Japan's telephone monopoly is refusing to extend open bidding rules to a new subsidiary created to exploit the potential bonanza of new wireless data and voice communications.
Japan delayed announcing the decision until after March 31, apparently hoping to duck a yearly U.S. review of bilateral telecommunications trade agreements. Nevertheless, aides to U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor have warned their Japanese counterparts that the review of that policy will not wait until the next deadline in the spring of 1996.Under Section 1377 of U.S. trade law, Mr. Kantor is supposed to announce by March 31 whether other nations are in compliance with telecommunications trade pacts they have signed with the United States. Although the review announced Wednesday found that Japan, Mexico, Canada and South Korea were all in compliance, Mr. Kantor said in a press release that the action by Japan after the review deadline "may be a circumvention of (its) agreement."
In the last two weeks, officials for Nippon Telephone and Telegraph informed the United States that a subsidiary of the state-owned company was not going to adopt open bidding rules that now apply to NTT and its subsidiaries.
The subsidiary was created to develop the market for Personal Communications Services, the catch-all phrase for a generation of wireless communication technology that many analysts believe could make conventional phone service obsolete.
The Japanese government maintains that NTT is an independent company not automatically bound by government procurement rules.