White Paper

On the Publication of the White Paper on e-Business in Japan

Hiroshi Mikitani
The Japan e-Business Association (JeBA)

The importance of e-business is increasingly growing in Japan, with e-business-related indicators, such as market size and number of employees in the sector, rising every year. In the business environment where information technology (IT) and globalization will have ever-growing roles to play going forward, we believe that proactive utilization of e-business will become an effective tool for growth not only for the so-called IT industry but also for all other industries and business enterprises.
    Under such circumstances, we should be considering new laws and regulations befitting this new Internet society. Unfortunately, however, we can hardly claim that Japan has accepted this change of environment and we occasionally even come across moves to tighten regulations as if to turn the clock back.

In other countries, meanwhile, we see active moves to position the Internet as the pillar of new social infrastructure to promote more efficient public administration and growth of e-business.
    Against such a background, the JeBA, established in February 2010 for the purpose of strengthening Japan's competitiveness through the expansion of e-business, has completed its first year of operations without any trouble thanks to your cooperation.
    Going through the first year of operations by trial and error, the JeBA undertook activities for the development of e-business and enhanced understanding of the importance of e-business through the presentation of proposals and opinions concerning regulations on sales of pharmaceutical products over the Internet and the lifting of the embargo on web-based elections, proposals for proactive use of e-business, and an exchange of views with political leaders and relevant government ministries and agencies.

The White Paper on e-Business in Japan we are presenting here is also one of the key activities of the JeBA. This publication has been prepared to share with our members the current situation of e-business in Japan and its great potential and also to help government officials, political leaders, media and Japanese people at large more widely understand this.
    Thanks to your cooperation, the publication carries descriptions of and comments on various categories of e-business as well as the results of questionnaire surveys about business managers and users. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of those who contributed articles to this publication and cooperated in interviews and questionnaire surveys.
    In 2010, the e-business industry in Japan had no shortage of talking points. We witnessed the emergence of a variety of trends and keywords, including globalization, social networking and smart devices. When we look back later, 2010 may have its place as the year of important fundamental change.
    Incorporating these trends, Chapter 1 discusses the current situation in various categories of e-business, including e-commerce and advertising, as well as focal points in 2011 and onward.
    Chapter 2 analyzes the current situation of e-business by referring to opinions of people who are actually engaged in e-business. Their views were collected on the basis of three separate questionnaire surveys of business managers, business operators and users, respectively. In particular, the results of the questionnaire survey of business managers show that those leaders who are directly involved in e-business see the great potential for this industry. You should find the survey results quite interesting, with some forecasters predicting that the size of e-business-related markets will expand several dozen times by 2020.
    Chapter 3 includes reports on activities of the JeBA and comments on issues the JeBA is actively addressing.

I hope the publication of the White Paper on e-Business in Japan will be of some help to association members in their businesses going forward and also lead to the wider recognition of the growth potential of e-business by society.
    Since this is our first time publishing the white paper, you may find it lacking in some respects. We would very much appreciate your frank opinions and criticism.