3 Ways to Strengthen the U.S.-Japan Internet Economy

Last week, the fifth U.S.-Japan Policy Cooperation Dialogue on the Internet Economy was held in Tokyo. The event brings together stakeholders from the public and private sectors to express opinions and provide recommendations on improving information and communications technology (ICT) policies.

During the Dialogue, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) and the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) submitted a joint statement regarding the U.S.–Japan Internet Economy Industry Working Group. The groups identified three main areas where both governments should strengthen their cooperation. They also discussed other areas where both could achieve visible results by encouraging the use of ICT services in industries – such as healthcare – by 2020.

Here’s a brief overview of their recommendations for the U.S. and Japan:

  • Preserving an Open Internet. Keep regulation to a minimum and remove existing barriers to help facilitate an environment that promotes innovation and the flow of data across borders.
  • Promoting the Greater Use of Data While Respecting Privacy. Develop policies, in coordination with the private sector, that facilitate the appropriate use of data. In particular, the Japanese government should have broad and transparent discussions with stakeholders regarding changes to its privacy policies scheduled for June 2014.
  • Improving U.S.-Japan Cooperation on Cyber Security. Clarify procedures and standards across various government ministries and departments and engage in close communication to advance tangible cooperation. Be mindful that new rules should not result in discrimination against foreign goods and services nor weaken intellectual property protections.

Policies surrounding the Internet economy are important diplomatic issues. By taking the initiative on ICT regulations, the U.S. and Japan can demonstrate leadership for newly developing nations in the Asia-Pacific region, and globally, including addressing cross border data flow in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

AT&T supports the recommendations in the ACCJ/Keidanren joint statement. These issues don’t just affect the ICT industry. Preserving an open Internet and ensuring cross border data flows impacts each and every sector in the economy. Every industry from financial services and manufacturing to food and energy security, are impacted by the ability to move information securely and seamlessly across borders.

And we encourage other governments to follow the U.S.-Japan Dialogue model as it is an effective way to encourage unique views on common issues that result in concrete joint recommendations — as was the case in Tokyo. During the Dialogue, U.S. Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda and Japan’s Yasuo Sakamoto, Director-General for ICT Strategic Policy Planning, MIC, both acknowledged the importance of multi-stakeholder discussions and making transparent policy decisions. The U.S., Japan, and the industry recognize that this type of policy-making discussion is an advanced approach to cross border issues and should be a model for others.

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