Telecommunications minister Toranosuke Katayama dismissed on Tuesday the suggestion that the U.S. would go to the World Trade Organization over access fees charged by NTT for use of Japan’s telephone infrastructure.
“There was no such talk in the meeting” between Japan and the United States in Washington in late February, Katayama, minister of public management, home affairs, posts and telecommunications, told reporters.
The planned hike in Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. access charges was high on the agenda at the bilateral meeting, called to consider a range of deregulation issues.
The meeting ended without progress on the key matters, including NTT’s access charges.
The U.S. has voiced its opposition to Tokyo’s plan to allow NTT’s regional telephone operators — NTT East Corp. and NTT West Corp. — to raise charges to other carriers for access to their phone lines.
On Feb. 14, the telecom ministry announced a plan to allow NTT East and NTT West to raise those fees by about 5 percent as a whole, although some fees will be lowered.
The ministry also proposed that the two NTT units maintain a uniform access rate.
At the deregulation talks, the U.S. insisted that NTT East and NTT West should adopt different access fees, depending on their business conditions.
Katayama said his ministry proposed the uniform rate because the Diet voted to do so in a resolution. “We have to respect the Diet resolution,” he said.
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