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3.9 INET2000 in Yokohama

Toru Takahashi (Trustee of JPNIC, Chairman of Internet Association of Japan)

1. History of INET

The history of INET began with the staging of INET91 in Copenhagen as a conference regarding the Internet as a whole, combining various academic networks and incorporating the latest trends in Internet commercialization. The meeting saw calls for the establishment of the ISOC (Internet Society), and many Japanese participants became Pioneer Members of the ISOC when it was founded in January 1992.

INET92 in Kobe was the first annual event of the ISOC. The Executive Committee was headed by Prof.Hideo Aiso, while Prof. Haruhisa Ishida Haruhisa Ishii Teacher heading the Program Committee. The domestic working team centered around Prof.Murai Teacher's WIDE project while going about the unfamiliar task of raising funds, but the busy preparations for this international conference were rewarded with the participation of over 600 people.

INET92 was followed by INET93 in San Francisco, INET94 in Prague, INET95 in Hawaii, INET96 in Montreal, INET97 in Kuala Lumpur, INET98 in Geneva, and INET99 in San Jose. This year 'The Internet Global Summit' was held from June 22 to June 25 under the title 'The 9th Annual Internet Society Conference', with pre-conference events being held on June 20 and 21, the opening reception on June 22, and the conferences on June 23-25.

2. Proposed to Host INET2000 in Yokohama

INET has visited 3 continents to date, and the year 2000 represents Asia's turn once again. In November last year an INET2000 Japan Executive Committee was formed, centering around Japan Network Information Center (JPNIC), the WIDE project, and the Internet Association of Japan (IAJ). With a view to staging INET2000 in Japan in the firm belief that further development of the Internet is the first step in Japan's economic recovery, a proposal was submitted on January 12, naming Yokohama as a candidate host. Related developments are outlined below.

*The proposal to invite INET2000 to be held in Japan was put to members at several IAJ General Meetings, where it received approval.

*On November 14, 1998, we met with ISOC Vice President for Conferences Javier Sola at the ICANN meeting in Boston, and indicated that Japan was preparing to submit a proposal.

*The final version of the Request for Proposal was announced on November 17, 1998.

*A meeting was then held on November 27 to discuss the proposal under the direction of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the IAJ, with several IAJ directors participating. Regarding the Executive Committee and Organization Committee, it was decided to base the Executive Committee with non-profit organizations which are ISOC AC members, IAJ, the WIDE project, and JPNIC, while an Organization Committee was to be established above the Executive Committee with a view to raising funds.

*We attended the ISOC Advisory Council Member Meeting which was held during the IETF meeting commencing on December 6, 1998, and suggested to the ISOC that the RFP was too detailed, while stating our wish for an easier proposal format.

*A preliminary meeting was held regarding INET2000 at the Kokusai Kaikan in Kyoto on December 14. It was decided that Japan should submit a Letter of Intent to the ISOC soon.

*On December 25, a meeting was held at JPNIC regarding the INET2000 proposal. Decisions were made regarding the allocation of responsibilities for the preparation of a draft proposal and other tasks, and it was decided that a secretariat would be formed within the JPNIC. With the approval of the JPNIC board of directors, personnel were appointed from within the International Affairs Section. Toru Takahashi was appointed as Chairman of the Japan Executive committee, while multiple Vice chairmen were appointed, including Tomoo Okada and Hiroshi Fujiwara.
JCOM was selected as a conference management company, and work proceeded on drafting the proposal.

*Several people gathered at Mr. Takahashi's house on January 2, 1999 to discuss the details of the proposal.

*Participants met at JPNIC on January 4 to check the progress of the proposal, and it was decided to finalize the proposal by January 11.

*JPNIC proofread the English language document on January 11, sending part of it to ISOC by express. The proposal as a whole was sent the following day.

*On January 14, we received mail from Javier Sola confirming receipt of the proposal. Our rivals were Hong Kong, Beijing, Glasgow and Paris, with Taiwan and Barcelona having withdrawn their proposals.

