The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (the IANA), as part of the administrative functions associated with management of the domain-name system root, is responsible for receiving requests for delegation and redelegation of top-level domains, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and reporting on the requests. On 3 December 2001, the IANA received a request for redelegation of the .jp (Japan) country-code top-level domain (ccTLD). This report gives the findings and conclusions of the IANA on its investigation of that request.
In August 1986, the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (which then performed the IANA functions) approved a request for establishment of the .jp ccTLD. At that time and today, that two-letter code was and is set forth on the ISO 3166-1 list maintained by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (ISO 3166/MA) as the approved alpha-2 code for Japan.
Japan has a population of approximately 125,000,000 and consists of a chain of islands between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. The country consists of forty-seven prefectures and has the world's third largest economy.
Japan was an early participant in the Internet. JUNET (Japanese University Network) was established in 1984 to interconnect Japanese universities, and in 1985, when telecommunications regulations were liberalized, network connectivity tests began. In 1986, JUNET became connected with CSNET and USENET. Jun Murai was the key person during this process, taking on the responsibilities entailed in sorting out activities required, both in Japan and the United States, to promote Japanese Internet access and usage.
On 5 August 1986, soon after deployment of the current domain-name system in 1984 and 1985 (see RFC 921), the .jp ccTLD was delegated by Dr. Jon Postel (then in charge of the IANA function at the Information Sciences Institute) to Jun Murai. It was created, in a sense, as a test case of domain names to be assigned to countries and geographical regions. At that time, it was Dr. Postel's standard practice for authority and responsibilities regarding ccTLDs to be delegated to trusted individuals.
Jun Murai began at first to manage and administer the .jp ccTLD from within the "junet-admin" group, which was responsible for the operation of JUNET. Initially, JUNET had been using the top-level domain name ".junet," but it was suggested by Jun Murai that the Japanese Internet community should instead use .jp, as international rules concerning top-level domains were being established. In April 1989, junet-admin began registration of .jp domain names. Transfer from .junet to .jp was completed in approximately three months, and .junet domain names were replaced with such domains as .ac.jp and .co.jp.
Due to accelerating Internet development, the capability for voluntary administration of Internet resources, such as domain name registration and IP address assignment services, approached impracticality, and it became difficult to quickly respond to the needs of the Internet users in Japan. After extensive discussion among various Japanese academic societies the JCRN (Japan Committee for Research Networks) was established, which made the decision to create JNIC (Japan Network Information Center) in December 1991 to provide an institutional framework for the management and administration of the .jp ccTLD.
In April 1993, with Jun Murai's consent, JNIC reorganized itself as JPNIC (JaPan Network Information Center), members of which were ISPs, research networks, and academic networks located in Japan. With this reorganization, JPNIC became financially more stable by operating with a membership-fee system, providing a foundation that would allow more responsible operations. In order to promote fair and transparent decision making for the benefit, JPNIC created a Steering Committee and working groups, and actively called for public comments based on a policy of information disclosure. Also, a system was put into place in which the consensus of the members was reflected in the development of major policies, and in which final decisions would be made at the General Meetings.
With increasing governmental interest, JPNIC detailed its objectives to the Government of Japan, and on 31 March 1997, it obtained permits from the Science and Technology Agency; the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture; the Ministry of International Trade and Industry; and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (presently, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; and Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications) to operate as a non-profit corporate association. JPNIC continues to operate in that status under the supervision of the ministries.
JPNIC has conducted, for the benefit of the Internet community, various activities such as international coordination, information services, sponsoring of an annual "Internet Week" event for education and outreach, and development of the JP-DRP (.jp Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy). Also, JPNIC has in recent years progressively conducted technical research on internationalized domain names. As a result of these efforts, the number of .jp domain names exceeded 100,000 in September 1999, and 200,000 in September 2000.
This growth in the number of .jp domain names, as well as the dramatic growth in the number of Internet users in Japan, presented challenges for JPNIC. In order to maintain efficient use of domain name space and prevent disputes relating to domain names, JPNIC had initiated a "one domain name per organization" policy. However, as the Internet grew and use of it increased, Internet users in Japan began to demand more than one domain name per organization. Beginning around 1999, moreover, competition of domain name registration between .jp and gTLDs such as .com became significant in Japan. Under these circumstances, in order to satisfy users' needs, JPNIC began to study the possibility of introducing a "general-use .jp domain name" space, in which more than one domain name per organization could be registered, in addition to the existing one-domain-name-per-organization space. In the second half of 2000, establishment and enforcement of the JP-DRP (.jp Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy) set forth a dispute-resolution procedure and created an environment into which the general-use .jp domain name could be introduced.
