QD Public Response
QDBalanced Evaluation of Potential Events
iPjCondition for the Anticipated Trouble
iQjMeasures for Trouble Resulting from Programs
iRjMeasures for Trouble Resulting from Embedded Chips
RDCrisis Management Which Helped to Reduce Anxiety
iPjPhilosophy of Crisis Management for the Y2K Problem
iQjEstablishment and Implementation of Contingency Plan by Various Organizations
iRjInformation Networks by both the Public and Private Sectors Focused on the Change of the Year
iSjThe Peoplefs Preparation
SDActive Information Provision
iPjMeasures Taken Before the End of 1999 and Their Results
iQjResults of Measures Taken For the New Year Period
TDActive International Measures
UDMeasures of Appropriate Proportions
P Importance of Participation of All Levels of the Public
Q Information Disclosure: Essential for Public Participation
R Necessity of Strong Leadership
S Necessity of Accurate and Abundant Information Provision in Emergency Management
T Effective International Cooperation
yIssues for Which Further Actions should be Takenz
U Necessity of Prompt Measures for the Internet Society
iU|QjUsage in Crisis Management
iU|RjUsage in Public Relations
V Measures for the gBlack-Boxh Effect of Technical Problems with Large Social Impact
kKey Wordsl Where appropriate, the following abbreviations are used.
gY2K ProblemhFabbreviation for the Computer year 2000 Problem
This is a problem in which computer systems may give erroneous indication, may malfunction, or may completely stop when processing data in the year 2000 or later because most conventional computers are designed to recognize dates by the last two digits of the year. In order to prevent this problem, it is necessary for system owners to remediate programs or re-construct the entire system.
gPromotion Headquartersh: an abbreviation for the gAdvanced Information and Telecommunication Society headquarters.h The director is Prime Minister Obuchi.
gAction Planh: an abbreviation for the gY2K Action Planh adopted by the Promotion Headquarters on September 11, 1998.
gPromotion Councilh: an abbreviation for the gPromotion Council on Measures for the Computer Year 2000 Problemh established at the Promotion Headquarters on September 7, 1998.
gAdvisorsf Councilh: an abbreviation for the gY2K Advisorsf Conferenceh established at the Promotion Headquarters on September 7, 1998.
gCritical private Industriesh: referring to the following five industries:
- Finance: Banking, Insurance, Securities, etc.
Energy: Electric power, Gas, Petroleum
Telecommunications: Telecommunications, Broadcasting
Transportation: Air, Railroads, Maritime Transportation
Medical Services: Medical Equipment, Clinics, Hospitals
gImproving the Emergency Management Systemh: an abbreviation for the gImproving the Emergency Management System for the Computer Year 2000 Problemh adopted at the Promotion Headquarters on July 30, 1999.
gThe Peoplefs Preparationh: an abbreviation for the gGuidance for the Y2K Preparation for the New Year Periodh adopted by the Promotion Headquarters on October 29, 1999.
gInternational Y2K Cooperation Centerh: an international organization for international Y2K-related activities and information-sharing, consisting of the United Nations member states and founded in February, 1999, based on a proposal at the Y2K meeting hosted by the United Nations in December, 1998.
gRTC (Real-Time Clock)h
RTC refers to an IC with counters for the year, month, day, day of the week, hour, minute, and second. Using the vibration signal of a crystal oscillator, it advances the second counter once every second, providing the calendar function (absolute time-keeping function).
(1) The Y2K Problem is: @ the first major problem that computerized society faces and must solve on a worldwide scale; A an unavoidable problem in the process toward an advanced information-telecommunication society; and B a problem that affects all aspects of the society including corporations, individuals, local public organizations, and governments.
For this reason, it was necessary that the entire country-including individuals, corporations, local public organizations, and the government-participate in addressing the issue. Improper handling could result not only in massive confusion of the society and economy of the country itself, but also have adverse effects throughout the whole world.
Japan, in particular, received international attention both as an information and technology-based country and as a major economic power in the world; in addition, geographically Japan greets the new year ahead of most other nations of the world.
(2) Both the public and private sectors in this country began working on the Y2K Problem through organizations related to information technology back around 1996. However, it was not until August, 1998 that the government itself began taking serious and comprehensive measures in cooperation with the private sector, based on the instruction of Prime Minister Obuchi, and adopted an action plan by the Advanced Information and Telecommunication Society Headquarters, directed by the Prime Minister himself.
(3) Specifically, in addition to the diligent efforts of both computer users and suppliers, based on this action plan, systems checking and the establishment of contingency plan were encouraged and information was actively provided, focused on the critical private industries such as finance, energy, information-communication, transportation, and medical services. These efforts worked in such an effective way that by the end of October, 1999, it was concluded that the Y2K problem would not cause any event that would seriously impact the lives of the people; however, to prepare for unexpected problems, the government provided accurate information in cooperation with private sector and strengthened emergency management system to handle potential events including opportunistic terrorist activities, in order that the people would not experience unnecessary confusion.
(4) During this time, partly because of the lack of sufficient information overseas, the news in some countries such as the United States reported that Japan was behind in preparing for the problem, and this fact raised the peoplefs level of anxiety within the country. However, following the active and intense efforts of this country both by the government and private sectors since 1998 these fears gradually disappeared, particularly as these efforts produced results in a tangible way visible from the outside. By the fall of 1999 this type of criticism was rarely heard.
(5) Consequently, the most critical days-the New Year period, and the leap day-have all passed, with no significant problem or confusion occurring in the lives of the people. This fact was promptly reported domestically and internationally, leading to international praise of the measures implemented in this country.
(6) This report analyzes and evaluates various measures concerning the Y2K Problem through the experience of the most crucial days-the New Year Period and the leap day. It also discusses and summarizes the lessons learned from this problem as future challenges.
PDResulting Events and Their Evaluation
(1) Because of the thorough efforts on preventive measures and emergency management, the Y2K Problem triggered no events of serious consequences. There were some reports of short-term inconveniences, but most of them were improper date indications, etc., which have no impact on the public.
(2) This fact was indeed within the prior evaluation by the government: that no major problem would occur such as stoppage of a service in the societyfs infrastructure which could seriously affect the daily lives of the people.
(3) However, an ex post analysis indicates that if systems checking and remediation had not been conducted in a wide variety of industries, problems affecting the public would have resulted in large numbers, including in the societyfs infrastructure, seriously impacting the lives of the people.
(4) Hence, such comprehensive and accurate measures were successful largely because of the efforts of those people involved.
(1) Resulting Events
@ The days considered crucial-the New Year period, and the leap day-have now gone, and no serious events causing mass confusion have occurred, although some short-term, minor inconveniences have taken place, such as wrong date indication (caused by omission of systems correction) having no impact in the outside world. Some events that received attention include trouble with the monitoring system at an nuclear power plant at the beginning of the year, the ATM trouble of the Post Office, and a partial problem with the data from gAmedas,h the weather satellite on the leap day.
mExamples of Resulting Eventsn
Finance: Trouble with some cash-counting machines at financial institutions
Electric power: Trouble with the control-rod position indicator at an nuclear power plant
Telecommunication: Trouble with monitor-system date processing at a telecommunications firm
Railroad: Trouble with automated gorange-cardh ticket vending machines
Medical: Trouble with the date function of bone-density measuring equipment
Government: Trouble with the Post Office ATMs, and data from gAmedash
Local Public Organizations: Trouble with the date processing of the system that issues certificates for resident aliensf registration at a city hall
Nuclear Fuel Facility: Partial indication trouble with the operation control and monitoring system at a nuclear fuel facility
A According to the gSurvey of Resulting Events Concerning the Y2K Problemh (hereafter referred to as the gResults Survey,h cf. Reference), in which the Y2K Office of the Cabinet Secretariat analyzed critical sectors with the cooperation of related ministries and agencies, the overall numbers of events resulting from this problem indicate that system problems occurred in 11.6% of all the organizations surveyed, but only 3.1% of the organizations reported any problem with an impact on others.
B Including developing countries that were considered as requiring special attention, no major problems were reported overseas, either.
