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1. Introduction:

e-Japan Strategy II is a blueprint of the second phase of Japan's national IT strategy which presents various new policies for the practical application and implementation of Japan's IT infrastructure and advanced technology.

The strategy was offered as a national goal which both the government, as well as the entire population, should strive to achieve. Its successful implementation would create a set of new values and a new culture appropriate to the 21st century that would make Japan one of the most culturally and technologically advanced nations in the world.

In this second phase, Japan began to utilize the infrastructure which was established during phase one to actively transform many of its social and economic systems. Japan believed that it could transform its socio-economic system to one more suitable to the new era by first strategically unlocking the full potential of the Japanese people for
the task at hand and then implementing the necessary policies for the effective utilization of IT.

2. Strategic Plans:

2.1 For realizing an energetic, worry-free, exciting and more convenient society through the effective IT utilization:
Through the active use of IT, individuals1 will reach the limits of their potentials through the worry-free access and exchange of a wealth of knowledge and information. In this way, as individuals expand their potential; the global competitiveness of Japan's domestic industries will also be stimulated and strengthened by the flowering of this new culture.

2.2 Effective IT utilization strategy: structural reforms and the creation of new values:
To create this new society, first and foremost, Japan needs to carry out structural reforms. This means cutting out wasteful or redundant aspects of the existing system to better manage resources. If we do this, the private business sector will then be capable of re-building a lucrative base, at the same time the government will be able to re-organize the system to better maximize cost efficiency.

2.3 The 7 building blocks of the strategy:
Based on the Strategic Plans, Japan focused on seven main areas which served as leading examples in the promotion of effective IT utilization. Each main area concerned with specific policies about structural reforms and the creation of new values and their expected merits.

The seven areas are:
1) medical services
2) food
3) lifestyle
4) small and medium enterprises financing
5) knowledge
6) employment and labor
7) public service

Improvements brought about in these fields by both private sector and governmental efforts will reap great benefits for the general public; including the reducing of wasteful spending and of waiting times for services; realizing a more secure and convenient living environment; and realizing a better ability to make the most of human resources for finding the right person for the right job.

Details about these 7 leadings areas are described below.

3. 7 Leading Areas in the Promotion of Effective IT Utilization:

3.1 Medical Services:
Basic ideas:

  • Medical institutions would work together to offer patient-centered service.
  • Health care would be improved by inexpensive, safe and worry-free medical services.

Details:
1) A system was established that allowed medical and health institutions to utilize and share patient medical information, as appropriate. Medical records were made externally savable and transferable online. For instance, when the authentication system infrastructure was up and running, a locally based family doctor will be able to refer to his patient's medical records from a central hospital by accessing them online.
2) A system was also created whereby the data could be used for preventive medicine and epidemiological studies, adequately protecting the personal data and patient's privacy.
3) A system was established to accurately and quickly verify the treatment details and process billing for various health insurance organizations. (By moving the billing system online)

3.2 Food:
Basic ideas:

  • "Connecting places of production with the dining table!"
  • "The future is not just about enjoying the way food tastes, but about being able to educate oneself on how food is produced, delivered, and sold. This is the future of worry-free food."

Details:
1) The necessary laws and systems relating to the management and circulation of individual cattle identification data for domestic beef would be established. For foods other than beef, the development of traceability systems which were food-specific appropriate would be supported. This system would be enabled to save information on the production, processing, and distribution of food, and this information would be immediately made accessible to consumers by request.
2)Information regarding this safe foods distribution system would be made public in the effort to see the Japanese system applied to imported food.
3) Establishment of a standardised system, such as EDI, would be supported and promoted to computerise the business of the food industry. In addition, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries areas would be encouraged to better utilize IT in managing their work, by introducing and promoting a system that would enable the easy-access of information on consumer preferences. As one example, a remote monitoring system that utilizes IT
would also be introduced and supported.

3.3 Lifestyle:
Basic ideas:

  • "Even people who live alone are no longer alone!"
  • "This is the safe, warm, and convenient lifestyle of the IT future."

