"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] "IT Cooperation between Japan and India in the 21st Century"

[Place] Taj Westend Hotel, Bangalore
[Date] August 22, 2000
[Source] Embassy of Japan in India
[Notes] Speech concerning Information Technology by Prime Minister Mori at the meeting with the leaders from Indian IT companies, hosted by Honourable Mr. S. M. Krishna, Chief Minister of Karnataka
[Full text]

Honourable Mr. S. M. Krishna, Chief Minster of Karnataka,

Honourable Mr. R.V. Deshpande, Minister for Large and Medium Industries and Infrastructure Development, Mr. Bharat Ram, President, Confederation of Indian Industry, Ladies and Gentlemen,

[Opening remarks]

It has been a considerable privilege for me, on this visit to India, a great and friendly nation in Asia, to come first here to Bangalore, a focus of International attention and where Japanese firms are actively investing, and to witness with my own eyes the great strides that are being made.

I have learnt the enthusiasm with which the state government of Karnataka has fostered the IT industry, and that it was one of the earliest in India to inaugurate an IT policy. It is also my great honour to meet with leaders in India's flourishing IT industry.

As you are well aware, IT was a major agenda at the recent Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, which I chaired. In view of this, I am extremely delighted at the timing of this visit occurring directly after the summit, and giving me the precious opportunity to exchange views with government officials and others of India with regard to the addressing of the important issue of IT utilization.

IT is a theme to which high priority is being given in Japan, too. New information society will be created with the Internet connecting between not only computers but also various vehicles such as mobile phones, home electronics appliances, and automobiles and railways through ITS (Intelligent Transportation System). Each of these fields are what Japan has an advantage, and by using these, we are making contributions to the international society in the new fields of IT. Japan is also aiming to contribute in the fields of Highspeed Switching Technologies and Optical Communication Technologies that are indispensable for Broadband Internet of next generations.

[The Mori Administration and IT]

IT is the key to the prosperity in the 21st century. Since my administration was inaugurated, one of its central pillars has been the promotion of the IT revolution, in pursuit of bold and rapid reform of Japan's economic structure. In this context, I established the IT Strategy Council. Now looking at the global situation, the spread of IT is rapidly transforming the structure of our society and industry. IT was among top of our agenda in the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, with regards that it should be a common challenge for all of mankind to address such overall changes IT brings about in our living environment, and at the same time, to ensure everyone the open access to the possibilities IT makes. Our discussion led to a conclusion that in order to enable all of mankind to utilize IT we need to eliminate the digital divide and undertake human resources development, thereby creating an appropriate environment for IT use. Our discussion on IT was compiled into the "Okinawa Charter," calling for global cooperation encompassing governments and private sectors in individual countries, international organizations, and all other entities concerned.

As a concrete action resulting from this, Japan has drawn up a comprehensive assistance package extending a total of approximately US$15 billion over the next five years, signalling the leadership that Japan intends to show in the promotion of IT use among developing countries, with particular emphasis on Asia.

[Japan-India IT Promotion and Cooperation Initiative]

India is now widely recognized as an advanced country in the IT field. I can see great potential in promoting close dialogue and cooperation with India in this field, as part of the global appeal issued at the G8 Summit in relation to IT. India possesses high software technology that leads the world, and embraces rich and prominent human resources. Japan has one of the largest markets in the world and high technology for manufacturing and thus extraordinary strong complementary relations exist between Japan and India. As such, I can find good reasons here for the two countries to cooperate in this field, and am firmly convinced that such cooperation would lead to the opportunity for the global economy in the 21st century to spur forward.

The current cooperation between Japan and India in the IT field, however, still remains low-profile, relative to its great potential. Accordingly, I would like to reveal to you a proposal, which would take the form of "Japan-India IT Promotion and Cooperation Initiative." I would like to show this proposal to Prime Minister Vajpayee.

(1) The first pillar of this initiative comes from such recognition that promotion of economic exchanges in the private sector will be the key to IT development. At the end of October this year, the Japanese government will dispatch a large-scale economic mission to India, led by President of Keidanren, Japan Federation of Economic Organizations, and Chairman of Japan-India Business Cooperation Committee. In addition, in January next year, a mission comprised mainly of Japanese small and medium-scale enterprises will be dispatched by JETRO, Japan External Trade Organization, to visit IT companies in India. As these missions will also visit Bangalore, I hope that the visits will trigger active interchanges with promising IT companies here in India. Furthermore, I have learnt that the promotion bodies for software in both countries will sign MOU on mutual cooperation on the day after tomorrow, making a symbolic example of interchanges in private sectors. The 'India IT Symposium" is also due to be held in October in Tokyo, and the Japanese government will continue to encourage this kind of private sector interchanges.

(2) As the second pillar, the government of Japan will promote exchanges of human resources, in order to explore new Indo-Japanese cooperation on IT. In concrete terms, we will expand our training programs for Indian engineers on Japanese business practices and the Japanese language, so as to accommodate 1000 trainees over the next three years. Also, the government of Japan is about to launch an expansive measure on the issuance of multiple-entry visas for short-stay visits in Japan from India for business purposes. We hope that, taking advantage of these opportunities, private sector interchanges between our two countries will become more prosperous, and that new possibilities in the IT field will be explored, paving the way for still further development.

(3) Thirdly, in addition to arranging the environment for interchanges as above-mentioned, it is also important that our two governments maintain closer dialogue on the subject of IT as part of efforts to consolidate exchanges between private sectors and of human resources. On the occasion of the recent visit to India by the Japanese Minister of International Trade and Industry in May, it was agreed to start dialogue between our two countries on such policy issues as e-government or e-commerce, and vice-ministerial level dialogue is due to start in October this year. In addition to this, to serve as a symbol of bilateral IT cooperation, we would like to invite Indian minister responsible for IT, senior officials of state governments that are taking a vigorous approach to IT policy, and IT leaders from the private sector, to come to Japan and hold a Japan-India IT Summit.

Furthermore, I believe that it would be highly beneficial for the wisdom of our two peoples to be pooled together and shared by means of the exchange of views between Japan's IT Strategy Council and India's Advisory Committee on IT.

[Concluding remarks]

The combination of prominent human resources and technology of Japan and India will make a real contribution to the efforts being made by the International community as a whole, that includes finding solution to the issue of digital divide. I will now end my remarks by expressing my hope that India will give its warm endorsement and extend vigorous cooperation to this proposal for the strengthening of IT cooperation with Japan.

Thank you.