(2) Analysis of the Resulting Events
@ While a few events were reported as causing short-term inconveniences to the lives of the people, no major confusion or serious events resulted from the Y2K Problem. It is believed, as will be described in detail under Section III. 2 below, this fact is a result of the comprehensive implementation of preventive measures based on the action plan, etc.
(Note) The main problems seen in the responses in the gResults Surveyh are as follows: improper indication or printing (33.6%), data transfer trouble (9.9%), data search trouble (9.3%), data entry trouble (7.9%), etc.
A On the other hand, it is necessary to ask and discuss the following questions concerning potential Y2K-related risks:
E What would have happened if systems checking and remediation based on the action plan had not been carried out?
E Why is it that no major problems occurred even in developing countries where preventive measures had been feared insufficient?
B Results of the gResults Surveyh address these points: gif no measures had been taken for the Y2K Problem in your organization,h then:
E gIt is likely that the system would have experienced some problem impacting on other organizations and/or the publich (66.6%);
E gThe system may have experienced some problem but it is unlikely that other organizations and/or the public would have been affectedh (27.9%);
E gNo trouble would have resulted even if no measures had been takenh (4.2%).
In particular, the response gIt is likely that other organizations and/or the public would have been impactedh showed high percentages in industries such as electric power, gas, petroleum, telecommunications, broadcasting, finance, airlines, railroads, medical services, and local public organizations.
As seen here, if systems inspection had not been thoroughly conducted, it is estimated that other organizations and/or the public would have been seriously affected.
C As previously mentioned, some minor events have occurred since the beginning of the year 2000; for instance, business-related failures include several cash-counting machines of financial institutions, and monitoring-related failures include a monitoring system of a power-generating plant. Even problems causing some short-term inconveniences to the lives of the people have actually occurred, such as the trouble with gAmedash data and failures of the Post Officefs ATMs. Because of proper responses by the individual organizations and agencies, these events did not lead to serious crises; however, if no correction had been implemented, it is quite possible that similar failures would have occurred on a large scale in such industries as financial, energy, transportation, telecommunication, and medical services.
D Considering these points from a different perspective, it can be said that although the Y2K Problem was a potential threat to the computer-dependent society, it was overcome by the thorough and intense efforts of systems checking and remediation by involved parties.
E Possible reasons that no major problems were reported in developing countries include the following:
(a) In these countries, the use of computers is not as commonplace as in Japan and the United States;
(b) Failures in critical sectors such as the financial sector had been feared quite possible and numerous, but major problems were avoided by preventive measures, partially because of various international requests for such measures;
(c) Detailed information was not collected as was in Japan and in the United States;
(d) The prior speculation that RTCs were commonly used for control systems, just as in advanced countries now seems to be unfounded; and
(e) Overseas computer suppliers studied, analyzed, corrected, and monitored the computers that had been exported and installed in foreign countries, including developing countries, just as they did with their domestic computers (as Japanese suppliers did).
The people responded in a calm and collected manner before and after the coming of the new year.
@ Because the Y2K Problem has direct consequences on the everyday lives of the people, affecting all levels of computer use, ranging from services of the societyfs infrastructure sectors all the way down to personal computers, concerns over the problem had increased as the year 2000 approached. In the midst of this, there were concerns that extremely serious problems might result from the problem in such areas as the societyfs infrastructure and that these fears could trigger a panic situation in which it would be difficult to prepare and stock the goods necessary for everyday life.
A For these reasons, the government took the following measures prior to the new year, and the details will be discussed under III. 4 below:
(a) Providing information regarding practical consequences of the Y2K problem and the factuality of some extremely serious predictions;
(b) Stating the view (at the end of October, 1999) that no major problems would result from this problem; and
(c) Preparing and distributing the gPeoplefs Preparation,h an eleven items on the minimum level of preparation for the end of the past year and the beginning of the new year.
Further, for the end of the past year, the beginning of the new year, and the leap day, an emergency-management system, including information communication networks, centered at the Prime Ministerfs residence and supported by both the public and private sectors, was established.
B As a result, the end of the year saw rather calm preparations being carried out without events such as huge cash withdrawals from banks, although there was some tendencies of precaution such as an increase in demand for disaster- and emergency-related goods (which people have been encouraged to prepare even before the Y2K issue), and a decrease in the number of overseas travelers at the change of the year. Even after the coming of the new year, no major problems actually took place; the people responded in a calm manner throughout the period as up-to-date information was promptly being communicated to them, and no panic situations occurred at all.
(Note 1) In preparation for Y2K, significant changes were seen in the number of disaster-related goods and the number of overseas travelers:
sChanges in Itemized Spending: gFamily Income and Expenditure Surveyh by the Management and Coordination Agency (December, 1999; compared to the same month of 1998)t
- Foods (instant noodles 17.1%, mineral water, etc. 46.6%)
- Compressed Gas Cylinders 202.7%
- Travels (domestic: - 5.6% overseas: - 44.1 %)
sIncrease in Sales: gEnergy Production Supply/Demand Statisticsh by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (December, 1999; compared to the same month of 1998)t
Kerosene 12.3% Gasoline 4.9%
(Note 2) Cash withdrawals were not significantly large.
E The amount of cash currency as of the end of December, 1999, was up 9.4% compared with the same month of 1998 (the corresponding number in the United States was about 13% up).
E The amount of cash currency had been rising from August to November, around 5% up compared with the same period of the previous year.
Therefore, the increase in December due to the special factor was about 4%. It is estimated that this 4% was kept by the people as extra cash.
(Note 3) From New Yearfs Eve to the morning of New yearfs Day, there was a change in the pattern of power consumption; however, a reserve rate of about 30% was maintained steadily, resulting in no failures. The phone usage also saw the usual increase (in the use of cell phones) around shrines, temples, and venues hosting special events, but no significant trouble resulted from the Y2K Problem.
iPjSystems Checking for Prevention of Problems
Since the problem had to do with computers, which now influence every aspect of society, thorough systems checking and remediation, with participation of a wide range of people from computer users to related industries, were an absolute necessity to prevent problems, particularly in an information-and technology-based nation such as Japan.
Faced with these challenges, Japan saw the implementation of systems checking, establishment of contingency plans, information provision, and international measures, all based on the Action Plan set up by the Promotion Headquarters in September, 1998. Details of these actions are available on an attached document; this section concentrates on the analysis and evaluation of the measures taken by the government and other entities.
PDGovernment's Initiatives Led by the Cabinet and Active Involvement of the Private Sector
(1) With the assumption that the Y2K Problem could large scale effects, the Cabinet and related ministries and agencies considered this to be one of the most crucial issues to address, promoting thorough systems inspection based on its Action Plan.
(2) With this understanding, computer users such as the critical private sectors aggressively carried out systems inspection, established contingency plans and provided information to the people.
(3) As a result of these effective and appropriate efforts, and the cooperation between the private and public sectors, major problems were avoided, and the influences were limited.
@ Fundamentally, the Y2K Problem could not have been handled unless involved corporations, organizations, central ministries and agencies, and local public bodies individually carried out their systems inspection. To achieve this goal, the government considered it a duty to attempt to communicate the importance of this problem to all levels of people, corporations, and organizations, to actively help create a situation and an environment in which the related organizations could aggressively address the problem, and to prevent social confusion from occurring due to the Y2K problem.
A From this standpoint, the government set up following policies concerning systems checking:
(a) The Cabinet is to take initiatives and promote checking comprehensively rather than by individual sectors.
(b) In particular, crucial fields such as the critical private industries that may seriously affect the lives of the people or the economy, mid- to small-sized enterprises (hereafter referred as SMEs), central ministries and agencies, and local public organizations are to be monitored with especial care, with quarterly follow-ups.
(c) Based on the seriousness of consequences if the systems were to shut down, priority rankings are assigned, and inspection is to be efficiently carried out accordingly.
B These efforts enabled the critical private industries and others to implement measures at an accelerating rate; even the mid- to small-size corporations, medical facilities, municipal governments, etc.-where originally the effort was worried to be too delayed-saw very rapid progress between the fall of 1999 and the end of the year. As a result, the potential trouble that was anticipated due to the Y2K Problem was avoided in advance, and the affects were considerably restricted.
C As described above, systems inspection and other measures were implemented by (1) the governmentfs setting a clear goal and the establishment of a plan to achieve that goal and (2) the active and careful efforts by various organizations in the private sector, the government, and local public organizations. This method was highly effective, especially with the efforts of individual organizations.
