Site: Communications Research Laboratory (CRL)
Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications
4-2-1, Nukui-Kitamachi
Koganei, Tokyo 184
Japan

Date Visited: October 23, 1992

Report Author: B. Edelson

ATTENDEES

NASA/NSF:

C. Bostian
W. Brandon
M. DeHaemer
R. DePaula
B. Edelson
P. Hager
N. Helm
R. Kwan
C. Mahle
E. Miller
J. Pelton

HOSTS:

Dr. Nobuyoshi Fugono

Director General

Dr. Mamoru Nakatsui

Associate Director General

Dr. Takashi Iida

Director, Space Communications Division

Dr. Hajime Fukuchi

Chief, Broadcasting Technology Section,
Telecommunications Division

Dr. Tadashi Aruga

Chief, Space Technology Section, Space
Communications Division

Mr. Naokazu Hamamoto

Chief, Mobile Satellite Communications Section,
Space Communications Division

Mr. Naoto Kadowaki

Senior Research Engineer, Space
Communications Division

BACKGROUND

The Communications Research Laboratory (CRL) of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) is an integrated telecommunications R&D institute. CRL was created after the privatization of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) in 1985. It is now comprised of three research centers, six research and development divisions, three special research groups, five radio observatories, a planning division, and several support divisions, with about 422 staff (mid-sized among the hundred government laboratories).

Historically, CRL descended from governmental activities in radio science beginning in 1896 and culminating in formation of the Radio Research Laboratory (RRL) in 1952, from which is descended. CRL was created to consolidate a number of related programs in radio science and its applications. It was tasked with undertaking a comprehensive basic and applied research, development, and engineering program to advance telecommunications technology and systems across a broad front. The Kansai Advanced Research Center (KARC) was added to CRL in 1989.

CRL, reporting as it does directly to the MPT, is part of the MPT apparatus working on behalf of all of Japan's telecommunications interests. Therefore it is in a unique position to influence all technical plans and programs in both satellite and terrestrial communications. Working closely with other government agencies, the communications carriers, and industrial research centers and manufacturers, CRL has been able to participate in policy-making, system planning, development, and implementation of major new telecom systems. CRL also represents Japan as a participant in several major international R&D projects.

CRL's annual budget is 5.3 billion yen (approx. $41 million). Its staff of 422 includes about 270 researchers.

The principal divisions of CRL are:

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

As part of its efforts in telecommunications R&D, CRL pursues a broad program in satellite communications research, technology development and systems engineering. CRL is also involved in planning future systems and in building and testing communications equipment and flight packages, as well as providing management support for major flight programs such as the ETS-VI and COMETS.

CRL works closely with the Japanese space agencies (NASDA and ISAS), telecommunications organizations (NTT, KDD, and NHK), and major industrial firms (e.g., NEC, MELCO, Toshiba) in its satellite communications work. Because it is a research laboratory in a policy-making ministry, it is acutely aware of Japan's goals in satellite communications: to develop advanced technologies and capabilities, to use these capabilities to provide high quality telecom service to Japan.

CRL is an important participant in Japan's ongoing communications satellite development program. They are currently engaged in experiments and demonstrations with the ETS-V satellite and are closely allied with NASDA and NTT in the ETS-VI program. CRL also plays a leading role in planning of the COMETS experimental satellite, initiated in response to the U.S.-Japan arrangement on procurement of satellites (which opened Japan's market to international suppliers for operational satellites). CRL's plans include the following:

ETS-VI. Planned for launch in 1994, ETS-VI will have multi-frequency capabilities drawn from several sources:

A large number of experiments have been lined up for ETS-VI. Of special note are the Ka-band HDR ATM transmission tests at 156 Mbits/sec, the optical ISL tests using the CRL-developed LCE (Laser Communications Equipment) which includes a 7.5 cm diameter telescope, an AlGaAs laser diode transmitter operating at 0.83 microns, a Si avalanche photo-diode receiver operating at 0.51 microns, and the ground optical facility located at the CRL Koganei facility.

COMETS. To be launched by H-II rocket in 1997, COMETS will utilize multi-frequency antennas for advanced mobile communications, broadcasting and ISLs:

Mobile satellite communications - CRL

Ka-band and mm wave, spot beams, on-board interconnection with IF filter bank or baseband processing

Broadcasting - CRL and NASDA

Ka-band for HDTV, ISDB (integrated services digital broadcasting), multibeam broadcasting for local service

ISLs - NASDA

S-band and Ka-band, to develop key technologies for large spacecraft antennas, high accuracy acquisition and tracking systems, and high data rate inter-satellite service

The Pan-Pacific information network experiment is in progress between CRL and the University of Hawaii, etc. The "PARTNERS" project is being conducted for developing low cost networks using ETS-V with Thailand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Hawaii and Japan.

SUMMARY

The Communications Research Laboratory is an outstanding R&D center, supporting its own ministry with advanced research, hardware development and systems studies. It carries on a broad program in telecommunications and in radio and ionospheric sciences. This includes a strong program in satellite communications.

CRL works closely with other government organizations and industrial groups to advance Japanese capabilities in all aspects of satellite communications. It has played a key role in developing and conducting experiments with the ETS-V satellite and has built several payloads for ETS-VI and expects to continue with the COMETS program.

CRL leads the planning for satellite communications systems with advanced capabilities exceeding those of existing or planned satellites in the U.S. or Europe.

CRL favors international cooperation in the development of satellite communications technology and systems. Although the University of Hawaii participates in the ETS-V program, there is no involvement of the U.S. government. Significant opportunities exist for U.S. cooperation with Japan in:

  1. Experimentation using ETS-V, ETS-VI or COMETS,
  2. Development of technology for optical and mm wave communications, and
  3. Development of technology for large aperture (30 m) spacecraft antennas.

Published: July 1993; WTEC Hyper-Librarian