• Kyodo

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Japan ranks 20th among 82 economies in information technology “networked readiness,” up from 21st a year ago, the World Economic Forum said Wednesday in an annual report.

Finland topped the list in the 2002-2003 survey, while the United States, which ranked first in 2001-2002, slipped to second.

The survey is the second compiled by the group, which organizes the Davos forum of annual discussions among the world’s political and business leaders.

In compiling the network-readiness ranking, three factors are taken into consideration — “the environment,” including the regulatory framework and infrastructure, “the readiness” of individuals, the business community and the government, and “the actual usage” by these three groupings.

The forum said, however, that care is required in comparing the results of the 2002-2003 report with those of the previous year, because the latest survey was based on a framework evolved from a model used to compute the previous year’s ranking.

Finland ranked first in the latest survey as it had the best performance in terms of technology use by its citizens, businesses and government.

The U.S. continued to offer the best market environment for readiness, but fell to second place because it became less competitive in terms of IT connectivity and diffusion.

Singapore ranked third, up from eighth in the previous survey, as it had the best political and regulatory environment, and its government ranked first in terms of the readiness to employ IT in its internal processes and delivery of services.

The top three were followed by Sweden, Iceland, Canada, Britain, Denmark, Taiwan and Germany.

Despite moving one notch higher, Japan’s 20th ranking was behind those of four Asian neighbors — Singapore and Taiwan in the top 10, and South Korea at 14th and Hong Kong at 18th.

The forum compiled the survey in collaboration with influential business school INSEAD and the World Bank.

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