D The government, led by the Cabinet, considered this one of the most crucial problems, and it clearly communicated-within and outside the country-its attitude to thoroughly address this problem; this led to an increase in the peoplefs interest level in this problem. This was very effective in motivating involved parties to take appropriate measures and, as will be described under Section III. 5, in correcting the international opinion toward Japan, with resulting praise from countries like the United States.
QDBalanced Evaluation of Potential Events
Among opinions on what could possibly result from the Y2K Problem, there were some extremely pessimistic, doomsday theories. The government, based on the progress in the critical private sectors and on technical analyses concerning events, gave prior evaluation carefully balancing a sense of safety and an appropriate level of concern. The actual results fell within this estimated range, also.
@ Concerning the social confusion that may be caused by the Y2K Problem, various anticipations were given, ranging from gend-of-the-centuryh eschatological view of extremely tragic results, to very optimistic views. For example, some predicted extreme events such as mass confusion resulting from gembedded chipsh (for instance, oil mines for petroleum and desalination plants would come to a halt, household electric appliances would malfunction, and heart pace-makers would fail).
A In such an environment, the government came to the conclusion that, while one cannot completely deny the possibility of some problems due to omissions in correction for the Y2K Problem (considering that computers are used in every aspect of the society in Japan), no major disasters in such areas as the societyfs infrastructure would occur, as significant progress was being made in the critical private industries, etc. On the other hand, it also concluded that, even though they were not the Y2K Problem itself, unexpected events such as opportunistic cyber terrorism were a valid concern, and strategies against such events needed to be defined.
B For these reasons, the government prepared Q&A pamphlets from a very early stage to remove certain misunderstanding of the problem. In addition, it gave the following prior evaluation in the follow-up of its Action Plan agreed upon at the Advisorsf Conference in October, 1999, and in the gPeoplefs Preparationh: gIt is believed that no major confusion seriously affecting the everyday lives of the people will occur, having carried out thorough systems inspection, etc., in critical and other industries; however, it is essential to make preparations just in case, including readiness for small-scale or short-term inconveniences.h
C As mentioned before, among the events that actually did occur, failures at nuclear power plants during the year-change and partial failures in gAmedash data and the Post Officefs ATMs got some attention. However, it can be said that these are within the range of the above prior evaluation.
(Note) Cf. "Y2K: Starting the Century Right" International Y2K Cooperation Center, February 2000 (hereafter referred as the "IYCC Fe, 2000 Report," Chap. 10, Lesson 9 and 10.
D The above prior evaluation was reached in the follow-up of the Action Plan as follows:
(1) Condition for Anticipated Trouble
First, if the Y2K Problem actually did cause trouble, it would be one of the following cases:
(a) Due to a computer program such as in the hardware, operating system, or application software; or
(b) Due to a real-time clock (RTC) in devices and machines which incorporate micro-computers (hereafter referred to as gembedded chipsh).
Initially, it was believed that physical or personal danger could exist if these devices failed in the control system related to their operation.
(2) Measures for Trouble Resulting from Programs
The programs included under (a) of Point (1) above, ones not Y2K-compliant, were thought to have the potential to create various types of problems in clerical areas such as recording and accounting processes as well as in monitoring systems, such as those obtaining management data. With most business-related computers, settings can be made for such programs, so the trouble can be prevented if the appropriate correction is done accurately. Hence, based on the Action Plan, information was gathered on such correction progress every quarter, with the focus centered on such critical industries as finance and energy. The whole correction process was expected to be completed around October 1999.
iRj Measures for Trouble Resulting from Embedded Chips
@ In contrast, the embedded chips mentioned under (b) of Point (1) above are present in a variety of devices and machines, and there were pessimistic concerns that these could not be completely fixed or that control systems and other systems could be significantly affected by these chips.
A However, control systems in lifeline sectors, etc. with most serious consequences, the following points were confirmed:
E The systems directly controlling power supply and the production and supply of gas do not use the date information or microchips;
E Most systems related to water supply are not managed by date;
E Among medical devices with built-in microchips, those in which Y2K could cause severe injury are limited to one of radiation treatment instrument;
E gThe Y2K Problem will not affect household white appliancesh; and
E gNo problem will occur with heart pace-makers.h
Further, in addition to information provided by manufacturers of these devices and machines, the confirmed facts above were provided to the public through the Prime Ministerfs official Web site and other means as documents of the Advisorsf Conference.
B In controlling the operation of a machine, it is generally the case that a sensor which can detect instantaneous changes in voltage, pressure, etc. is used. Therefore, it is theoretically difficult to imagine that RTCs are used to directly control a machine since RTCs produce errors after a certain period of time and the program itself would become more complicated if they were used.
C Hence, in regard to concerns over trouble due to embedded chips, it was concluded that the probability of a major problem occurring with a control system is nearly zero, although problems are possible with date indications, clerical processing, monitoring systems, and other similar usages.
The governmentfs evaluation followed from the above reasons. With non-Y2K compliant programs as well as with embedded chips, inspection based on the Action Plan was being carried out with the seriousness level of the system in mind, centered on critical sectors; hence, the risk of major trouble resulting from Y2K is quite low. Even if there are omissions in implementing the measures, the resulting problem would involve indication, etc.; no problem would occur in control systems, and contingency plans for omissions in remediating clerical and business systems would ensure that major confusion would be prevented.
The actual results proved this evaluation to be quite appropriate, as mentioned above.
RDCrisis Management Which Helped to Reduce Anxiety
In crisis management, individual organizations established their own contingency plans; both the public and private sectors were involved in the emergency-management system at the change of the year; and the gPeoplefs Preparationh was published and distributed prior to the new year. These preparations were thorough and effective in actual responses and in significantly reducing the peoplefs level of anxiety.
(1) Philosophy of Crisis Management for the Y2K Problem
@ With this problem, even if systems inspection is implemented thoroughly in accordance with the Action Plan, it is impossible to ensure that absolutely no omission or inspection error exists in the end. Furthermore, even if nothing happens as a direct result of Y2K, there were possibilities for terrorist activities taking advantage of this opportunity, or unexpectedly large variations in power demand, which is beyond the control of power-supply companies. Thus, it was decided that emergency-management measures would be taken with the following points in mind:
(a) Preparations need to be made to minimize the affects of a major problem on the economy and on peoplefs lives, even though the chances of such an event are slim; and
(b) The act of implementing such preparations itself would reduce the peoplefs level of anxiety toward the Y2K Problem.
A Specifically, the following measures were taken, with the results listed below:
(a) Various organizations established and implemented contingency plans.
(b) Both the public and private sectors established and implemented information communication networks centered around the change of the year.
(c) The gPeoplefs Preparationh was written and distributed.
(d) Both the public and private sectors adopted thorough computer-security measures around the change of the year.
The results are as follows:
(2) Establishment and Implementation of Contingency Plans by Various Organizations
@ Based on the principle of emergency-management by a wide variety of parties involved, the establishment of contingency plans was promoted in accordance with the Action Plan so that each organization that owns a computer system, the party most knowledgeable in the usage conditions of their system, can take appropriate emergency-management measures corresponding to the specific systemfs status. As a result, necessary measures were completed in the critical private industries, central ministries and agencies, local public organizations, etc., by the end of 1999.
A The results seen in the gResults Surveyh indicate that 11.6% of all the organizations surveyed reported some problems, including problems that have impact to outside networks and those that do not. However, only 3.1% reported failures resulting in impact to other organizations and/or the public. One may thus conclude that contingency plans worked effectively.
(3) Information Networks by Both the Public and Public Sectors Focused on the Change of the Year
@ In order to prevent unnecessary confusion by accurately and promptly communicating current events to the people, and to quickly and appropriately respond to unexpected situations, an information communication network was established with the Prime Ministerfs Official Residence Emergency-Management Center as the base station, mainly around the change of the year. Further, dry-run tests were conducted three times using this communication network.
In addition, seminars were hosted on the issue of computer security, promoting thoroughness in government departments, and encouraging caution to the private sector. At the change of the year, a security alert was maintained, aided by expertsf cooperation.
