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Report: Japan, China, S. Korea developing next Net

The countries are reportedly planning to jointly develop Internet Protocol version 6, the next-generation Net standard, challenging the U.S.-dominated market for current IPv4-based Net tech.

Japan, China and South Korea are reportedly planning to jointly develop Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), the next-generation Internet standard, a move that will challenge the U.S.-dominated market for current IPv4-based Internet technology.

The report in Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a Japanese business daily, said the countries aimed to take the lead in Internet technologies, with a broad move to adopt IPv6 beginning in 2005.

It named several Japanese companies that it said would participate in the IPv6 development: Hitachi, Fujitsu, NEC, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Nippon Telegraph, Mitsubishi Research Institute and Internet Initiative Japan. From Korea, the newspaper said, Samsung and Korea Telecom were expected to participate, along with Chinese companies such as China Telecommunications.

IPv6 is seen as an answer to the upcoming shortage of IP addresses under the current IPv4 protocol. With vastly more IP addresses available under IPv6, the Nihon Keizai speculated there would be growth in the remote operation and management of even more Internet-enabled devices such as cars, smart tags and home appliances.

In October, a group of technology companies including 3Com, Cisco Systems, AT&T and BellSouth said they were embracing IPv6, and the U.S. Defense Department plans to completely switch over by 2008.

Already Japan's Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications has allocated $18,643,000 in annual funding for a Japanese IPv6 network that will connect around 100 local governments, corporations and households. The Nihon Keizai report said that similar IPv6 networks would be built in Korea and China and then connected to the Japanese IPv6 network to create an international IPv6 network with shared standards.

No Japanese government or corporate officials were available for comment on the Nihon Keizai report due to the New Year holidays, the paper added.

A representative from Japanese electronics giant Hitachi said IPv6 had been discussed by the three governments at ministerial meetings, but the representative was not aware of any recent developments and said Hitachi had no specific terms for Japanese-Chinese-Korean development.

CNETAsia staff reported from Singapore.