Asian countries outside Japan could accomplish a “new Asian miracle” through increased utilization of information technology, the Economic Planning Agency said in an annual report released Wednesday.

The Asian economy, if centered on information technology, could attain high economic growth through “enhanced economic efficiencies and growth possibilities,” the agency said in its annual report.

The Asian economy is increasingly dependent on the production of IT-related products, with the percentage of production value in the gross domestic product of such countries as South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore far exceeding that in industrialized countries such as Japan and the United States, the report says.

But such increases in IT-related production have been achieved by exports to the U.S., the main destination of such products, the report says.

“Therefore, the Asian economy would shrink if U.S. demand for such Asian-made products were to slow down,” it says.

The agency, however, was not pessimistic about the Asian economy’s current dependence on production of IT-related products for export.

The report says the market for IT-related services in Asian countries, notably cellular phones and Internet services, has been expanding rapidly.

The number of mobile phone subscribers in Asian countries outside Japan increased by an annual average of 75 percent from 1995 to 1999, it says.

“The Asian economy’s transformation to an IT-centered one is currently led by expanding exports to developed countries, but the transformation will soon be led by the creation of demand within the region,” the report says.

It says many Asian countries began placing importance on developing information networks and nurturing IT-related industries in the early 1990s, when they formulated economic policies centering on IT.

These countries need to make efforts to increase people’s awareness of information technology and promote further deregulation to strengthen their IT-centered economic strategies, it says.

The report stresses the importance of developing IT-related human resources and further promoting regulatory reform to nurture a “New Economy” in Asia.