A Using the above network, on January 1, 2000, within an hour of midnight, the government had gathered sufficient information to know that no major problems were occurring in electric power, telecommunication, railroads, nuclear fuels, etc., and the Prime Minister made an official statement along this line. Including this report by the Prime Minister, interviews and press releases were made from the Prime Ministerfs Official Residence between New Yearfs Eve and January 5.
As for overseas relations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took leadership in reporting the status of Japan to the International Y2K Cooperation Center and to the governments of various countries. Overseas information was actively collected through diplomatic establishments abroad. Related private and public organizations also collected overseas information.
B On February 29, 2000, this communication network was used to collect information concerning events occurring on this leap day, and this information was provided to the people through press interviews of the Chief Cabinet Secretary, etc.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also used the International Y2K Cooperation Center in exchanging information with other major countries.
C As seen above, measures for unexpected emergencies fortunately did not have to be used, but this information-communication network performed well as expected in prompt, accurate, and systematic collection and reporting of current events and in raising the peoplefs sense of security.
(c) The Peoplefs Preparation
@ The Prime Ministerfs Official Web site and other means were used to actively provide the public with information concerning such issues as the practical aspects of the Y2K Problem and the factuality of some extremely pessimistic predictions. But as the end of the year approached, more and more people began asking questions on storing food, water, cash, etc. and what type of preparation they should make for the coming of the new year.
A Under these circumstances, in the Cabinet meeting held on October 8, 1999, the Prime Minister gave an instruction to gdraw up specific items useful for people as they prepare themselves for the change of the year.h Special care was taken in the discussion to keep the peoplefs anxiety level low and to avoid unnecessary over-preparation.
B In a draft composed at the Promotion Headquarters on October 29, the preamble stated, as in Section III. 2 above, the fundamental concept that git is concluded that no major confusion would take place, but it is essential for the people to make preparations just in case of an emergency.h It was further suggested that people not go overboard and that families make preparations as they normally would for New Yearfs vacation, without over-extending themselves.
C On various items of special interest, such as food and water, the government thoughtfully recommended minimal and necessary preparations. Namely, while stating that gno major crises will result from this problem in regards to these services,h the government encouraged people to check items in accordance with what the government and other entities have been promoting under a basic disaster preparedness plan for earthquakes, typhoons, floods, and other natural disasters (a supply of 2 to 3 days).
D Regarding this project, gThe Peoplefs Preparation,h information was aggressively made available through government public relations, mass media, and other means as described in Point 4 below. As a result, this information had filtered down to individuals and to the local level by the end of the year, as mentioned in Section II. 2 above, and disaster-related goods were stocked, reflecting an appropriate level of awareness and concern. With these preparations, it appears that the people collectively responded to this problem in a calm and collected manner.
SDActive Information Provision
In providing information, although counter-arguments to unnecessarily pessimistic theories were not communicated as fully as desired, the government used its public relations, mass media, etc. to communicate the existence of the problem as well as the importance of the Action Plan, to promote systems inspection, to state the importance of crisis management around the change of the year, and to encourage specific measures necessary to address the problem. It is believed that this information communication contributed to the peoplefs calm response.
Prior PR activities and information provision were actively carried out, using new trial methods of various types, and the information concerning emergency-management processes was also shared quickly and accurately. It is believed that these facts contributed to reducing the peoplefs level of anxiety towards this problem.
(1) Measures Taken Before the End of 1999 and Their Results
@ Information was provided as follows before the end of 1999 as prior measures:
(a) Promoting thorough understanding by organizations that need to carry out systems inspection and establish contingency plans;
(b) Providing the people with information concerning the progress of measures being taken in the public and private sectors;
(c) Providing easy-to-understand information to the people stressing the practical aspects of the Y2K Problem, Q&A collections, and question boxes;
(d) Notifying the gPeoplefs Preparation,h for individual-level preparations for the change of the year, through government public relations, the Prime Ministerfs Official Web site, cooperation of the mass media, and other means to regularly provide information.
A In particular, on the gPeoplefs Preparation,h
(a) The Prime Minister himself advertised it through newspapers, TV ads, and posters;
(b) New attempts were made to distribute it through schools (winter breakfs notice) and convenience stores (door posters) to provide the information aggressively.
B As a result, the peoplefs level of understanding was raised regarding the necessity for organizations to carry out systems inspection and to establish contingency plans as well as the actual facts about this problem and accurate emergency-management measures. It is believed that this fact contributed to the peoplefs calm response.
C Additional provision of various information by the mass media and private organizations also helped raise public awareness. It is considered that these factors encouraged corporation leaders to take actions and formed a basis for the peoplefs calm response.
(Note) On the other hand, there were some extreme prediction such as the one claiming that a major disaster would occur because of the widespread use of embedded chips.h The government recommendation to secure a gsupply of food and water for 2 to 3 days,h which was intended as part of the general disaster prevention strategies, led to some claims that this preparation was necessary solely for the reason of the Y2K Problem. Still others made confusing statements claiming that these preparations are not sufficient. The official opinion of the government was not sufficiently communicated in some of these aspects, leaving the concern that certain people may have taken the problem unnecessarily seriously.
(2) Results of Measures Taken for the New Year Period
@ As an emergency-management measures around the change of the year, the government used the information-telecommunication network made up of both the public and private sectors and having the Prime Ministerfs Emergency-Management Center as the base in order to collect information concerning events occurring within and without. The results of this measure were announced in the eleven press releases held between New Yearfs Eve and January 5 at the Prime Ministerfs Official Residence as well as in other press releases held at various ministries and agencies on their respective fields. Similar contents were made available on the Web sites of the Prime Ministerfs Official pages and the involved ministries and agencies.
A Further, during this period various private organizations, corporations, local public organizations, and the government set up inquiry windows to answer the peoplefs question regarding the service provision status of the critical private industries, failure conditions of related machines and devices, and local information.
B For the leap day, a preliminary press conference was held on February 22 regarding the governmentfs position and status on the effects of this problem.
Between the night of the 28th and the evening of the 29th, four press conferences were held in the Prime Ministerfs Official Residence Communication Room, including one by the Chief Cabinet Secretary. The contents of these conferences were made available on the Prime Ministerfs Official Web site as well, and individual questions from the media were thoroughly answered.
C It is believed that these measures contributed significantly to the peoplefs calm response during this period.
TDActive International Measures
@ The active measures taken in Japan were internationally praised.
@ From the standpoint of international cooperation, the government attempted to take international measures by providing information on Japanfs preparation for the Y2K Problem and sponsoring the APEC Y2K Week. Further, based on the APEC Y2K 100 days cooperation initiatives, etc., information was provided concerning contingency plans to developing countries. The government also made preparations to use the United Nationsf structure to gather technical information on the status and events of the Asia-Pacific countries and to send technicians so that they could respond quickly if unexpected events would occur in these countries after the change of the year.
A Japan, on the other hand, is one of the countries well-advanced in information technology and one of the first countries to bring in the year 2000 due to geographical reasons; therefore, there was considerable interest in whether or not Japan would be able to respond appropriately to the Y2K Problem. In particular, because there was not much information written in English concerning the progress in Japan as of the spring of 1999, other countries had a tendency to consider the countryfs preparation level lower than it actually was. This could have had negative affects in the reputation of the country in a larger sense.
B However, under the leadership of Prime Minister Obuchi, it became clear to the outside world that good progress was being made on the problem as the staffs of the government, finance, energy, information-telecommunication, airlines, and other industries provided more information and both the quantity and quality of English information for foreign countries improved. As a result, these concerns were eliminated, and the reputation of Japan has not been questioned since then. In this process, especially praised were the facts that the government made it clear to the outside world that it intends to actively provide information to the international community and that efforts were made by a wide range of involved parties including those from the private sector.
C Afterwards, the United States praised the ability of Japan to set up goals and to solve problems in a short period of time (Reference: Press Briefing on January 3, 2000 by Chairman Koskinen, of the United States Presidentfs Council on Year 2000 Conversion).
UDMeasures of Appropriate Proportions
@ The measures taken in Japan were of appropriate proportions.
