Softbank Miyagawa (Photo taken in November 2023, at a financial results conference)
On the afternoon of the 17th, SoftBank President and CEO Junichi Miyagawa posted on X (formerly Twitter) that, “We are always ready to show up and discuss the NTT Act.” This is based on a post from the NTT Public Relations Office’s official X account that refuted the post by Rakuten’s Hiroshi Mikitani.
Regarding the debate over the NTT Act, Mr. Miyagawa commented, “Now is the time to have a full-on discussion about what it should be.” Mr. Takahashi responded by saying, “At a time when it is no longer a matter of defense funding, this issue concerns the very foundations of the telecommunications business,” and requested that the direction be decided through public discussion.
Mr. Takahashi from KDDI (Photo taken in November 2023, at a financial results conference)
About 40 years ago, various public enterprises in Japan were privatized. As part of this, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation was transformed into NTT, but it also inherited the telecommunications-related equipment (towers, tunnels, and conduits) that had been built throughout the country during the time of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation.
Many of these assets cannot be installed independently by other companies as their own facilities due to their size or because they are buried underground in urban centers. For this reason, KDDI, SoftBank, and Rakuten Mobile call this a “bottleneck facility,” and view the structure as problematic because it can affect fair competition.
On the other hand, NTT claims that “at the time of privatization, the shares belong to shareholders, including private companies.” One of the points of contention is how such equipment should be handled in a situation where the NTT Act is modified (which NTT considers to be a de facto abolition of the NTT Act), but the arguments of both sides are not very clear. It appears that they are not meshing well, and this time, the top executives of Softbank and KDDI have called for a public discussion on X.