Japan needs to improve Internet access, says government

Japan needs to improve Internet access and other mobile network systems to boost efficiency, creativity and productivity and overcome challenges posed by the aging and shrinking of its population, a Japanese government report, cited in an Associated Press report, said.

The Associated Press report said the Information and Communications White Paper, approved in a Cabinet meeting, called for further efforts to build a "ubiquitous" network society and make good on earlier announced plans to make Japan the world's most advanced networking society by 2010.

The number of Internet users through mobile phones and other mobile terminals reached 69 million, surpassing the 66 million accessing through computer terminals at the end of 2005, the report said.

The report said further development of networks could create more flexibility in the working environment, with workers using video conferences or working from home. It could also create new jobs for specialists in management and outsourcing.

The report noted, however, that there was a digital divide. Although Internet use last year surpassed 90% in Japanese between the ages of 13 through 49, it was less than 50% among people aged 65 or older.