@ Although some attempts have been made to estimate the costs that parties concerned in Japan has incurred to address the Y2K Problem, no accurate figures exist. The budget figure given by the government was approximately 30 billion yen, including only clearly defined items. Some people criticize this figure claiming that the government spending related to this issue prior to the new year was significantly less than the figure in the U.S. while its spending after the new year has been too much.
A In hindsight, one could conclude that measures taken were appropriate proportions for the following reasons:
(1) Among the lessons to be learned from the Y2K Problem, first, there is the following list of gexperiences to be used for future referenceh:
@ People at all levels should participate in difficult problems involving the entire society;
A In such cases, active information provision is absolutely essential;
B In such cases, strong leadership is also necessary;
C In crisis management, accurate and abundant information provision is necessary; and
D International cooperation is essential in dealing with the field of information.
(2) Furthermore, among the things gremaining as challenges this time but to be further considered in the futureh are the following points:
E Measures for the Internet society are priority action items, particularly in the administration; and
F Measures need to be taken to address the gBlack-Box effecth in technical problems having large impact on the society.
yIssues to be Considered for Future Referencez
|PDImportance of Participation of All Levels of the Public In dealing with a problem with far-reaching impact in the Information-telecommunication society, it is crucial that a large number of people participate in taking measures such as provision and exchange of information.|
@ Y2K was a problem directly impacting the everyday lives of the people since it involves the use of computers, which influence everything from services in the societyfs infrastructure to personal computers.
Hence, though a technical problem (in a sense, it is a problem difficult for the average person to understand clearly), its effects could be far-reaching, perhaps affecting the entire society and the peoplefs lives in general. The people, therefore, could not help being concerned by the problem.
A For this reason, the government, local public bodies, corporations, the largest-ever number of citizensf groups, the mass media, political parties, and others participated actively in such efforts as provision and exchange of information. For instance, on the local level, some groups took initiatives to organize emergency-management efforts.
B Under these circumstances, the government did extensive and detailed PR work in providing information, such as information-provision to schools and visually impaired people, incorporating a wide variety of opinions from the people involved.
Further, the mass media, etc. also provided information from various perspectives, enabling the people to have a rich source of decision-making material.
C Hence, this was no longer a problem limited to information divisions of corporations, etc., but rather a problem for everyone. Consequently, the government, local public bodies, corporations, etc. exerted their utmost efforts in dealing with it.
D As a result, progress was made in systems inspection in corporations, based on the provision and exchange of information, considerably reducing the possibility of problems occurring. As for crisis management involving the whole nation, while some misleading factors were present such as overly pessimistic predictions, the rich source of decision-making material made available to the people ensured a certain level of understanding, leading to a calm response overall.
(Note) In this problem, however, so many people participated globally that a fair amount of incorrect information was spread. In the future, it will be important to consider how accurate information can be made available in detail and how incorrect information can be corrected in similar types of situations.
QDInformation Disclosure: Essential for Public Participation
To implement measures with participation at all levels, as described in Point 1 above, it is essential that information be actively made available.
@ In dealing with this problem, the government actively provided information through a variety of means concerning the existence of the problem, the extent of its effects, systems checking, crisis management, and other issues.
A In particular, the governmentfs PR involved the following:
(a) Official Web pages of the government, such as the Prime Ministerfs Official Web site, were used more than under the usual circumstances;
(b) Information was advertised by documents distributed through schools, PR door posters at convenience stores, etc.;
(c) Information was provided in TV advertisements; and
(d) Information was made available frequently due to cooperation of TV, newspapers, and other media.
These new media were actively used, and they contributed significantly to the distribution of related information to all levels of the people including individual families.
B Local public bodies also actively provided locally oriented information through a variety of media. Moreover, the critical private industries and information-related organizations also provided much related information.
C Consequently, a considerable amount of information was spread through local public bodies, private corporations, the mass media, and even citizensf groups, giving the people a rich source of decision-making material and enabling them to be easily involved in the problem.
D In the future, in dealing with problems requiring the peoplefs participation, it is crucial that information be actively made available and the Internet and other information-communication means be effectively used.
RDNecessity of Strong Leadership
For problems potentially impacting a large segment of our society, for which measures and actions tend to be delayed, it is necessary to have strong leadership in each organization involved.
SDNecessity of Accurate and Abundant Information Provision in Emergency Management
In crisis management, it is important to provide accurate and sufficient quantities of information concerning of event situation, and the advance information on the progress of preventive measures, etc. It is also important to have an information-collection and provision system for quick and accurate communication in emergencies.
@ In crisis management for the Y2K Problem, systematic measures were taken, including contingency plans by involved organizations, establishment of an information-telecommunication network, active provision of related information to the people, creation of the gPeoplefs Preparationh for preparations to be made on the level of the individuals.
A Since this was the first major problem, in which uncertainty could not have been completely eliminated, it was necessary to provide accurate information concerning events that could potentially occur. Hence, while stating that gprogress is being made on preventive measures, and no major confusion will occur,h denying some extremely pessimistic predictions and raising the peoplefs sense of security, it was also necessary to maintain a certain level of awareness of the problem.
B To implement such a balanced approach, it was necessary to give careful and detailed answers to some of the basic questions of the people as well as to provide multi-faceted and abundant information such as found in the gPeoplefs Preparation,h considering the time required for such information to become widely known through the society. Particularly around the change of the year, the information-telecommunication network, which had been established beforehand both by the public and private sectors, was used to help reduce the peoplefs level of anxiety by communicating collected information quickly and accurately.
C The form of crisis management was not uniform, but the fundamental point is, as verified in this situation, to provide quick and accurate information in the following way:
(a) Encouraging involved parties to maintain awareness for and be familiar with crisis management, even under the normal circumstances, while taking preventive measures such as drawing up contingency plans in advance;
(b) Providing people with accurate information such as about events that could potentially occur, corrections to inaccurate information, and other related issues, while attempting to provide this information to all levels of society; and
(c) Providing information quickly and accurately via a systematic communication network prepared in advance and other communication structures in case of an emergency.
(Note) In the Y2K Problem, the responses of various levels of the people and of overseas were extremely crucial factors; many misleading statements were communicated, and it took a considerable amount of time to eliminate these predictions and replace them with accurate facts. In other words, it took a long time in this country for related information to reach to the public level, and took more time for such information to reach foreign governments and the mass media overseas. (Cf. The "IYCC Feb. 2000 Report," Chap. 10, Lesson 12)
TDEffective International Cooperation
International cooperation is crucial in dealing with common problems having to do with the advancement of information, which is developing around the globe. In such cooperation, the use of the English language in information communication is essential.
@ In one sense, every country was responsible to take measures for the Y2K Problem; however, this was a common global problem shared by all the nations of the world in this highly information-telecommunication oriented society. For this reason, the International Y2K Cooperation Center, the United States, and even Japan, through APEC, etc., assumed leadership in promoting methods of strategic systems inspection and crisis management and in encouraging information exchange. In the process of the international cooperation, some incorrect information was circulated, the measures of various countries were compared, leading to the promotion of progress.
A It is likely that these global problems shared by the whole world will continue to occur as information technology advances; this experience has verified that it is quite effective to deal with these problems within the framework of international cooperation.
For instance, new challenges such as cyber terrorism, measures against viruses, and electronic commerce are to be considered in building a highly advanced information-telecommunication oriented society. It is hoped that these problems will be addressed within the framework of international cooperation including experts in telecommunication, finance, transportation, etc., through international exchange of information and providing cooperative help to developing countries.
B It should be noted that such cooperative measures will be implemented as information is provided, shared, and made available primarily in English. As mentioned already, even in the Y2K Problem, the lack of sufficient English information concerning the progress of preventive measures in Japan caused some overseas people to criticize the slowness of Japanfs response, leading to a slight level of confusion domestically.
Not in the Y2K Problem only, but in the information industry in general, English has been used as the standard language-partly because the United States significantly has led the world in the development of the Internet. As stated in the "IYCC Feb. 2000 Report," information in this field is virtually meaningless on the international level unless it is written in English, whether it is from public or private organizations. In the future, measures need to be taken in order to produce a large volume of English information on the governmentfs Web site and in press conferences held by the government and to send out such information in a prompt fashion.
