usage. The MIC is now asking for public comments to these results.

This study and evaluation started in 2002 and has been done every year. Around 2000, the MIC changed its frequency management from being kept inside to being shared openly, and this study and evaluation are part of this transparent radio policy initiative.

From 2013, when a similar study was done, the number of radio stations in this frequency band (714 MHz to 3.4 GHz) has been significantly increasing and, especially in the Tokyo metropolitan region, this number got doubled. In such a situation, the number of amateur radio stations decreased by 8.6% and this service is facing a difficulty of showing its competitive edge in the Internet era.

[Topic(s): spectrum policy, public comment.]


April 2017    Government is pushing forward IoT R&D


On April 11, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) started requesting project proposals contributing to Internet of Things (IoT) services and, on April 12, the MIC started requesting project proposals for using IoT test bed. The former are government contract projects and the latter are government subsidy projects.

These days, IoT is the most well-heard policy buzzword and the MIC and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) are promoting this policy, part of which is the above government spending. Information and Communications in Japan 2017, which is a white paper about ICT policy and regulation, is presenting that ICT’s extensive use leads to from Ubiquitous to IoT. 

This buzzword, “Ubiquitous”, became well-heard, after the MIC used this word in its u-Japan policy in May 2004. In this regard, we believe that IoT is expected to lead MIC and METI’s ICT policy at least for the coming 10 years.

[Topic(s): government R&D, government budget.]


March 2017    New IoT wireless technologies' specifications were defined


On March 17, 2017, a study group under the Information and Communications Council, which is an advisory organization to the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, presented a draft final report defining technical specifications of Internet of Things (IoT) wireless technologies. The MIC is now asking for public comments to this draft final report.

The MIC is promoting IoT environments and making efforts to prepare suitable regulatory framework for them. Last October, the Minister requested the council to prepare a recommendation for IoT wireless technologies. This draft final report is a draft of this recommendation. 

This final report is proposing eMTC and NB-IoT technologies that are designed for IoT operations and the existing major mobile systems, LTE-Advanced (FDD) system and WiMAX system, are revised to add these technologies. After public comments are collected, technical regulations of these two systems will be revised to realize eMTC and NB-IoT implementation.

[Topic(s): new technologies, technical regulations, public comment.]


February 2017    Tokyo Olympic Game's spectrum plan was proposed


On February 10, 2017, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) proposed a spectrum plan for Tokyo Olympic Game, which will be held in 2020. The MIC is now asking for public comments to this spectrum plan.

During the Olympic Game period, many media staffs are expected to visit the Tokyo area and bring their special radio equipment. In the previous Olympics Games in London and Rio de Janeiro, additional 20,000 spectrum assignments were requested for media uses. 

After public comments are collected, the MIC together with the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will finalize the basic spectrum plan for the Tokyo 2020 games. In every Olympic Games, surprising new media performances with cutting-edge technologies have been presented. The MIC can assign suitable spectrum for such media performances to be realized to surprise audiences more than competition itself?

[Topic(s): spectrum policy, public comment.]

January 2017    Classified corporation database under the overnment starts its operation


On January 19, 2017, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced that corporation information that the government keeps is classified as database and its operation has started. This database is open to the public.

The government has been promoting sharing information, that it has, as databases with the public. Data.go.jp is a portal of these so-called government databases and this corporation database becomes a new addition. 

Corporate information included in this database this time is, in addition to basic information – corporation number, corporation name, address, capital and number of employees -, government grant, contract, license/permission, commendation. Currently, when somebody wants to know basic information of a corporation in Japan, he/she usually goes to Legal Affairs Bureau under the Ministry of Justice. Then, it cost around US$ 5 to acquire a paper with such corporation information. This corporation database might replace such a usage, because it is quicker and cost zero.

[Topic(s): e-government]