Site: Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT)
Communication Industry Finance Planning Division
Communication Policy Bureau
Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Date Visited: 12 October 1998
WTEC Attendees: I. Feller, P. Herer
MPT, along with MITI, supervises JKTC. Beyond the guidelines contained in JKTC's enabling legislation, MPT neither specifies the technical areas that JKTC is to support nor provides budgetary support to supplement JKTC's core budget (from pass-through of NTT dividends). MPT's oversight role of JKTC primarily consists of checks on the overall composition of its projects, although, as noted, MPT doesn't set specific R&D areas for JKTC to support. The basic philosophy of the JKTC program is that if the private sector determines an R&D project is necessary then MPT, through JKTC, will support it (as long as it fits the general guidelines of the enabling legislation).
Evaluation of JKTC projects is done by a panel of academics in the third year of each project's life.
JKTC supports private sector R&D. It is highly valued by MPT for its work in telecommunications.
No plans were contemplated to review the basic JKTC law, even though JKTC had been in existence for 13 years. The enabling legislation set out basic principles and was not very detailed. Thus, JKTC's management procedures and policies can be dealt with flexibly, without changing the basic law.
Based on the Japanese government's past experience in funding private sector ventures, the need for financial standards, such as collateral for loans, has become apparent.
MPT officials do hope that the centers and related R&D projects will provide the basis for regional economic growth. ATR, for example, is located in "academic city" based on the Silicon Valley model.
WTEC's MPT hosts expressed the view that it is a good idea to provide B loans to small- and medium-sized firms (B loans are considered one type of support to venture firms).
MPT, on occasion, may suggest to firms that they consult with other MPT bureaus before going to JKTC, and there are occasions where MPT may recommend that the firms involved in a JKTC proposal contact other bureaus.