(Note) Cf. The "IYCC Feb. 2000 Report," Chap. 10, Lesson 14
C It has been said that the Y2K Problem has been predicted for about 30 years but that the response by the involved parties was delayed while the worldwide computer usage grew at an alarming rate, causing the problem to become a global concern. This fact suggests that any system fundamentally involved in the society, not just computers, requires special care by corporations, etc. from the beginning stages such as preliminary design. On the other hand, it is difficult to expect individual companies to take measures with such a futuristic view, so it is essential that, in dealing with such common problems, an environment is established, in which appropriate information is exchanged and provided. In this sense, it is very effective to use the internationl standard systems.
yIssues for which Further Actions should be Takenz
UDNecessity of Prompt Measures for the Internet Society
The Internet played a major role in dealing with the Y2K Problem. The use of this medium must be expanded so that more efficient and effective measures can be taken in the future for crisis management, information provision, and information exchange.
@ In dealing with the Y2K Problem, a variety of information was provided and shared through the Internet mailing systems, etc. by governments, experts, and various levels of groups in a global and virtually simultaneous manner, playing an extremely effective role. Such information included the progress of preventive measures taken in Japan as well as in other countries, evaluation and news coverage of the status of Japan overseas, and up-to-date status of events occurring as results of this problem all over the world.
Thus, in the process of handling the Y2K Problem, it has become quite evident once again that the Internet has become the most important means of communication in the future.
A On the other hand, this same Internet was used to spread rumors designed to raise anxiety about the Y2K Problem and to send viruses all over the world. Since the beginning of this new year, hackers (crackers) have attacked and invaded Web pages of government-related organizations, revealing the existence of the gdark sideh of the Internet era.
B In future execution of policies, measures for the Internet era are absolutely necessary, but this time the government's use of the Internet was somewhat limited even though its Web pages and mailing lists and the Internet to collect related information were to some extent used.
C In the future, it is necessary to attempt to organize a system in which the use of computer networks such as the Internet is carefully considered, to strengthen information security measures, and to organize personnel, physical, and legal structures.
D In the modern information-telecommunication society, the amount of information available is growing exponentially, partly because of the expanding use of the Internet. In addition, on problems like Y2K, where complete predictions are virtually impossible, a considerable amount of information is spread, whether it is valid or not, easily raising the peoplefs level of anxiety. Hence, not only must the government make available correct information in a responsible manner, but it also needs to actively correct erroneous or false information and predictions that lack factual evidence, actively seeking correct understanding.
(6-2) Usage in Crisis Management - The future requires creative ways to communicate information using electronic networks, etc. in crisis management.
@ Both the public and private sectors participated this time to create an information-telecommunication system in case of an emergency around the change of the year so that the collection and provision of information could take place quickly and accurately.
A However, it can also be thought of as an experience of a systematic information-communication structure which was thoroughly prepared in advance, and fortunately, did not have to be utilized for emergencies.
B Namely, this time the structure functioned quite well as information was communicated through the thoroughly trained and tested communications network, under a situation in which no major events occurred. However, it remains as a challenge for the future to see whether such a system actually works in a real emergency such as disasters, that is, for both parties concerned and the public to be able to instantly communicate a large amount of information corresponding to their specific needs.
C On this point, an effective network for crisis management should be established in the ongoing planning of a new information communication network in the new Prime Ministerfs Official Residence.
(6-3) Usage in Public Relations - Diverse methods for PR through the Internet are necessary
@ As mentioned earlier, the PR work in the Y2K Problem used various new media for communication as a trial, but the use of the Internet Web pages was of particular importance. The WWW has been becoming one of the most important PR media not just for corporations but also for the government; as the use of the Internet is rapidly growing, this role of the WWW is expanding even more.
A Regrettably the Internet is not considered as a means of PR having sufficient timeliness -at least not yet in the government. In the future, as the government keeps the active use of the Internet in mind, it should promote faster-speed services, increased use of English, and measures to improve computer security.
On the other hand, one cannot say at this point in time that setting up and using Web pages are necessarily a common practice among the mass media and experts, let alone the people in general; hence, the government needs to continue using various PR methods simultaneously with its Web pages.
B Another point to be considered is the fact that the Internet is a means of communication which works in both directions. Even this time a gComputer Y2K Problem Question Boxh was set up for the people, and responses were sent through the mailing system. Partially as a testing experience, mailing lists and electronic bulletin boards were also used in the emergency-management system based on the Prime Ministerfs Official Residence and in reporting to the International Y2K Cooperation Center. It is inevitable that the necessity of bi-directional communication means will continue to grow in the future, so such a means needs to be used in a flexible and frequent manner as a means of PR and communication-including with foreign countries-to exchange related information.
VDMeasures for the gBlack-Boxh Effect of Technical Problems with Large Social Impact
(1) Technical problems having large impact on the society must be analyzed thoroughly in order to prevent them from becoming a gblack boxh and to be able to explain the problem in a comprehensible manner.
(2) The failures which occurred for the New Year period and on the leap day due to omissions of correction have confirmed the critical importance of having multi-layered contingency plans.
@ As mentioned above, provision and exchange of information were accurate overall in the Y2K Problem. However, the information concerning the impact of embedded chips still lacked accuracy at a late stage, and parts of the mass media and citizensf groups continued to send information without sufficient evidence until the end of 1999. Corporations, information-related organizations, the government, and local public bodies provided accurate information, and the situation was corrected by the end of 1999, but some of the information was not sufficiently put to use.
A A major reason for the spread of such information is that the technical details of the role of embedded chips in devices containing microcomputers have never been thoroughly analyzed, keeping the entire system a sort of gblack box,h leading to a tendency for overly pessimistic predictions.
(Note 1) On this point, the IYCC Feb. 2000 Report (Chap. 10, Lesson 11)" states the following: gCertainly many financial and business systems would have stopped operating completely had Y2K repairs been ignored. With respect to equipment with embedded processors, however, which dominated concern about many countries' core electricity and telecommunications infrastructures, Y2K "failure" often meant a lack of correct management information, not service interruption. Too often the crucial question -- "So what?" -- did not get asked about statements that systems were not Y2K ready.
(Note 2) The trouble was not just with those who had made overly pessimistic predictions. In general, there is a certain level of understanding-almost considered gcommon-sense factsh by those involved in computers-about the issue: (1) computers always have a potential to malfunction, and (2) various systems have been built with this assumption. With the Y2K Problem, however, there was a tendency to forget these points, to consider the potential problem too seriously, and to over-react to the possibility of computer malfunctions. This seems to have created a foundation in which serious predictions were readily accepted.
B Under these circumstances, much information about individual devices was provided by the manufacturers, etc. However, general and accurate information about embedded chips was not provided to any great extent by computer experts and engineers until almost the end of the year. The little information that was given did not necessarily get communicated accurately to the people.
Because the risk, no matter how small it actually was, could not be declared zero, ambiguous wording such as ga possibilityh was used in some expressions, which led to unnecessarily serious but influential comments by certain non-experts as described above.
C Advanced technology like information technology, biotechnology, nuclear power, are likely to continue to have strong impact on the economic society in the future; in the progress, it is necessary to ensure that the gBlack-Boxh effect of technology does not amplify the peoplefs sense of insecurity unnecessarily. To this end, the government needs to make even more efforts to actively provide technology-related information; furthermore, it needs to make efforts to create an environment in which technically oriented people can, with good understanding of the society, explain technology in easy-to-understand terms and where non-technically oriented people can gain fundamental knowledge about science and technology such as computers.
D At the beginning of the year, the attention of the society was focused on the failures of nuclear power plants; this fact has verified the fact that, in such a field where the peoplefs interest level is already high, it is essential to make efforts to explain what is happening-including technical aspects-using easy-to-understand terms and to exchange information frequently.
E In addition to the above events, the failures of the Post Officefs ATMs and partial loss of the gAmedash data also got some attention as computer-related problems on the leap day. These problems signify that computer software correction and systems inspection are not absolutely perfect as they are ultimately carried out by human beings and that failures are still possible. They reveal and re-confirm the fact that multi-layered emergency-management, though currently implemented already, needs to be thorough and that information provision about the present efforts at multi-layered emergency-management is crucial.
