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HomeIndustriesInformation and Communication Technologies (ICT)
Fukuoka's ICT cluster is setting new global standard and creating new markets
A new IT policy in Japan: The New IT Reform Strategy began in January 2006. The Japanese government formulated the “e-Japan” strategy in 2001, focusing on the development of a network infrastructure under the objective of becoming the world's most advanced IT state by 2005. This goal was achieved earlier than expected and the world's cheapest and fastest infrastructure environment was realized in 2003 as ultra high-speed broadband (Fiber to the Home (FTTH)) connected more than 17 million households. It is expected that the information and communications sector will continue its rapid expansion, and the ubiquitous network market is estimated to bring about an accumulated direct economic effect of about 449 trillion yen by 2010.

In tandem with the aforementioned national strategy, Fukuoka Prefecture has been engaged in the advancement of the ICT industry from early on. In terms of infrastructure improvement, Fukuoka set up a 2.4 Gbps broadband network (the Fukuoka Gigabit Highway), which has been provided free-of-charge to companies in the prefecture. In addition, IT-ready human resources capable of handling next-generation technology have been nurtured in cooperation with the world's leading IT companies. Furthermore, the region is deeply committed to the promotion of the ICT industry, as exemplified by its leadership in promoting various high-tech measures and formulating the "Shared Technology Standard for e-Municipal Government" which serves as a model for government bodies throughout the nation.

About 2,000 ICT-related companies have gathered in Fukuoka, moving the prefecture toward its goal of becoming the premier ICT industry cluster in Japan. Remaining conscious of the global situation while collaborating with companies throughout the world, Fukuoka has been striving to create a new global standard and a new IT market.

Fukuoka Software Research Park
In an effort to develop an urban-oriented industry and reinforce research and development capabilities, the region has created one of the best information and communications industry clusters in Japan. The Fukuoka Software Research Park is home to more than 110 of the world's leading IT companies, including SONY, NEC, Hitachi, Fujitsu and Sun Microsystems, with a workforce of nearly 6,500.

Broadband Infrastructure
The Fukuoka Gigabit Highway (FGH), a 2.4 Gbps fiber-optic network with nine access points within the prefecture, is available free-of-charge to companies operating in the prefecture. FGH is connected with major cities nationwide, including Tokyo and Osaka (via IP-VPN) and with other areas in Asia such as South Korea via the Korea-Japan Cable Network (KJCN). Presently, about 7,900 business institutions utilize this network to conduct various businesses. Furthermore, by utilizing the advantages of private Internet Exchanges (IX's) and Internet Data Centers (IDC's), Fukuoka is attracting content providers and strengthening its role as a disaster recovery site.

Cultivating Human Resources
Throughout the region there are eleven universities of science and technology, including Kyushu University and Kyushu Institute of Technology, where around 6,000 engineers complete their studies annually. Furthermore, a large number of technical experts are returning home to Fukuoka from Tokyo, Osaka and other regions.

Creating a network among IT firms in the prefecture and supporting industry-academia-government cooperation
Fukuoka Information Service Industry Association and other entities support interaction and information exchange with IT-related companies, universities, and other research institutions in the prefecture. In addition, the Institute of Systems & Information Technologies/Kyushu (ISIT), in cooperation with industry, academia, and government, conducts research and development activities related to issues of security, a field that has received much attention in Japan recently.

The Academy for Advanced Information Technology Professionals (AIP) is Japan's first NPO institution to train human resources with an aim to cultivate "advanced IT engineers" that boast excellent technical abilites coupled with the ability to plan and implement the strategic utilization of information technology. In cooperation with leading IT firms such as Cisco Systems, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and BEA, and together with Kyushu Electric Power, the Aso Group and other major companies in the region, the Academy offers a cutting-edge curriculum that makes full use of the best laboratory facility in western Japan. Moreover, in its effort to develop world-class technologies, AIP plans to enlarge its role as an IT community leader in the region. This includes the promotion of business between foreign firms with advanced technologies and local companies.
Kitakyushu Telework Center
For companies engaged in IT businesses and ventures trying to start new businesses, the Center offers incubation offices located in convenient urban areas, where infrastructural support including a comfortable high-speed communication environment as well as business consultations with experts in various fields are provided.
e-ZUKA Try Valley
In Iizuka, a city in Fukuoka Prefecture, 5,000 students and researchers at the Kyushu Institute of Industry and Kinki University have formed a partnership with the branch office of the Center for the Study of Language and Information of US Stanford University, and with research institutions of leading global companies such as Germany’s Henkel. The city also has many university-oriented ventures.
Asia Digital Art Awards
Having long had a wealth of creative designers in its region, Fukuoka's content design industry has always flourished. About 1,000 works are submitted from all over the world to the Asia Digital Art Awards which have been held annually since 2001, serving as an opportunity for digital artists to compete on a global level.

Major Companies
Companies developing their business in various fields in Fukuoka include such world leaders as SONY, NEC, Hitachi and Fujitsu, along with a number of start-up companies each of which have unique and advanced technologies in niche fields.
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