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Telecommunications minister Toranosuke Katayama on Friday dismissed an assertion by the United States that NTT DoCoMo Inc. is overcharging other carriers for connections.

“(The U.S. claim) is inaccurate. I want them to speak based on accurate information,” Katayama, minister of public management, home affairs, posts and telecommunications, told a news conference.

Washington said April 3 that connection rates charged by mobile phone operators in Japan and Europe are “above cost” and vowed to make reducing the charges a leading item on the U.S. telecom-trade agenda for 2002.

“New entrants to Japan’s telecommunications market have expressed concern about the extremely high and nontransparent interconnection and access rates charged by NTT DoCoMo,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in its 2002 annual report on foreign trade barriers.

“There is no explanation of how these exorbitant rates are calculated,” the report says.

Katayama said the fact is that DoCoMo is actually reducing interconnection rates substantially.

“We will counter the U.S. claim as we have specific documents that prove our case.”

S&P ratings hold firm

Standard & Poor’s Corp. said Friday its ratings on Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. and its consolidated subsidiary NTT DoCoMo Inc. will not be affected by the firms’ revised earnings forecasts for fiscal 2001 announced Thursday.

The U.S. credit-rating agency said its current long-term ratings on both NTT and DoCoMo already reflect the business and financial risks of the NTT group’s sizable overseas investments made in the past two years.

The ratings also already reflect the added financial pressure on the NTT group from restructuring measures, it said.

NTT said Thursday it expects to incur a group net loss of 865 billion yen for the 2001 business year, which ended Sunday, compared with a profit of 331 billion yen projected earlier.

DoCoMo also expects to post a net loss of 36 billion yen for the 2001 business year, instead of the earlier forecast profit of 255 billion yen.

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