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Wireless Phone Internet in Japan


June 8, 2000: This message was distributed by Papyrus News, a free e-mail distribution list on the global impact of information technology on language, literacy, and education. Feel free to forward this message to others, preferably with this introduction. For information on Papyrus News, including how to (un)subscribe or access archives, see <>.


Subject: Concerning Disruptive Technologies
Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2000 12:49:35 +0900
From: Steve McCarty
Organization: Kagawa JC, Japan; World Association for Online Education

I don't know, but I'm dubious about articles like the one at  <> which hype the wireless Internet access here in Japan  via iMode phones and so forth. From what I've heard, they access about 7,000 Websites -- in Japanese and selected for them. Commercials are also planned. So it could easily develop into something like Japanese TV, almost all in Japanese and controlled by economic interests in Tokyo.  The Internet can be used for Intranets and other closed systems. 7,000 sites are not the open World Wide Web.  We could try to program our Japanese language Websites also in the compact html for tiny screens, but how will users in Japan arrive at them? Not likely through English sources like the Japan WWW Virtual Library or the Japan Window. Even our sites listed with Yahoo! Japan among a multitude of others may not necessarily be found or among the chosen ones. Even now it is difficult to reach Japanese readers through the Net, and dotcoms from abroad are liable to have a harder time than expected.  Now one quite possible scenario is that journalists and wannabes now hyping this wireless trend will be crying protectionism in a year or two. I hope I'm wrong, but in the wrong hands these could be disruptive technologies indeed. 


Steve McCarty

Professor, Kagawa Junior College, Japan

President, World Association for Online Education:

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Last updated: June 10, 2000 in Word 2000