Japan’s economic recovery will be initiated by exports of information technology (IT) products, Shinichi Kitajima, the minister for economic affairs based at the Japanese embassy in Washington, confidently predicted at a conference held March 14 at the Georgia Center for Advanced Telecommunications Technology (GCATT).

          “Within five years Japan will be the leading nation in information technology,” he added.  He pointed to the widespread use of mobile telephones in Japan as a means of accessing the Internet as the most prominent example of new cutting-edge technology that has been prompted by intense demand in Japan.

          According to Mr. Kitajima, 15% of the Japanese population currently uses mobile phones to access the Internet, a number that far exceeds the percentage of wireless Internet users in either the U.S. or Europe where wired access is more pervasive.

          Mr. Kitajima was the lead speaker at the conference at which representatives of several Atlanta-based companies including Air2Web and Internet Security Systems also extolled high tech opportunities for establishing a presence in Japan.

          He admitted that his claims may be viewed suspiciously in view of Japan’s economic problems. For instance, he cited a television station’s failure to air an interview during which he made similar statements because “maybe they didn’t believe me.”

          But he was upbeat about Japan’s prospects citing the country’s 3.2% growth rate between October and December of last year, and a series of new economic development measures.

          To learn more about the conference, call Mark Ballam at (404) 894-4379.