*An ISOC observation mission consisting of Javier Sola, George Sadowsky, and Torryn Brazell visited Japan from February 23 to February 25.

*As of the end of March, Beijing appeared to be the favorite to host INET2000. We gave final notice that we would withdraw our bid if a decision was not made by the end of April.

*On April 28, Javier Sola returned to Japan (via Beijing), and stated ISOC's wish to hold INET2000 in Japan.

As a result of our efforts, our bid was ultimately successful over those of Hong Kong, Beijing, and Glasgow, with ISOC approving and giving informal consent for Yokohama's bid on May 6. ISOC requested that Japan provide confirmation that we would be able to provide at least 1 million dollars in financial resources as soon as possible (or that we transfer cash to a bank account). Of our total budget of 410 million yen, around 300 million yen is to be raised from domestic and overseas sponsors.

3. INET2000@Yokohama

The official ISOC announcement was made at INET99 in San Jose. There were a number of incidents along the way, including the cancellation of ISOC head Vinton G. Cerf's keynote address to ChinaInet99 as the US embassy in Beijing was surrounded by protestors following the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy during the Kosovo conflict. However, ultimately, the decision was made to stage INET2000@Yokohama.

ISOC designated Mr. Toshifumi Matsumoto (AT&T Japan) as Vice President of Conference (INET2000), Brian Carpenter (IBM, IBA) and Toru Takahashi (Internet Association of Japan) as Conference Co-Chairs, and Jun Murai (WIDE Project) and Jean-Claude Guedon (University of Montreal) as Program Co-Chairs.

A one-week Network Training Workshop targeting developing countries is to be held prior to the conference (this is scheduled to be held at the Hiyoshi campus of Keio University). An exhibition is also to run concurrently with the conference.
The conference program is to be determined by the program committee. For example, this year's conference included the following items.

  • E-Commerce & E-Business
  • Education & Information Resources
  • Social Legal & Regulatory
  • Community Networks
  • Technology
  • Next Generation Internet
  • Internet II
  • Multicast
  • IPv6......

4. Effect of Hosting INET2000 in Japan

  1. Hosting this conference in Japan will be effective in helping Japan develop as an 'Internet superpower' capable of providing leadership for other countries throughout Asia.
  2. The conference is an opportunity to focus on the next-generation Internet and beyond. This will also provide an opportunity to reform the Internet in Japan.
  3. INET2000 will be an event which examines the social development of the Internet as a whole, and will be a major opportunity to promote this development in Japan and other parts of Asia.
  4. The development of the Internet has led to social reforms and altered social structures. Hosting INET2000 may lead to hints as to how to put the Japanese economy back on the road to recovery.
  5. The indirect economic effect of INET2000 is expected to amount to several hundred times the total budget of 410 million yen.

5. Call for Cooperation between Government and the Private Sector

Prospects for the recovery of the Japanese economy finally seem to be appearing. Entrepreneurs have continued to make great efforts during the long recession. As a number of intellectuals have suggested, through Economic Strategy Council reports and other channels, the time has come for major reforms to the structure of Japanese society.

Those of us who have supported the development and promotion of the Internet in Japan are in agreement with this view. The Internet, which came to Japan as an experimental academic network and has since been developed commercially, has spread throughout Japan to an extent beyond all expectations, and its social impact has even led to significant social changes. The Internet is certain to be the information base of the 21st century. At this point in time, INET2000 represents the perfect opportunity to explore Japan's and Asia's vision of the 21st century. We call for the cooperation between government and the private sector that is needed in order to make INET2000 a great success.

The INET2000 Japan Committee Secretariat has been established within JPNIC.
Jyunichi Nomura (JPNIC Director, NTTPC) has been appointed chairman of the Japan Committee, while Hitoshi Arai (NTT Communications) has been appointed Secretary General.

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