Upon introduction of the general-use .jp domain name, it was important that registration services began as promptly as possible, so as to meet the needs of Internet users in as timely a manner as possible. Also, as it was expected that the number of registrations for the general-use .jp domain name would soar, it was necessary that the registration system and service of the .jp domain in general be more stable, to be able to endure rapid and drastic change, and fluctuations in registration demand.
Additionally, under government guidelines that regulate public service organizations in Japan, it was not appropriate for JPNIC, as a public-service organization, to accumulate money and raise funds for timely investment. Furthermore, if the business of a public-service organization has become, or may become, in competition with that of commercial companies due to changes in the social or economic situation, Japanese law requires the public-service organization to take action to correct its position as appropriate; if it cannot take action, the business should be converted into a commercial company.
These developments led to consideration of a reconfiguration of the arrangements for registration within the .jp ccTLD. As a result of intensive discussions and consultations with its members and the Internet community, JPNIC judged that it would be appropriate to establish a new company, to which management and administration of the .jp top-level domain would be transferred. At the JPNIC 11th General Meeting held on 22 December 2000, two proposals were submitted and approved by a majority of its members: "Establishment of a new company, for management and administration of the general-use .jp domain name;" and "Changes in JPNIC's membership system and fee schedule, and transfer of management and administration of organizational type/geographical type .jp domain name to the new company."
Based on the resolutions of the 22 December General Meeting, JPRS (Japan Registry Service Co., Ltd.) was established on 26 December 2000. Since then, JPNIC, JPRS and the Internet community have discussed the applicable policy for the management and administration of .jp top-level domain to be smoothly transferred from a public service organization to a private company. This policy also aims for the management and administration of the .jp top-level domain to be more efficient and competitive, ensuring that it is acting in the public interest, while at the same time providing convenience for users.
After considerable study and discussion, an outline of the transfer was
agreed upon by JPNIC and JPRS. On 9 November 2001, the Memorandum
for the Transfer of Management and Administration of the .jp Top Level
Domain was executed by the two organizations, and on
12 November 2001, they reported to the Japanese governmental authority
about the execution of this Memorandum. On 3 December 2001, JPRS submitted
a request to the
IANA for redelegation of the .jp top-level domain to it and expressed
its desire to execute an appropriate ccTLD Sponsorship Agreement with
This report is being provided under the contract for performance of the IANA function between the United States Government and ICANN. Under that contract, ICANN performs the IANA function, which includes receiving delegation and redelegation requests concerning ccTLDs, investigating the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and reporting on the requests.
In acting on redelegation requests, the IANA currently follows the practices summarized in "Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation" (ICP-1). ICP-1 represents an update of the portions of RFC 1591 (which was issued in March 1994) dealing with ccTLDs, and reflects subsequent documents and evolution of the policies followed by the IANA through May 1999.
In considering delegation or redelegation of a ccTLD, the IANA seeks input from persons significantly affected by the transfer, particularly those within the nation or territory which the ccTLD has been established to benefit. As noted in ICP-1, the parties affected include especially the relevant government or public authority: "The desires of the government of a country with regard to delegation of a ccTLD are taken very seriously. The IANA will make them a major consideration in any TLD delegation/transfer discussions."
Upon receiving JPRS's redelegation request, the IANA consulted with the administrative and technical contact and with the Japanese Government regarding their views on the appropriateness of redelegation and about the extent to which the Japanese Internet community had been consulted. In response, the IANA received reponses from Yasuo Sakamoto of the Japanese Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications and from Jun Murai, the present delegee of the .jp ccTLD, endorsing, after significant analysis, redelegation of the .jp ccTLD to JPRS. These responses also detail significant consultation with the Japanese Internet community and describe the strong support the proposed redelegation has received. Based on this showing, it is the IANA's conclusion that there is widespread support for moving the delegation of the .jp ccTLD to JPRS.
