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The law concerning the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. group should be revised to grant more freedom to its two local calling companies and the revision should be a prerequisite to any further cuts in the connection fees it charges other telecommunications firms, the NTT Corp. president said Wednesday.

“In attempting to make further progress in the interconnection charge issue, revision of the law will inevitably become involved,” NTT President Junichiro Miyazu told a regular press conference.

Miyazu made the comment in response to Monday’s remarks by Hiromu Nonaka, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Nonaka urged the NTT group to reduce its interconnection fees by supplementing the lost revenue with profits from sales of NTT DoCoMo Inc. stocks.

However, Miyazu restated his intention to continue to hold a majority stake in the group’s most profitable company, saying that wireless and fixed-line services complement each other and that the combination will be necessary if the NTT group advances into other foreign markets.

“We want to continue to control NTT DoCoMo,” Miyazu said. NTT Corp. currently owns 67 percent of NTT DoCoMo.

At present, the NTT Law strictly regulates the activities of NTT East and NTT West, including a requirement that both offer equal services in any part of the country.

NTT has argued that such restrictions should be removed if interconnection charges are to be further reduced, as the U.S. government is demanding.

Reform of the NTT group has recently become a focus of public debate, partly because of a recent report by a study panel under the Fair Trade Commission.

The panel concluded that last year’s reorganization of the former state-run telecom firm did not spark the anticipated competition among local markets.

But Miyazu argued that there should have been no problems because the Fair Trade Commission itself was involved in drawing up the law that reorganized the NTT group.

Daley welcomes call

NEW YORK (Jiji Press) U.S. Secretary of Commerce William Daley on Tuesday welcomed Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori’s reported call to have Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. fully privatized.

Daley also voiced strong expectations of Mori’s leadership in deregulating Japan’s telecommunications industry because the two countries disagree over the fees NTT charges other telecommunications firms for connecting to its networks.

In a speech at a dinner meeting of the Japan Society here, Daley said deregulation should be carried out in such fields as “telecom, steel, construction, glass and other areas, where serious problems remain.”

As for Japan’s expensive Internet access fees, Daley said “there is reason for hope (of improvement).”

Mori made the privatization comment Saturday in a speech in his native Ishikawa Prefecture.

Daley expressed concerns that Japan’s large trade surplus with the United States has fueled U.S. protectionist movements. “The solutions to these problems rest in Japan, not in the United States.”