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Japanese Government Amends Telecom Regulation, Empowering NTT and Sparking Rival Concerns

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In a recent development, the Japanese government has passed a significant amendment to longstanding telecom regulations, marking a pivotal moment for NTT, the country’s telecom giant. The amendment, announced by NTT on Wednesday, encompasses several key changes, including the liberation from R&D information sharing obligations and the allowance for non-Japanese directors on its board.

The move is positioned to equip NTT with a competitive edge, aligning it more closely with its global counterparts, especially amidst the race for 6G mobile dominance. Additionally, it presents an opportunity for the Japanese government to capitalize on its NTT shares. The regulations under scrutiny, known as the NTT Law, have been a subject of debate for months, with opponents, including major rivals like KDDI, Softbank, and Rakuten Mobile, expressing concerns over potential consumer harm and national security threats posed by foreign investment.

Despite opposition, the government forged ahead with the reform, emphasizing the necessity of adapting to evolving market dynamics. NTT welcomed the amendments, particularly highlighting the elimination of R&D information sharing requirements, which it deemed detrimental to its business collaborations. The relaxation of rules regarding foreign director appointments also received acknowledgment, hinting at potential foreign investment avenues for NTT.

However, dissenting voices from rival telecom companies underscored broader apprehensions regarding the amendment’s implications. The revised act allows for further government scrutiny and potential abolishment by 2025, a prospect vehemently opposed by the trio of telcos. They emphasize the need for cautious policy deliberations to safeguard the integrity of NTT’s assets, acquired during its public corporation era.

In essence, while the government and NTT celebrate their initial victory, the broader telecom landscape anticipates more profound shifts on the horizon. As Japan braces for further debates and potential overhauls, the telecom sector remains at the epicenter of regulatory discourse, shaping the future of telecommunications in the country.

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