(1) In dealing with the Y2K Problem, the dates considered most crucial, the millennium rollover and the leap day, have passed without major trouble. Consequently, in hindsight, the measures taken in this country can be considered quite successful in a global sense. This is because of the extraordinary efforts made by many individuals-both from the public and private sectors-who worked hard to solve this problem as well as the high level of awareness and the calm response of the people in general.
(2) Though the Y2K Problem was a major hurdle for us, it was also a valuable experience as mentioned above. The lessons learned through this experience should be fully used in the current and future establishment of an advanced information-telecommunication society as represented by the Internet.
(3) Having overcome this major problem relatively well, we have gained the confidence to overcome various types of trouble faced by the 21st-Century information-telecommunication society if we take active measures in the spirit of national and international cooperation. As a byproduct, the investments made to address the Y2K Problem contain many revolutionary elements, likely to become a stepping stone for Japan to grow more advanced as an information society.
(4) It is true that the Y2K Problem was the first major problem experienced by the computer society which has developed dramatically in the last part of the 20th Century. However, we are confident that this trial will one day be considered the starting point in the establishment of an advanced information-telecommunication society on a global scale.
|(1) Measures for the Y2K Problem by both the public and private sectors in Japan essentially began to be implemented back around 1996 by information-technology organizations. In December, 1998, a communication council of the involved ministries and agencies was founded in the government to study the latest situation of their respective ministries and agencies. (2) However, comprehensive work of the government in cooperation with the private sector did not officially begin until Prime Minister Obuchi ordered the establishment of an action plan. Initiated by this, detailed preventive measures for Y2K were implemented at an accelerating rate, and a nationwide, special emergency management was executed when the new year arrived.|
PDPromotion of Systems Inspection, etc., Based on the Action Plan
(1) Instruction of the Prime Minister on the Computer Y2K Problem
On August 21, 1998, which was 500 days before the arrival of the Y2K, Prime Minister Obuchi gave an instruction of the establishment of an action plan because of the crucial and urgent nature of the problem.
(2) Establishment of the Consultantsf Council, etc.
To consider appropriate response to this problem, the gConference to Promote Y2K Measuresh (hereafter referred to as the gPromotion Conferenceh), consisting mainly of permanent vice-ministers of involved ministries and agencies, was established, and the gY2K Advisorsf Conferenceh (hereafter referred to as the gAdvisorsf Conference"), consisting of experts in the private sector, was founded. Both were founded on September 7, 1998, under the Advanced Information and Telecommunication Society Promotion Headquarters (hereafter referred to as the gPromotion Headquartersh).
(3) Establishment of an Action Plan
@ Based on the Prime Ministerfs order as described in (1) above, the Promotion Headquarters established the gY2K Action Planh (hereafter referred to as the gAction Planh) on September 11, 1998, in order to thoroughly implement the specific measures listed by the public and private sectors for this problem.
A The Action Plan included the following items:
(a) Thorough PR of the government measures for the Y2K Problem by government bulletins, etc.;
(b) Systems inspection (correction, simulation tests, etc.), creation of emergency-management strategies, etc. by central ministers and agencies, local public organizations, etc.;
(c) Promotion of systems inspection, creation of contingency plans, etc. in the critical private industries such as finance and energy, as well as support of measures by the SMEs;
(d) Public disclosure of the governmentfs measures through the use of the Internet, etc.; and
(e) Follow-up of the Action Plan by the Advisors' Conference.
(4) Promotion of Systems Inspection, etc. through Follow-Up of the Action Plan
@ As follow-up of the progress in systems inspection, creation of contingency plans, etc., in the critical private industries and central ministries and agencies based on the Action Plan, efforts were made to present a report every quarter in the Promotion Conference, Advisorsf Conference, and if necessary, even in the Promotion Headquarters to take appropriate measures.
A Consequently, by the end of June, 1999, the critical private industries had been able to complete most of the goals set up at the establishment of the Action Plan, such as finishing all possible simulation tests (the Advisorsf Conference, end of July, 1999).
B As of the end of September, 1999, systems inspection in the critical private industries had advanced even further, having completed almost the entire process and guaranteeing the completion on schedule. Hence, a conclusion was reached, stating the following: gNo major confusion seriously affecting the everyday life, such as stoppage of services in the societyfs infrastructure, will result from the Y2K Problemh (The Advisorsf Conference, etc., end of October, 1999).
QD Strengthening of Preparations for Crisis Management and Information Provision for the Change of the Year
(1) Preparations for Crisis Management for the Change of the Year by the Government, etc.
@ For crisis management, establishment of contingency plans had been carried out based on the Action Plan since September, 1998, particularly in the critical private industries. Further, on July 30, with 5 months left until the year 2000, the Promotion headquarters adopted the document gImproving the Emergency Management System for the Computer Y2K Problemh (hereafter referred to as the gImproving the Emergency Management Systemh) to strengthen the emergency management system of the government under close cooperation with the private sector and local public organizations.
A In gImproving the Emergency Management System,h the following measures were agreed upon:
(a) Strengthening the government system by organizing the Y2K Task Force and the Y2K Office in the Cabinet Secretariat;
(b) Organizing an emergency-response system, a system for information-telecommunication network jointly formed by the public and private sectors, and other structures;
(c) Internal and external collection, processing, and disclosure of information under cooperation between the Prime Ministerfs Official Residence Crisis Management Center and involved ministries and agencies, as well as organizing a government emergency-management system for emergency measures during the change of the year;
(d) Operation inspection during the change of the year of critical systems in central ministries and agencies, local public bodies, and the critical private industries; and
(e) Strengthening the provision of the Y2K Question Box and a Q&A collection through the Prime Ministerfs Official Web site, use of government bulletins, etc., request for the mass media for cooperation, and other forms of information provision from the standpoint of the people.
B As a part of the structure preparation as described in (b) above, three dry-run tests of the information telecommunication network were held jointly by the public and private sectors on September 8, November 26, and December 17, 1999.
(2) Preparation and Issuing of the gPeoplefs Preparationh for the Change of the Year
@ With three months left until the year 2000, the people were asking more and more questions concerning this problem for the change of the year. Thus, in a meeting held on October 8, 1999, the Prime Minister gave an instruction to gpromptly draw up specific items that are useful to the people as they make preparations for the change of the year themselves.h
A Under this instruction, based on the discussion in the Promotion Conference and the Promotion Conference and the Advisorsf Conference, the Promotion Headquarters adopted the document "Guidance for the Y2K Preparations for the New Year Period" (hereafter referred to as the "People's Preparation") on October 29.
B This gPeoplefs Preparationh first states, based on the progress of measures taken in the critical private industries by the end of September, that gno major confusion will result in the societyfs infrastructure, etc., due to the Y2K Problem, but it is important that every person make preparations for emergencies, including minor or short-term inconveniences.h
C Along this line, the document lists specific details under 11 headings concerning gfood and water,h grecords of savings,h etc. As for items with a particular level of interest-food and water-it was pointed out that although no major trouble will occur in related services due to this problem, preparations have been encouraged by the government, etc. in times of earthquakes, typhoons, floods, and other disasters (a supply for 2 or 3 days) were recommended to check.
iRjPromotion of Information Provision
@ Based on the Action Plan of September 11, 1998, the government made efforts to provide information concerning thorough understanding of this problem, progress of measures being taken in both the public and private sectors, etc. by government PR work through newspapers, magazines, TV, radio shows, and other media as well as the creation of official Web sites concerning the Y2K by the Prime Ministerfs Official Residence and various involved ministries and agencies.
A Based on the document gImproving the Emergency Management Systemh of July 30, 1999, a Q&A collection which provides easy-to-understand information in question and answer format was placed in the Prime Ministerfs Official Web page on the Y2K Problem; in addition, this site established and operated a question box where the people could directly send in questions regarding the Y2K Problem.
B The gPeoplefs Preparationh of October 29, 1999, was announced by the government in newspapers, TV, and radio, as well as in the Prime Ministerfs Official Web site, distribution of PR materials (through such establishments as local public bodies, the Post Office, schools, libraries for visually impaired people, convenience stores, etc.), TV advertisements (the Prime Minister himself appeared), and posters.
C Including the gPeoplefs Preparation,h the government provided related information concerning the problem actively to the mass media such as newspapers, magazines, and TV, requesting for their cooperation in publicizing it.
