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2. Registered JP Domain Names Exceeds 100,000 Japanese Page

2.2 In Retrospect: Rsegistered JP domain names exceeded 100,000

Kazue Kamiyama (NTT Software Inc. /JERIC)
Chair of Domain Name Working Group, 1993 to 1995

What I recall about the three-year period from 1993 to 1995, during which I served as Chair of Domain Name Working Group, was that it was a time of intense change in that the foundations of today's Internet society were just beginning to be put in place. Two significant events were the launch of a 100-school project and the birth of commercial Internet services. Of that period, I would like to look back to when we introduced geographic type domain names, which we considered to be a high-priority development.

The start of the 100-school project kick-started us to begin an earnest study of the introduction of geographic type domains. We knew that if we decided to incorporate the new domain names into the AC domain as we would normally do, we could expect to receive many duplicate applications from around the country, such as "Higashi Elementary School" or "Daiichi Junior High School"(Note: These are very common school names in Japan). Moreover, the fact that 100 applications would be received within a short period of time would have a significant impact, as at that time we were processing less than 200 a year. Additionally, accompanying the start of commercial services, it became important for JPNIC to appropriately handle local domain assignment requests from organizations in various areas. We had been considering increasing the name space by using a system based on the US convention of referencing geographic domain names. Due to the disproportionately heavy use of AC and CO, we worried about potential technical problems, such as domain name searches taking an inordinate amount of time. Day in and day out, we found ourselves staring at the "Kana" index of a Japanese map, distressed by the duplication of village names and spelling problems and even dreaming about them. Discussions raged on and on for a year, with a one-year pilot project that began December 1993 and finally led to a full-scale introduction in December 1994.

Using the full spelling of prefecture names tends to be unpopular because they can be quite long, but we anticipated that the development of Web technologies would mean that it was really only a matter of time before we could use the Internet without even being aware of long domain names. Six years have passed, and technical problems of latency caused by the disproportionate use of AC and CO have been largely solved due to remarkable improvements in both computer performance and transmission speeds. Regretfully, a solution to the problem of long domain names may still be a long way off. After all, schools tend to be among those who are most affected by assignment of long domain names (of course, I do not think this is the only problem), although the ED domain was created this year. It seems that geographic type domain names are being used by local governing bodies, even though this use is slightly different from our initial speculations.

Be that as it may, breaking the barrier of 100,000 domain names was totally unimaginable at that time; I can imagine how hard that those in charge must have worked. I expect JPNIC to take a role in the creation of new domain names that are appropriate for the times, maintaining ease of use without the restrictions of the conventional framework.

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