Social Consequences of Broadband Access in Japan

Social Consequences of Broadband Access in Japan

Kenichi Ishii (University of Tsukuba, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-851-2.ch039
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In Japan, both the cheapest wired broadband services and the most advanced 3G mobile phone services are widely available. Because of recent procompetitive policy drives such as the “e-Japan policy,” the Japanese broadband market has become very competitive. While the digital divide has narrowed in recent years in terms of Internet access, a divide still exists with regard to Internet usage. Comparison between narrowband and broadband users demonstrates that broadband services currently are used mainly for entertainment. Unlike wired Internet use, mobile Internet is not used for information-gathering activities. Results do not support the media substitution effect of the Internet. Mobile Internet use significantly and positively correlates with socializing with friends, whereas the wired Internet use does not correlate with socializing. Experience of past policies suggests that customer orientation will be a key factor in the success of the “U-Japan” policy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Second Digital Gap: Access gaps in the Internet among existing Internet users.

U-Japan Policy: In December 2004, the MIC announced a U-Japan policy aimed at achieving a “ubiquitous network society” (U-Japan) in which “anything and anyone” can easily access networks and freely transmit information “from anywhere at any time” by 2010 (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, 2006).

Mobile Internet: Internet access through an Internet-enabled mobile phone.

PC Internet: Internet access through a PC that is connected to the Internet.

E-Japan Policy: In March of 2001, the IT Policy Office, Cabinet Secretariat, published the e-Japan strategy (IT Policy Office, Cabinet Secretariat, 2001). It aimed to create a “knowledge-emergent society” in which everyone can actively utilize IT and fully enjoy its benefits. This strategy aimed to establish an environment in which the private sector, based on market forces, can exert its full potential and make Japan the world’s most advanced IT nation within 5 years.

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