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Economy, Communications

Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, NTT, Japanese market, radio networks

All media enjoy freedom of communication in Japan. Daily newspapers published in the country number 122. Their combined circulation exceeds 73 million, one of the highest in the world. The largest dailies are Asahi Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun, which are circulated nationally. The Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), dominates the broadcasting industry, operating 2 public television networks and 3 radio networks nationally. NHK programs are financed by viewer subscriptions. Several commercial broadcasters also offer television and radio programs, and subscriptions to television cable services increased during the 1990s. In 1997 Japan had 686 television sets and 956 radios for every 1,000 people.

Japan has one of the world’s best telecommunications systems and high per capita telephone ownership. Until the mid-1980s the government-owned Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) provided all telephone service. In 1985 NTT became a private company, and other companies were permitted to enter the field. However, despite the somewhat increased competition, phone call rates in Japan remain high by international standards. Since new carriers offering digital mobile phone services entered the Japanese market in the mid-1990s, cellular phone usage has grown rapidly. Personal computers in use in 2000 totaled 315 per 1,000 people, and Japan had the second largest number of computers linked to the Internet, after the United States.

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