• SHARE

A top posts and telecommunications regulator on Monday brushed aside a call by the head of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. to revise the law governing NTT’s operations to resolve a row between Japan and the United States.

“Time is short to discuss NTT’s operations” before upcoming bilateral negotiations, Vice Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Masahito Tani told a regular press conference.

NTT President Junichiro Miyazu said last week that bilateral talks “should be promoted by including the issue of revising the NTT law.”

Japan and the U.S. remain split over reducing the access fees NTT charges its competitors for use of its network.

Japan has proposed cutting NTT’s access charges by 22.5 percent over four years, but the U.S. has insisted on a bigger cut over a shorter period of time.

Tani, meanwhile, said the government is not ready to make concessions despite a call by Hiromu Nonaka, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, to cut the charges by 22.5 percent over three years.

The U.S. has set a July 28 deadline to decide whether it will file a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the issue.

Japan and the U.S. are set to resume talks after Japan’s June 25 general election.

New auto pact eyed

Japan has not yet decided whether to seek a renewal of the U.S.-Japan auto and auto parts trade agreement of 1995 despite U.S. calls to do so, a top trade ministry official said.

“We are currently discussing what to do with the auto pact, which is to expire at the end of this year,” Katsusada Hirose, vice minister of international trade and industry, told a regular press conference.

Hirose said he is aware of calls made last week by some U.S. congressmen for the pact to be renewed.

In making a decision, he said the ministry will consider the changes that have occurred in the auto industry since the conclusion of the bilateral pact about five years ago.

He said global realignment of the auto industry has become popular and overseas production by Japanese automakers and suppliers has increased.

The U.S. government also appears to be interested in renewing the pact.

A U.S. annual trade report released earlier this year said the U.S. government remains “concerned about the lack of progress” in eliminating barriers and expanding sales opportunities in the automotive sector in Japan.

The report said the U.S. government has begun consulting with U.S. industry, labor groups and other interested parties to develop a position on what type of followup agreement it will seek.