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Politics & Security

Japanese Technology Firms Step Up Drive to Dominate 6G

At the recent summit meeting in Washington, PM Suga and President Biden addressed national security concerns in communications technology aimed at keeping China in check.

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Japanese companies NTT and NEC reached agreement to form the Hinomaru Alliance for developing and promoting next-generation communications technology, including 6-G.

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Japanese companies are speeding up efforts to make 6G mobile communications a reality by the 2030s, working in step with the U.S. and Japan’s recent joint commitment to invest heavily in 6G.

The joint commitment was outlined in a fact sheet released after the U.S.-Japan summit on April 16 in Washington, D.C., stating that the two countries will jointly invest 4.5 billion dollars for the development of next-generation mobile networks.

By leading the standardization of 6G technology, Japan is aiming to catch up with countries such as China which have the edge in areas such as 5G base station technology.

6G is expected to be 100 times faster than 5G, and 1,000 times faster than the current 4G. It is also thought that 6G will be at least 10 times more effective than 5G at connecting to multiple devices simultaneously, and decreasing connection delays.

Moreover, by enabling the simultaneous transmission of large amounts of data across multiple devices, 6G has the potential to improve safety on crowded roads, and enhance medical treatment in areas such as high-precision remote surgery.

In preparation for next-generation communication networks, NTT has chosen to take full control of NTT Docomo, and the link between Docomo and NTT Communications has deepened. 

RELATED: NTT Aims to Compete Globally on 6G Communications by Fully Owning Docomo

Furthermore, NTT has teamed up with NEC in order to standardize technology, and to achieve “Open RAN,” which can use base station products from makers other than a specific maker.

RELATED: ‘Connected Industries’ to Showcase What Japan Can Do with Data and Technology

Japan’s KDDI (au) has announced plans to invest 2 trillion yen in next-generation communication networks by 2030. The company has laid foundations for the 6G era by strengthening its relationship with Toyota through a capital alliance.

Softbank has teamed up with Gifu University, succeeding in wireless communication that uses an ultra-small antenna suitable for 6G. The firm has also been working with Nikon on new-generation communication, jointly developing optical wireless technology. 

Meanwhile, Rakuten has joined forces with the Tokyo Institute of Technology, researching communication technology that offers minimal delays.

If 6G becomes a reality, it will enable high-speed communication in areas never reached before, such as space and under the sea. Devices could automatically charge without the use of electrical wires through non-contact power supply. People’s biological information could be relayed in real time, enabling AI-driven health advice, leading to major changes to people’s lives.

The U.S and Japan’s drive to increase its efforts in the field of next-generation communication follows China’s current dominance in areas such as base station technology.

Given the security issues that could arise in the 6G era, it is imperative that the U.S. and Japan proceed with their 6G objectives. 

(Read The Sankei Shimbun news report in Japanese at this link.)

Author: Katsutoshi Takagi