(4) Information Security Measures for the Change of the Year
@ The government held seminars, etc. within government agencies to take thorough measures against illegal access and viruses as a preventive strategy; it also issued warnings to the private sector concerning security measures, etc.
A For the change of the year, not only was the investigation structure against high-tech crime tightened at the Police Agency and each prefecture police department, but systems for emergency information communication and response were also made ready with the help of outside experts.
(5) Confirmation on Measures for the Change of the Year by the Government, etc.
In the Promotion Conference meeting of December 27, 1999, the governmentfs emergency-management system was checked for the final time. On the next day, in the Cabinet ministerial conference the Prime Minister gave the final instruction to the ministers in the Cabinet to take leadership in crisis management in their respective fields.
RDOther Preventive Measures
(1) Promotion of International Cooperation, etc.
@ The government promoted international cooperation in the Y2K Problem by providing information on the progress of measures in Japan and by hosting the APEC Y2K Week. Further, based on the APEC Y2K 100 days cooperation initiatives, it provided information to the developing countries concerning emergency-management measures.
A In order that Japan may specifically assume its role of international leadership in the Asia-Pacific region, the government has established a foundation in the UNDP Emergency Response Unit, an U.N.-affiliated organization, so that technical information can be gathered and technicians can be sent if necessary in case an unexpected event occurs in these countries after the millennium rollover.
(2) Support of Mid- to Small-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
@ Based on the Action Plan, etc., the government supported the SMEs in taking preventive measures by setting up a low-interest loan system through government-affiliated financial institutions, modifying tax policies concerning computer exchange, etc., sending experts, setting up consultation desks, and doing PR work.
A If an unexpected event should occur after the millennium rollover, due to the Y2K Problem, the government is prepared to send experts to SMEs so that they can diagnose the problem and give appropriate advice; the government has also prepared a system in which these corporations can receive legal advice regarding litigation resulting from this problem.
(3) Cooperation with the Ruling Partiesf Project Team
@ Since March, 1999, the Ruling Parties' Project Team for the Y2K Problem had been holding a variety of discussions and giving policy advice concerning measures in the critical private industries promoted by the government, measures for the SMEs, international measures such as the APEC, the gPeoplefs Preparation,h and other issues related to this problem. The government held a communication meeting with this team on December 10 and 27, 1999, to work cooperatively for crisis management during the change of the year.
A At this meeting, the Project Team made the following suggestions that were reflected in the emergency management measures of the government:
(a) Organizing an emergency management system centered around the ministers involved;
(b) PR for the gPeoplefs Preparationh through schools and convenience stores as well as PR aimed at visually and hearing-impaired people;
(c) Thorough emergency-management measures for the SMEs that had not taken preparatory measures;
(d) Preparations for the SMEs and overseas in case of an unexpected event afterwards; and
(e) Measures against computer viruses, etc. during the change of the year.
SDImplementation of Crisis Management during the New Year Period
(1) Emergency Management Measures of the Government
@ During the change of the year, the government made efforts to collect and provide information regarding events occurring. In order to take thorough measures for crisis management in case of an unexpected event, it organized an information communication system having the Prime Ministerfs Official Residence Crisis Management Center as the base point, set up by both the public and private sectors, where the situations were monitored from December 29 to January 5.
A In particular, since the Y2K Headquarters for the Rollover Period was set up in the Prime Ministerfs Official Residence (hereafter referred to as the gHQsh) on December 31, the Cabinet secretariat had laid out a system to respond to emergencies, led by the Chief Cabinet Secretary, the three Deputy Cabinet Secretaries for politics and administration, and the Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management under the direction of the Prime Minister. They gathered and announced the latest information in the following manner:
(Main Measures Taken)
|December 29||A liaison office was set up in the Prime Ministerfs Official Residence Crisis Management Center.|
|December 31,||6 P.M.||The liaison office was moved to the HQs (the Chief Cabinet Secretary attended and gave an instruction at the establishment of the HQs).|
|8:30 P.M.||The Prime Minister visited the HQs.|
The New Zealand Ambassador to Japan reported to him the latest situation in his country in the Year 2000.
|January 1,||0:50 A.M.||Immediately after midnight, January 1, the Prime Minister himself announced that no major problems were occurring in electric power, telecommunication, railroads, or nuclear facilities.|
|6 A.M.||Chief Cabinet Vice-Secretary Nukaga announced that no major problems were occurring in the critical private sectors in early morning.|
|January 4,||11A.M.||The Chief Cabinet Secretary announced that no major problems were occurring in the financial industry, etc. as work began for the new year.|
|January 5,||10:50 A.M.||The Chief Cabinet Secretary announced that no major problems had occurred in the critical private industries, that the change of the year had passed smoothly without major problems, and that the response at the HQs was to terminate in the morning of January 5.|
(2) Setting Up Consultation Windows
@ During the period around the change of the year, it was expected that the people would ask a large number of questions concerning the services of the critical private industries, failures of related devices and machines, status of the communities, etc.; therefore, consultation windows were set up at related private organizations, corporations, local public organizations, and the government.
A Major locations of these windows were made available through the Web sites of the Cabinet and various ministries and agencies involved.
B The Cabinet set up consultation windows from December 29 to January 4 (approximately 550 inquiries were made there).
C The number of access visits to the Prime Ministerfs Official Web site concerning the Y2K Problem was about 530,000 between December 29 and January 4; specifically, the number was about 136,000 on December 31 and about 150,000 on January 1. (The daily average number of visits between December 1 and December 28, 1999, was about 16,000.)
(3) Hosting the Advisorsf Conference on the Results of Measures during the Change of the Year
@ Having completed all the measures for the change of the year, the Advisorfs Conference met on January 20 with the Prime Minister present.
A In this meeting the following points were agreed upon:
(a) In dealing with the Y2K Problem, the leadership of the Prime Minister was clearly shown, and preparatory measures were thorough, resulting in eventless, smooth passing of the year-change period; and
(b) On the other hand, some systems did experience failures, so caution is necessary in dealing with the leap day on February 29.
TDImplementation of Crisis Management for February 29 (the Leap Day)
@ The possibility for potential problems on February 29 existed in clerical processing areas such as erroneous date indication and financial accounting of interest, etc. Thus, on the leap day, a liaison office (hereafter referred as the "LO") was once again set up in the Prime Ministerfs Official Residence Crisis Management Center so that emergency communication can be maintained.
A Under this system, information on latest events was gathered and announcements were made in the following manner:
|February 28,||8 P.M.||The LO was set up in the Prime,|
Ministerfs Official Residence Crisis Management Center.
|February 29,||9:50A.M.||In a regular press conference, the Chief Cabinet Secretary announced that, although partial failures had occurred in gAmedash data and ATMs of the Post Office, no other major events impacting the peoplefs lives were being reported.|
|2 P.M.||The LO announced that related ministries and agencies had reported 7 cases of erroneous date indication, etc. due to the leap day.|
|5 P.M.||The Chief Cabinet Secretary made the following announcements in a regular press conference:|
(a) Some minor failures were reported because of the leap day, but no major problems had occurred; and
(b) The response on this issue would be moved that evening from the LO to the usual response system by the Cabinet and related ministries and agencies.
|6 P.M.||The LO stated that:|
(a) 17 cases of failures which were not serious, reported concerning the leap day by 5:30 P.M., and 16 of them had already been corrected; and
(b) As of the announcement, the LO would be closed and the usual system of communication would resume.
* During the above response at the LO between the evening of February 28 and early evening of February 29, individual questions from the media were thoroughly answered.
iThe Y2K Office of the Cabinet Secretariat; March 3, 2000)
|Field||Trouble Occurrence||What If No Measures Had Been Taken?|
|No Trouble||Troubles with No Outside Impact||Troubles with Outside Impact||No Trouble Would Have Occurred||Troubles with No Outside Impact||Troubles with Outside Impact||Not Available, etc.|
|Nuclear Fuel Facility
|Local Public Orgz'ns
(Note 1) Figures generally show % of organizations that replied.
The numbers in ( ) on the top gFieldh row indicate the number of organizations surveyed.
(Note 2) Source: Status Report on the Computer 2000 Problem and Its Effects, Tokyo Metropolitan Management Consultant Office