To help Japan through the ongoing “information revolution,” the government should attune society to the global waves of the Internet, a Tokyo-based private think tank urged the nation on Monday.

The Japan Forum on International Relations, Inc., which set up a task force on the issue in 1996, compiled some 60 pages of policy recommendations and submitted them Monday to Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi.

The JFIR recommendations, titled “Japan and International Society in the Age of Information Revolution,” urge that an Internet-oriented communications network be created that would involve the collaboration of the government, business circles and local communities.

Pointing to widening gaps in information technology among Japan, Europe and the U.S., the group urged Japan to take fast action. “There are a number of reasons why Japan lags behind the U.S. and Europe, and the present situation in Japan can simply no longer be neglected,” the recommendations say.

“Failure to act now will not only cause immeasurable harm to Japan itself, but will drag the development of the entire global economy and prove especially detrimental to the recovery of the slipping Asian economies.”

Shumpei Kumon, head of the JFIR task force, told a press conference Monday that the nation needs to equip itself with social infrastructure, such as webs of fiber-optic cables required to build Community Area Networks, and that the government should take the appropriate budgetary measures to fund it.

Meanwhile, Kenichi Ito, president of the think tank, stressed the need to put the Internet into school curricula, as in the U.S. The United States is pushing ahead with a program to connect all schools to the World Wide Web by 2000.

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