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7. English Page

7.2 Overview of JPNIC

1. History and organization.

JPNIC was founded as the union of Internet service providers in Japan in April of 1993. Its main purpose is to carry out JP domain name assignment, IP address assignment and related issues, and thereby to contribute to the development of the Japan's Internet. We have taken over these jobs from the voluntary association JNIC. Though the number of members were only about 20 at the beginning, JPNIC is growing quite rapidly.

The organization of JPNIC consists of general assembly meeting, board, steering committee, and secretariat. The general assembly meeting decides budgets, authorizes audit reports, elects the Board members, and makes other important decisions. Members of the Steering committee are appointed by the Board. The secretariat currently consists of 9 employees.

The Budget for fiscal year 1996 is about 4.7 million US$. The financial base of JPNIC is quite concrete since we have been charging for domain names and IP address assignment since June 1 1995.

For the fiscal year 1996, we estimate that 38% of the total income is due to membership fee, and 42% is due to assignment charge.

2. JP domains

JP domain names are categorized into two groups: one is functional type domains, and the other geographical domains. Currently we have 6 functional types, each of which is identified by 2 letter coded second level domain names. For example, nic.ad.jp is assigned to Japan Network Information Center, which is working on network administration, so that the domain name has "ad" as its second level. The six second levels are ad, co, ac, go, or and ne.

Geographical domains have suitable codes indicating the location of the organization as the second level.

JPNIC's assigning policy is roughly summarized as follows:

2.1. first come, first served,
2.2. one domain name for one organization,
2.3. non transferable,
2.4. local presence in Japan,
2.5. uniqueness in the third level.

The policy 2.5 means that JPNIC did not assign nic.co.jp because JPNIC has already assigned nic.ad.jp. Having a rather long history, this was indeed an inflexible restriction, which was removed quite recently. The principles 2.2 and 2.3 may not be found in analogous policy of the InterNIC com domains. JPNIC thinks these principles play an important role in reducing possible conflicts of domain names, and prevent trading of domain names, of which JPNIC thinks adds little to the development of the Internet.

3. Recent topics

3.1 Introducing new functional type "ne" (Nov. 6, 1996),
3.2 Removing the "third level uniqueness" restriction (Dec. 10, 1996),
3.3 Revising documents for IP address assignment to reflect rfc2050,
3.4 Discussion on trademark domain names,
3.5 Incorporation of JPNIC as a government authorized organization
   (probably be done by the end of March 1997).

The new second level "ne" is for "network service". JPNIC is assigning domain names with this second level for services which will issue IDs to individual clients. One such example of this is the famous commercial service "Compuserve" in the US. However, if JPNIC assigns a co.jp domain name to such a service, then there will be no way to distinguish the e-mail addresses of the employees of the service company and the e-mail addresses of the clients. Therefore, JPNIC thinks that JPNIC should distinguish between these two, and although JPNIC had been assigning "or" domains for such services until Nov. 5 1996, JPNIC has recently created a new second level unique to this.

3.2 is for simplification, and 3.3 is to follow new international guidelines. Concerning 3.4, the steering committee have been discussing it for about 1 year and with some associations which are in charge of Intellectual properties and trademarks.

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