U-Japan (Ubiquitous Japan) is a strategy formulated in 2004 by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC) to continue the previous Japanese information society strategy (E-Japan).
The aim of the U-Japan strategy is to “make Japan the world’s most advanced IT nation”. The strategy reaches up into the year 2010 and aims mostly at developing wireless infrastructure so that exchange of information would be possible anytime, anywhere and from any appliance. In a technological sense, the question here is of convergence of telecommunication, mobile technology, broadband and digital broadcasting, as well as the development of sensor technologies. As said by Dr. Katja Valaskivi in the 2007: Mapping Media and Communication Research: Japan. Here is how she describes the strategy:
“The ubiquitous strategy project itself has ambitious and futuristic visions of how ubiquitous technology will change everyday life in the future1. In addition to technology, the strategy aims at developing applications and supporting citizen’s possibilities for usage of new technology. In practice, most of the visions are already realized: mobile phones with television broadcastings, mobile browsing of the Internet, mobile phones as credit cards, etc.
Reaching the strategical targets of the u-Japan strategy are made easier with the penetration of Internet-compatible mobile phones (currently about 90 percent) and by the cheapest broadband providers in the world. Half of the Internet-compatible mobile phones currently used are 3G.
The u-Japan strategy points the direction for research and development and has an influence on what kind of research is funded in the media and communication field. For instance, since the strategy emphasizes citizen’s abilities to utilize media technology, projects in media literacy and education on media usage are considered important and are also focused on increasingly in research.
Worries about digital divide are also central in the u-Japan development strategy, and research projects involving digital divide and possible ways of diminishing it are underway both in private research institutes (e.g. KDDI research institute) and in universities.”
Click here for the website of the project – U-JAPAN with some videos and different applications.
And here are also some graphics showing how U-Japan works in Commerce and Industry.
U-Japan is one of basis of my research project. Japan is a lab for possibilities in media convergence, developing business models and social/cultural applications.
Below are some videos developed by NTT-DoCoMo with some examples of the Ubiquitous life the strategy is aiming at.