In February 2000, the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) issued a document entitled "Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains," commonly known as the "GAC Principles." These principles serve as "best practices" to guide governments in assuming proper roles with respect to the Internet's naming system, which the GAC has observed is a public resource to be administered in the public interest. In general, they recognize that each government has the ultimate responsibilty within its territory for its national public-policy objectives, but also that ICANN has the responsibility for ensuring that the Internet domain-name system continues to provide an effective and interoperable global naming system. The GAC Principles recommend that governments and ICANN pursue their respective roles by creating a framework for accountability memorialized in communications with each other and with the ccTLD manager (see clause 2). The GAC Principles guide governments on how to responsibly structure their relations with ccTLD managers (see clauses 5.5 and 9). Among these specific principles, the best practices contemplate that governments will assist in ensuring that the ccTLD manager complies with ICANN polices related to global coordination of the Internet DNS (clauses 9.1.7 and 9.1.8).
These principles are consistent with Japanese Government policy, which favors private-sector management of the domain-name system with appropriate oversight to protect the public interest. As explained in its endorsement letter, the Japanese Government will, with the assistance of JPNIC (a public-service organization operating under governmental supervision), ensure that JPRS operates the .jp ccTLD in accord with the best interests of the Japanese Internet community. In accord with the GAC Principles, the 9 November 2001 Memorandum for the Transfer of Management and Administration of the .jp Top Level Domain between JPRS and JPNIC establishes sound mechanisms that permit JPNIC, and through it the Japanese Government, to carry out the responsibiilty for ensuring the interest of the local Internet community is served. In addition, in its endorsement letter to ICANN, the Japanese Government has recognized "ICANN's function to establish, disseminate and oversee implementation of the technical standards and practices that relate to the operation of the global domain-name system" and stated that it "considers ICANN to be the appropriate international entity to oversee the technical coordination of the Internet in a manner that will preserve it as an effective and convenient mechanism for global communication."
By migrating the delegation of the .jp ccTLD from the responsibility of a trusted individual acting under informal understandings with the IANA to a more formal, legally enforcable, set of arrangements among a delegee organization, the relevant government, and ICANN (which performs the IANA function), the proposed delegation will promote a durable legacy of service to the local Internet community and will help assure continued Internet interoperability through the global technical coordination that ICANN was created to provide. In this regard, the recognition the Japanese Government's discussion of the need for close coordination between ICANN and the government is particularly noteworthy. In particular, as noted in the endorsement letter, it is important that there be coordination of local (under Japanese Government/JPNIC supervision) and global policy requirements for the .jp ccTLD as well as of steps taken to terminate and replace JPRS as the delegee of the .jp ccTLD should that ever become necessary.
The structure proposed by JPRS and endorsed by JPNIC and the Japanese Government is to have JPRS undertake management of the .jp ccTLD under appropriate oversight of the Japanese Government, with the assistance of JPNIC, concerning national public-policy interests. JPRS, JPNIC, and the Japanese Government also acknowledge and support ICANN's responsibility for coordinating management of the DNS, including the .jp ccTLD, to safeguard global technical-coordination interests. This structure is consonant with the principle of private-sector responsibility for technical coordination under which the Internet has flourished. In reviewing the request and in light of the Japanese Government's endorsement of JPRS as the appropriate private-sector manager, the IANA concludes that, provided JPRS's commitment to these responsibilities is effectively ensured, JPRS is the appropriate delegee of the .jp ccTLD.
One mechanism to reflect these commitments is the arrangement embodied in the GAC Principles. Where the relevant government (here with the assistance of JPNIC, a public-service ogranization under its jurisdiction) is prepared to carry out the ultimate responsibility for overseeing the ccTLD manager's service to the local Internet community and the manager is prepared to conduct itself within that framework, the interests of the local and global Internet communities are served by ICANN joining into that cooperative arrangement.
Two of the three parts of that arrangementthe delegee/Government
and Government/ICANN communicationshave already been implemented.
Upon conclusion of a mutually satisfactory agreement between ICANN and
JPRS reflecting the principles set forth in clause
10 of the GAC Principles, adjusted as necessary to suit local circumstances,
the .jp ccTLD should be redelgated to JPRS. Once such an agreement is
entered, the U.S. Department of Commerce should establish revised procedures
for maintenance of the .jp entry in the root zone file that enable ICANN
to perform its obligations under that agreement, and that permit moving
forward responsibly with the transition to private-sector technical management
of the Internet.
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