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Encouraging Local Discussions on Internet Governance

Izumi Okutani, Policy Liaison at the Japan Network Information Center (JPNIC) and active member of the APNIC community, talks about how she is helping the local community in Japan get more engaged in Internet governance issues.

In Japan, we have several active operational communities, including JANOG, which attracts over 500 participants at each meeting, three times are year. Our operators and industry players meet at several other events and exchange information on the latest technologies and operations. On the other hand, when it comes to the area of Internet governance, there are large disparities between the amount of information being shared and discussed globally compared to the amount being discussed within Japan. While we have a very active Internet community in Japan, this is not visible in the global Internet Governance arena and our community is not sharing our situation or raising our voices globally.

Information Flow

At the same time, the range of issues discussed in the Internet Governance arena is so wide and our community is not hearing much information about what is being discussed per issue. Without it, we cannot identify what would be the relevant topic for our community to get more engaged on the global arena. To address this situation, Internet Governance Conference Japan (IGCJ) was launched in July 2014. It is a forum to facilitate discussions in Japan on various issues on Internet governance. There is a dedicated mailing list and bi-monthly meetings, which cover a wide range of topics and gives a sense of continuity between the forums. JPNIC serves as its secretariat.

About IGCJ

The objectives of IGCJ are:

  • To construct a firm base in Japan for well-informed considerations of Internet Governance issues and
  • As appropriate, to make recommendations on Internet governance issues for in-country stakeholders and global arena.

As we cannot cover all topics at once, IGCJ has focused so far in regularly engaging and updating our community on the IANA stewardship transition. We are proud to have had over 90 individuals sign a document to support a submission drafted by IGCJ volunteers, which expressed support for the transition of the IANA stewardship to the global Internet community.

Engaging in Dialogue

Another activity with concrete output by IGCJ is developing a document on "Concept for Security". This had close synergies with the “Collaborative Security” initiative by the Internet Society (ISOC). Therefore, a joint session was organised at the Internet Governance Forum 2016 (IGF2016), to discuss collaborative security in the local context.

National IGF

Together with IGF Japan, we jointly registered Japan-IGF as national IGF at the global IGF in Nov 2016. This will give us an opportunity to engage in dialogue with other National Regional IGFs. We also plan to actively engage with APrIGF this year, the regional IGF in the Asia Pacific region.

Encouraging Participation

To encourage more participation in the global IGF, as a member of the IGF 2016 Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), I have provided regular updates on preparation for the IGF. As a result, we had one of the the largest number of participants and speakers from Japan at the global IGF in 2016.

We also want to make sure that we follow up with our community on the key discussions that took place at the global IGF. So we organised a read-out session from the IGF2016 in Japan in January 2017, with participants from Japan from different stakeholder groups sharing their observations of key points.

Looking Ahead

These are the activities of IGCJ so far, but this is just the beginning. We have more work to do to cover a wider range of topics that are being discussed in the Internet governance arena and to nurture experts in Japan for these topics. Through these activities, we hope to have more active experts from Japan and the wider Asia Pacific region in Internet governance arena. We are interested in hearing about Internet governance experiences in the African region and exchange experiences to learn from each other on how we can increase engagement and information dissemination.


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