February 24, 2000 JPNIC's Approach Regarding Multilingual Domain Names (Draft) Japan Network Information Center(JPNIC) * Abstract - Currently, domain names are in ASCII form. However, because of the increase in Internet users, a strong demand for registration of domain names using Japanese characters has come to exist, from users and as well as service providers. - JPNIC is studying the possibilities of creating Japanese domain names, and hopes to begin registration of these domain names within the year 2000. - As the domain name system is the infrastructure of the Internet, a stable operation with high credibility is required. To keep the system stable, we must maintain the consistency of the current name space (the total set of all domain names) when it expands to include multilingual names, and it must not be corrupted by the introduction of incompatible systems. In addition, protocols and data formats used in the system must be in accordance with consensus of the Internet community. We must solve both technical and administrative issues. JPNIC is proceeding with standardization of iDN, coordinating with other organizations that are similarly working towards iDN solutions. * JPNIC's Approach Until Today In May 1999, JPNIC established iDN-TF, a task force to study the multilingual domain name from a technological aspect. This task force tries to identify conditions that will allow introduction of multilingual domain names. In addition, it is attempting to implement an experimental DNS system which will support multilingual domain names. The findings of this task force have been/will be presented at Internet Week (Yokohama), IWS2000 (Tsukuba), and APNG (Seoul). These findings form the basis of JPNIC's plan for introduction of service for registration of Japanese domain names. * Conditions for the Introduction of iDN The domain name system is the infrastructure of the Internet and a stable and high-credibility operation is required. To be successful, the name space must be totally organized and coherent; incompatible systems must not introduce segmentation among users, and confusion must not be caused by duplication of domain names when multilingualized. Protocol and data format being used for domain names need consensus among the Internet Community. Following are qualifications that JPNIC consider essential for the introduction of multilingual domain names. - Technical / Administrative Conditions - ZLD(*) or other schema of multilingual domain name space, which are consistent in the whole Internet community, should be defined. (*)ZLD: Zero Level Domain; special TLD to identify multilingual domain names. - DNS Protocol, especially character encoding system, is defined. - To obtain consensus and fix rules for mutilingualization of TLD in all gTLD and ccTLD communities. - Implementation - Implementation of a standard DNS server (ex. BIND) which meets the technical requirements. - Operation - Consideration for non-Japanese language users. Reserving ASCII domain names corresponding to domain names in Japanese, taking into account non-Japanese language users. - Trademark disputes may happen frequently, and procedures for handling disputes must be considered in advance. To be able to start the actual operation, JPNIC will solve these issues positively by coordinating with related organizations. It can be supposed that solutions to these issues need time to be resolved, and JPNIC is studying implementation of trial and provisory service in consideration of intergradations. * Registration of Domain Names in Japanese Characters Currently JPNIC is discussing registration of domain names in Japanese characters. One of the many models under discussion is: - JPNIC will register domain names in Japanese. These domain names correspond to currently registered domain names in ASCII characters. Registration shall be made on a first-come, first-served basis. As JPNIC anticipates disputes related to company names and trademarks, we will start registration of Japanese domain names in accordance with the dispute resolution procedure which will be in effect by the end of the year 2000. In preparation for the registration, we will re-evaluate technical issues; for example, characters in use and addition of SLD needed, and also the rules of domain name registration. * Related Activities JPNIC will collaborate with APNG, APTLD, W3C, IETF, ICANN, other related organizations and engineers regarding introduction of domain names in Japanese characters. Following are the main activities: - Discovery of solutions to the above-mentioned issues - Evaluation of currently available technologies - Development and experimention in related technologies, and evaluation of the above - Encouragement of industry community participation and establishment of a forum on multilingual domain names - Encouragement of multilingual domain name support for client software.