Monday, July 4, 2022

U.S. and Japan Embrace the Open Web

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A department of Rakuten Cellular in Tokyo, Dec. 14, 2017.


kim kyung-hoon/Reuters


Most Individuals consider Japan as manufacturing world-class vehicles and client electronics. However Japan can also be a tech-services superpower that encourages on-line commerce, embraces synthetic intelligence, exports modern video video games, and works in partnership with the U.S. to revolutionize cell connectivity.

As President Biden prepares to go to Tokyo this month, Japan and the U.S. ought to look past easy safety cooperation. These allies ought to assemble a deep digital partnership, rising connectivity infrastructure whereas lowering dependence on China.

The Ukraine disaster reveals the significance of such an alliance. Japan has joined the U.S. in standing as much as Russian aggression. My firm’s messaging service, Rakuten Viber, a market chief in Ukraine, permits Ukrainians to maintain in touch with household and pals anyplace on the earth. For a rustic whose tradition has historically been as insular as its geography, Japan has opened its doorways to Ukrainian refugees. It has additionally taken steps to chop commerce with Russia.

Our firm’s most bold new undertaking is to revolutionize mobile-phone networks. Traditionally, just a few massive distributors offered pricey proprietary techniques to community operators. Our Rakuten Symphony enterprise is software-driven, relies on open requirements, and runs within the cloud on business off-the-shelf servers. It runs 4G and 5G, and since it’s based mostly on software program, operators received’t have to attend till the subsequent era to carry extra providers to their clients. Our next-generation Open RAN community is dwell in Japan, and we’re constructing an identical system in Germany.

This open-network method has many benefits. It prices 30% much less to construct and as much as 40% much less to function than conventional networks. It’s safe. We all know precisely what goes into our community, controlling it at each layer from manufacturing to deployment. There aren’t any black bins. It’s automated. It’s clever. It prevents safety mishaps earlier than they occur. And we use no Chinese language gear.

For aggressive and geopolitical causes, the U.S. and Japan must work collectively to spark a mobile-technology revolution. This revolution will likely be based mostly on a brand new cloud-connectivity software program layer. Open RAN performs a key function on this structure, and whereas a lot of the {hardware} comes from Asia, now we have in depth expertise incorporating American expertise. Lots of the chips for our new community come from American suppliers, together with


and Qualcomm. Seventy % of our cloud applied sciences and software program come from Americas companies. And our IP Community Applied sciences come from U.S.-based


Japan and the U.S. have signed a joint initiative for a democratic web. This initiative affirms our dedication to defending and respecting human rights on-line and throughout the digital ecosystem. Japan and America must take a robust stand collectively to maintain the web free and open.

Mr. Mikitani is founder and CEO of

Rakuten Group Inc.

Assessment & Outlook: The Administration’s new Disinformation Governance Board is prone to promote extra public distrust. Photos: AFP/Categorical/Getty Photos/AP Composite: Mark Kelly

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