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An advisory panel report submitted to the Ministry of International Trade & Industry last week recommended that the Japanese government should promote further deregulation of Japan’s telecommunications market and undertake a further revision of current telecommunications business law, which was introduced only in April 1985: MITI reportedly will urge the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications to implement the report’s recommendations, intended to provide a better service to customers, but, needless to say, the Postal Ministry is is reluctant; the report calls for an ending of the separation of domestic and international telecommunications services, and for some co-operation among the infant independent telecom companies in order to enable them to compete more effectively with Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp; the report also questions the validity of the government’s supply-and-demand forecasts, which often determine its attitude in cases such as the row over the two international communications consortia last year; and it calls for transparency in enforcing the law, including the rules on limits on foreign participation, so as to avoid trade friction.

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