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2. Registered JP Domain Names Exceeds 100,000 -Messages from successive chiefs of the JP Domain Name Working Group- Japanese Page

2.1 In Retrospect: When JP domain was born

Masaki Hirabaru (Merit Network, Inc.),
Chair of the JPNIC Steering Committee from 1993 to 1995

For some reason, I tend to recall insignificant details more vividly than important facts. Eleven years ago I was part of an on-going discussion about changing the top-level domain name from "JUNET" to "JP". We were engaged in many serious discussions, such as how we could make a structure of domain names to match Japanese society, or about the bast way to handle the routing of E-Mail from foreign countries. However, my strongest recollection is that of a dimly lit, dirty meeting room typical of universities, when Akira Kato commented in his unique way, "It is good because we can directly patch in binary".

That is to say, with respect to the introduction of the currently used binary attribute, no compiling was required to change the "JUNET" character strings that were imbedded in the source code at that time. There was merit in that the "JUNET" character strings in the execution format program could be forcefully replaced with "CO.JP," for example, because both are 5 bytes in length.

With regard to the transition, it was decided that the third level would initially be made unique without considering existing attributes. This meant that if ABC.AC.JP was already in existence, ABC.CO.JP would not be assigned. This restriction was removed in due course, but there was a line of thinking at the time, as Japan was pursuing OSI, that even though OSI would be accepted by society in the future, it was not necessary to have an attribute (a second level domain name such as AC or CO). Those who had been involved with the Internet since its early days were supposed to be optimistic, but there was a conservative side to how people viewed the future of Internet as well.

At that time, the WWW did not yet exist, and people were only using E-Mail and news servers. With regard to domain names, top level domains such as JUNET, BITNET, etc. were used by each network project, the equivalent of today's providers, and CSNET began assigning "JP" without using an attribute. Thanks to the spread of the Internet protocol and the use of DNS, it became technically possible to make domain names independent of the connection method and provider. In order to implement this, cooperation among providers became necessary, as well as the need for an independent and neutral method of assignment.

Even though more than 100 domains had at that time been registered in Japan, at that time even 10 applications in a single month was a noteworthy event. Assignment was handled by an administrational group of JUNET volunteers via E-Mail. Five years later, JPNIC was born.

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