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3rd March 2023
Japan Network Information Center (JPNIC)

An Appeal for Reinforcement of the Governing Mechanism of APNIC

With the recognition that inappropriate conducts observed through the election period of 2023 APNIC Executive Council Election should be a risk which may endanger the future stable operation of APNIC, JPNIC submitted the letter titled "An Appeal for Reinforcement for the Governing Mechanism of APNIC" to the APNIC Executive Council and Director General, as shown below:

Mr Gaurab Raj Upadhaya, Chair of the APNIC Executive Council,
The members of the APNIC Executive Council,
Mr Paul Wilson, Director General of APNIC

An Appeal for Reinforcement of the Governing Mechanism of APNIC

APNIC is the Regional Internet Registry for Asia Pacific Region that administers and distributes IP Addresses and AS Numbers which are indispensable unique identifiers underpinning the function of the Internet and operates the related services including reverse DNS. In addition to these inherent functions, it conducts related activities of research and capacity building, among others, all of which make it play the most important role for the operation of the Internet infrastructure.

The Secretariat fundamentally operates APNIC's business and the Executive Council, which consists of the members who are elected by APNIC Membership, oversees the Secretariat's operation. It is of the utmost importance that the Executive Council appropriately represents the membership and appropriately oversees the proper operation of the Secretariat.

However, the 2023 election of the APNIC Executive Council has brought a substantial concern on this proper operation. The announcement which the Secretariat made on February 15 and 21*1 told that during the election period there were unsolicited telephone calls to encourage voting for certain candidates impersonating APNIC representative and threatening anonymous phone calls demanding silence on election issues and they were reported to law enforcement agencies. The newly introduced Election Nominee Code of Conduct and its oversight mechanism should have alerted to these offenders, but further active measures were not taken as no action is specified under the current APNIC Bylaws. We are aware that very explicit concerns have been expressed by several governments and other Internet Coordination bodies, which suggest the threat on APNIC's stability would have wider effects on stability of the entire Internet.

*1 [apnic-talk] [Apnic-announce] Callers impersonating APNIC: Election scam warning
[apnic-talk] [Apnic-announce] Appointment of law firm to oversee election nominee code of conduct

These offenses may impede the oversight of the APNIC operation by the fairly elected representatives, therefore endanger the stable operation of APNIC. In order to address these threats in future, we believe it is needed to inspect the current mechanism which governs APNIC, including by-laws and other constitutions, to reinforce if there is any vulnerability, so that it can maintain robustness to ensure the stable operation onward. It is the most urgent call; therefore, we urge the APNIC Executive Council to take strong leadership to take deliberate and steady steps toward such reinforcement.

JPNIC is the organization which took the initiative to establish APNIC thirty years ago and has been a member of it since then. We regard APNIC as one of the most important functions of the global Internet, therefore we have been involved in its operation through the Executive Council member from us and through the participation in the policy process. We are more than happy to take part in the consideration of the reinforced governing mechanism as a Member, if it is needed.

Yours Sincerely,

Hiroshi Esaki, PhD,
President and Chair of Board of Trustees,
Japan Network Information Center

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