Details:
1) The development of systems whereby fire stations would be able to respond promptly in case an emergency is detected by the monitoring of living patterns, such as the monitoring of home appliances use. The development of systems would also be promoted which will provide continuous homecare management for the elderly
employing a sensor system in the home.
2) The development of services which would increase the overall safety and convenience would be promoted by better cooperation among various services, centralizing service management, and optimizing the combination of services within and outside the home in ways such as the following:

  • Kitchen fire monitoring system and standby power shutdown which automatically activated when front door was locked
  • IT lockers that could be used to receive and pay for articles ordered online
  • Various types of IDs, such as resident cards can be applied for and received at home.
    3) The development of a social infrastructure will be promoted which will be better equipped to respond to disasters in ways such as the following :
  • establishing an urgent message system utilizing IT
  • establishing a system which will better protect the safety of its citizens by improved sharing of information between disaster prevention agencies and ordinary citizens
  • creating a social infrastructure which would be better equipped to respond to large-scale disasters utilizing push-type IT systems for the automatic and instantaneous transmission of emergency information in cases of large-scale disasters.

3.4 Small and Medium Enterprise Financing:
Basic ideas:

  • Funds efficiency operations would be improved so small and medium enterprises can aggressively expand their operations.

Details:
1) The popularization of various new credit options utilizing contract information, etc., would be promoted.
2) The online processing of credit guarantee paperwork between the agency handling it and the financial institutions, as well as the popularization of settlement services that electrically processed the endorsement of drafts and discount functions (via the electronic bill service) would be promoted.
3) Escrow services which enabled prompt and secure collection of accounts receivables would be promoted.

3.5 Knowledge:
Basic ideas:

  • Utilizing IT to cultivate more internationally-competitive human resources and to strengthen the international competitiveness of the content industry.

Details:
1) The infrastructure would be improved which allows working people, etc., to efficiently and inexpensively access educational resources regardless of time or location utilizing IT.
2) Concerning specialists (such as lawyers, certified public accountants, patent attorneys, doctors, judicial scriveners, tax accountants, and other such specialists), an environment would be developed, in consideration of various technical and specialist distance learning opportunities including technical graduate programs for professionals whereby people could continuously enrich their knowledge through distance learning that utilizes IT.
3) The environment would be enhanced for compiling and producing content that would be admired throughout the world by maintaining the resources and the people with such talent and ability.
4) The infrastructure in which content was available would be enhanced while protecting intellectual property rights and facilitating its smooth and open dissemination.
5) The digitalization and archiving of content would be promoted from broadcasting, publication, museum collections, libraries, information from the World Wide Web, and sources of special cultural interest for use domestically and overseas.

3.6 Employment and Labour:
Basic ideas:

  • "Both life at home and life on the job will be happy when your work style—or your job hunting—goes the way you want it to."

Details:
1) An electronically-based system would be established and expanded that would promote interactive and open human resource exchanges between the private sector and the government, as well as support the balancing of the supply and demand of human resources by efficiently collecting and providing job/position wanted information.
2) Industry would work to actively introduce in-house systems for telework and to develop a high security telework environment. In addition, ways would be examined in which an appropriate working system for tele-work could be implemented for public servants, at the same time developing the systematic infrastructure to bring it about.
3) An electronically-based system would be established that would simplify the necessary procedures, as well as to allow people to efficiently access information on business start-up and expansion. In addition, the necessary support would be provided to these activities such as providing information and consulting, and creating an environment which would better facilitate these activities.

3.7 Public Service:
Basic ideas:

  • Eliminating overlapping investments, enhancing government transparency, and promoting people's participation in the political process.

Details:
1) Information on policy making, its implementation status and post-implementation evaluation would be made clearly available to the public. In addition, administrative portal sites would be improved in order to make it possible for the national public to participate with public administration, in cooperation with the related organizations.
2) By linking e-government's portal site to the systems of the cabinet office, ministries and local government, a one-stop service would be implemented where various procedures can be processed online at one convenient Internet location.
3) IT Investments would be standardized and streamlined, by integrating the investment process throughout the entire administrative agency. In this way, overlapping investments would be eliminated.
4) A rule would be made to outsource work wherever possible to the private sector in order to achieve higher quality service at lower costs. In addition, various organizations of local government would be supported to implement joint development and outsourcing.
5) Reforms of the procurement system would be promoted with the aim of streamlining procedures related to procurement, improving transparency, reducing procurement costs, and promoting procurement from venture companies.

4. Achievements of e-Japan I & II:

Under the e-Japan strategies being carried out by the government as a whole in Japan, results were steadily bearing fruit, as seen by the spread of broadband and the setting of lower connection fees. All of this was an effort to transform the country into the world's most advanced IT nation by 2005.



References:

1. http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/policy/it/0702senryaku_e.pdf
2. http://www.soumu.go.jp/menu_02/ict/u-japan_en/new_outline01.html

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